GROWLR is not the best place to meet a guy, but for an old guy like me who is not really out to the world, it's an option. He looked pretty nice from his pic. As most do, his profile said he was looking for friends, but I have learned not to believe everything you read on the internet. At 5-11 and 205, he was not exactly a svelte twink, but his profile said he was into fitness so maybe most of that 205 was muscle.
A brief message led to more messages, and a pic exchange as I explained my situation, and learned his. He is OUT,
50ish, and looking for friends.
"I'm up for meeting for a coffee or a drink if you are interested."
He replied, "It will have to be a coffee, but I am good for it if you want to."
As we approached the meeting day/time, I reviewed his profile to make sure I knew what he said in it, and what we had discussed. It was a chillier than usual winter day in Richmond, so my hope for a chance to sit outside somewhere over a latte' and talk privately was shot. I am probably more cautious than most when it comes to my privacy, but not being out, I always worry about appearances, and things were not working out well for me. I hoped for a somewhat crowded meeting place so we could get lost in the crowd, and not be exposed to the scrutiny of everyone seeing two guys obviously meeting for the first time, and drawing conclusions that I didn't want them to make. There were two baristas working, and only one table of two customers in the whole place.
To make matters worse, I was early and he was going to be late, so I ended up walking around the block a few times, freezing my ass off because I had not worn the right coat. I could go on in the place, but by the time he got here, I would have finished my coffee. Then a text from him told me he was on his way...just a few minutes away, and I decided to just wait for him outside.
He was a bit shorter than I expected. I'm not a tall guy, but a bit over 6 feet. He said he was 5-11 and...well...ok, maybe. It was definitely him from the pic. I approached him before we got in the shop, shook hands like any two business guys would do, and went on inside. He went to the rest room and left me to order my drink which was prepared in short order...only customer with two baristas=great service. My drink was ready and he was not yet out, so I chose a table close to the door, but away from the other table and the prep area...so we could at least talk without fear of being easily overheard.
After he got his drink, the conversation proceeded normally...Yes, he was really most interested in making friends first. He started telling me his story, a riveting tale of his life, background, job, and then, he told me of his drug addiction, his legal issues, and finally, his HIV status as a result of the drug issues.
I sometimes refer to myself as a country boy from a small town...implying that I'm just a dumb cluck sometimes learning about life the hard way. Much of that is true, except I never really lived in the country....just a small bumfuck town. Still, I had not actually been close to a guy who I knew was HIV+, and had a lot to think about as we finished our drinks and departed.
It really didn't take long for me to decide. I knew that regardless of whether we ever had sex, he needed friends, and I could always do that. Later that night, I sent a note..."Thanks for the company, if you are up for lunch, let me know."