Posts Tagged help

The Perfect Ending on a Cloudy Day

Saturday morning, I woke up to CK’s lips caressing mine with a gentle kiss. “Morning baby,” he whispered. As my eyes opened and slowly adjusted, his face came into focus and a smile grew on my face. What a great way to wake up!

NYCSkylineAfter taking my sweet old time getting out of bed, I made my way to the kitchen to start making us coffee and breakfast. We planned to hit the beach for the day, but our coffee wasn’t the only thing with clouds in it. I realized trekking out to Long Beach wasn’t worth it if the weather wasn’t going to shape up. So, instead of having cereal, I cooked us eggs and pancakes.

CK asked if there was anything he could do to help as he wrapped his arms around me from behind. “No. I think I have it covered,” I responded.

While I didn’t need his help in creating the food we were going to eat, I was hoping he would keep me company while I did it. However, while I was cracking eggs, he was off in the corner tweeting, Instagramming, GetGluing, and emailing away. This was a point of contention between us. At times, I felt he put more importance on his virtual friends and followers than he did with the man who was physically present at the moment. When I asked him a question, and it fell on deaf ears. I started to feel unappreciated. I felt like making breakfast for us was my duty. It was simply expected of me.

PhoneBusinessAttireI asked him, once again, to be more present and put the phone down. I pointed out how often he was glued to his phone. Even though I understood how important social media was to him, I felt overshadowed by it. Of course, he responded quite defensively, and an argument ensued.

This continued for some time before he used the same phrase I heard on Friday: “Do you really want me, or do you want some changed version of me?” I reiterated for him how much I loved him and how I was not trying to change him. There were so many inherent qualities he possessed I loved about him, but there were also a few behaviors by which I felt disrespected. This was something new for both of us, and we were both learning what it means to be in a substantial relationship.

Instead of diving into another world while I cooked his breakfast, perhaps he could have sat at the counter and engaged with me. I know I’m sound like an unappreciated housewife, but at the time, that’s exactly how I felt.

PhoneScreenTextingIn an isolated incident, this would have been nothing. However, I’m a very analytical person, and I notice patterns, sometimes in their infancy stages. I didn’t want this to become a typical behavior. We’ve all seen it in movies — The dad who doesn’t engage with his family because he’s glued to his blackberry putting out fires for work. I wanted him to take the time to separate out the noise. I wasn’t asking him to give up his virtual world. I was just asking him to be conscientious of when and where he engaged. Obviously, I have my own social media accounts to manage, but I never put them before the people I am with in real-time, especially him.

I’d been on the other side of this paradigm. Before I met CK, when I went out to straight bars with my friends, I was often engaging with others on Grindr. My friends complained I wasn’t present, but I explained how that was the trade-off for spending time with them in places I was much less likely to meet a man. Looking back, I can see how insulting it can be to be physically with someone while mentally, they are in a virtual world.

The fight grew and grew much bigger than the initial sentiment merited. I tried to calm things and explain I wasn’t looking for a fight. I was simply trying to point out something I didn’t appreciate so he could do something about. I was trying to communicate. I didn’t want him to get defensive, and I wasn’t looking to take the offensive. In time, hopefully these situations wouldn’t escalate like this. I was trying to lengthen my fuse, while he was learning to deal with the enigma that is myself.

Diner BreakfastEventually, cooler heads prevailed, and we sat to eat our breakfast. He thanked me for making breakfast with a kiss.

Since the weather was far from motivating, we spent a majority of the day on the couch watching Game of Thrones and fooling around. Our ever-healthy libidos were calling out to be quenched as well. Fooling around soon turned into more vigorous exercises.

The front of my apartment is nearly all windows. This doesn’t exactly allow for privacy unless the shades are drawn. I didn’t want to interrupt the moment by closing the shades, and I knew it would only feed CK’s exhibitionist side to leave them open. Self-consciously, I glanced out the window and noticed a woman across the street. I had a feeling she’d seen us and tried to decipher whether or not she was continuing to watch us. I couldn’t decide either way, and I was far more distracted by the gorgeous man in front of me than the stranger across the street. If she wanted to watch, let her. All this commenced with a climax, and me taking an afternoon nap on top of him.

When we woke, I continued with my plans to bake a few pies. This time, when CK asked if he could help, I welcomed his assistance with open arms. Together, we made two pies, torturing ourselves with the delicious smells coming from the oven as they baked. We engaged in Instagram together, taking pictures of our masterpieces and uploading them together. At least our heated conversation earlier that morning was finally bearing fruit.

AnthonyDavidsThat night, to properly celebrate three months together and make up for the previous night, we decided to hit up a restaurant I’d been dying to go to for six years, Anthony Davids. It was always difficult to get into because there was usually a line of people waiting for a table. We didn’t have any other pressing plans, so we decided to give it a shot.

We were seated in the coziest table in the joint. The ambiance was already setting the perfect mood for the night. All the fighting and bickering from earlier in the week slowly disappeared from my consciousness. Our stellar waitress opened the Malbec we brought with us, and CK proposed a toast. “Here’s to the beginning of our 2nd quarter,” he boasted. It was a very cute sentiment, and it put a smile on my face.

 

AnthonyDavidsDiningOver the course of our amazing meal, I slowly began to realize the bigger picture. I realized it was all worth it. No matter how much fighting there was, the good times – times like these – were priceless!

Our night could not have gotten much better. The service was impeccable, the food was divine, the ambiance was indescribable… We finished our meal and walked back to my apartment hand-in-hand. We were exhausted from a long day of lounging about on the couch. When we got home, we brushed our teeth and climbed straight into bed. I could not have been happier. I was utterly in love, and my relationship with CK was really starting to take shape.

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Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself

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.

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The Calm Before the Storm

CK and I had a rocky night, but before we laid our heads on the pillows, we reconciled our differences. There’s no fight we couldn’t get over. We were truly in love.

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!…

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Creating a Diversion

In this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to surprise someone. Everyone is far too connected through so much social media. It’s even more difficult to surprise someone you love because you spend so much time with them.

For the longest time, I’ve had two things on my life’s to-do list regarding surprises — To throw a surprise party and to have one thrown for me. Since I’ve shared this list with CK, he’s well aware of these two items. So, when he birthday arrived, he would have a heightened sensitivity regarding a surprise party. Over the years, I’ve learned to not celebrate my birthday because in the end, if you don’t celebrate it, you can’t be disappointed by the turnout. CK is a bit different. He loves a big party and certainly loves to be the center of attention ;). Nothing was going to stop him.


I knew from the start if I was going to pull off a surprise for CK’s birthday, I wasn’t able to do it alone. I needed to recruit help. Since one of his friends wasn’t particularly thrilled with me after The Prometheus Debacle of twenty ought twelve, I decided to hit up his other close friend for help. It was the day before his birthday which fell on a Friday. I quickly shot him a message on Facebook and told him my plan to surprise CK the following day. I had one big problem. I was swamped at work. We were in the middle of a pitch, and I knew his friend has much more time on his hands as he was recovering from surgery. I asked him to pick a place, set a time, and invite the friends who were still bitter about the movie tickets, as well as any others I didn’t know about. He was onboard.

When he suggested we go to this cute little Thai restaurant in CK’s neighborhood because they also served alcohol, I immediately knew what he was talking about. “That’s perfect!” I responded. I used to order from Q2 when I worked in that neighborhood, and CK and I ate there the day he moved into his new place. I was thrilled, and it would work out well because it was close. It was never easy getting CK moving and out the door. Proximity was prime.

We also decided to create a diversion. I told him to have everyone involved feed a story to CK. The friend I was planning with was going to tell him he would meet him up for a drink later in the night, but he had dinner plans already (which partially was true). The other friends were going to be going out of town to Connecticut until Sunday, but would make it up to him and take him out to dinner Sunday night.

I told him I would take care of CK. That night, I made plans with CK for the following day. I was going to be working down in our Chelsea office, which is relatively closer to his office. I asked him if we could grab lunch together since I was in the middle of a pitch, and I wasn’t sure what time I would be done work that evening. He was thrilled, particularly after no one hit him up to make plans for his birthday.

In the middle of the afternoon, I called CK to make sure we were still on for lunch. We agreed to meet in Chelsea Market (probably a huge mistake). I figured we could get food there and take it up on the Highline to eat it.

I went in one side of Chelsea Market, and he went in the other. Of course, we didn’t find each other in the middle. When I reached the far door without seeing him, I called him. And I called him. And I called him. The phone rang in my hand about one hundred times before he finally picked up the phone. I was getting extremely frustrated since I had limited time to eat with him, and that time was shrinking. But, I took a deep breath and remembered it was his birthday. I needed to keep cool.

We both grabbed some crab/lobster sandwiches and made our way outside to the Highline to find seats for our “picnic.” As we walked, he told me about his friends and how they had plans. He was asking them all to come out for the night, but found only disappointment. I apologized and told him I was still unaware what time I would be released from work (and sadly, that was the truth). In reality, we had plans/reservations for 9:00, and I was desperately hoping we would make that time. I could tell he was a little upset no one would be around for his birthday.

He was very skeptical and asked if I was up to something and planning something, but I denied it over and over. I told him how one friend would meet us for drinks around 10:00, and how he told me the other friends had to head out of town for the night. One last time, he questioned me, and I replied, “Babe, I tried to do something, but it’s not working out. I’m not even sure I can spend your birthday with you. What makes you think I can plan something with others? I’m really sorry! Can I take you out for dinner tonight? A quiet night with just the two of us?” He agreed, but I could tell he was a little upset. I told him I had the perfect restaurant, but I wanted to surprise him with that since I wasn’t able to surprise him with anything else. He looked like someone shot his puppy, but his demeanor also changed. It was almost as if, “Well, if they don’t want to spend my birthday with me, then f*ck them.”

He no longer suspected a thing. We finished our meal, and he walked me back to my office. I gave him a big kiss goodbye and told him I would keep him posted on what time I could get out of work. My diversion worked. I completely threw him off the scent, and we both went back to work.

As soon as I got back to my office, I called his friend. “He was suspicious, but I think I broke his spirits a bit, and now he doesn’t suspect a thing. He thinks it will be a quiet night out to dinner for just the two of us. He has no idea what’s coming…”

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Equilibrium

After our week in the “country” house, as CK liked to call it, it was time to utilize our city abode. It was in no shape, however, to be lived in. Sure, the new bed was delivered, the delivery of which was a bit of contention between us, but the bed was surrounded by towers of boxes.

The day the bed was delivered followed a week straight with CK. There were errands I needed to take care of I never got to do when we were together. Because of this, I dropped CK off for the bus and told him I would meet him in the city later. I was trying to be productive with my time, rather than waiting for the bed to be delivered with him. Looking back, we probably should have just done them together, but at the time, I didn’t want to subject him to my boring burdens.

We were both eating dinner when I cooked at my place, so there’s no reason I should feel guilty dragging him to the grocery store. Going forward, I learned to shed that guilt quite easily. But on the flip side, this meant I would be going to the grocery store with him on the other side of the river. That seemed like a much better arrangement. I was beginning to resent that I had to do the responsible duties while he had all the fun, but that wasn’t fair to him. He never turned me down when I asked him to help me, but in reality, I never asked him in the first place. I couldn’t resent him if I didn’t give him the chance to delight me. There were lots of not exciting things we would both need to do, like cleaning our apartments, that while not fun at all, they could be completed much faster with both our efforts in tandem. Our lives were blending together, and I loved it. It wasn’t smooth, but I loved it.

On the flip side, since we were spending so much time together, I was finding it hard to make the time to work out. My body was paying the price, and as a result, my self-esteem plummeted even lower. I needed to start running again. I needed to get back in the gym and start lifting again.

This posed the challenge of a delicate situation. CK proposed that we work out together. I knew I was a far better runner than CK was. That’s not a dig against him at all, but put simply, I ran cross-country in high school and swam in college. In order for me to get results from my workouts, I needed to push myself, and I needed to push myself hard! I wouldn’t be able to do that if I was holding back to run at CK’s pace. I didn’t want to insult him or his abilities, but I wasn’t sure this was something we’d be able to integrate.

Regardless of this, I decided to make an effort to give it a shot. When I told CK I wanted to go for a run one night, he wanted to join me. We both got ready and walked over to the west bank of the Hudson to run along the trail. As I predicted, we clocked a pace much less effective than I was hoping. I decided I needed to speak up. I was met with the response I had dreaded. He took insult to my comments that I needed to run faster. I didn’t know any way to navigate this without creating a conflict. He took it personally that I was insinuating he was holding me back.

As a result, he played the role of the martyr and told me to take off. The result of running at our own pace was what I was hoping for, but the hurt feelings and passive-aggressive response was exactly what I was hoping to avoid. I tried to talk to him about it to make it a discussion so there would be no hurt feelings, but he wanted none of it. He’d rather I just go, so that’s what I did.

While I ran, I thought about how to deal with the fallout of this. It made sense to me that we work out together, but we needed to do it in a way that benefited us both. I was going to resent it if I wasn’t getting the full potential out of the workout, and that benefits no one. That’s when I came up with a solution:

When we ran together, we would start out together at a warm-up pace. When I was sufficiently warmed up, I would pick up the pace and run ahead of him. When I felt I was half way through the workout, I would turn around and pick him up on the way back. When I overtook him, I would slow down to a cool down pace. I thought it the perfect solution.

It’s also basically what we were doing. When I turned around, I quickly came to find myself right behind him. As we ran, I proposed this new idea, but he still wasn’t having any part of it. I realized I was in a losing battle, and this would have to be addressed later when his ego healed.

Working out in the gym was also a whole other battle. When I go to the gym I like to be by myself. I do not treat it as a social excursion. I am there to work out and go home. I don’t even like spotting someone when they ask me for help. I resent it because I am there for my workout, not theirs. I don’t ask anyone else to spot me. I am not a trainer or an employee. Why should I be “working” at the gym? I know this sounds very antisocial, and that’s exactly what it is. I’m not the biggest fan of lifting. I see it as a necessary evil. I want to get in and out of there as quickly as possible.

When CK asked me to lift with him all the time, I was very hesitant. I loved him, but I was so used to lifting by myself. I knew if we did this together, I would get cranky, and it would start a fight. I was trying to save us from that. I also liked to go to the gym during my lunch break at work, so when he would ask me to hit the gym with him in the morning or the evening, I wouldn’t want to. I would want to use that time for far more fun things.

It was going to be a delicate balance, trying to integrate our lives, but eventually we would find equilibrium. Both sides would have to make sacrifices and concessions, but both sides would benefit from each other as well. Needless to say, CK was the first guy I’d gone to these steps with. It was new territory for me, but it was certainly exciting as well!

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The Best Worst Date Ever

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.

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Ladies and Gentleman, My Boyfriend

The morning after my “wild night,” I woke early. I was happy to realize I didn’t have a hangover, but I had a lot to do. I sat at my desk and went through circulars to make a grocery list, I went over my to-do list, I cleaned my bedroom, did two loads of laundry and sorted through my clothes to get rid of some of them. It was a very productive morning. The only thing I didn’t get done was to make it to the gym.

Around 11:00am, CK called. I didn’t want to call him because I was afraid of waking him. I knew he wasn’t a morning person. I was happy to hear his voice. He told me he needed to do laundry and wouldn’t come to Hoboken until about 2:00. I was fine with that. It allowed me to finish what I needed to get done for the morning.

I planned to head over to the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival around 2:00. That’s what I told P and my sister. As I was walking out the door, he called to apologize for running late. He was just walking out the door to hop on the PATH. Obviously he wasn’t going to arrive at 2:00. I told him I’d be at the festival, and I would make my way to him when he arrived.

I managed to find P, my sister and her friend without much effort. P had her dog, Baby, with her and needed to find her water. I told them I needed to make my way to the PATH to get CK, and they were welcome to join me. They all followed. We waited at the PATH for some time before he finally arrived. It was close to 3:45 before he finally arrived. He was running late as usual. I happily introduced him to the three of them, and we made our way back to the festival to find lunch.

Before he arrived, I had a worry in the back of my head. We were used to showing affection openly, but not in Hoboken. I still wasn’t out to everyone I knew around town, and I had my reservations about PDA. I was trying to get over it. There was no reason I shouldn’t feel comfortable being myself. But, I can’t lie. I was very nervous.

That being said, I greeted him with a hug, and we spent a large portion of the day holding hands and our arms around each other. This was a first for me. I did relax a bit and began to let my guard down.

We found the steak sandwiches I’ve gotten many years in the past and hopped in line. My old roommate (also my favorite roommate) was making his way toward us, so I told him where we were. I introduce him to CK, and he reminded me I’d met the girl he was with in the past.

As we ate, we walked uptown chatting. He mentioned wanting to do something special for my birthday that Friday. He asked if I’d be able to get out of work early, and I told him it shouldn’t be a problem. All I knew about this surprise was that it would cater to my adventurous side. I thought it was incredibly sweet of him to plan something special for me.

When we reached the north end of the festival, I was ready for dessert. I hadn’t passed anything along the way I really wanted, so I decided to hit up Ralph’s for some cream ice. I ordered the peanut butter cookie dough, and we shared it. It was utterly amazing.

P, my sister, her friend, CK and I were all heading to City Bistro to grab a drink on the rooftop bar since it was such a nice day. We found a seat and relaxed. I could tell one of the guys on the roof was making comments about CK and I, but I didn’t care. I continued resting my hand on his leg or putting my arm around him. I noticed two guy I thought might be gay and informed CK of the “Pickle game” I’d learned from Boston in Miami. We agreed they were gay.

The time came for us to head out. CK wanted to go for a ride on the motorcycle, and I needed to start dinner. We had to stop at ShopRite on the way home for supplies, and it was a bit of a walk home. CK wasn’t happy, but he did it — Not without complaining most of the way.

When we got home, we cuddled in bed for a few minutes before I told him I wanted him to help me with dinner. As I put the beef roast in the oven, I asked him to slice the potatoes for the scalloped potatoes on the mandolin. I warned him quite pointedly to be careful since the blade was so sharp, and I’d already cut myself pretty severely on it once, as did my mother. When he was cutting the last potato, he sliced his finger pretty badly.

I immediately ran to his rescue. He was bleeding pretty bad, but not enough for stitches. He sliced off a small piece of the tip of his thumb. He was now the third person to cut themselves on that mandolin (Him, my mother, and myself). He couldn’t believe how well I was handling the blood. I told him I was a lifeguard for seven years and had my own share of accidents involving a lot of blood. “Awww. Baby, you’re my lifeguard,” he said. I bandaged him up, told him to hold his arm above his head, gave him some painkillers and told him to sit on the couch. Maybe asking him to help was not a good idea. I thought it would be romantic, but it turned out tragic.

When dinner was ready, we ate in front of the TV. He raved about how good dinner was. We watched the shows I normally record on a Sunday night. It was really nice to have him fit so nicely into my routine. That was a sign our relationship had a solid foundation.

When we got tired, we made our way to my bedroom. He must have been really tired, and he kept dozing off. I wanted sex, but it was quite obvious that wasn’t going to happen. It’d been quite some time since we had sex, but I would have to settle for some cuddling instead.

He was out cold, so I brushed my teeth and came back to bed. I must have roused him, because he too got out of bed to brush his teeth. We turned out the light and fell asleep in each other’s arms.

It’s rare to find me happier than when I wake up next to him. It’s impossible not to have a smile from ear-to-ear. Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. As per usual, he began to give me a bl*wjob. It was one of his favorite morning activities. He told me he wanted me to finish for him. This is an immediate killer for me. I begin to concentrate on that alone. (I really need to see someone about this!) After a while, I told him it was time to shower. I scooped him up and carried him to the shower. He began bl*wing me outside the shower as well. I was too distracted in the bathroom, so I grabbed his hand and led him back to the bed. He felt amazing, and when he began teasing my boys with his tongue, I used my hand to get me over the edge.

“Baby. You taste so sweet today!” he told me. I was a bit shocked to hear this considering N told me I tasted awful. This made me like CK so much more in that moment. Seconds later, he exploded all over his own abdomen. It was incredibly hot to watch.

We went back to the shower and cleaned up. That morning, we joked about water sports. He threatened to pee on me in the shower. I told him if he did, I would certainly be returning the favor. When I saw his warm stream hitting my feet, I delivered on my promise. Both of us immediately got weirded out, and that ended immediately. “Yea. That’s definitely not going to be a thing!” I exclaimed. He nodded his head in sever agreement. Afterwards, I bandaged his finger once again and gave him a band-aid for the road.

We got ready and made our way to the PATH. I had to say goodbye to him in Hoboken to get my allergy shot, and he hopped on the PATH.

Monday, he called me as I was picking out a wedding card at CVS. He wanted to know if I was still in the city so we could meet up for a bit. I’d just gotten off the PATH five minutes prior. He was hopping elevator, so he told me he’d call me when he got up to his apartment, but I didn’t hear back from him.

I sent him a picture message of a t-shirt saying “I would cuddle you so hard.” He didn’t acknowledge the message. When I called later that evening, he seemed weird. He told me he was reading Hunger Games and sounded like I woke him up. The conversation was very short and awkward, so I just said goodnight and went to bed.

We made plans for Tuesday, but work got in the way for him. I proposed getting together Wednesday night at my place for Revenge again instead. I also left work early to pick up my new custom-made bed. I was so excited! I brought it home and assembled it. It was amazing. I sent him pictures, and he responded, “Can’t wait to break it in!” He also asked me if I would be interested in a show at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade. I told him that sounded great. Later Tuesday night, I texted him, but got no response until 12:30, just after I dozed off.

The question of fidelity did cross my mind for a hot second. I wondered if we needed to have the exclusivity conversation or was that covered under the can I be your boyfriend conversation? It wasn’t that I didn’t trust him, but my mind can run wild at times. I was just going to keep it in the back of my mind until I decided whether it was necessary to bring it up…

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Ozzy Bonobos

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!   
— O.G.A.A.T.

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.
Cheers.  

— Nick

“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:

Hey again,
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.
— Nick

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.
THANKS!

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.
Best.
— Nick

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!

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Cleaning Up

My night had gone pretty smoothly. I had a great time, there was minimal drama and I ended the night with a great guy, Smiles.

I did my best to put all the food away before heading to bed the night before. It was a fairly easy cleanup. However, that left all the dishes to be done and a lot of cleaning around the apartment.

I woke at a decent hour and didn’t even have a hint of hangover, which is surprising considering I drank sangria most of the night. My teammate from Maryland woke shortly after me. She needed to go into the city to catch a bus home, but was going to stick around for breakfast before she left. She asked if she could have some of the leftovers, and I prepared a few things for her.

In the meantime, Smiles emerged from my bed, and we made coffee for ourselves with my Keurig Elite Brewer coffee machine. It’s perfect because we can each pick our flavor of tasty Green Mountain Coffee, and we don’t have to wait for a whole pot to brew. It’s absolutely great! (Yes, I’m plugging them because I absolutely love that thing, and I’m hoping they read this and feel gracious enough to reach out to me… Wishful thinking…)

After she ate, my teammate asked for directions to the bus back into the city to Port Authority and was on her way. Smiles had made his way back to my bedroom and got dressed to head home. I was hoping he’d stick around for a little bit (I wasn’t expecting him to help clean), but I was mistaken. I would have liked to spend a lil more time with him, but he had plans.

I said goodbye to him with a kiss and a hug as I thanked him for everything from the night before.

My other roommate who was stuck in Canada arrived home in the meantime. He asked about the party. He was very disappointed he missed it. He’d been to three of the previous four even though we’d only been roommates six months.

Then, I was left with my mess. I did all the dishes and ran the dishwasher. I put all the wine in the wine fridge. I poured all the leftover sangria down the drain trying not to gag. I put all the liquor no one drank away. And then I swept the floors. They hadn’t been swept since we moved in.

I did all this while my roommates sat on the couch watching TV. My happy mood had soured. I didn’t expect them to help. I made it clear to them it was my party. Therefore it was my mess to clean up. However, after asking for permission, the roommate that was away had no problem scarfing down a plate of the food and leaving it in the sink for me to clean up. And, the other roommate, who attended the party and did nothing to help me prepare didn’t lift a finger. I didn’t resent that they weren’t helping me clean up. I more resented that I worked my ass off to get the apartment in shape, and they didn’t offer one iota of gratitude. Sure, it was out of selfish desires that I worked so hard and fast. But, they both greatly benefited from my efforts.

The cleaning was over surprisingly fast. When I finished, I planted myself on the couch for the remainder of the evening.

Later than evening, I witnessed my roommate come out of her room and heat up a plateful of the leftovers from the night before. I really resented this, purely because she didn’t take the two seconds to ask me if she could have it. I can be generous at times, but she didn’t pay one cent for it and did nothing to prepare it. The least she could do is ask.

So, I did what any mature roommate would do. When she went into her room, I left a passive aggressive post-it on the fridge saying, “If you didn’t lift a finger to purchase this food or make it, then don’t lift a finger to eat it.” I’m not sure why I was in such a p*ssy mood, but it really got under my skin. I think I was just feeling very under-appreciated overall, and I was taking it out on her.

Later she emerged once again from her room. As she passed the fridge, she read the note, made a noise of discontent and returned to her room.

I had the immediate satisfaction of getting under her skin as much as she did mine, but I would certainly have to deal with the ramifications of that later. I returned to watching TV and being in a cranky mood for the rest of the night. I wished I’d spent the day with Smiles. I was in such a good mood from spending time with him the night before. Hopefully tomorrow would bring happier times…

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My Very Own Cheerleader

Tuesday came and went quite uneventful in my relationship world. Smiles called and we talked for five minutes about our days.

When Wednesday arrived, I was starting to seriously worry Smiles wasn’t going to be attending my holiday party. I’d already asked a few times, and I didn’t want to be pushy, but the time had come to get a straight answer.

I texted him in the middle of the afternoon: “You still haven’t confirmed your attendance Saturday… You are coming right?” I quickly received a very succinct response: “Yes.”

What a relief. I was worried he’d made other plans and didn’t know how to tell me. I’m not sure how I would have taken it had he said no. You may have been reading about a new slew of guys I was pursuing from a myriad of online dating venues. I wanted him by my side for the party, and I wanted him to meet my friends. Many had not met him yet, and if you read my blog, you know how important to me they are.

Apparently, I’d opened up the dialogue for the day. Smiles followed his last text with a picture message. “The final bowl.” I was laughing. “Haha. You made it! You didn’t have to eat it all if you were tired of it… Don’t forget about the sausages!” I know I made a lot, but he didn’t need to feel obligated to eat it all. “All good. It’s what I’m supposed to be on. I just laugh because it’s like a salad at the Cheesecake Factory — Much larger than it looks!”

I took the Thursday before my holiday party off. I need to do a lot to prepare and to finally settle into my new apartment. 40 people were expecting a party that lives up to my usual standards. I couldn’t disappoint.

I started in my room with probably the lowest priority, but the most fun project. I was detailing a tree on my bedroom wall. I was shocked it only took me two hours to make the tree decal out of black contact paper. “2 hours later, the tree is up…” I texted to Smiles. He immediately responded with support: “Cool. I forgot about that project!” He told me he’d slept-in quite late, but he was getting a lot of work done.  And, since he’d finished season two of Vampire Diaries, he had nothing to distract him. “Nice. I’m cooking up a storm. Still no cable guy,” I replied. He didn’t realize I took Thursday off from work as well as Friday.

His next response could have knocked me over with a feather. “Wow. Lot of prep for Saturday! Want me to come over tonight and help?” This was the first time Smiles took such an interest in my life. It kind of came out of left field, but there were no complaints here! I made my feelings quite clear in my response: “I would love if you came over tonight! I need a consultant :)” I needed some design advice. I still had to hang pictures and light fixtures and the like. I could handle most of the cooking myself, but his design skills and good taste were going to get put to good use. “Still can’t lift anything, but happy to help with other stuff,” he added.

I asked him if 10:00 would work. I had volleyball, so that was the time I would be home. I didn’t want to give up a night with him just because of my game. The following made me about as giddy as a schoolgirl! “Oh yeah. It’s Thursday 😦 Was thinking I was coming over at 6:00ish. Yeah. I can do that. 10:00. But, maybe I could come watch volleyball?”

WHAT!? He wanted to come watch me play volleyball?! I’d mentioned it to both N and Broadway when I was dating them, but they never showed much interest in it. For him to volunteer without me ever even mentioning coming was amazing! “Yea! Sure! Come at 6,” I exclaimed.

We ironed out the logistics, and he made his way to Hoboken around 7:00. Every week I get a ride from my teammate I’ve known since high school. He also happens to be gay, so he was excited to finally meet Smiles. This would also be the first time my sister met Smiles as she gets a ride as well.

The two of us hopped in the backseat, and I introduced Smiles to my high school friend. When we picked up my sister, I introduced him again.

When we arrived at the gym, Smiles made himself comfortable and pulled out his iPhone. I knew this wasn’t going to be the most thrilling night of Smiles’ life, but it meant the world to me he wanted to come watch. I would look past the fact that he spent a lot of the time playing with his phone. I knew he was actually watching because between every game, I went over to sit with him, and he made comments on some of the plays I was involved in. The ironic part is, many of my teammates didn’t know I was gay. That night, I didn’t give them a definitive answer, but I’m sure they could have deduced the situation.

After the game, we went home, and Smiles helped me with a few things I needed to ask him about before I showered and we had a late dinner. While we ate our dinner on the couch, we watched TV until we grew tired. We made our way to my bedroom and dozed off for the night.

The next morning, we woke without an alarm and had breakfast. I thought Smiles would stay for a bit of the afternoon. My friend, P, was coming over to help me make food for the party. I informed her she’d be meeting Smiles, and she was thrilled and very excited. Instead, Smiles had to make his way home because he had work to do. Around noon, I said goodbye with a kiss and went back to preparing for the party. P arrived disappointed to find Smiles had gone, but we didn’t let that get us down. We spent the afternoon cooking up a storm. She was invaluable. I don’t think I could have done it without her.

I was in good spirits. I had an answer about Smiles’ attendance. He came to support me in one of my recreations. He helped me make decisions on decorating. All was good in my world. Now I just needed to find the time to finish cleaning and cooking for 40…

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