Dear BLCKSMTH: Bad Advice for Good People


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Dear BLCKSMTH,

Hi hello. You haven’t posted anything in like two months. What’s up with that? Signed, Mike S. in Portland

Hey Mike! Your name sounds suspiciously familiar, have we met? Well, truth be told, I’ve been working on my webseries a lot lately, and am close to releasing the first episode! Besides that, I’m also learning how to speak truth to my newly awakened interest in politics.

Also, I’m interested in my writing about being single evolving. I’m a privileged white male, and whining about dating can only get you so far before it sounds like you’re releasing a Taylor Swift album, complaining about boys while the world is burning. I’m in charge of my own happiness. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop sharing the horror stories, though! We’re all in this crazy thing together.

Dear BLCKSMTH,

I’m getting on the dating apps for the first time ever. I’m 47. So, how do you overcome the feeling that you got in first grade and all the cute gay guys will not pick you for dodge ball time? Signed, J. in Cleveland

Oh geez, this is possibly going to be a beautiful and powerful and heartbreaking journey for you, as it was for me. Do you remember when there was voicemail dating on landlines? And you would go on a date based on how the chemistry was over the phone? Can you believe people even used that? And then we matured to online chat rooms, and eventually online dating. I got onto exclusively-gay dating apps in late 2012 for the first time after resisting them forever: “they’re just for sluts!” “People there are shallow!” But in the end, my intense need for “friends and workout buddies” won and I downloaded Scruff at the age of 39. I can usually detect how long people have been on the app by remembering my own evolution. I started as that gay who took every interaction SUPER SERIOUS, then was really sassy and posted screencaps of conversations (ugh), and now I treat it like a tool. My best advice to you is to not let anyone rude rattle you, or convince you that you’re wrong for looking for what you’re looking for. Myself? I’m still a little old fashioned and am unusually open to long distance dating. Man oh man, if I had a dime for every guy who makes fun of me for being on the app for feeling that, I’d be a millionaire. You do you, and feel free to email me if you need to vent.

Dear BLCKSMTH,

Why is it so hard to make friends in my city? I have a good job, a great personality, and I’m literally surrounded by amazing culture and a dense population. What am I doing wrong? Signed, I. in New York

I relate to this on a crazy close level. I thought Portland was hard to make friends in, and before that Los Angeles, and before that Chicago…what I’m saying is, I travel from town to town pushing my grift until I am caught and then I flee elsewhere. Kidding. No, I can imagine New York is a terrible place to make lasting friends, in the same way LA was. There were so many people in Los Angeles just wanting to network and have connections that it was tough to find people who could really be there for you when shit hit the fan, and vice versa. I could literally see the light in their eyes die out a little bit when I would tell then what my job was, and their attention started wandering. After like, the third or fourth time you wonder if it’s you, but after the eighth or ninth time you realize you’re dodging a bullet.

Same with your city: this is just my opinion as an outsider, but it seems like a city that ambitious people move to for their careers, much like Los Angeles. It will naturally attract people who want to make connections and network solely for that purpose. It may feel lonely at first, but just know that you’re awesome and if no one is gravitating towards being your bestie, that’s their loss and you’re better off not having shallow friends.

That being said, my advice is to “get out there” more. I know, I know, easier said than done. Are coworkers going to happy hour afterwards? Be sure to join them! Did someone tell you about a book club? Ask if you can read the book they’re reading and sit in on one! Is there a hobby you’d like to develop more? Take a class! These are things you can do that will enrich your own self, while exposing you to new human beings in mostly-sober environments. The thing about big cities is that while a lot of people do have exactly the amount of close friends they need, its really easy to assume everyone else does too. No one will know you’re open to being friends unless you pursue it.

Dear BLCKSMTH,

There’s this really cute guy I hooked up with last week, and I think I am going to date him. He just friend requested me on Facebook and I accepted and now I can see that he’s a Trump supporter. How do I date him now? Signed, M. in Austin

Don’t.

 

No but seriously, don’t.

 

Okay okay, here’s the thing. Right after the election I wrote about how we shouldn’t flee to Canada no matter how bad it gets, because that’s exercising privilege and there are so many disenfranchised people who don’t have the luxury of moving there, for whom it’s far better to stay and fight for. Even then, this opinion sparked the ire and disdain from two very gay, very vocal Trump supporters. It’s not really in dispute that there are disenfranchised people in the US, and it’s not really a controversial opinion to acknowledge privilege. But man oh man these two guys got ALL UP IN MY BUSINESS and gloated how they loved “liberal tears” and pledged to remind me every time 45 stood by his campaign pledge to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community. Wellll, you can imagine they’ve been silent for quite awhile now. One has deleted his social media, and the other has long since fallen silent with his support of 45. I have a feeling they’re among the crowd of Trump Regretters.

But no, you’re saying this guy still supports Trump, even after his campaign’s emerging collusion with a foreign hostile power to sway the election? Even after his proposal to ban Muslims from entering this country, even after his proposed ban of transpeople from the military? Even, good lord, after his “good people on both sides” after Charlottesville?! Oh no, gurl, that’s not even loyalty to the guy you voted for, that’s a severe cognitive dissonance. You won’t change him, if that’s what you’re hoping. From not even knowing him except for this fact, this person sounds like a bad judge of character and has a profound lack of empathy. That alone should bar him from ever getting laid again for the rest of eternity.

 

 

If you have questions, send ’em my way at mkschndr@gmail.com! For more bad advice for good people, see this post, or maybe even this one! Let’s be horrible people together.

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