Tapping the steering wheel, my friend Johnny is clearly on edge during the drive to dinner. I can understand why. Minutes earlier, he was engaged in a heated phone debate with some random hookup because of his diet. "I can’t believe it. He’s pissed off because I used to eat Chick-Fil-A. My mom’s pissed because I eat meat in general, and my dad’s pissed because I eat penis. What am I supposed to eat?"
"I hear tofu is PC these days."
"Seriously. Since when did what I put in my mouth become a political statement?"
"Since you started giving head."
He twists his lips. "Since middle school?" He sighs, turning up the radio. "Well, at least things were easier back then. I could eat cafeteria nuggets and still kiss a boy without an argument. Life was simpler back then." Lost in thought, he stares out the car window. "Maybe I need to rewind, date a guy who’s less informed. You know, someone stupid."
That night, Johnny finds a few dim-witted options on a dating site. He says it’s easy. Instead of asking about penis size he questions their educational background, along with their thoughts on queer existentialism. Anyone who asks ’what’s queer existentialism?’ passes the first round.
"What’s next? An IQ test?" I ask.
"No, a writing sample," he states. "I’ve asked three guys to shoot me an email stating why I should sleep with them. The one with the most grammatical errors wins."
I tell him he’s taking it too far, that dating stupid guys is only cool in college. At some point, after the sex slows, what’s left? Stupid doesn’t age well. What do stupid men talk about? My experience has been that when stupid men have nothing to say they get drunk to form sentences, only to end up in conversations that remind the world why they shouldn’t be talking in the first place. How many of us have gone on a movie date, hoping to spark conversation afterward, only to hear "I don’t know. I didn’t get it." Talk about anti-climatic.
"Well, it beats dating a whiny bitch with an opinion," Johnny defends. On a hike through Whole Foods, he tries to figure out what grain is in vogue when he pulls up an email on his phone. "Check out this guy," he states. "He wrote his paragraph using chat acronyms and shorthand."
The paragraph reads: I’d b da best luva ud eva hav. I’ll take you NSA (no strings attached) 2 da moon if ud like. Poof.
"Well, he might not be that stupid," I gather. "Apparently he’s into astronomy."
"Please. He probably still thinks Pluto’s a planet."
"Or just a Disney character," I laugh.
Johnny chuckles, scooping a bag of quinoa. "Whatever. I don’t care if he makes me watch cartoons all day. I just want him to go along with whatever I say, and I want him to eat rugged objectionable things. A real man should never say the word quinoa."
The problem is Johnny discovers his Moon Man can’t say much else either. It wouldn’t be a big deal, but Johnny likes to talk during sex. Still, when Johnny asks Moon Man for some dirty conversation to spice up their first salami session, Moon Man begins to stutter, failing to find the proper words to get Johnny off. Johnny says he was about to use cue cards when Moon Man finally managed to speak. "You like that?" he said, pumping away. "You fag. You silly fag you. You fag bitch."
"Ugh! Being degraded is not exactly my idea of hot," Johnny complains to me on the phone. "Now, whenever he texts he jokingly refers to me as his fag bitch. He thinks it turns me on."
"You wanted the lowest common denominator."
"Well, I didn’t want some vegan quoting Maya Angelou while he was fucking me. But I didn’t want this either. Isn’t there a happy medium?"
"Yes," I reply. "But if you want to continue with this guy, you’ll need to educate him." Harrowing, yes, but isn’t that how it works in a relationship? The sharing and challenging of ideas, the passing knowledge to one another to strengthen the union, isn’t that what keeps things spicy outside of the bedroom?
Johnny says he never put that much thought into it because he hasn’t met a man that has lasted more than a week. Moon Man is different though. Johnny finds him cute, eager to learn and malleable. When Johnny explained that gay men don’t like being called fags, Moon Man stopped using the word, asking how else he could improve. This week, Johnny plans to help him with the basics, starting with legible texts and edible sex talk.
"No field trips to Whole Foods to teach him about Quinoa?" I inquire.
"I’ll save that for later," Johnny laughs. "I mean, I don’t care if he eats it. I just can’t see the relationship going any further if he starts talking about it."