On Communication and Commitment Differences

Before I write about what I really wanted to blog about, I want to get something out there which is very important for me. In my series “An European Gay in Chicago” (which afterwards I would have better named “An European Kinkster in Chicago”…) I am blogging about everything which I find curious in the American scene from a European perspective. Sometimes my remarks may sound picky because due the culture shock I am experiencing I am seeing things more clearly than a tourist or an expat is seeing them after a week or a year. Sometimes my blog entries may sound presumptuous having the tone that everything is bad in the USA and that they should learn from the good Europeans how to make it good or right. I don’t intend both effects, I am actually a bit sad that they occur but there is no way from stopping them to do so. These lines are my highly subjective impressions which reflect my experiences. So some things might be unpleasant for me where most people don’t bother. Especially not Americans since they have been socialized into this culture and perceive them as normal. So for every experience, for every observation I make I am thankful because I am experiencing the rich and complex American culture and am forced to reflect my own one which is always a good thing.

But now back to the original topic. Two weeks ago I complained a bit that due to the nature of the major online dating networks in the US finding good people to play with is very difficult. Luckily since then I have come in contact with a group of very experienced and very sympathetic kinkster. I value these contacts very much and hope that someday sooner or later will become friends. However I am struggling a bit with the American attitude towards online communication. I am used to an actual online conversation which for me means the exchange of several messages in a short term of time. Especially when trying to set a BDSM date this is vital for me because likes and experiences need to be exchanged and clarified in order to make a good session both can enjoy. But in America I have made the experience that people tend to ignore messages for days or read them and reply hours or days later. I know that my conversation partner don’t mean it or want to put me off on purpose, I actually fear that they perceive my in their eyes probably overenthusiastic communication drive as pushy and clingy. Yet as much as they cannot strive from their learned communication habits I can’t really free myself from my learned expectations. So chatting with people in the US is sometimes very frustrating for me and probably also for my chat partner. Despite that I hope that I will have more good and deep session in the USA.

Another thing towards I am very ambivalent is the American friendliness in combination with the value of commitment. In Germany we have a saying: “When you spend a four week vacation together with strangers, having neighboring beach chairs for the entire time, talk every day, feel very sympathetic towards each other and promise each other that you will spend another vacation together, there is a 10% chance if they are Europeans that this will happen and a 0% chance when they are Americans.” This American character is based in the welcoming and friendly yet a bit superficial attitude. Of cause this has advantages: Coming to the US or being for the first time at Chicago Hellfire Club I felt welcomed, people were interested and talked to me. Being approached so openly will never happen in Germany! The drawback is: People try to not be unfriendly or put you off. So when you hand out Recon nicks at Grindr or in real live in order to chat more easily and figure out if there is a common basis for a date, the chance that the people will never get back to you or will ignore your messages is very high. Yet again: I might just lower my expectations in order to not be disappointed but pushing back 25 years of socialization is a hard thing to do.

So while writing this blog entry, it turned out grimmer then I wanted it to be. I don’t want to convey a wrong impression: I am really enjoying my stay in the USA and love being in contact with locals, especially local kinksters equally for talking and torturing. What I am currently experiencing is the normal culture shock everybody is going through when he is staying there for a longer period of time. So to close this sadly a bit somber blog entry, a happy quote a good friend who has been an expat in the USA once told me and which especially applies to the special experiences kinkster make: Sundays wouldn’t be special if it wasn’t for rain.

Keeping these words in mind, I wish you a good, successful and kinky week.

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