Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why Do We Talk About Approaching Strangers?

Somebody wrote:

"Why do we talk about cold approaches, anyway?How many relationships actually start that way? It seems to me that "normal" people  mostly meet partners and hook-ups through their social circle. So, they usually are familiar with one another, or at least have friends to vouch for the other person."

That's absolutely true. I think though for a lot of people reading this blog that if that were an option right now, they would have done so already. People don't generally seek out the Gateway Boyfriend ecause what they're doing is working.

But first, a quick note on 'normal' people. It's easy to look at what we call 'normal' and compare ourselves to that, but I don't think it's necessarily helpful. We do not and cannot know what other people's lives are like.

Besides, what good does it do? All that time comparing ourselves to others can be better put to use working on our own lives.

Now, on the subject of cold approaches and why I encourage them.

Approaching strangers is not about whether or not one of those strangers becomes your boyfriend/girlfriend.

Cold approaches are a long shot even for people who are GOOD at them. But the thing to remember is they aren't about any particular result.

What cold approaches do is help people without social experience make up a lot of ground very quickly without putting the relationships they're already in at risk. There's less social consequences for both parties if you're strangers to each other. You don't have to see each other again at parties, work or social functions

Committing to approaching strangers means you meet a lot of people. You see a lot of different individual reactions.

You see how people are different and how they are the same.

You learn to deal with your own anxiety.

You learn to deal with rejection.

You learn how to deal with success, even success you don't feel you earned.

You learn that most people are good to each other and nobody wants to hurt anybody's feelings. You learn that you are likable and that you have something to offer and that other people aren't jerks or stuck-up bitches or dudebros or whatever.

You learn that you will make mistakes and neither you or the other person will die a horrible death.

You learn other people aren't perfect or normal either and that there's no secret formula that everyone else in the world knows but you. You learn that awkwardness is uncomfortable, but it's not the end of the world.

You also get to do it at a pace you can comfortably handle.

Happy Stranger Meeting

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Diary of a Gateway Boyfriend: Siddhartha

A quote from Herman Hesse's Siddhartha.

I dedicate it to the Gateway Boyfriends and Gateway Girlfriends inside us all:

Siddhartha said nothing, and they played the game of love, one of the thirty or forty different games Kamala knew. Her body was flexible like that of a jaguar and like the bow of a hunter; he who had learned from her how to make love, was knowledgeable of many forms of lust, many secrets. For a long time, she played with Siddhartha, enticed him, rejected him, forced him, embraced him: enjoyed his masterful skills, until he was defeated and rested exhausted by her side.

The courtesan bent over him, took a long look at his face, at his eyes, which had grown tired.

"You are the best lover," she said thoughtfully, "I ever saw. You're stronger than others, more supple, more willing. You've learned my art well, Siddhartha. At some time, when I'll be older, I'd want to bear your child. And yet, my dear, you've remained a Samana, and yet you do not love me, you love nobody. Isn't it so?"

"It might very well be so," Siddhartha said tiredly. "I am like you. You also do not love--how else could you practise love as a craft?

Perhaps, people of our kind can't love. The childlike people can; that's their secret."

Friday, July 18, 2014

Diary of A Gateway Boyfriend: Poison

Lying in bed, tangled in sheets like a heroin addict in a cheap motel. And like an addict, all I feel is craving, not for a drug, but for her.

It's all I can think about. Nothing else in my life, a life I love, by they way, seems to matter.

I'm a fool. I pride myself on my compassion and yet here I am, not caring what would be good for me, not caring about her. There's no room for that. All there's room for is wanting her, that junkie selfishness for another fix.

*  *  *

Some women shine. They blaze with independence, a willingness to ignore the Rules to get what they want. A flame so bright the moth wants to burn.

Such women are dangerous. Run, and they'll chase you, Diana's hounds unleashed. Move towards them and they'll pull away. The secret is to stand still and breathe, to wait patiently, to see if she wants everything you have to offer or if she'll be content to circle and settle for just a piece instead of devouring you completely.

But that means getting close. It means holding the tension, neither stepping forward nor pulling back. It means teetering on the edge, staring into the void, wondering what it would be like to fall. It means heat and awareness and temptation. It means the possibility of finding you WANT throw away the rules. That you want to fall. Because with these women, no possibility feels sweeter or more intoxicating than surrender.

I stepped back.

I won't let it happen again. Can't let it happen again. Put away the curiosity, the desire. Don't let her know how close she came. Don't give her another chance. Be still and hold your breath until the hunt passes by. Never admit to the power she has over you.

She was merciful. She respected my boundaries. She could have had everything but settled for less. Her touch is intoxicating. It fills my blood like morphine, a liquid ecstasy I want to continue forever. It leaves my body tingling hours after she's gone. I crave it and it terrifies me at the same time. I do not like this loss of control.

If there had been any kissing, any extended skin-to-skin contact, I would have been lost. Powerless.


She set me free.

Part of me wishes she hadn't.

*  *  *

Alice Cooper has a song called "Poison." There's a line in it: "I want to hurt her just to hear her scream out my name."

I never understood that line until now.

I'm trying not to think of us together in naked, violent mutual ecstasy, her eyes shining and face flushed and bright, her nostrils filled with the smell of my body and the scent of her own excitement. To have that power over her. But would that be her surrendering to my power over her...or me surrendering to her power over me?

I'm a little bit afraid of myself right now.

I'm also a little bit excited.

*  *  *

There was a moment, with another, when I almost said her name.

*  *  *

Is insomnia contagious?

She told me she doesn't sleep well.

I'm not doing so well tonight. In the darkness of my bedroom sheets tangle around my body as I thrash.

I wonder if she's also awake.

I wonder if she's thinking of me.

*  *  *

"It's cute seeing you this intense over someone," a friend tells me. "You're normally so reserved and controlled."

"I hate this," I tell her

She says: "If it's any consolation, these types of women are inevitably disappointing. The reason they're so good at making promises is that they're so poor at delivering. They're like the Telus of blow-jobs--great ads; terrible service."

Hearing the word Telus, I feel a sudden urge to text her.

I hand my phone to my friend.

I say, "Don't give this back to me until the end of night."

*  *  *

I kiss with my eyes open now so my brain can't pretend this neck my face is buried in belongs to Her, that its Her fingers digging into my back, that these sighs and moans of pleasure as I play this woman's body like an orchestra are Her music.

*  *  *

And then it's over.

 Nothing has changed but everything is fine. The sun breaks through my bedroom window. I can see leaves trembling in the wind. They're beautiful.

I feel fine. The craving is gone. It's been with me so long, I almost miss it, but the empty space where it used to live is already being filled with love, appreciation, gratitude.

She hasn't broken me. She's made me stronger.

I still crave her. My body lights up when she's near.

And yet...

She's taught me that I can want someone and not have her. I can feel the most intoxicating touch and enjoy it without getting pulled in. I can swim in the deep waters and not be drowned. I can thrill in the way my body feels alive when she's around without losing control.

It's also ironic that she's made me a stronger man, a more passionate lover, and a more confident human being...and she's the one who won't reap the benefits.

My family and friends have commented on my stronger boundaries, my new assertiveness. Other women have told me how I'm a better partner, commented that my tenderness is now mixed with a new and exciting strength.

If they only knew.

I make my bed and pad to the bathroom to take a shower.

It's going to be a beautiful day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dating Ecology: Tease Is Built On Trust

I'm not a fan of the expression 'cocktease.'

It's not just about the gender stereotype, although that's definitely a conversation worth having. 

The big thing, for me, is that it's a misuse of the word tease. A cocktease is a description for someone who promises but doesn't deliver.

That's a fundamental misunderstanding of how tease works.

Tease is promising something and delivering...but not yet.

Tease is built on trust.

You might make the other person work. You might make the other person wait.

But you're always going to deliver. You are never going to withhold or attach conditions. When you do that, all you do is undercut your own credibility.

Tease is about playing with the Opposites.

There should be tension without uncertainty. Intrigue without secrets. Challenge without competition.  Danger wrapped in a blanket of complete and total safety.

Perhaps most importantly, tease should be fun for all parties involved. Done right, there's a playfulness to it.

Good tease feels like something you're a part of together. Bad tease is uncomfortable and confusing and divisive. Even if it's done while smiling, there is an undercurrent of concealed aggression or one-upmanship.

It's toxic and bad dating ecology. But it isn't really tease.

You can call someone who promises and doesn't come through a lot of things. They might be manipulative. They might be unreliable.They might be withholding.

They might also be confused, ambivalent, or dealing with shit that has nothing to do with you.

But to call them a tease undermines everything that makes tease so delicious.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Diary of a Gateway Boyfriend: Putting It On

A woman is in my living room. Her bra is on, she's adjusting her skirt while scanning the floor for a wayward sock.

I'm also getting dressed, using the process of pulling on my jeans as a way of hiding the fact that I don't know what to do with my eyes.

She pulls her clothes from the tangle on the floor and says, "I'm more anxious getting dressed in front of somebody for the first time than I am getting naked."

I've never thought about it before, but she's right.

There's a performance to taking clothes off with somebody. It's part of the sex. You're either undressing each other or you're undressing FOR each other.

Putting clothes back on after is different. There's no oohing and ahhing. There's no fumbling for each other's buttons.

It's just picking stuff off the floor. Stepping into things one foot at a time. Righting things that are inside out. Smoothing and straightening

I think it's the very everyday-ness of it that makes it unnerving. It's like having a stranger see the way you get out of bed or brush your teeth in the morning. It's so simple and normal it feels scary.

Vulnerable. Like there's nowhere to hide.

Taking your clothes off is sexy. Putting your clothes back on is intimate.

"I had a good time," she tells me.

"Yeah," I say. "We should do it again some day."

Our eyes meet, dance away, slide back towards each other, searching for the balance between closeness and separation. Direct eye contact feels like engulfment; looking away feels like abandonment. My gaze flits across her face, outlines the space around her.

Outside my window, the sound of a passing car rises and fades away.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

(editorial) The Mystery of Attraction

You know what's weird about attraction?

It always seems so random.

What does a person's physical attractiveness have to do with whether or not they'd make a good life partner? I've heard people say they find confidence sexy, but I've never seen any hard and fast relationship between a person's confidence in their abilities and their actual abilities.

Not only that, we seem to double-down on the weirdness by putting a premium on attraction in our relationships, when it seems to be a) arbitrary, b) relatively unstable (both our attractiveness and what we find attractive in others seems to change) and c) frequently untrustworthy when it comes to predicting whether a partner is right for us.

Even what we call 'attraction' seems to have a number of different elements. For example, there is:

1 - 'Objective' physical attractiveness. Our cultural or genetically hardwired standards as to what we find beautiful.

2 - Learned attractiveness. In other words, they are behaviors we have learned to maximize how we come off to our target population. It includes stuff like dressing well, make-up, body language and eye contact, conversational skills, etc.

3 - Personal attraction. These are individual quirks we find attractive for whatever reason. Boys in glasses. Girls in Iron Maiden shirts. Cockiness. Submission. Feet. Needless to say, they vary from person to person. One person's 'pesron who can quote 20th century Romantic poets' is another's 'being peed on.'

4 - Character attractiveness. I don't know how to explain this one exactly, and for most of us, it doesn't really start to emerge until our thirties, but it's the point where a person's life experiences collide with their look. You see it in posture, lines around the face and mouth, or the way they carry themselves. It's like who they are shines through what they happen to be doing in the moment. To me, it's the origin of the expression "At 40, everybody gets they face he or she deserves."

5 - Psychological Attraction. Also known as the Dawn Dumont Rule after a friend, fellow writer and comic who once asked me, "Did you ever notice how the two most damaged people in the bar always find each other?" I think there's truth to it, and I can't figure it out. It's like somehow we're able to recognize traits in each other before we're even consciously aware of them. Sometimes it's a positive thing, but sometimes it can lead us into dating the same 'type' of person over and over again even if they look nothing alike on the surface.

It doesn't make a lot of sense. And yet for most of us, attraction IS important. We also enjoy feeling attractive, even if there are times it feels like it's a performance and not necessarily who we really are and even when it quite frankly seems like a stupid, silly waste of time and energy.

I think a lot of debate on beauty or performance standards reflects that tension...we're trying to justify why it's okay for us to be attracted to what we are (or make efforts to be attractive to who we want to be attractive to). Sometimes we're also trying to point out to other people the arbitrariness of their own attractions or in less charitable cases, tell them they shouldn't be into what they're into.

We're trying to rationalize the irrational, and it's a very difficult thing to do.

That brings us to the big question: What does it all mean?

It means we have to accept the role of attraction in our relationships and make decisions accordingly.

Attraction is unpredictable, unstable and unreliable.

That doesnt make it bad. It just means you have to treat it  like a fun-but-flaky friend, one who is well-meaning, exciting, and brings life to parties, but also cant always be counted on to show up when the chips are down. You can keep that friend in your life, but also recognize his or her limitations and develop other friends for support instead of expecting things from that person that they cannot hope to deliver.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Diary of a Gateway Boyfriend: The Set-Up


I thought making out for two and a half hours in the front seat of a Honda was a young person's game.

Here I am at forty.

It's kind of fun.

It wasn't what I expected to happen. But she didn't want to come in. After about forty five minutes of contorting and kissing, I wanted to argue: Come inside. Your virtue is safe, sweetheart. I just want to feel my legs again.

But the longer it goes on, the more I enjoy it. Anybody can kiss well under ideal circumstances. This is a nice challenge, especially considering we're dressed for February in the midst of a Canadian winter.

At least we're where it's warm.

It's hard to make a move on outdoor dates. Ever try to hold hands with someone for the first time wearing ski gloves? Ever try and kiss someone when you're both wrapped in layers of wool and fleece and down and Thinsulate? Mouths and necks are covered by scarves. Toques cover ears. I'd hug her, but I can't even lift my arms.

But this...this is fun.

Although it's a little trickier when she's still got her seatbelt on. Trust me--sex doesn't have to be that safe.

We met through a mutual friend. It was a clear set-up from the start, even though no one told me.

We saved you a seat, one friend told me when I'm arrived. He directed me to an empty spot in the middle of the table next to a cute blonde.

I knew something was up.

There were a lot of people looking at me and her unsubtly directing the conversation towards things we had in common and our outstanding qualities.

It was uncomfortable, but I'm not too proud to accept the help. It's nice to have friends that care.

She was smart. She was compassionate. She had lived an interesting life. She laughed at my psychology nerd joke about a dating site that matches you based on psychoanalysis (*)

At the end of the night, I got her number, although I still wasn't sure how interested she was. It's kind of hard to have an authentic interaction when you're being watched by six or seven of your friends, all of who are clearly invested in the outcome.

"I'll call you sometime," I said trying to be cool, non-committal and Alpha as Fuck.

"Call me tomorrow," she replied.

And I said: "Okay."

Alpha Status Denied.

Which brings us back to the front seat of the car, where we suddenly broke apart.

"I don't know about this," She tells me. "If this works out, L---- will never let me live it down."

"She can be insufferable when she's right about something," I agree. "She's got that smile, it's..."

"It's smug."


"I can't stand it when she's smug."

"Hm," I say. "Well, I guess we should call the whole thing off then."

"Yeah." She touches my cheek and brings her face closer. "We probably should."

We laugh softly and go back to kissing.

(*) It's called Plenty of Freud. At the end of the test, it sets you up with your own mother.