Posts Tagged honest

Things Heat Up

In the summer, my company offers half day Fridays. It’s an amazing perk, and I take full advantage.

GroceryShoppingI live for my weekends, so if there was anything I could do to make them better, I did. I utilized my free Friday afternoons to run my errands so Saturday and Sunday would be all mine. I tried to clean and do laundry, run to the grocery store, etc.

This Friday, I was very successful getting through my list. I stopped by my allergist for my weekly shot. Since I left work at 1:00, I decided to eat lunch at McDonalds (never a good decision). While sitting there, I noticed two men walking holding hands across the street. I was a bit surprised. I immediately thought, “We do that in Hoboken?!” In the six years I’d lived in Hoboken, only once before had I seen two men holding hands. I was thrilled to see the courage and the progress.

When I finished eating, I swung by the salon for a haircut and hit up the gym to lift and swim. After my swim, I called CK from the roof deck of the gym. Although we made tentative plans for Saturday night, we hadn’t discussed plans for that night. It was our anniversary. He automatically assumed I was spending the night in the city since he came to Hoboken the previous night. I was not under the same impression, so I explained I did not want to spend both Friday and Saturday night away from place. I told him to pick one. This of course turned into an argument. He complained about the trek to Hoboken, and I resented this. I’d made the trip back into the city to be with him many times after a long day at work, and I did it without complaint. He always made it seem like torture when he had to traverse the Hudson River. The argument grew more and more heated until he threatened not to come at all. I wasn’t having any more of this, so I hung up on him.

Rooftop Phone CallI was tired of this game we were playing. I didn’t want to argue anymore. In addition, my testosterone was already flowing after a solid workout, and my blood was beginning to boil with every complaint.

After I got home and a few minutes passed, he called back (He always was good at playing the role of peacemaker). He told me he’d come to Hoboken, but it wouldn’t be until later. We discussed the argument calmly, and both apologized for getting out of hand. He explained he had assumption I was coming there all day. The idea of him trekking out to Hoboken on a bus wasn’t all that thrilling to him after having those expectations all day. I explained how one of us would always have to make the trek to the other. There was nothing we could do about that, at least for now, so the more fair and balanced we could make it (and the less complaining), the less burdensome it would feel. He agreed.

Since I had a fair amount of time before his arrival, I continued with my to-do list and swung by Shop Rite and Target. When I finished and returned home, I was still a bit depressed from the bad news I’d received at work that week, so I plopped down on the couch and watched TV until CK arrived.

WatchingTVHours passed, and I heard nothing from him. I felt he was dragging his feet and as every minute passed, I grew more and more annoyed. He told me he had to shower before coming over. He obviously wasn’t still showering. I was sure he was just lounging about, which is fine. But I wanted him to be lounging about with me.

This wasn’t just any night after all. We were supposed to be “celebrating” our three-month anniversary. I finally got so annoyed I sent him a text: “Maybe tonight would be better spent apart. I’m in a really cranky mood now.” It was already past 10:00. At this point he was coming over to sleep and not much else. He called and told me he was already in a cab on the way to the PATH. I encouraged him not to doddle before saying goodbye. I needed to cool off before he arrived, or it was a guaranteed fight the moment he arrived. It seemed all the smallest things so easily got under my skin. I was all wound up. Work was stressing me out. Life was stressing me out…

Finally, at 11:00, he arrived, flowers in hand to make up for the botched night. Honestly, I would have preferred he came three hours prior, but the gesture was utterly sweet. And, I forgave/thanked him immediately. I tried to be cool with everything and have a nice time with him since it was a special night. There was no use being miserable.

It wasn’t really his fault either. Work made me a miserable son-of-a-b*tch. He asked me how my day was. I further explained my new predicament and fretted over the possibility of being unemployed in the near future. I was very pessimistic about the whole situation.

DepressedI certainly will hand it to him. He remained positive and tried to assure me everything would be fine. This is why I loved him so much. NO matter how much of a Debbie Downer I can be, he always picks me up and dusts me off. In spite of my pessimism, he was always optimistic.

We also learned to collaborate professionally. We were helping each other bolster up our positions in the social media realm of our jobs. He taught me things I didn’t know about, and through my recent vigorous research, I taught him a thing or two as well.

When I’d had enough talk of my job situation, we agreed to order Chinese food for dinner. I was too tired to cook. While we waited for the food to arrive, we smoked to relax.

He told me about his day at work and the stellar presentation he delivered to the powers that be. He was proposing a new initiative that was well received by the decision-makers. I was happy for him, but also jealous. Sure, I realize how horrible that is to say, but I’m nothing if I’m not honest.

The rest of the night was much better than the evening had begun. Eventually, I forgot all about our fight and my emotions were back in check. We ate our food while watching TV in each other’s arms on the couch.

GeneralTsosI finished eating, but CK was still chowing down as he poured some of the General Tso’s sauce onto on his plate. After a few minutes, he started fretting. Apparently, he’d eaten something quite hot. After investigating, I realized he ate a whole chili pepper. Tears were streaming down his face as he rinsed his mouth over and over again in the sink. Next he tried a glass of milk and a few pieces of bread. That didn’t seem to be helping. He even took to wiping his tongue with a napkin. Nothing helped. It was all I could do to maintain my composure, but after a while I couldn’t hold back. His face wasn’t the only one wet from tears. I was hysterically laughing so hard I was crying.

After a good laugh, interspersed with failing advice, I consulted Google for a better solution. We’d tried everything in the book. When I told him someone suggested eating another one, he looked like he was going to throw me out the third-story window. I was still getting a chuckle out of all this but certainly at his expense. It was torture for him, but he had no idea the gift he was giving me. He delivered exactly what I needed that night — A good laugh.

Eventually the pain subsided, and he forgot all about the incident. As our eyelids grew heavier and heavier, we moved to my bedroom for the night. As tired as we were, our appetites weren’t quite satiated.

We were pinning each other down for the count before we counting sheep. As hot as things were for him during dinner, things in the bedroom were even hotter. We tired ourselves out between the sheets before he finally drifted off to slumber wrapped in my arms. That night taught me something very important. No matter how much we fought, this was the man I loved, and there was no changing that.

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An Evening Matinee, Pt. 2

The party was in full swing. Matinee had a huge turnout, and some of my suspicions were already confirmed. I was in for a long night.

As the evening progressed, CK ran into a handful of people he knew. I was very leery of many of these people because I assumed the majority were previous hookups and fellow circuit party enthusiasts. My guard was up. No one was going to make a move on my man without me having more than a few words to say. One previous hookup in particular was starting to weird me out. I would catch him staring at CK across the crowd, which turned me into a guard dog. I wasn’t going to let CK out of my sight.

I still had a lot of anxiety after he told me he didn’t go to the last circuit party because he wasn’t sure what might happen. It was honest, but it didn’t exactly instill confidence in me. I wasn’t holding it against him, because after all, he was forthcoming. But, that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to be hypersensitive.

Speaking of infidelity, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of one of the newlyweds I’d met earlier in the night with his tongue down another man’s throat. I scanned the crowd for his husband, and he too was sucking face. My heart sank a little. I was so thrilled to have met a gay married couple because it is something I long for. But, judgment aside, after witnessing their definition of marriage, it brought the idea I would never find a man who shared my own definition of marriage back to the surface.

Since Hip was still recovering from hip replacement surgery, he needed periodic breaks from all the dancing. I can’t tell you how happy I was to have him there. Every time he took a break from the dance floor, I joined him. I needed a break as much as he did. While we stood on the sidelines, I complained, “When is this lozenge going to kick in!?” We chuckled a bit while watching CK search the crowd to try to find us until I finally got his attention.

Hip wasn’t the only other guy I knew there. I’d been texting with my ex, Broadway, who I am still friendly with. We rarely see each other anymore, but when we do, it’s completely platonic. I learned he’d be attending, so I suggested we at least take a minute to say hi. I also wanted to introduce him to CK so they could both put a face to the name. We managed to find each other in the crowd over the phone and exchanged a hug. He introduced me to the guy he was there with, and I introduced him to CK. It felt a little forced for some reason, so I didn’t dwell on the conversation, and we said goodbye.

As the night continued, I began to feel the effects of my lozenge. I was very happy because I mellowed me out. I was in a good state from there on out. That is until others in the group pulled out some of the stronger vices. It was my first time witnessing this. I don’t feel I’ve lead a sheltered life, but my friends and I just never put ourselves in those situations. I felt quite uncomfortable. A big part of that is the unknown — I knew very little about it. Another part of it stems from resentment. I feel a sense of, “Am I not enough that you feel the need to heighten the experience?”

I tried to turn a blind eye to it and get on with my night. CK really wanted to be there, and he really wanted me to have a good time. I wanted to give him that. I wanted him to see me enjoying myself, so that’s what I did. I worried about the things I could control and tried to forget the rest.

We danced and danced and danced. We had a really great time dancing. Natasha Bedingfield performed, and I even saw my favorite Twitter couple, @AustinWilde and @AnthyRomero. I pointed them out to CK, and he suggested I go say hi. I put myself in their shoes and refrained. They were there to have a good time, just as I was, and I didn’t want to bother them.

Another round of substances made a pass through the group, and once again, I was feeling on edge. This time I wasn’t as good at hiding my lack of comfort. CK was really good about checking in with me to make sure I was alright and having a good time. When I told him how my lozenge made me feel great, he chuckled and gave me a kiss.

The night was coming to a close. Sure, it was stressful as all hell, and when it was over, I felt incredibly relieved. Relieved and exhausted. It takes so much out of you to be so anxious for so long. But, looking back, I did have fun. After experiencing that and XL the night before, the next go around would be far less stressful. I would a least know what to expect. People began making their way back to the ferry to hit up more club parties in Manhattan. Before we left, CK and I snapped a few romantic pictures with the city skyline in the background. This part was easy. I could stop worrying and finally let myself be engulfed by the love I shared with CK. In the end, that was what mattered. When he was happy, I was happy. This was something he’d been looking forward to for months, and I hoped I delivered.

While we were away from the crowd, CK pulled me in to discuss our plans for the remainder of the night. Originally, we discussed going to Work (Peter Rauhofer was spinning) at Roseland, but to my surprise, he suggested another plan. “Baby, tonight’s been amazing! And I know Work’s gonna be off the hook, but if you’re game, I think we should go to a really exclusive after-party. Getting on the guest list is nearly impossible, but we’re on it.” Without another beat, he said, “Let’s go back to my place and make love till the sun rises. Words cannot express how welcome those words were.

When pointed out how I felt bad abandoning Hip, I suggested we get back to him. Of course, I was thrilled to learn he met an aussieMan on the dance floor who took quite a shining to him. They were having a great time together, and I couldn’t have been happier. While I loved having Hip there, I worried he felt like a third wheel with CK and I. That doesn’t go to say he should have. I loved having him there. To be honest, I don’t think I would have made it through the night without him. He is an amazing guy, and he really deserves an amazing man to make him happy. It also just so happened the aussieMan had an extra ticket to Work, so Hip became his plus one.

We all rode the ferry and the subway together until we reached Hell’s Kitchen. After an exchange of hugs, we parted ways. CK and I walked home blissfully hand-in-hand. CK may get a little bent out of shape when I say this, but that was my favorite part of the night. I was always happiest when it was just the two of us. True, we are both social beings and love being surrounded by people, but there’s nothing quite like some quality time with my man! I really did love him!

When we got home, we were both quite exhausted, however, we weren’t too exhausted to take advantage of each other before dozing off. But, that’s another story for another day…

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Fast Forward

Sunday morning, I woke to find myself sleeping next to a gorgeous man once again. How lucky was I – Two nights in-a-row spent in the arms of Clark Kent.

The night before, CK asked me to promise to get him up and on with his day at an am hour. I agreed. When I woke, I glanced at the clock. It was 9:00am. My alarm wasn’t set for another forty-five minutes. I rolled over and pulled CK into my tight embrace, cradling his entire body with mine. We fit together like intricate puzzle pieces. We became so entangled in each other, we jokingly called it forking. I didn’t fully wake him. He let out a tiny groan of pleasure when I pulled him in tight.

This, of course, wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more. No, not sex – Body contact. I began to remove his briefs, and he willingly aided my attempt. I followed suit and removed my own boxer briefs so our bodies would be pressed against each other skin-to-skin. I enjoyed his touch so much. He felt amazing. I fell asleep in this position until my alarm woke us at 9:45. He asked me what time it was, and I told him. His only response was, “Too early.” He grabbed my arm, rolled to his other side, and pulled my arm around him fully engulfing him.

He was such a sweetheart. We cuddled for quite some time. Periodically we’d switch positions when one of our arms would lose feeling. This was always accompanied with a myriad of kisses.

I hadn’t completely fallen for him. Why was this time different? There was nothing holding me back this time. Nothing, except myself. I was protecting myself. I didn’t bring my baggage with me on this trip, but I did bring my smarts. I knew it was too early to dive in with him. I wanted to build this the right way. If you rush the foundation, the building will collapse in due time. If you take the time to build a strong base, it can last a lifetime. I wanted to take my time. I was in no rush. Sure, I’m 28, but I still had a lot of my life in front of me to love, lose, and find love once again. I was proceeding with cautious optimism.

I think my caution goes back to our early interactions in which he propositioned me to come over for sex. I knew then and there I was dealing with a different kind of animal. Maybe he could be tamed. Maybe not. Only time would tell, but until I knew he could be tamed, I would protect myself.

The cuddling and kissing continued for some time. When my alarm rang again at 10:30, we were both a little more awake. Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. He began, as he did many times, orally pleasuring me. He loved worshiping me in that way. I certainly wasn’t about to complain. I also made sure to return the favor. I know I’m pretty good, but it wasn’t as easy for me – He was a definite challenge. He was well endowed, and at times more than I could handle. He would get a little overzealous with his hands and my head, and I would find the need to pause to ensure I didn’t suffocate.

We continued to play in bed until there was a natural pause in the action. I suggested we hit the shower. I attempted to find a way to toss him over my shoulder. I knew I could pick him up, but tossing him like a sack of potatoes was a different story. I failed. I told him I was holding up my end of the bargain to get him moving before noon. He protested and said, “Not yet. Just two more minutes,” and pulled me in to cuddle more.

Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. We started to kiss again. Finally, he said, “Shall we?” I replied, “We shall.” With that, I scooped him up and carried him to the bathroom. We hopped in the shower, and I took the bar of soap and washed his entire body. I used my own body to build up a lather as well until I found myself grinding on his backside and him bending over moaning in pleasure. Things never escalated from there to full penetration, but the didn’t need to. What we were doing was hot enough. He took the opportunity to wash me as well, and while he was crouching, he also took the opportunity to orally pleasure me. We then continued to rinse ourselves off before drying off and getting dressed for the day.

I had small plans for us that morning. I knew he’d be thrilled to take a ride on the bike. It was a gorgeous day outside, and I also knew a money saving breakfast would also be welcomed. I used all my eggs the day before, and the only real option I had left was cereal. I had a Living Social deal to use up at Sonic. What a perfect way to use it. It was a five-minute ride away, and it would be nearly free.

We hopped on the bike and off we went. We ordered our breakfast and sat. While we waited for the food to arrive, he asked if it was alright that he call his mother back. She’d been calling periodically over the weekend. They talked about his apartment search. He also mentioned me by name and told her how amazing I am, especially since I cook. I was shocked. He’d already been talking to his mother about me!? What else did he tell her about me? His mother put his nephew on the phone and they chatted for a minute. It was incredibly adorable. I was so turned on seeing his reaction to talking to his nephew.

When the food arrived, he hung up and ate. We shared our ice creams, feeding each other periodic spoonfuls. While we ate, he shared his tweeted comment on his Foursquare check-in with me: “Meal: cost-effective + tasty, but the company I keep: priceless + delicious.” He got a phone call from his friend who was just released from the hospital. After more than a few times of trying to end the conversation he was finally successful. His whole mood changed. When we finished eating, we stood, and he said, ”So I wanted to fully discuss what it was I said I wanted to chat with you about.” I was under the impression we’d already done that. Now, I was worried.

“I really enjoy spending all this time with you. You’re amazing. I really enjoy being with you. And, if I had to put a label on it, I’d say we’re dating. That being said, I think we should still be able to date other people. And, I should recognize you probably noticed I blocked you on Grindr, and that was by design. It’s a policy I have because if you try to call me, and I don’t pick up. Maybe you see me on Grindr and your mind will start to come up with scenarios.” At this point I acknowledged my awareness of this and told him how I felt about it. He continued, “I’ve done it, I’m sure other do too. And, I also should tell you, there’s a friend I’ve also been seeing since the beginning of the year. We see each other about once a month, go out to dinner, and then, well, we’ve done more than friends things.” I stood there not speaking through this whole thing. I just listened and nodded in my own confusion. “This is only going to work if we have communication and are honest with each other. I just wanted you to know,” he added.

I thanked him for his honesty, and he added, “Once again, please just be patient with me.” I assured him I was in no rush. Again, I had no idea where this was coming from.

He then pointed out how one of his loyal followers liked his comment on Twitter. He explained to me how he was kinda a hero on Twitter. He’d received comments from guys who found the confidence to change their lives based on some of the things he’s said. This was my moment. I told him I had a similar situation, and I had a secret I was waiting until the right time to tell him about it. I explained how I had a blog and received emails of a similar nature. I told him one day I’d share my alter ego with him, but it was like reading my diary, so not just yet. He seemed to be happy about the idea and accepting of my delayed full explanation.

I was still a little taken back by what he said. Part of me appreciated the honesty and part of me was confused by it all. Regardless, we hopped on the motorcycle, and I dropped him off at the PATH to head home. As I said goodbye, I told him to call me later to tell me how the search went. I didn’t think too much about what he said the rest of the day. There would be plenty of time for all that.

That night, as I was climbing into bed, I got a text from CK: “Are you awake?” Seconds after replying, the phone rang. He did call as he promised. I’d begun to think he’d forgotten. He really just called to say goodnight. He’d fallen asleep and napped most of the evening. He was tired and ready for bed as well.  I told him, “Now I will be going to bed with a smile on my face.” He replied, “Aww, baby, that’s sweet! Me too. Sweet dreams!” With that, I laid my head on the pillow with a smile across my face.

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A Child’s Plaything

A Thursday finally arrived where I didn’t have volleyball. I thought I would capitalize on this opportunity and do something with my night.

Southern Drawl was visiting home in the South, and I was in the process of dissolving things between he and I. Slowly but surely, I would draw back communications until it was over. I had a great date night with the Jersey City athlete the night before, and only time would tell where that was headed.

That left Middle Eastern. Things between he and I had become purely physical. I liked him, but I was not interested in a relationship with him. He was still in college and apparently entertaining other offers. We had chatted about us over text. He said, “I was just keeping my distance because I am getting too attached to you. And I don’t know what’s happening between us. It sucks because I miss you. Have you slept with someone else in the past week?” I said no. I lied because in truth I had slept with S.D., however, we didn’t have sex. “So what’s happening between us. I get nervous when I think about it. I have an amazing time every time I see you. I don’t want to get stuck in the just friends phase,” he stated.

I had been waiting for this question for some time. I told him, “To be honest, I don’t know. I’ve taken things too fast in the past, and I’m trying to get away from that.” I was being honest now. I didn’t know what we were. We were both on the same page that we enjoyed each other’s company, and we were having fun together in bed. He would send me scandalous picture messages of himself and tell me how much he wanted to see me. I’d put him on the back-burner for a little bit since he grew quite attached. We also went through the Grindr thing, so I wanted things to cool down. He added, “I honestly still don’t know how you feel about me. I’m not asking you to be in a relationship or anything. I know you’ve told me where you stand.” I reassured him, “Just taking it one day at a time and enjoying it along the way. I like you, and if I didn’t, I’d have moved on a long time ago.  He responded, “I’m enjoying this too. I don’t know. Like it’s a little hard because I wanna have fun, but in my mind, I have fun and emotions kind of together. So, it’s hard for me to say I’m not emotionally attached to you in any way. So I just get a little scared because I thought you’re going to move on when you get bored with me.”

I explained further, “I never said I wasn’t emotionally attached to you. I don’t know what this is, but I can assure you it’s more than just sex!” He apologized for being a head-case, and we began to discuss our plans for the evening.

That being said, I did want to be with him. He was great in bed, and it had been some time since I last had sex. I texted him to see what he was up to. “Busy tonight?” I texted. He was still in class, but he had plans to come to Hoboken later that evening. I told him, “So I take it you met someone else…” He adamantly denied meeting someone else and told me he would possibly be able to swing by after class. “Maybe I can sneak out. I really want to see you,”he added. We continued to talk over text trying to make plans to see each other. I didn’t really fit into his plans that evening, but he was making an effort. He got me horny, and I sent him some of my sexier pictures. He responded, “No, no. Don’t do this to me! I’m in class, and I’m wearing tight pants!” I laughed at the thought and continued to send more pictures.

Eventually, he had to bail on coming to see me before going out with his friends in Hoboken. I had been sitting on the couch waiting for him and was quite disappointed. “I hate disappointing you,” he shot back. I simply sent him another sexy picture. He told me he would sneak away from his friends and come see me at some point. When 9:30 rolled around, I sent him a text telling him to have a fun night. Around 11:00, I texted him again. “Wish I didn’t get my hopes up, ” I added for dramatic effect. He apologized, but I was already quite disappointed and ready to move on from him.

He texted the following day to let me know he was using my picture to pleasure himself. I didn’t respond. He told me he would swing by the previous night, and he didn’t deliver. I sat at home alone on the couch in hopes he’d come, and he never did. I was angry with myself for getting so caught up in him. I decided I needed to move on from him. My roster was now cut down to one single possibility.

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Hoboken Seconds

Today is another Fast Forward Friday!!!  

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 our date on Monday, I wasn’t sure when I’d see Chelsea again. Things were moving forward at a nice pace, but I still wasn’t diving in like I normally do. What was holding me back? Was I finally going about things the right way? Was I not fully interested in him?

That Tuesday was his last day in his current role at his job. He went out celebrating with coworkers, and when they were nearing the end of their evening of drinks and fun, he texted to ask if he could come by. Two days in a row. I certainly didn’t have a problem with that. He obviously wanted to see me, and I was very happy about that. One of his coworkers lives across the street from me, and they were able to share a car. I told him I’d be thrilled if he came over.

When he arrived, I could tell he was quite tipsy. It was cute how he couldn’t hold his liquor. Alcohol gets him quite lubricated. He was very flirtatious once again, as he was at the end of our first date. Everyone was buying him drinks since he was no longer be working out of that office. His new territory was Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, etc.

We started with some kissing when he walked in the door. I took his hand and led him to my bedroom. He was wearing a full suit, so I found him some more comfortable clothes. In the middle of changing, we began to fool around. It was fun. He was a good kisser, and we were making out all over my bed. I liked having someone of the same size to hold, kiss and roll around with. This time around, he certainly wasn’t shy about being in just his briefs. We had a lot of fun with each other and still no sex. And, I was fine with this. I knew things would progress slowly, and I was quite happy about that. ( I was missing sex a little).

He was a sweet guy, but that night was a little different. I saw a side of him I hadn’t only caught a glimpse of. A lot of his drama started pouring out, and I realized he had just been trying to keep it all down in an attempt to not scare me off. Now, I was getting to see the real Chelsea. I went to bed with a different picture in my head. Was this what was holding me back? Did I think maybe he was a bit too gay for me?

We watched TV and ate some dinner. a lot of the little things I ignored previously were bothering me that night. We went to bed at a reasonable hour. After sleeping together twice and it not ending well, I made a suggestion at the risk of sounding cold. I told him there was no need for us to snuggle while we slept. I tried to be honest and realistic about it. I said, “We can cuddle and snuggle, and when we’re ready to fall asleep, we can curl up on opposite sides of the bed. That way you will get a good night’s rest.” I also took this as the opportunity to tell him I wanted to go for a run the following morning. I was finally getting into a workout groove, and I didn’t want to throw it off. I could sneak out while he was still sleeping, and when I returned we could get ready to head into the city together. With that, we both went to sleep on opposite sides of my California King bed.

I woke in the morning and quietly snuck out to pound the pavement. I had a good run. I needed to clear my head, and the run was just the ticket. When I returned, I hopped in the shower. When I came out of the shower, I gently woke Chelsea. Normally, I would have slipped back into bed with him to cuddle, but I wasn’t feeling it. It was then I realized I wasn’t particularly sexually attracted to him. He was very shy about his body, and while I enjoyed the slower timeline and waiting, a part of me knew it was an important part of the relationship I couldn’t ignore. I’d sacrificed that in the past too many times. I wouldn’t make that mistake again.

I continued to get ready. I was pretty quiet, but then again, I usually am after I work out. I’m also not a morning person to begin with. I either get quiet or I become combative, as my mother learned many a time riding home from swim practice in high school. There was little talk and discussion as we got ready for work/for him to head back home. When we emerged from my room, I found a mess left by my roommate. I detailed to him why I was so annoyed and how this was a common occurrence.

The walk to the PATH wasn’t exactly full of chatter either. I struggled to think about things to talk about. I fixated on his new job and asking the questions about how he was going to handle it. Subconsciously, I was noticing all the things in the back of my head I’d brushed aside once again. Now, my cons list was growing.

When we got to his stop, I gave him a quick peck on the lips. I could tell it made him uncomfortable, but I was trying to force myself to stop being ashamed of being gay. If he were a woman, I’d have had no problem kissing her to say goodbye on the PATH. Why should I censor myself just because he was a man?

Later that day, I received a text from him asking me if everything was okay, or was it my roommate. I blamed my quietness on being annoyed with my roommate, but in reality, I was no longer looking at him as a prospect.

That weekend, I went shopping with my friend, P. While at the Woodbury Common Outlets, I got a text from Chelsea asking, “Will I see you at the end of the week?” I didn’t want to drag this out. I decided in my mind I was no longer interested. It was going to be tough to convince myself otherwise. I replied, “[Chelsea], I don’t want to lead you on or anything, but I’ve been giving it some thought. I just don’t know if we’re a strong match. You’re a really nice guy, I just don’t know you’re the guy for me. I want someone who is going to be around more… That’s important to me. Hope you understand.” Immediately, he responded, “Yup. I feel the same way :). Anyways, all good here. Please do me a favor and put me in touch with your friend about subletting my apartment, and I’ll see you sometimes in the city :).” I don’t know if that was his way of protecting himself emotionally or if it is how he truly felt. Either way, it was a clean break. All was good, and we could still be friends if we ran into each other in the future.

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Where’d He Go?

FraI already started my morning off with a little frisky visit and some well appreciated service. It was time to join the real festivities.

I walked out into my kitchen to find my roommate with all her college friends and my other roommate with his girlfriend. I thought I pulled a fast one on all of them sneaking my visitor in the back door, but I was wrong. My male roommate saw him come in.  He and his girlfriend questioned me on it, and I was completely honest with what happened. They were fascinated by how transactional it was. They couldn’t believe it, and his girl gave me a high-five.

I celebrated myself with a nice cold beer from the fridge. It was already 1:00 and I was well behind the rest of Hoboken. Before I finished my shower, I had four down. That would be enough to scratch the surface.

I got dressed and convinced my roommate and his girlfriend to come with me to a friend’s apartment. She was having her annual St. Patty’s Day bash. I was meeting D and K there as well. I was happy D was going to be in town. Since his car got a flat, he wouldn’t be visiting his girlfriend in Philly.

When I got there, the party was already well underway. I sat on the arm of the couch and conversed with my friends. I just took in the scene. For some reason, I wasn’t really feeling St. Patty’s Day this year like years passed.  I didn’t feel the need to get sloppy drunk.

Of course, since my bladder has shrunk since college, I had to go to the bathroom. Since I was somewhat bored at the party, I was chatting with a sexy man I’d been chatting with for some time on Grindr. We’d talked about getting together so many times, but never did. Things were getting very flirtatious and leading toward an afternoon hookup. When I went to the bathroom, he suggested I come over. I took the opportunity to sneak out the door when I finished in the restroom instead of returning to the party. I’m sure it was just a matter of time before my friends realized I’d gone, but it wouldn’t be immediate.

I wasn’t even slightly drunk. I’d been anxious to see this guy for some time. I wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass. I quickly walked home, grabbed my helmet, hopped on my motorcycle and sped off uptown. Before I left the party, my Grindr friend asked me how I felt about glory holes. I told him I’d never used one before. When he sent me a picture of a sheet with a hole cut in it and a caption reading, “How would you feel about this?” I became excited. He told me he’d leave the door unlocked. I was to walk in, come to the sheet, unzip and let him take care of the rest.

Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. As I entered, I noticed how nice his place was.  I was a little shocked. I walked straight to the sheet hanging in the bathroom door. I hadn’t even fully unzipped before he reached his hand around the sheet and began. It felt amazing! He continued for some time before I reached my hand around the sheet and began to stroke the back of his head. I could feel him, but I couldn’t see him. Finally, my curiosity got the best of me, and I just pushed the sheet to the side. I wanted to see him. He was very attractive in his pictures and even more so in person. On top of that, the only thing he was wearing was work boots.

After a little more time, he turned around and I began grinding myself against his backside. He was extremely hot and he knew how to use his body. I reached around and used my hand to pleasure him as well. He was VERY gifted. I hadn’t felt one like that since my friend in San Francisco.

He then requested we move things to the couch. I sat down, and he straddled my lap. It didn’t take long before he finished all over my chest and without warning. I had no idea it was coming. I tried to finish as well, but it was no use. Between my morning visit and the few beers I had, I sat there for quite some time without climaxing. He was so hot and he tried everything to help me finish, but it was no use. I gave up and apologized. I could tell he was very disappointed. He blamed the drinking, and I concurred that was to fault.

As he stood in front of me, I took all of him in. He had a spectacular body, and I let him know it. I asked him about his workout routine, and he told me he didn’t since his heart attack. He elaborated and told me it was no big deal, but I was a little worried. I could only think of him keeling over in front of me.

We chatted a little bit more while I got dressed and looked around a bit. He told me he had a roommate, but he wasn’t home. Something didn’t quite line up, but for some reason, I was buying the story. While we chatted, he stood in front of me in just his boots with his large gifts swinging back and forth. He was very proud of them as well. He put sweatpants on so he could walk the dog, and I could see his large bulge. I commented on it, and he commented how he loved how people would check it out, especially the guys with their girlfriends. I was so turned on. I also learned he managed a bar in the city, and he told me I should hit it up sometime.

We talked about meeting up again sometime soon. We both thought the other was thoroughly sexy and wanted a repeat. He was particularly looking for a sequel since he didn’t get a happy ending from our first encounter.

I said goodbye and made my way back downtown to my apartment…

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Disappointment

The idea that I was in LA for work completely faded from my mind, as did the trysts I’d met since my arrival. After meeting The Navigator, I was on cloud 9 since we hung out on the beach. He was an amazing guy, and I knew if we lived in the same city, we’d be dating.

Before going to bed, we exchanged a few messages around 2:00am. “Hiya handsome. Sorry for texting you so late. Just wanted to say hello,” he texted. I texted back, “Miss you lots. Can’t wait to see you again!” I didn’t care if I was being a bit aggressive; I was being honest. I had nothing to lose here, and I needed to get back to being more honest with myself and the guys I date.

The next morning, I woke up to my early alarm alone in my bed and immediately missed his presence. I quickly looked to my phone to see if I had a message. I did! “The pix of you on the hike turned out great! You look so handsome!” The previous night, we became Facebook friends. This wasn’t the text I was looking for, but it still made me happy.

I had a plan to go for a run that morning, and should I still have the energy, I would take a dip in the pool. I’d gone to the weight room and the pool the night before from 10:30-11:30. Even with all the guys I was spending time with, I was finding time for myself. I needed to get myself in line on this trip as well. I’d been floundering for far too long.

When I finished my run, I checked my phone, and I still didn’t have a message from The Navigator. I decided to take a dip in the hot tub to relax my muscles and take my mind off the excitement I anticipated all day. Finally, my phone lit up: “Morning! We have a call out for the next shift, so if there are no volunteers we draw straws. Keep your fingers crossed for me pal!”

My heart sank. There was no possibility he wouldn’t be joining me on the PCH until now. Now, I had to prepare myself for the idea this drive would be solo. If you recall, I HATE being alone. I don’t do well alone. I get depressed. This was one of the fears I had booking this trip, but I wanted to force myself to get used to it if I had to. I quickly responded, “Tell your boy to take one for the team. You have a hot date 🙂 Fingers crossed.”

I hopped out of the hot tub and made my way back to my room to shower and get ready for my road trip. I tried not to think about an empty passenger seat until I got another text: “:( Looks like there may be a surgery… If the owner approves the estimate, then it’s no longer a choice. I’m [Dr.’s] surgery tech. Still a slim chance :(“

I was now facing the fact I would be driving alone. It was supposed to be a nice day, so I convinced myself I would be fine. It was going to be an exciting drive up the coast. I was going to go all the way up to Santa Barbara and check things out along the way. I still wanted to see him, so I asked, “What time would you be done ish?”

He didn’t answer me immediately. After I packed my bags, I got another text: “I’m gonna stop dragging my heels. Everyone is looking to me. UGH!!! It’s another full shift, but then I have the next day and a half off. So, I’ll be off at 5:30.” I could accept that, but I asked, “Can I see you then?” He immediately responded, “I’ll hurry home as soon as I can… yes!”

I told him I was packing up the car and about to hit the road. “I’ll aim to be back in the area around 5:30. Let me know closer to then what’s up… Maybe we’ll just meet somewhere since I don’t have to come back to the hotel. Sad I’m not spending the day with you, but I understand completely… Looking forward to this evening!” I added. With that, I hopped in the car and made my way to Porto’s Bakery for an amazing Cuban Medianoche sandwich that was incredibly difficult to eat in the car, a chocolate croissant and an iced mocha latte. If you even happen to be in Glendale, check this place out. It’s amazing!

I drove all the way up the coast taking in all the sights. At one point, Highway 1 cuts inland. I wasn’t paying attention, and I ended up in the middle of the orange groves and strawberry patches. I watched the motorcycle gangs as I passed them with envy. I would have killed to have my motorcycle out there. I get out of the care until I reached Santa Barbara. I pulled up to the beach and stood up for the first time in a few hours. I stretched out and broke out my camera to snap some pictures. It was a gorgeous area, and all I could think about was living there. I could move to LA, marry an amazing man, and we could retire to Santa Barbara. That’s when my thoughts jumped right back to The Navigator.

“Santa Barbara misses you,” I texted him. I was still disappointed he wasn’t with me, but I wasn’t going to let it ruin my drive. I had a sick convertible, no real timetable, and the freedom to do whatever I wanted. The ride up did allow me some clarity. I cleared my head of all the thoughts of the past. Everything was forward-looking.

After I had my fill of Santa Barbara, I made my way inland to Ojai. I’d always wanted to check it out since I seen Brothers and Sisters. The family business was there and it always looked gorgeous on-screen. I climbed up one side of winding mountains and down the other. I pulled off the side of the road a few times to take in the beauty of it all and snap some pictures for posterity.

When I arrived down into Ojai proper, I was shocked by how small town it was. I was out in rural farmland. It didn’t quite feel like home because the geography was very different from home, but it was very nice to see this side of the West Coast. I called my parents to tell them I was searching for Nora (a character on Brothers and Sisters), and they both laughed at me. They’d forgotten I was out there for work/vacation, and they expressed their jealousy. I thought about my new friend as well, texting, “Ojai misses you too.” Finally, he responded. I knew he was busy working, so I was surprised to get a response. “What’s Ojai? Pic?” he asked. When I told him, he added, “I miss you :)” I was swooning a little bit.

I told him I was on my way back to LA and asked where he worked. He told me the name of the street, and I added, “Maybe I should meet you there. Then I’m not venturing that far from the airport.” He’d forgotten I had to catch a flight. I told him it would just mean more time we would get to spend together.

As I passed through Santa Monica, I reached out to him once again: “What’s the plan Stan? At Venice Beach. Was gonna drive down to Marina Del Ray… Could come out there and let me take you out to dinner.” I waited a long time to hear from him again. I even stopped at a Starbucks so I could park the car and walk around a bit. I ordered a coffee and walked out onto the pier in Venice Beach to take some pictures of the ocean. I still had a lot of time to kill, so I sat in the Starbucks charging my laptop while I wrote a blog entry.

Then I got a text from him I wish I’d never read: “Hey pal. I think I’m gonna have to skip hanging out. I’m exhausted. I just want to sleep. I hate to do that to you. I know you’ve been waiting. I’m not even gonna drive home. Gonna sleep at a coworkers place a couple blocks away. Didn’t really get to sleep before the shifts started. I had an amazing time with you and would love it if we stayed in touch. Hope you have a safe flight home and maybe I can come visit you in Jersey (hint hint) Muah handsome… Thanks for everything :)” I was heartbroken. All I could think to respond was, “Wish I at least got to say goodbye.” He quickly shot back, “I know. Me too… I’m just very tired.”

This wasn’t good enough for me. “Let me know if I can at least come and say goodbye. If not, it’s cool…” I sent in an attempt to strike and emotional chord. When I got no response, I called him – No answer.

He texted back, “Still at work. Can text, but not talk. I’ll call you at 5:30 handsome.” I would have to be patient. I know my usual aggressive style, so I tried to curb that bad habit. When the clock reached 5:45, I called him again — No answer. I texted him again, “I have the time to kill. I could come and say bye and you go to sleep. I get it if you’re too tired to hang.” More time passed, and I still didn’t hear from him. I was emotionally beginning to panic. I knew the time to say goodbye was going to come, and I tried to prepare myself for it. But, to not have that at all rocked me a little.

Now, I was grasping at straws. I changed course and sped back to downtown LA. I called him over and over again while I weaved in and out of cars. Maybe if I wasn’t so locked in on one thing, I would have realized I could actually deal with LA traffic with the skills I was exercising.

In a last stitch effort, I texted, “In the middle of LA hoping I can come say goodbye before I go to the airport. Please call.” Silence. He’d gone dark on me. I was so disappointed in him. I thought we shared something special. I wanted him as a friend, and he was abandoning me. I was being very selfish, but so was he. I admitted defeat and gave up:

“Heading to airport. Sorry. I wasn’t trying to make a big deal about it. Just wanted to give a proper goodbye, even if just for two minutes.  Get some rest. Def stay in touch. Hope I made a good friend on this trip! You’re a great guy! You have a place to stay any time you want to visit New Jersey/New York! Would love it if you called tomorrow when you wake up! 🙂 Stay sexy!”

He never called. When I got home, he never Facebook messaged me either. I was very disappointed. I wasn’t giving in that easily though. I texted him days later to see if he’d truly cut me off completely: “Hey stud. How’s it going? Just wanted to say hi.” I was happy to see a response some time later: “Hey 🙂 Sorry I didn’t say goodbye. I’m not very good at that type of thing. I know it wasn’t very nice. I had a wonderful time with you though. How is everything?”

We continued to text each other periodically over time. He even called me one day, but I missed his call. I hope I have a true friend in him. He really is a great guy, and if I can’t have him as my own, I’ll take him as a friend. I look forward to the day I can see him again. Maybe work will send me out there again. Maybe he’ll come to New Jersey for a visit. Maybe I’ll make a true pleasure trip out there and see him on my own. Who knows???

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Valentine’s Heartbreak

I needed to be honest and upfront with PR. He deserved that at the very least. However, this was going to be a very delicate situation. I wanted to make sure I didn’t hurt his feelings. I really did like him and wanted to be his friend — I just didn’t think we’d be a good match to date each other. I gathered up a little courage (if I was truly courageous, I would have called him on the phone), and I we had the following exchange:

Me: After you left yesterday, I gave our compatibility a lot of thought. I have bigger doubts now. You and your friends are into the scene, and that’s not really my thing. Then there’s the sexual compatibility issue was well… And we’re in very different places right now. I can see you’re still recovering from your breakup. I don’t want to seem callous, but I don’t want to lead you on. I’d rather take a step back from this now, rather than when we get deep into things and serious feelings develop. You’re a great guy. I think very highly of you, and I hope we can remain friends. I’m sorry if this comes as a shock, but again I thought it better to speak up now.

PR: Okay. I just saw this. I understand your concerns. But I would like to say I’m not all about the “scene.” I do enjoy going out with my friends, and that is exactly all it is to me. Regarding our sexual compatibility, I thought I was making it clear that I am willing to be versatile for you. I get the sense that this is more about my moving back home and where I am in my life right now. Obviously I recognize I’m not in the most stable position in terms of my job, but I’m working to change that. As for my emotions, I can honestly say that I’m over my previous relationship. Yes, this is a bit of a shock. I know we were moving quickly. And I am willing to slow down, but as I understand it, you are asking to just be friends. Is this correct?

Me: I know you’re willing to be vers, but I’ve been down this road. With my last relationship, I put sex on the back burner for things I thought could make up for it. I learned my lesson. I told myself I would find someone with great sexual chemistry with me. I told myself I wouldn’t settle. As far as the scene things, Griffin doesn’t sound like fun to me, and I know how much you enjoy it. We’d end up constantly making sacrifices for each other. I have no desire to put on a wig and dress up. I’m not judging. It’s just not my idea of fun.

PR: I guess what I’m asking is have you made up your mind? I thought the distance might be a good things so we would take things slower.

Me: You’re moving home and the job search thing are factors, but not the main obstacles I foresee us running into going forward. I just think we lead different lifestyles. We have a lot in common, but we also have a lot of different priorities. I don’t think slower is going to change things.

PR: As far as the dressing up thing, I did that for the first time in my life for a couple of hours! I never said or expected you to do so. I understand the sexual aspect. And, I agree it’s a big concern. But I thought it was workable. I felt our chemistry was worth exploring and being versatile. My priorities and getting myself in a stable position in my work and home and to one day be able to share all I have to give with someone and build a home and life together. Listen, I thought we had great chemistry. I’m not trying to argue or beg. I just feel like maybe you have some misconceptions about what I value and look for in a person.

Me: I think I have an understanding of what you’re looking for, but I don’t want to sacrifice who we are to make the other happy. It never works. Been there, done that.

PR: I just don’t understand what sacrifices you’re talking about. I don’t believe you were faking the whole time. I feel like something spooked you and you’re not telling me. It sounds like you’re saying I’m too gay for you. But you have never voiced anything like this when I spoke of things like Griffin. I mean this is a drastic reversal from when I last saw you yesterday.

Me: I wasn’t faking it, but we only spent time together. We weren’t out with your friends or mine all that much. It is a reversal because I took a step back and looked at the week and what I learned about you. I didn’t say anything about Griffin because I try to have an open mind, but I need to make changes or I’ll keep repeating old mistakes.

PR: Okay. I wish you the best of luck.

Me: Please don’t be that way. We obviously have a lot in common, so we should be friends.

PR: I would like to be friends. But, I am hurt.

Me: I’m sorry. That’s not my intention at all. That’s what I’m trying to avoid!

PR: I know. It’s better you told me now. I’m not angry or anything towards you. Just sad. I was really looking forward to seeing you tomorrow and had something special planned.

Me: I’m very sorry. I didn’t want to get into tomorrow under false pretenses. That wouldn’t be fair to you. I knew you’d do something utterly sweet.

And with that, our week-long intense relationship came to a close…

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PR Independence

I had a lot to think about since PR left. Was he really what I was looking for after all? I learned things the hard way over the past few relationships. I’d stayed with too many men for too long after I saw the writing on the wall. I didn’t want to repeat past mistakes.

Was I jumping the gun? Should I give this a shot? There were so many questions and no answers.

I began to build a pros and cons list in my mind.

I didn’t want to lose a great guy, but I was so tired of wasting my time with guys who just weren’t a fit for me.

CONS

He enthusiastically showed me pictures from his ski trip with his buddies in which everyone dressed in drag. They went all out with wigs, heels and bras among other things. I had a strong feeling I was not going to fit in with his friends. He also was a big fan of gay bars. He went on and on about his desire to go to Griffin in NYC on Sunday nights. It is apparently a huge gay party everyone on the scene knows about — News to me. This is not my thing, but I’m not made of stone. I would be willing to be flexible, but if this is the norm for him, we were going to differ greatly. Sadly, he may be “too gay” for me.

We are both tops. I am willing to play ball with a guy I’m in a relationship with, but I get no pleasure from bottoming. That’s not to say he wouldn’t also be willing to trade positions. But, if we both prefer it, it’s probably going to become a problem down the road for us. This was a very frank conversation we needed to have to establish expectations.

I wasn’t thrilled that he didn’t have a full-time job. I wasn’t writing him off because he was unemployed. He was in a long-term relationship with a man, and when that situation changed, he needed to find something. He fully realized what he was facing, but I just don’t know if I’m cut out to date another guy trying to get back on his feet. I put in a lot of work emotionally supporting Smiles until things ended. I really don’t want to come off as elitist at all, but I also wasn’t thrilled with the jobs he was applying for. I never did ask if he went to college, but I got the feeling he didn’t. I wondered the financial stability we would attain if we forged a long-term relationship. He was applying to jobs that I could have done over summer break from college. They had odd hours, and there was a good chance we’d see even less of each other.

PR was a good-looking man, but he wasn’t something you would double-take. I was attracted to him, but some of his physical attributes left something to be desired. I know he was making an effort to get back into the gym, as evidenced when we went together, but was that just because of me or because he really wanted to be in shape. I worried he may be habitually lazy.

Lastly, he was moving back home. Home was at least a half hour drive away, and I don’t have a car. This was going to make seeing each other even harder. I wanted someone who was going to be around when I wanted/needed him.

PROS

PR is only a year older than me. Finally I found someone in my own dating pool. We could share many pop culture references and understand them fully.

He is one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met. He always had my best interests at heart and took great care of me. He was chivalrous and loyal. He exhibited many of the qualities I really look for in a man. It seemed I’d finally met my match in the dedication department. I knew I could trust him to be faithful and love me for a long time.

He was passionate in the bedroom. Recently I’ve put more emphasis on my needs in the bedroom. I took a major back seat with Smiles in the sack. I needed someone who could truly exhibit the passion I required between the sheets. He certainly fit the bill.

He is easy-going and always up for a good time. I could spring a fun trip on him, even a day-trip, and I know he would be onboard. I lead a very active lifestyle and need someone who can keep up. I had a feeling he could.

Overall, I was leaning towards the cons pile. It seemed to be the stronger argument. They seemed to outweigh the pros this time, and for once I was going to trust my gut.

I had a hard time deciding what to do. I spoke with Boston on the phone, and he told me I would be ill-advised if I went out with him on Valentine’s Day misrepresenting my true feelings. I thought I would have been breaking his heart if I called the night off. I thought it better to go out with him and tell him some other time I didn’t think things were going to work out. He told me I had a tough decision to make, but I needed to deal with it delicately. My friend D told me I shouldn’t cancel on him the day before Valentine’s Day. He suggested going on the date and explaining things later. He was worried PR made plans already, and I would be ruining them completely.

In the end, I finally decide I just don’t want to go. I am so tired of pretending with guys. I need to be more honest. If I feel a date is going south, I need to speak up and stop being so damn polite. I decided to tell him my feelings, but I also did it as a coward. I sent him a text…

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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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