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It had arrived. Although this would be my third year “participating,” I was legitimately scared. I wasn’t sure why it was so scary, but honestly, I was petrified for so many reasons.
My first interaction with Pride Weekend was a mistake. I was making my way to Governor’s Island for a polo match with my family when we found ourselves “stuck” in the parade route. The following year was the first year I was out when the weekend came around. It wasn’t pleasant as I witnessed my relationship crumble before my eyes like an out-of-body experience. I missed the parade that year, but I got a sampling of the other aspects of the festivities.
My fear was grounded mainly in the unknown. While I am a gay man, I do not participate in the typical gay culture. I’ve never been a big fan of gay clubs and what goes on there. I come from a background of a traditional relationship. In the gay world, that is like finding a diamond in the rough. The clubs seem to be the antithesis of this. They are a hot-bed of drugs, promiscuity and raunchy behavior. I know all gay men who go to bars don’t fit into this stereotype, but this stereotype is founded in truth. While I’ve been to a handful of gay clubs, and my comfort level was rising, I still had no idea what to expect. Never before had I been to a circuit party. I was venturing into the abyss, and this caused me incredible anxiety.
While I have learned to let go of the men in my past, I still carry the scars of my relationship with them. They’ve all hurt or used me in some way, shape or form. My biggest fear in life is being alone, and this fear is fed by thoughts of cheating, which is birthed from my baggage. The idea of CK with another man broke my heart. I had clear definitions of cheating, but there were worse things floating through my imagination — Like cheating in a form I feel is unfaithful, but the offender does not.
My relationship with CK was building a great foundation, however, the cement was still wet. We were only dating two months and ten days — Very young for any relationship. In the first month, I had strong suspicions I wasn’t the only man entering his bed. Things didn’t always line up and some of the clear indications were there, however, our relationship was still just forming. I knew there would be a transition period. While he told me he was only interested in me, and I was the only man entering his bed, I was aware how we met. I was also aware of his intentions before we even met through his first major slip-up on Grindr. I couldn’t expect monogamy from the first night — That wasn’t realistic.
While I was fairly understanding and looked the other way early on, I was not going to tolerate infidelity as our relationship progressed and strengthened. For starters, my heart wouldn’t be able to handle the pain, and lastly, it wasn’t safe for my health. I needed to trust him to be faithful. Outside the heartbreak, frankly, we were having unprotected sex. We’d been tested, but there are no guarantees. I trusted him with my life, literally, and if he was sleeping with other men, he was treating my life carelessly.
I sincerely had a feeling his intentions had evolved, but I couldn’t be sure how he would react when faced with temptation. I hoped I was the only man for him. As a result, I was petrified for the life of our relationship. I’d watched my relationship with N publicly combust the previous year, and I didn’t want a repeat.
I’m sure many of you reading think I am overreacting. It’s just a party… It’s just a parade… It’s just a weekend… Well, not to me. To me, it was a litmus test for the strength of my love for CK. I didn’t want that love to be tested, and I didn’t want to have to make a decision that could end my relationship with CK. He was my Superman. He was my world. If I lost him, my world would come crumbling down.
We had plans to go to a huge party at XL Friday night, Matinée circuit party Saturday, and the parade Sunday afternoon. I was venturing into this unknown abyss with faith and hope I could persevere. The thought of CK dropping X and losing control of his inhibitions with some other guy caused me great pain and panic attacks. The idea of another man’s hand groping his package caused me panic attacks. Picturing him dancing shirtless against another shirtless man caused me panic attacks. Every time these scenarios and many others entered my brain, my heart rate would increase drastically, I would start to sweat, and I would get light-headed.
All this added up to me being petrified and frustrated. When I asked CK what clothes I should pack to bring to his apartment for the weekend, and I didn’t get any cooperation or help. It all became overwhelming. To begin with, this wasn’t something I was looking forward to, and his lack of cooperation made me lose my sh*t. “Okay Babe. I’ll talk to you in the morning. Have fun tonight!” I said on the verge of tears as I hung up the phone on him.
I think that was the wake-up call CK needed. I don’t think he fully understood how much anxiety this all created for me. I voiced my frustrations for weeks leading up to Pride Weekend. I told him I was going out of my comfort zone, but I was willing to do it as long as I got some hand-holding. I needed help to get over this. It was just another fun weekend for him, but it was a big deal to me.
After a few minutes, he called me back. We discussed things a little more rationally, and CK’s tone changed. He finally realized I was struggling and tossed out the life-preserver. Now that I knew I had him in my corner, I was a little more relaxed, however, I still wasn’t completely comfortable. It was going to be a long, stressful and exhausting weekend both physically and emotionally. I bit down then and there, and braced for impact as I packed my bag and walked out the door.
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…
Saturday morning, I said goodbye to Clark Kent when I dropped him off in the city. I wanted to spend every waking minute with him, but things were still fresh and young for us. It’d only been a week. I needed to stop my habit of diving in head first, or I could be in for a world of hurt. Saturday night, I made plans with friends to go out. One of the guys I swam with in college asked me to come by to pregame and then go to the bar with him and some other friends. It’d been months since a request like that came in, so I was ready and raring to go. By the time I got ready to go out after running all my errands, they moved things to the bar. I met the group at Black Bear in Hoboken. These friends are serious triathletes, so they never go out, and when they do, they go to bed early. I also encouraged my other friend P to join us.
When I got to the bar, I sent CK a text to see what he was up to. He responded by telling me to come into the city and spend the night with him. Had he texted me a half hour earlier, I probably would have never entered the bar and would have gone straight into the city. I stepped outside to call him and explain. I really wanted to go see him since I couldn’t get enough of him, but P had just arrived. I didn’t want to ditch her. He fully understood. A small part of me wanted to ensure he wouldn’t get tired of me, so I thought some time apart would do us good.
I went back to the bar and had a good time with my friends. In true fashion, a half hour later, all but P made their way home to go to bed. It wasn’t even midnight yet. I told her all about CK and how amazing he was. I also told her about how I’d ended things with all the other guys. She kept asking things like, “Well, what about [X]? I thought you had a good date?” I explained to her that none of these guys were like my Superman. They didn’t measure up at all. She was impressed with my conviction and wished me luck, but she warned me not to get too far ahead of myself. P and I decided to go to another bar we enjoyed far more, Cooper’s Union, where we sit and chat while our favorite Hoboken bartender serves us.
Just as we were about to leave the bar, it started pouring. We agreed to call it a night instead. She hopped in a cab, and I made my way down the street home. I didn’t get far before I decided to run. I ripped off my soaking wet shirt and ran on my Cole Haans the dozen blocks home. When I got home, I texted CK to tell him about my “TV commercial-like sprint in the rain home.” (The Nike technology in Cole Haans really is amazing btw!). He responded back telling me how much he wished he’d seen me. He told me he was turned on by the mental picture. I achieved my goal. I knew exactly what I was doing when I sent that text to him. I wanted him to want me.
Sunday, I talked to CK, and we made plans for me to spend the night in the city. It made sense since he was so close to my office. I could bring clothes for work the next day and head straight there in the morning.
As the day progressed, the weather deteriorated. It was pouring. I made my way to his place around dinnertime soaked to the bone. I had my giant umbrella with me, but water-soaked my pants from the ground up. He stripped me of most of my clothes when I arrived, and we began fooling around immediately. This, of course, led to sex and some hot, sweaty fun.
I was happy to be spending a rainy night in with him. We had no plans and no obligations. We were simply going to cuddle in his apartment and watch something on his iPad. He offered to make me dinner, and I accepted. He told me his cooking abilities were limited, but he would whip up his specialty for me. I heard a lot going on in the kitchen while I sat in his living room. He wouldn’t let me help. He wanted to surprise me. When I came into the kitchen to give him a hug and kiss, I got my kiss but was ordered back to the couch.
Moments later, he brought me a plate full of salad with chunks of chicken and a tasty dressing. It was very good, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. That night, I would also learn of CK’s sweet tooth. We weren’t even done our salads before he was talking about dessert. He didn’t have anything in the apartment, but there was a bodega on the block. We would venture out into the rain to satisfy a craving for sweets. He offered for me to stay in the apartment and stay dry, but I insisted on coming with him.
We picked up Oreos, ice cream and some cheddar bread sticks and made our way back out into the rain. I was tempted the whole walk back to ask him to hold the umbrella while I ripped my shirt off and ran back to his apartment in the rain. The only thing that stopped me was that I’d have to stand in front of his doorman with no shirt on until he caught up, and I thought it might embarrass him. I chickened out! I was so disappointed in myself. I wanted to show him I didn’t take myself too seriously.
When we got back to his apartment, we dove into the ice cream and Oreos. He made each of us a bowl, and we cracked open the bread sticks. We sat in bed, and when we finished, we cuddled in front of his iPad watching Smash. Shortly thereafter, I dozed off in his arms. It was a perfect rainy night, and I truly looked forward to many others with him while I dreamed the night away.
The next morning, we fooled around before getting ready. While I showered, he made me a bowl of yogurt, fresh berries, honey and granola. It was delicious. He was really taking care of me.
Every moment made me fall for him more and more. We walked to my office together before he hopped on the subway, and I made my way inside. I was head over heels, and things were just starting. The possibilities were endless, and I planned to explore them all…Follow @onegayatatime
I’d begun an amazing date with a spectacular man, and I couldn’t wait for what was to come next. Although I had been to Frankies 570 multiple times before with multiple dates, this time was special. I had an amazing guy to share a meal with. Ironically, my meal from days prior was so good, I ordered the same the again.
Conversation over dinner we great. It flowed like water downhill. We were both very flirtatious and chatty. On many of my other dates, there were long awkward pauses, but not on this one. Everything was just so easy. When I excuse myself to go to the bathroom, he leaned in requesting a kiss first. It was incredibly sweet and adorable. I really liked this guy. He was everything I was looking for.
I was just taking extra care to make sure I didn’t get ahead of myself. I had a history of falling for guys who would hurt me or not be interested in pursuing anything further. While in the restroom, I looked in the mirror to keep myself centered. All I could do was smile at my reflection like a giddy schoolgirl.
When I returned to the table, the conversation picked back up where we left off. My hand was on his leg under the table. His body language was very positive.
Our meals came, and we shared them with each other. Both of us were very happy with our selections. When the meal ended, we agreed to order a dessert to share. We got the crème-brulee. I dug my spoon into it and fed him a spoonful. It felt incredibly romantic. He smiled as his mouth closed around the spoon. We finished dessert and began to chat about what to do next. He was dancing around what I can only assume were his true motives. He said, “We can go have more drinks.” I interjected, “I don’t want to drink anymore.” “We can drop our bags at my place and go out. We could grab Pinkberry…” he added. I cut him off at the pass saying, “You can stop dancing around it. We can go back to your place.” He immediately smiled and agreed that was the best idea.
I wasn’t thinking we were going back to his place for sex. I knew there would be making out and a lot of heavy petting, but I wasn’t planning to give it up that easily. We hopped in a cab back to his apartment. He asked if I wanted to go to the roof, and I told him I would default to him. We were on his home turf. He could run the show. I picked the bar and restaurant. It was his turn to drive. Before we got to his place, he warned me of the condition of it. He informed me he lived like a frat boy.
When we got to his place, we stopped in his apartment on our way to the roof. I didn’t think he was as bad as he let on. We began making out on the bed. This, of course, led to many other things. Slowly but surely, clothes started landing on the floor in scattered piles. Eventually, we fond ourselves naked and engaging in a myriad of sexual acts, but penetration would never occur.
He was a very passionate man. I have found it nearly impossible to find a man whose intellect, wit and sense of adventure outside the bedroom matched their passion in the bedroom. He was a diamond in the rough. I wasn’t going to let this one go without a fight.
I noticed he was very into music. It was like he needed a soundtrack. I liked it. Every minute I was learning something new about him, and it was all making me like him even more.
We never made it to the roof. We ended up passing out on top of each other’s naked body. In the middle of the night, we both woke up. It was around 2:00. He offered for me to stay. I was under the impression that was already happening. I assumed I would just stay the night. We cuddled some more, and he turned out the lights.
When we woke in the morning, things weren’t awkward at all. I felt very comfortable with him. We talked about how we didn’t have sex and how that made us both happy. We didn’t need to rush things. I mean, I was spending the night on a first date, but I was happy true sex didn’t occur. I was also thrilled he was the type of guy who would just bring that up and not keep it inside for fear of saying the wrong thing. He spoke his mind. I needed to get back to that. Being with him might help me get back to that.
He was amazing. There was no question about it. We were both starving and decided to get dressed to hunt for some breakfast. We stopped by a few places before finally settling on Jimmy’s American Grill and Bar. We grabbed a table outside and picked up the conversation where we left off the previous night.
I let my freak flag fly. I felt so free with him. I told him all about me and my idiosyncrasies. I explained my Christmas Bash and all the work I put into it. He referred to me as Martha Stewart, and I expressed my hatred for that referral. I didn’t like that my cooking and entertaining had a feminine connotation. I told him I was more the Nate Berkus type. He laughed and agreed it was a better reference. I told him about my crazy coworkers and how we would make an amazing reality show. I told him about growing up on a farm. Everything I could think of, I brought out. He loved it all! I learned about where he grew up and his career in advertising. Every word made me like him more and more. He also told me about his friends. They texted him while we were eating to ask him to come to brunch 2.0.
Somehow, we got on the topic of The Hunger Games. I was reading the books, and he had already seen the movie. I told him I was looking forward to seeing the movie. He told me he would go see it again and asked if we could go see it Sunday. You could have knocked me over with a feather. He was already planning date number two before date number one concluded. I was thrilled and immediately accepted.
He walked me to the PATH to say goodbye before heading downtown to meet his friends at Elmo. We kissed each other goodbye and gave a long lasting hug. There was a homeless man panhandling next to us who said, “Get a room,” through a smile. He began laughing, and I started to crack up since I was the one facing him. I said to my amazing date, “That made my day.” Immediately, he replied, “You made my day.” I was in heaven. I said goodbye and went down the stairs to the train.
Later, I learned from checking his Twitter that when he checked in at dinner on Foursquare, he wrote, “Easy conversation + tasty food + hot boy = great date on a Fri night (@ Frankies 570 w/ 2 others)” and the next day at brunch, “When last night’s date becomes this afternoon’s brunch date (@ Jimmy’s American Grill & Bar). He really did like me. I was just finding it hard to take. It was like a dream. I couldn’t really believe it. I didn’t want to get too excited because I didn’t want to get hurt. But, honestly, who gives a f*ck. I was happy, and that was all I cared about.Follow @onegayatatime