My first foray towards gay dating was through the Internet, in this chatroom known as #bi-manila. To give you an idea of how it worked, well, basically it was a chatroom. Random users put random personal ads on the main page, and if you liked someone based on his description of himself, you can send him a personal message. Then you chat privately. If you two mutually agree that you like each other, you usually trade pictures, and then meet in real life.
I met a lot of boys this way. Well, at least electronically. I wasn't ready for the real thing yet. But chatting with people semi-anonymously kind of eased the process.
I remember chatting with this guy named Leo. He was interesting. He liked the same things I liked, and we chatted for hours. At some point, he asked if I wanted to talk on the phone. I hesitated at first, then agreed later on. I typed in my phone number.
He was just as interesting a person on the phone as he was on the computer. I found him very likable. We bonded over a mutual appreciation for fantasy novels and the television show "Charmed". As a pseudo-date, it was pretty good I thought.
Then he asked me if I wanted to meet in person. I knew I should have expected this, but it still felt like it came out of nowhere. I remained silent for a while. I heard the worry in his voice when he asked if I was still there. I said that I was. And then told him I'll think about it.
We ended the conversation on that note. It was getting late, and we were both tired.
The next day I texted him that yes, I wanted to meet up. He said great. He told me we could meet in Powerbooks in Megamall.
The whole day was spent worrying over the upcoming meet up. Several things were running through my mind. What if he hates me? What if he thinks I'm ugly? What if I think he's ugly? What if I meet someone I know in the bookstore while I'm with him? What if the date goes horribly, freakishly wrong? What if he really is a mass murdering serial killer in disguise?
I tried to take a nap, but I couldn't sleep. I decided to watch television.
Fifteen minutes before the appointed time for the date, I decided I wasn't going to go anymore. It was too nerve-wracking. I tried to take a nap again. I still couldn't sleep.
I heard my phone beep once. Then twice. Then several rings. I never answered it. I deleted the messages before reading them as well. I knew what they would say. I was embarrassed, but more than that, I was angry. I was a jerk. I hated myself.
And in my head there was this small voice saying I will never find anyone. I'm too scared of opportunities, too broken. Perhaps it would be better to accept I would be alone for the rest of my life.
I told my friend about the incident, and he told me not to worry about it. "There are plenty of fish in the sea," he reminded me. I nodded, appeased. Then I remembered the real problem. I couldn't verbalize it. Saying it aloud would make it come true I knew. But the small voice was insistent. "What if they don't want me?"
Photo taken here.