Tell Your Friends When to Shut Their Mouths for Your Own Good
When you are out carousing with friends and happen upon someone who makes your heart (and whatever else) flutter, you may find yourself suddenly back in high school, with commentary reverberating from all sides. Thanks to the gay gossip network, you may hear too many whispers in your ear about him, his life history, what he's like, and whom he's dated.
Or, worse, he may start hearing stories about you. This is when you tell friends to shut their mouths for your own good.
For instance, if your friends Bill and Gene pick up on your attraction to some new guy, they may just prop themselves next to him and start telling him stories all about you. The comments that "friends" get away with in this circumstance are nothing short of criminal.
These friends act under the guise of being your "agents," ostensibly to build you up and sell you and your attributes to the new guy. They say things with a humorous twist because, after all, they can say anything as long as it is said in humor. This is the common and heinous "B-b-but I was only joking" defense so popular among passive-aggressives everywhere.
In front of dates I barely knew, I've had "friends" jokingly point out the social faux pas I made years ago, the disastrous last relationship I had (which they laughingly referred to as Nine Minutes), and the small scar on my leg that they continued to find so fascinating.
When you spot a potential new date in social settings with friends, focus on these three truths:
1. Friends should take vows of silence like Trappist monks.
2. Friends should be like children-seen and not heard.
3. Friends should have an immediate onset of TSAD (temporary social Alzheimer's disease), in which you look familiar and they can vouch for your strong character, but they retain no recollection of any specific incident, previous boyfriend, embarrassing moment, or unpleasant physical characteristic.
Perhaps during dinner with friends, you spot a hot man at the bar. Once dinner evolves into a drink at the bar (where the eye contact investment you made with Mr. Hottie has paid off) The Mandates must take over. You have to act before your friends get the chance to dish you to high heaven. It's times like this that make you wish you'd worn your Dolce & Gabbana, rhinestone-studded "Payback's a bitch and so am I" T-shirt to keep them in check.
How do you optimize the situation and not lose the new guy?
1. Be aware of what's important here. What's important here is grabbing a few minutes alone with the prospect. You might love your friends dearly, they might be the first people you call from your honeymoon once you and the prospect hit it off, but right now they fit in like a banjo section in an orchestra.
2. Get rid of your friends if the situation warrants it. Write a note on a piece of paper and secretly slip it to the prospect. In the note, tell him that you are with a group of judgmental Mormon work colleagues, and that you are stepping outside to say good-night to them but would like to meet him back at the bar in two minutes.
3. Bring out the threat of retaliation. In a quick but clear manner, go around the table from friend to friend as the dinner is ending, reminding each one of an embarrassing event that you will mention, if forced. Paybacks are hell. Make them realize that.
The "Hurry Up But Hold Back" Factor - Men Want What They Want When They Want It, Don't We?
"Don't be the rusher or the rushee" is an important motto for gay guys.
Men have been conditioned from birth to want what we want when we want it. We are rewarded for asking for what we want, and for pushing to get it as quickly as possible. And in a perhaps curiously American twist, we aren't allowed to feel that great about a victory unless we have earned it.
But when a man is pursuing another man, suspicions arise if the pursuit is too fast. Watching another man try to impress you, sweep you off your feet, and go through the paces to win you over is amusing for about a minute, but can quickly deteriorate into pity if he can't get a grip on his abject enthusiasm. "For God's sake, let me earn it before you worship me" might spring to your lips. On paper, having excessive compliments paid you might sound flattering, but chances are you'll either miss your participation in the hunt or feel played as if you were the TV and he were the remote. You might well lose interest completely. But don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. See if you can save the situation. See if the man flirting with you can curb his drool long enough for reciprocated attraction. What if he's a great guy who's given in to a brief but curable siege of adolescent hormones?
First, try using some self-deprecating humor. Try to find some shared human experience, so you'll be on a more even keel. If he can laugh with you laughing at yourself, the flirtation might be salvageable.
Bill, a thirty-two-year-old pumped-up advertising executive from Boston, gets aggressive "come-ons" from guys all the time, but he hasn't learned how to respond suitably to them. Even when the guy coming on to him is attractive, Bill gets embarrassed, looks away, freezes up, and acts generally annoyed. Sometimes in response to a come-on that makes him uncomfortable, Bill squeaks out a patronizingly pat "You, too!"-one of the most predictable, flirtation-killing responses of all time. In the future, Bill should relax and respond more playfully to a "too strong come-on" by saying something like "But you really want to know my mind, right?" or "You are a little delusional. I like that in a man."
Second, try to change the subject and get the focus of attention off you (just briefly, of course). Pick a topic, start your discourse, and find out if your new fan is interested in more than just your seventeen-inch biceps. Why not cut to the chase and see if his infatuation can survive your cold but concise three-minute paraphrase of today's CNN headline news?
This works for twenty-eight-year-old hotel manager John from Dallas, who uses the "current events" bluff tactic to distract initial conversations away from awkward, premature focus on body parts. John says, "My way of dealing with new guys who only focus on the physical and start conversations with phrases like 'Great arms!' is to turn into a gay Larry King and start a discourse on world events. You find out quickly if the guy has a brain, and if he's actually interested in you as more than a slab of meat."
Finally, don't react strongly to any initial comments from a guy. Don't back off too quickly. But don't beam like the prom queen as you field compliment after compliment, either. Hesitating a little allows your object of affection to step up to the plate, realize you are nobody's pushover, and try a new approach with you.
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