Yahoo Clubs (looking for sex, maybe love)
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Single & looking on Yahoo!
Figuring the web might be a handy tool for meeting other gay guys I thoroughly and concentratedly went only as "single and looking."
The Yahoo Groups were called Yahoo Clubs back then. Yahoo hadn't come to operate in fear of Christians and other prudes back then but finding the right groups took lots of time. NC Gay Men seemed an obvious choice. Names like Gay Hopeful Romantics made you squirm but I was a hopeful romantic. I'd join many North Carolina Yahoo dating clubs regardless of how awful their names and expressed goals.
My sexuality evolved and I joined Gay Transvestites (and first encountered a swell fellow). I'd join others: Sexy Dressed Crossdressers (felt a small bit of shame at the time but it wasn't like I wouldn't have minded meeting one), Submissive Crossdressers (even more depressing than you think).
With hours of fanatic searching I ran across Fem Boys From Venus. It was there that I discovered sissyphobia. I was badly out of touch. Last time I'd been among lots of gay people nelly guys were merely a normal part of the mix. In the intervening time the attempts at hyper-butchness that I first saw on Castro in San Francisco had mutated into the heterosexualization of gay men. Similarly I discovered Husbands and Manwives and Boyfriends and Male Girlfriends (and found both male girlfriend and manwife very sexually charged).
Repressed sexual interests led me to NC BDSM and NC Fantasy Roleplaying, even, NC Femdom. It was in one of the local BDSM clubs that I wound up posting almost as much as I did in Fem Boys From Venus. The moderators managed to create an unusually stable and friendly group of users. I met a few of them (mostly socially, a couple for something more tangible).
Yahoo!'s bad bisexuals
Having lived with a woman for several years caused me to temporarily think of myself as bisexual. Before joining a Yahoo 'bi' club that seemed a real mistake. I don't know how many married men out there want to cheat on their wives and have a guy fuck them. Too many. You could almost hear the snigger across the keyboard. They had two strikes against them: they weren't out and they lived in a life-partnership and were more worried about their appetites than the person who'd be hurt. The shallow, selfish bisexual men were one of the reasons I felt that I couldn't continue to think of myself as bisexual. (The other was my tender affection for the ambiguously gendered who have their own experiences with married bi men.
Many Yahoo! handles
Yahoo had a limit on the number of clubs you could join, about twenty. I created at least eight Yahoo IDs. Some were merely variations on my real name, richardevanslee, richard_evans_lee (at first using my birth certificate name was a point of honor). Others expressed self-conception: eudaemonic_guy and moodybuteupeptic. Eventually the Yahoo handles conveyed a message: ilikenellyguysdurhm and durhamkinktop.
Yahoo Personals were free back then. I ran a wide and heterogeneous lot. When I was on Yahoo I never exerted myself to meet women. There were always more men looking online than women (still are?). Toward the end of my time on Yahoo I ran a series of personal ads aimed at women. Nothing is more frustrating in writing personals than a word limit. I think Yahoo's was less than a thousand words. When I decided to see if there was a sympathetic woman on Yahoo I wrote a very long personal and serialized it over five ads. The responses were disappointing. They seemed decent enough. But it was as though they'd been hypnotized by Lifetime: almost everyone wrote about candlelight dinners and walks on the beach. Nothing wrong with either but to see such a party line emerge was discouraging.
Thanks to Yahoo I corresponded with a large number of guys. Most of the really nice ones never lived near. Many of the distant men were (to revert to personalese) charming, witty, educated. The guys ranged from professional jazz singers to tech types who wrote BIOS code.
Little luck in Durham, NC
The locals were, ah, dim sorts, hardly articulate. Almost everyone wanted to chat. And they used what a neighbor called license plate Ebonics: "RU up 4 fun?" It was a rare Yahoo chatter who could form a complete sentence.
Some were easily dismissed; bless the block sender button. I had to learn to use that button; many men wouldn't take "no thanks" for an answer. The half-civilized guys I'd ask to take a look at my web pages and drop me an email. Most would be back in chat more quickly than I can read a paragraph. Anonymous sex is my idea of a basic civil right. But paying attention to the simple requests of someone you are trying to interest is basic civility.
Many vanished hoping to find somebody less complicated. I had no argument with them. Others would send an email but "do you want to fuck me" or "how big is ur dick" lack the most minimal winsomeness.
"I know what I want and I want you to give it to me" must've been the motto of some of the gay men who wrote to me. My personals made it clear that I didn't want to meet a guy who had a lover. One cute guy only confessed it before we were arranging to meet. I'd hear from him again later. I'd posted a personal ad and had accidentally omitted the prohibition. Hoped I'd changed my mind.
Less than three blocks from Books Do Furnish A Room lived a literate, caring man. While I was trying to decide when to meet him he mentioned beating drums out in the woods. Uh oh. Robert Bly's notions of 'primitive' and 'essential' masculinity seem pretty pathetic to me. Paraphrasing Andy Warhol there's nothing less masculine than worrying about being masculine. And going out in the woods and playing Indian tribe as a means of reconciling yourself with your daddy is just plain silly. My bigoted mind snapped shut.
Meeting guys from Yahoo!
Some of the folks I met from Yahoo:
Johnnagrrl was a crossdresser, smart, nice body. Since we met for coffee at Wellspring he wasn't dressed up. If going to Legends to watch a drag show had enticed me more we might've spent some time together.
I had a good idea one guy was too young and muddle-headed. But I'm easily vamped by vulnerability. The moment I met him I knew I didn't match the image he'd built up in his imagination. I did the Dutch Uncle thing and we parted.
Dave was certainly the most interesting of the folks I met offline. He responded to a personal ad. We were both online so we started chatting. He lived and worked near me so we met within 45 minutes of his instant message. He wanted a sexually dominant man. While I didn't find him attractive physically I was very comfortable with him as a person so the former wasn't an issue. But I wanted a couple of days to think about his sexuality. Dave was pushy in taking the initiative. So we did kiss a little before he left. That was really all I was willing to do.
We exchanged a fair amount of email. Talked on the phone a little. And I saw him a couple of more times. The second time I saw him was at his place. I'd told him things would probably go better if he'd come by my place and if was earlier in the day. But I'm never one to argue.
We talked a lot, touched, hugged, kissed. Nothing more. After this visit Dave became confusing. He'd come on very passionately. He didn't seem to be willing to make time to get together.
Thinking about things after that it'd be best to be rid of him I decided that the decisive moment for him might have been when I went over to his house. He gave me the impression that he didn't want any sexual contact that night.
Much later I realized that it was probably coyness. What he most likely wanted was for me to slap his face and tell him to suck me off or lick my boots. Or even just berate him. I don't dismiss his desires. He was a very interesting man. He may have taken time to memorize Johnson's remarks on Milton before seeing me but how many guys could've done that.
Toby discovered me when I was hardly paying attention to Yahoo. Very butch, black, 6'8", he was the opposite of my sexual past. He was equally kind and smart. Shortly thereafter I met Charles. If I hadn't the last three years might've been very different.
My time and effort on Yahoo led to only a couple of instances of casual carnality and I'm not sure how many disappointed meetings over coffee at Wellspring Grocery.
Doesn't hurt to ask while I'm in the midst of this: did you ever use the web or a periodical personal ad to meet anybody?