Since deciding to end things with Smiles, I’d already been on one date and had one hookup. I certainly hit the ground running. I felt slightly guilty all this was going on before we even had the chance to formally end things, but then again, things never really formally began between us.
I wasn’t wasting any time either. I had been talking to a really nice guy on adam4adam.com and set up a date to grab drinks with him after work Friday evening. It was a bit awkward because this was truly a blind date.
He had two pictures on a4a, but neither was clear and one didn’t include a face. When I asked him to send me a better face picture, he told me he didn’t like taking pictures of himself. Of course a red flag raised in my mind, but I had nothing to lose either. If I arrived and the guy was unacceptable, I was right next to the Port Authority bus terminal. I would be home in no time with little of my time wasted.
We agreed to grab drinks at Arriba Arriba in Hell’s Kitchen. It was conveniently located between his apartment and my office, and like I said, it wasn’t far from my transportation hub to go home.
As I left my office and began walking north, I was quite nervous. I’d never been on a true blind date before. I’d at least seen pictures of their faces, but this time I had no idea what he looked like. I joked with him, “Not gonna lie. Not sure what you look like… Haha.” It didn’t take him to respond: “Sorry mate. Don’t like taking pictures of myself. We will find each other… haha. You can ask me to leave once you see me and how ugly I am. Lol.” I didn’t care all that much at this point for the picture. I was already going in blind. I replied, “No apologies needed. Just tellin’ ya you’re gonna have to find me…”
I waited for him on the street corner. I put that time in a good location to good use. I surfed Grindr in HK for any new prospects. I know some may say that is classless considering I was waiting for a date, but I’m not in HK all that often anymore, and there is more talent in that neighborhood than where I work. He finally arrived and approached me. I asked how his trek to HK was, and we went inside to find a table.
When we learned we could only stand at the bar since we weren’t ordering food, we decided to go elsewhere. I was at a bit of a loss because I hadn’t been in the neighborhood for some time. I didn’t know of a good place for us to go for a drink. Luckily, this guy was good on his feet. He suggested Eatery, and we were off.
We grabbed a seat at the bar and ordered a few rounds of drinks. We chatted for a long time about a myriad of things. The whole time, he kept his ball-cap on. Beyond the fact that he should know it’s bad manners, especially since he was an older gentleman, I was also worried there may be no hair under there. I’m not shallow, and looks are not everything to me. But, if he was balding without shaving his head, I wasn’t sure I could deal with that. (Smiles shaved his head and I was obviously okay with that).
We talked about our upbringings. He lived a bicoastal lifestyle, living in California and South Carolina. He also was shipped off to boarding school in Switzerland, where his grandparents lived. I grew up on a farm and went to public school. We had quite the education/socio-economic divide before. This is one thing I‘m not sure I am capable of getting past. I’m sure if it was the right guy, I could handle him coming from wealth, but it’s something that makes me quite uneasy. He came from money, and a lot of it.
I also learned he leads a very lavish lifestyle. He told me about his plans to purchase a house in Barcelona. He’d recently traveled there to scope out some places. He also told me about the $200,000.00 loan he gave a friend and was never paid back because the friend died and left his only possession, his apartment, to someone else. He told me about his lavish trips to the Caribbean islands recently. The list goes on.
Ironically enough, he wasn’t talking about all these because he was trying to impress me (Or at least it didn’t come off that way, which is fine). It simply came up in conversation or I coaxed them out with questions. I just felt uncomfortable with our socio-economic differences. I don’t really aspire to the position of kept man. I want someone who will share the financial burdens with me equally. I know a lot of people would love to find someone rich to marry, but money means very little to me when it comes to love. I think like I would constantly feel like less of a man if I had everything provided for me constantly, and I contributed far less to the relationship. Maybe this is something I will learn to get over in time, but for now, it makes me uneasy.
I learned how he continued to build his wealth and his professional relationship with a family in Canada. He told me about all the businesses he was involved in, and I started to worry he was another Smiles — Too much on his plate to commit to a real relationship. I also learned he wasn’t out to many people in his life, even after he’d been in a nine-year relationship with a man who left his wife for him. It ended when the man cheated on him while he was away on business. I wasn’t sure how I felt about him still being in the closet. He’d experienced too much and was far too old to still be in denial of his true self. I wasn’t sure I wanted a “project” at that age.
Drinks quickly turned into dinner. We stayed at the bar and made friends with the waitress. She was super sweet and very interested in chatting with us. Over our meal, we conversed more, and I learned we share a lot of the same morals and interests. We had similar outlooks in life.
He also became much more physical as the night progressed. He constantly had his hand on my leg rubbing my thighs and caressing the back of my knee. I started to do the same. Periodically, he would stand and give me a big ol’ bear hug. It was sweet. I liked knowing he was a passionate physical man. I needed that after Smiles constant distance.
Six hours later, we were ready to leave the bar. He decided to walk me to the bus. I thought when we exited the restaurant we’d exchange a kiss and go our separate ways. He was a true gentleman and walked me to the Port Authority. Not only that, but he walked me to my gate to wait for my bus and stood there waiting with me. It was midnight, and he was being a total sweetheart. He stood anxiously next to me as if he didn’t know what to do or how to close the date. He wasn’t really out, so I had a feeling a goodnight kiss in front of a large group of strangers was out of the question. When my bus arrived, he said goodbye and we agreed to be in touch.
As I rode home from the date, I wasn’t entirely sure what I thought of him. He became more attractive as the night went on, but I wasn’t sure if that was his personality or the alcohol stepping in for average looks.
I had a lot to think about. It was clear to me he was interested in me. The next day, he texted to see if I was interested in catching a movie that evening. I told him I had plans to hang with friends locally, but if they fell through, I’d let him know. When I decided to keep my plans, I texted him to let him know. He wasn’t all that concerned considering he had hopped on a flight to Boston to hang out with friends and go to a party. Yup, hopped on a flight that day. He obviously didn’t have a planned flight considering he asked me to go to the movies — Unless he was planning to fly me to Boston to do so…
That night, while out with my friends, I called Boston. He told me some of his new exciting war stories, and I told him of my trepidations about Deep Pockets. He told me I was nuts to write him off based on financial differences, so I decided to see where things went over the next week or so.
We texted a few times more, but interest wasn’t strong on either end as the text messages slowly came to an end. I was on to the next prospect…
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Christmas day had passed. My time home was coming to an end. I was happy to be home, but I was also anxious to get back to normal life.
The morning after Christmas, my father and I decided to do a little shopping to see if we could land any special deals to kill time. I would also finally be in cell phone service, so I could text Smiles and wish him a safe flight. When I got into service, I got an influx of text and picture messages. He’d sent me quite a few, keeping me updated on what he was up to. I really was missing him and quite anxious to get back to see him. I proposed we do dinner at my apartment since he had to postpone it before the holidays. He texted back in agreement. I was finally going to get to make us the standing rib roast. I told him I missed him, and he responded, “I miss you too! 🙂 “ I could have melted into a puddle right there. This was so unlike him to express his emotions like this, but I was eating it up!
The day after Christmas is always spent with my father’s side of the family. We all gather together for a nice potluck meal that rotates from house to house year to year. This side of the family has also shrunk significantly. My grandparents have been gone since I was quite young. My father’s brother is in rough shape these days from his battles with diabetes. His sister died a few years ago and her husband is in a nursing home. I rarely see their daughter, my cousin since she moved away and got married. That left one sister whose husband also passed away a few years ago. But as that generation was shrinking, another was growing in leaps in bounds. The living sister has 5 children, all of which are married and have become baby making machines. They now outnumber the four of us five to one.
The gathering is always a lively one with many children running about. Christmas is one of the two times I spend with this side of the family each year (the other being an annual family reunion). We also have an annual tradition of a “Yankee gift swap” or “white elephant sale” depending where you come from. The tradition has lost a lot of its allure as my cousins have adopted a new tradition of buying crap at Wal-Mart and Big Lots the day after Christmas for half price.
My sister and I had to work the Tuesday after Christmas, so around 5:00 we hopped in the car and made our way back to Hoboken. When I got back to my apartment and unloaded all my presents from home, I picked up the phone and called Smiles. Sadly, it went straight to voicemail. I was hoping to relax after a long car ride with some time talking to him, but alas, that wouldn’t be the case.
My roommate arrived home, and we swapped all our holiday stories. We plopped down on the couch and started to catch up on the programs we saved on the DVR. After some time, Smiles called. I think if you were in New Jersey when the phone rang, you may have seen a beacon of light in the sky that was my smile.
He told me about his trip home and the ordeal he went through. When he got back to the city, he’d gone out with one of his female friends for dinner. He devised a new plan to work out of her apartment going forward so he would be more productive than he was working out of his apartment. He felt if he had a place to go to every day that wasn’t in line of sight of his bed, he would get more done. I told him I thought it was a great idea. Even though they wouldn’t be coworkers, they could keep each other on task. Either that, or it would be a complete disaster, and they would be a constant distraction for each other.
I told him about my time home, my family and how the gift swap has become a sham. He laughed and told me about the rest of his time home with the family.
It wasn’t a long phone conversation, as our phone calls never are, but it certainly satisfied my hunger for Smiles. It would satiate me until I got to see him the following night when he came over for dinner.
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December 25th — Christmas day. An important date on anyone’s calendar, but a date that carries more weight when one is dating another.
I’m quite the hypocrite, you see. I complain about the treatment of Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve as a special holiday for couples, when I really just fancy another holiday more. I just hate the weight put those two days, but for me, Christmas carries much more weight.
I woke Christmas morning and hopped the shower. I’m so tired of seeing pictures of me Christmas morning with greasy hair and scruff. The timetables are quite turned on their head since I was a kid. My sister and I would sit at the top of the stairs waiting for my father to come home from the morning duties at the farm. On top of that, we’d have to wait til he showered so we could stand to be in the same room as him. Nowadays, my sister and I are the last to wake. I knew I could leisurely shower, as my sister would still be asleep until someone came to wake her.
My family and I opened our presents and shared in the joy of Christmas. My mother made us sticky buns for breakfast while I brewed a pot of coffee.
My mother’s side of the family came to our house in the afternoon to celebrate the holiday. We always spent Christmas afternoon with my mother’s side of the family, but this year was a little different. My uncle and his recent wife were not attending because she was due to have a baby in January. One of my aunts and her husband always came for New Years, not Christmas. This would also be the first Christmas without both my grandparents. It was a little more solemn for me. The only attendees were my aunt, uncle, and three cousins.
I waited until a convenient time to sneak away so I could call Smiles. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t interrupting his Christmas plans. I went upstairs to my parents’ room to call him around 5:30. I got no answer. I’m not out to my extended family, so I then began to worry he would call back, and his caller id name would splash across the television screen, as does everyone’s name who calls. I worried my extended family would see a man was calling me on Christmas. I’m not sure why I worried. I’m not ready to tell them just yet, and I suppose I didn’t want them to jump to their own conclusions before I had a chance to properly tell them.
Smiles did call back, but not until 10:00 after everyone had left. I took the phone up to my room and talked to him for quite some time. Our phone conversations never lasted long, so it was nice that he didn’t cut it short. He told me about everything he’d been doing with his family. It was nice to hear he finally relaxed around them and realized they loved him no matter what state his career was in. It was a nice Christmas present to get to chat with him and feel closer to him even though we were miles apart.
I had an agenda as well. There was a question I needed to ask before it was too late. I was very nervous to ask this question. I’d failed to ask it once already on the way to the airport. I was afraid of the disappointing answer I expected. In the middle of our conversation, I asked him, “Can we spend New Year’s together?” In a shocking reply without thought, Smiles said, “Sure. I was going to [my friend’s] for a party. I’ll just tell him I’m bringing a plus one.
We chatted a bit more before ending the conversation. It was quite a nice Christmas gift to know I had New Year’s plans. I was beginning to worry I would spend New Years on my couch alone. All my friends had plans that didn’t involve me. I was already picturing myself in bed at 7:00pm. Knowing I had plans was great, but knowing I would spend the night with Smiles made my night. I walked around the rest of the night with a smile from ear to ear.
I’m not sure why, but the man-made me happy. I was happy to know it was his lips I’d be locking when the ball dropped on 2011.
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