Posts Tagged exhausting

Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself

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.

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The Lake

I am very fortunate to have amazing friends that come with amazing perks. It just so happens one of my friends’ parents own a house on a lake with a boat. In the summer, if I’m not worshiping the sun on the beach, you can find me relaxing and fooling around on the lake. Either way, I gotta work on my tan!

Saturday evening, CK and I were invited to D and K’s backyard for a barbecue. While there, we were also invited to join a small group on K’s boat. I’d been going out there for years with her. I was the Gilligan to her Skipper, however, I’d like to think I was a little more helpful. I’d actually become quite versed in some of the crucial acts of boating through my trips out to the Lake with K. She even joined me when I bought a Groupon to learn to sail. For her birthday, I bought her a life vest I happen to see on sale in a store I was in.

As this wasn’t the first time I’d been on the boat, it wasn’t the first time I brought a man with me. In the previous summer, I was very excited to integrate N in my friend circle. While I don’t regret this at all, looking back at the pictures leave a bitter taste in my mouth. CK and I were still going strong, and I knew these memories would erase the old. When I thought about the good times on the boat with my man, it would be with my Superman.

The downside of the lake is that we have to get up very early to go. It’s about an hour drive away, and the later we wait, the worse the traffic gets. CK and I had our fun before bed, and when the alarm went off in the morning, although groggy, we were on point. It took us a little time to get out of bed, but once we did, we were making moves. We fooled around and got frisky, taking our fun from the bed to the shower, all the while staying on schedule. I even had time to make us CK’s favorite breakfast burritos and iced coffee in a mason jar.

It turns out, we were ahead of the game. Let the record show, and I would like to repeat: We were not only on time, we were early — A feat worthy of praise. When I called K, she was just waking up. She told me she’d swing by in fifteen minutes to get us. In the meantime, she called all the other girls who were coming with us. They were taking much longer to get their act in gear. K picked us up and drove up to my sister’s apartment, where she and two other girls were preparing.

Apparently, they were having a rough morning after a long night out. I was really relishing my reasonable exit with CK. We waited so long, I finished my burrito. When I opened the car door, tragedy occurred. The mason jar containing the iced coffee for CK and I shattered on the sidewalk. My mind immediately shot back to CK’s comments in my kitchen: “Why are you putting it in a mason jar?” I turned to him immediately and said, “I should have listened to you! DAMMIT!”

After waiting for over 45 minutes, my sister emerged. Alone. We waited all the time to learn the girls were sick and not joining us. Regardless, we were on our way. The four of us made our way out to the lake for a day of fun.

We all hopped on the boat and got it ready to shove off. We lounged… We tubed… We swam… We had a blast. I was really enjoying my day with my man in one of my favorite places. I couldn’t take my eyes off him all day. His package looked amazing in his trunks, and I let him know it. When no one was looking, I would give it a gentle squeeze. I couldn’t wait to get him home and ravage him! K was driving the boat while CK and I rode the tube together, swerving and “cracking the whip” at every opportunity.

When we finally fell off the tube, she circled around to pick us up. She asked if we could drop anchor and relax for a bit, but told us she’d tow us to the end of the lake where we can drop anchor. While being tugged along, CK and I were horsing around. I began to slip, somewhat by accident, and somewhat on purpose. As I slipped, I grabbed onto his trunks. I knew exactly what I was doing. This wasn’t a survival action — This was a horny action. As I gripped his shorts, they seemed more attached to me than him. His bare bottom was exposed to the sunlight. It was all I could do to stop myself from pulling myself back up so I could give it a gentle bite. It looked purely spectacular in the sunlight. He wasn’t too thrilled I was doing this to him, but I was in heaven.

Many times on the lake K mentioned a restaurant on the way home that has a very cheap lobster meal, but we never had the time. At the sound of this CK made sure we had the time to stop. The meal was delicious and we had fun.

For the rest of the ride home, I laid in CK’s arms in the back of the car. I was always happiest cuddling in his arms. We made one pit stop on the way so I could buy us all Sonic ice cream since I was craving a sweet.

That wasn’t the only sweet I was craving. I was struggling to keep my hands off my sweet all day long. K dropped us off at my apartment, and I was finally able to exercise my hormones and my libido. We had a long exhausting day at the lake, so we didn’t have the most energy, however, we weren’t going to let that stop us from an evening romp in the sack…

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Monday morning I woke up. Since I wasn’t wasting so much time messaging guys on Grindr, I felt so much freer. I had no idea how much time I spent searching and complimenting guys on their torsos in hopes they’d see something they’d like and allow me to ask them out on a date.

I was also thrilled since I got to sleep in my own bed the night before. My parents came to visit for Easter weekend, and I gave them my bed. Sunday night, they offered to get themselves a hotel room so I could get a decent night’s sleep for work Monday. After I dropped them at their hotel with my sister, I came home and passed out. I love my parents, but I was happy to have my place back again. I’d spent the weekend playing tour guide. It was exhausting.

Even though I wasn’t sending out messages on Grindr didn’t mean I wasn’t checking them. I fired it up to see if my prince charming would ask me out on a date. I found quite the opposite. I blocked a fair amount of guys before I found an interesting message. I spent the weekend being celibate. One of the guys on Grindr seemed pretty normal and chill. We began to chat a bit before he offered to blow me. Like that, I was back in it. I had done such a good job of staying away from the simple Grindr stranger hookups, but I was horny after a weekend of being good. I made an exception of course and accepted his offer to blow me. What harm was there? I could enjoy myself before work and have a great day. “Sure,” I said in reply.

I gave him my address, and he drove over to my place on his way to work. I quickly hopped in the shower. He buzzed, and I called him up to my apartment. I quickly dried off and got dressed. When he got to the door, I brought him right into my room. I was wearing gym shorts and a tank. We made our way to my bed, and I sat down. Just then, he looked at me and said, “Sorry bud. I’m just gonna go.” With that, he turned around, sped out my door and left without another word.

I felt so rejected. What was it about me that scared him off. He made it all the way to my bedroom before darting. Was I that repulsive? Why the sudden change of heart!? I felt so dejected! My self-esteem shot down to an all-time low. This had never happened to me, and I suppose it was karma for all my Grindr trysts. It was bound to happen at some pont. I thought about all the times I wanted to do what he did and didn’t. I’d always regretted not standing up and walking out, but suddenly I no longer regretted it. I would have put those guys in a tailspin like I was going through. I did have to respect him honesty however. It was a catch 22.

I was horny from the thought of getting off before work, so I quickly finished myself off and got ready for work. I was disgusted with myself for bending my new rule, especially since I didn’t get anything out of it. Served me right!

That night I had a date scheduled with a guy I’d been chatting with for over a year. We met through Grindr and tried to grab drinks before I met N, but when I started dating him, things fizzled out. We chatted periodically on AIM, but nothing ever materialized. I even contemplated making a career shift to event planning, which this guy did, but we were never able to get together to talk about it. We simply kept it to a digital relationship. When things with Smiles ended, I began to look back at the guys I’d been chatting with. I hit him up and asked him out.

We made plans to meet at Ariba Ariba after work for margaritas and a bite. During the day, I stalked him a bit on Facebook. I noticed he was a camera whore. He took so many pictures in so many gay bars. He was totally a part of the scene. He was a fixture. I worried this would be a roadblock, but I was still optimistic. Maybe I could learn to love it.

I arrived ahead of him and waited on the corner. When I saw him arriving, I noticed how attractive his smile was, followed by how short he was and how “fun” he dressed. He was very cute. We awkwardly said hi and made our way inside. He asked if I was hungry, and I told him I hadn’t eaten, so we agreed to grab dinner on top of drinks. We were seated at a tight table and settled in.

We mainly began talking about work. It was very awkward. Considering we’d chatted so often online, you think we’d have been able to jump right in — Not the case. There were so many awkward pauses. I was struggling to find topics to talk about with him. He wasn’t exactly spurring the conversation on.

We started to talk about TV and what we watch. I thought that would be a safe topic and would spur further conversation. That only led to learning we had very different entertainment tastes. He watched a lot of Bravo TV like Housewives of… and other shows of the same ilk. I was more into the mainstream network TV. I wanted to have more in common with him, and I could tell he did too based on comments, but it was a bit of a struggle. I asked so many more mundane questions followed by mundane answers.

We ate our meals while we talked, but it was far from a great dinner. It was pleasant. The food was good, but there was no flow to the date. I was ready for it to be over. I was a bit disappointed since I thought we’d get along swimmingly. We just didn’t have good chemistry.

When we finished, we paid the bill and made our way out. We began walking through Hell’s Kitchen south together. He lived that way, and I was headed to the bus. When we got to a shop along the way, Tagg, he needed to run in and grab something for a friend’s birthday. I went in with him since I had nowhere to be. We had some fun chatting about random things in the shop. He made his purchase, and we continued south. When we got to his intersection, we exchanged a kiss goodbye, and he made a comment about hanging out again sometime. I agreed, but in my mind it would be under a friendly premises.

We texted afterwards, but was pleasantries and formalities. We exchanged that we each had a nice time, but that would pretty much be the end of us.

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Mom & Dad to the Rescue

Moving to a new apartment is both exciting and strenuous. For me, anything new is stimulating, but the arduous task of physically moving is exhausting. I needed to call in reinforcements.

Before my big move, I enlisted the help of my parents. When I broached the subject with them, my mother pointed out their physical inability to help my move. She volunteered them to come help me pack or unpack, but they were not lifting any boxes. I would never even consider the idea since neither of them are spring chickens.

I preferred they help me unpack because I would be able to pack over a long period of time, but I would need to have my apartment set up quickly for my holiday party. I also had a few major alterations I wanted to implement in the new place. I design a closet I would need to build to fit all my clothes. (This is where my inner gay comes screaming out).

They were set to arrive Thursday night in time to come watch my sister and I play in our weekly volleyball league. They were going to stay through the weekend, so my mother made lasagna and was bringing a turkey. We planned to go to the gym for our match and then have a late night dinner after.

The night before, Smiles offered for me to stay with him Thursday night since he knew my parents were staying with me. I graciously accepted since it would save me from sleeping on the couch when I gave up my bed for my parents. I thought it was really sweet of Smiles to notice that and offer a solution. He was also going into surgery the next day. While I was comforting him and put on a brave face since he was so worked up about it, I am always slightly concerned any time someone goes under the knife, especially when they’re being put under. I care a great deal about him, so I was thrilled to sleep with him the night before surgery.

My parents have seen my sister play volleyball in college, but had never seen me play. I was excited for them to be there. However, I was still exhausted. I could barely keep my eyelids open, as they felt like sandpaper, and I could barely lift my arms. We were doing fairly well, when out of nowhere, I came down on the side of my ankle after a hit. I knew as I was coming down to the floor it was a bad sprain. I’d sprained both ankles many times before running cross-country and playing tennis in high school. I was done.

I moved over to the bleachers to elevate my ankle and ice while my team finished out the matches. My mother took the opportunity to point out that I should have taken the night off. A sprained ankle couldn’t have come at a worse time. I still had a lot I needed to do that weekend. The only thing that could have made it worse was if it came the night before the big move.

My team fared well without me, and they all came over to console me after they finished. The sprain was bad, but I was able to walk on it. This wasn’t my first rodeo. I knew exactly what I was in for.

When I got home, my mother, who teaches athletic training to high school students, wrapped my ankle. I hadn’t told my parents yet, but I was still planning to ride into the city and spend the night in Smiles’ bed.

As we were waiting for the lasagna to heat up in the oven, I proposed my sleeping situation to them. They didn’t seem phased by it, but pointed out that I needed to be home in the morning at a reasonable hour. I told them about his surgery and how I would have to leave earlier regardless, but I wasn’t waking up until 9:00 anyway.

I was leery about the ride into the city. When I sprained my ankle, all I could think about was if it would limit my ability to shift gears on my motorcycle to ride into the city to Smiles’ bed. Luckily, I was still able to do so after wrapping it.

Smiles called to see when I would be coming into the city, and I told him I would arrive around midnight after we finished eating.

I got my parents settled, threw on sweats to head into the city and was on my way.

When I arrived, Smiles told me how long he had to go without eating or drinking anything, even water. He was a little worked up, so I did my best to calm his nerves. I told him to concentrate on his hot doctor instead. I was really hoping for one last throw down in the sheets since I knew he’d be out of commission for quite some time, but since it was so late, that wasn’t in the cards. Instead, after chatting a little bit about my ankle and his surgery, we dozed off in each other’s arms.

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