“Thirsty. Not for something that comes out from faucet, but gravity in equation. It adds and divides, multiplies and subtracts and always equaling desire. This desire yearns to be met with solution. A remedy. For fires to burn and bodies meld. All this for man. Man wishes to drink fully to stifle flames only contact makes solutions hotter and harder to come by. It is our function. Our dysfunction. Lust is the only bodily function I give credence right now. Smells and tastes from lips and tingles between thighs while the glass remains empty. It mocks as we mock ourselves. Mouth is dry and muscles ache, for physical connection. This remedy brief, but satisfying.”
Sounds so dramatic doesn’t it? Or romantic. Or both or not at all. The inner monologue can come up with some really embarrassing commentary on desire as evident from the above entry of my journal over seven years ago. Suffice it to say that as eloquent as I was trying to be in that passage it shows that we are not always coherent when under the influence of our desires. As gay men, well really all men, we always have those moments when all we can think about is satisfying our thirst. And when we’re single it feels like that drive is magnified by just about everything because it seems to occupy so much of our thoughts.
Some may be asking what thirst is well honestly it’s a lot of things. But mostly, thirst is merely the expression of one’s desires for another. Sometimes romantic, almost always sexual, and hardly ever platonic, it is the nature of wanting to be close to someone. A feeling of wanting to show this person of interest every single time you have a chance how much you like them. Always greeting him with an enthusiastic smile. Laughing at all of his jokes. Then we may start to be a bit craftier in expressing our desire.
Showing support for every cause he stands for. Reciting every literary work you learned in high school thinking he may notice. Being irrationally vitriol towards another when he’s angry at someone. Telling him about music you oh so quietly noticed he was into. Instantly disliking anyone he flirts with but still making conversation with them to show that you’re cool and laid back. Being the first to answer any inquiry he asks on social media. Favoriting every tweet he writes and liking every Instagram picture. Waiting until a really good moment you two share before direct messaging him your number. Has to be at the right time or else you’ll seem too needy or reckless or eager. The whole thing becomes meticulous after a while.
Then if he positively responds to any of our previous attempts we escalate our efforts because our thirst has not been quenched. This positive reinforcement means we have to ramp up whatever initiative we have available to attract this man to us. In fact the attention that we received only made the thirst worse so now we want more. As a result we may find ourselves saying or doing things we swore we would never ever do. The thirst is not about being rational or logical; it’s about having our desires satiated. Even if that awkwardly showing off your own physical features of your body you think he may like. Eventually this may mean finding unique ways to bring up how talented you are in sexual exploits.
“Accidentally” posting a pic of you casually getting out of the shower that your bestie took while you were both wasted or the one where you were only taking a pic of your thighs to measure how much gym progress you’ve made when really it’s about showing off the goods. Eventually you become hell-bent on showing this guy that you are the total package that he may or may not have known he always wanted. You want to be noticed. It’s a balancing act because you are constantly micromanaging what you should and should not say or do. Keep in mind that this all happens fast as we keep displaying how we feel until our thirst is satiated and he is the only thing that can squelch that sensation. Or how agile and flexible you are. As men it is natural for us to notice what we see before anything else, in fact we are hard wired to do so.
Then there’s the waiting. Waiting to see if you’ve made some progress on your goal of obtaining this man, agonizing over those first few moments (or seconds) that you’re eagerly awaiting some kind of reply of all your efforts. The great moments when he shows enthusiasm for your latest attempt or slight depression when he either doesn’t show enough enthusiasm or doesn’t reply at all. Eventually we are so into making progress that we don’t notice how some are witnessing how much we are falling all over ourselves to win favor with this guy.
It’s all subtle and direct and blatant and covert. It is the modern way of showing a crush that you’re interested in him. Not at all to confuse this with obsession as that is about completely losing yourself. This is all about expression. Our focus is a little off and we come off as awkward. Meaning literally everything and everyone diverts our attention back to quenching the sexual thirst we have. But we still have our own lives; we still go to work and socialize with our friends. We still pay our bills and plan for our future regardless of relationship status. And eventually we let go if it doesn’t work out. Whether this desire was rooted in wanting a long term relationship where you build lives together or a one night stand you eventually move on.
And people will notice. Family, coworkers, and most certainly those friends that are a part of your inner circle. As a result some will choose to point it out. Or call you out on it, whether it’s appropriate or their place to do so is moot. We have a tendency to rib each other when we notice someone being a bit more exuberant with someone that they like for whatever reasons. That can come from the shame we feel about our own thirst and project that on to other men. Sometimes it’s just jealously because the two people lusting after each other at one point was someone you were once (or possibly still) have some interest or desire in. Or maybe you just feel uncomfortable about it because it’s not the heteronormative way of romantically socializing that were taught was appropriate by society or our parents. Or the worst which is there is no reason.
Sadly some choose to take advantage of the thirst. Some feel that it warrants them to ask for favors knowing full well that being the object of affection gives them power over another. Whether that involves something as simple as asking them to promote something they’re invested in or as out there as having them buy things for them off an Amazon Wish List they know that they are using the real feelings of another to forward their own objective and that’s an awful thing to do to another person.
With all this, you know what I’ve found to be the most helpful in moments like this? Owning it. Admit to yourself that you are a human being that has a sexual appetite just like everyone else, regardless of how willing they are to admit it. Taking ownership of your feelings always gives you power and control. Maybe not over this situation and definitely not over the guy you’re interested in but power over yourself. To accept the state of the situation no matter what. To know that while it is okay for you to feel this way it is never okay for someone to take advantage of that. And enough insight and confidence to be able to tell any hecklers to mind their own damn business.
But mostly, guys don’t beat yourself up for being human. Don’t feel like it’s something that you have to have to hide in shame from your buddies. You may well be an awkward, embarrassing mess since we are not always able to express how we feel in a more sophisticated way. But until then you will most likely say something that upon reflection is completely cringe worthy and all out embarrassing but again, you are human. So let your friends laugh, or judge, or mock because they don’t have the jewels to admit that under the same circumstances they have said and done much worse. And you know what else? That guy you have your eye on will probably show more interest when it comes from a real, honest place.
So drink up.