AB: Before you got into all of this – you said you started it as a hobby – you used online dating sites or online hookup sites?
CT: Yeah, I’ve been a computer geek since I was twelve – I’m 36 now – and I can remember even before the internet was really popular, I used to be on this old bulletin board called “The Back Door” and you had to dial a specific phone number to get into. This was before there was much going on on the internet at all. So, yeah, I’ve been fascinated with the online thing for a good ten years or longer.
AB: So what’s the fascination?
CT: I think the one limitation with meeting guys online is it takes away the whole element of chemistry – walking down the street, seeing somebody and having that spark. Obviously you can look at somebody’s picture online and get that sort of feeling, but it’s not quite the same as seeing someone in the flesh for the first time. Having said that, I think there are enormous benefits – people are willing to be honest about who they are and want they want.
AB: Do you think – going back to what you were saying about the chemistry – does it take the romance out?
CT: Um, no, I don’t think it takes romance out of the equation. Writing to somebody can become more of a romantic situation than, again, just meeting somebody in a bar or whatever. In some ways people are more courageous when they’re not standing in front of a stranger. I think romance is certainly more than possible. Again, I actually connected with my partner through our site.
AB: And how old is he?
CT: He’s 63. He’s a writer, Armistead Maupin.
AB: Really? I didn’t know that.
CT: You didn’t?
AB: Nope. Um, interesting – you guys are reversed: he’s 36 and he’s 63. Cute.
CT: Yeah! I’ve always been interested in older guys. He’s actually a little older than guys I’ve dated before, but it really doesn’t seem to come into play. We just get along extremely well and have a lot in common. I’ve had my fair share of frustrating relationships and it’s great meeting somebody who’s just really open and available for intimacy. He’s wonderful.
AB: Do you find with your experience that a lot of the attraction between people of different ages – obviously you can learn something, but it’s easier to trade ideas? If you’re dating somebody that’s your age, you’re drawing from the same historical experiences, so it may not be as exciting?
CT: In a lot of ways many gay men search for the other. A lot of guys go out with guys of different races, different cultures. I think when it’s an age difference, it’s the same thing, it serves its purpose: relating to somebody who’s different from yourself. I’ve never really been able to pin down why I’m attracted to older guys. I know there’s a whole assumption. I remember when I was coming out – I lived in New York – I felt that a lot guys my age were really critical: people just assumed that I was looking for a sugar daddy or I was a hustler. They didn’t believe that I could be attracted to older guys. That’s one of the reasons why I started the site: it’s a political statement saying that it’s okay to be attracted to something different than what the mainstream media tells us we should be attracted to and I’m kind of amazed how many people are on the same page.
AB: There’s a site that premiered earlier this year, you may be aware of it – I wish I could remember what it’s called, it’s basically a gold digging site that’s based in England. What do you think of that? It’s geared toward the same community, but it’s specifically financial arrangements, rather than relationships, sexual or otherwise.
CT: I guess my big issue with that is that I feel like I’ve always struggled with people that delegitimize my attractions – people assume it’s about money, so I love the idea of starting a place that really emphasizes that there are younger guys who are looking for love with older guys, who are looking for a real connection. And I’m sure there are guys on the site looking for a sugar daddy, too, but it’s certainly not the emphasis. I think that most guys who are intergenerational relationships are attracted to each other just like anybody else who falls in love with somebody because they think they’re hot or they like them emotionally or whatever. So, that’s my only issue with that site: it feeds into this stereotype.