Posts Tagged parties

The Next Chapter

Two years ago, I started this blog. I began writing because I felt alone. I knew there had to be other gay men out there who were looking for the same thing I was, and I wanted a way to connect with them.

grindrAt the time, I just ended my first gay relationship, and I found myself in very unchartered waters. I was already out to close friends, but not publicly. Because I had so few gay friends and a strong aversion to gay bars, I had to find a mate digitally. I began serial dating, at one point going on four dates in four days — And thus, One Gay At A Time was born.

Since the beginning, I have gone on MANY dates and put myself in many situations well outside my comfort zone. I have not only grown more comfortable in my own skin, but I’ve also grown up as a gay man. I got all the hookups out of my system and began searching for a meaningful, long-term relationship.

This blog began as an open forum diary of the daily occurrences I encountered navigating the gay world. I told my side of the story honestly in hopes that others out there would be able to relate, comment and most importantly, realize they are not alone.

The time has come for the next chapter of my life and for this blog. For quite some time I’ve been blogging about CK (aka Clark Kent or Superman). You’ve gotten to know him through my eyes in the early stages of our relationship. It’s been some time since I’ve blogged, and I apologize for leaving you, my readers in the lurch. I do not mean to abandon the small community I’ve worked so hard to foster, but I’ve been struggling with the next chapter of the blog.

When I first told CK about the blog, he was very open to and even grew excited about the idea of my writing our relationship. Over time, as you could probably understand, his excitement waned, and we began to argue about the content of the blog.

I had to make a choice between the blog and my man. It’s quite obvious which I chose. As a result, I will no longer be blogging about the specifics of my relationship with CK. However, in lieu of continuing to finish our story in a daily dairy format, let me catch you up on what has happened since July. Here are some of the highlights…

In July, CK joined my family for our annual beach vacation. While I went for the entire week, he only joined us for a few days. It was the first time we’d spent an extended period of time apart, and with my trust/cheating baggage, it was a true test of my sanity. I was thrilled and relieved when he finally arrived. It was also nice that he would finally get to spend some real-time getting to know my parents.

In early August, I traveled to Miami, CK’s birthplace to surprise his family with a visit to celebrate the birthdays of his two beautiful nephews (turning 1 and 2 only a week apart). I felt incredibly special taking this trip with CK. I was meeting his ENTIRE extended family. Before this point, I’d only met his mother. I was welcomed into the family with open arms and came to grow strong bonds with them over just a handful of days. This was unchartered territory for both of us, as I’d never been brought home to meet the family by anyone other than my high school girlfriend, and he’d never brought a man home to meet everyone before. It could not have worked out better!

Around Labor Day, CK and I went on week-long vacation to the Hamptons with 15 of my friends and family. While there, our relationship grew very strained. I felt he was trying too hard to impress my friends. I wanted him to be himself so all of them would come to love the man I knew, not the man I felt he was trying to be for them. By the end of the week, I reached my breaking point. I was so stressed out from organizing the vacation and ensuring everyone was happy that I made myself miserable, and I took it out on the person closest to me. In the penultimate moment of the trip, one night we not only exchanged words but also fists and shoves, as my closest friends and sister witnessed the lowest moment of our relationship.

It took a lot of time for CK and I to figure things out. This wasn’t the first time our relationship reached physicality, but I hoped it was the last. It also took a long time for things to return to normal between CK, me and my circle of friends. My sister wasn’t speaking to me for over a month and my friends had semi-ostracized me from typical gatherings. I burned a lot of bridges on that trip, and I am still working to rebuild them today. You can expect to read about my experiences and feelings dealing with issues such as physical violence in a relationship as one of the topics I will cover in coming posts.

In September, CK and I found an apartment in Hoboken to call our own. We moved in together in the midst of Hurricane Sandy’s wake on November 2. Although the experience of moving immediately following a hurricane is incredibly overwhelming, we are both stronger as a result of the experience. In my experience, moving in with a lover is unlike sharing a space with any other. You’ll certainly be reading about my experiences and the things I’ve learned from this experience as well.

After Sandy exhausted my last modicum of energy, I decided I was too tired to shave my upper lip. CK and I both decided to raise awareness and funds to fight prostate cancer by growing mustaches for Movember. I proudly raised over $500 for charity as a result of my stache, and I was thrilled when we both shaved them off — We both looked like pedophiles.

For the first time in my life, I had someone to take home to meet my family for Thanksgiving. Before venturing home, I sent my extended maternal family an email to get the awkwardness out of the way. You’ll be pleased to know my family welcomed him with open arms. I imagine coming out to extended family creates a lot of anxiety for man, as it did for me, so I hope sharing my experiences will encourage more to share the truth with the ones they love.

When I returned to Hoboken after Thanksgiving, preparations began immediately for what would have been my Sixth Annual Holiday Bash. This year, it became Our First Annual Holiday Bash. I finally had someone to share the hosting duties with, making it extra special.

Although CK and I spent Christmas apart, after all the festivities with my family, I hopped on a flight down to Miami to spend the rest of the holiday season and New Years Eve with my man and his family. CK’s sister and brother-in-law planned a trip with their two boys to Disney World for two days. After a little persuading, I convinced CK we should join them. I preferred Disney to a raucous gay party any day, and it was truly magical to see Disney World through the eyes of a two-year-old.

In February, CK and I took a romantic trip to Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Although it seems we can’t go anywhere without having some kind of quarrel like an old married couple, the trip was amazing and couldn’t have come at a better time. We went ice skating, snow shoeing, swimming, hiking, and much more. It was a perfect escape for both of us to get out of the city and away from the bustle of it all after the holidays.

In between, there have been countless brunches, parties, trips, nights out, Broadway shows, fights… Oh yea, and plenty of sex — Can’t forget the sex! Overall, things have been going well for us. You have good days and bad days, but you have to realize the bad days are just there so you appreciate the good ones all the more. I am thrilled to announce, this past Saturday, CK and I celebrated our one-year anniversary at the restaurant we went to on our first date, Frankies Spuntino 570. Although we waited nearly an hour, the evening was perfect, and I look forward to many more years together.

Although I won’t be detailing the specifics of my relationship going forward, I hope to share with you what I have learned along the way. It’s not easy being in a relationship, but then again, the things that are worth it never really are.

To my most dedicated readers who haven’t let me lack of posting stop them from commenting words of support on my blog, thank you. You are what has motivated me to get back into this once again. I feel like many of you have integrated my writing into your daily routines, and I have left you with your morning coffee in hand and no reading material. You will not see the frequency of posts you may have grown accustomed in the past, but I still hope you find time in your lives for One Gay At A Time.

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Popping the Question

Another night went by, and I was still in the dark about where I stood in Smiles‘ eyes. He had to be somewhat interested, otherwise why would he be sticking around. However, the question remained, was he interested enough for me?

Out of nowhere, Smiles asked me to come with him to see a Christmas play in New Jersey. One of the men he worked with on his movie wrote a spoof on the Nutcracker and thought to ask me to come with him.

I was so frustrated! I was getting mixed signals in every direction. He didn’t invite me to casual Christmas parties, but he invited me to be his guest for a stage-play. I graciously accepted the invitation, but informed him I had a doctor’s appointment I would have to change if we wanted to get a ride from his friends instead of taking the train.

I managed to change my appointment, so I planned to just make my way to his apartment when I finished. I called him as I walked out of my office, but he told me he was still working. I had nowhere to kill time after the doctor really, but I didn’t exactly feel welcome to go down to Smiles’ apartment and hang out while he finished what he needed to do. I figured I would walk around Union Square and try to find something to kill time.

My appointment ended later than expected, and when I called Smiles after, he told me he was wrapping up work, and I could come by. I asked him if he wanted anything from Starbucks and walked towards his apartment.

We didn’t have a lot of time before we were supposed to be picked up, but just enough time to chat a bit and move a few more of his boxes to his storage unit.

When we got picked up, the driver/writer asked me what my connection was. “I know [Smiles],” I responded. I was purposely ambiguous because I myself would like to know the answer to that question. When he asked for clarification, Smiles spoke up and said, “We’re dating.” I was happy to hear him say it publicly for once, but I still didn’t quite know what that meant. At least it was verbalized. He then elaborated as to how long we’ve been dating. He pinpointed it to around the time of the NYC screening of his film. In my mind, I did the math. That was about a month after I met Smiles. Apparently I was one month ahead of him as far as our timelines were concerned. I’d already journeyed out to The Hamptons to see his film once before that night.

The rest of the ride was casual. Smiles even playfully reached his hand down and tickled my crotch. “That’s going to make for an interesting car ride,” I said to him. Smiles sat between myself and one of his friends I’d met twice before. Some in the car were joking about Jersey, and it was interesting to see Smiles defending it now that I’ve given him a more positive opinion about it. I kinda got to know his friend a little better, and I thought he was a good guy. I liked knowing that I could get along well with one of Smiles’ best friends.

When we arrived in the town, we all went out to dinner. It was pleasant, and I met a few new people. Over the course of the meal, somehow it came up that Smiles used to be a dancer. He’d taken classes throughout childhood. This was news to me. Even his good friend didn’t know about it. When I went to make a comment, Smiles jokingly shushed me out of embarrassment. He told me I wasn’t allowed to bring it up again.

We got to the theater and took our seats. Our group was all over the auditorium. Smiles and I were nowhere near anyone else. Before the show started, we cracked a few jokes and made some sexual innuendos about the Nutcracker on the stage curtain. I liked the playfulness I was witnessing in Smiles for once.

The show was far from good, but I had fun with it. I wasn’t expecting a Broadway hit. Smiles was nonplussed.

We got a ride back, and swapped Smiles’ friend for another. When we were getting in the car, Smiles had the friend sit in the middle. I’m significantly taller than anyone in the car, so I wasn’t going to sit in the middle, but the fact that Smiles wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice to sit next to me I found VERY off-putting. I sat next to a stranger, which I’m comfortable with, instead of the man I was dating for an hour-long car ride.

I became the topic of conversation once again. This time it was about my origins. They were surprised to learn I grew up on a farm. “Oh. A farm boy. Better hold onto this one [Smiles],” the driver exclaimed. The rest of the ride home was casual as well. They were kind enough to drop us at my apartment since Smiles was spending the night.

It was late, so we immediately began to get ready for bed. “What’s with you and the purple underwear?” he said. I informed him it was navy. I showed him my one pair of purple underwear and said, “This is purple.” I continued with, “What? Don’t you like it?” He told me he did. He was just surprised I had such colorful underwear. I hardly find navy boxer briefs all that arresting, but I went with it.

We hopped into bed and spooned for a little while we chatted about a few random things. I wasn’t going to see Smiles for some time after that night because of the Christmas break, so there was no way I was making it through the night without getting my answer on where we were. Somehow the topic of chatroulette and manroulette came up. I explained to him how it worked and told him it was how I met the first guy I dated.

As time passed, we turned out the light. We were still snuggling when I finally built up the courage to say, “So where are we?”

“Somewhere between Hoboken and SoHo,” he joked. I responded, “That’s an avoiding answer if I ever heard one.”

After a pause, Smiles said, “I can’t be in a serious relationship right now. When I am, I put a lot of myself into it, and I can’t let myself do that. I need to concentrate on my career right now. But, I really enjoy hanging out with you and spending time with you.”

I took a second to absorb what he just said to me. It wasn’t the answer I was looking for, but it also wasn’t a crushing blow. My response was: “I was pretty much okay with whatever answer you had for that question. I just needed to know where I stood. I would like to continue to move forward, but I’m not in any rush or anything.” He knew I wasn’t thrilled with his answer. I don’t know if it was out of fear I would leave or if he truly was concerned with my feelings on the situation, but he added, “If it becomes a problem, let me know.”

We cuddled some more and went to sleep. I was relieved to finally have the answer. I felt a huge weight lift off my back. I was also horny. I tried to seduce him. “If you keep rubbing me, I’m never going to fall asleep,” he retorted. I quickly quipped, “Maybe that’s what I’m going for.”

I didn’t keep putting up a fight. I knew it was useless. He was stubborn enough that he’d certainly win that battle. I made myself comfortable to sleep and tried not to dwell on the news I’d just received. It was time to sleep. Worrying about what he said would only get in the way of that. Tomorrow was another day…

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