Milton had responded to a Craigslist ad I posted, looking for a taller, older guy with big arms for no strings attached (NSA) fun. The majority of the messages that I got were from closeted straight guys with no pics, much like Milton. He stood out though, despite not even giving me his real name (he was from Milton, Ontario so his pseudonym was fitting). I was growing increasingly dissatisfied with Scruff and Grindr, so despite the sketchiness of the medium, I decided to give Craigslist — and Milton — a chance.
Milton was 52 years old, 6’2 and 200lbs. That’s all I really knew, and on paper it sounded alright. All the characteristics of a hot daddy, right? Well, maybe. I had given him my phone number and he called, but it came in as “No Caller ID,” so I didn’t pick up. He sounded frightened in the message that he left — trembling, actually, so I knew that he really was closeted, which explained the unlisted number, lack of photo and fake name. Though reluctant, I concluded that I’d at least go for a coffee because I kind of felt bad for him.
The next day he called again. It came up as “No Caller ID,” but this time I picked up.
“Hi, Mike,” he said. “We finally got each other.”
“Yeah.” Then there was just an awkward silence.
“So . . . what are you into?” he asked.
At first I thought he meant sexually, but to go into some of the things that I’d been up to while in Berlin may have been too much for him.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Like, do you play sports?”
“Sports?” God bless him. I could tell by his tone that he meant actual sports; it wasn’t code for something else.
“Well, I like camping, if that’s a sport. I went on a canoe trip earlier this summer,” I said. “I do love hiking, though.”
“That’s really neat,” he said. He was into hiking too. He had walked most of the Bruce Trail throughout different parts of Ontario. He also explained that he went to the YMCA in Milton three times a week to use the treadmill.
He then told me about a cross-country Canadian trip that he’d done out to British Columbia, visiting all the provincial and national parks between Milton and Vancouver. “Did you know you can stay in university dorms for a reasonable price?”
“Like, at the UBC campus or something?” I said.
“They have the most gorgeous one, yeah. Have you been?”
“No, actually —”
“Well, if you’re traveling during the summer months you really should consider it.”
“Okay. Okay. That’s cool. I had no idea.”
“Most people don’t,” he said laughing. I was now confident that he wasn’t a serial killer using Craigslist to find his prey. On the other hand, maybe he’s just a really good one who distracts his victims with small talk about nature trails.
“Nice. Anyway, are you around this week for a coffee?” I asked. He was available on the Thursday but he could only meet at lunch time because he was married. I was going to be in Guelph, and he preferred somewhere outside of Milton, so we agreed on a coffee shop in downtown Guelph. I told him to call me an hour before just to confirm because I didn’t have a number to reach him. He agreed.
I was starting to envision what Milton looked like based on his voice. I initially thought that he must be this 52-year-old, 6’2, 200lbs daddy but instead his voice reminded me of my Grade 11 chemistry teacher, Mr Bryce, who had always been my favourite. I imagined that Milton wore plaid Arnold Palmer short sleeve shirts with an undershirt that was so thin that you could see through the material. For sure he drove a Toyota station wagon for his cross country trip. Would he have gone with his wife, though? I imagined him doing it solo, I don’t know why. In any case, whatever image I had hoped for had been altered by that phone call.
I found a male body visualizer online to help me get a better idea of what he might look like in lieu of a photo. Not only had he given me his height and weight but his waist size too, so I input all of his stats into the site and it came back with a three-dimensional rendering of Milton, who I could turn into any primary or secondary colour thanks to the gradient toolbar.
As I looked at this featureless figure meant to be Milton, it occurred to me how ridiculous it was that, A, I thought there might be a website that does this; B, that there is a website that does this; and C, that I was using it as if it were completely normal. I also found the rendering hot, despite the fact that it didn’t have facial features. I knew, though, that the only way to know what he looked like was to meet him.
Thursday came around and he gave me a call to confirm . . .