Posts Tagged gay bars
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…
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.Follow @onegayatatime
After the day on the lake with D, K, and D’s girlfriend, we all decided to go out for Mexican. It seemed this had become my new favorite cuisine considering I had it twice in the days prior on my date with Pillow and the Fire Island bartender. At dinner, I was scolded for being on Grindr. I really tried to limit my time spent on it when I was with friends, but it was a catch 22. If I spent time with them, I was not in a location where I could meet guys. We always went to straight bars. And, I was fine with this. In fact, I preferred it, but my friends would have to be tolerant of my Grindring.
I told D, “Just pretend I walked away from the group to talk to a guy when I’m on Grindr,” because that’s essentially what I’m doing. He suggested I physically walk away, but that was not something I was going to agree to. I asked him to be more understanding. I wish there is an easier way for me to meet men and still spend time with my heterosexual friends, but I have yet to find it.
After dinner and a quick pit-stop at a friend’s apartment to show face at his party, we made our way to the new Hoboken Biergarten. I wasn’t exactly in the most cheerful spirit. That morning, I never got a response from Pillow regarding his attendance to the lake. He didn’t take the time to text or call. I was starting to wonder if he just wasn’t into me. We had a great date the day before, and his texts following acknowledged that. But, I just had a feeling he wasn’t putting as much effort to get to know me as I was putting in to get to know him.
That night at the Biergarten, I noticed he was on Grindr. I’m not exactly sure why I sent him a message, considering he didn’t respond to my text messages, but I did. “Hey stud,” I sent. He responded, “Hi.” After not getting back to me at all, that’s all he had to say? So I said, “Did you go to Musikfest today?” His only response: “Yeah.” Well, that was over. So much for small talk. I said, “Well, have fun.”
After that, I figured I wouldn’t see him again. He obviously wasn’t interested, and it really started to get to me. I had been going on dates for a month and a half since breaking up with N. And, I went on A LOT of dates, almost all of which were failures. I thought this guy had a lot of potential, and I thought we were starting to click. I thought this was finally a success. He was part of an elite group — One of five guys with whom I’d gone on a second date with. Ever. I was feeling really low, and it showed.
A majority of the night, D looked my way and asked me why I was so gloomy. I told him I just wasn’t in a cheerful mood. He said, “I love this group, and I’m having a good time. Snap out of it. We’re having fun!”
I didn’t want to be a “Debbie Downer,” so I figured I’d step away from the table for a bit to try to clear my head. I had a hankering for a cigarette, so I went in search of someone from which I could bum one. I found a Good Samaritan who was willing to part with a cigarette. I relished every puff as a few raindrops fell on my skin. It was working it’s magic and relaxing me. I took the time to people watch. Everywhere I looked, I saw couples. Everything the cigarette gave me was just ripped from me, and I was back to feeling depressed. Dating was really starting to get to me. I’m a catch! Why couldn’t I find a good guy to realize that?
I went back to the table and tried to put on a happy face. I was successful for some time, but I was fading fast. I snuck away again to hunt for another cigarette. After I finished it, I walked home with two of my friends. I explained my issues to them both. They tried to console me, but I don’t think anything short of Bradley Cooper or Matthew McConaughey asking for marriage would have cheered me up.
When I got home, I poked around on Grindr. I found a guy who was two blocks away and looking for a good time. There was one issue — We are both tops. I told him we could just fool around and invited him over. He was an older man in his mid-thirties, but very attractive and had a great body!
We both undressed and had a good time. When we both had our fill, he began to get dressed. He expressed how much he enjoyed himself. He casually mentioned the possibility of a repeat, but we never exchanged numbers, so it would be completely left up to chance. Yet another casual encounter to add to my list.
This was the challenge I faced. I constantly wanted the instant gratification I knew I could conger up on-demand, but I also needed to stop destroying my emotional state following each of those casual encounters with men. It was a delicate balance, but I needed to figure it out so I would stop feeling so awful about my dating life…Follow @onegayatatime