Attitude, the UK gay magazine sold in the nation’s newsagents and supermarkets, recently celebrated their summer issue last year with a poll of the sexiest men by it’s readers, which caused a bit of feather fluffing in the mainstream media. The cause of it was Britain’s 19 year old Olympic poster boy Tom Daley beating ding-dong-daddy David Beckham and the blue-blooded ginger haired Prince Harry to the crown. Anyone that has had the fortune of being one of Daley’s 2.6 million fans on Facebook will know that just 30 seconds after putting up a dripping wet Tom in skimpy speedos, the Facebook “Likes” rack up faster than a junkie finding a vein.
Twitter and FB during the 2012 London Olympics, were alive whenever he came out of the water after a dive, debatably mincing, but certainly posing and pouting under the shower knowing EXACTLY what he was doing. The epitome of ‘fun & flirty’.
For some reason his Facebook fan base consists only of pubescent teenage girls and wet mouthed gay men who leave lascivious messages on his wall. Tom totally ignores them and puts up another Instagram of him holding a kitten. This was some sort of ‘code’ to indicate his ‘sensitivity’ but I have to say these constant kitten pics are destroying my sexual fantasies of a man with a perfect taut tanned body, dark hairy legs and a happy trail. The kitten won him over, the bitch, and it knows it. Anyways he’s OUT now and wonderfully so. Unlike much older celebrity gayers who wait till their career dives down, Daley threw caution to the wind in early golden career.
But the real surge of fantasy is the sexual menagerie of Daley with Beckham & Prince Harry together. Who will top? Now that would be FUN to watch! So is it a twink, an inked daddy or an aristocrat that sends you sexting?
Way before social media, smartphone technology and dating sites like grindr, flirting was an acquired art face to face, full of bravado or embarrassment, whereas online dirty flirty sexting allows you to go the extra inch without fearing rejection, but for some the problem arises when they actually turn up and the projection of rejection rises to full hilt.
Since the advent of online dating, people have got out of the habit of flirting face to face, understanding body chemistry and seeing the whole package, so to speak. Now we are used to seeing David Beckham’s package in his pants and Toms tiny speedos but if some doppelgängers walked down the street, would you feel good enough to bat above your average and flirt, or would you feel not good enough?
Low esteem, chem use, not fitting in and maybe living without employment, are the core seeds of the gay malady that ‘dare not speak it’s name: social phobia. Looking at all those circuit party boys, buffed or bearlike, the perception is that everyone is having a fabulous time except you. This is not so.
Many are cruising around with sub-conscious thoughts like “I am unworthy, ugly, stupid, not good enough, big enough, smart enough, whatever.” Chemical and alcohol use can help to hide these subconscious wanderings, but when the balloons get popped you’re pooped, back into a shell. But flirting with chems as a companion is fun and allows you to take emotional risks, bypassing those nasty negative mantras in your head, but in the end, you have to face the music (or the date) emotionally naked, and that’s the real fear.
Because the world is now performance and target led, it’s easy to forget that shyness, whether connected to social phobia or not, is seen as charming, sexy and a big selling point, to those cruising you. Not everyone needs or wants a confident date, but what they do seek is an authentic one, and this is where flirting online can create impossible illusions, a bit like Daley, Beckham and Harry in a circle jerk. It’s just not going to happen. So don’t big up the flirting too much, unless you can deliver. Just be yourself and you will find that authenticity is the hottest drug to neck.
Recovery, in the broadest sense, means doing everything that is unfamiliar to you, in order to achieve emotional balance, so if you are hogging the flirting limelight online, log out and go walkabout on the streets, in clubs, bars or social groups. This will get you into the habit of interacting with authenticity again and your natural instincts that being online can hide. The kind of things that can excite at first glance in real life, like hair trapped under a wristwatch, a raspy voice, dry humour, smooth arms or an unexpected tattoo gaping from a sleeve. Everything online profiles don’t pick up. Older gay men will remember anonymous street cruising, turn back glances, flirting with the fruit stall boy, or a smile on a bus from afar. These things can make a heart beat and although they may not create instant results, at least you have turned up and delivered. Not many can say that online.
This post of mine was first published in the August issue of HIM Magazine 2013 – for the Man who invests in Himself http://www.him-magazine.com/2013/08/01/sexting-sexy-men/