You know that song by Paloma Faith called ’30 Minute Love Affair’? About how she met a stranger and they shared a short connection, but then he disappeared? Well, I had a similar experience almost three years ago, expect for the fact that it wasn’t that romantic and I’m not nearly as good a singer as Paloma.
Like I said in my previous blog post, I’m quite the social media fanatic. I like the internet, because it serves as a safe place for incredibly shy people like me to contact other people and do a lot of things without actually having to talk to someone. I realize that it isn’t ideal and it isn’t necessarily healthy, but it works for me.
And yes, I do go onto online dating websites. I often find myself wondering why I bother, but every so often I see a beautiful couple that met online and then I think: that could be me. Perhaps this time I’ll click on the right profile and I’ll find him. Honestly, sometimes I only do it out of sheer boredom, and let us not forget that I’m a world-class procrastinator.
I first started going onto dating websites in my late teens. I was in a deeply religious school in a very small town, so there was no way in Hell that I was going to come out of the closet. Even while I was pretending to be straight, I was already experiencing homophobia from people who could see through me. I wasn’t going to give them ammunition. Anyway…
The gay men in Harrismith (my hometown) were very few and those few guys were either old perverts or young and horny guys. Neither of these types appealed to me. However, by that time I already knew that I would be moving to Pretoria the next year (2012), so I started chatting to guys from there. There is a much larger variety of men in the cities, which also increases the amount of weirdoes, but fortunately they aren’t all like that. I met a guy a few years older than me, but not too old. He had dark brown eyes and thick, curly brown hair. We started talking and I really started to like him. He seemed very nice and decent, the kind of guy you can be proud to show to the world. Of course, in the back of my mind I knew that he didn’t really like me as much as I liked him, but I tried to smother out that voice as much as possible.
Time went by. I got accepted into college, finished school, got a place to stay in Pretoria, and… moved to Pretoria. For someone who had been living in the Free State all his life, the Gauteng province is very scary. I left my family, few friends, and my cat behind and I knew almost no one in Pretoria. I spent the most of the first month bursting into tears and swallowing sedatives to fight off panic attacks. Only after that did I start to settle into my new life and I fell in love with theatre and my studies. I kept talking to this guy and after I started to think that I would never meet him, one night he asked me if I’d like to meet him the next day. I almost freaked out. I was so excited. It was the first time that I would actually be meeting someone like him. And maybe, just maybe, he would like me.
I was a much different person back then. I was 15kg heavier than I am now, I had long hair that I was trying to grow, but that ended up being quite unsightly. I’ve never been a pretty boy, but with all this on top I was a gay Ugly Betty. I was feeling a bit sick, but I refused to be held back by that. I would meet this guy the next day even if he ended up taking me to the hospital afterwards. I barely slept that night, rehearsing the topics I would bring up. I’ve never been good at small talk and social situations in general freak me out. I end up rehearsing most of the conversations I have before I have them, because there are very few people in the world that I can just be with without feeling anxious.
The next day, my illness hadn’t really gone away, but I convinced myself that I was feeling just fine and that I was just nervous. I started walking to the restaurant, because I didn’t have a car yet. It was a hot summer’s day in Pretoria, and the heat didn’t do any good for my condition. By the time I got there I was red and burning up, and not even my acting talent could hide that.
But there he was. He was even more beautiful than in the picture. He was confident and smart. I thought to myself: wow, he’s really a catch. But after the first ten minutes or so, I already knew that I blew it. I was visibly ill and my light skin tone was betraying the heat of the sun. I kept saying stupid things and trying to be funny, and I could see that he most definitely didn’t think I was funny. It’s not that he was rude, but I could see it in his eyes. It wasn’t going to work.
It wasn’t long before he left, and I walked home. No wait, I first went to the shop to buy comfort food, and then I walked home. I knew that I wouldn’t be seeing him again. He wanted an adventurous outdoorsman, not an insecure drama student. I simply wasn’t his type, and I couldn’t change that.
A few days ago I stumbled onto his profile on Facebook. He now has a boyfriend. The guy is big and scruffy and everything that I am not. And you know what? They look perfect together. So, I’m truly happy for them.
I’ve met many guys from dating websites since then, but it always goes the same way. I meet them and before long I see that same look in their eyes that I saw in his. He’s not my type. And then it’s over.
Earlier this year I met a guy that I really, really liked. He wasn’t like the others. He really was everything I was looking for. But he didn’t feel the same way and I’m not going to lie, it hurt a lot. We never dated, but I wanted so badly to have a chance that I completely blew every chance I had. It’s good to be eager, but it’s really bad to be overeager. It makes you look desperate and crazy. And I’m tired of being that desperate, crazy boy who is hunting men he can’t have. I’m learning to be okay with the fact that I’m alone. I’ve really been a loner all my life, but that doesn’t mean that I always want it that way. But fighting my own company isn’t going to get anywhere. I need to be okay with just being alone with music and my cats, because, let’s face it: you spend the largest part of your life alone, no matter how much you dislike yourself. You might as well accept it.
And with all that said, here is the music video for ’30 Minute Love Affair’