It’s good to be back. Last issue Jeremy Williams took over this space in Central Florida and Ryan Willams-Jent wrote the column for Tampa Bay. They will continue their columns every other issue, and I will continue mine in the alternating weeks.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have been on a journey to live a healthier and better life—while I still have a few good years ahead of me. There is the physical: regular personal training sessions with Max Dunley at Rock Hard Fitness, eating well, LASIK and braces. There is also the mental, or my version of spirituality. With the help of a twelve step program, I spend a lot of time looking at my past to understand the responsibility I have in the choices I’ve made in the hopes that I will make better decisions in the future.

The result of this line of thinking is a great deal of self-awareness. It doesn’t mean I always do the right thing, but I know right away when I’ve made a poor decision and try to move quickly to rectify the situation.

I recently had the opportunity to take an objective look at my approach to dating, which may seem non-existent at this time.

I came out when I was in high school, circa 1991. Not many people my age were out, so I didn’t do a lot of dating in high school. I may have had one boyfriend, if you could even call him that. I went on a few dates with the same guy. In high school, I guess that’s a boyfriend.

College wasn’t much different. I went to a small southern Baptist school in the mountains of North Carolina. I think there may have been 5 gay people on campus, so no dating there. Toward the end of my college experience I did meet and date the first love of my life, Chris.

In college, I had a tendency to hit on lesbians. It happened more times than I care to admit. I would see a cute boy across the dance floor, make eye contact and saunter up to him; only to find out I was making her and her girlfriend uncomfortable. This made me reluctant to approach Chris the first time I saw him. We spent weeks staring at each other across the room and smiling when we made eye contact. Eventually we found the courage to talk to each other and started dating. We had an amazing summer together before Chris left for college in New York.

Since then, the internet took over the world. Dating websites, then dating apps, became a popular way to meet to people. However, my approach to dating never changed. I’m not sure why? I’m one of those people who never like a picture of themselves, so maybe I lacked the confidence to be cool in the online world? I’m not interested in casual encounters or friends with benefits, so I’m easily and quickly turned off by the abruptness of “app talk.” My old fashion ways of smiling at people in a bar have made me suck at online dating.

In mid-January I attended the first of Moira’s Mixed Company on NewsRadio 102.5 as a member of the live audience. It’s a radio show with a talk show feel to it. Moira has expert guests and interacts with the studio audience. It’s super entertaining and she does a fabulous job! The topic of this particular show was online dating. My suspicions were confirmed. I was doing everything wrong.

First, my profile picture is shirtless. Apparently that’s a big no. I can see how that might send the wrong message about my intentions. Second, I have a picture where I’m wearing sunglasses. I also use features like taps, winks and woofs. I’ve learned I should use my words more. I also don’t define myself and what I want in my profiles. Clearly I have a lot of work to do to improve my online persona.

While I try to figure this out, I’ll stick to my roots and go to Watermark’s Swipe Right Party on Feb 8. This is a chance to meet people face-to-face and get to know them. Central Florida’s party will be at The Hammered Lamb and Tampa Bay’s at Enigma. Look for the ad in the issue for more details.

In this issue we discuss the unique hardships facing the LGBTQ elderly, introduce you to Dr. David Lyter’s diversity health center in Tampa Bay, announce The Center’s name change in Central Florida and check in on Cirque Du Soleil’s VOLTA.

We strive to bring you a variety of stories, your stories. I hope you enjoy this latest issue.

Share this story: