By Anthony Paull
My father’s new thing is he has absolutely no boundaries. I don’t know when we’ve come to this point in our relationship but I believe it started somewhere around the time he hit 65 and stopped giving a shit.
I slowly became aware of the phenomenon through a long series of poorly timed dinner conversations regarding his girlfriend. Apparently nobody informed him that gay men don’t like to talk about vaginas when lifting forks to their mouths. So tonight, when I join him for spaghetti dinner, he insists she has a great “hoohoo” for a 55-year-old. Oh, and she’s still able to give birth. “Did you hear that? I can get her pregnant. You can have a li’l brother,” he says.
I choke. “At 55? Please. Who are you dating? Veruca Salt? Is she clutching her last golden egg?”
“It’s true. She’s ovulating.” His eyes sparkle. “I saw a string up there.”
“Yeah, left behind from 1992. Tell her to get a new line,” I state, trying to keep my pasta down. “You know, conversations like this during dinner is why I have food aversions.”
Aggravated, he twitches his head. “No, you’re just too good for food. You and your writer friends, living on coffee, all sleeping together.”
Bidding him goodnight, I fail to remind him that I’ve been monogamous with the same man for a number of years. It’s not worth it. So I go to bed hungry, thinking of all the food I’ve eliminated from my diet. Pork. Beef. Eggs. Milk….
“Good thing penis is still on the menu,” my bud Jake comments the next day. I grunt in agreement, continuing to be clouded by the dinner chat. “What’s wrong?” he asks.
“Apparently my father thinks I’m sleeping with my friends.”
“That’s because he wants to sleep with your friends. At least, the girls.”
“But he is kinda on to something,” Jake suggests. “I mean, most of us do sleep with our friends. At least, at some point…in between boyfriends.”
“C’mon Anthony. Where have you been?” he laughs. Joining me for a drink at a downtown bistro he tells me that he’s actually getting propositioned by one of our friends now. “It’s normal,” he says, nonchalantly.
“Normal? I don’t know if I would call that normal.”
“It’s no big deal. He found me on Grindr.”
The story goes that Jake began receiving pic requests from some random guy with no profile pic. The guy wanted penis shots and maybe an ass shot or three. Jake found this to be normal except it started getting weird when the guy seemed to have more information on Jake than shared. He figured the guy was a Facebook stalker or something like that so he let it go until the guy began referring to Jake by a pet name that only really close friends would know. It seems Jake’s friend had created a fake profile to get some jack material of Jake.
“You don’t think that’s odd?” I ask.
“No. I think it’s flattering that he’d go to such lengths to see my dick.”
“So did you send him a pic?”
“Of course not. I’m going to tease him.”
In sum, Jake plans to have a close friendship with him in the real world while simultaneously having a voyeuristic, pornographic relationship in cyberspace. Yet he won’t admit to knowing that both worlds coexist. It will be his dirty, little secret. He claims to get off on it even though he has no attraction to the guy. It grants him control. He likes being in the position seeing as he’s single and not interested in exclusively dating anyone.
Is this common in the current singles scene? Have apps like Grindr or Scruff thinned the line between friends and lovers? I recall a time when dating or hooking up was more personal, when friends weren’t able to follow your every slutty move on the Internet. They’d just gossip about it behind your back, like they should. Now, not only are they watching but being active participants. Did I miss the memo when it became “normal” to manipulate friends into showing them your dick? I don’t recall that component of taking on a friendship. I thought friendship was more sacred than that.
Still, dad thinks I should take it where I can get it because the majority of my friends have hot bodies. Of course, he’s talking about the women.
“So they show you some tit now and then. What’s wrong with that? Everyone wins,” he says. But he doesn’t see the other side of Grindr, the time when my friends turn the app off and feel empty, longing for something more, something real – a love that everyone can witness. As of now, I don’t think they’ve created an app to satisfy that.