Posts Tagged help
It had arrived. Although this would be my third year “participating,” I was legitimately scared. I wasn’t sure why it was so scary, but honestly, I was petrified for so many reasons.
My first interaction with Pride Weekend was a mistake. I was making my way to Governor’s Island for a polo match with my family when we found ourselves “stuck” in the parade route. The following year was the first year I was out when the weekend came around. It wasn’t pleasant as I witnessed my relationship crumble before my eyes like an out-of-body experience. I missed the parade that year, but I got a sampling of the other aspects of the festivities.
My fear was grounded mainly in the unknown. While I am a gay man, I do not participate in the typical gay culture. I’ve never been a big fan of gay clubs and what goes on there. I come from a background of a traditional relationship. In the gay world, that is like finding a diamond in the rough. The clubs seem to be the antithesis of this. They are a hot-bed of drugs, promiscuity and raunchy behavior. I know all gay men who go to bars don’t fit into this stereotype, but this stereotype is founded in truth. While I’ve been to a handful of gay clubs, and my comfort level was rising, I still had no idea what to expect. Never before had I been to a circuit party. I was venturing into the abyss, and this caused me incredible anxiety.
While I have learned to let go of the men in my past, I still carry the scars of my relationship with them. They’ve all hurt or used me in some way, shape or form. My biggest fear in life is being alone, and this fear is fed by thoughts of cheating, which is birthed from my baggage. The idea of CK with another man broke my heart. I had clear definitions of cheating, but there were worse things floating through my imagination — Like cheating in a form I feel is unfaithful, but the offender does not.
My relationship with CK was building a great foundation, however, the cement was still wet. We were only dating two months and ten days — Very young for any relationship. In the first month, I had strong suspicions I wasn’t the only man entering his bed. Things didn’t always line up and some of the clear indications were there, however, our relationship was still just forming. I knew there would be a transition period. While he told me he was only interested in me, and I was the only man entering his bed, I was aware how we met. I was also aware of his intentions before we even met through his first major slip-up on Grindr. I couldn’t expect monogamy from the first night — That wasn’t realistic.
While I was fairly understanding and looked the other way early on, I was not going to tolerate infidelity as our relationship progressed and strengthened. For starters, my heart wouldn’t be able to handle the pain, and lastly, it wasn’t safe for my health. I needed to trust him to be faithful. Outside the heartbreak, frankly, we were having unprotected sex. We’d been tested, but there are no guarantees. I trusted him with my life, literally, and if he was sleeping with other men, he was treating my life carelessly.
I sincerely had a feeling his intentions had evolved, but I couldn’t be sure how he would react when faced with temptation. I hoped I was the only man for him. As a result, I was petrified for the life of our relationship. I’d watched my relationship with N publicly combust the previous year, and I didn’t want a repeat.
I’m sure many of you reading think I am overreacting. It’s just a party… It’s just a parade… It’s just a weekend… Well, not to me. To me, it was a litmus test for the strength of my love for CK. I didn’t want that love to be tested, and I didn’t want to have to make a decision that could end my relationship with CK. He was my Superman. He was my world. If I lost him, my world would come crumbling down.
We had plans to go to a huge party at XL Friday night, Matinée circuit party Saturday, and the parade Sunday afternoon. I was venturing into this unknown abyss with faith and hope I could persevere. The thought of CK dropping X and losing control of his inhibitions with some other guy caused me great pain and panic attacks. The idea of another man’s hand groping his package caused me panic attacks. Picturing him dancing shirtless against another shirtless man caused me panic attacks. Every time these scenarios and many others entered my brain, my heart rate would increase drastically, I would start to sweat, and I would get light-headed.
All this added up to me being petrified and frustrated. When I asked CK what clothes I should pack to bring to his apartment for the weekend, and I didn’t get any cooperation or help. It all became overwhelming. To begin with, this wasn’t something I was looking forward to, and his lack of cooperation made me lose my sh*t. “Okay Babe. I’ll talk to you in the morning. Have fun tonight!” I said on the verge of tears as I hung up the phone on him.
I think that was the wake-up call CK needed. I don’t think he fully understood how much anxiety this all created for me. I voiced my frustrations for weeks leading up to Pride Weekend. I told him I was going out of my comfort zone, but I was willing to do it as long as I got some hand-holding. I needed help to get over this. It was just another fun weekend for him, but it was a big deal to me.
After a few minutes, he called me back. We discussed things a little more rationally, and CK’s tone changed. He finally realized I was struggling and tossed out the life-preserver. Now that I knew I had him in my corner, I was a little more relaxed, however, I still wasn’t completely comfortable. It was going to be a long, stressful and exhausting weekend both physically and emotionally. I bit down then and there, and braced for impact as I packed my bag and walked out the door.
The next morning, I woke up early to work out with CK in his rooftop gym. It was our first time up there, and we were finally going to workout together, or at least we both thought so. It turned out, we had different ideas of working out. While CK was on his cleanse, I too was trying to lose weight. That was only going to happen for me if I did cardio workouts. Lifting wasn’t going to help me shed any pounds, and that was the priority over bulking up. He wasn’t willing to join me for cardio, and I wasn’t willing to lift, so we worked out at the same time on opposite ends of the gym. When he finished, I was nearly done my three-mile run, sweating profusely from head to toe. I wanted to take off my shirt and use it as a sweat rag, but I wasn’t sure if that was P.C. in his gym, and there were others working out as well. When I finished, we rode the elevator back down to his place so we could shower and get ready for work.
As per usual, we showered together. This had become a regular thing for us. We rarely showered alone anymore. We weren’t always making out or having sex in there: It just seemed a better use of both our time to shower together. We were beginning to work out a system between us. Our routine was falling into place.
The one thing I slightly resented when sleeping over at his apartment was the lack of breakfast. It was getting expensive for me to continuously purchase breakfast every time I slept there. I made sure to provide him with the necessary items for breakfast, but we hadn’t seemed to get to that stage at CK’s apartment. I wasn’t going to make a stink about that. One thing at a time. I was happy he finally had all his boxes unpacked and a bed to be honest. Breakfast could be dealt with down the road.
We got ready and were out the door. We’d also managed to figure out we could commute together to work. Originally, he was walking to a different subway than I was, but after further investigation, I learned we could both catch the necessary subways from the same station, and it would be the same distance for CK. Every morning we walked together and said goodbye with a kiss on the platform. It was a simple routine, but I was already thoroughly enjoying our morning walk to work together.
That night, CK had to work late. I went home and went to free outdoor yoga on the pier in Hoboken with my roommate instead of CK. We were spending the night apart. He had to be at work early the following morning for a pitch. When I got home from yoga, I made dinner, watched TV and fell asleep in my bed alone after chatting with CK about his day.
I woke up early the next morning feeling lost. The man I loved wasn’t there. It was shocking how much of a difference it made having him in my bed. I didn’t sleep nearly as well as I did when he was present. It was like I was an infant all over again missing my mother’s heartbeat. I needed to feel him close to me to get a good night’s sleep. I forced myself to get out of bed and motivated myself for a nice morning run along the Hudson. I stopped to take pictures for Instagram of the city where I knew my boyfriend was still soundly sleeping.
I ran back home, finished getting ready and stopped by the allergist for my shot before heading to work. I was really committing to getting in shape and losing weight, so that afternoon, I took lunch at the gym. I wanted a six-pack again, and I wanted shoulders, arms and pecs I could be proud of again. When I finished, I was in a spectacular mood. I shot CK a text to remind him how much I love him. I was also horny from the endorphins running through my veins. I started to sext him, telling him all the things I wished I could do to him in the gym shower.
Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. That’s always been a fantasy of mine, however, I never had any desire to do it with complete strangers. In an ideal world, CK and I would go to the same gym. We’d walk in together, but not acknowledge each other while we were in the gym working out. When he was finished, he would head into to the lockers to shower. He’d strip down in front of me, not acknowledging my existence before strutting to the shower of his choice. I would follow just behind and slip into his shower stall and close the curtain behind me. We’d have sex under the hot water without causing too much commotion to attract attention from others. After finishing inside him, I would rinse off and leave the shower like nothing happened. He would finished washing up and recovering from our tryst while I got dressed and headed home like nothing happened to start making dinner. He would follow a few minutes behind, and the first time we would acknowledge each other would be at the door where I’d welcome him home from a hard day’s work at the office with a big kiss. We’d eat our dinner with big smiles knowing we have an epic sex-life. Some day…
So in shorter terms, I described this situation to him over text. When I first began, he thought I meant to text someone else. He must have thought I was cheating on him with someone at the gym. I assured him the texts were for him and reminded him how the conversation begane explaining that this was my fantasy. I also pointed out the irony of the situation and detailed how he was the one who sexted the wrong person, not me (just like the first day we started chatting and he wanted me to come over for sex).
That night, I had plans to see Porgy and Bess with my coworker, so I didn’t see him again. I think he felt a bit left out, but I’d been coworkers with this girl for over five years, and the two of us had never hung out outside work together. I also had to head to our Chelsea office to work early in the morning. I took the opportunity of being off the radar a bit to hit the gym again that afternoon, this time for a run on the treadmill. I began thinking about CK and I in the gym once again, but it would remain a fantasy.
When I finished work, I went to my volleyball game, came home to shower and made my way into the city to spend the night in CK’s bed. We’d spent a decent amount of time apart considering we’d been spending every waking minute together outside our workdays. I was thrilled to see him and even more ecstatic I was sleeping with him that night. After a late-night romp, we dozed off in each other’s arms. When we woke in the morning, we hit the gym once again. Alas, we worked out on opposites sides of the gym once again.
When we finished, we continued our routine of getting ready for work and were out the door. That night, after work, I ran home and grabbed my things for the weekend. We had a big weekend coming up, and I had to pack for many different options. It was EXTREMELY frustrating because I wasn’t sure what we’d be doing, I wasn’t going to be home again until Sunday at the earliest, and it was Pride Weekend. I asked CK for help on what to pack, and he was of no use. The fight was quickly escalating over the phone, and my frustration level was at its peak. I wasn’t used to going to gay events and circuit parties, and I was feeling a lot of pressure. This was a burden I’d been carrying around for weeks, and the moment of truth was arriving. This was going to be my first full Pride Weekend, and I had no idea what I was about to get myself into. I was scared sh*tless!…
After a mediocre day at the beach, CK and I made our way back to Hoboken for dinner. I had a Groupon to use up, so we decided to head to 1Republik. Earlier in the week, we were turned away from the place because we were wearing shorts and flip-flops. This time, we knew better.
When we got in the door, I searched for the hostess. I couldn’t find her. There were plenty of staffers milling about, but no one was offering to help us. Finally, I went over to one girl, who was heavily distracted and flirting with one of the big bouncer dudes, and I asked her if she wouldn’t mind assisting us in finding a table. She looked around for the hostess with an annoyed expression on her face before taking down CK’s number so she could text us when a table was ready.
In the meantime, we grabbed a stool by the bar and ordered beers. We were nearly finished our beers when his phone started vibrating. We weren’t ten yards from the front of the bar where the girl took our number, so we quickly walked back over there. She was nowhere to be found. After another five minutes passed, she walked past me. I asked her about our table, and she looked at me with the most confused look on her face. She told me someone else was responsible for tables. When I explained to her that she took down CK’s number and we just received a text, she finally agreed to get us a table. I couldn’t believe the incompetence already.
We got a table right by the front door, but at this point we didn’t care. We were hungry, and we wanted to eat. Naturally, it took a solid ten minutes before someone came to wait on us. When I explained to her I had a Groupon, she pointed out to me it had expired. When I told her that Groupons don’t expire, she took my phone to her manager to show her my digital certificate. Five minutes later, she came back with my phone and told me the manager agreed to honor the Groupon. Because two beers were included she took our beer order and was off. After some time, she came back with our beers, and before I could tell her our order, she was off again. This was the last we would see of her for quite some time. When another ten minutes passed by, I grabbed another waitress and asked her if we could order with her. I explained everything, and it turns out she was the manager as well. She was responsible for the laxed staff aimlessly wandering the restaurant. She agreed to take my order, and from then on, we were on our own.
I knew this was a bar/club at night as well as a restaurant, so I wasn’t expecting fine dining. However, we weren’t expecting the music to be so loud we would have to shout across the table. After some time, we realized it would be easier to text each other. I was laughing hysterically at how bad this date was turning out already. While we waited for our food, a bus boy came by and took my beer away. Granted there wasn’t much left, but I still wasn’t done with it. I just laughed more and more. I felt like we were living a sitcom.
Just when it couldn’t have gotten worse, some of our food arrived. You would think the first thing to arrive would be our salad. It was, but it was also accompanied by our dessert, apple pie a-la-mode. CK and I looked at each other and burst into laughter. I started in on dessert because the ice cream was going to melt. He was much more traditional and wanted to start with the salad. We weren’t two spoon/forkfuls in when our steaks arrived. At this point, we didn’t even have room on the table for all our food. We had to start piling food on the table next to us. Just then, as a girl was leaving the bar, she placed her empty bottle on our table. Again, we both looked at each other and began cracking up. How could this possibly get any worse.
Just then, our original waitress returned, but not to wait on us. She got a new table with fat men stuffed into the corner next to us. One had he chair pushed basically up against our table. I texted CK, “Don’t be rude! Offer Cletus some food!” The waitress passed by our table without saying a word. We were getting quite full, and couldn’t eat anymore. I was tempted to ask for a container to take some of the leftovers home, but I didn’t want to spend any more time at the place. CK texted asking what we do about tip, and I told him we leave nothing. We had no waitress and no one waited on us and our meal all came at the same time. If anything, they should have been offering us another free meal, let alone expecting any sort of tip.
When we were finished, we picked up and left without a word. I had never been served so poorly in any restaurant. It was ridiculous. The only redeeming quality was that we got an awesome story to retell. This was textbook poor hospitality.
Some friends were drinking at my local watering hole, so I proposed to CK grabbing a drink on the walk home. He wasn’t feeling it, so we walked straight home and hopped in bed for the night.
Had I been at that restaurant with anyone else, I would have gone insane. The fact that he was so cool about everything really made me fall in love with him even more. We took lemons and made lemonade. There is no one with whom I’d rather be sippin’ on lemonade than CK.Follow @onegayatatime
Today, I am bringing you a tag team post created for you by myself and another one of my faithful Australian readers, J. Argenta. I hope you enjoy.
Recently, I posted about Bonobos. As a result, one of my readers, J. visited the site and did a little shopping.
“I’m one of his avid readers and couldn’t help but check out the Bonobos site after he spoke so highly of it! I found some great stuff on there, but when I got to the checkout and it was $91 to get stuff shipped to Australia! — More than the pair of pants I was going to get. I was basically a stranger and hoped what I was about to ask wasn’t too strange, but I asked if he wouldn’t mind placing the order for me and sending it over for me? I offered to transfer you the money to cover it all and do so before he placed the order. I just don’t happen to know anyone in America and figured the shipping would be cheaper this way. I knew it was a long shot, but I hoped he would be comfortable with this.” – J. Argenta
This posed many challenges. I wanted to help him out. I was totally game to do whatever I needed to do, but this would certainly force me to give up anonymity. He would need to know my name and address to mail me payment. I didn’t feel comfortable breaking down the fourth wall.
I thought about how else I could help. I knew as a blogger, I had a certain level of power. I could reach out to the Bonobos PR team and see if there was anything they could do. I sent them an email:
Hey there Bonobos PR team.
I am one of your biggest fans (I bought the Shortboards – Lapis Lazuli and ABSOLUTELY love them! and have since bought some pants and hats because I love how everything fits me well. I digress) I have an odd request to make. I am a blogger. My blog mainly (but not limited to) attracts a specific audience, but one that fits well with the Bonobos brand — the gay community. You can check out my daily blog at onegayatatime.com. That being said, I love Bonobos products and am not shy about telling my readers about this. In one of my posts, I mentioned your brand and how much I enjoy it. Afterwards, I received an odd email from one of my readers in regards to your products.
[I attached his original email].
I’m not 100% comfortable making this transaction for him, but I was hoping maybe by reaching out to him I could help him solve his high-priced shipping problem. I told him I would reach out to you and see what you could do for him. I work in media, so I know the value of word-of-mouth. You can expect me to continue to speak positively about your products in my blog and can be assured I will make special note if you find a viable solution for my reader. Thanks for your assistance with this issue.
I look forward to hearing from you!
I was CC’d on an email to the Ninjas who take care of this, and they replied back, “Done. Thanks.” I was surprised how brief the response was, but I decided to wait and see what they sent to J. Argenta. I also asked them to keep me up-to-date with what they were doing so I could share the positive story. I got an email in response:
Sure no problem. Sorry about the curt email. Your message was forwarded to us from the PR team so I though I was giving her a direct reply. My apologies if that came off as short. I can definitely keep you updated. I didn’t know your friend/fan’s name but I shot him an email outlining our international shipment options (we actually pay for outgoing shipments but have to do it manually due to shipping negotiations and site shortcomings).
Thanks for reaching out on this.
“I told O.G.A.A.T. they offer free international shipping, but because of ‘how the young program is and various logistic negotiations/planning/tweaking,’ Bonobos covers the cost of shipping manually in the form of store credit. Nick also said I would have to cover customs charges, but I’ve never had to do this with other international orders from other sites. I’m not sure if other sites maybe cover this cost or just include it in their selling price.” — J. Argenta
I emailed the Ninjas again and told them the issue:
Because of this, I think you may be losing a sale and a customer, and I am disappointed in how this problem is being handled. I was hoping to report a viable solution on my blog with a happy story of great customer service to match a great product, but as of now I can’t do that. A store credit of $91 doesn’t sound like a viable solution to me. The problem would just represent itself when he attempts to apply said store credit. I would hope you would further investigate this issue or possibly escalate it to a higher level. I look forward to hearing a happy ending to this story.
Thanks for your help!
This is when Nick really went above and beyond to clarify the situation and make sure he had a satisfied customer. He quickly sent me a reply:
Let me start off by saying that I don’t think your friend will have to pay duties. Sorry about the confusion here. I think maybe there was a miscommunication on our part. Basically the deal with customs is that we (or any company/site/vendor) have no control over duties and customs charges. These are determined solely by the host countries and reimbursing recipients for customs/duties is a legal ‘iffy’ area.
[He then went into detail on international shipping and customs policies, as well as breaking out costs and examples].So basically our feeling was since we lack the ability to predict or control customs costs in other countries we would make it up to the customer by not charging them for international shipping a la the store credit option. I think the confusion here might have been due to when and how the store credit is applied.
The idea was that the most viable way of compensating for our systems/logistics shortfall was to offer a free shipping service until we could finalize a partnership with an international shipper.
Sorry for the long-winded email, I just wanted to make sure I was specifically answering your concerns in regards to, “The problem would just represent itself when he attempts to apply said store credit,” since the store credit actually resolves the problem of shipping costs, not make it worse.
I know it’s a bit of hassle if you’re an international customer which is why we really do try to do as much as we can at the moment given the resources available to us. It’s a big headache on our end as well as we would love to develop an international customer base (pants = the universal language). It’s just proven to be a much bigger bag of worms than anticipated and therefore has been much slower going in terms of negotiating with a shipping agent.
The short answer for your friend is that he will only pay for his clothes, we will cover shipping, and as far as I can tell he won’t have to pay for duties (though again, my knowledge of Australian customs law is cursory at best). The only catch is that he has to shoot us a quick email or give us a call so that we can drop the credit to cover shipping into his account.
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot us another email or give us any feedback. I always love talking shop.
All the best.
I was duly impressed, and I let him know:
Hey dude. Thanks for the explanation. I indeed appreciate the long-winded email. You know your sh*t. I also appreciate the time it took to write and explain. I’ve passed along the info to my reader. I will continue to give nothing but rave reviews going forward of Bonobos and will not the extra effort you made to make a customer (and myself) happy.
He replied once more:
No problem dude. I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page. We’re definitely a little behind the eight ball when it comes to international shipping so your (and your friend’s concerns) were well founded and we appreciate you keeping us honest. We’ll be in touch and feel free to give us a holler any time you have a question.
I relayed this information to J. Argenta to make sure he knew how this would go down.
“I finally understood what they were talking about. It all sounded good! All this for a pair of pants! But, I thanked O.G.A.A.T. for being so persistent and placed my order. It’s nice to know there are people out there willing to help out a stranger in need (of some new pants).” — J. Argenta
I was happy to hear the transaction come to a positive outcome. I am happy to bring the story to you and highlight Bonobos customer service on this issue. They once again proved they are a company with not only top notch products but also top notch service. They really went above and beyond to help an Ozzy out who needed a pair of pants…
I’m Jason by the way. I live in Australia, obviously! Hello! I’ve got a blog as well — Not one that I advertise much at all, but I’ve sort of been branching out a bit with it lately. Not sure if it would be your type of thing — It’s a bit random really, just about everyday goings-on, and things that I find interesting like racism and gay-related things. I wrote my own little gay life story a few posts ago after coming across so many gay-related blogs. Anywho, check it out if you like — jaargenta.blogspot.com – and I’ll look forward to hearing from you!Follow @onegayatatime