From NS to FWB to LTR to the big M, marriage

Tim Gay.
Tim Gay.

BY TIM GAY  |  MusicalMuscleBear left a message on my cabin phone machine. “Hey, MountainJeepsterMan, call me when you can on my house number. I have some news to tell you.”

Wow, this must be important. Usually, MusicalMuscleBear texts, e-mails or instant messages when he’s looking for dinner and a date. Never would he leave a message on my land line.

What could it be?

Before I reveal the details of the phone conversation, let me digress on the trials, tribulations, virtues and joys of cyber sex and introductions, love and marriage.

Because dreams can come true.

There are dozens of Web sites and phone apps for men looking for love and sex, ranging from the young and pretty (Adam-4-Adam), for instant gratification (Grindr), for big furry guys (GROWLr, BearForce411), younger-for-older and vice versa (SilverDaddies), and the all-purpose, anything-is-possible (ManHunt).

Some sites are for “right now” hookups (NS for No Strings) some for rough-’n’-tumble sex, some cater to recreational drug users (Party-n-Play or PNP), some even are for men who don’t practice safe sex. And others go for dating and friendship, including the increasingly popular FWB (Friends with Benefits).

Thanks to apps on smart phones, these sites show who is on and how close he is — from thousands of miles down to a few feet.

You can now track down a straying boyfriend, if you know his profile moniker.

Speaking of nom secret pour le sexe, to get noticed on a site, you need a good descriptive name, a compelling profile description, and attractive photos that describe your life, love and pursuits, as well as physical capabilities.

For example, MountainJeepsterMan (not my real cyber name, but close), tells other men that I live in the mountains and drive a Jeep. And my photo shows me and my Jeep, with the sun setting over the Catskill Mountains.

MusicalMuscleBear (not his real name either, but close) is an enormous, burly, bodybuilding classical musician. And his photo shows him barechested in swim trunks with tree-trunk thighs, and bulging biceps while seriously and intently playing his violin.

I updated my profile after I moved full-time from Chelsea to my cabin in the Catskills last winter — not so much for hooking up but for meeting local men.

Instead of listing my sexual desires, I checked off:  Dating, Friends, LTR (for Long-term relationship), Safer-Only and no PNP. I stated my actual age, and indicated the date on my new photos. I also clarified that I’m mostly interested in men older than 45.

The inquiries came in. A few are closeted or in heterosexual relationships, some are partnered or married to men, but many are age-appropriate, single and looking for “that special someone.”

(O.K., I will say most of us do maintain that old gay liberation spirit, and don’t rule out the occasional NS or FWB.)

That’s how MusicalMuscleMan and I met — first by “winking,” and then by unlocking “private” photos, and, well, segueing from cyber fantasy to physical reality on an early spring dinner.

And that led to some dinner dates where he lives, up the Hudson River about 40 miles, and back here in the mountains west of Woodstock. We’ve had lively discussions on politics and B movies, and a little FWB activity to top it off.

Now about that phone call… .

Gary, the muscular musician, told me he had accepted another man’s marriage proposal, and that he was ending our FWB.

Gary explained that the other man was also one of his FWBs who he met on the same site a few years ago. But they became something more. Gary had first declined marriage last year, but over the past couple of weeks, they had gotten together, and he decided he was truly in love with the man.

“We both have the same interests, and we’re both 65,” Gary explained. “Tim, there is no right or wrong time until you just somehow know the time is right. I like you very much, and I want to keep up with you.”

I told Gary the truth — that I was absolutely delighted and happy for him!

And then I said, “But Gary, you weren’t truthful about one thing. Your profile says you are 62!”

“But 62 was true three years ago,” Gary said. “I just didn’t update that.”

There’s more though. I have another FWB, whom I call my “Truckin’ Do-Dah Man.” We were both born in 1955, graduated from high school in 1973. We both had lovers die from AIDS in the ’80s, we’re both sort of radical faeries, and both like beaches and mountains, camping and traveling on the cheap. We’ve been FWBs from time to time for the last 12 years or so.

I asked my Do-Dah Man back in March to marry me.  He said no, but we still get together.

Who knows, maybe next year…when we turn 60… .

But then again, you got to have friends.