Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I don't think it's going to work. Sorry.

Such a convenient, oft-used phrase of dismissal. The death-knoll of countless relationships, relationships conceived in hope, still-born in birth, leaving shattered dreams in its brutal wake. All with one flippant statement. Nonetheless it continues to remain a phrase that is often brandished about with little thought. Nowhere is this more evident than in the gay circle, where guys who are attracted to guys hook up with each other.

By nature, guys are certainly a more promiscuous bunch, visual creatures hard wired for sex and driven by a primal instinct to satisfy that raging hard on even if it means abandoning all higher order thought processes to that turgid member in doing so. There is some truth to the perception that gay relationships can be more 'superficial' than heterosexual ones, this perception fuelled in no small part by guys' inherent horniness and the ease with which we can hook up and break up without any untoward consequences. Blame our psyche if you will. An unpleasant observation but true nonetheless. Though I do not think it's something we should be apologizing for. Put two guys together and you have a whole different ball game. After all, while many gay guys dream of harmonious & blissful monogamy, all but the most imbecilic or delusional gay man understand that the average gay guy is horny and susceptible to straying. Fidelity is a concept that is easy to grasp but hard to master.

This understanding does not make this dismissive phrase any more agreeable. It evokes a sense of stark finality that brooks no reconsideration and rejection is seldom, if ever, palatable. Still, the phrase remains widely used, sometimes after tortured considerations, sometimes with scant thought. I have said this. Guys have said it to me. Less so the latter, not because I am some Adonis but for the simple fact that more often than not, the guys I happen to be attracted to are likewise attracted to me. But by and large it is mutual. Every one says it. Careless and feckless though it may sound, it remains a necessity, almost a ritual of sorts. To disengage so that you can re-engage.

You cannot be friends with everyone. This was one truth I realized early on in my journey as a young gay boy, even though I attempted to be sociable and personable. The concept of being friends with the world or everyone you meet is one which rapidly loses its appeal when confronted with the drudgery of mundane life. It's not that the people you meet are hateful or detestable or jerks you want nothing to do with. No, by far most of the time, people are equally cordial, well-meaning and amicable. The fact that you can’t be friends with the whole world or at least the people you meet is boils down to a single but fundamental reason; sometimes you just aren’t able to get along. Either you can't communicate as there is nothing to talk about, the person bores you, or you just find the person utterly uninteresting in the sense that you have absolutely nothing in common or things to talk about.

There are of course the jerks, braggarts and sods with an ego the size of our Milky Way. People who just rub you the wrong way (not the correct way...which can be very pleasant indeed) because the two of you are destined by the stars above to be eternal rivals/ are fundamentally incompatible in bed/ ran over each other’s pets in a drunken tit for tat brawl/[insert random reason]. They are irritants but saying ‘goodbye’ is never very difficult when the other party is a jerk and/or there is mutual disaffection.

Ironically, it is the well-meaning ones who bore you but do not get the hint that end up being the most annoying. Why? Because unlike the undesirable jerks who are just out to get into your pants or other annoying buggers whom you just cannot get along with and can easily buzz off; well-meaning people (and gay guys in particular) are unfailingly polite and cordial, adept at engaging in polite small talk, rarely according the chance for you to cut them off abruptly without looking/sounding rude. Granted, some of these ‘well-meaning’ ones are well-meaning because they have certain ulterior motives such as getting into your pants or seeking some form of help or to cultivate their own sense of accomplishment (oh look i have a friend who is a so and so). By and far though, most aren’t and even if they are, they conduct themselves in a manner which makes it impossible for you to buzz them off curtly in a pre-emptive strike.

So because their current behaviour does not merit a drastic dismissal, you are left with various options including but not limited to non-committed responses, polite but un-stimulating superficial small talk and a tendency to come up with excuses to decline further meet ups. This usually works after a while, not always and it is annoying, almost exasperating when you wonder why some people just cannot take the hint. Are they truly oblivious or are they incredibly optimistic? But when all else fails, there is always the phrase ‘ I don’t think it’s going to work. Sorry.’ and heartless or flippant though it may sound, it works. The aftermath is seldom pleasant but the desired message is communicated and the person desists.

The truth is seldom pleasant but that does not detract from the necessity or effectiveness of the phrase. Because some times (if not most of the time), you need to say it like it really is.

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