Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The Rules of Dating an HIV+ Individual
It took me four years to finally get a handle on the rules. Today I was rejected again, but not in the usual way, which is normally silence or phone calls that don't get returned. This guy actually let me know that he felt uncomfortable dating an HIV+ guy. It's too bad because I was growing to like him. The first date had gone well enough, followed by a very nice phone call afterward. That's when he asked me, out of the blue, if I had ever seen Longtime Companion, one of his favorite movies. I was both surprised and grateful for the question because it provided a segue to tell him about my status: I thought here at last was someone who might give me a chance. The moment I told him though, I heard something slip inside his soul. He agreed to the second date, but it was mostly just going through the motions. And tonight's phone call ensured the third one would never come. To be honest, I'm kind of laughing about it. Because after four years I can now see that I've had lots of first dates; not so many second ones; and no thirds. When you're HIV+, it seems you only get two strikes before you're out. And most of the time you don't even get the courtesy of a call on the third strike. You're expected to know and just get out of the batter's box. Leave the stadium. Forfeit the game. As Somerset Maugham once put it, one must be a gentleman about these things. I understand. The point of life isn't living long enough to tell about it--it's living long enough to laugh about it. To tell about something requires distance and objectivity; to laugh about something, closeness and intimacy. If the game had ended today, I would have come out on the losing end for sure. But at least I would have gotten to laugh about it afterward. And that's not something too many losers get to do.