Lockdown hookups.

Well here we are at the beginning of week four of six of the second lockdown here in Melbourne. All our figures are dropping and thats great but one thing that hasn’t dropped is the number of hookup requests I’ve been getting. I haven’t been on Grindr in aaaaages but I still get messages from guys online through my socials asking when we will be able to hookup.

Hookup culture sucks at the best of times but in the middle of a pandemic it’s even more dangerous. I guess one of the hardest things for me about this whole situation has been realising that there are some people out there who we will just never be able to reach with the message to do the right thing. There are just too many of us ( the gay community ) out there putting our need to get our dicks wet before keeping each other safe.

The first weekend of this second lockdown I got a message, “three tops here”. Fuck I wanted to go over so badly. Three keen Tops in the one place is like catching lightning in a bottle and the chances of me getting COVID from any of them was pretty small, but I still said no and here’s why.

I don’t want to be part of the legacy of selfishness that is adding to the hurt of so many people out there. People are losing their jobs, homes and lives because of people who thought it couldn’t happen to them. Who lawyered the risks in their head so they could justify doing whatever they wanted and who have contributed to the current situation we are in. I can’t make people do the right thing, but I can choose to do it myself. I can’t stop what’s happening, but I can control my own behaviour.

It’s fucking hard staying indoors, giving up sex, missing out on enjoying the sunshine with my friends, I get it. It’s depressing not having those supports around me and not seeing my family in almost 4 months, but whats the alternative? I look at my feeds everyday and see people partying and ignoring social distancing advice and it gives me FOMO but even more it makes me angry that friends would put each other at risk.

I’d also love to be out hooking up and making content for you. There are only so many solos you can do. But it’s important to me to do the right thing. So thank you everybody for following and for your support during this time. This too will pass and we will all be on the beers together again soon.

 

Third quarter blues.

Last week was a difficult week. After being in lockdown for over a month the boredom finally began to settle in and I started to get cabin fever. When the lockdowns began it was easy to stay home. It was novel to have all this free time on my hands and a reason to down tools for a little while and enjoy some free time.

I don’t normally go out very much to begin with and I get anxiety in social situations like clubs and parties, so the slower pace of life suits me really well. Unfortunately there is only so long that anybody can last without being able to go for a beer in the sun or enjoy a coffee with friends, last week I hit that wall. Apparently it’s common around this time. I’ve noticed quite a few of my mates going through the same thing. It’s the nutty time when they start bleaching their hair and shaving their heads. The socials are steadily getting thirstier and thirstier and peoples tolerance for the loss of their freedom is beginning to wear off.

I wonder how long we can sustain this? My enthusiasm for staying in lockdown is breaking but I’m no less committed to doing my part and staying home. There are people out there who feel the same and the inner conflict is breeding frustration and resentment.

There was a very noticeable drop in my enthusiasm and energy last week. I was comfort eating, smashing down the chocolate, Cheezels, pot noodles and brown sugar bubble teas. My workouts were suffering, I slept in and then zombied around the apartment in my pj’s half asleep.

If you’re feeling the same way then take comfort from knowing that this is normal and we are all feeling it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be productive, these are unusual times.

To break the funk I started doing a few things to get myself moving again. Every day after the gym I used to walk to the shops and get the days groceries. So now after my morning workout I go for a walk outside. It helps for me to feel connected again and helps me keep some sense of the routine I had pre-lockdown. I’m also avoiding day time naps and going to bed earlier and at a regular time. This is helping me get up in the morning without feeling laggy. Getting back on my diet and away from the junk food that had me falling in to a food coma every afternoon has also made a big different to my energy levels during the day.

I’m sure we will push through this. Remember staying positive doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time, it means being confident that there are better days ahead. I’m already feeling the rhythm coming back and it won’t be long until we can all see each other again.

It’s worth noting right now that all this complaining happens I’m the midst of a lot of first world privilege. There are people out there doing it A LOT harder than we are every day even before COVID and I try to remind myself of this everyday and just how luck I am.

We’re learning how to talk to each other all over again.

If you’re not currently under lockdown then it’s likely that you either have been or are going to be at some stage. Gathering together is out and social distancing is in, so how do we stay connected with our friends and family? In the digital age there are so many tools at our disposal that connecting is easy but has the quality of our connections changed?

My friends and I have been using Zoom to chat to each other and stay in touch. I didn’t know about Zoom until my friends invited me. Whether you are using Zoom or some other app one thing is noticeable, it’s the same thing that made me dread conference calls with work colleagues. The broken conversations, false starts and talking over each other make these kinds of conversations painfully slow and awkward at best.

When you have to communicate this way everyday though you get better at it. Practice makes perfect.

The timbre of our conversations has changed, they have slowed and become more open and more thoughtful.

Now all of the participants speak in their turn while the others actively listen and allow them to finish before adding their own thoughts. We pay much more attention to what each other is saying, and we think much more about the meaning and nuance of what they are trying to say. In a normal setting like a cafe or a club everybody speaks over each other not really listening, blurting out thoughts as they come over the top of each other so that they are heard. Our online conversations simply can’t work in this fashion and we have had to make changes. It’s kind of like sitting in a circle and only the person with the talking stick may speak.

***Update. Since writing this article my friends and I have stopped using Zoom due to privacy concerns and a lack of security when using the Zoom platform but we are still face-timing regularly.