Posts Tagged inhibitions

Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself

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.

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Southern Drawl

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…

During my week off from work, I was laying in my bed on Grindr on my tablet. Much to my surprise, the southern guy from OKCupid I connected so well with over the phone popped up. Last I heard from him, he was seeing some guy. That was the reason he gave me for never following through to meet up with me. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with how it all went down. I left a really bad taste in my mouth. I really didn’t want to ever give him a chance, but I was constantly drawn to how well we hit it off when we talked on the phone.

I messaged him, “Well, look who it is!” He responded, and we began chatting a bit. He asked how I was and started getting a bit flirtatious. I told him I was well and pointed out his flirting would not work on me. He’d already turned me off by shooting me down. I detailed for him all the advances I made on him and pointed out how he never even took the time to meet me.

He pulled out the excuse that he wasn’t looking to meet someone else — It just happened. He kept trying to get pictures out of me. I told him I was not looking for sex, especially from him. I pointed out that if he wanted to grab a drink as friends, I would be down, but I wasn’t going to send him pix and do the whole Grindr flirting thing.

I’m not proud of this, but I had an internal conflict in my head. Part of me wanted to steal him away from the guy he was currently seeing. Another part of me wanted to make him fall for me and then dump him. I’m not that kind of vindictive guy, but I have to admit, the thought crossed my mind.

I decided then and there to form a game-plan. I was going to present myself as I am. I wasn’t going to try too hard or be someone I wasn’t, i.e. someone he wanted. I was just going to display my best self. If he happened to choose to go on a date with me, that was his choice, not mine. We exchanged pictures, none of which showed the goods. This is what really seemed to reel him in. He was certainly responding to visual stimuli. He really started getting chatty. I’d already learned he was still seeing someone, but he let it slip that it wasn’t the person he was going on the date with when he dropped me like a bad habit. I called him out for not calling me when things ended with the first guy. I put it all on him. I was running him through a guilt gauntlet. I made myself quite a prize for him to attain. Now, I had his attention. I wasn’t going to chase him. I set the bait, and he was going to chase me.

After more flirting and exchanging of pictures, we made plans to grab drinks after work Monday evening. We agreed upon Chelsea Manor, but when I arrived there, it was closed. He met me shortly thereafter, and we began to walk to find a bar to go to. I met him on the street with a very awkward handshake. He seemed very aloof. I had a feeling this was going to be an awful date!

We found a bar nearby, The Guilty Goose, and sat in the front window drinking a few rounds of beers. I quickly learned how homophobic he was. I’m a fan of guys who aren’t into the scene, but he was so far removed. It was alarming. He wouldn’t even walk through the “gay part” of Chelsea. I wasn’t asking him to go to a gay bar, but that was the neighborhood between his office and mine. There were plenty of places to go that weren’t gay bars.

We chatted over our beers and kinda hit it off once again. After three rounds, he asked if I was hungry, and we decided to grab dinner together. He knew of a good Thai place nearby, so we went there. We ordered a bottle of wine and our food. We didn’t need the bottle of wine. I could tell he was getting quite intoxicated. I was still pretty lucid, but I didn’t want to be drinking that much on a Monday night.

He started getting very flirtatious and sexual. At one point he removed his shoe and began massaging my crotch. I was wondering how the guy he was dating would feel about this. I wasn’t going to move things across the line, but if he did, I wasn’t going to stop him. Some other guy stole him away from me when I was trying to court him. It wouldn’t be my fault if he came to me while seeing someone else. I will say, I egged him on a little by unzipping my pants and offering a challenge to his dexterity. He wasn’t able to maneuver his foot into the opening. Then he tried using his hand, reaching far under the table. When I felt the waitress noticed the under the table horseplay, I got embarrassed and told him to put his shoe back on.

We paid our bill and made our way toward the PATH for me to go home. Apparently, he wasn’t done with me. “I’m really enjoying hanging out with you. Let’s grab another drink.” My goal for the first night was to set the bait, not to win him over. I was very cautious with him. He seemed like a wanderer. I didn’t want to take things too fast with him. He was going to have some decisions to make, and I didn’t want to force his hand with excitement. I wanted him to have the time to choose.

We plopped down at the bar at Jake’s Saloon and ordered a round. He placed his hand in my crotch and began groping me a little. I was getting drunk, so I upped the ante slightly. I put my hand down his pants and began groping him as well. He was making an attempt to do the same with me when I stopped him. He wasn’t very good at not being obvious. That’s when my mind began to develop a plan. I suggested we casually use the bathroom. I would go, and he would follow one minute behind. I wasn’t looking to have sex. I was simply thinking a little making out with some heavy petting.

I went into the bathroom stall, and he followed close behind. He began kissing me and unzipped my pants. He suggested “you show me yours, I’ll show you mine.” We both stood there with our manhood in our hands when he bent down and began licking the tip of mine. It was time to go. I did not want the bartender walking in on us. We put the boys away, zipped up and casually walked back to the bar.

We finished our beers and made our way for the door. I was saying goodbye to him outside the bar because we would be heading in separate directions. I brought up how he was seeing someone else, and I didn’t want to get involved with someone who was involved with someone else. Better judgment was kicking in. I was noticing how his wandering eye would be a problem. If he was willing to dump his current guy for a better model, who’s to say he wouldn’t do the same to me. I was proceeding very cautiously. He assured me things with the other guy were already on their way out. He’d had doubts before even meeting up with me. He wasn’t willing to really kiss me, and when I called him on it, his inhibitions dropped a bit. We kissed a lot. I told him he needs to shape up if he wanted to pursue anything with me. Outside all the sexual flirtations, we really did click. We shared a lot in common and the conversation was good. I wasn’t thrilled he was so southern, but I’m sure that would be something I could get over.

There was potential here, but like I said, I was proceeding with caution. He was far from perfect, but I did like him. This wasn’t simply a game of cat and mouse. This was the first time I truly played the game with purpose, but he was the end goal. Only time would tell if anything meaningful would blossom…

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