Petty

I try not to be too petty but sometimes I just can’t help myself. I am still a work in progress after all.

About a year or so ago this guy flirts me up on IG.  He was moving to SF and looking to “make friends“. He came on pretty heavily. I’m sure you can read between the lines on that meaning. We chatted off and on for a bit and eventually he asked if he could text me. I text him and he immediately tells me, “wow did not realize you were a ghetto android user” and then proceeds to ghost me. I clucked to myself and promptly moved on with my life. I’d forgotten about it until recently.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, he apparently moved, or at least was visiting as he sees me in the shower at the gym. He decides to get all “flirty.” To be clear, it was obvious he recognized me. My first thought was to be gracious but my pride got the better of me and I wasn’t having any of his shenanigans. I’m excellent at giving resting bitch face Right before I exited I leaned in for a moment of privacy and said, “I still own an Android.”

I did get to witness the brief look of shock on his face. I won’t lie, in that moment it felt delicious. I did feel guilty for a bit later on but also got over it just as quickly. I know it should have been beneath me but I couldn’t help myself. Frankly, if you’re that effin’ shallow, I’d rather not “know” you anyway. It’s one thing to joke or just “fanboy”, it is quite another to be so incredibly shallow.

51

It’s here folks, I’ve hit 51 today. Parts of my body definitely feel 51 but overall I don’t feel it. I always appreciate well-wishes, kudos, etc, but if you know me you know I don’t make a fuss about it.

On the flip side, realizing I’m half a century old does feel a bit weird. So what does 51 years mean? Well, I can remember when cellphones (and pagers) didn’t exist. I can remember when one had ‘friends‘ they were people you actually knew in person. I can remember the ‘before times’ when there was no internet, social media, or “apps”. I can remember when TVs had 3 or 4 channels at most and that was depending on which frequency bands you could get on your rabbit ears.1 “Streaming music” meant jamming an 8-track tape in a flap that did nothing to keep out years of accumulating dust and listening for the warble of the tape drive kicking in before you turned up the speakers with an actual knob. So yeah, a lot has changed.

Shawn always finds a way to do something incredibly nice or generous for me, so I’m sure it will be lovely. Age comes to us all and most days I’m just grateful I’m still here. If you read w/any regularity you know my younger years were rough and even my initial arrival in SF was a personal struggle. Having come thru it all stronger, albeit w/more scars, I feel good. One of several reasons I started this blog was to help me discover the man I wanted to be. I felt like a blank slate in many ways and needed to find my path in life. I used to think less of myself because I had been convinced I wasn’t a particularly good or moral person. I spent many years doubting I even had a sense of morality or a moral code. Considering the state of affairs today, that irony is not lost on me. Hell, I’m practically a saint by the standards we see in our politics and leaders today. All hail the great and powerful nobody….

As I move into my 51st year, I find myself trying to keep my mind and spirit focused on the things in my life I can control vs letting myself “feel some type of way” about things I have no control over. With age comes wisdom and I’m certainly trying to apply it to myself. I don’t waste a lot of time on regrets, as it just seems pointless. “Shoulda, coulda, woulda” never makes one happier. My life has been and is what is because I never gave up on myself. That pretty sums up my thoughts on my birthday. I still miss my beloved Cooper. His anniversary is just 8 days away and it’s already in my thoughts.

Of course, aging in the gay world has its own challenges. And it isn’t really a secret many gay men struggle with the lack of physical attraction as we age. I’m not tucking, jabbing, or cutting anything to pretend I’m 20 years younger than I am. I have no problem w/physical touch-ups but I’m seeing people in their 20’s, 30’s getting botox over the tiniest of lines. I weep for them in their older years. More importantly, I earned these f**king wrinkles! Luckily, I live in an area where the average age is higher so I’m not really ‘struggling‘ much…yet. 😉

I usually giggle when I hear or see folks inferring my age should deter me from activities I enjoy. Frankly, what you think of me is really none of my business. But I won’t lie, I did have to remind myself of that a few times this past year. It is one thing to be realistic, it is quite another to let yourself be pressured into avoiding life’s pursuits because of the selfish projections of others.

Lastly, I took off from work so I get a nice 5-day weekend. We didn’t really plan any trips, courtesy of Omicron2 but just being off is its own reward. Here’s to another year… above ground!

  1. And god help you if you plugged in a VCR and didn’t set the TV to channel 2 or 3. []
  2. that bitch! []

Broken

I think I broke FB’s algorithm. heehee Or at least I hope so. I’ve been limiting my daily use for some time now. Lately, I’ve noticed the app displays the same content for days vs a random refresh every time I open it.  My thought process is the app thinks I haven’t viewed enough of my feed so it keeps showing me the same content hoping I’ll doom scroll thru it. You’d think it knows I almost always view my feed using the “recent” view option. 

Of course, it could just be yet another bug in the app they never seem to stop updating. They get it working fine and randomly a “security update” for the app rolls out and everything goes nuts for a week or so. The same thing has started happening with IG too. 

I’m not sure why I’m so tickled. I just find it humorous. it’s the little things I guess…

You

More and more I see gay men locked, or at the very least, struggling with our ever increasing labels. We’ve gone from having labels to having labels within labels it seems. You can’t be a bear anymore, you have to a specific type of bear. You can’t be a daddy, you have to be a specific type of daddy with various different new labels “instead” of the term daddy. lol You can’t be a gaymer, now you have to a specific niche of gaymer. I could list a hundred different examples here. It is enough to drive you crazy if you let it.

This time of year tends to encourage folks to ‘look to the future’ with resolutions so my advice to anyone reading… make resolutions to break away from your labels. Just be you. I’d bet money you are only hurting yourself. From my own past, I learned to let go of labels after spending years feeling isolated or “left out” from parts of gay life I saw as more desirable. In reality I was just insecure about myself and thought if I belonged to said group(s), I’d be less insecure. (Hint – it never works. You just get better at hiding your insecurities.)

It is ok to identify as a label, but step away from feeling like all you are or have to offer is said label. You are more than just a description of labels. Even if you think you fit squarely inside a defined label, there is still more to you than that. More importantly, you do not have to feel defined by the labels given to you by others. One, you will never live up to the expectations of others. Instead, work on setting your own expectations to strive and work toward. Two, strive to accept all of what and who you are. Strive to better yourself on your terms, whatever that may be.

Of course, it is easier said than done. We literally write pathways in our brain by allowing ourselves to become a “label.” But no one will make it all better for you. It is up to you to find the will to change it.

I wish you all a better year than last. 2021 wasn’t great for me, but it also wasn’t terrible. I’m hoping for an even better 2022.

Hope springs eternal….

Perky

Ever have one of those days where for no apparent reason you have an extra pep in your step? You feel extra just for being awake? Or, you just feel awesome for no real reason? I had one recently and I was tickled pink when I realized it. I guess it has been so long I had almost forgotten what it felt like. At face value that sounds kind of sad, but considering the state of the world these last couple years anyone could be forgiven.

I tend to be a rather upbeat person. It is just my nature. As I push 51, it is also a mark of pride I still have such days. My job has certainly had an impact on a subconscious level. Being on an assignment for the past 5 years definitely helped. In general, I believe life’s responsibilities and worries tend to wear us down and take the “shine” off our world view. That said, I definitely missed the feeling and hope I’ve found enough of my old optimism to have more of them. The irony here is in some of the roughest times of my life I was the most optimistic. Nothing really seemed to tarnish my boundless good moods back then. One could say I’m a bit more jaded now.

I can’t help but wonder if my recent attempts to limit my social media exposure has anything to do with it. I spend less than 15 mins a day on FB or Twitter. About 90% of my IG feed is thirst traps and gym motivation. My brain gets its fill of context switching from TikTok, where I’ve curated a feed of comedy and funny home videos.1 I’ve also started denying myself the urge to check media/news apps first thing in the morning. I deliberately avoid them for at least 30 mins to an hour to give myself time to wake up and just be present. I pick up my phone and briefly scroll the notification panel for anything truly urgent and then just avoid it for a while.

I’m fond of saying “hope springs eternal” here and it has been a struggle these last 4-5 years to follow that mantra. Not to go all doom and gloom but I’m seriously worried for our way of life. Greed, bias and anti-intellectualism has replaced integrity, truth, and science. But, at the end of the day, I can only control myself. I cannot control others. My innate desire to “correct someone on the internet who is wrong” is slowly being replaced by a “leave it alone“. Successful discourse online is all but dead. I firmly believe my avoidance of that toxic environment is having an effect on me. I’m eager to test the theory.

So….hope springs eternal… (you knew it was coming.)

  1. Context Switching can be highly addicting and destructive to your work day or motivation []

Smelly

WTF is wrong with these guys that go to the gym and bathe with cologne products? I’m not talking about the roughly 99% of scented products either. And for the f**ker that decided to bathe in Patchouli products today in a enclosed shower space, there is a special place in hell for you! Jesus H Christ Mary Joseph & David!

For the record, if I can smell you more than 3 feet away, you stink, period. I do not care if it’s BO or cologne, no one needs to smell you that far away. Frankly, I place these people into two categories: you stink and are trying to cover it up, or you are insecure and using cologne to try and cover that up. Either way, a little dab is all it takes….NOT a bath in it!

Now get off my lawn, you kids!

Gloomy News

If you’ve been living under a rock, it came out this week Facebook has been lying to us all along. A whistleblower came forward and spilled a bunch of dirt on the down right shitty behavior of FB, not that any of us should be surprised. Social media has become a poison in our lives IMO. It does far more harm than good. I get that social media is what we make it, but that argument only holds up in an unbiased scenario. FB has demonstrated they are manipulating us.

I’ve been weening myself off FB to the point I spend less than 15 mins online on any given day. Mostly, I peruse a few comments/profiles or share the occasional news article. There are days I get caught up in the “someone on the internet is wrong” mentality, but those are rare now. Frankly, it’s not worth it. I plan to eventually phase out sharing any news content at all as well. I turned off notifications for FB sometime ago and it has panned out to be an excellent decision.

Then we find out last week AT&T was the primary sponsor for the propaganda site OAN.1 The world is so used to scandal now, everyone just seemed to give a collective sigh and move on. I guess that was probably the goal. I already don’t use their products so can’t cancel my service….I highly recommend you do. OAN is the far right cousin to Fox News, with little to no pretense at propaganda. In a word, its vile.

I know I sound all doom and gloom, but the news as of late has me in a bit of a gloomy mood. I’ve been saying for awhile, we are headed for a calamity. Honestly, I think it’s coming soon. Scary stuff for sure but all I can control is me. I can control the content I read, use, and share. I can control my actions. I can control to whom I give my time and energy. If it wasn’t for my never ending sense of optimism, I think I’d need medication. I can see how folks get caught up in it and just go off the deep end.

These days my online presence is usually IG2 for gym inspiration and “the TikTok”3 for humor. I’d love to abandon social media all together, but I’m not there yet. I’d give in and be back. I figured this way, I’ll eventually just ween myself off. Hey, one can hope right? hehehe

  1. I wont’ link to them. []
  2. Yes, I know FB owns it []
  3. I love seeing folks go apocalyptic when I use “the” with the name []

Work, Bish!

My work assignment in records ended a couple weeks back now. While it was an enjoyable and relatively easy gig, I’m glad to be back on the main floor doing my primary job. If you missed it, I was assigned to records for my Department for the last five years. And yes, it’s as tedious and mundane as it sounds. However, after 15 years it gave me a break from the daily onslaught of negativity from handling life/death calls.

I took the assignment because I recognized I was becoming bitter and resentful toward the public. I mean no one calls 911 because they are happy, right? I consider myself fortunate as I seem to handle it well. I don’t dwell on bad calls or worry about the outcome. To do so would constitute a no-win scenario. In other words, I would burn out. However, handling life/death calls day in and day out for 15 years creates a trauma all its own and I needed a break.

My hubby thinks it’s weird that I’m happy to be back. I’m going from a comfy administrative gig to live fire, so to speak. I can see how he could think that, but I am happy to be back. The five-year break was exactly what I needed to reset my clock. I also didn’t sign up to be an admin clerk for the rest of my career. While it is a fine job, I’m overpaid for that type of work. I even miss the indignant callers.1

The best part is no more alarm clock! I’ve gone back to my old shift, 1500-2300 hours (3pm to 11pm) Mon thru Fri. Because I work out 3-5 days a week, the 10-hour schedule really pulled down my mental well-being. And we know gym is like church! hehehe Every day I felt constantly rushed to get everything done so by the weekend I just wanted to veg. The COVID restrictions only made it easier to just stay home. I didn’t have to find reasons to get out of doing things because we couldn’t. I’m glad it’s over. The downside is being on my old schedule comes with a lot more rigidity and getting time off beyond my required vacation sign ups is very limited. So it isn’t all rosy. lol

The early hours were rough enough, but the constant feeling of being rushed sucked major donkey balls. I am soooo happy to be back on a swing shift. My body fought the early shift pretty much the whole time. While I did adapt a bit to the early hours, after about a week my natural clock was already back to normal, and it feels great! I’m loving going to the gym before work and not being up a daylight-thirty. Shawn noticed the first week and pointed out I was almost giddy.

So there ya have it! I’m BACK! lol

  1. It’s hard to explain but after so many years of doing this job, they bring a sense of normalcy. It would be weird to be back and not encounter them. lol []

Mask-less

I ran a small experiment on FB the other day to prove an idea. I asked, “Why did you trust the CDC recommendation to wear a mask but don’t trust them now saying it’s ok not to wear one?1 And it worked in favor of the discussion that the CDC under trump was constantly being meddled with but is now being run based on the science with no interference from the Biden HHS appointee.

The answers were varied but pretty much what I expected. A common thread was many would continue “out of an abundance of caution.” And to be clear, I’m not trying to shame anyone or even be judgmental. My thoughts couldn’t be further from that. You should do what makes you feel safe. It did validate my theory though. Human beings have a hard time updating their moral/ethical standards. They do not adapt well to standards that changes too quickly. It cuts to the core of how we process our reality. When the idea of right and wrong changes too quickly many people develop of sense of disbelief. This disbelief can lead to fear, anger, shock, judgment, and/or even a larger disconnect from the world around them. When you add in a lack of knowledge (willful or otherwise), religion, or other biases it only serves to increase the disconnect.

Just as one example, look how many gay men fought the idea of PrEP.2 PrEP has been around for years now and has consistently and repeatedly proven to be a better preventative measure to the spread of HIV than condoms. However, there are still contingents within the community who know better. The latter is often based more on biases and personal judgment than science, but that isn’t the point today. The triggers are deeper than than. After 3 decades of having the idea that “safe sex is sex with a condom” pounded into our heads, many men (and women) simply can’t process the idea of it suddenly not being applicable anymore. I see it more in older gay men, many of which witnessed the agony and suffering caused by AIDS and it’s devastation on our community. To wake up one day and be told, “condoms are fine but bareback is now perfectly fine IF you use this drug” simply does not compute. In our brains, we “know” what works. We understand the simple idea of placing a barrier between ourselves and others as a form of protection. The idea of removing that physical barrier we can see in favor of a drug treatment barrier3 just “seems wrong” to many.

Another common answer was people “couldn’t trust others to be honest about their vaccination status.” That is an admirable approach; however, why is it your responsibility to protect those who are willfully ignorant or refuse to get vaccinated, especially since we don’t do this for other vaccinations? Why is this one suddenly different? Is it really caution or the disbelief in a suddenly changing moral standard? Hmmm? And looking at the risk, it is no longer an equal equation. We collectively make a social contract to protect each other by each person respectively doing their part. When it was equal you saw me constantly encouraging folks to wear their masks and social distance. I’m all about harm reduction. As a vaccinated person I’m not really keeping anyone else safer now by wearing my mask.4  As an unvaccinated person, you should continue to wear your mask and avoid overly crowded places. However, if you refuse to get vaccinated, it is no longer an equal equation and you are shifting the burden onto others. The social contract is broken.

If you are still worried for yourself due to other health issues that is certainly ok. Again, at no point is this discussion meant to dissuade anyone from doing what they feel is right for themselves.

Vaccinations are readily available almost everywhere in the US now and availability is increasing every day. Vaccinations are free and you can now get a free Uber/Lyft ride to your local vaccination sites. You have no excuse not to get vaccinated. We have so many doses of the vaccines now we are sending them to other countries still in dire need.

The last popular argument was a lack of trust in the CDC over pressure to reopen. I do think the CDC feels some pressure to ‘open up’ society, but not at the expense of a rising death toll. They know some will still become infected and potentially even die. However, our safe guards are about harm reduction. From a medical viewpoint, we will have to COVID in our lives for years to come. The degree of danger from it is lower every day now. We have reached an important threshold, even at just 50% immunity. Our emergency response systems, including hospitals, are unlikely to be overwhelmed by new patients. It is likely we will eventually reach over 60% of the country being vaccinated, 70% if we are lucky. And while still below the “herd immunity” threshold, that just means, as alluded above,  we will end up with yearly booster shots, much like the flu virus. It could be with us indefinitely due to variants or just a few years until we reach a real herd immunity. Eventually, those not vaccinated are likely to contract it. They could also suffer reinfection from variants, but again much like the flu, they are less likely to be hospitalized or die after surviving a first infection.

There are always other health variables for an individual to consider, so you should do what makes you feel safe. For myself, I trust the science and am comfortable with my decision to go mask-less where it is allowed. I think many of us aren’t really worried as much as we are conflicted on an evolving standard.

  1. If you came here from the FB post, thanks for your response. []
  2. Pre-Exposure Prophylactic []
  3. that many often do not understand completely []
  4. Yes, there are exceptions but those are in the small minority. []