Dorian's Grey Pictures
Before there was Grindr, there was Craig’s List, sort of like the Wal-Mart of the Internet for anything used, be it appliances, pets, or Pope hats.
It was not uncommon to once find your apartment, your Rottweiler, and your future ex all on Craig’s List, and usually for a pretty good price.
I had answered Dorian’s ad because I recognized his pictures from Facebook. He had curly dark hair and hunky features, highlighted in gorgeous black and white photography of him on the beach.
Much to my delight, Dorian eventually replied, and we made a dinner date.
I have since learned when meeting someone you’ve only chatted with online, never make a dinner date.
A coffee or frozen yogurt is better recognizance. It’s in broad daylight, with a low level of commitment, and most importantly, brief. If you hit it off, you can always graduate to happy hour drinks or dinner, but only once the date’s been vetted. (Lately, my dates have been more of an excuse to enjoy froyo than the other way around. And I never turn down froyo! If it’s espresso flavored, then it’s really the best of both worlds.)
When Dorian showed up for dinner, I barely recognized him.
Actually, that’s an understatement. I didn’t recognize him at all.
This 35-year old looked nothing like the pictures on his profile. Gone were the muscular build, swimsuit body, and angular features.
Standing before me was a beer belly, swollen cheeks, and hair that could use a trim if it weren’t a toupee.
I couldn’t help but ask when the pictures were taken. Dorian had no problem telling me they were from his modeling days, nine or ten years ago. This was when he was in his early-to-mid-20s, when I was in the closet, and the general public still believed in global warming.
Dinner was awkward, and not just because I didn’t recognize the stranger sitting across from me.
Apparently, he didn’t recognize himself either.
For the next hour, he complained about how hard it was meeting attractive guys in San Francisco. You know, guys that were as attractive as his ten-year-old pictures.
Dorian had even joined a supper club that met once a month, where single gay professionals rotated in and out to meet other single gay professionals. Dorian only attended once, and he was so put out by the experience, he sent his photos to the organizer and asked where the guys were that looked like him – you know, like the ten-year-old pictures.
That’s what I wanted to know.
As the dinner went on, every dating story he told went back to the same thing – how the guys simply didn’t measure up to his model-good looks from ten years ago.
Sadly, this wasn’t even his strangest behavior.
When he emailed the next day asking about a follow-up date, I diplomatically declined, stating I wasn’t looking for anything romantic, but I’d be open to hanging out or grabbing a drink sometime.
Dorian was clearly taken aback and showed the visceral maturity of a toddler with the croup. He lashed out in three separate paragraphs, the first detailing how he could never be attracted to someone as sexless as me; the second, explaining how I had the personality of a corkboard; and the third, – irony alert – accusing me of looking nothing like my pictures.
Thankfully, I never heard from Dorian again.
But reliving this story has totally earned me a froyo.