Saturday, November 17, 2007

Computer screen love affair

Okay, here's the problem with craigslist: even when I just open that monstrous men seeking men window to scan the first page of postings -- 100 postings, looking at the photos just in case -- even when I do that, it becomes my whole day. I mean it's only 15 minutes at a time, but I'm sending a reply here and there and then I'm barely thinking about anything else. Even though I never hook up on craigslist, no one ever responds and then when they do respond I can't decide if I'm attracted to them anyway. In person, I'd probably be attracted to half of them, but staring at a photo on the screen plus a few numbers and positions and thinking about what would happen if I actually went there -- then it's already over.

Why am I on craigslist anyway? I want social and sexual engagement in the world, that fluidity and potential and spatialness when I'm actually embodied. And out in the world. A lot of people lament the loss of 1970s gay sexual cultures, especially people like me who were born in the ‘70s. But actually I have no nostalgia for something I never experienced, especially when I've heard that in many ways the codes of masculinity and conformity were even more rigid then than now. I actually miss the possibilities of the mid-late 1990s, the time when I did experience the hope of transcendence in an engagement with the gestures of public desire. I mean when I cruised, and it was fun. Of course there were problems -- of course it was never enough, I mean the connections far sparser than they should have been, even in the crowded spaces clambering for that embrace, yes. Embrace of cock down throat or hand on neck or tongue to tongue, dark sky up above or the back walls of some bar like a hug, when anything could tease and then it was a done deal. What I mean is that now people have desocialized themselves away from cruising, sometimes I walk outside on the streets so gorgeous with buildings and other people's memories, I stare into any eyes that come my way to see if they are the eyes but it so rarely happens that way anymore. Everything has been emptied out for the computer screen love affair.

But anyway I'm on craigslist -- I figure why not post what I'm looking for, I mean post that I don't know what I'm looking for. I give it the headline: Maybe a childlike vulnerability in my eyes there's a gentleness. I add pictures that I think are sexy -- a glowing fluorescent tube in a black ceiling, red lights on another ceiling, blurred colors, the back of my head with my orange paisley sweater. One person responds, I'm not sure if I'm attracted to him but I say so anyway. He doesn't reply. Then I'm looking at the postings again, again and again and again until I realize I need to ban myself until 2008 -- maybe I should try 2009, but I like to pick goals that I’ll succeed at. Remember -- I banned myself from Blow Buddies until 2008, that was around June and I thought maybe I'd get to 2008 and never want to go again. I thought maybe I'd have figured something else out by then. I guess I still have a month-and-a-half, but right now I'm thinking I'll be there as soon as January comes around -- I miss going to sex clubs, I mean I don't miss that one but I don't know where else to find a concentrated number of people looking for sex in the moment right then the moment. At least if I go back, then I'll know whether I have to ban myself again.


James said...

Another post about Craig's List!. I get more attracted to a person's writing on the craig's list posting than a picture., though usually there is no more than a couple sentences, but sometimes a person's prose is interesting.
Though around here, Craigslist Roanoke, Craigslist Lynchburg, and Craigslist Charlottesville, there are not many men to read about and I am done in less than half an hour.
I respond to few postings, because by the time I drive an hour, my mood or horniness may be different; Meeting people on the internet, the time is not continuous, when I visit the city, meet a man in person, go to his apartment or hotel, I am with him the entire time from when we first meet, then later have sex, and then leave... and sometimes I have not left his presence until later the next day....,, I acknowledge that my mood and feelings are completely different then in the city, than when I am sitting in front of a computer, in this small town,,, I feel magical in the city,,,
Another Craigs list comment, also related to your Nov. 14 posting: Sometimes I respond to a posting with multiple pharagraphs, and then never hear back. Sometimes a couple short E mails are exchanged, then I write a four pharagraph E mail, and I think then the guy gets scared. I sense that most people want short quick answers on Craigs list responses.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

James, I like your point about the continuity of the encounter/mood/interaction/glamour... And yes, indeed -- people do get scared from talking, communication, interaction beyond the expected!

Love --

Alex Blaze said...

Hmmmm... Never cruised on Craigs list, but I generally use other online resources for that purpose....

I never really understood the in-person cruising outside of gay spaces. Like how to do it. Maybe I'm just way too much a child of the internet age.

I don't really know about the continuity James writes about since I've never experienced it, although since I usually don't drive further than 20-30 minutes away from home, it's not that big a deal. And I think there's a lot more to be unexpected about internet cruising than would be in real life since you don't really know how the other person/people really look, carry themselves, etc. The internet is a pretty scary place too!

But I can see how it can be a crutch that prevents people from taking real life risks - I mean, you at least don't have to worry about accidentally cruising someone who's completely uninterested in sex or other possible mishaps (that I'm unfamiliar with!).

But something's lost in just sitting in front of one's computer screen, and maybe it's all the good stories that come with "We were in that wooded area behind the beach on the other side of town, when...."

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Alex, don't start on craigslist now! Although, I am curious about what other internet resources you years, and how you find them (of course I can guess, but that's not as fun!)

My main issue with cruising on the internet is that it feels exactly like so many of my experiences turning tricks (as a hooker, that is) -- usually the person lies about almost everything, or even if they don't lie at all I realize I'm not attracted to them but then are we going to have sex? Maybe I'll be attracted to them once we start... When there's money involved, it's a different story -- I'm performing and I go right to this very present place.

So I guess I have that association -- but so much of everything sexual has migrated to the internet, dammit!

As for the wooded area, although many of these have been depopulated due to the internet, I'm certain that you can still find those experiences -- it just gets more and more difficult...

Love --

Alex Blaze said...

You see lies, I see surprises. ;)

Forces me out of my little world.

I don't have the same experiences with sex and money, so that might be the divide., mostly. I know, I know. but still, it gets a lot of people.

More and more difficult to find men in the woods, and then it's getting to winter, and it's cold, so I don't feel like trying.

Thanks for replying, Mattilda! I still read your blog in my RSS feed and I love your writing on here!

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Oh, no -- the!!!

But think of the potential warmth in the woods in winter -- if you go to the right woods, that is...

And yes, maybe not the sex-and-money drama, oh the drama drama drama! But so many other dramas, that's what I think about the internet if I start writing the list I'll never end -- I guess I just can't relate to it at all for sex outside of work, who knows... I'll continue searching searching searching.

And I'm so glad you enjoy the blog, my rating, etc.

Love --