Posts Tagged LA

Half Day Fun

Monday at work, I received a email from UPS notifying me a delivery attempt was made. When I arrived home Monday night, I had a notice on my door from UPS. They’d been there earlier in the day and attempted to deliver the leather chair I ordered. No one was home, but luckily the driver gave me his cellphone number so I could call him when I got home. I called him, and he delivered my chair around 7:30 at night. (I love my UPS man!)

I’d already informed work I’d be taking a half-day to accept the chair, so I kept those plans. It would allow me to take care of a few things after my emotional trip to LA.

Since I didn’t have to get up early Tuesday morning for work, I decided to reach out to a guy I’d been chatting with for quite some time on Grindr. I was very apprehensive because he was so young. He is 22 and is still in college. I told him straight up my hang-up with his age. That being said, I still agreed to meet him, but I explained it wasn’t an ideal situation.

When we first talked on Grindr, he was looking mainly for a hookup. He had an amazing body, but I was making an effort to calm down with the hookups. I told him I was looking for something more substantial. He was very interested in this response, but he already showed his cards. I knew he was there more for sex. We agreed to meet up for a drink sometime, and I went to bed.

Tuesday morning, I let my hormones get the better of me. I woke up horny as usual, and I found him on Grindr once again. I asked him if he wanted to come over. The conversation quickly morphed into sexual territory.

We both talked about a few fantasies, and I quickly learned he had an adventurous side. I was very turned on, so I told him to come over. He explained he needed to shower but would be up for coming over. I too showered in anticipation of his arrival.

While we talked about our fantasies, we discussed a little fun when he arrived. I told him how hot it would be if he undressed in the hallway before entering my apartment while I watched through the peek hole. He was more than enthusiastic about this and agreed.

When he arrived at my apartment, I buzzed him in. He came to the door and did exactly as we discussed. I was so incredibly turned on watching from the other side of the door. When he was left in his boxer briefs, he knocked. I let him in and led him to my room. We chatted very short bit before we started making out. He stripped me down to my boxers as well, and we embraced each other while we made out on the bed.

He had a great body — Plenty of muscles and lots of definition. He had the cutest smile as well! Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. This escalated, and the boxers ended up on the floor. I couldn’t keep my hands off him. He was the best looking guy I’d been with in a long time. He was also one of the best kissers I’d been with since I can remember.

Before he came over, we chatted about positions. He told me he usually was a top, but he wanted to bottom for me. He told me he had little experience in the area, but wanted to try it out with me. As things escalated, I whispered in his ear my desires and asked him if I should get a condom and lube. He enthusiastically said yes.

I made sure to take things VERY slow. I was treating him as if he was a virgin — Not my first. It took a little time, but after a short bit, he was very much enjoying himself. I could see waves of goose bumps flowing over his body. It was incredibly sexy. I’d finally found a match for passion in the bedroom. He had the right mix of intimacy and sex, and I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

It became necessary to take a break so he could catch his breath. We talked while he relaxed, mixed in with some more passionate kissing. After some time, we made our way to the edge of the bed and tried a new position, which we both thoroughly enjoyed. It’d been a long time since I was with a man in which I felt our bodies become truly one.

When he had his fill and couldn’t take anymore, we laid next to each other and pleasured ourselves. For once, it didn’t take me too long before I finished. He made a comment about being impressed, but was unable to finish himself. I immediately pegged him as someone who had the same problem I did.

We laid there for some time cuddling. I took a lot of time to take in his smile. It lit up his entire face. He was very cute. He is of a Middle-Eastern decent, which I would never say is my type, but I was really attracted to him.

This guy was one of the few who would be a repeat offender. He too expressed his desire to see each other again as we both got dressed. I was still incredibly turned on watching him stand naked in my room while he put on his clothes. I wasn’t just attracted to him sexually. I could tell he was a special guy. I was attracted to him on an emotional level as well. I just worried about our compatibility. I’ve been out in the workforce for nearly six years now. He still hadn’t even graduated college. I’m not one to discriminate based on age, but I do discriminate on life stage. This would either be a guy who expanded my horizon, or proved my rationale — Only time would tell…

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Late Night Quickie

Sunday night in LA, I took quite a blow to my heart. I tried to prepare myself for the inevitable goodbye, but I didn’t get to say goodbye. I’d driven all over LA trying to connect with The Navigator, but he wasn’t responding.

I faced facts and drove to the airport. I had no idea what else to do with my time, so I just drove to the car rental lot and returned my car. I figured I could at least use some time at the airport to blog a bit. I sat int he airport diner and ate my dinner alone.

My flight home was awful. First off, it was a redeye. I was set to land at 6:00am Monday morning. I had to go to work later that day so I tried my best to sleep on the plane. It was also awful because I was crammed in a widow seat towards the back of the plane. My airline status with United got me nowhere. I barely fit in my seat, and I wasn’t able to stretch out and walk around because the two men next to me were sleeping the entire flight.

I managed to sleep for two hours, but woke up after that. I had no feeling in my ring and pinky finger of my left had. Apparently I slept on it funny. When a fair amount of time passed, and I never regained feeling, I became worried. Maybe I had a blood clot or maybe I’d done some nerve damage. I tried to think about other things and distract myself, but I really started to get worried. I took out my laptop and did some more blogging, but even that was a challenge with two numb fingers. I was really starting to worry, but the feeling didn’t return the rest of the flight. (Four weeks and a doctor appointment later, and I finally regained feeling — I had a nerve impingement — Cubital Tunnel Syndrome).

I was exhausted all day at work Monday. I’d only gotten a few hours sleep on the plane and about one hour in my own bed before work. When I got home after work, I was still horny from my rambunctious trip. I was on Grindr, and a cute guy from the city wanted to come over for some fun. I didn’t turn him down since he was hot and said he’d wear his jockstrap.

When he arrived, I realized he was a redhead. He also had a slight Hispanic accent. He was also quite a presence clocking in at 6’4″. He was not born in America, but had been here a majority of his life. He was decent on the eyes, but nothing you’d run to your friends about. When he arrived we went straight to my room. He slowly got undressed and comfortable until we were both laying on the bed, me in my boxer briefs and him in a jockstrap.

Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. I found the jockstrap very sexy. I’ve always been attracted to the athlete types and find locker rooms to be one of the sexiest places. They just turn me on. Always have.The jockstrap really gave him the leg up in my book. He was looking for a hot top, and I agreed to fill the position, literally. I broke out the condoms and lube, and we have a good time. Sometimes it was a little weird and awkward, but sex is never perfect! He really seemed to be enjoying himself. I did as well, but I could already tell this guy was going to linger. He was a gentle spirit. This would be no wham bam thank you man. I was going to have to sit through some pillow talk.

He started talking about his grandmother and how she is sick. He was flying home the following day to see her before she passed away. It wasn’t looking good. I started to feel bad for him, but then my emotions became distracted when he mentioned things like sleeping with her in her hospital bed. He looked like he was ready to cry, but all I could think about was this strange layout in a hospital room. I understood he was close to her, as she was responsible for raising him, but some of the things he was saying with his accent seemed very strange to me. There was obviously a cultural divide.

After we chatted some more, and he asked if he could use my shower. Now he was really pushing it! I obliged the request, but after that, he was gone.

He showered and toweled off. He began to get ready to go home. He talked about getting together again when he got back. He mentioned how heartless a lot of the other guys he’d hung out with were, and how sweet I was. He said how much he liked me. He wanted this to be an ongoing thing of friends with benefits. He told me his real name and that the name he gave me, Keith, was completely made up. Someone was a little paranoid. I felt like I found a stray puppy who wanted to follow me home. There would never be a next time, but I told him to hit me up when he got back from visiting his grandmother. After about three weeks, he did of course text, and I of course did not respond.

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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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Shout From the Rooftop

Today is a Fast Forward Monday!!!  

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 spending the day with The Navigator at the beach and then sharing a pretty spectacular relaxing evening together, I slept great. There was a sexy naked man in my bed, and I knew just what to do with it. We fell asleep spooning each other. When I woke in the morning, I couldn’t stop smiling when I realized it wasn’t a dream.

I still had to bring myself back down out of the clouds to keep myself in check. This wasn’t going to last forever. I didn’t care. Right now, there was a man in my bed, and he needed to be cuddled.

I rolled over and pulled him close to me. He was still slipping in and out of sleep. As he woke up, we picked up just where we left off the night before. Everything we did was fun. We were constantly ribbing each other and joking around. When we ended laying face to face, I said to him, “I just want to climb up to the roof and shout, I love my best friend, [The Navigator]. Boop!” as I reached my finger out and tapped him on the nose (an homage to Super Bad).

We both laughed for some time. We continued to cuddle all morning. I didn’t care if I stayed in bed all day. I was happy.

We were interrupted by a call from his roommate. I’d already learned he was a really good friend, and he liked to placate his friends. While he was on the phone, I took out my camera and snapped a few pictures of him lying naked in my bed. I don’t think he realized what I was doing because he had his back to me, but I wanted some souvenirs to take home with me.

Turns out, his roommate wanted to go to the grocery store that afternoon. They share groceries, so he regrettably turned to me and told me he had to go with him that afternoon before we went hiking. I was very disappointed, but I wasn’t going to make a stink about it. I quickly hopped in the shower and got ready for the day while he packed up his things and got dressed. As we walked out the door, I pointed out the Marilyn Monroe portrait saying, “My week with Marilyn.”

I drove him home and dropped him off. I was already sad to see him go even though I knew it was a matter of hours before I’d see him again. I grabbed some lunch and made my way back to the pool. I relaxed with some light reading. I needed to finish off the Tickle My Tush book so I could write my review.

When most of the afternoon passed by and some noisy kids arrived at the pool, I texted him to see how he was progressing. He was on his way home, so I decided to go get ready to go hiking and make my way over to his place.

I pick him up, and we take a short drive to the base of the mountain. I grab my camera and we make our way up the trail. When we get to a decent height, he suggests we climb back down part way and hit up another trail that had a much better view. We were having fun just being together. On our way back down, he pointed out a shack along the trail: “I wanted to surprise you, but this is going to be where we live when we get married. :)” While he said this, he took hold of my arm. I knew he was completely kidding, but it was also a sweet gesture.

When we got to the top of the other trail, we had quite a view. We could see LA and Burbank off in the distance. He took my camera from me and took some pictures of me. Again, I thought this was a sweet gesture, as were many things he did. He was just very conscientious. You didn’t have to ask him to do things; he just anticipated it. I was falling for him more and more every minute, but I still maintained my mental state.

I then turned the camera on him and snapped a few pictures. I wanted to remember the great guy I met in LA. I hoped we’d remain friends even after I returned to New York. It would certainly be nice to have a friend on the West Coast. Maybe I could even come back to visit some time.

We climbed back down the mountain and made our way to Burbank. We joked about PDA. We both agreed we weren’t really into it, but at one point he casually reached out his hand and grabbed my junk while looking the other way. I pointed out to him that just because he wasn’t looking at it doesn’t mean other people wouldn’t see it as well. We both laughed and continued to joke about other things. We walked around for a little bit and grabbed some ice cream. He was cold, and I was trying to do my best to keep him warm without making him feel uncomfortable. That’s when he broke the bad news to me.

He’d already prepared me for the possibility he’d have to go to work that night at 1:00am. He was on call, and they hadn’t gotten back to him yet. He needed to go home and nap before that shift started.

My heart sank a little. He wouldn’t be spending the night in my bed again. I needed to be a big boy about it though. I drove him back to his apartment and said goodbye. We talked about seeing each other the following day since it was my last day there; I had a flight out at 10:00pm.

I returned to my hotel room and watched TV in my bed. I knew he was napping, but it was make or break for me to ask him if he would come with me for my ride up the Pacific Coast Highway. After debating for some time, I decided to text him: “Lonely here without you already 😦 haha. What are the chances you’d wanna ride up the PCH with me after work tom?” I really didn’t want to take that ride alone. I loved his company, but I seriously feared a disappointing answer.

The Navigator wouldn’t let me down like that: “LOL. I know. I wish I were cuddling with you!!!!! That sounds like a swell idea.” I was thrilled. I was prepared for the worst, and I got the best. I was looking forward to tomorrow’s road trip so much more now that I had my Navigator! “Marylyn Misses you too,” I added.

Shortly after that text, he requested I send him some pictures of myself. “You’re most handsome ones,” he added. “Whom are you showing me to now?” I asked. Apparently, he wanted to show off his “super long first date” to his roommate and his other friend.

I was pretty crazy about him, but reality wasn’t absent from my brain. It did, however, bring a big smile to my face to know he was showing me off to his friends. It made me feel special and gave me hope I would have a longtime friend from what started as weak Grindr banter…

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So When Are You Moving Back to New York?

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…

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No Day at the Beach

For one, I was really enjoying the company of my new friend, The Navigator. Secondly, the weather was amazing. I couldn’t have been happier to be away from the cold weather on the East Coast.

Contrary to my plan, the weather wasn’t fully cooperative. The closer we got to the coast, the cloudier and colder it got. I didn’t care how cold it was, I was not putting the top on the convertible back up. I did, however, turn the heat up. That kept us cozy while we acclimated to the new weather pattern.

We drove around for a little before finally finding a parking spot. We walked to the beach, and we spread out the blanket I asked him to bring. He sat down, and he started pulling out the other provisions he brought — A bottle of Sprite, a bottle of Absolut, and some snacks and granola bars. I think I was falling in love. He was spontaneous and courteous. I added the provisions I grabbed at the gas station to the pool.

We sat next to each other commenting on how much the weather deteriorated and chatting about some of the surfers. We were among sparse company. The only other people brave enough to hit the sand that day were the surfers we both scoped out.

We relaxed and the conversation from the car continued. He talked about his family and his background. I learned he was a Jehovah’s Witness. He wasn’t very passive in his faith either. He had the prestigious honor to attend a bible college in Brooklyn. While there, through a slip up, it was discovered he is gay. He was excommunicated from the religion and has very limited contact with his family.

My heart was breaking to hear this sad story. He was an incredible man for surviving all that, and even more impressive for his comfort telling this to virtually a complete stranger. I told him about my religion, and my new outlook on it. I told him about my conversation with my mother on Christmas Eve, even though it was nothing compared to what he went through.

As if his story couldn’t be more complicated, I learned his brother is also gay and struggling with his religion. He was actually finding men online and hooking up with them at rest stops until he was nearly caught by police. His brother chose to take a different route in dealing with this. The Navigator tried to suppress his homosexuality with the aid of his religious elders, but came to accept who he is. His brother was not as fortunate to have the mental confidence to know himself. He was going through conversion classes to help him become heterosexual. They were trying to brainwash him. My skin was crawling at the sound of this.

After leaving his religion, he moved around a lot. One move was for a man, but obviously that didn’t work out. He’d been in LA for roughly a year and was still settling in.

I was really enjoying his company. We took turns making trips to the restroom, and when he stood to walk away, I took the opportunity to check him out. In the back of my head, a voice was screaming, “Be careful! You’re on vacation. You can’t fall for another West Coaster!” My heart was not going to be so easily convinced. I was cautiously proceeding. I really liked this guy. If he lived in New York, we’d definitely be dating. He was just what I was looking for. A masculine man who had his life together and knew what he wanted in life.

When we sufficiently froze our a$ses off, we hopped back in the car and made our way back inland. While we drove back to Glendale, I realized I’d already used up all my condoms and almost all the lube. I would need to stop for provisions along the way, but it wasn’t going to be easy with The Navigator with me. I decided to stop at a CVS. While he looked for the bathroom, I looked for the condoms and lube. I told him I needed to buy sunscreen, which I did, but that was very low on the priority list.

When I finally found what I needed, I realized they were under lock and key. I had to push a button that made the announcement, “Assistance needed in the family planning department.” Family planning couldn’t be further from what I was looking for. The irony was killing me. As Broadway always joked, “Butt babies don’t live.” I wondered what I’d done recently to deserve this karma. It was going to be nearly impossible to pull this off without him seeing what I was purchasing.

Someone came to unlock the case, and he turned his head in an attempt to give me my privacy. That was long gone. I grabbed what I needed and quickly walked to the checkout counter. Of course, when I arrived, there was a long line. I took my place in line behind an old man and hoped The Navigator was still looking for the restrooms.

I was next in line. Maybe I was going to get away with this after all. It wasn’t in the cards for me. The old man in front of me was taking FOREVER! Every second that passed was nerve-wracking. I didn’t want him to see what I was purchasing because it may have been perceived presumptuous.

Just then, he walked up behind me. My cover was blown. I tried to hide the products in the crooks of my crossed arms, but there’s a really good chance he saw what I had. Of course, this was also the moment the next register opened up. I walked up and purchased my items. I paid, and we walked back to the car without mentioning what I bought at all.

We talked the whole ride back to his apartment. When I turned onto his street, he turned to me and said, “Sooo, do you want to hang out some more?” Without hesitation, I shouted, “Yes!” He asked if I want to go back to my hotel room and hang out, and I agreed that was a great idea!

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The Navigator

In my Grindr surfing, I’d hit up more than a handful of guys. I struck up a few conversations and blocked a few I wasn’t interested in, but since I don’t pay for Grindr Xtra (I refuse to pay for the service on principle), there were a lot of guys floating around my screen in no man’s land. I casually kept a conversation going with a handful since I’d be there a few days and wanted to keep my options open.

On in particular didn’t really stand out from the crowd. We had weak conversation going — Just the pleasantries. “Hey. What’s up? What brings you to Grindr?” etc.

When I woke, I called Hertz and confirmed they would be picking me up that morning to take me to the lot. A woman drove me while I chatted some more on Grindr. Of course, when I got there they upsold me: “My only compact is at the car wash. You can wait, or for $10 more a day, you can take the convertible.” “Sold!” I exclaimed. I was like a kid in a candy store. I immediately put the top down and sped off back to my hotel. I couldn’t wait to hit the beach!

While I ate my breakfast in the hotel restaurant, I continued to poke around Grindr. I had plans to go to the beach that day, but I would be returning in the evening. Maybe I could find someone to hang out or hit up the bars.

The guy I’d briefly chatted with the previous evening messaged me once again and said, “Good morning.” We talked about what we had planned for the day. I mentioned my plans to hit up the beach when he replied, “What time should I be ready.”

A huge smile lit up my face. “How bout now?” I quickly shot back. Much to my surprise, he was just as serious as I was. “I have a few errands to run, but I can be ready at 11:00,” he added. That was in a half hour. “Perfect. I just got back from picking up my rental, and I’m eating breakfast now. Shoot me your address, and I’ll swing by around 11:00 to get you,” I said.

I gathered my beach things, hopped in the car and sped off to pick up my beach buddy. When I arrived in front, I called him, and he came out. I had only seen a few pictures, but was pleasantly surprised that he was a masculine good-looking man. This was going to be a good day!

We introduced ourselves, and I thanked him for joining me. I immediately asked him if he knew the area and told him my plans to go to Manhattan Beach. He agreed that was the best idea, but told me he had no idea how to get there. I told him he’d be playing navigator while I drove.

We talked casually about our different and similar Grindr experiences. This guy was real. He was very open about things and seemed very smart and very savvy. The longer the conversation drew on, the more I liked this guy. It was an extremely risky move to pick a stranger up in a car and spend the day with him, but it was really paying off. For once, luck was in my favor.

I learned a lot as we drove to the coast. He told me all about his job and what he wants to be doing in the future. I told him about my job, and he asked a lot of questions. He really wanted to know the intricacies of my day-to-day. It was quite apparent we were both really digging each other, and the conversation was so casual like we were friends for years.

On top of it all, he was chivalrous and super sweet. Everything he said came with a gentleman’s tone. He wasn’t self-centered, and from the stories he told, I could tell he was a popular, well-liked guy.

This was turning out to be a pretty great trip, and I was just getting started…

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