I almost did it. I considered it. But I refrained. And I thought, "What has come over me?"
You see, when I entered the blog world, it was all very impersonal. I had a small handful of friends who did the blogging thing, and I cared about them and their thoughts, but everyone else was a faceless blog name, an impersonal presence divulging entirely too much personal info online. I started blogging to make a perspective known and heard, not to make friends or to pour my heart out to anyone who would listen. I had friends I talked to. I didn't want a bunch of anonymous readers to try to validate me. And I didn't understand the people who would read someone else's blog and really want to meet them. I was disgusted by the way some bloggers seemed to use the blogs to hook up with each other under the guise of wanting to talk with someone in person and make friends. It all seemed so...cheap and...needy. I had my friends, both straight and mohoish, and I didn't need to go out in search of other friendships, especially not through some online system. I mean, why do that? What are people really looking for?
Of course, if you don't already have moho friends who are queer mormon poster boys through whom you naturally meet other mohos, how do you begin? But then again, I began through an online discussion group. Of course, the discussion group was, for me, not a support thing as much as a place to bounce ideas and get feedback and perspective, to help process stuff. But when I moved to the Seattle area, I asked about mohos there because I thought it might be helpful to have someone to talk with in person. A couple of people recommended someone, so I met him in a public, neutral place. Then, a couple of months later, I met someone else he'd met through the same group, then a few months later, another friend someone met at a JIM weekend, then the Queer Mormon Poster Boy himself (I called him Quimpby [Q.M.P.B.]), and it snowballed from there when I moved to Moho Valley, went to Matis firesides, etc. Thus, my interest in online interaction continued to wane.
I guess of all places you could meet someone online, blogs are a decent one because you really do get to know aspects of a person pretty well and get an idea of where they're coming from and whether they'd be a support to you, though some blogs are deceiving in that regard, but that's another discussion. And not everyone is so impersonal and cerebral as myself. Some paint quite a picture of who they are or perceive themselves to be. But I never had interest in meeting people through blogs. Until one particular blogger challenged my disinterest.
It began with Soy. You know, the famous "Soy Made Me Gay" blog through which many of us mancrushed or just plain crushed on Mr. Soy himself...didn't we? Was it just me? No way, couldn't have been. I found myself surprised that, for the first time, here was someone I actually really wanted to meet after reading his blog. Something about his writing, his attitude, and his persona attracted me. When I saw his picture, I said, "OK, not necessarily 'my type' but certainly not a deterrent at all." Soyman, just tellin' it like it was, baby. I felt both drawn to meet him and wary about the prospect. What if he didn't like me? What if he already doesn't like me based on my blog? What if I crushed on him? Of course, I'd asked that question before with someone else, with whom the crush-potential dissolved as soon as we met in person, and I just knew we'd be friends. I have yet to find out that would happen with Soy. Well, I missed the chance to meet him when I was unable to make it to Scott and Sarah's gathering the night he was supposed to be there. I got over it and moved on, figuring the anonymous mancrush-slash-crush was an isolated incident, probably one-way, and might never happen again.
It happened again. Some time later, I notice this mysterious fellow who commented on my blog. I liked his "style". I went to his blog. I liked the blog. I liked his thought processes. He seemed like a good guy, a nice guy. I thought, "I might like to meet him." This time, I wasn't exactly crushing as I had with Soy, but I was still kind of surprisingly interested to meet him. When I passed through his city of residence, I met Jon Jon, but I decided to forego demanding a public, neutral place. I was pretty sure I had enough experience under my belt...no pun intended...to handle myself...I'm honestly not trying for innuendo...in situations with other gay dudes, so I agreed to meet him at his house. I informed him, when I walked in, that I'd told three people and the news media where I was, so if I wasn't at dinner at my friends' house in time, he'd better be well on his way to the border. He didn't try anything funny. Despite not having "crushed", I'm pretty sure we both had those stupid semi-grins on our faces at first: you know, the kind that's trying to hide the relief that you're not disappointed with the person you're meeting and the mild giddiness of a meeting you've anticipated somewhat nervously... We visited, I liked him, and I decided we should be acquaintances, even adding him on Facebook. Whoa. I had just made friends with another blogger without any personal, mutual connections (except one we discovered during our conversation). I was becoming a true blog nerd.
But it reached a whole new level last night. I was going to the symphony in Salt Lake with my roommate/friend and his girlfriend, and our other mutual friend who I'd invited wasn't able to make it. So (sorry to those of you I invited), I went through my phone trying to think of people I knew who I thought would enjoy the symphony and who I hadn't seen in a while. I asked Chedner, but he couldn't make it. I called our friend Derek, but his phone was turned off. I thought, "I'm really tempted to ask...no, I couldn't ask him. I shouldn't." I asked another female mutual friend of ours, and she had a date. Again, I thought, "I know someone who is into music and who I'd like to get to know better...oh, stop being silly." I asked Mr. B, but he had plans. "It'd be a fun thing to invite him to...stop it, you don't even have his phone number. You'd have to e-mail him, and you couldn't know if he got the message until he responded. Besides, it might freak him out, asking him to what looks like a date situation." It was getting late, and I wasn't hopeful to find someone at the last minute on a Friday night, but my brain grasped at options. "Maybe it wouldn't harm to ask, at least. He's obviously into music, though maybe not this kind. Why not find out? But why? Are you crushing on him a little? Besides, you're probably too agnostic to be a beneficial 'new' friend to the more faithful LDS guys, no matter how well-behaved you are. Just forget about it. Besides, you've never even met the kid. He's probably cautious about you anyway." I asked two other friends, both busy until after the concert was to start. By then it was too late, anyway, to contact the blogger-boy who I thought would make a good symphony date...I mean non-date.
I was left marveling that I had even considered inviting a blogger I've never met (you heard me--never...met...) to go to a sort of formal event after only incidental personal communication and knowing he's only met a handful of mohos so far and is taking his time. "What's going on with me?" I wondered, "I would never have even considered that a year or two ago, even if he were a veteran moho." Granted, I can think of some reasons why I may be feeling like reaching out to new friends, since many friends here have moved away or are often busy. But then why reach out to a blogger I don't know except through his blog? Because he sounds smart and sensitive and principled and creative? Are those reason enough to invite a stranger out before even having a decent conversation? I don't do friendships like that. I meet people through friends and don't ask practical strangers to go to the symphony. And I seriously thought about doing it...am I on my way to blogfloozihood? This process must be reversed.
Incidentally, if this post makes the jazz-loving, skinny-handed, puppy-puppeteering blogger I considered inviting even more wary of me than he already may have been, then it's probably for the better: honesty and forthrightness, right? *sigh* I'm going out now to feel like less of a loser after blogging on a Saturday night about not being able to find someone to be my non-date on a Friday night. *wink*
P.S.--the symphony was beautiful. Loved it. And though I was more in the mood for Aristo's or Mazza, the food at Trio afterwards was good, too. The "baked Alaska" flourless dark chocolate tort? Mmmm...