Valentine's Day Sampler
St. Valentine's Day is the time for love -- romantic love to be sure, but also the love that exists between friends old and new, among family members, and across time and distance.
Every month in Body Positive, the Positive Connections department offers our readers a chance to meet one another and create new bonds of love and friendship. Recently we asked advertisers to share their experiences with readers -- what they were looking for, what made them look for it in Positive Connections, whether they were still looking.
Here are excerpts from some of the responses.
Tony H. writes:
I am loving, sensitive, and shy, and am in my last year at the College of New Rochelle. Presently employed in Civil Court, I am with someone without a commitment. I would like to be in a commitment, depending on how stable it turns out. I like to date. [See Tony's ad in this month's Positive Connections.]
From an advertiser who calls himself "A Saint in the City":
I am a 44-year-old Caucasian male of Italian descent. I spent about 25 years of my life struggling with the horrors of drug addiction. Although I had a strong suspicion that I was HIV-positive, it was not until 1991 that I received the news that would affect me in consistently profound ways.
The two-year relationship that I was in began to deteriorate. The issues that emerged during the new challenges of practicing safer sex overwhelmed me. I began to isolate emotionally and act out using drugs again. We split up.
I moved to Miami and tried to meet my emotional needs by practicing safer sex without disclosing my HIV status. This approach left me in a state of distress because it was basically dishonest. I have since done a great deal of soul searching and self-discovery. I am recovered today and practicing in my profession.
I have dated within our community and feel I have a lot to offer the right woman. I would really love to have a girlfriend to celebrate life with. The burdens of our daily struggles and the joys and rewards that accompany accomplishments are truly enhanced with a loving partner. I pride myself on being a caring man with decent values, who embraces a new-age philosophy that entails self-care and healing. I have a great sense of humor, am tolerant of diversity, have a strong libido, appreciate the beauty in nature, have a well-developed intellect, and am consciously evolved.
I am looking for a S/D female whose age range is 34-44 years old. Ideally, she will also embrace the above values. She understands the level of investment necessary to create and maintain a loving, compassionate relationship. She is sexy and provocative, allows for creativity and support, and understands that the nature of the human condition is essentially a spiritual proposition best savored through union with a partner.
I have been using Positive Connections as a forum to meet such a woman. I chose this because I am attempting to find a soulmate who is experiencing similar challenges as the result of HIV. The noninfected community of heterosexual women oftentimes appears to be judgmental about serostatus. My anxiety associated with rejection further influenced my decision to advertise in BP.
I am still pursuing a partner and have hope that with constant effort, prayer, and faith in the systemic goodness of the universe, she will avail herself.
When I first started placing personals it was with the intention of meeting people who were HIV-positive like myself. I got tired of being anonymous about my status. Writing an ad is very interesting, because you are extremely self-conscious and unable to say anything positive about yourself (ex., I think I am handsome, but will the reader?). Eventually you begin to write and you learn how to express yourself. Nevertheless I have been surprised how my ad has been interpreted! Sometimes you get a letter from a person who has read your ad but read qualities into it which you never intended. I remember getting a response from someone who was interested in someone married, which I am not but the person must have been misled by "straight acting." Anyway, you send the ad in and eventually forget about it until you receive the responses The responses are interesting, and I especially like the ones which come with a photo. Then I usually play telephone tag with a couple of letters which have struck me as in my league. If and when we connect we usually have a nice meal or cup of coffee. My pulse races, since I'm hoping this will be the one. Nevertheless, I realize that chemistry is something which is unpredictable and hard since I am doomed to take the person on face value. Maybe I am shallow, but I still believe that if I keep trying only something good can come out of it!
Another advertiser writes:
A couple of interesting responses. Still looking. You are performing a useful service.
From Dennis, in a Florida prison:
I got a response last week from a guy that lives alone in New York City. I wrote him and hope for a response soon.
As for what I was looking for, well, I'm just tired of not receiving mail and visits. I was hoping I would get five or six letters from anyone that would like to write me. I really just wanted some mail and friendship. I may have a desire to meet a special friend, but anybody that needs a friend or would like to be a friend would be welcome.
The reason I tried to find someone through Body Positive is I felt there may be somebody in bad health or in need of a true friend. I don't know a lot about AIDS or HIV, but I know that when an inmate has it, nobody wants to be his friend, and their health sometimes gets bad. I guess I was hoping or thinking I could find someone in need of a friend as bad as I am.
I only got one letter and I'm still waiting for his response. I got an X-mas card from someone I don't know. Maybe he saw my ad in BP. I will have to write and hope I get a response.
But I'm still looking and hoping. I appreciate y'all helping me. I don't know if it's my age or my being in prison, but I'm not having any luck getting a pen pal. I know I'll be getting out in a year or less, or maybe two, and I don't have friend one out there and I would sincerely like any friends I can find!
This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.