After last week’s post about being unplugged, I’ve spent the last 2 weeks abstaining (more or less) from my online profile sites in an attempt to break my addiction and experience the gay world more in reality and less online (viva reality!). This has been an overall good experience for me so I chronicled my thoughts and emotions over the past 14 days.
I’m exhilarated to be free! As with any abstaining project, day one is the easiest and most exciting day. I feel good about my decision, strong in my willpower, and looking forward to the better life that surely awaits me in the near future. I’m doing a great job. Who needs stupid Scruff? I’ll go wink at strangers on 8th Ave!
Day 2, 3, 4
WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME, OH FURRY ONES!? Yeah so day two starts off with a little twinge of “I need to sign in and check…” but that’s quickly countered by the reminder that what I’m doing is good for me. I avoid my profiles but gradually feel a greater and greater urge to check them. By the middle of day three I’m having to actively tell myself, “NO, resist the urge!” and end up just checking email and Facebook more. Day Four is full of Facebook checking and poking waaaaaay too many strange hot men who FB suggests I friend. Multiple friend requests go out.
Somehow I stumbled over to Craigslist to scan through the “missed connections” page and then I just go ahead and plunge right into “men for men” with all its filthy and grammatically horrendous requests and images. This is the lowest, ugliest face on the online totem pole, but the part of my brain that gets off on the thrill is so hungry. I remember a friend telling me that the stimulation from perving out online is similar to drug use in that it’s just a stimuli stirring up chemicals in the brain that make you feel good. I realize I’ve replaced the “quality drugs” of my profiles to the swill of Craigslist and the un-fulfilling/limited imagery of Facebook. I have doubts that this is progress.
Day 6, 7, 8
I see a friend searching Scruff endlessly while at a bar and want to reach out and say, “you don’t have to do this, there’s a better way”. Watching him scan and tap and type over and over gives me pause to consider how I’m happy I’ve not logged in for a while and I feel a sense of relief and accomplishment. I then look up and see a man with a dark moustache across the room giving my devilish looks. I go over and say hello. Much easier than using an app.
ARGH! I need to contact someone and the only way I can do it is to log in. I begrudgingly open the app. One thousand messages await. I scroll through some, ignore others, hate that I’m back in this tedious, inefficient trap of pseudo-communication and frustration. Blech this feels so alien and…and…Oh he’s hot…let me just reply to a few of these…
Day 10, 11
I log in briefly a few times to get my fix. Not anything like before with the 6:30am check ins and constant cruising throughout the day, but I still allow the urge to check the profiles control what I do instead of that rational part of my brain saying, “this is a waste of time/energy”. I recognize that the payoff for all the work really does not justify all the effort of browsing profiles and messaging guys. I’m also beginning to realize that the men I meet in real life at the gym or at a bar are on average more handsome and more compatible than those I use to meet online.
Day 12, 13
A smile at the gym is worth a hundred “woofs” on Scruff. I’ve come to like life more without the constant presence of the online profile checking-n-messaging. I’ve also come to realize that actually going up to men in public places is a highly effective way to meet them without the need to exchange a dozen banal messages first. This is great. I feel more confident too. I still like my profiles…still fun to check, but their dominance over my social strategy has been greatly reduced. Plus in real life my pics are always up to date.
The next step
I’d like to keep my profile use down to a minimum and keep engaging with men more in reality. I save time and energy, and feel like I’m more productive this way.
What about you all? Your thoughts/experiences on unplugging?