Posts Tagged decision
As gay men, CK and I had been anticipating the release of Magic Mike with bated breath. One Friday night, CK suggested we check it out. When he said we, I assumed he meant just the two of us, but I quickly came to learn we included Old News as well. As long as we were inviting friends, I knew P wanted to see the movie as well, so I reached out to her. This was two-fold because it would also help balance the scale since I wasn’t exactly comfortable with how Old News was with CK. We were all planning to gather in midtown to check out a late showing.
I was meeting CK at his apartment before the movie, and when I arrived, I learned Old News would be meeting us there as well before walking to the theater together. I already couldn’t wait. From the moment Old News arrived, he began schmoozing CK. A friendly greeting with a hug is completely acceptable, but the kiss on the cheek was a little unnecessary. This was no air kiss, and I know because I was behind CK looking right at him as he did it. It probably was not his intent, but I felt it may have been done for my benefit. I didn’t like it — Not one bit. All I could do was stand by and watch this without saying anything. I would have to wait to have a private conversation with CK later.
Of course, he was very cordial toward me, but I couldn’t have cared less. I still had a bad taste left in my mouth from the last time we hung out at XL. That night, I was going to get the answer to a question that arose every time he came around. Was he actually flirting with CK because of lingering feelings, or was I imagining things? I had an advantage that night. I had two sets of eyes on him. I had asked P to watch and tell me if my suspicions were correct.
We met P in front of the theater, and as we took our seats, what transpired next could not have made me happier. It just so happened, as we walked into the theater, the order was Old News, myself, CK and finally P. So, when we sat, I was between Old News and CK, and I was thrilled. When CK and I go to the movies, we’re fairly affectionate in the way we sit. We hold hands or put our arms around each other. I wasn’t going to change that this time, and Old News was about to get a front row seat to this. Maybe he’d realized the CK ship has sailed. He was my man now, and it was time to back off and learn to simply be his friend. Nothing more. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t want Old News out of the picture completely. He was CK’s friend. I simply wanted him to respect the relationship between CK and I.
The theater was a sh*t show — Like being in an actual strip club. Women were everywhere, shouting and squealing at the screen as they jumped out of their seats in excitement. I was shocked I didn’t see a dollar bill or two go flying in the air.
As we left the theater, Old News commented to us, “Wow! It smells like wet vagina in here! Do you smell that?” I thought the comment was hysterical because he was pretty spot on, but I wasn’t exactly in the frame of mind to laugh at his jokes yet.
We stopped on the corner of the street to discuss what we wanted to do next. None of us had eaten, so food was discussed, but no one would make a decision. Finally, we landed on heading back to CK’s apartment to smoke and hang out.
As we walked down the street, Old News was joking and what I would certainly call flirting with CK. When the opportunity arose, he’d throw an arm around him or pat him on the back. Don’t get me wrong. I’d seen this interaction time and time again with Hip, and I had no problem with it. In fact, I welcomed it. It all seemed completely different with Old News. Old News would draw CK into a conversation, and the two of them continued on as if P and I didn’t exist. At some point, CK noticed I was a bit out of sorts. He hung back with me and asked what’s wrong. I reiterated how I felt Old News was flirting and still had a crush on him. Once again, he told me I was imagining things. I started to get adamant, and I think he finally realized how much this bothered me.
If he was willing to act like this in front of me, what would Old News try to do if I wasn’t around. Like I said, it wasn’t CK I trusted, it was Old News. After chatting for so long, I’m sure he realized something was up. We agreed to talk about it again later and returned back to the other two.
We hung out at CK’s for quite some time, and around 2:00am, we decided to go to Flaming Saddles, and P decided to head home. As I walked her out I asked her what she thought. She agreed he was still flirting, but to a bit of a lesser degree. It was all I needed to confirm I wasn’t being irrational. I thanked her and gave her a hug goodnight. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of going out since it was already quite late, and we were going to the beach the following morning with Boston and a few others. As our group was shrinking by one, we were also growing by two. CK’s roommate and his assistant joined us. The night was only getting better and better.
When we arrived at Flaming Saddles, no one was there. Instead, we continued on to Industry. It was a good scene, and the good news was that CK and I were dancing. Old News seemed to disappear. However, it wasn’t long before I felt I was beginning to disappear too. I was slowly but surely getting comfortable with going to gay bars, but I was also learning something about CK in gay bars I didn’t exactly appreciate.
When we danced, I never felt like I was dancing with just him. I felt like I was dancing with the entire bar. He danced, and I was tried to dance next to him. He constantly looked around to see who was looking at him, gently touching guys as they passed by him. I never had his full attention. This was only exacerbated when he stepped up on the stage, and I was two steps below him. I felt like I was there with a go-go boy, and I have to admit I was a little crushed. It hurt. Was my attention not enough for him? Did he need the eyes of every other guy in the room? This brought up a lot of worries I’d been having about our relationship. I was worried I wasn’t enough for him, and that was all I wanted.
We ended up closing down the bar at 4:00am. We were all starving, so we foraged for food. We settled on Empanada Mama and grabbed a table outside. They had a packed house, so it took forever for us to get our food. When it finally arrived, everyone dug in. When I went to grab my second empanada, it was gone. I looked across the table and noticed Old News shoveling it into his pie hole. I don’t think he took it on purpose, but it was a perfect picture of my relationship with him. First, he was trying to steal my man. Now, he was stealing my food.
I was already agitated by Old News, but at this point, it was 6:00am and the sun was starting to come up. As the time ticked on, I grew more and more anxious about getting up the next day to follow through on my plans. CK was already so tired he actually fell asleep at the table. It was time to go home and go to bed. We said goodbye and made our way home. While we walked he turned to me and said, “You’re nuts if you think we’re heading to the beach tomorrow at 10:00.” That set me off. I told CK about my plans to go to the beach days prior to this. He should have planned accordingly. This was important to me. I hadn’t seen Boston in over a year. He was completely disregarding my plans, and I was furious. “You’re nuts if you think we’re not.” He looked at me with a confused look.
I explained how upset I was and of course started getting loud. The fact that he remembered the beach plans and completely disregarded them was incredibly demeaning. In doing so, he was telling me that his unplanned fun mattered and my planned day did not. We could have called it quits at any point throughout the night so we could have done a bit of both. Had he brought it up before 6:00am, I probably would have been receptive of a compromise. I would have said we could leave around 11:00 so we could stay out a little later. At this point, after being told I’m nuts, I wasn’t about to give up any ground. I told him I was going, with or without him. I had made plans with a friend visiting from out-of-town, and I wasn’t about to back out because he wanted to stay out all night.
Against the advice of nearly every couple I’ve ever met, that night (or should I say morning) we went to bed angry…
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.
After my lukewarm date with the doctor, I was ready to get back out there in search for a man.
I’m happy to report, which I’m sure some of you may have suspected otherwise, I was doing a great job of staying off Grindr. Granted, it was a short period of time, but I was thoroughly proud of myself. I felt like I’d joined GA. Every day not having meaningless sex was another day of Grindr sobriety.
Tuesday after work, I arranged another date with Southern Drawl. The last date was a bit crazy. Footsie under the table. Shenanigans in the bathroom. I was curious if he’d be able to behave this time or would he be looking for another quick trip to the bathroom.
We texted during the day to lock things down. I proposed The Breslin. I’d always loved their food, their drinks and their ambiance. He shot the idea down because he said the place was always full of hipsters. I had always been a fan of Sala 19 in the Flatiron District, so I proposed we go there for dinner. It worked out well because it was halfway between our offices. He agreed.
I had to wait at work for him to finish. When he did, I made my way south to meet him. I met him on the street corner, and we walked to the restaurant.
Dinner was very nice. He was well-behaved, and the conversation was good. I told him about my allergist appointment, and he told me about his day. We talked frankly about our last date. We discussed what went on. I learned he’d never done anything like that before. I was also learning about the guys he’d dated since living in New York City. When we originally spoke on the phone, I was under the impression he was new to the gay world. I thought he’d never really dated anyone before. Now, I was learning about all the guys he dated in NYC, as well as the guy he dated through college that he said I so strongly reminded him of and resembled. It was a bit unsettling.
In the middle of dinner, he told me he’d ended things with the guy he was seeing. He explained they’d only been seeing each other for two weeks, and things were never that strong. When I probed him to ask if he left the other guy because he met me or if he did it because he wasn’t satisfied with the previous guy, he told me it was the latter, but part of it was also due to meeting me. A big red flag went off in my head. Would he leave me for a better model?
I still wasn’t sure about him. I liked talking to him. I liked being with him. He was smart. He was nice. He wasn’t flamboyant, however, I wondered if maybe he was too “straight.” He was a bit homophobic. I’m not the most open about my sexuality. I’m not out to everyone at work. I don’t openly advertise my sexuality. However, if he wasn’t comfortable with himself, how could we be comfortable with each other. I couldn’t be sure about him. Was he right for me? I had no idea. Only more time could tell. I was keeping a distance as we moved forward. We had a connection, but was it strong enough to last? Was it what I wanted?
In our conversations, his southern entitlement shined through. It was an incredible turnoff. Where was the southern charm I’d seen so many times in movies. When I think of the ideal man, I think of Matthew McConaughey. He definitely has an ego and self-confidence, but he also exudes charm and sexuality. His confidence is not in your face, and he seems down-to-earth. Southern Drawl fit the other Hollywood archetype — The Southern plantation owner. He had an air or superiority that was hard to swallow. Many times, he laughed off these comments, making them seem like a joke, but I wondered if there was really something deep down that was more genuine. I wasn’t ready to date a snob. That $hit wouldn’t fly with me. I wasn’t going to let him get away with it, and I’d already started calling him on it.
When we finished eating, we split the bill and walked north to the PATH station. I said goodbye to him ont he street with barely a hug. He was uncomfortable exchanging a kiss with me in front of a city of strangers. I wasn’t thrilled by that.
On my ride home, I questioned why I was continuing to see Southern Drawl. He was definitely interested in me, and I was still intrigued by him. I wasn’t ready to write him off just yet, but I didn’t see a lot of promise or potential. I would continue to see other men and continue to see him until I was ready to make a definitive decision.Follow @onegayatatime
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.
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…Follow @onegayatatime