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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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Boston Therapy

My relationship with Smiles had come to a close. We met. We discussed. I guess you could say we had closure.

I’d already moved on to other men and began rebuilding my roster. It’d been a while since I was in the game, and I was a little intimidated. Over the three months I dated Smiles I lost my edge. It was my sister who pointed out to me, “I didn’t like you with him. You weren’t yourself. You were much more reserved around him.” I didn’t like the sound of that. I pride myself on being open and myself all the time. Apparently, I lost that somewhere along the way. I needed to find it again.

I would do so with the help of my therapist, Boston. I really lucked out in my timing. Boston was on a break from his final year of school, which meant his services were available. I was going to take full advantage. He was a good friend, and I missed him. I was really disappointed we didn’t get to meet up when he came to visit New York for New Years. It really made me look forward to the day when he graduates, and I convince he to come to New York or Hoboken so I can have him around more often.

Monday night when I got home from work, I called Boston. I wanted to give him an update on how everything with Smiles went since we’d been chatting about it a bit. I told him how everything ended and how I was moving on.

Ironically enough, Boston had a few tales of his own. Apparently, a little of me was rubbing off on him. I was very happy to hear this news. Sometimes I think he puts his love life on the back burner too much. I think he loses hope at times and engulfs himself in other ventures. I want to see him happy. He’s a great guy and he deserves this.

So, when he told me about a straight friend of a friend coming to visit and the sub sequential hookup that ensued, I was downright proud. He managed to attract a “straight” man enough that this man took the opportunity to make out in the bathroom of a club.

I was so happy to have my friend back. I loved swapping stories with him!

I also took the time to explain to him how LES wouldn’t talk to me. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what I could have done to him to make him stop talking to me all of a sudden. We were building a strong friendship. I had the feeling he developed feelings for me, especially since he asked me, “So what’s the deal with [Smiles]?” He invited me to his birthday, and I missed it. I apologized, and he told me it was okay. I invited him to my holiday party, but he dropped off the face of the earth and never showed. Following, I attempted to reach out to him on numerous occasions. Okay, so maybe I’m under exaggerating. I tried to text or call almost every day for a while there. I thought I was being funny, but now looking back, I could easily see my actions being misconstrued. Maybe he thought I had stalker tendancies.

In the end, things got very suspicious. He would never respond to my Facebook messages, and he never showed up as online. However, he never unfriended me. As long as that didn’t happen, I didn’t think he was all the annoyed by me. I sent him another long apologetic message on Facebook asking him to please reach out to me. When I finished writing it, I thought I’d give him a call to see if I could get through. It’d been about a month since I last texted or called. When I did, I was shocked to find out the number was no longer in service. He either blocked my number or changed his.

I couldn’t believe it. Had I really taken it that far. Maybe he wasn’t mad at me. Maybe he was afraid of me. I hung up the phone and immediately sent another Facebook message: “I’m sorry if I’ve been bothering you. Don’t worry. It won’t happen anymore.” I was mortified. Did he really think I was that insane, or was he really that mad at me. I was really hurt that someone would ever be that mad or upset with me that they’d simply cut me off. My ego was seriously bruised.I also happened to be perusing my old messages on OKCupid, and it told me LES deleted his account. When I made a new OKCupid account shedding an identity I’d used since college, I came to realize he was still on there and had an updated and active account. He’d blocked me on there as well. He really wanted nothing to do with me, and there was nothing I could do about it.

“You can be a bit aggressive,” Boston told me. That really resonated with me. I did tend to be agressive. I’m a tenacious man. When I see something I want, I don’t give up until I attain it — This goes for everything.

The interesting part was that I simply wanted a good friend back. He was a really fun guy to be around, and I wanted to introduce him to Boston. I thought they’d make a GREAT pair. I would have loved to see the two of them together. But, I don’t think that will ever happen. New York is a big city, and I don’t know that we’ll ever cross paths again.

Boston and I talked more over the course of the week. We almost had a nightly check in for a while there. We’d chat on the phone for about an hour about our dating lives and the mistakes I made with Smiles. He told me more stories about another guy he was helping to introduce to the gay world. I hope I’m not blowing up Boston’s spot, but once again I was proud of him. He was facing new challenges and having new experiences. I was happy to see my friend experiencing more of life these days. I understood how busy school made him, but at least he was taking advantage of his time off.

I was building my roster and had a friend to gossip about all the new things going on in my life. Things were getting better, but I still wasn’t happy to be back out in the dating pool. I was anxious to land another man, but this time around, I wasn’t going to just settle for a guy who was willing to date me. I needed to “find a man who will worship you like you worship him,” as my friend A so eloquently put it. I needed a real man, not another little boy. A man who could express himself verbally, emotionally and physically. I was going to find a triple threat, and once again I had one of my closest friends in my corner.

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