It's summertime, and because the majority of the gay population doesn't have kids, we spend what would have been the diaper money on lavish vacations or spur-of-the-moment excursions. We hope that the palm trees, signature cocktails, and endless parades of hard bodies on the beach will fill the voids in our childless lives.
And it works. Hurrah!
However, with such trips comes the chance (or hope) that you'll meet a sun-kissed stranger who will knock you off your feet. After that dizzying first encounter, the two of you will stay up all night talking. You'll share romantic walks, hand in hand in the moonlit surf (until the scary meth addict on the beach starts chasing you). You'll get a glimpse into one another's lives, loves, and hopes. Then, all too quickly, it's time to head to the airport. The holiday romance comes to an abrupt end. It's utter torture. "Why does he have to live in another city/state/country? God, Mom, it's so unfair!"
You savor the last night of passion together, stress over the long, drawn-out farewell, and force a solitary tear from your eye just to prove to him that, dammit, this really meant something! Then, at the last moment, you have an epiphany! "Maybe we can make this work! Maybe we can have a long-distance relationship that lasts until our separate lives collide and we can live in eternal bliss, together." If you have made it this far, you're either riding high on endorphins or you might have actually found the one. Either way, here are a few tips to keeping it together long enough to find out:
- Purchase cleaning wipes in bulk. Typing and Skyping with lubey fingers will only lead to damaged keys and smudged screens. You don't want to explain to the Geek Squad why your laptop keeps sliding out of their hands -- to say nothing of what can be found on your hard drive.
- Don't analyze every photo of him on Facebook. That image of your new beau being led around on a leash at the leather festival in the gimp mask and ball gag might be entirely innocent.
- Encourage him to send erotic photos of himself, and be sure to return the favor. Agree that all photos will be deleted after they have been used for their "purpose." Unless, that is, he is a member of GOProud, in which case, save them for later public humiliation. Consider these photos a bigger bus than the one he will eventually try to throw you under. (Sorry, I have issues with these people.)
- Keep in mind that geographical separation is often accompanied by differences in time. Failure to consider this may result in unanticipated bitchiness. No one wants a call at 5 a.m. asking, "Whatcha doin'?" in a cutesy voice. It disturbs dreams of shagging Jason Stackhouse then stealing his shirts and will only lead to arguments later.
- Never text when drunk, as autocorrect and predictive text can be a hazard. One inconvenient correction can be dismissed as a mistake, but sequential messages of "Bash your hard coal on my face," and "I can't wait to ride your coal again" don't make sense, at best, and at worst, they make it look like you have some sort of fetish for Welsh miners.
- Choose a tune that you consider "your song" to serve as a musical reminder of your love. Then immediately play it to death until the words lose all meaning. In 10 years, if all goes well, it could be your wedding song. But in the unfortunate event that the relationship has ended, when it comes over the speakers in Nordstrom, you can drop to the floor in dramatic fashion and weep about the one who got away. Then wait for the discounts from the empathetic sales staff.
- Don't get too irate when you can't reach him. I know it's hard not to assume the very worst when there has been no contact for more than 10 whole minutes, but chances are he's busy. Or maybe he's just at the park having a delightful picnic with an anchorman's boyfriend. (I love you, Andy! Call me.)
- Don't let your single friends' opinions drive you into thinking this won't work. They will crucify you for not being available to go cruising with them. If they can't find love, happiness, and companionship with a headless torso 236-plus feet away, who the hell are they to judge you?
- The one who travels to the other should have first pick of position. It's only polite and really should be universally observed gay etiquette.
- Value the precious times you get to spend visiting the city he calls home. If you run into one of his ex-boyfriends while you're out, remain calm, polite, and friendly. Resist the urge to scream, "He told me all about that thing you like to do, and I think you're a freak!" You also won't make yourself look good by pointing and calling anyone "Jack Nasty!"
Most importantly, despite all the challenges, your long-distance romance will work if you want it to work. And if it doesn't, well, you haven't worked hard enough at it, and you're destined to be alone for the rest of your life. Never mind, eh? Remember, you soon will have a trip to Fire Island, Rehoboth, Provincetown, Sitges, Puerto Vallarta, Brighton, or an Atlantis cruise where you can find yet another man of your dreams.
I am sure that this works just as well for lesbians. Just throw in the words "marriage" or "flannel" every once in a while until it suits your needs.
Hopefully these tips will come in handy for some of you on vacation this summer. Enjoy!
Follow Greg Hogben on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thebritishdevil