Posts Tagged gathering
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…Follow @onegayatatime
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I’m not gonna lie. I was nervous. I don’t get nervous very often, but I wasn’t quite sure the situation I was walking into.
Smiles had his birthday at The Jimmy, a rooftop bar at the James Hotel in lower New York City. As nervous as I was, I set no expectations going in. I didn’t want to concoct all these crazy scenarios in my head, only to not see them play out.
The morning of his birthday party, I put A LOT of thought into what I was going to wear. I care about what I look like on a daily basis, but there was so much more going on here. I was nine years his junior, which meant many of his friends would also be a fair amount older than I am. I wanted to make sure I didn’t look like “who brought the child.” I tried on numerous permutations of clothing until I finally settled on one I felt comfortable with. I even consulted with my female roommate who works in the fashion industry. I wanted to look mature and smart, but I also didn’t want to look like I was trying too hard. (I’d like anyone to argue against me that I don’t over-think things too much).
I finished work that day at 5:00. Smiles and I had tentative plans to grab dinner before his party if I got out of work at a decent hour. When that time came, he was unable to keep those plans. He had a lot of things he still needed to do before the party, so he told me we would grab dinner with one or two others following the birthday gathering. I found something to snack on, and when the time came, I leisurely walked downtown to the hotel.
I had never been to there before. When I arrived I had no idea where I was going, which only heightened my anxiety. Finally I reached the rooftop bar and was able to find Smiles standing out on the deck by the pool. I walked up to him and was welcomed by an embrace, no kiss. Still early in our “relationship,” and not fully knowing the situation I was walking into, I didn’t initiate a kiss myself.
After a minute of small talk, I walked to the bar to grab an adult beverage for myself and a soda water for Smiles. I learned the night before he was not going to be able to participate in the libations due to the cleanse he was going through for his Ayawaska ceremony.
When I returned, he had a glass of champagne, which he felt obligated to sip since someone purchased it for him. I held on to his soda water for him until he needed it. He began introducing me to the friends he was speaking to at the time. He simply introduced me by my name, or a few times, “This is my friend,” and then my name. I had no expectations, but I was curious how I would be introduced. Certainly not boyfriend, but maybe as the guy he’s been seeing? No dice.
Early in the night, Smiles introduced me to one of his friends. This guy was younger than the majority of the crowd, and I made him buddy for the night. We hit it off and shared similar senses of humor. I knew Smiles would be preoccupied all night with his guests, so I prepared myself to be more social than I normally am. I didn’t want to be a wallflower or that creepy guy that lurks around and talks to no one. I was happy to have found someone to pal around with for the night.
Then the question I was dreading all night came up. My buddy asked me, “So how do you know [Smiles]?” I simply replied, “Recent friends.” We both smiled big, and he looked at me with a perplexed look. “That’s all I’m going to get?” he asked. I took a second, cocked my head to the side as I thought about it, and simply replied, “Yup.”
I then turned the question on him. Apparently they met on Fire Island and were just casual friends now. I wasn’t sure of the timing of this, but my instincts told me they hooked up at one point. To any normal guy, these things don’t pop in their head, but Smiles and I did meet on Grindr.
As more friends of the younger sect (all probably about five years older than me still) started showing up, my buddy and I began chatting with them. The question came up many more times asking how I knew Smiles. When others answered, there were a few “mutual friends,” but there was also a, “the old school way — Craigslist.” My brain was in motion. In my mind, my stock plummeted right then and there. Obviously he was still close with these guys if they were coming to his birthday party. Was he still seeing any of them. We were by no means exclusive. But, seeing these guys in person made me uncomfortable. However, I soldiered on.
It had been a while since I saw Smiles, so I circled back to him. He was starving. I offered to grab him something to eat just as he was simultaneously asking me to (keeping in mind his special dietary needs on top of the new ones for the cleanse). He pointed out “his” waitress for the night. He handed me his credit card, and I ordered him some tuna tartar tacos. When they arrived, he scarfed them down as to not miss a minute of his party. I was happy I was the one to which he turned to take care of him. He enjoyed them so much, he went back for seconds.
When I returned to my conversation circle, my buddy had departed. I was very disappointed because I wasn’t thrilled with anyone that was left. However, I continued to make small talk for the remainder of the night.
The time came to grab dinner. Smiles gathered a small group of about seven of us. We walked across the street to Cafe Noir and grabbed a table. Smiles sat at the head of the table, and I made sure I snagged the chair to his right.
The whole time at the restaurant, Smiles felt a little distant. I began to read far too much into that. I wondered if he was doing that because someone else would be offended if they saw him being affectionate towards me. Was there another “me” at the table? I was shocked I got an invite to his birthday gathering so early on. Who’s to say there wasn’t someone else in the exact same position?
I had my hand casually under the table and was rubbing his knee periodically. I wanted to see how he’d react. Nothing. I was a little hurt and confused.
I wanted to make a good impression on his friends in front of him. I was able to contribute greatly to the conversation over dinner. I attentively watch the news and stay up on current events, so I was actually the local authority on the topic of conversation. I wanted to prove to him I could hold my own.
When dinner ended, we walked outside in a large group. Many of his friends were going to smoke and invited him to join. He declined (the cleanse) and said he was going home. They also specifically asked me if I would come, but I too declined. I was hoping I was going home with Smiles. We split from the group and walked towards his place.
We weren’t a block away before he said, “Do you mind if I throw you in a cab instead of walking you up to the PATH since I don’t have a jacket and I’m freezing?” Apparently I would not be going home with him that night. I assumed he would invite me back to his place considering it was 1:30am. I even brought a spare shirt to work that morning for the following day should I be spending the night in the city. That wasn’t going to be the case.
At that point, I said goodbye to him on the street and began my trek up to the PATH. I was dreading my commute home since everything runs on a sparse schedule at that hour of the morning.
It also turned into a very long solemn walk because I was very disappointed with how the night played out. I felt so far away from him. A few nights prior, I thought I made so much excellent headway with him when I got an invite, but after the event, I had a very different picture in my head.
I tried not to let it get to me, but I can’t lie. It ate away at me for the rest of the night and into the next few days. I’m sure the fact that I had about six Johnnie Walkers didn’t help. At dinner the night before, he casually mentioned taking me to the opera that Saturday, so it was planned I’d see him again, and soon. But, it was mentioned so flippantly, I wasn’t sure I was officially invited. So many crazy ideas were floating through my head.
I was trying to follow friends’ advice to make myself a little less available to him. I was told I should make him seek me out, instead of the usual me seeking him out.
With that, I attempted to go about the rest of my week without driving myself insane, but that wasn’t going to be easy…Follow @onegayatatime
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At the ripe age of 26, I came to a life changing conclusion. I'm GAY!
It took me 26 years to realize this and come to terms with it, but coming out's been the best decision of my life.
This blog is about my dating life in NYC and what happens next...
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