Posts Tagged Industry
As gay men, CK and I had been anticipating the release of Magic Mike with bated breath. One Friday night, CK suggested we check it out. When he said we, I assumed he meant just the two of us, but I quickly came to learn we included Old News as well. As long as we were inviting friends, I knew P wanted to see the movie as well, so I reached out to her. This was two-fold because it would also help balance the scale since I wasn’t exactly comfortable with how Old News was with CK. We were all planning to gather in midtown to check out a late showing.
I was meeting CK at his apartment before the movie, and when I arrived, I learned Old News would be meeting us there as well before walking to the theater together. I already couldn’t wait. From the moment Old News arrived, he began schmoozing CK. A friendly greeting with a hug is completely acceptable, but the kiss on the cheek was a little unnecessary. This was no air kiss, and I know because I was behind CK looking right at him as he did it. It probably was not his intent, but I felt it may have been done for my benefit. I didn’t like it — Not one bit. All I could do was stand by and watch this without saying anything. I would have to wait to have a private conversation with CK later.
Of course, he was very cordial toward me, but I couldn’t have cared less. I still had a bad taste left in my mouth from the last time we hung out at XL. That night, I was going to get the answer to a question that arose every time he came around. Was he actually flirting with CK because of lingering feelings, or was I imagining things? I had an advantage that night. I had two sets of eyes on him. I had asked P to watch and tell me if my suspicions were correct.
We met P in front of the theater, and as we took our seats, what transpired next could not have made me happier. It just so happened, as we walked into the theater, the order was Old News, myself, CK and finally P. So, when we sat, I was between Old News and CK, and I was thrilled. When CK and I go to the movies, we’re fairly affectionate in the way we sit. We hold hands or put our arms around each other. I wasn’t going to change that this time, and Old News was about to get a front row seat to this. Maybe he’d realized the CK ship has sailed. He was my man now, and it was time to back off and learn to simply be his friend. Nothing more. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t want Old News out of the picture completely. He was CK’s friend. I simply wanted him to respect the relationship between CK and I.
The theater was a sh*t show — Like being in an actual strip club. Women were everywhere, shouting and squealing at the screen as they jumped out of their seats in excitement. I was shocked I didn’t see a dollar bill or two go flying in the air.
As we left the theater, Old News commented to us, “Wow! It smells like wet vagina in here! Do you smell that?” I thought the comment was hysterical because he was pretty spot on, but I wasn’t exactly in the frame of mind to laugh at his jokes yet.
We stopped on the corner of the street to discuss what we wanted to do next. None of us had eaten, so food was discussed, but no one would make a decision. Finally, we landed on heading back to CK’s apartment to smoke and hang out.
As we walked down the street, Old News was joking and what I would certainly call flirting with CK. When the opportunity arose, he’d throw an arm around him or pat him on the back. Don’t get me wrong. I’d seen this interaction time and time again with Hip, and I had no problem with it. In fact, I welcomed it. It all seemed completely different with Old News. Old News would draw CK into a conversation, and the two of them continued on as if P and I didn’t exist. At some point, CK noticed I was a bit out of sorts. He hung back with me and asked what’s wrong. I reiterated how I felt Old News was flirting and still had a crush on him. Once again, he told me I was imagining things. I started to get adamant, and I think he finally realized how much this bothered me.
If he was willing to act like this in front of me, what would Old News try to do if I wasn’t around. Like I said, it wasn’t CK I trusted, it was Old News. After chatting for so long, I’m sure he realized something was up. We agreed to talk about it again later and returned back to the other two.
We hung out at CK’s for quite some time, and around 2:00am, we decided to go to Flaming Saddles, and P decided to head home. As I walked her out I asked her what she thought. She agreed he was still flirting, but to a bit of a lesser degree. It was all I needed to confirm I wasn’t being irrational. I thanked her and gave her a hug goodnight. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of going out since it was already quite late, and we were going to the beach the following morning with Boston and a few others. As our group was shrinking by one, we were also growing by two. CK’s roommate and his assistant joined us. The night was only getting better and better.
When we arrived at Flaming Saddles, no one was there. Instead, we continued on to Industry. It was a good scene, and the good news was that CK and I were dancing. Old News seemed to disappear. However, it wasn’t long before I felt I was beginning to disappear too. I was slowly but surely getting comfortable with going to gay bars, but I was also learning something about CK in gay bars I didn’t exactly appreciate.
When we danced, I never felt like I was dancing with just him. I felt like I was dancing with the entire bar. He danced, and I was tried to dance next to him. He constantly looked around to see who was looking at him, gently touching guys as they passed by him. I never had his full attention. This was only exacerbated when he stepped up on the stage, and I was two steps below him. I felt like I was there with a go-go boy, and I have to admit I was a little crushed. It hurt. Was my attention not enough for him? Did he need the eyes of every other guy in the room? This brought up a lot of worries I’d been having about our relationship. I was worried I wasn’t enough for him, and that was all I wanted.
We ended up closing down the bar at 4:00am. We were all starving, so we foraged for food. We settled on Empanada Mama and grabbed a table outside. They had a packed house, so it took forever for us to get our food. When it finally arrived, everyone dug in. When I went to grab my second empanada, it was gone. I looked across the table and noticed Old News shoveling it into his pie hole. I don’t think he took it on purpose, but it was a perfect picture of my relationship with him. First, he was trying to steal my man. Now, he was stealing my food.
I was already agitated by Old News, but at this point, it was 6:00am and the sun was starting to come up. As the time ticked on, I grew more and more anxious about getting up the next day to follow through on my plans. CK was already so tired he actually fell asleep at the table. It was time to go home and go to bed. We said goodbye and made our way home. While we walked he turned to me and said, “You’re nuts if you think we’re heading to the beach tomorrow at 10:00.” That set me off. I told CK about my plans to go to the beach days prior to this. He should have planned accordingly. This was important to me. I hadn’t seen Boston in over a year. He was completely disregarding my plans, and I was furious. “You’re nuts if you think we’re not.” He looked at me with a confused look.
I explained how upset I was and of course started getting loud. The fact that he remembered the beach plans and completely disregarded them was incredibly demeaning. In doing so, he was telling me that his unplanned fun mattered and my planned day did not. We could have called it quits at any point throughout the night so we could have done a bit of both. Had he brought it up before 6:00am, I probably would have been receptive of a compromise. I would have said we could leave around 11:00 so we could stay out a little later. At this point, after being told I’m nuts, I wasn’t about to give up any ground. I told him I was going, with or without him. I had made plans with a friend visiting from out-of-town, and I wasn’t about to back out because he wanted to stay out all night.
Against the advice of nearly every couple I’ve ever met, that night (or should I say morning) we went to bed angry…
After much planning with CK‘s friend, Operation Diversion and Surprise was well under way. I successfully threw CK off the scent, even though that meant making him feel like none of his friends love him. I really did feel bad about that. CK truly cherishes the close friends he has. To feel that none of your closest friends care enough about you to spend the evening with you is a bit heartbreaking.
As the end of the day was approaching, I was looking good on time. The man I loved was going to get the surprise he deserved. When my day was ending, I contacted CK to tell him I was finishing up. I told him to come up to Chelsea Market in a cab, and I would hop in before riding up to his apartment.
As I was finishing up at work, I realized I didn’t get CK a card. I’d already bought him a birthday present. A week and a half earlier, I bought us tickets to see Once on Broadway for his birthday. We really enjoyed it, however, in the cab on the way home, we got into a big argument. It severely tainted the night. We were having a great night out, but it turned sour very fast. After some raised voices and a little pushing and shoving, I was ready to head home for the night, but better judgment kicked in. I wanted this night to be special. I wanted this to make up for ruining his “birthday” night out with me.
I quickly ran across the street to Chelsea Market to find a shop to buy a card. Luckily, I quickly found the perfect card for him. As we got more comfortable with each other, we began breaking wind in each other’s presence. It started off innocently enough, but it quickly escalated in days to the point of no inhibition at all. You can obviously see how appropriate the card was.
Just as I was coming back outside, CK pulled up in a cab. I was texting CK’s friend to talk timing, and it was working out well for everyone involved that we were running a few minutes behind. Apparently, all his friends were banking on us running late. They truly know us all too well. This was a big relief. I didn’t know how I would convince CK to hurry up and get ready if just the two of us were going out to dinner. I told him I had a reservation, but I didn’t want to raise suspicion.
We got back to his apartment, and got ready. CK wasn’t the only one getting a surprise that night. I was shocked when he got ready in record time. As we walked out the door, he commented, “Baby, we’re doing really well on time!” I agreed with a big smile and gave him a big kiss.
We walked a few blocks, and I still wouldn’t tell him where we were headed. When we got to Q2, I walked up to the door and opened it for him. He was very pleasantly surprised. “Baby! You picked this because we ate here when I moved in, didn’t you!? You’re so sweet!” I simply replied, “Yup,” as I motioned for him walk in ahead of me to discover his friends. Only problem was, he didn’t notice them. He began talking to the hostess to get us a table for two. That is, until I tapped him on the shoulder and pointed to the big table of all his friends.
I can honestly say, until that moment, I’d never seen CK so happy. He was purely ecstatic! Everyone stood and gave him a big hug. “I can’t believe it! You guys really pulled it off! No one has ever surprised me before,” he said as he was handed flowers. CK’s friend and I shared a sideways glance that simply showed how proud of ourselves we were.
The night was a blast. We all sat and had a lovely meal together. Everyone was happy and smiling and having fun. CK’s friend’s mother even called to sing him happy birthday over the phone. When we finished eating, we all made our way back to CK’s apartment a few blocks away to get ready to go out for the night.
After getting changed, we made our way to Therapy and Industry. We stayed out dancing until the lights came on and the bar shut down. CK looked like he was having the time of his life all night long. We snapped a lot of pictures that night, and looking back, everyone was having a great time.
I think I successfully made up for the botched birthday present. Not only that, I accomplished one of my life’s goals of throwing someone a surprise present. I couldn’t think of a more worthy man than CK to receive that surprise. We all had a truly exciting night out together. I felt a little guilty for making CK feel so low that afternoon, but in the end, I think we gave CK, the man I love with all my heart, a night he’ll never forget.
I had two good dates with HR. There were no fireworks, but after our make-out session at Industry, there could be a connection there.
After closer examination, I came to the realization we weren’t a good fit for each other. We had a lot of common interests, but there was nothing about him that made me yearn for more.
I had to bite the bullet and tell him. Because I was having a busy week, I kept putting off the call. It was awkward, and any excuse I could muster to not call was a good one.
Finally, I got to the point where I realized I was dragging this out far too long. I decided to just text him and explain the situation. I was worried he would be offended I was telling him this over text since he was a classy guy, but I thought it was better than putting it off any longer.
“Hey man. I know I owe you a text or a call. I’m not the type to just fall off the face of the earth… You’re a really nice guy, and I had fun, but I just don’t think you’re what I’m looking for right now. Sorry! I hope you understand…”
I was out with friends for trivia at a local bar in Hoboken when I sent the text. As soon as I sent it, I felt a burden lift and began to enjoy my night out.
While I ate my dinner, I got a reply from HR.
“No worries. Thanks for letting me know. I had fun too, but agree we’re not a match. Best of luck to you in everything.”
I turned to my friends with a smile on my face and said, “See! Why can’t they all be this easy!” showing them the text on my phone. They all laughed because they could sympathize with the uncomfortable situation. They’d all been there before at some point.
Every date I go on teaches me something new. I’m glad I went out with HR, but I’m also glad I could realize when a relationship wouldn’t have legs to stand on. I’m also proud of myself for having the confidence to realize there are other guys out there who may be a much better fit for me.
And with that, I was back out in the dating pool.
This is a follow-up post to the earlier “Round 2” post…
HR and I were finally able to set a time to go on a second date.
This time, we agreed to go to Industry, a popular gay club in Hell’s Kitchen, after work. I had never been before, but this was happy hour on a Monday, so my fear of gay clubs was a little easier to get over.
I walked uptown to his office and waited for him to finish his workday. When he came down, I noticed he obviously changed his clothes. He wore a suit to work every day, and today, he was wearing very tight brown pants and a polo shirt. He looked gayer than a $2 bill. Yes, I know how bad that sounds.
Thinking back, I think it was then I realized we weren’t a match. Maybe that makes me shallow, but I’m really more into masculine guys. However, I still didn’t completely write him off.
We got our drinks and found a comfortable couch to relax on in the back of the bar. We talked casually, facing each other. I was trying to convey a more flirtatious body language. I could tell he was doing the same. After some time passed, I placed my hand on his leg when talking to show my interest.
Out of the blue, one of the drag performers began practicing “her” sets. Drag queens make me feel very uncomfortable, but I’m cool with them as long as they don’t try to interact with me. I don’t need to be a part of the show. When I thought it couldn’t get more awkward, the drag queen came on in nothing but a feather boa barely covering the necessary parts. HR and I discussed drag queens and our feelings about them. I respect them and their choice. I admire their confidence in themselves and their apathy towards others’ judgement.
We talked more, but then the night began to get a lot more physical. At one point, I just went in for the kill. We were facing each other, and I took the opportunity to kiss him. After our missed opportunity to kiss last time, I decided one of us needed to make a move. I usually never have the courage to do so, but tonight, I was properly lubricated and just went for it.
We spent a majority of the rest of the night kissing and cuddling. He had his hand in the top of my polo and was rubbing my chest. He expressed how much he enjoyed it, and said, “Even if you tell me to stop, I don’t think I will. Your chest feels too good.” I was enjoying it, so he had no complaints from me.
Before we knew it, it was 11:30. I couldn’t believe how late it was, and I needed to get home. He both walked over to 9th Avenue, kissed, said goodnight and went our separate ways.
I expressed how good of a time I had that evening, and we talked about seeing each other again…Follow @onegayatatime