Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, shall we? Because maybe that pesky little prince was right to a certain extent. What is essential is invisible to the eye, literally. Your lungs are essential to the functioning of your body and yet you can’t see them when you look at somebody (it would be weird to see them, especially on a first date). The heart as well. The same goes for a computer’s processor. All of these elements are essential, and yet they are invisible to the (naked) eye. And for a moment let’s assume that the little one was right, certain things can only be seen with the heart. I could work with that. All those heterosexual bedtime stories and all those Hollywood movies have taught me how to work with that. The frog might be a prince, and a femme fatale can be a witch, an angel can be a devil and so on and so forth. All good. But I dare you to notice something about this whole setup. We only want it applied to us, and we are unwilling to offer the others the benefit of the doubt. Have you ever looked at a person whom you physically disliked (most likely on the spot) and thought ‘I don’t think he looks that bad on the inside’? Have you ever thought ‘ok, now I’m going to spend all this precious time trying to find out whether this guy is good-looking on the inside, because the essential is invisible to the eye’? Not while on a gay dating site, trust me.
Some will do that, of course, while waiting patiently for a desire that will never come. Others will find names for it, come up with quirky terms. They will try to envision the brain as a sexual organ, will call themselves sapiosexual, and with every passing day they’ll find themselves in the company of growing despair. For a very long time I have considered myself to be sapiosexual, and hoped other sapiosexuals would notice me. Don’t get me wrong, a great mind can be appealing, it can turn you on, you may look at somebody talking intelligently and think ‘I wanna have sex with that guy’, but nanoseconds before actually perceiving that intelligence you have already unconsciously made a decision based on the physical appearance of that person. In this whole equation of attraction intelligence comes as an add-on, as an afterthought. I do not have scientific references for this, I cannot send you back to the literature, I can only trust that you have experienced this as well, that you have been aware of it at least at one point in your life. Proof of this is the fact that you’re not thinking about your partner’s intelligence when engaging in casual sex. You’ll think about the skin on their necks and on their bellies, you’ll think about their hands, you’ll think about their lips, you’ll think about what comes next. Your own body will vibrate in the vicinity of that other body. You’ll get an erection because of that body, not because that other person knows Einstein’s theory of relativity, or was able to make a complete and brilliant argument in a debate.
I know this because while I was overweight I’ve been repeatedly told by guys on dating sites that I was ugly and repulsive. Some said so directly, by using these exact same words. Some did not say it, but chose to ignore me by not replying to my messages or simply blocking me. You’re not my type, came the swift reply. Even more painful was the absence of an answer, as if I didn’t even deserve an explanation, somehow confirming that deep unconscious belief that the person was really out of my league and that only my stubbornness was to blame. It was a nod in the void of rejection. And when you feel like you’ve overreached and been brought forcefully back to earth once, and then again, and then again, you don’t feel like overreaching any longer because you already know the outcome. And that’s the thing, you know perfectly well when somebody is out of your league, but those American films, and those romantic love stories have taught you that the good guy always gets the girl, the hero of the story never gets killed, no matter how out of his league the girl might be. And while you’re inside your mind you can only perceive yourself as the good guy, and why can’t that guy see that, why won’t he reply?
And while we’re on the topic of romantic films, I just have to admit they are so well made, so smooth, structured to make you believe even in the most ludicrous of unlikelihoods and make you stare in disbelief at the sight of betrayal when betrayal is so natural, so statistically possible. A failure to believe in the love put on display in those movies, both on the part of the protagonist and on that of the viewer, feels itself like a betrayal of our pursuit of happiness. Failure to believe in that love is just bad karma.
Once, during class, I was contacted by a guy who was in a relationship but told me was interested in me anyway. His profile picture was something as uneventful as a table’s edge with a glass of wine on it. Mine was equally misleading. Yet he told me that it wasn’t my picture that made him tap on my profile; it was my description and the way I told, in a couple of words, my own story. He then asked me for a face pic and an awkward silence followed immediately after I sent him one. You’re kind of ugly, he told me, but let’s have a coffee anyway, after class. I thanked him, of course, because a hierarchy had been set with those very words, and I was obviously in the lower ranks, and was supposed to be thankful for whatever was thrown at me. We were in different classes, and he was studying another thing altogether. When the class ended and I got out I asked him where exactly the main hall was. He did not reply. About twenty minutes later he simply informed me that he had gone home. No further explanations were extended.
Surely it can’t be that bad. That guy was simply a jerk. You’ll find someone else, someone who deserves you, someone who recognizes your true value. I have been fed with these words by most of my friends, gay and straight. You’re not ugly, you just didn’t find the right guy. But that’s the thing, there’s nothing outlandish about using the word “ugly”, even when it is used to refer to people. Other people do it all the time even when they don’t say it out loud. And if they are not saying it they are thinking it. Even when they use other words to reject somebody (such as “you’re not my type”) they are still thinking “ugly”. Stupid, verbose, effeminate, these are all just versions of ugliness.
The fat ugly guy in the lower ranks of the hierarchy is supposed to swallow the cum, he is supposed to swallow his dignity along with it, he’s supposed to take it all in, get down on his knees. He is supposed to ignore basic safe sex regulations such as the use of a condom, he is supposed to be a cum dump not only because he occupies the bottom bunk but also because he is fat. This sort of punishment is not to be taken negatively but as a form of pity, because the fat guy is pitied for his lack of control, for his inability to act when the power to change his appearance is right there, in the shape of an act of personal volition. Let him be, he can’t do better. The hunter is skilled in setting his traps, and once you fall into that trap, once you acknowledge your position you are willing to do anything just to stay inside that relationship, however transitory it may turn out to be.
I know I did it, and will most likely continue to do it. I know I’ve taken nude pictures of myself because I was asked to do it by men whose interest I wished to kindle and maintain. I know I’ve taken pictures of myself sticking my tongue out because I was asked to do it. I know I’ve sent dick picks because I was asked to do it by men I knew perfectly well were never going to be interested in me in any other way. I know I’ve done things I had never fathomed myself doing before. I’ve been into Skype calls with men who kept asking me to lower my webcam while they themselves did so. I’ve seen them cum live though maybe hundreds of miles away. Once, I was asked by a guy whom I had met online to write a series of stories about dads having affairs with their own sons. Luckily, our little online adventure ended soon enough that I didn’t have to write those stories after all. I translated Youtube videos for him from English into Italian. I listened to him on the phone for more than an hour complaining about a brown spot that had appeared on one of his teeth, reassuring him that it wasn’t an emergency. He kept repeating the same thing over and over again. I spoke very little, grunting every once in a while to let him know that I was still there. You’re a true friend, he would say, we’re the perfect match. And all I said was okay, okay, okay, just shut the hell up. Suffice it to say that our relationship ended because once I refused to translate yet another Youtube video for him.
Once, I’ve been on the phone with a guy I could not hear because of the many trains transiting in the background. He confessed to me he went to the train station to talk to guys he’d meet online because there nobody could hear him talk and as such come to the conclusion that he was gay. I couldn’t hear him either, our conversation punctuated by departure and arrival announcements and the deafening hum of passing trains. That didn’t last long. I still imagine him today going to his train station to talk to and meet other men.
I had come to embody the perfect fetish, submissive, accommodating, always affirmative in my response. I admitted to being a metaphorical pig in bed because I was led to believe that I was one. What choice do you have when you’re in bed or in the car with the guy you like and he’s putting those very words into your mouth with his tongue? I’ve texted long descriptions of what I would do to them (sexually, that is) and feigned text orgasms at odd hours and in inappropriate venues. Stop being so shy, Robb, what’s wrong with you, stop being so rigid, let the man touch you. Pretend your head is floating away while your body is left behind to flap its arms like a dying chicken.
I chose to deny a guy’s lack of intelligence and conversational skills because he was good-looking and because he had shown interest in me. What choice did I have when I was perfectly aware of the fact it will be a very long until I stumbled into a guy like that? And it was clear from the very beginning that his intelligence quotient was a high as the security doors he had to test every day as part of his job. Three days had passed and all we talked about was dicks and cum, and ways of having sex. His replies were short and dismissive whenever we talked about something else other than the size of his dick. Would you suck it? He had asked me that after having sent what was probably the tenth picture featuring his fearful instrument. And I kept on talking because finally I had been given the chance to enter the world of normal boys, where ugly men sought good-looking women. And whatever you do, don’t even think of mentioning the word “relationship” to him because you just can’t. It will throw a dark dark shadow over the conversation splitting it in two. You can’t possibly be looking for a relationship on a gay dating site. And even if you do just don’t say it. First you’ll have to get used to the guy’s dick, contemplate it form every possible angle, and under different lights, have sex with him, lots of it, as much as you can, because even though it doesn’t work out in the end everybody’s happy, right?
The straight world breeds terrible gay monsters.
And that’s the thing, there’s a fierceness when we pursue that standard set by the kingdom of the straights, the kingdom that had conquered our world well before I was born, and well before many of those who have already died were born. Those men came to us with their gods and told us their god didn’t approve of us. When that god had lost its grip those men sharpened their swords with family values, statistics, and laws made of words. They came into our bedrooms at night, on our screens and showed us what happiness is supposed to look like. You’re happy, you’re happy, until somebody else comes and tells you that you’re happy in the wrong way.
I chose to ignore the fact that a guy had come to our date in flip-flops because once again I had been offered a visitor’s pass to the world of normal boys. Here was love wearing flip-flops, here was love under a different shape. These moments are so rare. We went to the mall and had coffee and lunch and made out in one of the bathrooms of the supermarket where we could hear other men pissing and farting. During lunch we had chosen to sit in the farthest corner of the restaurant hoping we could somehow maintain the slightest physical contact. We could not because high school kids were all around us, laughing and talking. And then we were shown what happiness is supposed to look like: boys and girls kissing, and hugging, and holding hands. Compared to that display of forces our attempt at physical contact withered and died. I know we could have done otherwise, I know we could have defied them and done whatever we wanted, the world had changed so much in the meantime, but you have taught us how to put those instincts to sleep. You’ve shown us the pillow, sold it to us. When we were little you told us that we can be whatever we wanted and gave us good examples of what we could be, teacher, astronaut, president, but you’ve never meant ‘whatever’ to refer to sexual orientation.
And now you come to tell me that what is essential is invisible to the eye?
Your fucking guts, little prince, I hate your fucking guts.