Posts Tagged opinion

The Game of Phones

Early in my relationship with CK, I was introduced to two of his friends in line at the movies. They were dating each other, and had been CK’s friends for some time. He had a small ensemble of friends compared to my rather sizable pack, so I knew each of them was precious to him. I was nervous to meet them the first time, and following that night, I didn’t quite feel I’d made the cut. I’d seen them twice since then — on the day we took CK’s mother out for mother’s day, but we were in a large group. I couldn’t quite gauge how they felt about me. The other time was to see Battleship, and I had very limited contact with them that night.

When CK asked me if I wanted to go see Prometheus with this pair, I politely obliged. Prometheus wasn’t something I felt necessary to go to the theater to see, as I didn’t go to the movies all that often, but it was something CK was excited to see. To say his friend was excited to see it would be an understatement. To him, this was “the movie of the summer.”

As you know, I’m a Groupon/Living Social fiend. When CK asked if I wanted to go, I asked him to tell his friend to hold off on buying our tickets because I had a Fandango gift certificate I purchased through Living Social. It was commonplace for his friend to purchase our tickets as well as his own, and while this gesture is very nice and greatly appreciated, it offered the two of us little advantage. Once, we had to search the theater to find out who had them at “will call.” Another night, we were at dinner and had to ask for our entrees to be packaged up so we could make the movie in time. Had the tickets not been pre-purchased, we could have simply apologized for our lack of planning and told the happy couple to enjoy the movie without us.

I attempted to use the gift certificate, but it expired. I wasn’t about to ask his friend to purchase our tickets at this point after already telling him not to. I took care of it myself. All of this transpired over text, and when the purchase was finalized, I told CK I got our tickets.

The day of the movie, we arrived at his friends’ apartment slightly behind schedule. It’s rare CK and I can get anywhere on time. I learned early on, as I was told by CK’s friends, “There is normal time, there is Cuban Standard Time and there is [CK] Standard Time.” As a result, CK’s friend was already in a less than chipper mood. We quickly flagged down a cab to the theater to try to get there in time to get decent seats. As soon as we entered the theater, I made a beeline to the ticket kiosk. I swiped my card and the machine dispensed two tickets. At this point, CK’s friend spoke up and said, “Wait. You didn’t get our tickets?!” I explained to him how I told CK to tell him to hold off on purchasing our tickets, not all the tickets. He was fuming. I told him to see if it was sold out, and indeed it was. I was mortified. I know I did nothing wrong, and it was a miscommunication, however, I felt horrible. I immediately told his friend to take our tickets. We would go see something else. He wanted none of it. He got into a tizzy and said they wouldn’t get good seats at this point anyway because we were so late. I insisted he take out tickets, and he said no and stormed off.

At that point, my guilt was lifted. As I said, I did nothing wrong, but for him to respond to me in that way after an honest mistake on all our parts was totally uncalled for. At this point, it was safe to say his opinion of me was no longer in limbo; it was in the sh*tter. As a result, I was p*ssed! Why was he holding this against me? CK was the one who told him to hold off. After speaking to CK, he didn’t expect me to have all four tickets. He was under the same assumption I was about our two tickets. I was already walking on egg shells around this friend, but now I didn’t know how to act around him. We both agreed, from then on out, we would always take care of our own tickets and no one else’s.

CK and I found two seats and watched the movie with ample time to get popcorn and soda from good seats. We both enjoyed the movie, but I left with a bad taste in my mouth from the whole experience. I didn’t understand why all the hostility was being directed at me. Yes, I was a part of it, but I certainly wasn’t the entire problem. With that, I let it go. There was no use in me harping on it. It happened, I apologized, and it was time to move on.

After the movie, we went back to CK’s apartment. I was still a little stressed and still feeling a little fat, so I asked CK if he minded if I went for a quick run. He was cool with it, so off I went for fifteen minutes. When I returned, we showered and attempted to find a place for dinner.

We managed to find a place very close to his apartment. We’d eyed Taboon every time we passed, so we decided to finally give it a shot. The food was excellent, the service was superb, and the company was impeccable. It was the perfect way to end a weekend. I couldn’t think of a better place to finish my Sunday night than a romantic dinner with my man close to “home.” We shared a great meal and great conversation throughout dinner, and when it was over, we walked back to his apartment.

As our lives were blending, I was still finding pitfalls, however, I feel I was navigating them pretty damn well. The movie incident could have gone much smoother, but mistakes happen and life goes on. In the end, it was a movie, but as I would learn later, it was so much more…

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Let’s Talk About… God?

Christmas Eve, my family and I always go to mass. We wake Christmas morning and open presents, so we go the night before.

Every year when we get home, it’s a tradition for my family to take a picture in front of the tree. I am always the obligatory photographer, which for some reason I strongly resent. Everyone in my family has a point and shoot and knows how to set up a tripod and click a button. I’m not exactly sure why it is my duty just because I’ve taken photography classes. I digress…

We take the family portrait and make our ways to our separate rooms to take off the Christmas outfits and get comfortable for the rest of the night.

My father and my sister wanted to watch a football game, and my mother and I had no interest. I can’t for the life of me remember what we decided to watch, but we were in the family room while the other two were in the living room watching the game.

Somehow my mother and I got back on the topic of church and the changes to the mass. For those non-Catholics out there, the Vatican altered the verbiage used in the mass this year. Apparently when they originally translated the mass, they messed up. All of a sudden they felt the need to “fix” it to be truer to the original text. I was arguing the changes weren’t necessary. The changed things like the following: The priest says, “Peace be with you.” In the past the congregation responded, “And also with you.” Now, the response is, “And with your spirit.” To me, those changes are semantics.

My mother heavily disagreed. She felt the changes were necessary and good. She felt it helped her pay closer attention to the mass. To me, it was a distraction. I was now paying more attention to a piece of paper I had to read than I was to the mass. My mother asked me if my priest had been explaining the changes, and somewhere I slipped up. It became apparent I hadn’t been going to church every week.

My mother got heated about that issue. “You haven’t been going to church every week, have you? But you had no problem receiving communion tonight!”

My sister and I had discussed religion and my status as a gay man on numerous occasions. I told her there was going to come a point where I told my parents I don’t want to go to church anymore more. She asked that I hold off on that for a while. I told her I wasn’t going to bring it up anytime soon. I wasn’t going to bring this topic up, but when my mother brought up this topic, I was gonna go with it.

“Really, Mom? Really? That’s going to be the reason I don’t go up to receive communion?” I quipped. “What do you mean? she said. “I mean, not going to church is going to be the reason I don’t get communion, not me being gay?” I responded.

My mother voiced her opinion that being gay is not a sin. Not attending church is a sin. I pointed out to her that both are sins in the eyes of The Church. She tried to convince me The Church’s stance on homosexuality is based on decisions made by men, and not attending church goes against a God-given law in the commandments. I pointed out to her the commandment to honor thy wife. (I know my argument is flawed here because the commandment refers to adultery). She sighed a bit because I did have a point in her mind.

“Well then everyone who’s ever had premarital sex shouldn’t be receiving communion either,” she added. “Exactly! That’s exactly what the Catholic Church believes,” I told her.

“Well then I shouldn’t be receiving communion because I’ve used birth control,” she noted. “Exactly. If you don’t believe birth control is a sin, then you’re not truly Catholic. You’re Catholic lite,” I exclaimed. “I have never been a true Catholic. I’ve always been a ‘cafeteria Catholic.’ I pick and choose what I want to believe. That is what religion is. It’s personal. I don’t always need to go to a specific building with a specific man to have a relationship with God.”

“You’re not going to church because you’re lazy, not because it’s against something you believe,” my mother accused. “I don’t want to be a part of an organization that doesn’t want me to be a part of it. It’s insulting. I am a man of convictions,” I defended.

“Then why go at all?” she asked. “I go because sometimes I want to go. Sometimes I want to be in church and among other people. And, sometimes I can’t get over it, and I decide not to go. But, that’s my choice. Religion is personal. So maybe I’m not a Catholic, but I am still a Christian. And, I still believe in God.” I declared.

My mother wasn’t happy with this. She was raised staunchly Catholic, and it’s been a part of her entire life. She didn’t see my side of the argument at all, but it was clear it was upsetting her. She had been crying during the conversation, and she’d had enough. She said, “I need to go to bed,” and turned to leave the room.

I walked into the other room with my father and sister. My dad asked, “Did you chase your mother to bed?” I told him, “She wanted to talk about God and gays. You can see how well that went. I wasn’t going to bring it up, but when she did, I wasn’t going to avoid it.” With that, the subject was closed.

I felt bad she got upset, but I was honest about my feelings. It’s how I felt. I really wish it wasn’t how we spent our Christmas Eve, but it had to happen sometime. It wasn’t a positive conversation, but at least the subject was broached, and at least we were having an open dialogue.

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Dinner Conflict

Smiles and I spent the better portion of our Tuesday evening trekking out to Brooklyn so he could basically say hello to his photographer friend who was showing his photographs at a local bar. I spent a majority of the night as a decorative ornament while Smiles went about his evening.

We were attempting to return to our original plans to see the newest Twilight film, but were unsure of the feasibility of that depending on showtimes.

When we came above ground near Union Square, I pulled out my phone to check showtimes. We planned the evening very poorly because the movie wasn’t being shown in Union Square. Smiles suggested we check out some of the other theaters in the city, but I could tell he wasn’t all that into it. I didn’t even like the movie all that much. He’d mentioned the desire to see it the last time we were in Brooklyn. I took the time to get caught up so we could go see it together.

When it was looking nearly impossible to see the film, he suggested we just grab dinner instead of running all over the city. I was a little p*ssed. There was little reason we couldn’t go back to Hoboken and catch the late screening and not even have to pay for it, but I felt that suggestion would fall on deaf ears. He didn’t want to run all over the city after he drug me out to Brooklyn and back — How considerate of him.

Just then, we happened upon Babbo, Mario Batali’s restaurant in Greenwich Village. He asked if I was interested in trying there. I’d never been and heard people rave about it, so I agreed to make that our plans for the evening. At least all wasn’t lost.

There was a wait, so we grabbed a drink at the bar while we waited. We stood over the should of a couple while I joked about the absurdity of their cheese plate. It was enough to feed one mouse, let alone two people share it. I am not one to scoff at refined tastes and classy things. I appreciate them greaty. But, when it comes to things like that, I have to chuckle a little. Smiles wasn’t appreciating my sentiment.

We finally got a table and sat to decide what to order. I knew before we walked in this was going to be a very expensive dinner, but it was Babbo. It wasn’t an everyday restaurant. We decided to share two appetizers. One of them was beets — his suggestion. I’m am quite a foodie, but there are a lot of things I’ve never sampled. Beets was one of them. I told him this, and he was shocked. He asked if I was okay with it, and I told him I was feeling very adventurous. We ordered the beets and the octopus per the waiters suggestion.

When the waiter asked what we’d like for our main course, I decided to continue my adventurous streak. I ordered the rabbit. I’d never had it, and if there was a restaurant to try it, Babbo was it.

Our appetizer arrived, and I was quite pleased with both. The octopus was excellent, and the beet salad had great flavor. I wasn’t in a drinking mood that night, so I was fine nursing the wine I’d had at the bar, but Smiles ordered a second drink and insisted I do the same.

When our entrees arrived, I was quite happy with my order. It was the perfect portion size and quite tasty — not very different from chicken. My compliments to the chef. The side we ordered to share, which I still am not quite sure what it is, resembled broccoli rabe when it arrived. I knew I wasn’t going to like it when I saw it, but I tried it anyway.

Throughout dinner, Smiles detailed for me all his future aspirations. He had a lot going on and was continuously trying to expand his empire. I didn’t necessarily disagree with a single one of his plans. I did, however, disagree with the timing of them. It just seemed like an overly ambitious timeline.

I’m a very opinionated person. When someone presents me with an idea I don’t agree with, I generally speak my mind. In situations as these with Smiles, I censored myself only slightly. I wasn’t being my true self and giving my hard opinion regardless. I was simply playing devil’s advocate to help him come to the realization some of his ideas were unrealistic.

This was the first night we kinda went back-n-forth on the subject. I was giving my realist opinion. He seemed slightly agitated, and I began to wonder if he was just looking for me to blindly support him.

That’s not who I am, so I wasn’t about to start doing that, but I also thought I could tone it down a bit. I didn’t need to rain on his parade every time he got overly ambitious. I was going to make an effort to be much more choosey in my words going forward.

When dinner ended, we sat and finished our drinks. The waiter offered us dessert menus, but we were both stuffed, and the meal was already bound to hit the wallet hard.

We paid our bill and collected our coats from coat-check. Smiles was generous to tip for both of us. We walked into the street and began to head towards the PATH. I took the opportunity to hook my arm into his. I’m not sure he appreciated it, but after the night I had with him, I was taking it. Whether he liked it or not.

There were times periodically I felt he was against PDA. However, I began to feel it wasn’t PDA after a while. I started to wonder if it was PDA with me. I wondered if he didn’t want other people to see him tied down to me. They may get the idea we’re together, and who would want that? Tonight, I didn’t care. I was taking his arm.

When we got to our typical midpoint, our goodbye was exceptionally unceremonious. I barely got a kiss, and he was off in the cold of the night.

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Rallying Friends

Every year, for the past four years, I’ve hosted an annual holiday party. Ironically, I started it with a First Annual Holiday Bash because I wanted it to become one of my holiday traditions. It would be the one time of year I gathered with my closest friends and spent time with them around the holidays to show just how much I truly appreciate their friendship.

From its first year, it’s been a big hit. An invitation one year is no guarantee of an invitation the following year. I always make sure I surround myself with the people in my life I care most about. If within the following year I fall out of touch with someone, I don’t extend an invitation.

Earlier this year, my friend reached out to me to plan weekends in December. She knows of my party and wanted to make sure I wasn’t hosting it the same night she was celebrating her birthday. We both picked dates and put it to bed.

Months later, I found out I was being evicted from my apartment since my landlord finally sold it. Our eviction date was November 30th; eleven days before the planned date of my holiday party.

This was one tradition I was not ready to relinquish, not matter what it took. Some of my friends look forward to the party a full year in advance. I make an incredible spread (not allowing anyone to bring any food of any sort), and everyone fasts for an entire day leading up to the party.

This posed a serious challenge. I would have to move into a new apartment, get it settled and cater for about forty people in ten days — A near impossible feat. However, my determination is not to be underestimated.

When I sent out my Evite, my sister immediately criticized the invitation of N. She was shocked to see I would invite him, but she also didn’t have the full story.

Apparently over the course of my short relationship with N, I mentioned my annual holiday party. As the holiday season was drawing nearer, he asked for the date of said party: “When is your holiday party so I can put it in my calendar? I’m trying to attend as many holiday parties as possible without missing one.”

Did he just invite himself to my holiday party?! I mean, he was on the maybe list, I’ll admit that. But I had no intention of inviting him in the first round of invitations.

This isn’t because I was holding a grudge over our failed relationship. It was mainly because I was disappointed in him. Considering we lived across the street from each other, I thought I’d at the very least be seeing him periodically. However, since our last discussion about our failed relationship, I hadn’t seen him once. I still had never been to his apartment considering I basically walked past it every day. He never put in an effort to be my friend following our breakup, so I no longer felt the need to attempt myself. I’d given up.

When he invited himself, I had to quickly think of the best and most dignified way to deal with the situation at hand. I started with honesty. “Oh.. Are you invited to my holiday party???” I quipped. “I’m …. just gonna go… f*ck myself…” he responded. I successfully made him feel uncomfortable, but then lightened the blow. I couldn’t do much. My hands were tied. I’m not rude enough to tell him he can’t come, but I wasn’t sure I really wanted him there either. “HAHAHA. Just giving you sh*t. Sending out the Evites today…”

When others friends learned of his attendance, they weren’t happy. I was confused by this. I didn’t think anyone would care. When we were dating, my friends loved him. Everyone approved and expressed this to me. He was a very charismatic guy to be around and played nice with all my friends. It was one of the biggest things that attracted me to him.

However, when he crushed me at the end of our relationship, everyone’s opinion of him quickly shifted.

I have to admit, I don’t know if my opinion wouldn’t have shifted so drastically. If he didn’t do anything to hurt me, I would see no need for malice toward him. I wouldn’t be his best friend, but I would certainly be civil.

This wasn’t the case with my friends. In an overwhelming show of support, they all rallied against him and attempted to convince me to retract my invitation.

I was blown away. I never experienced anything like that before from my friends. I was truly touched.

However, I would not be able to fulfill their requests. I was not capable of uninviting him. I also felt it gave him the satisfaction of thinking he still had an effect on my life. I’d completely moved on. It took a long time, and I went through a lot of turmoil to get to that point. But, I didn’t need him to know that. (Not quite sure if he’s still reading the blog…)

One friend, J, was particularly poignant in his disapproval. “I’ll crack his head open.” I told him I was going to be civil, but I wasn’t going to pay much attention to him when he arrived. “Honestly, I think its risky having him there. Especially since he is a drama oriented person.” He pointed out that N may bring up the blog in front of Smiles just to p*ss me off. “Good point… Going to have to tell him not to mention the blog,” I added. “He may leave early since no one really wants him there.”

K and some of my other friends expressed their lack of interest in interacting with him, and he didn’t really know many others. J responded, “If I have anything to do with it he will leave early.” I couldn’t believe how passionate J was getting about this. He’d never even met N. “Look I’ll be civil… but if he gets out of line you let me know.”

One of my other friends who witnessed my rebound in Martha’s Vineyard, Shorty, made the following suggestion: “You should warn him that your friends aren’t really fond of him so he doesn’t feel bombarded if people are mean to him.” “No one will be mean to him, but they’re not going to go out of their way to be nice,” I speculated. “Haha. I might be mean if I happen to end up talking to him :),” she finished.

I couldn’t believe how much my friends were rallying behind me. To be honest, I thought they all thought I blew things out of proportion when it ended. I thought they all looked at me like I was crazy for being so emotionally broken up after dating someone for a month and a half. He really did break me down a little bit, and I still feel some of the lasting effects of that relationship, as much as I would like to put it in the past and forget it. But, I thought they all thought I was being melodramatic. Apparently, they validated my sentiments.

On another level, N wanted to bring his new boyfriend. I’m sure he’s a sweet guy, but I’d never met him. I didn’t want him at my holiday party. It wasn’t the time or the place to meet him. Selfishly and childishly I also wanted the upper hand. I wanted N to see me happy with someone else, Smiles, while he didn’t have his security blanket to hold onto. I know that is very immature, but in the dating world, I am still a teenager. I’d like anyone to disagree with me they wouldn’t want to do the same thing.

So, I told him he couldn’t bring him. I explained he situation, and I think N accepted my reasoning. It was going to be an interesting night regardless. Many variables were bouncing around, and no one could predict the night, even if some of my friends wanted to start a pool of bets on how early in the night N departed…

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