Posts Tagged Matinée
Another Fourth of July, and another night of disappointment. I’d gone to bed that night contemplating my relationship. Was I strong enough to continue to deal with this? I looked to the future and ran numerous scenarios in my head. I asked myself, “Is this worth it? Should I get off this train now before it’s a complete train-wreck?”
When we woke in the morning, we discussed what happened the night before. CK apologized. He told me he didn’t know I was so black and white on the issue. That’s when I laid it all out for him. It was not okay nor would it ever be okay. We’d had this discussion before, and I wasn’t going to continue to have it anymore. I made it clear: I wasn’t going to stand by on the issue. He had a choice to make. He took that to heart and told me he would do whatever it takes. “I love you with all my heart, and I will do anything to keep you in my life,” he added.
It appeared we were finally on the same page, and we both went to work. I had a half day at the office, so when I finished, I went home and hit up the gym. I was finally getting back into the swing of things. I’d injured my shoulder lifting in the gym months prior, so it was difficult to motivate myself to continue going when I wasn’t able to lift to my full potential. When I hopped in the pool, I was able to get back into shape with low impact on my shoulder. This was my way to finally get back in shape while my shoulder healed.
When I finished at the gym, I went home and packed a bag to head back into the city. CK, Hip and I were all going to see Scissor Sisters in concert that night. After the argument getting ready for Matinee, I asked CK ahead of time to help me come up with an outfit to wear. I didn’t want this to turn into another fight. It worked out much better this time because I was able to pack my bag with confidence. I wasn’t nearly as self-conscious as I was last time. When I was ready, I hopped on my motorcycle and made my way to Hell’s Kitchen.
When I arrived, CK and Hip were prepping a pitcher with drinks to head to the roof to share a cocktail. They both seemed a little loopy, like they’d been drinking for quite some time. We grabbed the pitcher and made our way upstairs to watch the sunset. Within a half hour, we polished off the entire pitcher. When we ran out, we made our way back downstairs. I was in a drinking mood, so Hip and I ran out to get more libations while CK hopped in the shower. We came back and mixed up another pitcher. I sat on the bed with Hip watching while CK tried on about twenty outfits and permutations of accessories.
As I watched CK while we listened to music, something about him didn’t quite to add up. He wasn’t being himself. I grew suspicious and my attention was hypersensitive. I was noticing everything. Hip put on Cedric Gervais’ Molly. The song continued asking me if I can help her find “Molly,” and I began to wonder if the two of them had already found her. When Hip handed CK something small, and he placed it in a box on his nightstand, I grew even more suspicious. Who knows what it was, but everything wasn’t adding up in my mind. Nothing I saw was concrete. But, I still couldn’t shake the notion something was up. I felt it in my gut. Were promises being broken already?
We continued getting ready for a few hours. This was all new to me. I never went to concerts and got ready with friends. I was just taking it all in. That’s when CK insisted I change my clothes. He wanted me to join in. I told him I was already wearing my outfit, but he wasn’t satisfied. He insisted I try on his jeans instead of my own. He felt they were more suitable, and I was embarrassed. This is exactly what I was trying to avoid. I protested, but he continued to insist I at least try on his jeans. When I couldn’t get them past my thighs I pulled them off and put a stop to the whole conversation. I was already on edge with my suspicions. I insisted I was going to continue to be myself. I had my own individuality, and I didn’t need to compromise that for him. “Are you embarrassed by me? I’m not just some Ken doll you can play dress up with,” I protested. I got dressed again and made my way to the living room. He successfully put me in a bad mood, and I was really tempted to tell him to go without me. I wasn’t looking forward to this concert at all.
I sat in the living room while they continued to get ready in the bedroom. Time was passing quickly, and it was getting later and later. I was continuing to refill my glass while I waited. I figured if I was in a bad mood, at least I could get a little drunk to put me in the proper state of intoxication for a concert. When they finally decided on an outfit and realized it was past time to go, they couldn’t locate the tickets.
I made an effort to look for the tickets with them. CK insisted he left them in a specific spot, but they were no longer there. I remembered seeing them in that spot, so it was obvious someone moved them. After being accused of moving them numerous times by CK, only to respond declaring my innocence, I decided to stop looking. I sat back and watched the frenzy. This was not my problem. I never touched the tickets, let alone having them in my possession. I didn’t even want to go to the concert at this point. First CK was insensitive about my attire, and then he insinuated I lost the tickets he misplaced.
As time passed, CK got more and more agitated to the point he started throwing things around his bedroom. His accusations became more and more pinpointed on Hip and I. He was taking no responsibility for misplacing the tickets that were in his possession. As his frustration level rose, so too did mine. I wasn’t going to stand there and take his verbal abuse when I was 100% sure of my innocence. It was clear he was intoxicated, and I wanted nothing to do with this situation. It was time for me to go home. I began to gather my things to leave when the situation got physical.
When he started to get aggressive, Hip intervened at my request because I wasn’t going to get into a shoving match. I had my fill. I wasn’t going to fight with an irrational man. I was just going to leave.
As I made my way to the door while CK got in my face and shouted hurtful things at me, Hip separated us, pulled me aside and managed to convince me to stay, but after all that, I was done. Against my better judgment, I stayed. I sat on the couch and waited for someone to find the tickets. I was in for a miserable night. Regardless of what was to come, I chalked the night up to a complete failure…
This year was the first time I was fully participating in Pride Weekend, and I have to say, it was certainly starting out to be an interesting one to say the least. Going into the weekend, I was petrified my relationship with CK wouldn’t survive. A lot of that due to the baggage I was still carrying around from my previous relationships. The guys from my past didn’t appreciate me, and I didn’t want to go through that again. That wasn’t helped by a few comments CK had made to me in full disclosure. Let me point out, he never gave me a reason not to trust him, however, he never gave me a reason to trust him either. It would take time, but eventually I would learn to trust him.
Overall, I had a good time at Matinee. I may not have been able to realize that at the time because I was so stressed throughout the night, but looking back from a relaxed state, I am able to recognize I was having a good time. When we got home that night, we had an even better time. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with everything that went on that night, but I was thrilled to be in the arms of the man I loved. We had amazing sex that night. It seemed to be a turning into a trend. Our sex life was indescribable. The passion was without parallel. We were both strong men, so tossing each other around came easy and provided fun and excitement. We even pulled out a reverse cowgirl or two. To put it succinctly, it was epic.
We slept in the following morning. We both had a long day. My exhaustion came at my own hand from mental anguish. CK’s exhaustion came more from hip gyrations on the dance floor. I was happy to relax for a bit with some light pillow talk. Before the weekend began, CK mentioned going to Alegria Sunday night. I told him right off the bat, I would not be able to do that. I had to go to work Monday morning, so that was not something I would participate in. Again, I didn’t really want him to go without me, but I wasn’t going to stop him.
We got a really slow start, and it took a long time for us to get out of the apartment. A part of me wanted to see the parade since I’d still never quite seen it before, but once again, I was going to miss it. In the big picture takeaway, I was alright with that as well. We walked from Hell’s Kitchen down to the Village to see what was still going on. Along the way, I spotted Hunter Parrish of Weeds fame coming out of Starbucks and pointed him out to CK. Once we got down to the Village, we came upon some of CK’s friends from Miami and stopped to chat with them for a bit. They were headed to Alegria that night and encouraged us to join them. CK turned to me and asked how I felt about the idea.
I was ready to kill him. The part of that interaction that bothered me the most was the hypocrisy. When I had done something of a similar fashion, CK was sure to point out how unfair that was and how uncomfortable it made him. Now, he was doing the same thing after we had a long conversation about avoiding putting each other in that exact situation. I gave him such a look. I think he picked up on it rather quickly and told them he wasn’t sure what we were doing yet. He told them he’d hit them up and try to go. They commented, “Yea… You’re not going to show up,” through a chuckle.
After that, we reached out to Hip to see how his day was going. The night before, he met a cute Aussie, and they were heading to the unofficial after-party at Work. CK and I were anxious to get the details on how the night went. He wasn’t far from us, so we stayed put while he made his way toward us. He greeted us with big hugs and began detailing his night. We were all feeling quite peckish, so we decided to grab a bite to eat a few blocks away. On the walk there, CK literally almost trampled an incognito Matthew Broderick, looking quite disheveled I might add. We sat outside Cowgirl and ordered food while we talked and took in the sights passing us by. We were right at the end of the parade route, so it was quite the sh*tshow. Apparently, the day was also full of celebrity sightings. While we ate, Hip noticed Colin Farrell walking up the street away from the parade. This of course spurred a whole new conversation about Colin’s sexuality and prowess.
It was a fun day, and I couldn’t have thought of a better way to end Pride Weekend than with my boys. It was the perfect cherry on top to a long weekend. We had a gay ol’ time joking, laughing and judging the sh*t out of the people who passed by. I drank my fill of people watching while I chased it down with fried chicken.
Overall, I had a good time at all the Pride events. Granted, the weekend stressed me out so much I probably should have been put on anti-anxiety medication, but I still had a good time. I opened me up to trying similar experiences down the road I wouldn’t have before the weekend. I was slowly coming out of my shell and finally beginning to bear some of that gay pride, and it was only going to grow from there.
CK and I had a fun afternoon promoting the circuit party we were attending that evening. When we got back to CK’s apartment, CK, Hip and I relaxed listening to music and chatting before getting ready, however we didn’t have all that much time before we needed to go to Governor’s Island for Matinee.
I watched from the sidelines while CK and Hip played dress up. My work in that arena was done. I had to decide what I was wearing the day before when I packed my bag for the weekend. I witnessed CK try on roughly 30 different permutations of outfits before he finally got every detail just the way he wanted. Meanwhile, I was stressing about how I could make my outfit gay enough so I wouldn’t stand out but normal enough to feel comfortable in my own skin. Hip didn’t have much work to do either. Originally, he wasn’t planning to go, so he pretty much had the clothes on his back with a few embellishments from CK.
I wasn’t thrilled with the shirt I originally chose, and the shirt I got from promoting seemed like it would work out well for me. Apparently, CK had the same thought. We were worried we’d look like twins, but Hip assured us it was cute. After carving up his own t-shirt, he insisted on taking a scissor to mine, but I asked him not to. He surmised that he had better judgment than I did, but I stood my ground. I wanted to go to this thing feeling like myself. I wasn’t going to change that just for some event.
Sure, I was trying to fit in, but I wanted to maintain some level of individuality. Of course, since I was already on edge, this started an unnecessary argument. I was shutting down. He was making me feel even more anxious about the night, and that was the last thing I needed. Things got pretty heated until he realized what was going on. I was going to add a few more cuts in my shirt, but I wasn’t going to wear the strands of fabric he turned his into.
We finally settled on attire and were headed to the bar knowing drinks would be expensive at Matinee. I wasn’t thrilled with POSH, the location choice, as Broadway always called it Poor Old Sad Homos. I didn’t want to hang out with a bunch of creepy old ‘mos, but I’d never been so I didn’t really protest. We had a quick round of drinks before venturing to Governor’s island.
We walked across the island of Manhattan until we found the right subway stop to get us downtown to the ferry. My anxiety was getting to me, and on the way to get cash from the ATM, CK and I had a small breakdown. He pulled me aside to make sure we were cool before we got on the ferry while Hip made himself scarce. He managed to reassure me everything was going to be all right, and we were going to have a great time. I kinda needed that to snap me out of it. I was getting into my head once again, causing all kinds of problems. Sometimes a vivid imagination can be a curse. After that, things were better, and CK and I were actually talking to Hip about how we discussed what a marriage between the two of us might be like, such as the wedding party. Hip was thrilled to hear he would be included in this.
After a quick ferry ride, we were there. We made our way through the line and posed for a picture as we entered the party. When I noticed a Grindr Pride sign, I insisted CK and I snap a picture in front of it. We’d been joking about contacting them to do a testimonial like eHarmony commercials.
This was it. I was making my circuit party debut. As we came around the bend, the festivities came into view. It was a sea of shirtless men. I may sound stupid for saying this (and I wasn’t the only one to think this), but when CK told me it was a “water park,” I was expecting a lot more water. I wasn’t expecting water slides or anything, but I wasn’t expecting the entire party to be on sand and dry land.
The first thing we did was head to the bar to get a drink, and boy did I need it. Of course, as we predicted, the drinks were not cheap. I immediately wished I brought more cash. While I knew there were be an abundance of illicit substances, I wasn’t planning to participate. (I’m probably going to come across like a complete goodie-two-shoes here). I was, however, planning to get pretty hammered to loosen me up. I wasn’t going to be closed-minded, and if I felt comfortable partaking, I would. That being said, I’d never done anything other than pot before, and I was already out of my element. I thought one anxiety-causing experience at a time was plenty.
Alcohol wasn’t going to be the only thing to get me through the night. My friend D supplied me with a lozenge from a medical facility in San Francisco after his last trip there. I didn’t quite have any use for it until that night. I thought it would be the perfect thing to mellow me out. He told me all the hang-ups, but the benefits seriously outweighed any of the possible negative effects.
I unwrapped my lozenge and waited for it to kick in. D told me to suck on half, and save the other half for later, especially since it was my first time, but half way through, I wasn’t feeling a thing. I kept sucking on it until there was nothing left.
In the meantime, I was dancing and trying to have a good time with Hip and CK. We met a lot of new people, including one couple that recently wed. I was thrilled to hear that, as they were the first married gay couple I’d met in person, but I’ll circle back to them later.
While CK and I were dancing, a cute young blond boy came up and started dancing with us. It was plain to see he was feeling some sort of high. CK was facing me, and the boy came up and started dancing up on his backside. I wasn’t thrilled with this, and my heart started pounding out of my chest. I tried to be cool and remain calm. I don’t know why I get so worked up about these things, but it’s like a trigger. CK wanted to open my mind and suggested I get in the center. I would later learn, he thought I might enjoy being the center of attention like that, however I explained to him that was the last thing I wanted. It started off innocent enough, but then the guy began thrusting himself against CK’s backside, and I nearly lost it. I wasn’t going to go off on the kid or anything, however, I wanted it to stop. I wanted it to stop NOW! I think CK got the hint from my face and gently shuffled the kid away. Minutes later, the kid came up behind me and started dancing against my backside, but I turned around and politely shook my head no and said, “Sorry.” I could see it in his eyes — This kid was in another world.
It was then I knew I was in for a long night. I wasn’t necessarily worried what CK would do. I was more worried what others would do with him. I had a feeling our definitions of what was acceptable differed. I was petrified of witnessing something he thought was innocent, and I thought unacceptable. Everyone was in an altered state, just as I suspected, and I wasn’t exactly from the “anything goes” camp many of the other attendees were a part of. I needed to find a way to calm down, or I was going to drive myself clinically insane…
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.