I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a shy guy. Gay bars are great for looking, but it’s not easy for me to make that move – to go up and talk to someone I find ridiculously attractive. I’ve been on the market long enough to know I’m a good-looking dude, but something still stops me from confidently walking up to someone I’m interested in.

So one option here would be to suck it up manontheside-style and go after what I want no matter what. Another option: log on to one of many social networking sites (MySpace, Connexion, Match, Manhunt, Gay.com, Facebook [yep], GLEE, and even the fellas on Craigslist) and hide behind the emotionally protective barrier that is my computer screen. Let’s guess for a second which option I more frequently select.

If we were to look past the standard depressing moments that the e-hunt can bring, i.e. that moment when you realize you’ve been perusing picture after picture for an hour; or when someone e-flirts with you for the second time…despite the fact that they already e-flirted (and failed) over a month ago and forgot; or when you e-flirt with someone and then realize that you already e-flirted (and failed) over a month ago and forgot. We can and should acknowledge that many people can and do really find what they’re looking for online. And, well…sometimes it’s a nice feeling to log on and find a number of anonymous compliments.

Last time I logged onto Manhunt (what I seriously believe to be one of the most honest e-portrayals of “What I’m looking for” – nowhere else do people feel compelled to say in the most blunt fashion what they find attractive [and unattractive]), I counted: 250 out of 340 profiles online in the western area of Manhattan listed “masculine” or “str8 acting” as a requirement for potential hookups. A requirement! Some even dared to publicly interweave race with gender: “sorry, no asns…not looking for girls..haha.”

I find it very difficult to believe gay guys who claim they don’t think gender prejudice exists within the gay community. It’s one thing to acknowledge that it’s there and they don’t care, but it’s another to say that it just doesn’t exist. Shouldn’t we be responsible for what qualities we’re attracted to? Flamers should be valued just as highly as butch guys. Something has to be done.

So my brain was swirling with all these frustrated thoughts the other night, as I was wasting time skimming countless profiles and deciding which ones I wanted to click for more pictures. One caught my eye: muscular shot of a headless torso with a bulging bicep in clear view; his personal ad finished, “Femme need not apply.” Before I had enough time to blink, the mouse had clicked.

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