Posts Tagged career

We Kiss, We Make Up

When last I wrote about my budding relationship with Clark Kent and myself, we had gotten well past the honeymoon stage. We were trying to maintain a relationship across state lines, and it wasn’t easy. That being said, we were still seeing a lot of each other, and I started to wonder if maybe it was too much. I often wondered, maybe there is such a thing as too much of a good thing…

balance-rock-feather_zps9de02a2dWe needed to find balance, and that wasn’t going to be easy. We’d been dating four short months, but, in reality, it felt like we’d been dating for close to a year, even though we were still figuring things out.

That Thursday night, my old roommate was gathering with friends at the new waterfront biergarten in Hoboken for drinks to celebrate his birthday (which I was unaware of until deep into the night). I mentioned it to CK and asked him to join me when he finished work. He agreed, but he had to work later.

When I arrived, I didn’t know too many of my old roommate’s friends in attendance. I began texting and calling other friends to join us. P and S both responded, “On my way.”

As you can imagine, it takes a lot of time to write a blog, so I was utilizing my free time during the day at work to accomplish this. Apparently, my boss took notice to my poor use of free time since he wasn’t seeing any productivity coming from my time between projects. (Perhaps you can understand why I have been neglecting this blog for the past few months).

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This is relevant because I was also coming off a really rough day at work. I received my review that morning, and it was not positive. My only saving grace was a preemptive strike made a few weeks earlier.

I noticed an opportunity to take over our social media duties (which were being completely neglected) and asked my boss if I could take them on. During my review, when he pointed out my poor utilization of free time, I countered with the argument, “That’s why I approached you about taking on the social media duties.” I thought maybe I’d saved my a$$. He countered with, “I only wish you’d come to me about it three years earlier.” I was defeated.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, I learned later that day we’d be merging with another company. So, on top of a bad review, I was petrified of being labeled a redundancy. Two weeks earlier, my career looked to be shaping up. I was taking on a new role, and finding early success. My experience with this blog and other social media was really paying off. Now, it looked as if my whole world could be crumbling around me.

HobokenPier13A majority of it was out of my hands at that point. All I could do was put my nose to the grindstone for the coming weeks. But, on a Thursday night, I needed to forget. That meant I needed more than a few stiff drinks!

I drank beer after beer while mingling with old friends and some new ones. I was having quite a good time, but I was missing CK. I was texting with him back and forth discussing his arrival.

When he finally arrived, I was thrilled to see him. He could be comfort after a rough day, and I was finally properly lubricated enough to have a good time and forget about work, enjoying a night out with my man and friends.

CK grabbed a beer and immediately dove right into the conversation with all of us. I was chatting with S’s roommate, and the discussion quickly changed to his tattoos and body piercings. CK was a bit fascinated by tattoos at that time. He detailed for me the elaborate tattoos he was dreaming of getting.

TattoSleeveRolledUpS’s roommate was very much Mr. Machismo. I wasn’t sure how comfortable he was with the whole “gay thing.” There was just something about his attitude and the way he carried himself that I didn’t think he’d be too comfortable. I never formally came out to him, as I’d only met him a handful of times, but I assumed S clued him in. I was very pleasantly surprised just how cool he was with the whole “gay thing.” He turned out to be quite a laid back guy. It just goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover.

The two quickly formed a bond. At some point in the conversation, the roommate started talking about his anxiety over having to fly the next. CK took it upon himself to aid in this situation.

AirplaneSeatImmediately, I was unhappy. My mood shifted abruptly. I shut down. I’ll never quite understand why I react in this way to these types of situations. I think it stems from striving to suppress my feelings at the moment so I don’t create a scene in public. The deeper question is why do I become so enraged in the first place?

This time, CK wasn’t exactly participating. He wasn’t doing anything wrong, however, aiding and abetting someone else’s wrongdoing was equally as bad in my mind. He was enabling behavior he knew I was opposed to. I wasn’t just feeling anger. I was scared. I was afraid I was going to lose him. We’d had this discussion time and time again. If we continued to have the conversation, eventually, he would be faced with an ultimate decision, and there was a chance I would be a casualty of that decision. All of my emotions tied back to this very thought. I was afraid in the end he wouldn’t choose me, and as a result, I would have to choose me. I’d have to say goodbye for my own sanity, facing my greatest fear in life, being alone, on top of losing a man I loved. Obviously, I never wanted it to come to that.

I managed to suppress this anger and feeling of betrayal. My mind was jumping back to all the other times we discussed this very topic. This was only exacerbated because I’d written the blog post about our night at Matinee that afternoon. One of those very conversations was fresh in my mind.

I managed to suppress all this until we walked in the door of my apartment, and then I unleashed. I told him how unacceptable his behavior was, and he was completely dumbfounded. He had no idea why I could be so enraged.

Angry BedOf course this only fed my fury. Had he forgotten all these other times we’d discussed this? Was I living a broken record? We argued extensively about this, and CK threatened to leave multiple times, making it to the door a handful of times.

We finally had a breakthrough at some point when he either feigned to understand my stance, or what I was so vehemently explaining finally sunk in.

We argued a lot about a lot of small things —Things I felt were very important. He felt I was trying to change him. I wasn’t. Honestly! I loved him. I just felt he needed to grow up in some aspects of his life. A person needs to adapt and evolve when entering a relationship, and I still wasn’t sure he was putting in the effort. I wasn’t trying to mold him into my ideal mate. I didn’t have a preconceived notion of who he should be. But, I felt there were some sacrifices he’d need to make to make me happy.

QuestioningManPerhaps I was the one who needed to change. In reality, we both needed to. Only time would tell if we could come to consensus on these types of issues.

Regardless, after fighting, we kissed and made up. Well, we more than made up. This was all followed by a lively romp in the sack. It was so incredible, we both finished at the same time for the first time. As we showered, we discussed our epic make-up sex. “And don’t think you can start picking fights with me just so we can have make-up sex buster,” I punctuated. We both had a good laugh.

No matter how much we fought, at the end of the day, I loved him. He made me happy. I loved that no matter how many times we fought, we always found a way to make up. I wanted to grow old with him, but the key word in that phrase for us would be grow…

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The Walls Closing In

One weekday, CK and I woke at my apartment, and I dragged him out of bed to toss around the medicine ball while we watched TV before work. I was motivated and a bit stressed, so I wanted to work out. We talked about working together to get our bodies back in shape before summer ended. It was miraculous I got him out of bed so quickly.

The planets aligned for us on the TV too. His favorite talking head, Rachel Maddow, was on my favorite talking head’s show, Real Time with Bill Maher. That was something we could both agree on.

When we were done working out, I made us some very healthy and delicious eggs for breakfast, if I do say so myself. Of course, because of our morning workout, we were a little delayed. We showered and got dressed quickly. On the way to the PATH, I wanted to grab a coffee, but CK was running later than he’d liked. He protested, and when I saw a long line, I passed. When we passed a second Dunkin Donuts, I told him I wanted to swing through. He’d apparently had enough and said goodbye on the spot. He wasn’t going to wait for me, and rightfully so. Better judgment kicked in, and I accompanied him to the PATH instead, where we rode together to his stop and gave each other a kiss goodbye.

Not only was I motivated to get my body in shape but also motivated to get my career in shape. Work was evolving drastically for me. I’d just taken on a new role I created for myself after chatting with my boss a few weeks prior. I pointed out our missed opportunity in the social media department and described how I could fill the void. After all, I had some experience in the social world (even though I couldn’t exactly show him my “portfolio”). I thought this could be the ticket to my future. Finally, I found something I could turn into a career instead of a job that generated me a paycheck. Something more than where work was just something I did between my time off. It wasn’t going to be easy, and there were bound to be a lot of speed bumps. However, it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.

That morning, I was really thrown a curveball I wasn’t expecting. I was called in for my review, and it was less than stellar. I had anticipated this, and it’s the main reason I approached my boss with the social media proposition in the first place.

Just when I didn’t think it could get any worse, I learned my boss was altering his role at the company as well. He was taking a far less active role, and it didn’t bode well for me. My day was heading downhill fast. Little did I know, but it was about to turn kamikaze. Not only was my boss taking on a lesser role, but we were also merging with another company.

My heart was in my throat for the remainder of the day. My first reaction was fear. Would I be a redundancy? Would I be laid off? As much as this was just a job for me, I needed it very much. I couldn’t even bring myself to text CK or call my family. I was very afraid, ashamed, embarrassed, the list goes one…

After that day came to a close, I woke the next day with some clarity. My next reaction was motivation. The fear began to wane, and I realized I needed to put all my efforts into my new venture. It wasn’t easy to get there, however, it was much easier to get through with the support of my man. I’d told him everything that was going on. He talked me down off the ledge when I was worried I’d lose my job and made me feel much better about the situation.

The fear wasn’t completely gone, and I needed an outlet for my stress. The coworker who left to work at CK’s company asked us to meet her for happy hour at the Standard Biergarten. I had been texting CK that afternoon and asked him to join us. He was being cryptic about what he wanted to do, and told me he may have to work late. I could tell he wasn’t really feeling it, but I really wanted to introduce him to my coworkers. He missed her going away drinks a few weeks earlier, so when this opportunity finally rose again to meet my coworkers, I was pretty persistent. He wasn’t digging it. He had a long day, and he wanted to go home and relax. I was really disappointed, but I also understood. We made plans for him to come to my place for the night when I got home.

Shortly after hearing he was heading home, we decided to leave the biergarten. I tried calling and texting CK, but I got radio silence for two hours. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, so I decided to lace up and head out for a run. I needed to clear my head and work on my body again. I still couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t responding to me at all.

After my run, I finally got a text telling me he was heading my way. I started to make dinner, and when he texted me asking for a ride, I decided to go radio silent. Sure, I know it was petty, but I was in the middle of making dinner. I also didn’t appreciate him not getting back me when we’d discussed I’d call him when I was heading home.

When he arrived all that no longer mattered. We were both in good spirits because we were there to hug and comfort each other. That’s what it really comes down to at the end of the day, literally. I loved him, and he made me happy.

We sat and ate dinner together, but when I put my hand on his thigh, I felt something sticky/slimy. I pointed it out to him, and he didn’t have an explanation for it. My overactive mind immediately went to work connecting dots. Was it lube? Was that where he was for the two hours I couldn’t get ahold of him? I could go on for hours.

In turn, I got quiet. I was deep in thought and wasn’t quite sure what to say. After we ate, we sat on the couch watching TV. After some time, I suggested we head to bed. I was exhausted, and my head was spinning, but he wasn’t tired. Of course, we both fell asleep on the couch, waking up around three o’clock in the morning, finally moving to my bed.

I tried to put all doubt out of my head. Worrying about it would do no good, and I realized I was making quite a bit of a leap. There was a bigger picture here. I loved him. I won’t say that I squashed all doubt in my mind, but I managed to push it deep down so it wouldn’t continue bubbling up…

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Closure

Saturday finally arrived. Smiles so graciously found time in his busy schedule to meet with me to discuss “us.” I wasn’t in a combative mood, but I was resolved in the notion that I wouldn’t be a doormat for him anymore. I had a lot of things I wanted to say to him, but I didn’t rehearse them in my head. I wanted my emotions to speak for me.

I knew how I felt, and I knew how he let me down. I was so disappointed in him for simply trying to back away from our three-month relationship instead of just speaking to me like a man. I was embarrassed for him.

We decided to meet at Doma Coffee Shop. Ironically, it’s pretty much where our relationship started (after a failed date at Employees Only). I had a few places to go in the city that day, so I took the motorcycle in. It was a nice enough day I could get away with it with a few layers.

After I parked my bike and walked toward the shop, I noticed Smiles was just arriving. We shared an awkward hello. I think he may have been going in for a kiss, but I gently turned and just gave him a hug. I had no interest in giving him any more of my affections. I’d already given him enough.

We went inside, and he ordered his coffee and began to pay. I wasn’t expecting him to buy my coffee, but it was interesting he didn’t even offer. He found a table for us to sit at while I ordered my coffee.

I joined him at the table, and we awkwardly chatted about work for a bit. Surprise, surprise — Our conversation revolved around his job once again. I was trying not to enter this meeting bitter or with a superior attitude. After all, it was a week earlier I was kissing another man in front of him. I wasn’t above him in any respect.

He talked about his business partner who was in the news at the time. Because I stay well-informed, I knew a lot of the story about the man’s current situation that Smiles did not. So when he was complaining about the man not getting back to him, I informed him of the news of the day and his new partner’s involvement in it. He was shocked to learn some of the details I knew. We were about to break up, and I was still keeping Smiles up-to-date on the goings on in the world at the time.

When that conversation got stale, Smiles kicked off the “us” conversation. He led with his thinking on the “situation.” He told me he recognized he wasn’t putting as much of himself into the relationship as he could have and how that wasn’t fair to me. He pointed out his priority of focusing on his career currently, and his schedule didn’t allow for a relationship. He acknowledged the possibility of his being partly responsible for my actions on New Year’s Eve. Over more conversation, I realized he thought I might have been acting out or doing it on a subconscious level.

I reiterated for him how little of the end of the night I remembered. I was on the verge of tears as I explained this to him. I told him I never would have done it had I been sober. I told him I didn’t initiate the kissing, but I also didn’t stop it immediately. I told him that I would like to think I stopped it relatively quickly, but I have no idea because I don’t remember a single moment of it. I think Smiles wanted to know the motivation for the make-out session. He half asked a question and then stopped when he again realized I didn’t recall any of the end of that night. I apologized emphatically and acknowledged how horrible what I did was. I choked up as I told him it was one of the worst things I’d ever done in my life. I could see that it did in fact bother him. The morning after, he told me he was okay with it, but now, I knew he wasn’t.

Sadly, it made me feel a little better knowing it upset him. It showed that maybe he, on some level, actually did care about me, even if just a little bit. At least I knew he felt something toward me.

I transitioned into more conversation of how we would move forward. I told him I was pretty much on the same page as him as far as ending our relationship. I told him I wasn’t getting enough of what I was looking for from him, and it was a direct result of his priorities.

I told him how hurt I was that he would just drop me after three months. I really stressed that point. I told him I felt so disrespected that he would just stop texting and calling like a switch, as if I wouldn’t notice or I would be okay with it. It really did hurt, because in my mind it nullified our relationship. It showed he didn’t respect it enough to give it the attention it needed, even if it was coming to a close. He told me it was because he needed time to think about what he really wanted and how he wanted to proceed. I told him he didn’t need to cut me off while he thought about it, and he acknowledged his fault.

In the end, we were fine. The whole conversation lasted roughly a half hour. He was on task and had things to do, so when the conversation was winding down, he stood and said, “Shall we go?”

We walked outside and began to part ways. I turned back and said goodbye. I also told him to call me to grab dinner sometime. Just because we weren’t dating didn’t mean we couldn’t be friends. He responded, “Sure thing sir.” I thought that was an odd response, but I’ll take it.

It was an amicable breakup. I’m not sure if I got the closure I needed. I still felt like he used me and doubted if he ever really cared for me. I never got an answer if my suspicions were true. I wondered if he’d been with other men while dating me. I wondered if he met someone else. All questions I would never get answers to. I think that is the hardest part about a breakup — The blow to the ego. We take fault and feel there is a flaw in ourselves, even if that’s not the case at all.

I would recover from this breakup relatively quickly, but I certainly would walk away with a few new scars and a few pieces of luggage to my baggage pile. I would try not to let it affect me too greatly, but then again, you can only control your emotions so much.

Hopefully, as one door was closing, another would soon be opening…

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Creating Distance

Today is another Fast Forward Friday!!!  

Hope you are enjoying these. It will help bring the blog a little closer to real time. If you’re keeping up with the stories chronologically, please skip down to this morning’s post first, then read this one. I think it’s a good one! Enjoy!

Back to your special edition of One Gay At A Time…

No matter how far apart we were or how busy we were, Smiles and I managed to find time to communicate or at the very least, send a text. It was something that always reminded me he was thinking about me when I wasn’t with him.

Silence. From Sunday afternoon through Tuesday evening — Crickets. Our last contact was Sunday afternoon when I asked him if we could spend the day together Monday. He told me he had to work, but that never stopped him from taking five minutes to pick up the phone and dial me or send me a text. He also told me he would call later Sunday night when I said goodbye to him after brunch, but as you know, that didn’t happen.

When Tuesday passed by, and I didn’t hear from him, I decided to give him a call. After-all, I’m the one who royally f*cked up, not him. Sure, he was distant throughout our relationship, but he never did anything quite as heartless as what I did.

The phone rang and rang and rang — No answer. I didn’t want to leave a voicemail because I wanted to say what I had to say live. I wanted to hear his reaction. I decided to wait.

After an hour, I decided to send him a text message: “How was the first day in the office?” You can see how patient a person I really am. Five minutes later, I received a response: “Lot happened today…” The text continued on to completely cover my entire phone screen and then some. Instead of picking up the phone and telling me all this, he sent a massive book of a text. I could tell he was very excited as things were really taking off for him, but all I could think about was how hurt I was. He completely dropped me like a bad habit. His career was really beginning to take off, and he had no use for me anymore. I had been there to support him through the rough stages, and when he began to have success, he forgot all about me. At this point, I didn’t give a sh*t about his new job. I barely even feigned interest. My responses were, “Gotcha,” “Sounds awesome!” and “Congrats.” I wanted to be happy for him, but I couldn’t. He treated me like trash.

He made sure to add things like, “Say that again at the end of March when I have free time again.” This was his way of not just nudging me away but giving me a big ol’ shove. I didn’t feel the least bit of guilt for “shopping” on a4a and Grindr the nights prior.

Just when I didn’t think the knife could cut any deeper, he said, “Ok. 9pm. Bedtime! Hope your first day back was more exciting than your last week there. Night!” I simply replied, “Night.”

If he was getting ready for bed, why didn’t he pick up the phone and call. I assumed he was at dinner or something. I was trying to justify him writing out a massive text versus calling me.

That’s when I realized how much of a coward he was. He was just going to put down the gun and slowly back away instead of just ripping the band-aid off. It was clear he wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with me any further. He should have been a man and said do. I thought I was done with all the petty childish games when I started dating a thirty-six year-old, but I was sorely mistaken. I was going to have to be the man in this relationship, or lack thereof.

That night was neither the time nor the place. I was going to do this in person. He wasn’t going to get the satisfaction of an easy fizzle. If we weren’t moving forward anymore, we weren’t going to be moving at all. I was going to end things. The time had come. No more second chances. No more opportunities to drag me along. For me, it was over.

Before he pulled this stunt, I was okay with the relationship coming to a close. I had already resolved myself to the fact it wasn’t what I was looking for, and it didn’t satisfy my needs. The only thing I lacked was closure. Now, I was mad as hell. After spending three months with him and dedicating a lot of myself to him, this was how he was going to treat me. Instead of looking back on our time together with fondness, I now began to look back with bitterness and doubt. I wondered if he ever really cared about me. I wondered if I was the only one in his life. Sure, we spent a lot of time together, but we also spent a lot of time apart. It’s not physically possible for him to be carrying on a relationship outside ours, but it doesn’t rule out any extra curricular activities.

I decided that night, Smiles was going to hear it. Everything I kept inside while we dated was going to finally come out. I just needed to pick the time and the place…

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Merry Christmas Darling

December 25th — Christmas day. An important date on anyone’s calendar, but a date that carries more weight when one is dating another.

I’m quite the hypocrite, you see. I complain about the treatment of Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve as a special holiday for couples, when I really just fancy another holiday more. I just hate the weight put those two days, but for me, Christmas carries much more weight.

I woke Christmas morning and hopped the shower. I’m so tired of seeing pictures of me Christmas morning with greasy hair and scruff. The timetables are quite turned on their head since I was a kid. My sister and I would sit at the top of the stairs waiting for my father to come home from the morning duties at the farm. On top of that, we’d have to wait til he showered so we could stand to be in the same room as him. Nowadays, my sister and I are the last to wake. I knew I could leisurely shower, as my sister would still be asleep until someone came to wake her.

My family and I opened our presents and shared in the joy of Christmas. My mother made us sticky buns for breakfast while I brewed a pot of coffee.

My mother’s side of the family came to our house in the afternoon to celebrate the holiday. We always spent Christmas afternoon with my mother’s side of the family, but this year was a little different. My uncle and his recent wife were not attending because she was due to have a baby in January. One of my aunts and her husband always came for New Years, not Christmas. This would also be the first Christmas without both my grandparents. It was a little more solemn for me. The only attendees were my aunt, uncle, and three cousins.

I waited until a convenient time to sneak away so I could call Smiles. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t interrupting his Christmas plans. I went upstairs to my parents’ room to call him around 5:30. I got no answer. I’m not out to my extended family, so I then began to worry he would call back, and his caller id name would splash across  the television screen, as does everyone’s name who calls. I worried my extended family would see a man was calling me on Christmas. I’m not sure why I worried. I’m not ready to tell them just yet, and I suppose I didn’t want them to jump to their own conclusions before I had a chance to properly tell them.

Smiles did call back, but not until 10:00 after everyone had left. I took the phone up to my room and talked to him for quite some time. Our phone conversations never lasted long, so it was nice that he didn’t cut it short. He told me about everything he’d been doing with his family. It was nice to hear he finally relaxed around them and realized they loved him no matter what state his career was in. It was a nice Christmas present to get to chat with him and feel closer to him even though we were miles apart.

I had an agenda as well. There was a question I needed to ask before it was too late. I was very nervous to ask this question. I’d failed to ask it once already on the way to the airport. I was afraid of the disappointing answer I expected. In the middle of our conversation, I asked him, “Can we spend New Year’s together?” In a shocking reply without thought, Smiles said, “Sure. I was going to [my friend’s] for a party. I’ll just tell him I’m bringing a plus one.

We chatted a bit more before ending the conversation. It was quite a nice Christmas gift to know I had New Year’s plans. I was beginning to worry I would spend New Years on my couch alone. All my friends had plans that didn’t involve me. I was already picturing myself in bed at 7:00pm. Knowing I had plans was great, but knowing I would spend the night with Smiles made my night. I walked around the rest of the night with a smile from ear to ear.

I’m not sure why, but the man-made me happy. I was happy to know it was his lips I’d be locking when the ball dropped on 2011.

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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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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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Holiday Split

Thanksgiving came and went, and I didn’t see Smiles. However, it was too early in the relationship to invite him home to meet my family.

Home was relaxing and I was happy to see my family. I needed the time away from the craziness. In just a few days following Thanksgiving, I was moving.

On Thanksgiving, he called and left a message saying, “Heyyyy! What up? HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Call me later.” I didn’t get it until much later in the day because when I travel home, I am in a black hole of cell phone service.

I tried calling, but the phone rang unanswered. I decided I would try again later that evening. I was a little disappointed I couldn’t get ahold of him. I missed him.

On my way home from my aunt’s house, my sister and I decided to hit up Wal-Mart to get in early on the Black Friday deals. What a mistake! The one item I wanted was sold out in the first five minutes, and my sister needed non-Black Friday items. I stood in the front of the store witnessing the madness while she paid. I called Smiles once again, and this time he picked up.

He told me about his day and asked if I saw the pictures of the dogs on the beach he posted to Facebook. He told me everyone was relaxing and watching a movie after their turkey comas. I told him about my day with my family and my encounter with tryptophan. We talked about the insanity I was witnessing and about my shopping adventure coming the following day. He told me about his plans for the rest of the time he was out on Long Island.

My sister wanted to be back in Hoboken Saturday morning, so after a visit to my childhood babysitter for dinner, we made our way back. It was a long boring ride which I slept through most of. When I woke, we were nearing Hoboken. I called Smiles to see how his day was going.

He was home alone in front of a fireplace. Apparently his friends were all going to his ex-boyfriend’s place of business, so he decided to have an easy night staying in. I felt bad for him he was all alone, but I also knew he’d enjoy the rest and the full night’s sleep.

Saturday, I was trying not to think about Smiles. It was no use. I texted him, “Thinkin’ boutchu… Miss ya ;)” He responded with a picture of a very nice living room including a fireplace. “Dinner shall be served shortly. It’s a rough life.” I, in turn, responded with a picture of all the boxes I was packing in my room and added, “Thanks for rubbing it in. I too have a similar view ;)” “I see the resemblance,” he retorted.

Later that evening, I went out to the bar with a full pack of friends. I was trying to distract myself from the fact that I missed Smiles. It was working because I hadn’t seen many of them in quite some time. That doesn’t mean I didn’t send him a picture of the bar with the caption, “My new view.”

He sent me a picture of a dwindling fireplace with the caption, “Night time fire. Falling asleep.” With that, my phone started ringing. I walked outside so I could hold a decent conversation with him. He was home alone again and simply wanted to say goodnight.

I asked him if I could see him the following evening, Sunday, but he told me he was already booked solid. I was very disappointed because I thought I’d be getting to see him when he returned to Manhattan. He did leave a glimmer of hope we could possibly find time to meet up, but when Sunday came, the glimmer would be snuffed.

I tried to find time on Monday to see him, but once again he was busy. “Sounds like you’re booked up tomorrow, but want you/to see you. Miss you 😦 When can I see you?” I asked. He told me, “Hi. Just back into city. I think Thursday is my first night free. Would that work? Sorry it’s so far out. :(” I reminded me about my Thursday night volleyball game and my parents’ arrival to help me move into my new apartment. He then proposed the possibility of Wednesday night, but he’d have to get a ticket for me from his friend. I too had a super busy week in front of me, especially with a move on Wednesday, so that wasn’t going to work. It was looking like I wasn’t going to get to see him for some time, but I did appreciate him making an effort to see me.

I suggested we do lunch on Tuesday instead, to which he responded, “Yes. Lunches are easy.”

I was content. I wanted to see him sooner, but I could survive until lunch on Monday or Tuesday. We both have lives to live, and his career was just getting off the ground, so I didn’t want to interfere with that.

I thought back to my thoughts about inviting him home for Thanksgiving, and I realized I made the right decision. While I would have liked spending the time with him, the timing and logistics would have been awful. Introducing him to my family would have been tough and emotional. My family was already on edge, as this would be the first time celebrating Thanksgiving since the passing of my grandfather.Furthermore, I’d have to introduce him to my uber-Christian babysitter from growing up, as I couldn’t just leave him home while we all went to dinner.

Lastly, I would have sent quite a message about my thoughts regarding our relationship if I put him in the position to decline my invitation. We weren’t at the meet the parents stage, let alone the come home for the holidays stage. I made the right decision overall and was proud of myself for showing restraint.

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You Make Me Smile

Over the next few days, I thought a lot about my relationship with Smiles. It was a constant roller-coaster. As far as relationships go, I am an infant. I’ve had all of five real relationships in my life, including this one. I was still learning how to be in one.

I needed to clear my head. For three days straight, I woke up early to run. It was the perfect way to start my day, I allowed me time to think without really being distracted, and I was able to work towards my spiteful goal of losing my pudge as Smiles so gently pointed out.

It was also beginning to be quite a busy week for me at work. Tuesday I worked until midnight. I talked to Smiles that night when I had a break to make dinner plans with him for the following night. Since I started dating him, I purchased a lot of Groupons for restaurants, so I thought it was time to start using them up. I was eating out at restaurants a lot more than I would have if I weren’t dating Smiles. This was the perfect way to lighten the blow to my wallet. As I left work, I texted, “Dinner tomorrow night maybe? Just leaving work (12:00) :(”

It wasn’t until the morning when I got a response: “Morning! Just getting this. I went to bed early last night. Dinner tonight works.” I explained the Groupon I purchased for Philip Marie in the West Village and asked him if he was okay with the choice. “Sounds good if you get off before 12!” he replied.

Later that Wednesday afternoon, Smiles called to make sure I was still getting out on time, otherwise he was going to grab dinner with some of his friends. I got where he was coming from, but it also felt a little like he was trying to get out of our date. I assured him I would not be working late. As the afternoon progressed, he asked about what time we’d meet, joking about “a blue plate special at 6:30” when I told him I’d be done around 6:30/7:00. We made plans to grab dinner at 7:30. I took the opportunity to slip a joke in there about his grandpa status and his ability to make it until 7:30, and he retorted by saying, “I’m stressed. It makes me sleepy. I’ll bring my cane.”

We sat in the front window of the restaurant, and after we ordered drinks, we dove into conversation. We talked about family and career goals among other things. He talked about his desire to be beyond financially stable so he could spend more time with his family. He is not originally from the Northeast, so spending time with his family isn’t the easiest or most convenient. He also talked about his desire to build an empire. He is very passionate about a lot of different business ventures, many of which are sound ideas. However, sometimes I worry he tries to take too much on his plate at once.

The conversation was great. It was a conversation two people in a relationship would have, not two people who were just dating. I joked with him, “You’re going to be the next Nate Berkus.”

Oooooo, did I get a look! Apparently, Smiles met him in the past, and isn’t the biggest fan of him as a person. “Okay. Note to self: Don’t equate you to Nate Berkus ever again,” I said with a smile.

When the waiter came to ask us about desert, Smiles started a conversation with him like he always does. He asked if we were his only table, and the waiter described his other table. It was a man and a woman who he suspected were on a first date. We joked about our date. While we weren’t on a first date, he was learning all kinds of new things about me, such as my penchant for Black Friday shopping. He took the opportunity to take a few playful jabs at my sanity while we all had a good laugh.

After we paid our bill, we started to walk the five blocks towards the PATH. Instead, we walked about eight blocks. That was about the time Smiles realized we’d gone too far. He questioned the situation, but I explained how I was enjoying the conversation and was willing to walk back up to the PATH if I needed to. We were standing in front of a liquor store while he finished the story he was telling. When he finished, I grabbed his jacket and pulled him in closer so I could kiss him. For the first time, I felt like we were really kissing. We exchanged many affectionate kisses before finally pulling away from each other.

At that point, he said, “Why don’t you live in the city?” I laughed and replied, “Was that a subtle hint? I’m not that far!” And with that, I walked away with a smile from ear to ear. I finally felt like we had moved beyond going on dates with each other. We were dating. We were in a relationship, and I was very happy!

When I got back to Hoboken, I sent a text, “You make me smile 🙂 .” Shortly following he responded, “That’s a good thing cause I ain’t so easy to like all the time!”

I was REALLY HAPPY with everything that night. I was getting the validation I needed. I was also looking forward to Friday. That was the first time I’d be able to see him next since I play volleyball every Thursday. That would also be when I would once again attempt to seduce him and attempt to roll around with him in bed…

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