Posts Tagged Matinée
When last I wrote about my budding relationship with Clark Kent and myself, we had gotten well past the honeymoon stage. We were trying to maintain a relationship across state lines, and it wasn’t easy. That being said, we were still seeing a lot of each other, and I started to wonder if maybe it was too much. I often wondered, maybe there is such a thing as too much of a good thing…
We needed to find balance, and that wasn’t going to be easy. We’d been dating four short months, but, in reality, it felt like we’d been dating for close to a year, even though we were still figuring things out.
That Thursday night, my old roommate was gathering with friends at the new waterfront biergarten in Hoboken for drinks to celebrate his birthday (which I was unaware of until deep into the night). I mentioned it to CK and asked him to join me when he finished work. He agreed, but he had to work later.
When I arrived, I didn’t know too many of my old roommate’s friends in attendance. I began texting and calling other friends to join us. P and S both responded, “On my way.”
As you can imagine, it takes a lot of time to write a blog, so I was utilizing my free time during the day at work to accomplish this. Apparently, my boss took notice to my poor use of free time since he wasn’t seeing any productivity coming from my time between projects. (Perhaps you can understand why I have been neglecting this blog for the past few months).
This is relevant because I was also coming off a really rough day at work. I received my review that morning, and it was not positive. My only saving grace was a preemptive strike made a few weeks earlier.
I noticed an opportunity to take over our social media duties (which were being completely neglected) and asked my boss if I could take them on. During my review, when he pointed out my poor utilization of free time, I countered with the argument, “That’s why I approached you about taking on the social media duties.” I thought maybe I’d saved my a$$. He countered with, “I only wish you’d come to me about it three years earlier.” I was defeated.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, I learned later that day we’d be merging with another company. So, on top of a bad review, I was petrified of being labeled a redundancy. Two weeks earlier, my career looked to be shaping up. I was taking on a new role, and finding early success. My experience with this blog and other social media was really paying off. Now, it looked as if my whole world could be crumbling around me.
A majority of it was out of my hands at that point. All I could do was put my nose to the grindstone for the coming weeks. But, on a Thursday night, I needed to forget. That meant I needed more than a few stiff drinks!
I drank beer after beer while mingling with old friends and some new ones. I was having quite a good time, but I was missing CK. I was texting with him back and forth discussing his arrival.
When he finally arrived, I was thrilled to see him. He could be comfort after a rough day, and I was finally properly lubricated enough to have a good time and forget about work, enjoying a night out with my man and friends.
CK grabbed a beer and immediately dove right into the conversation with all of us. I was chatting with S’s roommate, and the discussion quickly changed to his tattoos and body piercings. CK was a bit fascinated by tattoos at that time. He detailed for me the elaborate tattoos he was dreaming of getting.
S’s roommate was very much Mr. Machismo. I wasn’t sure how comfortable he was with the whole “gay thing.” There was just something about his attitude and the way he carried himself that I didn’t think he’d be too comfortable. I never formally came out to him, as I’d only met him a handful of times, but I assumed S clued him in. I was very pleasantly surprised just how cool he was with the whole “gay thing.” He turned out to be quite a laid back guy. It just goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover.
The two quickly formed a bond. At some point in the conversation, the roommate started talking about his anxiety over having to fly the next. CK took it upon himself to aid in this situation.
Immediately, I was unhappy. My mood shifted abruptly. I shut down. I’ll never quite understand why I react in this way to these types of situations. I think it stems from striving to suppress my feelings at the moment so I don’t create a scene in public. The deeper question is why do I become so enraged in the first place?
This time, CK wasn’t exactly participating. He wasn’t doing anything wrong, however, aiding and abetting someone else’s wrongdoing was equally as bad in my mind. He was enabling behavior he knew I was opposed to. I wasn’t just feeling anger. I was scared. I was afraid I was going to lose him. We’d had this discussion time and time again. If we continued to have the conversation, eventually, he would be faced with an ultimate decision, and there was a chance I would be a casualty of that decision. All of my emotions tied back to this very thought. I was afraid in the end he wouldn’t choose me, and as a result, I would have to choose me. I’d have to say goodbye for my own sanity, facing my greatest fear in life, being alone, on top of losing a man I loved. Obviously, I never wanted it to come to that.
I managed to suppress this anger and feeling of betrayal. My mind was jumping back to all the other times we discussed this very topic. This was only exacerbated because I’d written the blog post about our night at Matinee that afternoon. One of those very conversations was fresh in my mind.
I managed to suppress all this until we walked in the door of my apartment, and then I unleashed. I told him how unacceptable his behavior was, and he was completely dumbfounded. He had no idea why I could be so enraged.
Of course this only fed my fury. Had he forgotten all these other times we’d discussed this? Was I living a broken record? We argued extensively about this, and CK threatened to leave multiple times, making it to the door a handful of times.
We finally had a breakthrough at some point when he either feigned to understand my stance, or what I was so vehemently explaining finally sunk in.
We argued a lot about a lot of small things —Things I felt were very important. He felt I was trying to change him. I wasn’t. Honestly! I loved him. I just felt he needed to grow up in some aspects of his life. A person needs to adapt and evolve when entering a relationship, and I still wasn’t sure he was putting in the effort. I wasn’t trying to mold him into my ideal mate. I didn’t have a preconceived notion of who he should be. But, I felt there were some sacrifices he’d need to make to make me happy.
Perhaps I was the one who needed to change. In reality, we both needed to. Only time would tell if we could come to consensus on these types of issues.
Regardless, after fighting, we kissed and made up. Well, we more than made up. This was all followed by a lively romp in the sack. It was so incredible, we both finished at the same time for the first time. As we showered, we discussed our epic make-up sex. “And don’t think you can start picking fights with me just so we can have make-up sex buster,” I punctuated. We both had a good laugh.
No matter how much we fought, at the end of the day, I loved him. He made me happy. I loved that no matter how many times we fought, we always found a way to make up. I wanted to grow old with him, but the key word in that phrase for us would be grow…
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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…
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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.
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The party was in full swing. Matinee had a huge turnout, and some of my suspicions were already confirmed. I was in for a long night.
As the evening progressed, CK ran into a handful of people he knew. I was very leery of many of these people because I assumed the majority were previous hookups and fellow circuit party enthusiasts. My guard was up. No one was going to make a move on my man without me having more than a few words to say. One previous hookup in particular was starting to weird me out. I would catch him staring at CK across the crowd, which turned me into a guard dog. I wasn’t going to let CK out of my sight.
I still had a lot of anxiety after he told me he didn’t go to the last circuit party because he wasn’t sure what might happen. It was honest, but it didn’t exactly instill confidence in me. I wasn’t holding it against him, because after all, he was forthcoming. But, that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to be hypersensitive.
Speaking of infidelity, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of one of the newlyweds I’d met earlier in the night with his tongue down another man’s throat. I scanned the crowd for his husband, and he too was sucking face. My heart sank a little. I was so thrilled to have met a gay married couple because it is something I long for. But, judgment aside, after witnessing their definition of marriage, it brought the idea I would never find a man who shared my own definition of marriage back to the surface.
Since Hip was still recovering from hip replacement surgery, he needed periodic breaks from all the dancing. I can’t tell you how happy I was to have him there. Every time he took a break from the dance floor, I joined him. I needed a break as much as he did. While we stood on the sidelines, I complained, “When is this lozenge going to kick in!?” We chuckled a bit while watching CK search the crowd to try to find us until I finally got his attention.
Hip wasn’t the only other guy I knew there. I’d been texting with my ex, Broadway, who I am still friendly with. We rarely see each other anymore, but when we do, it’s completely platonic. I learned he’d be attending, so I suggested we at least take a minute to say hi. I also wanted to introduce him to CK so they could both put a face to the name. We managed to find each other in the crowd over the phone and exchanged a hug. He introduced me to the guy he was there with, and I introduced him to CK. It felt a little forced for some reason, so I didn’t dwell on the conversation, and we said goodbye.
As the night continued, I began to feel the effects of my lozenge. I was very happy because I mellowed me out. I was in a good state from there on out. That is until others in the group pulled out some of the stronger vices. It was my first time witnessing this. I don’t feel I’ve lead a sheltered life, but my friends and I just never put ourselves in those situations. I felt quite uncomfortable. A big part of that is the unknown — I knew very little about it. Another part of it stems from resentment. I feel a sense of, “Am I not enough that you feel the need to heighten the experience?”
I tried to turn a blind eye to it and get on with my night. CK really wanted to be there, and he really wanted me to have a good time. I wanted to give him that. I wanted him to see me enjoying myself, so that’s what I did. I worried about the things I could control and tried to forget the rest.
We danced and danced and danced. We had a really great time dancing. Natasha Bedingfield performed, and I even saw my favorite Twitter couple, @AustinWilde and @AnthyRomero. I pointed them out to CK, and he suggested I go say hi. I put myself in their shoes and refrained. They were there to have a good time, just as I was, and I didn’t want to bother them.
Another round of substances made a pass through the group, and once again, I was feeling on edge. This time I wasn’t as good at hiding my lack of comfort. CK was really good about checking in with me to make sure I was alright and having a good time. When I told him how my lozenge made me feel great, he chuckled and gave me a kiss.
The night was coming to a close. Sure, it was stressful as all hell, and when it was over, I felt incredibly relieved. Relieved and exhausted. It takes so much out of you to be so anxious for so long. But, looking back, I did have fun. After experiencing that and XL the night before, the next go around would be far less stressful. I would a least know what to expect. People began making their way back to the ferry to hit up more club parties in Manhattan. Before we left, CK and I snapped a few romantic pictures with the city skyline in the background. This part was easy. I could stop worrying and finally let myself be engulfed by the love I shared with CK. In the end, that was what mattered. When he was happy, I was happy. This was something he’d been looking forward to for months, and I hoped I delivered.
While we were away from the crowd, CK pulled me in to discuss our plans for the remainder of the night. Originally, we discussed going to Work (Peter Rauhofer was spinning) at Roseland, but to my surprise, he suggested another plan. “Baby, tonight’s been amazing! And I know Work’s gonna be off the hook, but if you’re game, I think we should go to a really exclusive after-party. Getting on the guest list is nearly impossible, but we’re on it.” Without another beat, he said, “Let’s go back to my place and make love till the sun rises. Words cannot express how welcome those words were.
When pointed out how I felt bad abandoning Hip, I suggested we get back to him. Of course, I was thrilled to learn he met an aussieMan on the dance floor who took quite a shining to him. They were having a great time together, and I couldn’t have been happier. While I loved having Hip there, I worried he felt like a third wheel with CK and I. That doesn’t go to say he should have. I loved having him there. To be honest, I don’t think I would have made it through the night without him. He is an amazing guy, and he really deserves an amazing man to make him happy. It also just so happened the aussieMan had an extra ticket to Work, so Hip became his plus one.
We all rode the ferry and the subway together until we reached Hell’s Kitchen. After an exchange of hugs, we parted ways. CK and I walked home blissfully hand-in-hand. CK may get a little bent out of shape when I say this, but that was my favorite part of the night. I was always happiest when it was just the two of us. True, we are both social beings and love being surrounded by people, but there’s nothing quite like some quality time with my man! I really did love him!
When we got home, we were both quite exhausted, however, we weren’t too exhausted to take advantage of each other before dozing off. But, that’s another story for another day…
@AnthyRomero, @AustinWilde, abandon, after-party, anxiety, anxious, Aussie, bent out of shape, blind eye, bliss, break, Broadway, chuckle, circuit party enthusiasts, city skyline, CK, Clark Kent, clubs, Coming Out, confidence, control, conversation, dance, Date, Dating, definition, exclusive, exhausted, expectations, extra ticket, ferry, forced conversation, forget, forthcoming, Friendship, Gay, Gay dating, gay marriage, gay sex, grindr, guard dog, guard up, heart sank, Hell's Kitchen, Hip, hip replacement surgery, Hoboken, Homosexual, honest, Hooking Up, hookups, husband, hypersensative, infidelity, introduce, judgment, kiss, leery, long night, love, lozenge, make love, Manhattan, Matinée, mellow, Natasha Bedingfield, New York, New York City, newlyweds, on edge, Peter Rauhofer, plans, platonic, plus one, quality time, relationship, relieved, resentment, romantic, Roseland, Sex, sheltered, sidelines, social, staring, stressful, subway, sucking face, sunrise, suspicions, third wheel, tongue, Twitter couple, uncomfortable, vices, weird me out, work, XL
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…
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CK and I arrived home, and after a night of shirtless dancing together, we were both ready to get down and dirty. Our night out with Old News was a little disappointing and frustrating for me, but I put it all in perspective for myself. CK loved me, and he came home with me. He no longer lived in the same building as Old News, and I hoped they saw very little of each other when I wasn’t around. I had no reason not to trust CK with him. After all, it was he who told me about their failed plan to move in together when Old News professed his feelings for him. We’d only been on a handful of dates at the time, but he felt comfortable telling me about their brief history.
Anyway, back to the good stuff. Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. We were barely in the door before CK started pillaging my body. He was stripping my clothes from my body as we both moved toward the bed. I got him down to his briefs before he shoved me backward onto the bed. He pounced like a jungle cat, and we began to roll around on the bed furiously. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other. They were exploring every inch of the other’s body.
At first he was on top, and then I was on top. Our positions changed by the minute. Things were incredibly passionate, and what ensued was the best sex we’d had to date. It was raw and sexy, passionate and dirty. We were both enjoying ourselves immensely, climaxing in turn.
We laid next to each other as beads of sweat ran across our bodies. The sex was HOT! We were both exhausted since it was late, and we had a long night at the club. We passed out like rocks until the morning.
When we woke in the morning, we had a busy day ahead of ourselves. We got up, showered and made our way out the door. I was starving. While CK was on his cleanse, drinking a shake, I needed real food. Since I was watching what I ate, we stopped at Subway on the way to his friends’ apartment. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this after the way his friend treated me, however, I was going to be the better man. I would kill him with kindness.
When we arrived, I got a tepid welcome from his friend. Hip, however, was thrilled to see me and gave me a big hug. We sat and chatted a bit about our plans for the rest of the day. Although his friend bought he and his boyfriend tickets to Matinee that evening, he decided not to go. Everyone else tried to convince him to come, to no avail. He wasn’t budging. Hip, on the other hand, wasn’t planning to go since it wasn’t that long ago he had hip replacement surgery. With some gentle prodding, we convinced him to join us. I was utterly thrilled. I needed a bit of a security blanket for this event. I was freaking out a little inside, and having another friend there would be key to my sanity. It also worked out for Hip and I because we were able to buy the unused tickets, but that’s another story for another time.
CK and I were on a schedule. Unbeknownst to me, CK had volunteered us to be a part of some street team for Matinee. I had no idea what he’d gotten us into. I already wasn’t entirely comfortable with the weekend ahead, and he wasn’t making it easier by surprising me with activities.
We made our way to Columbus Circle to meet up with a friend of a friend of someone he chatted with on Twitter. I still had no idea what we were doing, and CK wasn’t even waiting for me to cross the street. I stood on one side of the street watching him walk away completely oblivious to my lack of presence as he ran in front of cars talking on his phone. I was really starting to get annoyed. He wasn’t taking my feelings into consideration at all.
About 30 yards later, he realized I wasn’t there and finally turned around to look for me. By then, I was approaching him after the light changed. I don’t think my faced could have shown more apathy than it did in that moment. I asked him what we were doing and who we were looking for, and finally I got some answers, vague as they were. “We’re looking for a bunch of hot boys handing out flyers. We’re going to help hand out flyers or something,” he said. We searched all over Columbus Circle for these guys, even venturing underground to Equinox.
Finally, we managed to meet up with them. There was an adorably mismatched couple, a black diva and a Brooklyn hipster. While we waited for them to get their act in gear, I stood analyzing the couple. I was a little fascinated by them. They obviously both worked out a lot, but one was an energetic, tiny guy, and the other a soft-spoken, burly bear. I was very curious who was the top and who was the bottom, but I dared not ask.
Apparently, I was going to fully embrace the essence of pride. The plan was for us to canvas Hell’s Kitchen, handing out flyers to passersby while we made a ruckus to draw attention. We were outfitted with t-shirts, buttons, hats, large signs, water guns, flyers and more. I took a t-shirt and followed everyone else’s lead, customizing my shirt by ripping and tearing it. I felt very self-conscious, but I tried to embrace it. There was no getting out of this, so I needed to make the best of it. I took a large stack of flyers and started handing them out to every guy we passed and placed them on every surface I could.
Along the way, we made a few stops at stores and made some new friends. I was actually starting to have fun with my new street brigade. The burly bear still fascinated me. This wasn’t because I had a crush on him or anything. I’m just a people watcher, and I was noticing how shy this big beefy dude was. I also learned his boyfriend was one of the dancers on the stage the night before at XL. We stopped at Tagg to say hi to some guys selling apparel on the sidewalk in front of the store. They told us they had a free open bar and invited us to take advantage. I wasn’t ready to drink yet, but I thought maybe it might loosen me up.
We continued down Ninth Avenue, handing out flyers and stopping in more stores. While in Universal Gear, CK fell in love with a pair of booty shorts. The rest of the crew was ready to keep on keeping on, but in true fashion, CK was stopping to try them on. He decided he “absolutely NEEDED” to wear them to Matinee that night. Naturally. I went outside to hang with the rest of the crew while he stood in line to pay, telling them they could move on, and we’d catch up.
Eventually, CK emerged elated, and we were on our way. Hip joined us for the last leg of our journey. We had fun together, messing around until we reached our final stop.
I am delighted to say, I actually had a good time promoting. Normally, that sort of thing is my biggest nightmare. But, by embracing the experience fully, I was able to let go and have fun; I simply stopped caring!
When we finished our promotion journey, we made our way back to CK’s apartment to get ready. Little did I know what exactly that would entail, but I knew the night was only going to get crazier and more stressful from there.
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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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