The New Gay Bar


“Did you want a beer?” I asked. I couldn’t remember his name. Was it Phil or Frank? Let’s say Phil.

“I need to go to the gym right now,” he said, pulling up his pants. I stood by the bed watching him dress but didn’t bother with my own clothes. I fondled my belly button and thought how funny it was that only thirty minutes before, he’d messaged me via Scruff. Ten minutes later he was over at my place, and twenty minutes after that we’d finished having sex (mediocre sex at that). A minute later he was gone—thirty-one minutes total, a real quick fix.

I’m generally not as spontaneous with hook-ups but I recently broke up with this guy I was seeing and was in need of some sort of connection, I guess. Perhaps that's why I wanted to have a beer with “Phil” despite the lack of chemistry.

After he left I grabbed a beer and got right back on Scruff. I sat at my table sipping my drink and cruising like I would at the bar. These hook-up apps have become a meeting places, affecting the popularity of the bar scene. The apps feel impersonal, we all know that, and there’s a lack of humanity until you actually meet a person, if you meet a person, although as “Phil” demonstrated that that doesn’t always matter either. It’s causing a form of social isolation, where we feel social, but we’re really just alone. Still, I’ve got them all on my phone: Grindr, Scruff, Growlr, Recon, DaddyHunt and Tinder too but sometimes it feels like that’s not even enough.

Grindr and Tinder are very similar in tone—they’re you’re average gay bar where you’d find regular / vanilla type of men, as well as younger guys. Sometimes there’s overlap between Grindr and Scruff, although Scruff tends to have the masculine set, including bears, daddies, and hairy guys with beards (otters, muscle bears, etc.)—the Pitbull party in essence. For this reason, there’s a lot of overlap between Scruff, Growl and DaddyHunt, and a bit with Recon, although Recon is pure kink and fetish—the Eagle back in the day. As I continued to sip my beer, I bar hopped back and forth with a matter of swipes. You’d think the options of men would be endless, but with all the flakes and fakes it’s actually quite limited.

After a few conversations on Scruff (and another beer), I get a “WOOF” from this guy I recognized from my old gym. I always thought he was attractive: he was 6’3, solid but not too muscular with a small gut and friendly smile: the kind looking guy that can make everything all right. He had nice, big hands too. I liked big hands.

“How’s it going?”

“Hi there. Not bad.”

“Nice pic. Got any more?” This led to the trading of torsos and cocks shots, which would never happen in a bar. Okay, maybe at a leather bar, but certainly not so quick.

Men are much easier to approach via apps than at bars too, obviously. I’d seen this guy around for years; I liked him but had never tried to talk to him. I’m shy. At the same time we were yet to actually meet even though it felt like we had. As we continued to chat he mentioned that he had a boyfriend but it was a new relationship and wasn't going well BUT he was still monogamous. He was just online to chat so we likely weren’t going to meet. “I’m just killing some time,” he said. So I guess we haven’t met.

“That’s fine,” I said. “I’m not looking for a bf or anything anyway.” I reminded him that he was “sexy” though, for good measure just in case cause really, you never know. He thanked me. “I’m probably not the sort of guy that should be in a relationship,” I continue. He didn’t respond right away. It took five minutes, which can feel like forever online. While I waited I finished my drink and quickly downed half of another.

“Aw, don’t say that,” he finally said. “Maybe you haven’t met the right guy.”

“I just broke up with my boyfriend,” I admitted. “He was a nice guy…loving, supportive, and was crazy about me but that wasn’t enough for some reason.” I tried to stop myself but I couldn’t resist. “Maybe I got scared? Or maybe I didn’t want to settle down…I don’t know. I kind of feel like I failed but then why are we taught that we need to settle to be successful? Anyway, I should probably just be alone.” SEND. Wait, why did I just send that?

Well, maybe because I was drunk or because a part of me was hoping that this complete stranger, this super sexy stranger that I've noticed for years would say something to make me feel less lonely. I mean, he looked so kind and his relationship wasn’t going well either, right? That’s what he said.

10 minutes passed before he answered. A whole 10 minutes! When he did, he just repeated what he'd said before: maybe I haven’t met the right person. Then: “I gotta go.”

“Well, if you ever want to have some fun here’s my number.”

“Thx,” he said. He didn’t give me his number. He just went offline.

As I finished off another drink I wondered whether he would acknowledge me if he saw me in the street? Probably not. I put the bottle down and my phone down too. What am I doing? I thought. I was obviously going through something, and I wasn't feeling great. It had to do with my ex and with life, I knew that deep down so I proceeded to delete every last hook-up app off my phone. I did it obsessively like it would make it all better if I could just get them off my phone and it kind of did. I didn’t give myself enough time to heal from the breakup.

I climbed into bed and tried to sleep. I felt a lot better by morning.

By Mike Miksche
Mike's work has appeared in Instinct, The Gay and Lesbian Review and Daily Xtra. His first novel, Paris Demands, is out now by Lethe Press.

Comments

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