Archive for January, 2012

Let’s Talk About… God?

Christmas Eve, my family and I always go to mass. We wake Christmas morning and open presents, so we go the night before.

Every year when we get home, it’s a tradition for my family to take a picture in front of the tree. I am always the obligatory photographer, which for some reason I strongly resent. Everyone in my family has a point and shoot and knows how to set up a tripod and click a button. I’m not exactly sure why it is my duty just because I’ve taken photography classes. I digress…

We take the family portrait and make our ways to our separate rooms to take off the Christmas outfits and get comfortable for the rest of the night.

My father and my sister wanted to watch a football game, and my mother and I had no interest. I can’t for the life of me remember what we decided to watch, but we were in the family room while the other two were in the living room watching the game.

Somehow my mother and I got back on the topic of church and the changes to the mass. For those non-Catholics out there, the Vatican altered the verbiage used in the mass this year. Apparently when they originally translated the mass, they messed up. All of a sudden they felt the need to “fix” it to be truer to the original text. I was arguing the changes weren’t necessary. The changed things like the following: The priest says, “Peace be with you.” In the past the congregation responded, “And also with you.” Now, the response is, “And with your spirit.” To me, those changes are semantics.

My mother heavily disagreed. She felt the changes were necessary and good. She felt it helped her pay closer attention to the mass. To me, it was a distraction. I was now paying more attention to a piece of paper I had to read than I was to the mass. My mother asked me if my priest had been explaining the changes, and somewhere I slipped up. It became apparent I hadn’t been going to church every week.

My mother got heated about that issue. “You haven’t been going to church every week, have you? But you had no problem receiving communion tonight!”

My sister and I had discussed religion and my status as a gay man on numerous occasions. I told her there was going to come a point where I told my parents I don’t want to go to church anymore more. She asked that I hold off on that for a while. I told her I wasn’t going to bring it up anytime soon. I wasn’t going to bring this topic up, but when my mother brought up this topic, I was gonna go with it.

“Really, Mom? Really? That’s going to be the reason I don’t go up to receive communion?” I quipped. “What do you mean? she said. “I mean, not going to church is going to be the reason I don’t get communion, not me being gay?” I responded.

My mother voiced her opinion that being gay is not a sin. Not attending church is a sin. I pointed out to her that both are sins in the eyes of The Church. She tried to convince me The Church’s stance on homosexuality is based on decisions made by men, and not attending church goes against a God-given law in the commandments. I pointed out to her the commandment to honor thy wife. (I know my argument is flawed here because the commandment refers to adultery). She sighed a bit because I did have a point in her mind.

“Well then everyone who’s ever had premarital sex shouldn’t be receiving communion either,” she added. “Exactly! That’s exactly what the Catholic Church believes,” I told her.

“Well then I shouldn’t be receiving communion because I’ve used birth control,” she noted. “Exactly. If you don’t believe birth control is a sin, then you’re not truly Catholic. You’re Catholic lite,” I exclaimed. “I have never been a true Catholic. I’ve always been a ‘cafeteria Catholic.’ I pick and choose what I want to believe. That is what religion is. It’s personal. I don’t always need to go to a specific building with a specific man to have a relationship with God.”

“You’re not going to church because you’re lazy, not because it’s against something you believe,” my mother accused. “I don’t want to be a part of an organization that doesn’t want me to be a part of it. It’s insulting. I am a man of convictions,” I defended.

“Then why go at all?” she asked. “I go because sometimes I want to go. Sometimes I want to be in church and among other people. And, sometimes I can’t get over it, and I decide not to go. But, that’s my choice. Religion is personal. So maybe I’m not a Catholic, but I am still a Christian. And, I still believe in God.” I declared.

My mother wasn’t happy with this. She was raised staunchly Catholic, and it’s been a part of her entire life. She didn’t see my side of the argument at all, but it was clear it was upsetting her. She had been crying during the conversation, and she’d had enough. She said, “I need to go to bed,” and turned to leave the room.

I walked into the other room with my father and sister. My dad asked, “Did you chase your mother to bed?” I told him, “She wanted to talk about God and gays. You can see how well that went. I wasn’t going to bring it up, but when she did, I wasn’t going to avoid it.” With that, the subject was closed.

I felt bad she got upset, but I was honest about my feelings. It’s how I felt. I really wish it wasn’t how we spent our Christmas Eve, but it had to happen sometime. It wasn’t a positive conversation, but at least the subject was broached, and at least we were having an open dialogue.

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Texts From the South

Smiles was halfway across the country and Christmas was rapidly approaching. There’s something about dating someone over the holidays that makes you really appreciate that person. There’s also something to be said about being single over the holidays that makes me utterly depressed. I was happy to be on the dating side of the fence this year, but I would certainly miss Smiles.

While he was home, he sent me periodic texts out of the blue. I got a few picture messages of him and his mother’s dog on the beach and some pictures from around town. They were sweet simple texts that showed me even though he was many states away, he was still thinking about me throughout his day.

This seemed a bit of a stark contrast to the conversation we had just before he left. He told me he couldn’t be in a serious relationship right now. If that was the case, why was he reaching out to me even when I wasn’t around. I started to wonder if maybe he didn’t know what he wanted.

As he was driving around, he called me to chat. It was a really sweet conversation. He was asking how I was doing and what I’d been up to since everyone left town ahead of me. He was telling me all about where he grew up and his old high school. We talked about his mother a fair amount and her business. He sent me a picture of some of the things she worked on.

I was getting access to mother information. You don’t share that with someone you don’t truly care about. I was getting more of him. It was exactly what I wanted. I wanted to know more about where he came from. I wanted him to open up. I wanted it all.

Maybe my conversation sparked something inside him. Maybe he realized he wasn’t appreciating me as much as he should, but there certainly was a stark difference between the time we spent together before the conversation and the time following.

As the rest of the family was arriving into town, Smiles started getting anxious. This is something he did regularly — Got worked-up over small things. He was texting me about solutions to the problem, such as drinking. I encouraged him to do whatever made him comfortable. There was no reason he couldn’t have a few cocktails to take off the edge if it would make him more relaxed. He was anxious about talking about his career. He was still working hard to get it off the ground, and I think he was ashamed about that. I told him he needed to be proud for being so brave for starting something from the ground floor. Not many people can do that. They just go work for someone who has already done all the heavy lifting. He has very low self-esteem when it comes to his job, and he has no reason to. No one finds overnight success, and I have strived to convey this to him constantly while being very supportive of all his ventures.

I think my pep-talk worked because his texts became more light-hearted and relaxed. Either that, or he took my advice with the cocktails to a much higher level.

The morning my sister and I were driving home to Pennsylvania, he texted just to see how my day was going. Again, I love these sweet gestures that show he’s thinking about me. I was much happier over the past few days than I was immediately following our conversation.

When I got home, I had no cell phone service. It makes it a little more difficult to talk without a little more effort. I made sure he had my parents’ landline number, but I knew he wouldn’t call it. He probably didn’t want to have to talk to anyone if he called and they picked up.

I had his number, but now I was settling in with the family. I wasn’t home for long, so I wanted to make sure the time I was there, I was present. I didn’t want to be running off constantly making phone calls.

It was Christmas Eve, and I was off to mass with my family. I texted him on the way to say hi and let him know I was thinking about him.

When I came back out of mass, I had a response. He told me he dodged the church bullet. I told him I wasn’t so lucky. My parents’ priest is one of the most boring people I have ever encountered. Going to church is penance in itself.

I wished him a Merry Christmas Eve just before driving out of cellphone service. We were on our way home to take our annual family Christmas photo before relaxing for the rest of the night in front of the TV…

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Bradley Cooper?

Welcome to Fast-Forward Fridays!!!

For a limited time only, I’m trying something new. After receiving many requests to bring the blog closer to real-time, I have decided to start releasing two posts on Friday. I hope you like the new addition. Scroll to the previous post below to keep up to date with the story. Keep your eyes open for new and exciting things to come…

On with this special edition of One Gay At A Time…

Wednesday morning I dropped Smiles off at the airport. I felt like a chauffeur considering the goodbye I received at the curb.

After running my errands, I was home alone with my thoughts. My good friend, A proposed we hang out, and I jumped at the opportunity. She was passing through Hoboken to the city since a coworker was giving her a ride. It would be a great distraction, and I needed to catch her up since the last time we chatted, I was in need of the “where are we” conversation.

She arrived at my apartment, and I made us dirty martinis because we were both due for a good stiff drink. She proposed we go out for dinner, and I agreed since I wasn’t in the mood to cook food. A suggested we go there to Cucharamama. I’d never been, but I’d heard some great things, so I was on-board.

We walked the few blocks to the restaurant in the drizzling rain and got a nice table in the back of the restaurant. It was cozy and warm, and I was happy to be out of the bad weather. We sat and she told me about how things are with her boyfriend.

A month or so ago, she’d told me about the communication problems they had shortly after moving in together. Apparently, things had greatly improved and they seemed to be finding their groove. I was happy for her.

My relationship was taking a different direction. I told her about the conversation we had the night before. I told her everything he said when I asked him where we stood as a couple. A was already skeptical going in. When I last told her how I was feeling about things, she told me it was time to move on. She didn’t think he was right for me. She told me, “You need someone who will worship you. You need someone who is as into you as you are them because you as so giving in a relationship.”

She was kinda right, but I was still going to give him a chance. It wasn’t like I was blissfully unaware of our issues, but I wasn’t willing to turn my back on him because of it.

After I told her my feelings and thoughts on my current situation with Smiles, she agreed with my plans to proceed. I told her I was going to continue to date him, but I wasn’t going to close myself off to other possibilities should they come my way. I wasn’t going to completely throw myself out there and jump back on or Grindr, but I also was going to be open to possibilities. I knew I deserved better, and so did she. I was going to give him a short window of time to prove he was going to treat me better, but if that window closed, I was ready to move on. There was no reason for me to immediately drop Smiles. I had no other prospects lined up. Why not give him a chance.

Then the conversation switched to men and women in general. We talked about emotions and dating. The topics of masculinity and femininity came up, and we exchanged our opinions on both. It was a very friendly debate, and I really enjoyed and appreciated the time with her. If there was a time I needed her, it was then. We ordered glasses of wine and a few appetizers and main courses and shared all of them. All the food was great, but the company really made the night. I needed someone to talk to about what was going on in my love-life, but I also needed someone who wouldn’t let me dwell on it and change the subject after we’d discussed it at length.

I wasn’t even thinking about Smiles by the time the check came. And, because my friend A is overly generous, she would not let me pay for dinner. She paid the entire bill. She wouldn’t even let me pay the tip. If anything, I should have been paying for it since she was helping me and giving me what I needed. She gave me the confidence boost I needed to realize what is best for me and seek it out.

I needed to return my friend’s keys since I borrowed his car to take Smiles to the airport, so I said goodbye to A at the restaurant with a hearty hug and went in the other direction towards his apartment. I returned his keys and stayed to chat a bit before heading home for the night.

My roommate was at trivia that night, and it was a block from my friend’s apartment. So, I joined him for the close of the night. Ironically, the host of trivia was Adam from Big Brother. I’m quite a fan of the show, so I chatted him up a bit about what it was like to live in the house. I’d love to be on that show, and I think I’d clean up.

When I got home, I was bored and a little horny. I decided to hop on It was usually a good go-to for casual fun and an ego boost. The talent on their wasn’t exactly great, but I managed to find a decent guy to chat with and have some camera fun. He paid me numerous compliments, and I ate them up. He told me I looked great. Over the three months I dated Smiles, I think I got maybe five compliments from him. This guy paid me five in five minutes. I needed it. I often need validation. It’s a defect, but it’s who I am.

When the guy told me I looked like Bradley Cooper, I questioned him. I thought he was just stroking my ego to keep me interested in him, but when I questioned him on it, he insisted. I’d heard that in the past, but for some reason he made me start to believe it. I really needed that.

The time came to end my chat with my new online friend and get ready for bed. I realized I hadn’t heard from Smiles all day. He was probably settling in with his family, but he also told me he’d call me later that night when I dropped him at the airport. I was disappointed. He wasn’t exactly winning my affections already. I laid there as my mind struggled with what to do. I wasn’t sure how to proceed, but it certainly would be with caution.

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Waking up with the feeling of dread is never a good thing. Upon opening my eyes, I immediately knew something was wrong. It all came crashing back. I remember the conversation I had with Smiles the night before in my bed. It didn’t go as well as I would have liked it.

I needed to reassess the situation and make a decision before proceeding. One thing was for sure; I was going to proceed with caution. No longer was I going to invest so much of myself into a one-sided relationship. Smiles was still interested, and I had optimism the relationship could still progress towards something good. However, I could no longer devote so much of myself to someone who wasn’t doing the same for me.

I had that day off, but I had to wake very early. I needed to get my friend’s car keys before he went to work so I could take Smiles to the airport. When I volunteered to take the day off from work, I thought it would be a perfect way to see him off. I wanted to be both helpful and selfish. I wasn’t going to get to see him for a week, let alone on Christmas. The next best thing I could get was sending him off at the airport.

I climbed out of bed, put on clothes and rode my motorcycle over to my friend’s place. I swapped the bike for his car and drove back to my apartment. When I got back to my room, there were a few minutes left before Smiles was supposed to wake to get ready for his flight. I undressed and climbed back into bed.

Since we went to see the stage-show the night before, and he was working through the day before, he wasn’t able to pack yet. When my alarm went off, we woke and got ready to make our way into the city so he could pack.

I drove him through the Holland Tunnel and stopped in front of his apartment. There were no legal spots available, so I had to sit in the car while he got ready. When he got out of the car, Smiles checked out another street and texted me from his apartment: “If you wait another five minutes, you can park on the other street at the meters.” It was nice of him to check that out so I wouldn’t have to sit in the car alone the whole time.

I joined him upstairs and tried my best to assist. When he was ready, we got back into the car and set off for the airport.

My question from the night before was still in the back of my head. The car ride was rather quiet. It was as if we were both searching for something to talk about. I had yet another question burning a hole in the back of my mind. I had no New Year’s Eve plans, and all my friends did. I didn’t want to spend it alone, but Smiles hadn’t mentioned it to me. I had no idea what his plans were, but I wanted to spend it with him. The conversation from the night before didn’t change that. I was about to ask him if we could spend it together, but as we neared the airport, things got hectic because he wasn’t sure which terminal he was flying out of. That question would have to wait until later.

Once we had that settled, I found a space at curbside and helped him unload. We exchanged a very quick hug and kiss as he set off for home for the holidays. It was very unceremonious. I don’t know if he was self-conscious because we were in public or if it was because he still felt awkward, but I was very disappointed. That was not the way I wanted to be kissed by the man I was dating but not seeing on Christmas. That was not a proper goodbye.

As he walked away, he turned back and said, “I’ll call you later tonight.”

Since I had my friend’s car and the rest of the day off, I decided to run an errand I’d been neglecting. I took a route home that allowed me to stop by Michael’s to pick up a large panoramic photo I had framed. All that alone time is NOT good for me. It’s a sure to produce over-thinking and slight depression. I really didn’t know how to proceed. There was a fork in the road, and I wasn’t sure which road to take.

I decided to make a stronger effort to engulf myself with my friends. I wasn’t going to give so much of myself to Smiles, and in turn, I would fill that void with friendship. After I ran my errand, I went home and watched TV on the couch. I needed to distract myself with some form of entertainment, but it wasn’t working. I was still thinking about what I was going to do. I hopped on Facebook while watching TV and got a message from N: “I miss you buddy.” I hadn’t hung out with him since we broke up with the exception of my holiday party. Maybe it was time to give friendship with him another chance. I hit him up to see what he was up to. He was going out that night and told me he would keep me in the loop regarding his plans so we could hang out.

I know Smiles was settling in the with family, and I wouldn’t expect him to call. But, it would be nice if he called, even if just to let me know he landed safely. That night, I never heard from Smiles…

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Popping the Question

Another night went by, and I was still in the dark about where I stood in Smiles‘ eyes. He had to be somewhat interested, otherwise why would he be sticking around. However, the question remained, was he interested enough for me?

Out of nowhere, Smiles asked me to come with him to see a Christmas play in New Jersey. One of the men he worked with on his movie wrote a spoof on the Nutcracker and thought to ask me to come with him.

I was so frustrated! I was getting mixed signals in every direction. He didn’t invite me to casual Christmas parties, but he invited me to be his guest for a stage-play. I graciously accepted the invitation, but informed him I had a doctor’s appointment I would have to change if we wanted to get a ride from his friends instead of taking the train.

I managed to change my appointment, so I planned to just make my way to his apartment when I finished. I called him as I walked out of my office, but he told me he was still working. I had nowhere to kill time after the doctor really, but I didn’t exactly feel welcome to go down to Smiles’ apartment and hang out while he finished what he needed to do. I figured I would walk around Union Square and try to find something to kill time.

My appointment ended later than expected, and when I called Smiles after, he told me he was wrapping up work, and I could come by. I asked him if he wanted anything from Starbucks and walked towards his apartment.

We didn’t have a lot of time before we were supposed to be picked up, but just enough time to chat a bit and move a few more of his boxes to his storage unit.

When we got picked up, the driver/writer asked me what my connection was. “I know [Smiles],” I responded. I was purposely ambiguous because I myself would like to know the answer to that question. When he asked for clarification, Smiles spoke up and said, “We’re dating.” I was happy to hear him say it publicly for once, but I still didn’t quite know what that meant. At least it was verbalized. He then elaborated as to how long we’ve been dating. He pinpointed it to around the time of the NYC screening of his film. In my mind, I did the math. That was about a month after I met Smiles. Apparently I was one month ahead of him as far as our timelines were concerned. I’d already journeyed out to The Hamptons to see his film once before that night.

The rest of the ride was casual. Smiles even playfully reached his hand down and tickled my crotch. “That’s going to make for an interesting car ride,” I said to him. Smiles sat between myself and one of his friends I’d met twice before. Some in the car were joking about Jersey, and it was interesting to see Smiles defending it now that I’ve given him a more positive opinion about it. I kinda got to know his friend a little better, and I thought he was a good guy. I liked knowing that I could get along well with one of Smiles’ best friends.

When we arrived in the town, we all went out to dinner. It was pleasant, and I met a few new people. Over the course of the meal, somehow it came up that Smiles used to be a dancer. He’d taken classes throughout childhood. This was news to me. Even his good friend didn’t know about it. When I went to make a comment, Smiles jokingly shushed me out of embarrassment. He told me I wasn’t allowed to bring it up again.

We got to the theater and took our seats. Our group was all over the auditorium. Smiles and I were nowhere near anyone else. Before the show started, we cracked a few jokes and made some sexual innuendos about the Nutcracker on the stage curtain. I liked the playfulness I was witnessing in Smiles for once.

The show was far from good, but I had fun with it. I wasn’t expecting a Broadway hit. Smiles was nonplussed.

We got a ride back, and swapped Smiles’ friend for another. When we were getting in the car, Smiles had the friend sit in the middle. I’m significantly taller than anyone in the car, so I wasn’t going to sit in the middle, but the fact that Smiles wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice to sit next to me I found VERY off-putting. I sat next to a stranger, which I’m comfortable with, instead of the man I was dating for an hour-long car ride.

I became the topic of conversation once again. This time it was about my origins. They were surprised to learn I grew up on a farm. “Oh. A farm boy. Better hold onto this one [Smiles],” the driver exclaimed. The rest of the ride home was casual as well. They were kind enough to drop us at my apartment since Smiles was spending the night.

It was late, so we immediately began to get ready for bed. “What’s with you and the purple underwear?” he said. I informed him it was navy. I showed him my one pair of purple underwear and said, “This is purple.” I continued with, “What? Don’t you like it?” He told me he did. He was just surprised I had such colorful underwear. I hardly find navy boxer briefs all that arresting, but I went with it.

We hopped into bed and spooned for a little while we chatted about a few random things. I wasn’t going to see Smiles for some time after that night because of the Christmas break, so there was no way I was making it through the night without getting my answer on where we were. Somehow the topic of chatroulette and manroulette came up. I explained to him how it worked and told him it was how I met the first guy I dated.

As time passed, we turned out the light. We were still snuggling when I finally built up the courage to say, “So where are we?”

“Somewhere between Hoboken and SoHo,” he joked. I responded, “That’s an avoiding answer if I ever heard one.”

After a pause, Smiles said, “I can’t be in a serious relationship right now. When I am, I put a lot of myself into it, and I can’t let myself do that. I need to concentrate on my career right now. But, I really enjoy hanging out with you and spending time with you.”

I took a second to absorb what he just said to me. It wasn’t the answer I was looking for, but it also wasn’t a crushing blow. My response was: “I was pretty much okay with whatever answer you had for that question. I just needed to know where I stood. I would like to continue to move forward, but I’m not in any rush or anything.” He knew I wasn’t thrilled with his answer. I don’t know if it was out of fear I would leave or if he truly was concerned with my feelings on the situation, but he added, “If it becomes a problem, let me know.”

We cuddled some more and went to sleep. I was relieved to finally have the answer. I felt a huge weight lift off my back. I was also horny. I tried to seduce him. “If you keep rubbing me, I’m never going to fall asleep,” he retorted. I quickly quipped, “Maybe that’s what I’m going for.”

I didn’t keep putting up a fight. I knew it was useless. He was stubborn enough that he’d certainly win that battle. I made myself comfortable to sleep and tried not to dwell on the news I’d just received. It was time to sleep. Worrying about what he said would only get in the way of that. Tomorrow was another day…

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A Pointless Cancellation

When Smiles and I spoke on the phone Sunday night on his way home from a party in Connecticut, I asked him to come to my apartment for a special dinner Monday night. He told me he had to work, but he was going to leave early and we’d just eat a little later. I told him this was perfect since it would take some time to cook the roast after work.

I’d told Smiles about my standing rib roast before, and he didn’t quite get what it was. I explained to him the similarity of it what one might be served at a carving station at a wedding reception. He got a clearer picture, but it still wasn’t crystal clear.

I had a rib roast in my freezer with our name on it. I finally had a chance to cook it for us, and he was on-board. I was excited. It was a plan.

Monday morning, before work, I took the roast out of the freezer to thaw for that night. I planned out the accoutrements as well. I was very excited for our romantic night. It’d been a while since we spent time together. I wanted a night of beef, wine, couch, and bed. The thought sounded spectacular to me!

What excited me even more was the idea of my sanity back. I planned to ask Smiles that night where we stood. I didn’t need a title. I didn’t need to be his boyfriend. I just wanted to know where his head was at.

I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but that’s what my inner dialogue is. I get fixated on something, and it exhausts me until I get some closure on the issue.

Much to my chagrin, at 1:00 that afternoon, Smiles sent me a text with some bad news. “Looks like I have people coming tonight so I’m not going to be able to sneak out. I don’t think dinner at 11:00 would be the bet. Do you want to have an early dinner here in the city before he show?” Very disappointed, I agreed with a “Sure.”

I was p*ssed. It wasn’t his fault, but I was a little crushed since I was taking so much care to plan out the evening, and it all went to sh*t. He suggested we do it another night, but came up with a consolation prize. He suggested I come over to his apartment for dinner instead before the screening. I begrudgingly agreed to the idea since it’d been so long since I’d seen him, and I sent my roommate a text asking him to put the roast back in the freezer.

When I finished work, I made my way downtown to his apartment. When I arrived, I was shocked to be received with a nice big kiss. Maybe he missed me. Maybe I wasn’t just a seat warmer in this relationship. There was actually emotion behind that kiss. I was happy.

I was a little anxious because I was still planning to ask him where we stood that evening.

He told me he had food in the fridge to make and suggested we cook that instead of going out for dinner. He preferred that since he wasn’t feeling well, and he was exhausted. It made no difference to me. Asking him my question in the privacy of his apartment sounded like such a better idea than in a restaurant anyway.

I ended up cooking the pork chops and asparagus for the two of us since Smiles wasn’t quite himself. We sat and ate — Him at his computer chair working while he ate and me on the couch. Not nearly the romantic meal I planned for the evening. When we finished, I helped him clean up and put the leftovers away. He started getting ready for the rest of his night, and we talked about my plans. He asked if I was planning to spend the night. “Well, I guess the first question I should ask is if you were planning to come to the screening tonight,” he added.

This was the first I was hearing this. I was quite open to the idea, but I told him, “I have nothing for work tomorrow. You were supposed to be coming out to Hoboken, remember.” “Right,” he responded. I reminded him I’d seen the movie twice now, but if he wanted company, I would come with him. I asked if he actually watches the movie, or if he does other things during the film. He told me he usually watches most of it. Things remained unsettled as he made his way over to the couch to take a quick nap on me.

That was my opportunity to ask him my burning question. Every moment I tried to open my mouth, I froze. Nothing would come out. I was suddenly transported back to when I sat on the couch trying to tell my parents I was gay. The anxiety was making my heart pound out of my chest. I tried over and over to ask him, but I couldn’t muster the courage. I’m not sure what I was afraid of, but it was driving me insane.

After a half hour of this, it was time for him to get up. I asked him if he wanted me to sleep over, or did he want to get some rest alone. We made a final decision. It was better he get some uninterrupted rest that night since he was so exhausted as much as I wanted to spend the night with him. He told me, “It’s very sweet of you to offer to see the film again to spend the night with me.” I liked hearing that. He recognized the sacrifice I was willing to make to spend time with him.

With that, I said goodbye, and he made his way to the screening while I made my way to the PATH — Without my answer.

I was so p*ssed at myself for getting so worked up about a stupid question. What was wrong with me?! Obviously, I needed someone to talk to. I tried Boston, my therapist. I needed him to talk me off the ledge and help me make sense of the situation. I couldn’t do it on my own. We talked it over for over a half hour and he convinced me I had no choice but to blatantly ask him where we stood. We even helped me nail down the phrasing.

When I got to the other side of the tunnel in Hoboken, I got a text from Smiles telling me he was on his way home. His friends never showed. My blood was boiling. We cancelled our dinner plans for NOTHING. I still had no closure on where I stood with Smiles. It certainly was going to be a toss-n-turn kinda night…

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Late Night Check-In

Sunday morning, I woke up alone. It’d been a few days since I saw Smiles. I wished he’d been with me that night, but he was at a party in the city — God knows what he was up to.

I was feeling a little down. I wasn’t happy with how things were looking between us. Every time I seriously doubted his investment in our relationship, he would do something to show he still cared, but shortly after, I’d step back and wonder if it was worth it.

I had a few errands to run that I put off the day before — Mainly getting food for the week at the grocery store. I wanted to be as efficient as possible, so I took the motorcycle out to run my errands. When I finished, I came home and crashed on the couch with my laptop and a few movies.

I stayed there until the sun went down. I got up only to get food and use the facilities. I wasn’t in a funk, but I was feeling rather lonely.

Shockingly, Smiles called me late that night. It was around 10:30, and he was making his was back from the final party. It was in Connecticut, and he decided to take the Mustang out. He was just making his way back to the garage when he called. It was sweet of him. He wanted to hear all about my weekend and wanted to tell me a little about the party. I was still a little sour grapes having to hear about a party I wasn’t invited to. I knew if the shoe was on the other foot, I wouldn’t have thought twice about inviting him. I would have wanted to spend the time with him.

He also told me he was beginning to get sick. It was no wonder considering he was up until 4:00am three nights straight. He’s no spring chicken and he certainly can’t party and hang. I told him my concern, especially since it wasn’t that long ago he had surgery. Suggested a few remedies to help him feel better.

However, I still found it sweet of him to call just to chat. I was very pleasant and cordial, but I was also in the middle of a movie. When the conversation hit a lull, I told him I was going to get back to the movie I was watching. It was something he’d done when I’d called him before, so I didn’t feel guilty. I started to get the feeling he called because he was lonely and bored on his way home. He’d probably made all his business and friendly calls for the night on the drive, and he thought to circle back with me before the weekend was over. I was annoyed at the thought, and I didn’t want that to come across on the phone.

He detailed for me the long journey home ahead of him. All I could think in the back of my head was, “Well… You could have had company if you’d just asked.” He was making me feel like a complete “woman.” I hate feeling like that. It wasn’t that I was being emotional, but I felt clingy and like I was chasing him — Not a good feeling.

We said goodbye. I went back to my movie, and he made his way to the subway to head home.

When he got home, he sent me a text to let me know he made it home. Here is a clear indication something is wrong in your relationship — When you get that message, and you think to yourself, “Who cares?”

Things needed to change. I didn’t like what I was becoming or what was happening. Change was inevitable…

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How to Get Out of My Own Head

Rules are meant to be broken. Apparently, in my mind this is true. I said I wasn’t going to reach out to Smiles after our awkward night and breakfast the following morning, but that didn’t last long.

Wednesday afternoon, I got an email including two free tickets to a screening of a movie in the city. It was Friday afternoon at 12:30. I had absolutely nothing going on at work as we were leading into the holidays. I shot Smiles a text Thursday afternoon asking him if he wanted to come with me after I left him.

He told me he wouldn’t be able to join me because he had to be on site for a project he was working on. I didn’t get my hopes up, so I wasn’t all that disappointed. I knew I wouldn’t be seeing much of him that weekend, so it was an effort to mend that but a failed attempt at that.

In the middle of the day, he called to see how my day was going. I was a pleasant surprise. He’d done this in the past, but it was out of the blue. He told me about his project moving forward and the progress he was making. I told him how useless my day was turning out to be. Maybe he did care about me. Maybe he just wasn’t good and showing emotions or talking about them. I still had some figuring out to do.

I finished my workday early. When I got home, I called my other friends who were attending the birthday party that night. I coordinated with them, and made my way to my D’s apartment.

During the taxi ride with D and his girlfriend, she asked me when she was going to get to meet Smiles. She missed him at the holiday party. I couldn’t think of a scenario in which she was going to meet him. I realized he never really hung out with me and my friends in general. I never really hung out with his. I was repeating my relationship with Broadway all over again. The only difference was, Smiles had a better schedule than Broadway. In the back of my head, I knew things between us weren’t perfect. I told her I had no idea when she’d meet him. I then explained to her why he was absent from my side.

I had fun at the party. I was running into a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long time — Some even years. I sat and talked with one of my old college teammates, and he asked him the dating life was going for me. I told him all about Smiles, and he was very happy for me. In the back of my mind, all I could think about was, “Am I truly happy with how things are shaping up?”

Out of nowhere, Smiles called. He was between parties in a cab. I guess he had time to kill so he thought he’d call me. I stepped away from the party and walked out onto the promenade overlooking the city. I appreciated the call. It was nice to have him call out of nowhere twice in one day. It showed he really was thinking about me. I was a little bitter though. He was telling me about all these parties in detail, and all I was hearing was stories of parties I wasn’t invited to. I kept the conversation on the shorter side of things. It was cold outside, and I wanted to get back to my friends. If I wasn’t good enough to be by his side, he wasn’t good enough to steal me away from the party. We said goodbye for the night since I knew that’d be the last time hearing from him for the night.

On the way home that night, I discussed brunch with D and his girlfriend. They expressed their desire to do it in the city. I agreed and mentioned maybe inviting Smiles to join us. I knew he had things going on, but maybe he’d be able to meet us for a little while.

I texted him at 3:00am to see if he would be onboard for brunch. I told him I didn’t have all the details, but I would get them to him in the morning. He told me he would try to make it. He was making an effort. I was expecting to be immediately brushed off for other plans, but it was nice to see him entertaining the idea at the very least. Maybe things were improving.

In the morning, D and his girlfriend were too tired to head into the city. I told Smiles brunch was off. He told me he wouldn’t have been able to make it anyway. He had to work. We texted a little bit the rest of the morning. That morning, there was a fire on my block that day that engulfed an entire building. I sent Smiles picture messages, and he expressed concern for my well-being.

That night, we spoke on the phone. We talked about our day, and he told me about the party he attended. Again, I was a little bitter considering I wasn’t invited. I asked him if he was available for dinner Monday night since I wasn’t getting to see him at all over the weekend. He told me he’d have to get back to me. As the conversation was coming to a close, I asked him if we were going to exchange Christmas presents.

I’d actually been thinking about it since Thursday, but hadn’t remembered to ask him. I was a little afraid too. I didn’t know how to pose it. This is so unlike me. I should have just said what I wanted to say. I didn’t have the chance to ask him where we stood yet, so I didn’t feel comfortable asking him about exchanging Christmas presents.

The day before this conversation, I bought him two cashmere hats he’d expressed interest in. I bought them from one of my favorite online stores, Bonobos (They have really amazing stuff by the way. I highly recommend them, especially for proper fitting pants!). It would work out well because they offer free shipping both ways, so if we weren’t doing presents, I could return them.

So, I said to him, “Do you want to do Christmas presents?” He paused a second and responded, “Let’s not over-think things. I don’t think we’re there yet.”

And with that, we said goodbye.

Not there yet? Okay. Then where are we? How do you feel about me. We’d been together three months at this point. I didn’t see why we couldn’t exchange some nice Christmas presents. I wasn’t buying him a Rolex.

This just further motivated my desire to have the relationship conversation…

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Morning Paper

I woke up after a night of passion and disappointment with Smiles quite confused. I was trying to decide if my dream was reality or my imagination while feeling the disappointment of the truth of the situation.

I was suddenly aware once again how he shot me down when I wanted to discuss things with him the night before. He may have won that battle, but I wasn’t admitting defeat. It wouldn’t be long before we had that discussion. I was just waiting until the next comfortable moment to pop the question.

We woke up at a reasonable hour. Being the night after the office party, I wasn’t expected on time or to be particularly productive that morning. I had nothing planned for the day, so I took my time making my way to work.

I showered and prepped for work while Smiles checked his emails and got dressed. We decided to go downstairs from his apartment to a small diner for breakfast. Smiles grabbed the paper as we walked out the door, and we made out way downstairs.

We sat in a booth and had an interesting interaction with the hostess. It was obvious Smiles was a regular. He came there for breakfast about three times a week. She knew he didn’t need a menu, but handed me one so I could decide what I wanted for breakfast.

When the waitress approached, I witnessed yet another interesting interaction. The two of them went at each other with witty comments like an old married couple. We got our coffee and Smiles opened the paper. I know he had his morning routine, but was he really going to read the paper with me sitting there. Heaven forbid we actually talk to each other.

He perused one article about a woman who died in an elevator at a NYC ad agency. I was quite knowledgeable about the incident, so we discussed it a bit, and surprisingly he put the paper away. I think he realized how rude it was.

We got our food and the chatter was minimal. After we paid our check, I walked back upstairs to use his restrooms before heading uptown to work. I also brushed my teeth since I finally remember to bring a toothbrush. So many times I spent the night, and had no option for brushing my teeth other than a toothpaste covered finger. After I finished, I informed Smiles I would be leaving the toothbrush in his medicine cabinet. At this point, I didn’t ask. I was telling. He didn’t have a choice here. I know the toothbrush can become a symbol in a relationship for taking things to a new level, but I didn’t care. If he wanted to read into it, so be it. Didn’t matter to me — The toothbrush was staying.

He walked me to the door, and we have a very unceremonious goodbye. It was very awkward, and I wasn’t sure what the deal was.

As I walked to the PATH to head to work, I started to think about Smiles and I. Things had to change. I’d had enough of the run-around. I needed to know what we were. I didn’t need a label. I just needed to know how he felt about me. I was done putting so much of myself into something I was so unsure about. I couldn’t read him. We were going to have that discussion, and we were going to have it soon. I needed answers, because I wasn’t going to drive myself crazy trying to figure him out anymore.

Later that day, I invited him to come with me to a birthday party the following night, Friday. He informed me he was already triple booked for the night and wouldn’t be able to come along.

This was yet one more confirmation for me he wasn’t that into me. I had a party to go to, and I didn’t think twice about asking him to come with me. He already RSVPed for three parties and didn’t invite me to a single one. I also learned he had two parties on Saturday and one on Sunday. Yet more things in which he didn’t think to include me.

I resolved myself at that point to waiting him out. If he was interested in me, he was going to have to start chasing me a little bit. I wasn’t going to call. I wasn’t going to text. If he wanted to talk to me, he’d have to make the effort…

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Surprise Ending

When I got home from my dinner date with Smiles, I sent him a text asking if I could spend the following night with him at his place. I wasn’t sure if he’d already passed out, but I never got a response. I was hoping he’d answer me before I left for work in the morning so I knew if I should bring clothes for work the next day.

My office party was that Wednesday night at the Greenwich Village Country Club. We weren’t able to bring guests, but I was hoping I could see Smiles following the party. I wasn’t all that into it and was willing to leave early if need be.

Wednesday morning arrived, and I still had no answer. I decided to be on the safe side and bring clothes regardless. Maybe he’d answer me midday. When I didn’t get an answer, I asked the question again in a text.

He responded with an apology. He didn’t realize he didn’t respond the night before. “Yes. You can spend the night.” I explained the party, and he told me he had happy hour plans with his wealthy client friend and his partner.

For me, the office party was not all fun. Every year I get wrangled in to help with a few elements of the night. I performed my duties and then had fun drinking and dancing with my coworkers. It was a really good time — Better than I expected. However, I was more looking forward to seeing Smiles.

I texted him to see what he was up to. If he was still out, I was going to meet up with him. He told me he was wrapping up drinks and heading home shortly. I told him I would be leaving the party shortly as well and would come by.

I said my goodbyes and collected my coat. I wasn’t that far from his apartment, so I decided to walk. While I walked, I called his phone just to make sure he was home. I called about 10 times in a row with no answer. I sent text messages and heard nothing back as well. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I decided to continue on to his place. Finally, just as I was nearing his block, he picked up. His phone was on silent in the other room, but he was home.

He buzzed me in, and I came upstairs. I gave him a big kiss hello. I wasn’t drunk, but I was properly tipsy.

We talked about happy hour and the party while we hopped into bed. I undressed and hopped on “my side” of the bed, and he slid into his side.

Just recently, I made the switch back to briefs periodically. I decided I looked good in them since they showed off my legs — The same legs Smiles loved to compliment. So I knew what I was doing when I laid on my back in just briefs while talking to him. We chatted a bit before he made a big move. My seduction worked.

Warning: The following may be too graphic for some… As I laid on my back in my briefs, he started groping my crotch as he rolled over partially on top of me to make out. This was a bit out of character for Smiles, but I like it. Apparently he liked what he saw and went for it. I could get used to that.

Things got more heated and passionate and the clothes came off. I thought this was going to be the extent of our romp in the sheets, but apparently he was ready to escalate things. He proposed sex. I was a little apprehensive because he was still recovering from surgery. I didn’t want to further injure him. He detailed his limitations; he couldn’t top and he couldn’t put his legs up. I was still worried I may hurt him, but if he was good for it, I was game.

With that, he put a condom on me, and he climbed on top. It didn’t take long before I lost it. I’d been drinking the better portion of the night, and that really wasn’t helping at the moment. “I always lose you in this position,” he said. I found that ironic, because that was the position Broadway and I so often found ourselves in.

“Have you ever done poppers? he asked. I told him I’d never done them myself, but I’d witnessed them used. He told me it increased blood-flow and would produce one of two effects. Either it would make the problem worse or it would solve it. I figured it was worth a shot, so I agreed to partake.

He opened his nightstand drawer and pulled out a small vial. He held it up to my nose as I inhaled. Sadly, it had a negative effect.

“Let’s try one more thing. Stand up. It may help the circulation,” he told me. So I did what I was told. Magically, it worked. He turned, and I pressed my chest against his back. He lubed me up and bent over the bed, and we went at it. Finally, we were having great sex, even if it did get off to a rocky start. Apparently, he also was enjoying it as he finished on the floor. Just as he did, he turned around and said, “I wish I could make you cum.”

And it was over… I was close to finishing, but him pointing that out to me made me lose it immediately. My mind switched over immediately.

He walked to the shower, and I laid in the bed. I wanted to hop in the shower, but that wasn’t physically possible based on his setup. I thought we could have more fun and maybe I would finish. When he came back, I took off his towel and pulled him into the bed. I told him not to say things like that because it was a sure fire way to make sure I didn’t finish with him.

We cuddled for a bit, just laying in each others’ arms. Just as he was about to get up to go brush his teeth, I asked him if I could ask another question. I wanted to ask him where we stood. I wanted to know what I was to him. However, as he walked away, he responded, “No.”

I was a little crushed. I went from being so happy to finally be having great sex to utter disappointment. How was I supposed to be in a relationship with him if I couldn’t express how I was feeling.

He came back, and I was already prepped for bed. I curled up facing the wall ready for sleep. I wanted him to read my body language and realize how much I closed off, but I don’t know if he got the hint.

That night I had a dream about Smiles. I specifically remember him in the dream saying to me, “You know I like you, right?” It was the reassurance I wanted in reality, but this was a figment of my imagination. It was just that – A dream.

For the rest of the night, I didn’t sleep well. I tossed and turned like the inner turmoil I so wanted to release.

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