Posts Tagged Hamptons

The Next Chapter

Two years ago, I started this blog. I began writing because I felt alone. I knew there had to be other gay men out there who were looking for the same thing I was, and I wanted a way to connect with them.

grindrAt the time, I just ended my first gay relationship, and I found myself in very unchartered waters. I was already out to close friends, but not publicly. Because I had so few gay friends and a strong aversion to gay bars, I had to find a mate digitally. I began serial dating, at one point going on four dates in four days — And thus, One Gay At A Time was born.

Since the beginning, I have gone on MANY dates and put myself in many situations well outside my comfort zone. I have not only grown more comfortable in my own skin, but I’ve also grown up as a gay man. I got all the hookups out of my system and began searching for a meaningful, long-term relationship.

This blog began as an open forum diary of the daily occurrences I encountered navigating the gay world. I told my side of the story honestly in hopes that others out there would be able to relate, comment and most importantly, realize they are not alone.

The time has come for the next chapter of my life and for this blog. For quite some time I’ve been blogging about CK (aka Clark Kent or Superman). You’ve gotten to know him through my eyes in the early stages of our relationship. It’s been some time since I’ve blogged, and I apologize for leaving you, my readers in the lurch. I do not mean to abandon the small community I’ve worked so hard to foster, but I’ve been struggling with the next chapter of the blog.

When I first told CK about the blog, he was very open to and even grew excited about the idea of my writing our relationship. Over time, as you could probably understand, his excitement waned, and we began to argue about the content of the blog.

I had to make a choice between the blog and my man. It’s quite obvious which I chose. As a result, I will no longer be blogging about the specifics of my relationship with CK. However, in lieu of continuing to finish our story in a daily dairy format, let me catch you up on what has happened since July. Here are some of the highlights…

In July, CK joined my family for our annual beach vacation. While I went for the entire week, he only joined us for a few days. It was the first time we’d spent an extended period of time apart, and with my trust/cheating baggage, it was a true test of my sanity. I was thrilled and relieved when he finally arrived. It was also nice that he would finally get to spend some real-time getting to know my parents.

In early August, I traveled to Miami, CK’s birthplace to surprise his family with a visit to celebrate the birthdays of his two beautiful nephews (turning 1 and 2 only a week apart). I felt incredibly special taking this trip with CK. I was meeting his ENTIRE extended family. Before this point, I’d only met his mother. I was welcomed into the family with open arms and came to grow strong bonds with them over just a handful of days. This was unchartered territory for both of us, as I’d never been brought home to meet the family by anyone other than my high school girlfriend, and he’d never brought a man home to meet everyone before. It could not have worked out better!

Around Labor Day, CK and I went on week-long vacation to the Hamptons with 15 of my friends and family. While there, our relationship grew very strained. I felt he was trying too hard to impress my friends. I wanted him to be himself so all of them would come to love the man I knew, not the man I felt he was trying to be for them. By the end of the week, I reached my breaking point. I was so stressed out from organizing the vacation and ensuring everyone was happy that I made myself miserable, and I took it out on the person closest to me. In the penultimate moment of the trip, one night we not only exchanged words but also fists and shoves, as my closest friends and sister witnessed the lowest moment of our relationship.

It took a lot of time for CK and I to figure things out. This wasn’t the first time our relationship reached physicality, but I hoped it was the last. It also took a long time for things to return to normal between CK, me and my circle of friends. My sister wasn’t speaking to me for over a month and my friends had semi-ostracized me from typical gatherings. I burned a lot of bridges on that trip, and I am still working to rebuild them today. You can expect to read about my experiences and feelings dealing with issues such as physical violence in a relationship as one of the topics I will cover in coming posts.

In September, CK and I found an apartment in Hoboken to call our own. We moved in together in the midst of Hurricane Sandy’s wake on November 2. Although the experience of moving immediately following a hurricane is incredibly overwhelming, we are both stronger as a result of the experience. In my experience, moving in with a lover is unlike sharing a space with any other. You’ll certainly be reading about my experiences and the things I’ve learned from this experience as well.

After Sandy exhausted my last modicum of energy, I decided I was too tired to shave my upper lip. CK and I both decided to raise awareness and funds to fight prostate cancer by growing mustaches for Movember. I proudly raised over $500 for charity as a result of my stache, and I was thrilled when we both shaved them off — We both looked like pedophiles.

For the first time in my life, I had someone to take home to meet my family for Thanksgiving. Before venturing home, I sent my extended maternal family an email to get the awkwardness out of the way. You’ll be pleased to know my family welcomed him with open arms. I imagine coming out to extended family creates a lot of anxiety for man, as it did for me, so I hope sharing my experiences will encourage more to share the truth with the ones they love.

When I returned to Hoboken after Thanksgiving, preparations began immediately for what would have been my Sixth Annual Holiday Bash. This year, it became Our First Annual Holiday Bash. I finally had someone to share the hosting duties with, making it extra special.

Although CK and I spent Christmas apart, after all the festivities with my family, I hopped on a flight down to Miami to spend the rest of the holiday season and New Years Eve with my man and his family. CK’s sister and brother-in-law planned a trip with their two boys to Disney World for two days. After a little persuading, I convinced CK we should join them. I preferred Disney to a raucous gay party any day, and it was truly magical to see Disney World through the eyes of a two-year-old.

In February, CK and I took a romantic trip to Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Although it seems we can’t go anywhere without having some kind of quarrel like an old married couple, the trip was amazing and couldn’t have come at a better time. We went ice skating, snow shoeing, swimming, hiking, and much more. It was a perfect escape for both of us to get out of the city and away from the bustle of it all after the holidays.

In between, there have been countless brunches, parties, trips, nights out, Broadway shows, fights… Oh yea, and plenty of sex — Can’t forget the sex! Overall, things have been going well for us. You have good days and bad days, but you have to realize the bad days are just there so you appreciate the good ones all the more. I am thrilled to announce, this past Saturday, CK and I celebrated our one-year anniversary at the restaurant we went to on our first date, Frankies Spuntino 570. Although we waited nearly an hour, the evening was perfect, and I look forward to many more years together.

Although I won’t be detailing the specifics of my relationship going forward, I hope to share with you what I have learned along the way. It’s not easy being in a relationship, but then again, the things that are worth it never really are.

To my most dedicated readers who haven’t let me lack of posting stop them from commenting words of support on my blog, thank you. You are what has motivated me to get back into this once again. I feel like many of you have integrated my writing into your daily routines, and I have left you with your morning coffee in hand and no reading material. You will not see the frequency of posts you may have grown accustomed in the past, but I still hope you find time in your lives for One Gay At A Time.

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Vintage Closet

Before my trip to Washington DC, I started chatting with a few guys on Grindr. It was bad timing for the trip to come right after “meeting” them, but it would have to do. On my way back home, I made plans with a few guys over text for dates to get to know them.

One of the guys I was talking to was a bit older. He seemed like a great guy, and he was very interested in me. Of all the guys I started talking to, he texted the most. He seemed sweet, caring and attentive. While away, he asked how the blossoms were. He genuinely took an interest in me. He was texting me like a high school girl. I wasn’t annoyed. I was flattered. We made plans to grab a drink Wednesday evening after work.

Since Southern Drawl didn’t want to go to The Breslin, I proposed he and I meet there for a drink. It wasn’t far from my office, and it was pretty centrally located in Manhattan. We set a time, and I stayed at the office to kill time until he could make it there.

He ended up arriving early, and he texted me to let me know. I quickly left my office and speed-walked the ten blocks to the bar to meet him.

I wasn’t sure what I’d be meeting that night. From his picture, he looked like a very mature man. He had white hair, and he told me he was possibly getting a haircut before we met. I encouraged him to keep his longer hair since I liked it, but it was his hair. I didn’t know which hairstyle I’d be meeting.

I walked in to find him standing leaning against the wall. It wasn’t too difficult to pick him out of the crowd, however, he looked much older than I originally expected. I invited him to follow me to the bar and ordered us drinks. I managed to snag two bar stools just as someone was getting up to walk away.

We dove right into conversation about work. We both worked in advertising at one point, so we discussed that for a while. The more we talked, the more relaxed the conversation became. I didn’t see this conversation growing into a relationship, but he was a really nice guy. There was no reason why I couldn’t share a few rounds with a nice guy. I really didn’t think we were compatible.

Somehow we got into philosophical conversation talking about life in general. He really liked my outlook on life. I wasn’t putting on a show or anything. I was just being myself. He really responded well to this.

During our conversation, he came clean on his age and informed me he was 36. That’s how old Smiles was, so it wasn’t the issue for me. He did, however, look more like he was 42. I wasn’t sure if I believed him about his age. I wondered if he was lowballing it.

We started talking about family and his family house in the Hamptons. We got on the topic of coming out, and I told him how fresh I was to the gay world. He responded well to this and told me he was new himself. He came out to a few of his high school friends, and apparently it didn’t go well. For them, it became a problem of an identity crisis. They didn’t know who he was anymore. I told him how positive my experience was coming out and conveyed my sympathy about his experience. He also told me his family didn’t know either. It appeared I was more gay mature than he was. This was a first. This was a 36 year-old man who was still living in the closet. I didn’t think I could handle that. If he couldn’t accept himself by that age, the road was only going to get rockier as we went along.

After three rounds, the time came to go home. He expressed his desire to go on a second date, and I let on that this was a possibility. I didn’t want to lead him on and seem overly zealous about it, but I didn’t want to break his spirit. We walked to the corner and said goodbye with a hug. We exchanged a few texts after that, but obviously nothing ever materialized.

It wasn’t that late, so I decided to text M.E. and see if he wanted to come over. He did, and when he arrived at my apartment, we immediately went to the bedroom. Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. We stripped each other naked and got right down to things. There was a bit of foreplay and a lot of making out before I reached for the condoms and lube. Since being with him, I had unprotected sex with someone else. I needed to keep his safety in mind. While in DC, my results came back with no STDs and HIV negative, but I didn’t want to take any chances. We had amazing protected sex that night and fell asleep in a spooning position.

When we woke in the morning, we fooled around until we hopped in the shower. There, we had sex once again. I’m always horny in the morning, so this was even better than the night before. When we finished showering, we went back to the bed and had sex there. At one point, I even turned over and let him penetrate me. I felt I owed it to him. He was incredibly excited about it. This didn’t last long because, as he told me, he had a hard time keeping an erection after he’d been penetrated. I was okay with this, being as it’d been a long time since I bottomed.

We laid with each other, and I tried to finish myself off but to no avail. I had a dentist appointment to get to that morning, so I could no longer dawdle. I was already late the way it was. This was going to be a rough day. How was I ever going to concentrate on anything!?

M.E. gave me a ride to the dentist, and I gave him a kiss goodbye.

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Chicken Soup for the Surgical Soul

Since my parents were staying with me to help me settle in after a move, I was relegated to the couch. Luckily, my roommate was out of town for work at the same time. Before he left, I asked if he minded if I use his bed.

It was working out quite well for me. Smiles offered me his bed Thursday night, and my roommate was nice enough to allow me to use his the other two nights my parents were staying with me.

We woke early that Saturday morning. We had a lot to do, so we got started with breakfast and began our day.

My mother finished unpacking the kitchen and washing dishes while my father and I got a jump on my closet. Since I had it designed and all the boards were cut to size, it should be a relatively simple project.

We were making good progress when I realized I needed to take a break so I could deliver the chicken soup I made for Smiles the night before. I texted him, “Morning babe. How you feeling? Gonna be home in a little bit? Gonna swing by and drop something off for you. :).” He was awake and responded relatively quickly: “Going to crawl over to see the doctor, then straight home. Should be back about 12:00.”

I asked him how he was feeling since he was in surgery only a few hours earlier.  “OK. Sore, but can move,” he responded. “Will you bring over Tylenol? I can’t go out again to get some, and I need it for swelling,” he asked. I was more than happy to be able to help him. I felt guilty I wasn’t there when he woke up from surgery. I originally planned to, but with the move, it became difficult. Luckily, one of his other friends was able to be there.

I sent him a text letting him know I was on my way, and he responded, “OK. See you in a bit. [My friend] is stopping by to bring me soup :).”

SH*T! I didn’t want her to beat me there with soup. Chances are she made chicken soup too, because who makes anything else when someone is sick or recovering. The race was on. I needed to get there first. I didn’t want to be the superfluous soup. I wanted to be the primary.

I quickly packed up the soup and added some of the brownies my dad made. I ran down the stairs and hopped on the bike. I was off into the tunnel. It would take me only fifteen minutes to get to his apartment. Hopefully I would beat her there!

When I buzzed at his door, his friend answered. DAMNIT! She beat me. I was so disappointed. She came down to let me in since the buzzer wasn’t working. We chatted while we descended the stairs about how we hadn’t seen each other since the Hamptons for the film festival.

When I walked in the door, Smiles was sitting on the couch eating a bowl of soup. I noticed the take-out containers on the counter and realized she didn’t make soup. She’d only brought him soup for lunch.

I showed Smiles the large Rubbermaid of soup and placed it in his fridge. I also told him about the brownies, and he asked me to bring them to him now.

I came into the living room and gave Smiles a kiss. I sat while Smiles and his friend continued their conversation about work. I noticed a very large bouquet of flowers by his bedside and eucalyptus next to the couch in a vase. The arrangement was gorgeous, and I immediately felt guilty and outdone. I know it wasn’t a competition over who cared more about him, but in my warped mind, it was. (I later learned he bought the flowers himself before the surgery since he’d be so homebound).

While sitting and talking, another friend arrived. I was also taking every opportunity to wait on Smiles. I gave him the Tylenol, got him water and cleared his dishes. I learned he was the one who brought Smiles home from the hospital. We’d met before, so I said hi. The four of us sat and chatted a bit about a funny scenario involving Smiles, his straight friend and a girl from the night before.

After a bit, he had to be on his way. The conversation changed from Smiles’ movie project to a new work project he was getting into. I moved across the room to help massage a knot out of Smiles’ back. I was crouching next to the couch in an uncomfortable position, so when I couldn’t take it anymore, I made a move back across the room. Smiles then moved over on the couch and asked me to continue. I was happy to be doting on my man.

The time came where I ha to get back to my parents and moving in. I already stayed past the time I told my parents I’d be back. I’d been waiting for the opportune time to head out. I was under the impression his friend/coworker was going to leave shortly, and I wanted a little alone time with Smiles. When that didn’t happen, I had to bounce.

I kissed him goodbye and told him I’d talk to him later as I made my way out.

When I got home, later in the day, I received a text from him. “Thank you for coming over and making soup. Yay.” I told him I was glad to see he was okay and to think nothing of the soup. “Ya know, those brownies aren’t going to make it to tomorrow. Haha,” he added. We joked about what it might do to his system.

I was happy to see him in good sorts and glad he was surrounded by friends. I was also happy I got to show him how much I cared about him, even though I was insanely busy getting settled in my new apartment. He’s a good man, and he deserves special treatment every once in a while.

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Short Goodbyes

Still thrilled about a spectacular weekend with Smiles, I began a new week.

Monday passed by without me seeing Smiles again. I did speak to him however. We spoke while I walked home from work. He still had a migraine, and I tried to console him. I wished there was something I could do for him, but I was powerless.

He had a work event that evening, so he soldiered on. His migraine was lessened, but he still wasn’t 100%. I knew it was going to be a long night for him.

He called when the event was over to say hi and check in on me. I always relish his phone calls just to say hi and ask me about my day.

I explained to him I was watching the first Twilight movie. It happened to be on TV that night, so I made it a point to watch in an attempt to catch up to the current day release of Twilight: Breaking Dawn pt. 1. I was also able to find the second and third installments in the series on the guide over the next few days. Smiles seemed excited to see the movie, so I was putting in the effort to get onboard. I have to say, they’re certainly not amazing cinema, they’re not unbearable either.

I asked him to wait to see the movie together in the theater. He agreed. After talking about the series, he realized he’d never see the third installment, Twilight: Eclipse. I told him I would keep it on my DVR, and we could watch it together before hitting up the newest in the theater.

We were also coming up on Thanksgiving. I struggled with the thought of inviting him to come home with me. He is from and his family is still in Florida. I knew he wasn’t planning to go home, but I wasn’t sure if he’d have other plans. The thought of inviting him came from numerous places. I felt we were comfortable with each other, and I knew he would stand well with my family. He was very good at getting along with strangers, and I knew he could win them over, especially since this would be the first time they’d learn about my homosexuality. I knew it would have been a little early in our relationship to ask him to come home with me, and this is the main reason why I didn’t. I didn’t want him to think I was a little psycho.

In the meantime, I learned he finally did make plans for Thanksgiving. He was going to a few friends’ homes out on Long Island in the Hamptons and on Fire Island. I was happy he found some special people to spend the holiday with, but was a little disappointed I wouldn’t be spending it with him.

Before I went home, and he split for Long Island, I wanted to see him again. I suggested we grab coffee or something quick because I knew he would be quite busy with work leading up to our departures on Wednesday. He told me we’d have to play it by ear, but he would make a concerted effort to work it out.

I was worried I wasn’t going to see him before the long holiday weekend. We’d spent other weekends apart, so this shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but to me it was. I wasn’t spending the holiday with him, so I wanted the next best thing.

Tuesday evening I had a dermatologist appointment to have an ingrown hair taken care of. We were going to attempt to meet after as long as time allowed for it in his schedule.

It turned out he was able to meet. In the rain, I made my way to Lyon to grab a drink with him before he was going out to dinner with business colleagues who were in town for the week.

This was the first time I’d see him following a workday in which he interacted with clients. He looked very smart and super cute. It was all I could do to keep my hands off him. He was happy to see me, but I could tell he was pretty exhausted from a long day. We ordered some small dishes because I was ready for dinner, and his dinner wasn’t until 10:00 or 11:00. The conversation was nice, and we discussed our plans for the weekend. He also expressed concern for the incision on my abdomen from the dermatologist. When we finished, we paid the bill and began to walk towards the PATH/his subway.

We popped into a fun travel amenities shop to check out some of the cool things we noticed in the front window.

We walked a little further and reached his subway. He began to descend the staircase, and I called after him to explain I wouldn’t be joining him since it didn’t take me near the PATH. He walked back up a few steps and gave me a quick kiss as he said goodbye.

It was very unceremonious and not very romantic, but I decided to concentrate on the fact that I got to spend time with him at all before he left.

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Happy to See Him Happy

In continuing with sharing fun videos I come across, I thought I’d share this one. After reading Anthony Romero’s comment on Twitter, “Siri, tell my wife I’m gay,” I thought I’d heard the funniest Siri reference. (BTW, follow the porn star couple, @AnthyRomero and @AustinWilde on Twitter, they’re very entertaining!) Then this video came along and made me laugh so hard I cried… You may have already seen it, but I hope you like it!

On with the story…

On the night following my conversation with Smiles to bring him back from the edge, he had a film screening in New York City. This was the same film I had traveled out to the Hamptons to view. But, that was a dry run of sorts. The New York City premier was the real deal. Smiles was stressing about all the last minute details, and who could blame him?

I didn’t talk to or text him that day. I knew he’d be busy. Long ago, I made plans to attend the screening. Even though I’d seen it, I wanted to be supportive. I wanted to prove to him I cared about him and wanted him to be successful. And, if he wasn’t, I would still be there.

When I arrived, there was a small line forming. They weren’t allowing anyone in until 7:00. I stood in line patiently while optimistically telling him there was a decent line forming outside stretching to the corner.

When they finally let us in, I found Smiles. As per usual these days, I didn’t get a kiss. We said hi and chatted about our days quickly and the set up of the film. Shortly thereafter, his friend arrived and we were introduced. The friend was very familiar and quite attractive, and then I learned he was at the birthday gathering weeks earlier. The three of us chatted a while, but Smiles hadn’t seen him in a while, so they dominated the conversation.

After some time, one of Smiles’ cast mates came over to talk to him. He was introduced to the two of us. While conversing, he asked us, “So how do you know [Smiles]?” Just then, my phone rang, and I didn’t have to answer the question. I politely excused myself and answered the call. It was A. Her plans for the night fell through, and she was able to come to the screening. I talked details with her and returned to the conversation, but it had already moved on. I didn’t have to answer the question, but I also didn’t get to hear Smiles answer the question. It would have answered if we’d made progress since the last time that question was posed and would give me insight as to where I stood with him.

I didn’t jump right back into the conversation between Smiles and his friend. Instead, I leaned against the bar, drank my drink, and took in the whole scene. In my peripheral hearing, I heard the friend ask Smiles, “So, you dating anyone these days?” My ears perked up. Now I would get my answer!

“Yeah. This shy little guy over here,” he said as he pulled me closer.  I must have had a smile from ear to ear. “Oh,” said the friend. “I was going to ask who brought the kid? he joked. Shortly after, Smiles had to run to take care of other things. I was left to talk to the friend, and we got along great. He’s a really nice guy. When A arrived, I introduced the two of them.

It wasn’t long before the film was about to begin. Just before we were about to sit, I grabbed Smiles and reminded him to have fun. Too many times he worried about things and forgot to enjoy them as well. We grabbed three seats (Smiles was sitting elsewhere) and settled in before the film started. A leaned over and said to me, “He’s really cute! You should totally go after him.” She’s such a bad influence sometimes! Just before the movie started, I leaned over to the friend and asked him if he knew Smiles was in the film as well. He too had no idea. Apparently I wasn’t the only one he didn’t tell that detail to.

The movie was actually better the second time around. It also helps when you watch it with a packed house. The premier was so successful, they had to bring out extra chairs. I was so proud of Smiles and happy for him. When the movie ended, they had a little “Inside the Actors’ Studio” moment with a few questions and explanations. He looked comfortable yet slightly embarrassed on stage. It was cute to see him a little vulnerable.

Afterwards, he came up to me and planted a big kiss on me. I was a little shocked. I was so happy to see him so happy. He needed a break like this! For the rest of the night, he was floating around being a social butterfly. I hung out with A until she had to leave. At that point, I held my own being alone. Smiles would come and snag me periodically to make sure I was okay and to semi celebrate. He was being very affectionate and quite publicly. I rather enjoyed it!

One of the girls in the film was in attendance and was also working for a show on HBO. I had just watched the episode she was in at work to kill time before the screening, so I took the time to pull her aside and chat with her. She asked if I knew anyone in the film. When I told her I knew Smiles, she had nothing but amazing things to say about him. Once again, I was so proud of him.

The the crowd was thinning out, Smiles ran out on the dance floor and started dancing with the star of the film while one of the bands in the film played music. He noticed I was standing by the bar. He came running over, grabbed my hand, and drug me out on the floor with him. I was having fun.

When he finished his business and wrapped up, we left together, but not before he introduced me to the star of the film. We walked to nearby Pop Burger for dinner. We were drinking all night on an empty stomach, and Smiles’ tolerance is much lower than mine. We ordered food and sat to eat it. I had never heard of a shrimp burger, so I ordered that.

While we sat, I made fun of his clamshell phone, taking pictures of it and tagging him in the photo on Facebook.

I called for the car service from work and had them pick me up to take me home. Shhh. Since Smiles lives on the way to the tunnel, we dropped him off in front of his building. He climbed over me to get out of the car and gave me a kiss goodnight. I went home a happy man. I made a lot more progress that night. Dare I say it? I think I was in a relationship at that point???

I went home and climbed into bed with a big grin on. However, the grin didn’t last long. Just my luck, I woke up with food poisoning in the middle of the night. I spent a majority of the night in the bathroom and did not get much sleep. I went from having a very happy night to a miserable one in no time…

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You’re an Actor Too?

I had been scheming for weeks, ever since I found out Smiles was screening his movie in the Hamptons in conjunction with the annual film festival. I finally had my answer – He wanted me there.

I had a wedding on Long Island the following day, so it was convenient for me to head out there early to catch his film. I hadn’t seen it yet, so I was very curious.

Since I already booked a hotel for the wedding, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about dropping more money on another hotel room (if I could even get one with the festival). Then I had a brilliant idea. My great-aunt has a house out in the Hamptons. I emailed my cousin and asked her if she thought I could use her mother’s house for a night. I wasn’t looking to make a whole weekend of it. We literally just needed beds to sleep in and showers in to use in the morning. Luckily, my great-aunt obliged. I asked Smiles if he’d like to stay with us, but I didn’t get a straight answer. He was trying to find something closer to the screening.

My roommate was my date for the wedding (sad, I know, but this is the life you lead when you’re gay and single). I ran my plan by her, and she was down for it all. I left work early Friday, went to Hoboken to picked up her car and our bags, drove back into the city, and pick her up when she finished work. After that, we headed up to Mount Vernon to hit up my great-aunt’s house to get the keys.

Of course, this took forever! We got turned around twice and had to deal with Friday evening city traffic. I was starting to fear missing the beginning of the screening. When we finally arrived at the house to get the keys, I couldn’t just grab the keys and run. I hadn’t seen my great aunt since the funeral of my grandmother, and it had been years before that since we last saw each other. I knew I would have to sit and chat a bit. She was thrilled someone was getting use of the house and gave me long instructions on everything. Luckily, she is still sharp as a tack and after a short chat, she suggested we get on the road quickly so we didn’t have to sit in too much traffic.

We made our way across almost the entire length of Long Island before finally arriving at the bowling alley the film was screened at. We didn’t even stop to grab dinner, so I was praying this place had some decent food.

We walked inside and were greeted by Smiles. He and his crew were getting set for a round of bowling. My roommate and I took over the lane next to them to bowl a game or two before the film. Apparently, we made excellent time and even had some to spare (Get it? Bowling… Spare…).

Smiles looked very smart and was being decently affectionate. I wasn’t sure how the night was going to play out. I had a feeling it may be slightly awkward, but I wanted to be supportive. I talked to him before heading out there to see what the situation would be. I asked, “Will you be working the whole time, or is it more relaxed than that.” He explained he would get to spend time with me, and it would be worth it for me to come since I was already heading out in that direction.

While we were bowling, the alley owner’s teenage boy was hanging out with Smiles and his crew. He’d been with them all day hanging flyers around town. At one point, he made a comment to Smiles about his wife coming to the screening. Smiles told him he wasn’t married, and the kid immediately questioned himself and said, “Or girlfriend?” When Smiles shook his head, the kid replied, “Oh, or boyfriend or whatever.” Smiles simply replied, “Well… Him,” and pointed at me. I didn’t notice this happening, but Smiles made it a point to come over and recount the story for me.

The time came for the crew to start getting set up for the movie. My roommate and I finished our game and hit up the bar to grab some drinks and grub. From across the room, I watched Smiles greet some of his friends and chat with them a bit. When he finished, he came over to check on me and grab a beverage. He mentioned his friends and their names. When he said one name in particular, my ears perked up. It was his ex. I was very curious how that would play out since I know they are still close, but rarely get to see each other. He told us to grab seats since the movie would be starting soon, so we made our way over to the chairs and grabbed a spot.

When he sat down, he sat with his other friends. I wasn’t jealous. I knew he didn’t get to see them much, so I would take a backseat on this one (however, a small part of me was very disappointed after driving over four hours to see this). I watched the movie intently, but I have to say, I did glance at Smiles and his ex in front of me to see the body language happening. Again, we weren’t in a relationship yet. We weren’t even dating yet. We were just seeing each other, or at least in my mind that’s how it was defined.

Part of the way into the film, I was shocked to see Smiles on the screen. I knew he was a producer of the film, but I had no idea he was acting in it as well. I was very proud of him and the great job he did. The film was great and surpassed my expectations — Totally an indie film I’d rent at Blockbuster, not some NYU student project.

After the film, my roommate and I made our way back to a spot at the bar to grab another drink. After chatting with his friends some more, he came over to me, apologized to my roommate and asked for permission to steal me away to introduce me to them. I’m sure my face lit up like a Christmas tree. He was acknowledging me to his friends. FINALLY! It was the validation I was looking for after the birthday party.

However, when one of the friends asked how we met, Smiles turned to me. My head immediately went to Grindr and how I didn’t want to say that. I could have said we met through a mutual friend, but I said, “I’m going to default to you on this one,” and turned to Smiles. He paused a minute and replied, “We’ve gone out to dinner a few times back in the city.” It was interesting to see him struggle with the answer as much as I had. After a short while, the friends had to be on their way. A band was beginning to play, so I called my roommate over and stood by her with Smiles and some of his crew. Later in the night, I learned the man I thought was his ex simply share the same name as his true ex. I felt a little more relaxed for some reason.

Periodically we showed signs of affection towards each other, such as a subtle hand hold or a glance. It was nice. It was still nerve-wracking because I didn’t know what he was comfortable with yet. We weren’t defined, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t overwhelm. That happened in the past, and I didn’t want it to happen again.

Smiles directed me to speak with the director of the film. She and her friend wanted to know if they could crash at the house for the night as well. This was the first conformation I received of Smiles coming as well. Until then, he hadn’t given me a definitive answer. I explained to the two girls, I hadn’t been to the house before and wasn’t sure of the bed situation. However, they were more than welcome to join the adventure. When the band finished, we made our way to my great aunt’s house.

The drive was nice and cut through some cute towns. When we arrived, Smiles said, “Do the Bouviers live here?” in a reference to Grey Gardens. The exterior of the house didn’t look to be in great shape. I was a little worried. When we got inside, I was pleasantly surprised to find the house in more than decent shape. It was very large and slept about sixteen comfortably. All the girls got their own rooms if they so chose. Smiles and I would be taking the master downstairs of course.

We immediately settled in. We talked a bit, and I came to find out he wouldn’t be able to grab brunch with us in the morning. He had to get the rental car back to the city by noon. I was very disappointed. Everything I planned so far had worked out perfectly. The screening. The house. My plan to make it a quick little getaway with him was failing. After brushing our teeth, we climbed into bed and cuddled a bit until we dozed off.

When we woke around 9am, I tried to get a little frisky. I reached my hand down and gently began to try to excite him until I was gently pushed away and told he was exhausted. I admitted defeat and disappointingly went back to just laying next to him. Me ego was a little bruised.

Shortly following, we both got out of bed, and he got dressed and packed up to go. I said goodbye to the bunch and tried to find something to entertain myself until my roommate woke up…

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Central Park Loop

After my amazing date with Smiles Saturday into Sunday, I was in heaven. Of course that only means I couldn’t wait to see him again! I had to keep cool. I couldn’t get all mushy on him already.

Before it arrived, I knew Monday would be hell for me. We had a pitch early Tuesday morning, so I would be working straight into the night on Monday to finish preparing. I was right. I barely had time to shoot him a text. Smiles also had a busy day, as a friend was in town with whom he needed to talk business. I typed, “Hey sexy man… Any chance I can interest you in dinner tomorrow or Wed night?” He responded, “Working out my schedule. [My friend] hasn’t told me what his is yet…” I told him to keep me posted. My schedule was fluid.

Following the pitch Tuesday morning, my team came back into the city and went out to lunch at Keen’s. I ate a whole lot more than I needed to.

After lunch, I went back to the office, and called it an early day. My boss told me to go home, but I had other ideas. I called Smiles to see if he’d be interested in a run in Central Park. We’d talked about running together once before, and I rather liked the idea. It worked out well when I called. I explained I was finished work for the day. He happened to be free and was up for the idea. We planned to meet at Columbus Circle in a half hour.

I ran up to the park from my office rather than taking the subway because I thought it might be quicker. I was already regretting such a big lunch. When he arrived, I walked up to him and gave him a light kiss. We walked into the park as we talked about the time passed since we last saw each other. I liked this conversation. He seemed to be opening up, and the relationship seemed to continue to grow.

Once we got to a running path, we picked up the pace. We chatted as we ran. I know it’s not the most romantic thing for two men to do together, but we both are very active. He runs triathlons regularly, and being a division I college swimmer, I try to stay in shape every chance I get.

I learned a lot about his plans with the visiting friend. I gave him some of my thoughts on his proposal, but he clearly knew what he was doing. He’s a very smart and entrepreneurial guy. I love that about him.

As we ran, the connection seemed to drop off. The conversation started to feel a bit forced. There were awkward pauses, and periods of silence, searching for something to talk about. Looking back, I feel like he was distracted. I don’t think he was fully present since he had so much on his mind.

We ran a good distance, but we clocked only an average pace. Neither of us had run in a few weeks. At one point, we needed to stop so he could take a phone call. That phone call turned into three because he had to take care of something from one of his projects. We were walking again while he talked. I didn’t feel it was rude, because he was working. It wasn’t even 5:00 yet. I had to respect that. But, it wasn’t what I had in mind when I called him to get out for a run.

When he finished his calls, we began to run again. As we neared where we entered the park, we cooled down by walking. Somehow we got on the topic of my size 14 feet. He was gibing me and poking fun at them. “There will be no drag for you! Not unless you are G.I. Jane.” I laughed. The thought of size 14 high heels was hilarious.

I suggested we go into the Time Warner Center so I could relieve myself. He agreed as we joked about the fat naked statues that adorn the lobby. He told me he wanted to take a picture of me molesting it. I declined, but we still joked about it for some time.

Smiles hadn’t had lunch, so after the bathroom, he was looking to grab a quick bite. We descended into Whole Foods and he whipped up a salad. We found a table so he could eat and I could sip on my iced tea to rehydrate. I was enjoying sitting there just watching him. He caught me a few times, and we exchanged flirtatious glances. Since he made fun of my feet, I found a gentle way to make fun of his hair, or lack thereof. He shaves his head, and he took my jokes with a smile. I didn’t have room to talk however, as my hair is receding as well. I’ve just done a good job of hiding it. We were having fun poking fun at each other.

He looked wiped out. He was supposed to be meeting his friend that evening for dinner. He got a text to come to his friend’s hotel for drinks before they went out. He was torn. He was entertaining the idea of going back into the park to take a nap. I told him he needed real rest before he went out, or he’d be no fun. I suggested he decline drinks at the hotel with his friend so he could take a nap and be more of a human being for the rest of the night. (By the way, I wasn’t worried at all about this friend. I’d seen pictures, and he certainly was not the type one hooks up with). Smiles agreed with me, and we made a move for the door.

When we got upstairs, we were heading in separate directions. I asked him for more details about his upcoming film screening in the Hamptons in conjunction with the film festival. I was heading out there for a wedding that same weekend, so I contemplated supporting him by attending the screening of a feature film he worked on. I was still feeling him out to see if he actually wanted me there, or if I was going to be in the way or a distraction. We exchanged a quick kiss, and I said goodbye.

The run hadn’t gone exactly as I planned, but it was still nice to get to spend time with him again. I always relish getting to see him and his smile. It never fails to brighten my day.

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