3 min

Getting to the root of flakiness

The pitfalls of social psoriasis

The bottle says that to deal with flakes, I should use this shampoo liberally. How can I deal with the flaky mess left behind by human dandruff?

Socializing in a gay man’s realm reminds me of that Hollywood cliché: “Don’t call us, we’ll call you”. The exception being that when you leave that audition you are sure you’ll never hear from them again.

Do gay men have a natural born tendency toward flakiness? Is there something within our DNA that causes us to mince words, break engagements, cancel plans or not show up at all? When did sticking to a set time and place become an insurmountable challenge?

Flaky is an adjective that has come a long way from connotations of eccentricity and mild insanity.

Nowadays, it refers to a person with a flighty and finicky character. By definition, they are not reliable people. These “flakes” may be decent and even upstanding members of society but they should not be trusted.

I bring this up because once again I found myself duped by a gay flake. I made the simple mistake of asking him out.

Now I have been working under the assumption that when someone says they will “go for a drink” with you, they actually mean it. Feeling every bit a damn fool, I waited for his call.

The date never happened.

Aren’t men supposed to ditch you after you have slept with them?

On a separate occurrence, an old friend of mine from school recently moved to the city. Excited to meet up with him again after an eight-year estrangement, we made plans to catch up.

The last I heard from him was an answering machine message saying, “Sounds good. Friday works for me” or something to that effect. After trying to get a hold of him for several weeks, I was left baffled by his absence.

Trying to pin down a gay man reminds me of that carnival game where you have to hit a groundhog as it pops its head out a hole. You never know when or where those buggers are going to pop up. I give the gamesman dollar after dollar and still can’t manage to whack them.

I was never very good at that game.

Although this entry reeks of bitter swill, I am by no means an innocent in all of this.

Gavin is an adorable British gent I met a couple years ago. We went out for drinks, grabbed dinner and made out on his couch.

Ever since, we have had every intention of meeting up again. The trouble is we are both too flakey to make this happen. Plans are made and broken. Dates are scheduled but never occur.

It is quite obvious the two of us are attracted to each other and yet our respective issues just seem to get in the way.

How does one deal with social psoriasis?

I could not resist doing some research on those of us whose brains are scattered all over the place.

Brent Roberts, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois says that flakes lack a fundamental personality trait: conscientiousness. This trait is equal parts industriousness, impulse control, organization, interpersonal responsibility and conventionality.

Conscientiousness comes when you move outside yourself and invest your energy in others such as family and friends. It is believed that those who marry and raise a family become less self-involved and ultimately become more dependable.

Are gay men just too damn free-spirited? Has living outside the social constructs of courtship, marriage and breeding been contributing to a kind of mass flakiness? Do we feel we don’t have any obligations toward proper social etiquette?

Last month, I mused over the delayed adolescence many gay men experience once they have come out. According to another psychologist Timothy Pychyl, flakiness stems from a tendency to procrastinate. He believes that those of us who never endured a “youthful identity crisis” and never committed to what we wanted out of life are likely to be chronic procrastinators. Thus, a flake is born.

There is hope for us all.

I consulted a book by Michael Edelstein who gives some helpful hints on de-flaking yourself.

The trick is to distance yourself from your present thoughts and apprehensions and consider the long term effects of skipping out on an obligation.

I can think of countless men I have never called back for no apparent reason at all.

Regrets. I’ve got a few.

The only thing worse than being a flake is dealing with a flake.

Because I am a delicate flower, I tend to take things personally.

You can’t do that with flakes. Ultimately, they are decent people with weak social skills.

Hey, I’m not alone after all!