While I visited San Diego for Pride, I attended a private pool party with friends.
Having walked directly from the parade route, I hadn’t brought a swimsuit. So while my friends frolicked in the pool, I sat safely on the water’s edge.
However, that didn't keep me from getting wet.
A guy I didn't know kept spraying me with a super soaker. I couldn’t tell if he was being playful or flirtatious, or if a friend put him up to it.
Before long, my shirt and shorts were soaked, including a pocket of 100 business cards I'd brought along to promote this website. I had no choice but to strip down to my boxer briefs and get in the pool while my clothes dried in the sun.
Later that afternoon, I accompanied my friends to a nearby apartment where we freshened up and rested for a bit. The guy from the pool was also there. As we lounged on the sectional, some napping, I ended up giving the guy a 2.5 hour massage.
This alone wasn’t quite enough to determine if he was interested in me. Sure, he let me feel him up for hours, but he never bothered to reciprocate. But he did meet us out that night at "Splash," a Pride-themed party at a local bar.
The guy was handsome, muscular, tan, and masculine. He seemed to be a Jack of all trades. He was a former fitness model, owned a fitness company, engineered a nutritional supplement, and started a line of protein bars. He was a marathon runner, a baseball player, an avid surfer, and a well-known DJ in Eastern Europe. He’d founded and sold more t-shirt companies than I own t-shirts. He spoke four languages. He played piano. And he sang opera professionally. No doubt, while balancing on a unicycle and a high wire. I’d bet he was also a frequent guest of George Clooney at his Lake Como villa, if only I’d thought to ask.
This guy was everyone’s type. Which means he could have his pick of the litter. Since he claimed to be bi, I imagined this litter was pretty large, and encompassed just about anyone he encountered.
As I left a stack of water-damaged business cards on the bar’s flyer rack, he picked one up and read it. “It gets worse?” He frowned and said, “That sounds so cynical.”
I tried to make light of it and explained it was satirical.
While he went to the bar for a drink, I went to the bathroom and contemplated the issue.
He was the first person who didn't see the humor in the title, or agree with it. Apparently, his experience had not been like mine, or anyone else I knew.
Maybe he was right... Was it more cynical than satirical?
To me, being cynical is little different from being realistic. After all, a cynic is nothing more than a frustrated idealist. And don’t we all start out idealistic until experience alters our worldview?
How had it not altered his? We were about the same age, and he came out before I did.
Maybe he would give me a reason to be more optimistic.
Soon, the long day was taking its toll on me, and I was getting more tired by the minute. When I went to say good night, I found him locking lips with a shirtless barfly. I barely got an acknowledgement, no less a hug goodbye, or even a thank you for needling his tendons.
Admittedly, he was preoccupied, and admittedly, my cynicism was reaffirmed.
However, this wasn’t just another isolated incident that weighed on me. It was the cumulative score - innumerable incidents over the last decade that have inevitably ended in disappointment.
So, is the title "It Gets Worse" cynical? Or merely realistic?
It depends whom you ask.
For me, the story affirms the need for this website.
It Gets Worse is not for the genetically blessed, or for those fawned over by both genders for the majority of their adult lives.
It is not for people so beautiful they experience few of the disappointments and disrespect that plague the rest of us.
It is not for those who have no idea what it’s like to be blown off, stood up, or turned down for drinks, dinner, and common decency.
In other words, it is not for those who view the site's title as cynical or pessimistic.
Those privileged individuals are like Jon Hamm’s Drew on 30 Rock – a guy that is so good looking he lives in a bubble of ease and endless opportunity. Sure, these people still experience life's ups and downs, but they generate far more respect and interest than us lesser beings, and as a result, are more confident, self assured, and successful - in both love and life.
This site is not for them.
It's for the rest of us who live without such luxury, so that we may share their exploits, marvel at such differences, and find comfort in each other's misadventures.