After having gone back to rather distant memories, today I want to talk about a more current subject of my daily life.
I've been single for some time now and dating apps are obviously a very useful tool if you want to have the opportunity to meet the future man of your life. I'm not a big fan of these tools simply because the vast majority of the guys on them are woefully lacking in wit. Let's skip the clearly approximate spelling, the non-existent courtesy, the photos that leave no room for the imagination... I talk a lot with the people I meet and it's funny because, in the end, they all take offence at these behaviours, but all of them may at some point practice them (or almost all of them).
I often take breaks from these apps and delete them for a few weeks because I find them time-consuming and I often feel like I'm wasting my time.
So I found myself on the networks after spending four years with a wonderful boy. I discovered these applications at the very beginning of their existence and it's incredible how much the codes have evolved in the meantime. Grindr comes to mind. Giving your age, height, weight: ok. But now you have to give yourself a tribe to belong to? What the hell is this? Otter? Clean cut? Being gay doesn't speak for itself anymore, now we have to go into even more detail? Forgive me, but if you say too much, you don't want to find out about each other. So I'm not going to talk about these tribes.
A new category is of interest to me: you can now post your HIV status and even specify when you were last tested if you are HIV-negative, which is not my case.
I asked myself this question: "Should I mention it? Won't it finally save me from having to stop worrying about meeting someone good, and focus on the meeting and not on the moment when I have to "break" the magic? Because yes, you break the magic when you tell a date that you are HIV positive.
And then one day I thought, "Okay, I'll put it on."
Of course I should have known the consequences. The conversations that were going on had disappeared. I was relatively solicited before and since the profile was updated, not at all, and the few guys who contacted me offered me things I wouldn't talk about here. In short, natural selection as they say.
Obviously, when you're an HIV-negative boy and you're on this kind of app, you behave a bit like if you were shopping there and even if you think a boy has a nice face, when you see "HIV POSITIVE", you obviously skip the profile. "What am I going to do to meet an HIV-positive guy when I have so many other profiles of "clean" guys?
Are we talking about the word "clean" or not? This alone is a good illustration of what serophobia is in the gay community.
I'm sure I'm going to irritate many, but at this point in my freedom of speech, I don't have much to lose. This community - which I should feel part of, which is supposed to stand for caring, open-mindedness, freedom and love - is certainly the most serophobic and uninformed about HIV.
One day, a boy came up to me and said: "You're lucky to be beautiful, can you imagine if you had been ugly and HIV positive?". What do you want to say to that?
I think that being HIV positive is often a blessing: it cleans you from a stupid entourage, which is very practical. And then occasionally guys come up to you who are HIV-negative and think you have a cool profile text, and they like your profile picture. You think there must be a problem. But it's not. It can happen to me too, but it's rare. So rare in fact that I ended up deleting my status and leaving it empty. To finally what? To put myself in situations where I'll have to announce it? Where I end up almost hoping that this guy I'm going to have a drink with won't like me so I don't have to face his disappointment and my frustration?
But there's also the situation where you talk about it and everything goes really well, except that you've been so conditioned to rejection that even when everything goes well you screw it up.
In short, serophobia, beyond having an immediate effect on me, on us, also has a more perverse effect, in the long term: loss of self-confidence, dehumanisation, withdrawal, silence and so on. I still don't know if there is a "good formula" for talking about it and tackling the subject via apps. I would say that each case is unique and that you just have to trust your intuition. In any case, in the worst case, you will find the wrong person, and you might as well find out quickly rather than waste time.