Posts Tagged Christmas

The Next Chapter

Two years ago, I started this blog. I began writing because I felt alone. I knew there had to be other gay men out there who were looking for the same thing I was, and I wanted a way to connect with them.

grindrAt the time, I just ended my first gay relationship, and I found myself in very unchartered waters. I was already out to close friends, but not publicly. Because I had so few gay friends and a strong aversion to gay bars, I had to find a mate digitally. I began serial dating, at one point going on four dates in four days — And thus, One Gay At A Time was born.

Since the beginning, I have gone on MANY dates and put myself in many situations well outside my comfort zone. I have not only grown more comfortable in my own skin, but I’ve also grown up as a gay man. I got all the hookups out of my system and began searching for a meaningful, long-term relationship.

This blog began as an open forum diary of the daily occurrences I encountered navigating the gay world. I told my side of the story honestly in hopes that others out there would be able to relate, comment and most importantly, realize they are not alone.

The time has come for the next chapter of my life and for this blog. For quite some time I’ve been blogging about CK (aka Clark Kent or Superman). You’ve gotten to know him through my eyes in the early stages of our relationship. It’s been some time since I’ve blogged, and I apologize for leaving you, my readers in the lurch. I do not mean to abandon the small community I’ve worked so hard to foster, but I’ve been struggling with the next chapter of the blog.

When I first told CK about the blog, he was very open to and even grew excited about the idea of my writing our relationship. Over time, as you could probably understand, his excitement waned, and we began to argue about the content of the blog.

I had to make a choice between the blog and my man. It’s quite obvious which I chose. As a result, I will no longer be blogging about the specifics of my relationship with CK. However, in lieu of continuing to finish our story in a daily dairy format, let me catch you up on what has happened since July. Here are some of the highlights…

In July, CK joined my family for our annual beach vacation. While I went for the entire week, he only joined us for a few days. It was the first time we’d spent an extended period of time apart, and with my trust/cheating baggage, it was a true test of my sanity. I was thrilled and relieved when he finally arrived. It was also nice that he would finally get to spend some real-time getting to know my parents.

In early August, I traveled to Miami, CK’s birthplace to surprise his family with a visit to celebrate the birthdays of his two beautiful nephews (turning 1 and 2 only a week apart). I felt incredibly special taking this trip with CK. I was meeting his ENTIRE extended family. Before this point, I’d only met his mother. I was welcomed into the family with open arms and came to grow strong bonds with them over just a handful of days. This was unchartered territory for both of us, as I’d never been brought home to meet the family by anyone other than my high school girlfriend, and he’d never brought a man home to meet everyone before. It could not have worked out better!

Around Labor Day, CK and I went on week-long vacation to the Hamptons with 15 of my friends and family. While there, our relationship grew very strained. I felt he was trying too hard to impress my friends. I wanted him to be himself so all of them would come to love the man I knew, not the man I felt he was trying to be for them. By the end of the week, I reached my breaking point. I was so stressed out from organizing the vacation and ensuring everyone was happy that I made myself miserable, and I took it out on the person closest to me. In the penultimate moment of the trip, one night we not only exchanged words but also fists and shoves, as my closest friends and sister witnessed the lowest moment of our relationship.

It took a lot of time for CK and I to figure things out. This wasn’t the first time our relationship reached physicality, but I hoped it was the last. It also took a long time for things to return to normal between CK, me and my circle of friends. My sister wasn’t speaking to me for over a month and my friends had semi-ostracized me from typical gatherings. I burned a lot of bridges on that trip, and I am still working to rebuild them today. You can expect to read about my experiences and feelings dealing with issues such as physical violence in a relationship as one of the topics I will cover in coming posts.

In September, CK and I found an apartment in Hoboken to call our own. We moved in together in the midst of Hurricane Sandy’s wake on November 2. Although the experience of moving immediately following a hurricane is incredibly overwhelming, we are both stronger as a result of the experience. In my experience, moving in with a lover is unlike sharing a space with any other. You’ll certainly be reading about my experiences and the things I’ve learned from this experience as well.

After Sandy exhausted my last modicum of energy, I decided I was too tired to shave my upper lip. CK and I both decided to raise awareness and funds to fight prostate cancer by growing mustaches for Movember. I proudly raised over $500 for charity as a result of my stache, and I was thrilled when we both shaved them off — We both looked like pedophiles.

For the first time in my life, I had someone to take home to meet my family for Thanksgiving. Before venturing home, I sent my extended maternal family an email to get the awkwardness out of the way. You’ll be pleased to know my family welcomed him with open arms. I imagine coming out to extended family creates a lot of anxiety for man, as it did for me, so I hope sharing my experiences will encourage more to share the truth with the ones they love.

When I returned to Hoboken after Thanksgiving, preparations began immediately for what would have been my Sixth Annual Holiday Bash. This year, it became Our First Annual Holiday Bash. I finally had someone to share the hosting duties with, making it extra special.

Although CK and I spent Christmas apart, after all the festivities with my family, I hopped on a flight down to Miami to spend the rest of the holiday season and New Years Eve with my man and his family. CK’s sister and brother-in-law planned a trip with their two boys to Disney World for two days. After a little persuading, I convinced CK we should join them. I preferred Disney to a raucous gay party any day, and it was truly magical to see Disney World through the eyes of a two-year-old.

In February, CK and I took a romantic trip to Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Although it seems we can’t go anywhere without having some kind of quarrel like an old married couple, the trip was amazing and couldn’t have come at a better time. We went ice skating, snow shoeing, swimming, hiking, and much more. It was a perfect escape for both of us to get out of the city and away from the bustle of it all after the holidays.

In between, there have been countless brunches, parties, trips, nights out, Broadway shows, fights… Oh yea, and plenty of sex — Can’t forget the sex! Overall, things have been going well for us. You have good days and bad days, but you have to realize the bad days are just there so you appreciate the good ones all the more. I am thrilled to announce, this past Saturday, CK and I celebrated our one-year anniversary at the restaurant we went to on our first date, Frankies Spuntino 570. Although we waited nearly an hour, the evening was perfect, and I look forward to many more years together.

Although I won’t be detailing the specifics of my relationship going forward, I hope to share with you what I have learned along the way. It’s not easy being in a relationship, but then again, the things that are worth it never really are.

To my most dedicated readers who haven’t let me lack of posting stop them from commenting words of support on my blog, thank you. You are what has motivated me to get back into this once again. I feel like many of you have integrated my writing into your daily routines, and I have left you with your morning coffee in hand and no reading material. You will not see the frequency of posts you may have grown accustomed in the past, but I still hope you find time in your lives for One Gay At A Time.

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Membership Has Its Privileges: Cuddle Up to Free HowAboutWe Dates for Couples

This time of year, every night out on the town feels a little extra special. It’s Christmas time in NYC, and what better time to take advantage of all the city has to offer for date night.

Recently, I was approached by HowAboutWe, a subscription service designed specifically for couples, to try out their services. I’d heard the name before, but I had no idea what it was I was being offered. I went online to investigate further, and I was blown away by the opportunity before me. HowAboutWe had the direct line to some of the best dates out there. As I dove deeper into the site, I discovered that each month, CK and I would receive a new “DateBook” — filled with pre-planned, one-of-a-kind experiences here in NYC. These weren’t just ordinary dates — Broadway shows, dinner for two, cooking classes, driving experiences… The list went on and on. And, that’s just December.

For our first HowAboutWe date, CK and I chose “In Due Course,” including a four-course dinner for two at celebrity chef Todd English’s restaurant Olives at the W in Union Square. The date was purely magical. CK and I sat down at a very cozy table for two in the corner. Our every need was attended to by the amazing wait staff who brought us a delectable meal consisting of 2 glasses of Prosecco, a crab toast appetizer, Rabbit Tagliatelle, 2 glasses of wine, Branzino A La Plancha, and the coup de grâce — Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake. Everything we ate and drank was spectacular. And, HowAboutWe took care of everything from the reservation all the way down to the tax and tip on our bill. It was utterly seamless.

At $22/month, HowAboutWe for Couples membership gets you so much: FREE HowAboutWe Dates — every month, sold-out tickets and members-only events, early booking on HowAboutWe Dates, up to 75% off other HowAboutWe Dates, and rewards (like buy one get one free tickets on Fandango). I challenge you to find a deal better than that! I for one will continue to go back to HowAboutWe time and time again for amazing dates and opportunities.

It’s tough balancing the working and dating worlds. Anytime someone can take a little bit of the work out of either, I’m all in! They get how busy I am. That’s why most dates are flexible and can be scheduled whenever I decide, except however, some are one-time-only scheduled events, like performances or special excursions. But, who wouldn’t rearrange their schedule for those experiences!?

On top of that, this isn’t marriage— No big scary commitment. You can pause or cancel at any time. And, dates on HowAboutWe for Couples can also be purchased as a non-Member, without the Member discount and other benefits of course.

I highly encourage you to at the very least check it out by clicking the logo here. TRUST ME! You won’t regret it!

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Toys Will Be Toys

Recently, the fine people at Mangasm brand of male sex toys reached out to me recently offering a free Mangasm Edge in return for a review on my blog.

I have to tell you, my immediate gut reaction was to say no. I have never used toys before. I’ve always been a bit intimidated by them and never really felt a strong need for them. My body and the men in my life had always been enough toys for me. No need to bring electronics into the bedroom.

That being said, after reading Dr. Sadie’s Tickle My Tush book, I learned to have more of an open mind. I reached out to them and agreed to give it a shot.

I informed my boyfriend, CK about my new toy and anxiously awaited its arrival. This toy in particular intrigued me because I thought it might be geared just for me. Many times, in order to climax, I need my prostate stimulated manually. I’d been with a lot of men, but CK was the first to finally crack this code. It was an immense relief on my own self-esteem as a man, and it did wonders for our sex life. So, in a way, a prostate stimulator was right up my alley (pun intended).

When my Mangasm Edge arrived, I was both excited and a little apprehensive. Few things have been in my backside over the years — A few fingers and a few man parts, but never anything other than that. I wasn’t quite ready to relinquish all control, so on the first test run, I didn’t engage with CK. On a night we spent apart, I broke out a pack of batteries, and after giving it a shot I was pleasantly surprised.

I took things very slow, and there was a small bit of discomfort at first, but that quickly passed once I relaxed. I just wasn’t used to it yet. With a little maneuvering, I was able to find my “he-spot” with ease. And boy did it hit the spot!

I have to admit, I was worried about the vibration aspect of the Edge. I wasn’t sure that was something I wanted, but I figured I’d decide that after feeling it first. When I got the vibration to the perfect amount, the pleasure increased dramatically. The good news is, the vibration is not just one setting. It is easily adjustable by the user. There certainly is a learning curve on the vibration aspect of this toy, but once you get it, you get it!

With the help of the Mangasm Edge, when I finally reached orgasm, it was amazing. It was different from any other time I’d reached orgasm, and this new sensation was very much welcomed. I was one happy camper. I would highly recommend this toy for anyone who needs that extra little help to get him to climax. And, even if that’s not the case, it’s an overall fun toy to bring into the bedroom.

The next step for me is to use it with my boyfriend. Rather than being a replacement for those steamy nights together, I imagine this is something that will bring us closer together.

So, if you’re interested in any of these products, roboticblowjob.com is offering 20% off if you use the code: OGAAT.

Christmas is right around the corner too. Perhaps that special man in your life could use a little more stimulation this holiday season. Gift the gift of orgasm this holiday season, cause who couldn’t use more of those!?

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Gym Hottie

Since my breakup with Smiles, I’ve been making greater efforts to spend more time with friends. I didn’t neglect them while I was dating him, but I certainly didn’t shower them with attention either. They’re very important to me, and I wanted to make sure they knew they were appreciated. Of course, I also just loved hanging out with them, otherwise they wouldn’t be my friends.

One of my old roommates asked me if I wanted to go out to the bar. It’d been a long time since he’d done this. It came quite out of the blue, but I was very happy for the invitation. Since we don’t live together, we get along much better. It wasn’t that we fought all the time while we lived together or anything. It’s just much simpler now. I look forward to bar nights with him.

At the same time, one of the girls who I know from my annual Martha’s Vineyard trips was planning a birthday gathering the same night a block from my office. I asked my old roommate if he minded going there for happy hour. I thought it would make things convenient so I could spend time with both. It’d been a long time since I caught up with both friends.

My old roommate and I arrived at the bar early. We made our way through the crowd at Gingerman to the bar to order some beers. I offered to pick up the first round, as I generally do. I handed him his beer and we cheersed. It was at that moment I learned it was his birthday. I had no idea until he said something. I felt like such a sh*t. He was a close friend, and I was usually up on that sort of thing. I have everyone’s birthday in my phone, so I checked to see how I missed the date. It turned out I didn’t have his birthday in there, but with more investigation, I had scheduled it a month later on the same date. I told him how bad I felt, but also added, “At least I offered to buy the round! Haha.” He laughed and quickly forgave my mistake. I thought about it for a second, and realized I was the only one meeting him for drinks. I was the one he wanted to spend his birthday with. I was touched and happy.

We stood by the door because it was the only place we could stand, drink and have a discussion. He told me his plans to go to Atlantic City that weekend for his birthday with a busload of people. I wished him luck since it sounded like such a complicated situation.

After some time, the birthday girl arrived. She came in and gave me a big hug. I introduced her to my old roommate, and we quickly caught up. She decided to make her way to the back of the bar to see if she could grab a table when the bouncer chased us away from the front door. My old roommate and I had already been back there and knew there were no tables, so I let her find out for herself after telling her that. He and I made our way to the front corner of the bar. Just as we did, a couch opened up. I texted the birthday girl to come join us. About ten minutes later, she finally did and brought the rest of her group over.

I talked with my old roommate as more and more people filtered in. It was becoming an intimate little circle. I introduced him to everyone that joined that I knew. When the evening was dragging on, I decided I was read to head home. I had to take equipment home from work, so I was going to book a car service from my office. I invited my old roommate to join me since he still lives in Hoboken as well, and he accepted. I pointed out how I bought all his drinks and provided him a ride home, proving I wasn’t a bad friend who forgot his birthday after all.

We said goodbye to the birthday girl and the rest of the group. She pulled me aside and told me how cute he was. I explained to her he wasn’t a love interest. I pointed out how she’d met him at my Christmas parties, as well as his girlfriend. She was so confused, but I realized what happened. He was guilty by association. Because he was sitting on the couch with me, and because of my status as a gay man, everyone who knew this bit of information also assumed he was gay as well.

As we walked to the car, I pointed out to him what happened. Even though there was nothing I could have done to prevent it, I apologized to him for it. He was oblivious to it, and he laughed it off.

That night, I also had to say goodbye to another ex-roommate. He was still a good friend and tennis partner. He was moving to San Francisco for work, which meant I would probably see him once a year like my other San Francisco friends. I was very sad to see another friend go. Slowly but surely, all my friends were moving away or pairing up and falling off the face of the earth. I know this is part of getting older, but that doesn’t make it any less painful.

My sister and I went to the bar where he and his friends were gathering. It was nice to get to see him since it had been so long. He’d been quite busy with his new job, but now I’d see even less of him. After I got to chat with him for a bit, I texted my other friends, D and his girlfriend and asked what they were up to. They wanted to meet up for drinks, so we decided to go to Cooper’s Union, where I know the owner and bartender.

We met them there, and the whole lot of us wasn’t charged for a single drink the entire night. He always took great care of me and my friends when he worked at my usual watering hole. Now that he branched off and opened his own bar, the attention only got better.

I had a great time with everyone that night. I got to see so many of my friends. Normally I’m too lazy to do any of these things. I always bail last minute out of selfishness, but I was trying to be better about it. It was already paying off. I had a really great time.

In the middle of all this, a gorgeous man walked into the bar. I’d seen him many times before. I’d actually seen quite a bit of him as well. He was a usual at my favorite bar, and he was a usual at my gym in the city. Apparently we both lived in Hoboken, and we both worked in the same neighborhood. I’d had a crush on him for a looonnnggg time, but had a very strong feeling he was straight. He was still gorgeous and fun to look at.

At the same time, I noticed he caught my sister’s eye as well. It’s ironic, but we have the same taste in men periodically. We both acknowledged shared interest in him, but I pointed out to her it wasn’t even worth a battle. She’d already won. There was almost no question in my mind he was straight “How do you know?” she asked. “I can just tell. But, I can also tell you he looks great with no clothes on — At least from the backside anyway,” I added. We both laughed and she continued to ogle him from afar. I did as well, but I was much more discreet about it.

When I was tired and it was time to go home, I gathered everyone to make our way home. Of course I wasn’t going to walk out without paying. I gathered cash from everyone and handed him a wad of cash before walking out the door.

I had a great night. I saw a lot of my friends in one night, I got to scope out a hottie I’ve had my eye on, and I had cheap drinks. Maybe single life was working out well for me. Maybe it was time I tried that for a while… Maybe not…

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Back to Reality

Christmas day had passed. My time home was coming to an end. I was happy to be home, but I was also anxious to get back to normal life.

The morning after Christmas, my father and I decided to do a little shopping to see if we could land any special deals to kill time. I would also finally be in cell phone service, so I could text Smiles and wish him a safe flight. When I got into service, I got an influx of text and picture messages. He’d sent me quite a few, keeping me updated on what he was up to. I really was missing him and quite anxious to get back to see him. I proposed we do dinner at my apartment since he had to postpone it before the holidays. He texted back in agreement. I was finally going to get to make us the standing rib roast. I told him I missed him, and he responded, “I miss you too! 🙂 “ I could have melted into a puddle right there. This was so unlike him to express his emotions like this, but I was eating it up!

The day after Christmas is always spent with my father’s side of the family. We all gather together for a nice potluck meal that rotates from house to house year to year.  This side of the family has also shrunk significantly. My grandparents have been gone since I was quite young. My father’s brother is in rough shape these days from his battles with diabetes. His sister died a few years ago and her husband is in a nursing home. I rarely see their daughter, my cousin since she moved away and got married. That left one sister whose husband also passed away a few years ago. But as that generation was shrinking, another was growing in leaps in bounds. The living sister has 5 children, all of which are married and have become baby making machines. They now outnumber the four of us five to one.

The gathering is always a lively one with many children running about. Christmas is one of the two times I spend with this side of the family each year (the other being an annual family reunion). We also have an annual tradition of a “Yankee gift swap” or “white elephant sale” depending where you come from. The tradition has lost a lot of its allure as my cousins have adopted a new tradition of buying crap at Wal-Mart and Big Lots the day after Christmas for half price.

My sister and I had to work the Tuesday after Christmas, so around 5:00 we hopped in the car and made our way back to Hoboken. When I got back to my apartment and unloaded all my presents from home, I picked up the phone and called Smiles. Sadly, it went straight to voicemail. I was hoping to relax after a long car ride with some time talking to him, but alas, that wouldn’t be the case.

My roommate arrived home, and we swapped all our holiday stories. We plopped down on the couch and started to catch up on the programs we saved on the DVR. After some time, Smiles called. I think if you were in New Jersey when the phone rang, you may have seen a beacon of light in the sky that was my smile.

He told me about his trip home and the ordeal he went through. When he got back to the city, he’d gone out with one of his female friends for dinner. He devised a new plan to work out of her apartment going forward so he would be more productive than he was working out of his apartment. He felt if he had a place to go to every day that wasn’t in line of sight of his bed, he would get more done. I told him I thought it was a great idea. Even though they wouldn’t be coworkers, they could keep each other on task. Either that, or it would be a complete disaster, and they would be a constant distraction for each other.

I told him about my time home, my family and how the gift swap has become a sham. He laughed and told me about the rest of his time home with the family.

It wasn’t a long phone conversation, as our phone calls never are, but it certainly satisfied my hunger for Smiles. It would satiate me until I got to see him the following night when he came over for dinner.

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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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Chauffeur

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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A Broadway Christmas

Since I’m from Pennsylvania and Broadway’s from California, I went home for Christmas, and he stayed in the city. I was disappointed we weren’t spending Christmas together, but I wasn’t ready to bring him home and his work didn’t allow for time off. A few days before I went home, we spent a night in the city. We saw the decorated storefronts and the tree in Rockefeller Center, finally ending at the Plaza Hotel for a drink. This was the first time a man bought me a drink. I felt so special and so loved.

For weeks, he bugged me about what I wanted for Christmas, but I refused to tell him. I knew, without asking, the perfect gift for him, and I wasn’t going to give him an easy out. I really had no idea what he was going to bring to the table.

We celebrated Christmas at my apt the night before heading home. I handed him a rather sizable box. He handed me an envelope. He opened his first. The Sex in the City complete dvd collection (deluxe edition). He was ecstatic. He mentioned months ago how much he wanted it. He threw his arms around me and gave me a big kiss.

Inside my envelope was a card and 2 tickets. Weeks earlier, we discussed going to see Driving Miss Daisy on Broadway (with Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones), but tickets were more expensive than I was willing to spend. I was so touched he remembered I wanted to see it and got us tickets.

Inside the card, he wrote about how much he enjoyed spending time with and getting to know me over the past few months. Also, we would have a night on the town with dinner, a show and topped off with sex. I couldn’t help myself. I started to cry. He was concerned, but I calmed his questioning look when I planted a big ol’ wet kiss on him.

We spoke on the phone Christmas Day even thought we couldn’t be together. Coming home from Christmas at my grandfather’s, my mother and I finally started talking about my homosexuality. We were talking about my sister’s relationship, when my mom finally said, “And are you still dating the same guy?” I told her how happy I was. Then we began talking about coming out to my extended family.

She asked if, how and when I planned to tell them. I told her it was irrelevant for the time being until I felt the need to bring someone home to meet them. At that point, I would probably send them an email. She asked if and how I would tell my grandfather. I explained how uncomfortable it may make him and how it could unnecessarily alter my relationship with him. I think my fear was also her fear. He’s from a different generation, and he may not understand. I could see she was relieved I wasn’t planning on breaking the news to him because she was worried about dealing with the fallout.

That year, I also spent New Year’s Eve with Broadway. I’ve had one good New Year’s to date, and I can’t even remember it because I was too drunk. It’s never been an exciting event for me. It’s a burden to plan for and a holiday I could do without, much like Valentine’s Day.

We planned a very nice night. We started at my friend’s apt in Hoboken. Following, we planned to go into the city to watch the ball drop at his cast mate’s apt. After that, we would meet up with his roommates and friends to close out the night at a bar near his place.

Plans changed, however, when we were unable to catch a bus after 45 minutes. The fear of passing midnight in the middle of the Lincoln Tunnel became very real. So we decided to head back to the party in Hoboken for a bit. When we got back, my good friend came up to me and said, “I’m so happy you came back. After you left, I was saying how I was disappointed I wasn’t spending New Years with you.” That was one of the sweetest things anyone’s ever said to me. I realized he truly was a good friend.

Everyone decided to go to the rooftop to watch the fireworks in the city and count down as the ball dropped. Broadway previously watched the ball drop every year, so he asked if we could stay in view of the TV. I didn’t care where we were, I was just happy to finally have someone to share New Year’s Eve with. After the ball dropped, we had our midnight kiss. I really felt at ease with him. I was thrilled with out relationship and never felt closer to anyone in my life. It was a New Years to remember.

After everyone came down from the roof (which apparently didn’t allow for any fireworks viewing) we decided to try our luck getting into the city. This time the bus came without much delay. At this point, we skipped the cast mate’s party and went straight to the bar to meet up with his close friends. We ended up at 9th Avenue Saloon and threw back a few more drinks before hopping in the photo booth for a photo shoot together.

We closed out the night with some New Years love making and then dozed off. For the first time, I truly had a happy holidays.

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