December #108 : Faster Forward - by Peter McQuaid

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Table of Contents

Detectable Rebels

Now See This

Editor's Letter-December 2004

Mailbox-December 2004

Down on the Pharma

Show and Tell

Pushing the Envelope

First, the Bad News


Faster Forward

Prince Valiant


Pregnant Pauses

Moonlighting Statins

They Soothe Tootsies, Don’t They?

Trouble in Mind

Pharm School

View from the Top

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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December 2004

Faster Forward

by Peter McQuaid

An LA HIVer’s Saturday-night speed-dating debauchery

Like most folks, I loathe dating. All that “Could he be the One?” hysteria—in my case accelerated, despite HAART, by my HIV. I’m comfortable knowing my life may never be completed with a mate. But when Shanti, a chronic-illness support organization, hosted another West Hollywood Express Dating night for gay male HIVers, I thought, What the hell.

Speed-dating—pairing contenders in sound-bite encounters—has become as traditional as roses and chocolate. But Shanti is one of few that target positives. “Here, you don’t need to worry about a great date going sour the minute you disclose your status,” says emcee Jesse Pasackow.

So, here I am, 44, with 20 other guys. Some are looking for Mr. Right, some for Mr. Tight. (I want intellect, altruism and porno sex on demand.) Outfits range from preppie to sk8ter-boi wannabe. I’m given a number, name tag and rating sheet. We have five minutes to interview the person across from us, and no one gets dumped outright—mutual preferences receive contact info.

I’m now sitting before a 45-ish white guy in spandex shorts with a bleached-blond perm. “What’s your favorite movie?” I start. “Beaches.” Next! Here comes a Latino club boy. Endearing and cute, he looks only 23, and I’m wrecked that he’s positive. “What kind of music do you like?” I ask. “Mariah Carey.” How do I stretch “Really?” into three full minutes? Four men later, a seemingly mainstream guy replies, “Rock ’n’ roll—Patti Smith is coming to town on Tuesday.” This I can work with.

By the end of the evening, I’ve checked “yes” beside four names. A week later, Jesse calls: I have three matches. Uh-oh; that means “follow-up” and “commitment,” even if for only one evening. But at least disclosure isn’t an issue. My dates and I will have to focus on social graces and physical allure. You know, just like “normal” people.

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