Sitting down in a popular Dublin gay bar, a friend and I laugh over how no-one has caught our eye since arriving some thirty minutes ago. “There’s hardly anyone here, in fairness,” noted my friend, a fact unusual for a Friday night.
“Clearly they were warned of how amazing we are, and were too intimidated to come,” I joked, knowing in truth that we weren’t expecting to be given red-carpet treatment upon arrival.
Behind the laughter though, there was a certain pang of disappointment – on my side, at least. My friend, a close girlfriend and myself had left a fast-fading birthday party to go to this far more comfortable, chilled gay bar. Having recently gone through a bad spell of depression, I made sure that I was going to fully presentable to the world. Showered, shaved, shirted – the white, summery one I bought in Rome the previous month – and scented. (For full alliteration, I pronounce that last one à la Sean Connery.) I felt good leaving my house that night; the guy in front of the mirror seemed to be something of the old, chirpy self I had temporarily misplaced some months back.
They say that if you’re looking to find someone, you won’t. I’ve also heard that it’s a sad state of affairs when being able to enjoy the company of your friends isn’t enough. Both are tried, tested and verified by yours truly. Still, that night in the less-than-heaving bar, the wind was knocked out of my sails for just a moment. Then again, it’s happened to everyone … right?
It made me think, though; if a guy really caught my eye that night, what would’ve happened? I’ve no problem eyeing someone up, and if I’m certain enough that I’m not barking up the wrong tree (between straight guys, gay-but-taken guys and gay-but-taken-but-roving-eye guys, it can be a forest!) then I might just pluck up the courage to give a smile across the bar. But I’ll never, ever make the first move. Why? Without being vulgar or crass, I’m not going to lie; it may have something to do with the issue of ‘roles’ and the qualities typically associated with them. I expect/hope for the other gentleman to make the first move, because frankly, being decisive and pro-active is as big a turn-on to me as being a good kisser.
And yet, in today’s smartphone world, that cinematic moment of someone making the first move has been downgraded to a Grindr message. I’m not even talking about the messages that try to win your nether regions rather than your heart. Humour me when I say I’m talking about the innocent, if not more romantic approach, that a rare few experience on internet/app dating rather than the cringe worthy chat-up lines intended to do nothing more than make the other party smile, and have sadly taken over as an unimaginative variation of “hi.” Wow… be still my beating heart.
Yet for all the issues I could have with dating apps, on that Friday night in Dublin city, I didn’t even have the choice – my phone was dead. There were no Prince O’Charming to riverdance me off my feet, and I couldn’t even see if I could reject some pensioner’s plea to get hold of my Michael Flatley.
Regardless, my friends & I had a great night and coincidentally, decided that we three singles needed to get involved with an outdoors group or something similar to make new friends. We said that either way, we’d travel to the Wicklow mountains, a short trip south of Dublin in a few weeks to go on a hill walk when we were all free again. Meanwhile, I already had it set in my mind that I wanted to start training with the local gay rugby team when the season starts again. That was now two different plans to widen the social circle and pave the way for Mr. Right.
If he’d ever get off his phone, that is.