I haven't "dated" since 1979.
Okay, the truth is that no gay man dated in the 70's. If you were gay and out in the 70's, you would take a club with you to the disco on Saturday night, and, if you saw somebody you liked, you would bash him over the head and drag him back to your tastefully appointed lair.
If you remembered the guy's name on Sunday morning, and if you bashed him over the head and dragged him home the following Saturday night, then that was followed by the inevitable U-Haul and long term (more than one month) commitment.
I got involved with somebody in 1979. Somebody who really had what I wanted, i.e. a swell apartment, generous income and a bottomless liquor cabinet. Oh, yeah, and he could cook, too, and he wasn't half-bad in bed, either. So I moved in with him in January of 1980. That's when I found out what a controlling prick he was. Okay, so he was a lawyer.
Anyway, the relationship did serve many useful purposes, number one of which was that we kept each other out of circulation until 1994, which probably saved both of our lives. Then I finally got drunk enough to leave him, my life got even worse, I hit bottom, then life got a little better, then a lot better and, all of a sudden, it's 2006 and I haven't been out on a date with another man since The Flood.
There was no "safe sex" the last time I went out with somebody. Now I'm like a horny teenager trapped in Methusaleh's body. I find myself gazing surreptitiously at the condom displays at the local Kwiki-Mart, wondering which ones I should experiment with. I find myself discussing subjects such as "male erectile dysfunction" with my urologist and cardiologist and getting sample packets of various pills which, inevitably, wind up being tossed in a drawer until "I have time" to "experiment" with them.
Like I need to block out a week of unscheduled time, in case I have an unusually lengthy erection... so to speak.
I deliberately don't ask guys out. I told a therapist once that I "stopped 'looking' back in the early 80's", by which I meant I stopped lusting ... or even finding other men attractive, back then. Which is true.
I know that I'm acting (or not acting) out of fear. Fear of being loved and having to return that love. Fear of feeling vulnerable. Fear of being hurt... again. I want life to be perfect, by which I mean, "pain-free." I arrange my life, to the best of my ability, to be pain and risk-free.
But I know, deep down inside, that this isn't really living. Life is all about being vulnerable. Life is all about being open to hurt... and joy.
Feelings are a package, you can't stuff one without stuffing them all.
Life is about experience, not observation.
Just for today I'll try to be a participant, rather than a bystander.
Thus endeth the lesson for today.