Posts Tagged hiking

The Next Chapter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Shout From the Rooftop

Today is a Fast Forward Monday!!!  

Hope you are enjoying these. It will help bring the blog a little closer to real-time. If you’re keeping up with the stories chronologically, please skip down to this morning’s post first, then read this one. I think it’s a good one! Enjoy!

Back to your special edition of One Gay At A Time…

After spending the day with The Navigator at the beach and then sharing a pretty spectacular relaxing evening together, I slept great. There was a sexy naked man in my bed, and I knew just what to do with it. We fell asleep spooning each other. When I woke in the morning, I couldn’t stop smiling when I realized it wasn’t a dream.

I still had to bring myself back down out of the clouds to keep myself in check. This wasn’t going to last forever. I didn’t care. Right now, there was a man in my bed, and he needed to be cuddled.

I rolled over and pulled him close to me. He was still slipping in and out of sleep. As he woke up, we picked up just where we left off the night before. Everything we did was fun. We were constantly ribbing each other and joking around. When we ended laying face to face, I said to him, “I just want to climb up to the roof and shout, I love my best friend, [The Navigator]. Boop!” as I reached my finger out and tapped him on the nose (an homage to Super Bad).

We both laughed for some time. We continued to cuddle all morning. I didn’t care if I stayed in bed all day. I was happy.

We were interrupted by a call from his roommate. I’d already learned he was a really good friend, and he liked to placate his friends. While he was on the phone, I took out my camera and snapped a few pictures of him lying naked in my bed. I don’t think he realized what I was doing because he had his back to me, but I wanted some souvenirs to take home with me.

Turns out, his roommate wanted to go to the grocery store that afternoon. They share groceries, so he regrettably turned to me and told me he had to go with him that afternoon before we went hiking. I was very disappointed, but I wasn’t going to make a stink about it. I quickly hopped in the shower and got ready for the day while he packed up his things and got dressed. As we walked out the door, I pointed out the Marilyn Monroe portrait saying, “My week with Marilyn.”

I drove him home and dropped him off. I was already sad to see him go even though I knew it was a matter of hours before I’d see him again. I grabbed some lunch and made my way back to the pool. I relaxed with some light reading. I needed to finish off the Tickle My Tush book so I could write my review.

When most of the afternoon passed by and some noisy kids arrived at the pool, I texted him to see how he was progressing. He was on his way home, so I decided to go get ready to go hiking and make my way over to his place.

I pick him up, and we take a short drive to the base of the mountain. I grab my camera and we make our way up the trail. When we get to a decent height, he suggests we climb back down part way and hit up another trail that had a much better view. We were having fun just being together. On our way back down, he pointed out a shack along the trail: “I wanted to surprise you, but this is going to be where we live when we get married. :)” While he said this, he took hold of my arm. I knew he was completely kidding, but it was also a sweet gesture.

When we got to the top of the other trail, we had quite a view. We could see LA and Burbank off in the distance. He took my camera from me and took some pictures of me. Again, I thought this was a sweet gesture, as were many things he did. He was just very conscientious. You didn’t have to ask him to do things; he just anticipated it. I was falling for him more and more every minute, but I still maintained my mental state.

I then turned the camera on him and snapped a few pictures. I wanted to remember the great guy I met in LA. I hoped we’d remain friends even after I returned to New York. It would certainly be nice to have a friend on the West Coast. Maybe I could even come back to visit some time.

We climbed back down the mountain and made our way to Burbank. We joked about PDA. We both agreed we weren’t really into it, but at one point he casually reached out his hand and grabbed my junk while looking the other way. I pointed out to him that just because he wasn’t looking at it doesn’t mean other people wouldn’t see it as well. We both laughed and continued to joke about other things. We walked around for a little bit and grabbed some ice cream. He was cold, and I was trying to do my best to keep him warm without making him feel uncomfortable. That’s when he broke the bad news to me.

He’d already prepared me for the possibility he’d have to go to work that night at 1:00am. He was on call, and they hadn’t gotten back to him yet. He needed to go home and nap before that shift started.

My heart sank a little. He wouldn’t be spending the night in my bed again. I needed to be a big boy about it though. I drove him back to his apartment and said goodbye. We talked about seeing each other the following day since it was my last day there; I had a flight out at 10:00pm.

I returned to my hotel room and watched TV in my bed. I knew he was napping, but it was make or break for me to ask him if he would come with me for my ride up the Pacific Coast Highway. After debating for some time, I decided to text him: “Lonely here without you already 😦 haha. What are the chances you’d wanna ride up the PCH with me after work tom?” I really didn’t want to take that ride alone. I loved his company, but I seriously feared a disappointing answer.

The Navigator wouldn’t let me down like that: “LOL. I know. I wish I were cuddling with you!!!!! That sounds like a swell idea.” I was thrilled. I was prepared for the worst, and I got the best. I was looking forward to tomorrow’s road trip so much more now that I had my Navigator! “Marylyn Misses you too,” I added.

Shortly after that text, he requested I send him some pictures of myself. “You’re most handsome ones,” he added. “Whom are you showing me to now?” I asked. Apparently, he wanted to show off his “super long first date” to his roommate and his other friend.

I was pretty crazy about him, but reality wasn’t absent from my brain. It did, however, bring a big smile to my face to know he was showing me off to his friends. It made me feel special and gave me hope I would have a longtime friend from what started as weak Grindr banter…

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So When Are You Moving Back to New York?

Finally, work sent me somewhere fun, and I was taking full advantage. I stayed out in LA, managed to have some fun, and even managed to find myself a pretty great guy, The Navigator, to hit up the beach with. After swinging by his apartment, we agreed we weren’t done hanging out.

We made our way back to my hotel. After we turned off his street, I came to a stoplight. I took the opportunity to reach over and put my hand on his leg. He immediately responded positively to my advances. He reached down and laid his hand on top of mine and gave it a squeeze. We continued to hold hands the entire way back to the hotel.

We made our way to the room, and when we arrived, we quickly got comfortable with each other. We dropped our bags and laid down on the bed. We chatted a bit before he reached over, pulled me in, and we exchanged a long deep passionate kiss. When we finally came back up for air, I said to him, “I’ve been waiting to do that all day long!” He smiled from ear to ear and pulled me right back in for another deep kiss. He was a great kisser — Not just a good kisser, but a great kisser.

Was there anything wrong with this guy? He certainly wasn’t going to make leaving easy on me. I still had to keep myself in check. This thing would have an end. I couldn’t grow too attached, or I would be in for a world of pain.

The thing I liked most about the chemistry between us was how playful we were. There was no drama. We were just having fun. Everything was so easy. We cuddled and talked and tickled and joked. I felt incredibly comfortable with him. We just seemed to be on the same page about everything. He was certainly giving me hope that I could find a guy out there who I just clicked with right off the bat.

All day long, he had been texting with his friend giving him updates on our “date” as he so-called it on the beach. While we laid there he teased his friend about how good-looking I was, but lied and told him I’d just dropped him off at home while I listened on speaker phone. The exchange between the three of us was very comical and flirtatious. He showed me pictures of the guy we were talking to, and we sent pictures of me to his friend. We all had a good laugh, and his friend asked for continued updates.

The kissing slowly turned into making out. The making out evolved into heavy petting. The heavy petting became stripping. The stripping led to oral pleasures. And finally, the oral pleasures led to me learning he is versatile, which of course led to penetration. My provisions weren’t presumptuous at all. I suspect he noticed my condom/lube purchase at CVS, and this is what gave him the courage to propose going back to my hotel room.

The sex wasn’t the most amazing because I was having difficulties with the condom, but it certainly wasn’t bad. We were passionately enjoying each other on many levels.

After we had sex, we laid next to each other talking more. We attempted to take some pictures together to send his friend, but we couldn’t keep our eyes open because the flash was too bright. After our romp in the sheets and copious amounts of cuddling, I was hungry. I remembered an In-and-Out burger down the street. It was 1am, and they were one of the few places still open, so we got dressed and made our way there to grab dinner.

We took our food back to the room and had a picnic in my bed. We talked and made plans to go hiking the following day. The whole night, all I could think about was how crazy it was I even met him. It was even crazier how we both dove in headfirst. He even mentioned being worried I might be a serial killer for the first couple of minutes in the car. After we finished eating, I jokingly confirmed he was staying. He went to his bag and got changed and broke out his toothbrush. It seems he may have been presumptuous as well in packing his bag.

I didn’t care one bit. I was thrilled to be sharing my bed with such a great man. I only wished it was for a longer-term basis…

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