It's started, and the Top 20 Singles issue hasn't even been out for a week -- hell, it's not even on newsstands yet.
Two guys have recognized me from the Chicago magazine profile so far (even though I'm well hidden behind that grotesque photo):
1) This guy, who found me on Friendster, and
2) One of Red Shirt's friends, whom I met briefly on Sunday night at the Andersonville street fair. I hadn't told Red Shirt about the Top 20 Singles thing (mostly because it would have some creepy -- and pretty arrogant -- "I just met you but I'm already projecting a lifetime of happiness on a few dates and I want you to know that you may be faced with a world of competition for my affections in the coming months" subtext), but he seemed to see the whole thing as kinda fun last night when he told me about his friend discovering me in the magazine.
I've gotten some other feedback from family and friends as well. Here are a few (some paraphrased) quotes:
"Jake, this is HUGE!"
"That's a horrible picture of you."
"My friends told me the profile doesn't even sound like you."
"I wondered why you didn't tell me about this. Now that I've seen the picture, I know why."
"It's about time they featured gay guys who aren't afraid to be openly gay."
"I hate the profile they wrote of you. It doesn't capture you at all. It captures the stereotypical gay male as viewed in the eyes of ignorant straight people. I find it offensive."
"That can't be the best picture they took of you."
"Did YOU pick that picture? It's awful."
"Congratulations! I hope you win!" (This quote is from a friend of my parents who obviously doesn't get that it's not some sort of competition.)
And speaking of Red Shirt and last night ...
Date Three was just as fun as dates One and Two. We saw The Stepford Wives, which is neither good nor bad but simply a lot of fun. We held hands during the movie, which is a MAJOR cool thing for me. We discovered our shared obsession for bargain hunting and then regaled each other with stories of great deals we've gotten on everything from clothes to furniture. He revealed his "dirty little secret" to me: He's a Republican. (I already knew that, though, through my spy, Anders.) And while anyone who willfully associates with the Republican party is a little suspect in my book, I'm more horrified by toe-the-line partisan politics on either side of the aisle than by Red Shirt's measured, selective association with the so-called Grand Old Party. Best of all, we capped off the night in each other's arms on his couch. Mmmmmm.
On the down side, our schedules are NOT date-friendly over the next two months. In fact, we've found two dates where we can get together between now and the end of July. On the upside, we've locked in those dates for each other, which means there's still a mutual spark. Next date: June 28!