Posts Tagged impress

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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Just Add Water

CK and I were having a very long holiday weekend, and we were only half way through it. As CK wanted to go to the Scissor Sisters concert on Friday, which ended up happening on Saturday, I wanted to spend the weekend with my friends as well. We made plans before the weekend kicked off, and we were going to try to stick to it.

Early Sunday morning, CK and I woke up and quickly got ready for the day. We hopped on my motorcycle and made our way to Hoboken. We were catching a ride with K to her parents’ house on Mohawk Lake. Since it was an hour drive, K wanted to leave early. Of course, we made it back to Hoboken and finished getting ready just in the nick of time to stay on her schedule. K’s roommates, D and G, and D’s girlfriend were also joining us. The five of us were spending the day on the water, tubing, swimming and lounging in the sun.

When we arrived at the lake, we visited with K’s mother before prepping the boat. We all piled in, along with all the proper refreshments, and shoved off the dock. I was excited for a nice relaxing day on the lake. The weekend was off to a bit of a chaotic start, and I needed a day to hit the reset button. Everyone else was drinking, but that was the last thing I needed. For me, the sun was all I needed to be happy. I just wanted to lay out on the back of the boat and work on my tan.

Before breaking out the tube, we drove to the far side of the lake to drop anchor and hang out in the cove. The water was smooth, and there weren’t many people out on the lake. In usual fashion, wherever CK went, so did his music. We weren’t even out of the dock before he was plugging in his music. I wasn’t opposed to music in general, but he was playing all the songs we’d heard the night before. I could also tell, Scissor Sisters weren’t exactly my friends’ cup of tea. However, this was not something I was about to engage in. I found my happy place, laid out a towel, and tried to drift off in the warmth of the sun.

When I got hot, I decided to hop in. Everyone else had already taken a dip. It was the perfect Sunday. Everyone was relaxing and just enjoying themselves. We all talked about our weekends and caught up with each other. I’ve always liked this group of friends. They all felt like my “Seinfeld” crew. On top of that, I had my man with me. That always makes me happy.

When we were all hungry, we drove to the other end of the lake to grab a few slices of pizza for lunch. When we all finished eating, we snapped a few fun and patriotic pictures on the boardwalk of the lake.

Once we all managed to digest our food, it was time to break out the tube. K was an experienced whip cracker. Everyone took turns riding the tube with a partner. It was a blast. In her usual fashion, K was relentless when I was on the tube. I think I frustrate her sometimes, and she uses that time to take all those frustrations out on me. However, I usually manage to hold on for longer than expected. That being said, she always finds a way to get me off that giant rubber floating donut.

I especially had a lot of fun riding the tube with CK. We made a great team, and my friends snapped quite a few great shots of us both. I was happy to have such a nice day after how bad our Friday night was. We really needed a nice day together.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing however. Over the course of the day, I noticed K getting frustrated with CK. She was not only the owner of the boat, but also the captain. He wasn’t listening to instructions very well. When she was ready to hit the throttle, CK was standing on the back of the boat. When she’d need to maneuver to circle back to pick someone up who fell off the tube, he was standing to change the music. I was worried we wouldn’t be invited back again. Or worse. I would be, but I wouldn’t be able to bring him back again. I asked him to be more conscientious about her directions. “Whatever she said, goes,” I added.

When we were all sufficiently exhausted, we made our way back to K’s parents’ dock. We had a bit of a drive ahead of us.

D had his new car with him since he drove separately. I had yet to be in it, so I suggested CK and I ride with him, leaving the other two to drive together. On the ride home, we all planned to hit up D, K and G’s apartment for a bar-be-cue. It would be our last hurrah of the holiday weekend before heading back to work. D dropped us off at my place, and we got ready to head over to grill up some burgers. I quickly made a pasta salad as well because I didn’t want to show up empty handed.

I wasn’t originally aware, but we were also going to meet K’s new man. He is much younger than the rest of our group, and as a result, he spent the better portion of the evening trying to impress us. That’s a surefire way for me not to be impressed. I like genuine people, not people who put on airs and say what they think I want to hear.

Dinner was nice and very relaxing. It was the perfect end of the holiday weekend. My weekend started off very crazed and chaotic, and it ended very relaxing and serene. When it was getting late, CK and I said our goodbyes and made our way back to my apartment. I agreed to spend the night in the city at his apartment, so I quickly packed a bag before we hopped on the bus.

When we got to his place, neither of us had much energy. We quickly settled into bed and mentally prepared for the workweek coming up after having quite a few days off. CK tuned into The Rachel Maddow show while I shut my eyes and tried to fall asleep in the arms of the man I loved.

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Not Tired of Me Yet?

Apologies for all you who got my draft post sent out today. I didn’t realize I had it scheduled for release before finishing it. Please disregard! And apologies for the late post today.

Back to your regularly scheduled program.

So last we left off, my Grindr friend/neighbor, who I will now call PR (short for Puerto Rican), and I were making out on my chair in my living room after a night at the bars and some Cluck U chicken.

I’m sure you’ve been wondering what happened next. Well..

After some making out, I grabbed his hand and led him to my bedroom. We had our fun letting our hands explore the other’s body. Things escalated from there until we finally dozed off for the night. He wasn’t the sexiest guy to enter my room, but we certainly had a good time together. I really enjoyed cuddling and making out with him, as well as many other things we experienced that night.

When we woke in the morning, we didn’t get out of bed. We spent a majority of the afternoon laying there spooning and cuddling and just talking. I really liked how frank he was about things. He didn’t sugar coat or try to impress me. He was being real. This is a quality I seek out in men. It’s very important.

After some time, he asked the question I knew was coming, “Soooo, are you a top or bottom?” I told him I was a top. I quickly learned he too was a top. This, of course, was followed by a long awkward pause on both our parts. I wondered in the back of my head if he was convertible. He told me it was nine years since the last time he’d done it. That left a glimmer of hope that he had done it in the past, however, nine years is a long time! Maybe this was doomed before it even got off the ground. Maybe we were simply sexually incompatible. But, I liked him. I wasn’t ready to walk away from it just based on this.

After more chatting, we started to fool around some more. Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. We orally pleased each other for some time. He felt so good. Finally, we finished ourselves off laying next to each other. It took some time for both of us. When we did, he mentioned how it takes him a long time to finish. I kissed him strongly. I told him how good it was to hear him say that since we both shared that “malady.” I was happy he was understanding.

Around 1:00, we finally got out of bed. I offered to make him breakfast. I cooked up some of my homemade sausage, eggs, avocado, English muffins, coffee, etc. This was serving as our lunch and our breakfast. We watched some TV on the couch while we ate.

Finally, he decided to head home and get ready. We made plans to go out for dinner that night. I had a Living Social I was ready to burn up at Trinity, a nice restaurant on the Hoboken waterfront.

Around 6:00, I met him on the street corner between my apartment and his friend’s apartment where he was staying for the time being. We took a leisurely stroll towards the waterfront, talking the whole way. When we arrived at the restaurant, it was closed for a private event. We decided to go elsewhere rather than wait for dinner because we were both starving. He wanted to go to East L.A. for margaritas. It sounded like a good plan, so I agreed on that.

That night, he had plans to go see a movie with one of his friends. His friend wasn’t getting back to him, so he asked if I wanted to go instead. It wasn’t a movie I was looking forward to seeing, but I had no plans and was enjoying spending time with him. I agreed to go. We talked about many other things over dinner, including the other gay date we were sitting next to. The two guys were younger and we could tell it was a date by what we saw and heard. It was very cute to see — Not something you see every day in Hoboken.

When we finished dinner, we started walking down the street towards our apartments. He decided against the movie since he was tired, so we agreed to just stay in and watch TV instead. I’d never seen the Paranormal movies, and he liked them. We decided to make a Paranormal Activity marathon night of it. We snuggled on the couch the entire night. I was very happy being in his arms, and he in mine.

When the movies were over, it was late. We decided to just go to bed, and I asked him to stay the night…

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Deep Pockets

Since deciding to end things with Smiles, I’d already been on one date and had one hookup. I certainly hit the ground running. I felt slightly guilty all this was going on before we even had the chance to formally end things, but then again, things never really formally began between us.

I wasn’t wasting any time either. I had been talking to a really nice guy on adam4adam.com and set up a date to grab drinks with him after work Friday evening. It was a bit awkward because this was truly a blind date.

He had two pictures on a4a, but neither was clear and one didn’t include a face. When I asked him to send me a better face picture, he told me he didn’t like taking pictures of himself. Of course a red flag raised in my mind, but I had nothing to lose either. If I arrived and the guy was unacceptable, I was right next to the Port Authority bus terminal. I would be home in no time with little of my time wasted.

We agreed to grab drinks at Arriba Arriba in Hell’s Kitchen. It was conveniently located between his apartment and my office, and like I said, it wasn’t far from my transportation hub to go home.

As I left my office and began walking north, I was quite nervous. I’d never been on a true blind date before. I’d at least seen pictures of their faces, but this time I had no idea what he looked like. I joked with him, “Not gonna lie. Not sure what you look like… Haha.” It didn’t take him to respond: “Sorry mate. Don’t like taking pictures of myself. We will find each other… haha. You can ask me to leave once you see me and how ugly I am. Lol.” I didn’t care all that much at this point for the picture. I was already going in blind. I replied, “No apologies needed. Just tellin’ ya you’re gonna have to find me…”

I waited for him on the street corner. I put that time in a good location to good use. I surfed Grindr in HK for any new prospects. I know some may say that is classless considering I was waiting for a date, but I’m not in HK all that often anymore, and there is more talent in that neighborhood than where I work. He finally arrived and approached me. I asked how his trek to HK was, and we went inside to find a table.

When we learned we could only stand at  the bar since we weren’t ordering food, we decided to go elsewhere. I was at a bit of a loss because I hadn’t been in the neighborhood for some time. I didn’t know of a good place for us to go for a drink. Luckily, this guy was good on his feet. He suggested Eatery, and we were off.

We grabbed a seat at the bar and ordered a few rounds of drinks. We chatted for a long time about a myriad of things. The whole time, he kept his ball-cap on. Beyond the fact that he should know it’s bad manners, especially since he was an older gentleman, I was also worried there may be no hair under there. I’m not shallow, and looks are not everything to me. But, if he was balding without shaving his head, I wasn’t sure I could deal with that. (Smiles shaved his head and I was obviously okay with that).

We talked about our upbringings. He lived a bicoastal lifestyle, living in California and South Carolina. He also was shipped off to boarding school in Switzerland, where his grandparents lived. I grew up on a farm and went to public school. We had quite the education/socio-economic divide before. This is one thing I‘m not sure I am capable of getting past. I’m sure if it was the right guy, I could handle him coming from wealth, but it’s something that makes me quite uneasy. He came from money, and a lot of it.

I also learned he leads a very lavish lifestyle. He told me about his plans to purchase a house in Barcelona. He’d recently traveled there to scope out some places. He also told me about the $200,000.00 loan he gave a friend and was never paid back because the friend died and left his only possession, his apartment, to someone else. He told me about his lavish trips to the Caribbean islands recently. The list goes on.

Ironically enough, he wasn’t talking about all these because he was trying to impress me (Or at least it didn’t come off that way, which is fine). It simply came up in conversation or I coaxed them out with questions. I just felt uncomfortable with our socio-economic differences. I don’t really aspire to the position of kept man. I want someone who will share the financial burdens with me equally. I know a lot of people would love to find someone rich to marry, but money means very little to me when it comes to love. I think like I would constantly feel like less of a man if I had everything provided for me constantly, and I contributed far less to the relationship. Maybe this is something I will learn to get over in time, but for now, it makes me uneasy.

I learned how he continued to build his wealth and his professional relationship with a family in Canada. He told me about all the businesses he was involved in, and I started to worry he was another Smiles — Too much on his plate to commit to a real relationship. I also learned he wasn’t out to many people in his life, even after he’d been in a nine-year relationship with a man who left his wife for him. It ended when the man cheated on him while he was away on business. I wasn’t sure how I felt about him still being in the closet. He’d experienced too much and was far too old to still be in denial of his true self. I wasn’t sure I wanted a “project” at that age.

Drinks quickly turned into dinner. We stayed at the bar and made friends with the waitress. She was super sweet and very interested in chatting with us. Over our meal, we conversed more, and I learned we share a lot of the same morals and interests. We had similar outlooks in life.

He also became much more physical as the night progressed. He constantly had his hand on my leg rubbing my thighs and caressing the back of my knee. I started to do the same. Periodically, he would stand and give me a big ol’ bear hug. It was sweet. I liked knowing he was a passionate physical man. I needed that after Smiles constant distance.

Six hours later, we were ready to leave the bar. He decided to walk me to the bus. I thought when we exited the restaurant we’d exchange a kiss and go our separate ways. He was a true gentleman and walked me to the Port Authority. Not only that, but he walked me to my gate to wait for my bus and stood there waiting with me. It was midnight, and he was being a total sweetheart. He stood anxiously next to me as if he didn’t know what to do or how to close the date. He wasn’t really out, so I had a feeling a goodnight kiss in front of a large group of strangers was out of the question. When my bus arrived, he said goodbye and we agreed to be in touch.

As I rode home from the date, I wasn’t entirely sure what I thought of him. He became more attractive as the night went on, but I wasn’t sure if that was his personality or the alcohol stepping in for average looks.

I had a lot to think about. It was clear to me he was interested in me. The next day, he texted to see if I was interested in catching a movie that evening. I told him I had plans to hang with friends locally, but if they fell through, I’d let him know. When I decided to keep my plans, I texted him to let him know. He wasn’t all that concerned considering he had hopped on a flight to Boston to hang out with friends and go to a party. Yup, hopped on a flight that day. He obviously didn’t have a planned flight considering he asked me to go to the movies — Unless he was planning to fly me to Boston to do so…

That night, while out with my friends, I called Boston. He told me some of his new exciting war stories, and I told him of my trepidations about Deep Pockets. He told me I was nuts to write him off based on financial differences, so I decided to see where things went over the next week or so.

We texted a few times more, but interest wasn’t strong on either end as the text messages slowly came to an end. I was on to the next prospect…

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