Chicken. Hawk.
Who is DAD?
DAD is "Desires Affectionate Daddy," another LW from the same column.
Wonder what happened.
If you're scared, then seriously consider not meeting him yet.
First, work to find a supportive community in "real time"
(not just online) such as PFLAG. Reach out to them.
Be known to someone, not just someone online.

Btw, you're taking good care of yourself by asking these questions.
That speaks volumes of good things about you. Wishing you all good things.

I'd work on the closeted thing before the internet dating thing. It does wonders for your overall confidence (and greater self-esteem means you're less likely to be easily manipulated). He might have had good reasons, but just being effing scared wasn't one of them. Hopefully he's in a stronger place now.
Haha -- I'd thought about it and had taken it to mean that DAD was Mr. Savage (i.e. Dan's father) who needed to exercise caution in his on-line romance pursuits. Pretty glad I got that clarified! Thanks @3!
As Darth Vader said, trust your feelings.
This one is worth repeating often.
I'm with @5 and @6. Life is better outside of the closet. It's Alleluia easier to get a feel for who a man is if you're not always looking over your shoulder, worrying about who might see you and what they might think.
There's also the possibility, if these two exchanged photos but didn't video chat or anything (was video chat even a thing in 2005?), that the photos of the other guy weren't actually a good representation of his true appearance - anything from using the very best photo ever taken of himself even though it was five years ago, to just flat-out using someone else's photo.
Or, just, Occam's Razor, a closeted dude has self-image issues.

Hell, I am by no means a handsome dude but I have definitely been "in the league" of some serious hotties. Obsessing over your looks, especially in the context of being found attractive by someone you consider attractive, is counterproductive. I don't know why some incredibly hot gentlemen have wanted to get me out of my clothes and I don't care. Just run with it!
Leagues. Strange things they are. They seem so important at times - usually in high school - and then something happens and you realise that all those demons telling you you're not good enough are just in your head.

I used to be really into this guy from school a few years back. We kind of danced around each other for a year or more. Eventually he admitted one night that he liked me, but had never said anything about it because he thought I was out of his league. I don't remember the exact words, but it was something along the lines of, why would a smart, confident woman who's five years older than me and has a job and a car and a home and is settled in the world and who never seems to falter or be scared of anything...why would someone like that be interested in a young, shy, not-at-all-confident emo musician who's so loaded with student debt that he has to take his dates to McDonalds?

I could have cried. Actually, I think I did cry. Because, ignoring the fact that I'm neither confident nor settled in the world, the whole time I'd been thinking, why would a beautiful, vital, frighteningly intelligent, sweet guy with a God-given musical talent and a wellspring of creativity in other areas, and more friends than I would know what to do with, be interested in a boring preppy suburban scientist who's totally incapable of creating anything beautiful or unique, and who's already getting saggy boobs and gray hair even though she's only five years older than him, and who feels like she's at retirement age already?

There's no answer for either of those questions. We like who we like. We're attracted to what we're attracted to, and we love who we love. Maybe the other person is a scumbag who thinks your insecurities make you an easy target. Maybe they're a confident person who sees something in you that they like. Or maybe, just maybe, the person who you think is out of your league, thinks that you're out of theirs.

I wish we could see ourselves the way others see us sometimes.

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