Joshua Byron


When a relationship begins, there is a certain waiting period for the other shoe to drop. That is, for the bomb to explode, the heavy rain to fall, the guy to be not that into you, unavailable, or just ghost you. The other shoe can be any number of things: finding out a guy already has a girlfriend or that he lives with his mom in Manhattan.

After a certain amount of dating, I’ve become jaded. I almost want the other shoe to drop just so I can know what it is. Whenever a “good guy” comes along, I try and do mental gymnastics to figure out how he will let me down. And whenever I think, “Maybe there isn’t another shoe,” the shoe drops and he goes running. Then I climb in bed wondering what I did wrong this time.

Well I didn’t do anything wrong this time. 

Dating is a hit or miss game with a litany of rules that no one can figure out because they change as you play. At first you think that you know what mistakes you’re making— until you realize you’re just human. You can’t try to sell yourself on every date. You’re not a product.

You’re a complicated, flawed, emotional being with good and bad qualities. Sometimes you are horny; sometimes you are deeply in awe of someone. Dating depends on weather, work, emotions, and all sorts of precarious things.

It means that you don’t have to blame yourself every time you end up alone.

My last few relationships have been a whirlwind. One boy per week over the past four weeks. I can’t seem to make them stay; I seem to be an emotional homewrecker crazy ex-girlfriend. Clearly, I’m doing something wrong, right?

One of them didn’t want anything serious; one of them ditched me with no text; one of them was into different things and I didn’t feel the spark. And the other had just come out and was struggling to find a sense of stability.

It’s felt hectic and unstable, to say the least. I felt desperately in need of perspective. I took my journal and went to Kave to write endlessly and read Patti Smith’s “M Train.” I knew that I needed to be centered. I knew in my heart that I was chasing fickle boys who loved a fast and fleeting life. Still, I wonder how they too aren’t lonely.

I think a huge part of this comes from internet dating specifically. Internet dating means people can hide in the shadows, protect their identity, and come with few (if any) references other than their own. But queer dating is internet dating. We often find each other through easy-to-use apps for a lot of reasons: class, fear, secrecy, or simply so that we don’t encounter violence if the person we ask out isn’t also queer. While bars are a good option, an introvert will only ever ask you out through a screen.

So, we are forced to reckon with waiting. What will it be next? Another noncommittal boy, another day. Part of the process is to be centered in your own worth, knowing what you want and standing by it. Delete anyone who fails those tests. Also maybe meeting people in person could be good too. Or just DM me and we’ll go grab cosmos.

Cover image courtesy of Will Stewart on Unsplash