The Relevance of Touch
je crois que je commence a etre “in love”
mon coeur fait boum boum dedans !!!
tu me manque deja
There’s something inherently more lonely about a man saying he thinks he’s in love with you when you know that he lives 3,522.1 miles away. For a moment, it feels amazing - someone just expressed that you’re such an incredible human being, such an amazing addition to their world, that they feel what we deem the highest emotion towards you - romantic love.
Then you remember, there is a giant ocean and two countries separating you, and you’ve never even seen this person face-to-face. The allure of a foreign lover who doesn’t even speak English is intense, but knowing that the only time in the future where there’s even a shot you can hold his body against yours isn’t for eight months kills the whimsy of the situation and just makes it more chimerical than anything.
Online love is something that I was exposed to starting in my tweens. As I questioning gay child living with a family that has always been emotionally estranged and with friends who I felt ashamed to talk with about my possible gay sexuality, I turned to the internet, and found a website with a whole plethora of message boards, populated by great majority by people 13-18.
My first “boyfriend” was Mateo - I think I was just 13, and he must have been 15. I was naive, maybe, but not stupid. We started talking on the message board, and then moved it to MSN Messenger (hah!), and we spent a good month talking non-stop. I got to know him very well, he seemed to know everything about me, and we just hit it off very well. When he asked me to be his boyfriend, I thought it was a little odd, but said yes regardless.
The next day, if my memory serves me well, he went crazy. He was going through something with his mother, wanted to run away, and said he wanted to come live with me, all before I could ask “What’s wrong?”. He disappeared, and I didn’t hear from him for quite a while later. Our talks were few and far-between after that; needless to say, the relationship lasted one day.
Despite this really uncomfortable situation, I did witness countless other gay and trans teens who were on the forum get into relationships.. there always seemed to be a surprised with them. In one, Dillon and Andy got together - we thought both were gay boys, but Dillon ended up being a transman. Presumably 19-year old Chris and Brandon got together, and Chris ended up being 27 (to Brandon’s 16) and with lots of social/personality problems. Preston and Talon got together, but oops - Talon wasn’t a real person, but a made up persona of Preston (who went on to be a porn actor?).
Anyways, the point of this story is that all of these couples seemed to honeymoon it through the whole internet ordeal, but overcome something once the actual meeting took place. Maybe Talon is still Preston’s lover in his head… I know that Chris and Brandon lasted up to five minutes after Chris left Brandon’s house… last I checked, Dillon (who I think ambiguously goes by Dill) gave birth to a child and is living a very happy life with Andy.
Still, since I was thirteen, I have always told myself: internet relationships are a BIG no. That being said, I do have an immense curiosity when it comes to foreigners; I think there’s nothing sexier than a hot man from a different country who talks another language. Part of that may be because I study languages, so it’s kind of a dual purpose hot-man-practice-French sorta thing, but I do also have a romantic mind that dreams of cities more beautiful and free than NYC. From the backpacking and traveling I’ve done, I can say pretty sincerely that I’d like to spend my days post-education out of the USA.
Anywho, here are my foreign crushes. …Yes, that’s plural, and I know that’s awkward - don’t judge.
João is my favorite, and for many reasons.
To say João is a sweetheart would be an understatement. Every once in a blue moon, you come across a person who just seems to be legitimately touched by God or whatever creates life in this crazy universe. Someone who not only is a good person, but is a genuinely good one. I asked him the other day, when was the last time you were mad at someone? He said he couldn’t remember. I asked him where he sees himself fitting in the gay world of stereotypes, and he says “I know this might sound a bit off, but I don’t really like labels. I’m just a normal guy, with defects and virtues.” What’s your middle name, João? “My middle name is Cuddling.”
This is the sort of person who everyone wants to have in their life. Up to this point, I’ve met one legitimate human being like this - a 32 year old woman who I consider an amazing friend. No matter how life looks, and no matter how sad or upset they are, there’s still this effervescent light emitting from their soul. Whenever people ask me what I look for in a guy, my honest answer can be summarized in one or two words - kind; sweet. That’s all I honestly want. If you give me the most amazing person in the world and he happened to be Quasimodo, I think I could get by. Some qualities are just more important than others.
Does the fact that João is simply beautiful make me adore him even more? Oh absolutely, without doubt. Others might look at him and think he’s normal looking, but whenever he turns on his camera, I just melt. João is 5’6”, brown hair, brown eyes, and has a somewhat muscular, hairy body. He has a nice jaw, arms that make me scream, and a shy but brilliant smile. He lives in a small parish a few miles out of Lisbon, Portugal, and I wish I knew him the last time I was in Portugal. Truth be told, we’ve only been talking for a month. I found him on one of the bear sites, actually when I kind of mass copy-paste-mailed fifty guys in Portugal just looking for a friend to talk to or get to know platonically. He was the only one who responded, and just immediately opened up what would be a hey-how’s it going-good, you-good, thanks-sort of exchange to a legitimate conversation with his first reply. I asked if he had a messenger to chat on - he gave me his Skype, and after a few days, he signed on.
This was 28 days ago when we first spoke on Skype. He messaged me when he signed on one afternoon, and we chatted for about ten minutes before he had to go to work. Very casual, nice little conversation about music. Second time we talked for about half an hour, he caught me on Skype from my phone when I was taking a train home to visit my family. Third time, I was downtown going Christmas shopping and again on my phone. We had a lot of these short, sporadic conversations throughout December. I sent him a message on Christmas, he sent me one back the next day. While it bothered me that he’s only online every few days, it still made it kind of special when he WAS online, especially because every time he initiated a conversation.
This past Tuesday, I didn’t sleep, and I ended up catching him in the morning - it was about 5 AM here, so 10 AM there, and we talked for about three hours before I went to the train. He stayed chatting with me as I got in a cab and went through Grand Central, and then I got in the train and told him how much I hated taking it, even if only once a week. He asked how long the ride was - I told him 2.5 hours. I’d already been talking to him for about four, and I didn’t expect it when he said he could keep me company for the ride. So my battery went lower and lower, and about an hour in, he was telling me how he was exercising. I - trying to be flirty without being too sexual - said something along the lines of wishing I could watch. He said he could turn his cam on if I wanted - oh did I want to. First off - Skyping on an iPhone is weird, because you have to switch screens to text, it’s kinda laggy, and it sure is awkward holding your phone at face level when there’s someone sitting next to you on a train. But still, I watched. The room was filled with sunlight so I really couldn’t see anything, and so I asked him to make a muscle for me.
Eventually, I hinted that he should take his shirt off - he laughed and obliged. To be honest, I couldn’t really see because, again, filled with sunlight, but he still has a beautiful body. Really though, it’s the smile that kills me. He stayed with me through the train transfer, and eventually departed for half an hour to take a shower and eat. We talked some more when he came back, but by that time I had arrived at my final destination and we wished each other good days.
It was this point where I was just.. absolutely enamored. I don’t know how else to word that. I mean, obviously I’m not in love with the man, I’ve never met him and I’ve talked to him for less than a month. But I was just overcome with the fact that such an incredibly sweet, beautiful person exists in the world, and I’ve come across him. It kinda makes me feel weird knowing that this guy I’ve never met - and perhaps never will - will probably always be better than anyone else I may ever date.
On Wednesday, I caught him for about ten minutes before he had to go to work, but then yesterday we ended up talking all night. I caught him around 5, I think, and we spent some time conversing. I asked if he wanted to cam, and he was happy to. We were on cam for about two and a half hours before he finally had to go to bed, around 3 AM his time. Like a creep, I took screenshots every once in a while when he smiled, and it makes me so happy seeing them. I almost wish I could put them up here, because he is just so adorable and it’s hard for me not to share his face with anyone. It’s nice, though, having someone to talk to pretty honestly. He’s not very invasive, but every topic we HAVE touched on, I’ve talked about honestly… which is probably something that I wouldn’t be able to say happens with most boys I’m interested in.
I feel like we end up talking about hopes and dreams a lot. I’ve told him about the sort of things I’d like to do after undergrad, after grad school, et cetera - he tells me about the sort of work he’s interested in doing down the line. I don’t know… could we have a life together? Absolutely. Portugal is my homeland, and he doesn’t feel the need to leave per se. But what happens between now and the time I’m done with school? That’s another question.
My only hesitation with him is, he’s very affectionate but not too.. intimate? Does that make sense? Not like ‘oh let’s jerk off together on cam’ - that’s not something I want with him, and despite some adorably uncomfortable dirty flirting (which really barely touches on being PG), that’s not our dynamic. But he’s not as verbally affectionate as my heart wants. STILL - it’s been less than a month. I know he’s kind of guarded in the whole relationship thing because he moved for seven months to be with a boyfriend, and that ended up not working, so he came home in October or November. He seems sensitive without being fragile, but I’m interested in having a conversation with him that’s more emotionally deep. I’ll be backpacking Europe again this summer for a while, and I asked him if he’d be interested in joining me for a leg of it. He said if I give him dates in advance, he can take his holiday then and join me. I think he also is not financially super stable, so that might be kind of a killer for that option, but I think I’d buy him a ticket to whatever city he’d like to meet up in and mail it to him as a surprise. :)
The quotation at the top of this post is from Christophe, if you couldn’t have guessed by the name. Christophe lives in Caen, France. He is 31 years old, 5’11”, brown hair, and the face of a poet. I don’t know what it is, there’s just something inherently free and sexual about him, but at the same time so pretty and romantic. Like João, I met Christophe on one of the bear sites, and we, too, chat on Skype. We’ve been talking for about a week - I can’t remember if it was just before or after the New Year, but it hasn’t been long.
Christophe, unlike João, is very very outwardly affectionate. In seemingly no time, he started to send me the little hearts, the guy with his head surrounding by hearts (shortcut = (inlove)…oye), and the little kissy face. Words like ‘gros bisou’ and ‘je t’aime’ became very frequent, and then early this evening (I guess pretty late in the night for him), he sent me the above, that he thinks he’s starting to fall in love with me and I make his heart go ‘boum boum’. But like - come ON, that’s adorable. His English is pretty lame, so we talk 99% in French. I guess that makes it more magical for me. Also, he doesn’t correct me all the time like the next guy does :-P
Since I went on about João for days, I’m going to try to keep this short. To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about Christophe. I think he’s beautiful and he’s really sweet and I would love the opportunity to actually meet him in person, get to know him, etc., but I just definitely don’t feel like I’m “in love” with him - I’m still on first date level emotions here.
It sort of scares me that he would say that he feels like he’s falling in love with me at this point. Maybe I’m overreacting, maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I just am not really sure what to think at this point. Still, I guess that’s the good thing about flirting with guys via internet - there’s not really some immediate pressure to sort out feelings. Just like with João, if I do end up meeting Christophe, it probably won’t be until I’m in Europe in the summer, which is a way’s way away.
Is that a thing?
Oh German. Mancho. Germanchitissimo. German. No, not the demonym. It’s a name. I guess. The G sounds like an H. ;-)
I met German on the same site as João, just over a year ago - at the very beginning of 2011. German is 23, 5’9”, skinny but kinda muscley, and from just outside of Bogota, Colombia. German is a sweetheart, and has always been a wonderful person towards me.
I’ll probably do a long, legitimate post about German at some point, but we’ve had a long, pretty consistent “relationship” thus far. We cam moderately frequently, talk more some months than others, and have certainly been pretty sexual with one another. The other month I was really interested in a man I had been dating for a little while, and I got really uncomfortable about the idea of telling him I was in a relationship with someone, would it have come to that.
We started out pretty passionately into eachother, and now it’s sort of fallen into a less vibrant fondness. Every time he turns his came on and I see his face, it makes me smile - and that’s not something I can say about most people. At the same time, I don’t go asleep and wake up thinking about him. So the best I figure, we’ll probably end up just living our lives, going longer and longer between seeing eachother, and then pretty soon we’ll just both move on. And that’s fine, because that’s what happens with online “friends”, regardless of how friendly the two of you become.
To summarize: I have no idea. Pathetic or not, sometimes the best people you can meet are ones you won’t actually meet. I’m interested to see how things unfold with all three of these men, and especially hopeful that one day I’ll fly to João, run into his arms, we’ll fall madly in love, and I’ll never look back. Probability? Meh. But just knowing that the perfect person’s out there, and the possibility of some day being with him exists makes me hopeful. I’m not sure if something can unfold, though, without being able to physically touch another man. It’s just a sensation that I’ve relied on so heavily in past experiences - at the same time, it’s never really gotten me anywhere, considering I’m sitting here alone in bed at 2:20 AM Friday night without someone to call my own.