Posts Tagged hope
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.
Although things didn’t exactly end the way I would have hoped, I had a really great time with my new uptown Grindr friend. He was a very down-to-earth, sexy man whose body I found irresistible.
I made my way home on my motorcycle only to find my apartment full of my friends and my roommates’ friends. They apparently noticed my Irish exit, but I was shocked to find none of them texted me to find out where I’d gone. They didn’t seem to care much. They were all drunk and about to smoke.
I put my helmet in my room and joined in the fun. D pulled me aside and asked if I’d gone to hook up, and I didn’t lie. I nodded my head in agreement, and he said, “I knew it!” with a smile.
My roommate immediately mentioned breaking my glass planter that sits in the window, but failed to apologize for the act. She simply pushed it into a pile, plants and all, and left it there on the floor. After sitting in the room a solid ten minutes, my friend K announces, “Where’s [One Gay At A Time]?” I responded, “Really K! How many have you had!?” We all laughed.
The previous night, I talked to a guy on OKCupid who was quite an athlete. He seemed like a really fun guy, and I was anxious to meet him. We’d emailed a few times back and forth, and I learned he would be coming to Hoboken for the festivities in the evening. Ironically enough, he would be in the apartment across the street. The same apartment my roommate and I scoped out on numerous occasions, noticing a gay couple lives there. I texted him to see if he was there, but he told me he decided to stay home after not feeling well.
This, of course turned my attention to the apartment across the way. My roommate and I had scoped out this apartment many times starting on New Year’s Eve when we presumed two mo’s lived there. This night, they were having a party. We noticed many men, and we tried to make a sign with a sharpie and the inside of a paper bag. It was no use. Anyone’s attention that was looking out the window was drawn to our neighbors upstairs. They too were having a raucous party.
I decided to use technology to find a way to make friends with the mo’s across the street. I pulled up Grindr and tried to find anyone very close. When I finally got in touch with someone nearby and asked him if they were at that address, I came to learn that person had left the party already. I made many more futile attempts to reach out to the party. A few of us watched with curiosity when people moved into the bedroom, but nothing exciting happened. Our front window became a version of “Rear Window.”
When I grew tired of my new entertainment, I made my way to bed. It was a long day, but a fun day. I was beat.
The next day, I returned the favor of a friend for helping me move. I rode my motorcycle over to his new apartment and dug in moving bags and boxes. When we drove to his old place, I realized we were in the same neighborhood as Indiana Jones lived. I pulled out my phone and texted him to see if he was around. It’d been months since I last saw him, and I was anxious to see him again. We were due for a catch-up. I didn’t hear back from him that day, but I wouldn’t give up at that.Follow @onegayatatime
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…Follow @onegayatatime
Sorry for the late post… Had a very busy morning at work…
Since that fateful night on December 31st, 2011, I’ve had my eye on a certain someone. He was also attending the party I went to on New Year’s Eve.
Throughout the night, I talked to him a fair amount. He seemed like a really nice guy. For a solid twenty minutes, he and I were the only ones in the living room until more guests arrived. We got to know each other fairly well. My original thought on him was he was too young, but the more I got to know him, the more I learned how mature he was. Obviously age had nothing to do with maturity. I learned that the hard way with Smiles. I wasn’t going to rule him out just because he was 22. It also helped he was very attractive. He had both the jock look and the intelligent look about him. It was very sexy.
I didn’t want to jump the gun however. I somewhat embarrassed myself that night, and I wasn’t sure if he took notice. I decided to wait until the dust settled, especially since he knew Smiles though a mutual connection, the party’s host. Before my trip to San Francisco, I laid the groundwork. I informed him of my breakup with Smiles on Facebook. He sent his condolences.
Now that I was home, I was ready to dive in and see if I could ask him out on a date. I sent him a Facebook message that Tuesday: “Hey dude. I know this kinda comes out of left field, but I thought you were a pretty down-to-earth guy when I talked to you on NYE. I was wondering if you’d be interested in grabbing a drink sometime…?” I don’t know why, but I felt very vulnerable doing this. It’s crazy. He’s five years younger than me. Why was I so intimidated? All I could do was wait for an answer.
That night, he finally responded: “I am flattered, but I am kinda seeing someone. Happened right after New Years actually. Doesn’t mean we can’t chill as friends.” My hopes were dashed. I’d been plotting and planning this whole thing out over time to find out I missed the boat. I was kicking myself, but there was nothing I could do. It is what it is.
I needed to graciously respond, and secretly hoped I could meet him as friends, and he would realize how much of a catch I am. Maybe he’d let things fizzle out with the other guy. The door wasn’t closed, even though it was beginning to shut. There was still a glimmer of light — A glimmer of hope.
“All the good ones are… haha… but yes.. Chill as friends works for me too. Always lookin’ for friends as well. Shoot me your #, and maybe we can find a time to hang/grab a drink…” I responded.
Sadly, I wouldn’t hear back from him again. Three weeks later, I tried to see if he would be interested in meeting up, but I got no response. If he was truly interested, he would have responded. I was learning to stop pursuing men who didn’t return an interest in me. It never worked out in my favor, and it just caused me greater frustration. If there were interested, they’d be as excited as I was to message/call/text. It wouldn’t matter about waiting two days before calling. If someone is interested, they won’t care about any of that. They’ll just be thrilled you connected at all.
I was beginning to feel very disappointed and lonely. I had no promising prospects on the horizon. As time goes on, this dating thing is getting harder and harder. Everyone thinks gay dating in New York City is a cinch but far from it. It is so incredibly hard to date in this city. The gay men here certainly don’t do anything to make it any easier.
Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. In the meantime, I was back on local Grindr. I found a guy who lived very close to my apartment who wanted to be dominated and wanted to muscle worship me. I hardly think I’m the muscle worship worthy type, but if that was what he wanted, why not give it to him. I went over to his apartment. He was a bit awkward, but I wasn’t there to find love. I was simply there to satisfy a primal need. I thought I would be able to play the part. I thought I could say all the things a dominant top would say, but in the end, I think I sounded ridiculous. It’s not who I am. It wasn’t awful, but I don’t think either of us were getting out of it what we thought we would. It took me a long time to finish with him, as usual, which didn’t exactly make for a smooth evening. When I did, it was worth his wait. However, because of the nature of my climaxes, he had to run to the kitchen and grab a bottle of Resolve and a paper towel to clean up a spot on the carpet when I overshot his chest.
He came back to the bed and we laid next to each other chatting a bit. I learned he knew the other awkward hookup I had in the same building. Apparently they were friends. I specifically asked him not to mention me, which of course spurred a whole new line of questions. I knew this was going to come back to bite me in the a$s. It was only a matter of time before the 40 year-old started messaging me again.
With that, I got dressed and made my way home on my walk of shame. Luckily it was cold out and it helped me clear my head. What was I doing? This isn’t me. This isn’t what I’m looking for. Why am I doing this? Yes, we all have needs, but I should be putting more energy into finding the right guy instead of Mr. Right Now.
I thought about all the other guys floating around out there on my roster. Was it even worth it to revisit with long-time online friend after our failed date? Maybe the southern boy I was chatting with would finally find the time to meet up. The guy who came back on the roster after almost a year was still a possibility. I needed to plan drinks with him. My Asian neighbor friend from Grindr was still asking me to grab dinner sometime, but he doesn’t drink, so I didn’t see us being very compatible. There was the very sexy, very compatible guy I found on Adam, but he wasn’t responding to any of my messages anymore. I needed to cut him from the list.
I needed to get back in shape and concentrate on building a better me. Ironically enough, I was hitting the gym regularly again. For so unknown reason, I was looking for N there every time I went. I don’t know why, but something inside me wanted to see him there, even though I wanted nothing to do with him. I needed not only to close that chapter, but also to toss the book to someone else and forget about it.
I was spinning my wheels. I was constantly Grindring, and it was getting me nowhere. I was still feeling a little angry for letting Smiles take advantage of me. I thought back to all my relationships and realized how each of them let me down. N, San Francisco, Smiles… I didn’t need any of them anymore. They brought nothing positive to my life. It was time to drop that baggage. The only one I wanted to keep around was Broadway. Since we’ve broken up, we’ve managed to remain friends. I turn to him for advice, and he is always there for me. He’s a good friend and I truly appreciate him. I can’t understand why they all couldn’t be that way. I’m thrilled we’re still friends and want that with all my exs, but if they weren’t going to make that possible, so be it.
I needed to get to a better place. I wasn’t in a dark place, but I was certainly stuck in this constant gray area. I was walking around in a cloud. I was wasting my life away searching for a guy in all the wrong places. If I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t going to find anyone. I just needed to figure out how to change things. It wasn’t going to be easy…Follow @onegayatatime