Posts Tagged Pennsylvania

Highlights From My Trip

CK and I were about to hit our two-month mark. It was two of the best months of my life, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I learned I could truly find love in a man, and slowly but surely, I started to give more and more of myself to him. The wall I built up around my heart was not only cracking but also crumbling. There were a handful of guys in my past I had come to enjoy the extended company of beyond a hookup, but CK was the first man I ever really came to love.

My life was no longer my life. There was no longer a me. It became our life and us. I stopped making plans for one. CK was front and center in my thoughts at all times. We were living together in two homes. We were dining together, drinking together, taking trips together, etc.

CK’s move to an apartment with roommates allowed him a new cashflow he hadn’t had before, however, I was trying to prevent us from blowing that on going out to dinner in the New York City. It’s not cheap, and if we were going to build a life together, he needed to start saving. I wasn’t thrilled with spending all that money going out to eat either. It wasn’t that we couldn’t afford it, but we felt it was a bit of a waste. When I was living on my own, I made dinner for myself almost every night. Going out to dinner felt like a luxury and a treat. I wanted to get back to that. We both agreed to live more economically wherever possible. Since CK isn’t the biggest cook, I even started making food and taking it to his apartment so we could have convenient meals prepared. For instance, one night after work, we grabbed some groceries and thawed the frozen spaghetti sauce I made for dinner. We cooked together in the kitchen and ate in front of his TV. It was nice, it was cheap and it was delicious. That meal cost us pennies compared to what we’d spend going out to an Italian restaurant. We were also taking advantage of Groupons and Living Socials whenever possible so on the nights we didn’t feel like cooking, we could grab a nice dinner out and not pay full price.

As a gay man, I’m not quite as mirror conscious as some, but I am a bit vain in some aspects. I love how I look with a great tan, and I love it even more when my hair has a bit of depth and volume. Sadly, a few years ago, my hairline started receding. There was little I could do to prevent it, so I did what I could to mask it. That meant getting my haircut in a certain style, but it also meant highlighting it so it wasn’t one solid color against my scalp. This is one of my few gay vices.

Since I was in junior high, I stopped going to my father’s barber and started going to my mother’s hair stylist. Granted, since moving away from home, I didn’t go home every time I needed a haircut, but I did make it a point to go home and get it highlighted periodically throughout the year.

My hair got naturally lighter in the summer, so before the sun worked its magic, I would always try to trek home for some carmel colored highlights. My hair stylist was a magician. He never measured, but he always got my color just right. The one time I was left under the heat too long, everything slid to the back of the cap, bleaching the back of my head. He managed to dye my hair back to it’s natural color. You couldn’t tell anything went wrong.

My hair stylist also charges me a measly $30 for the highlights and the cut. Granted it’s in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania, but it would cost more over $100 to have this done in New York City. Whenever I get my hair cut by someone in the metro area, they ask about the highlights. They compliment them, and I get a big kick out of telling them how much I paid for them — Their jaws hit the floor.

It was particularly difficult to get home before the summer sun this year. My sister wasn’t being cooperative about trips home, so I had to plan something on my own. That meant hopping on the motorcycle and making the two-hour trek home (costing me $10 in gas). I didn’t want to give up my weekend because that was when I went to the beach with my boyfriend, but it was nearly impossible to get away during the week. On top of this, it had to be planned around nice weather. I couldn’t make the trip home if rain was in the forecast.

Summer was passing by, so I decided to take off a half day from work to get it done. After work Wednesday evening, I sped home trying to avoid traffic and made it to my parents’ house just before the sun went down. I found it very sweet that CK was worried about me. He was very concerned with my safety, even after riding with me on the bike many times. I was truly touched. I told him when I was heading home, and I texted him as soon as I got to my parents’ place. I told him it would take roughly two hours, and he was texting me worried after about an hour and a half. It showed me how much he truly cared about me and how much he loved me. “I don’t know what I would do if I lost you babe!” he said.

CK was against the trip from the onset. He didn’t like the idea of me getting highlights, but I told him to have faith. He’d seen pictures of me in the summer and commented how good I looked. I promised him I wouldn’t come back looking like an a$$hole. I think he thought I was getting my tips frosted.

It was also nice to catch up with my parents and have a relaxing night in front of the TV with a home-cooked meal. The next morning, I woke at the crack of dawn to hit up the salon. In an hours time, I looked like a new man, and I was back on the road. I had to get back to work by mid-afternoon.

That night, CK saw me for the first time in person, after asking me to send pictures to his phone. He commented on how good I looked. “Babe, I was really worried. I thought you were going to look ridiculous,” he added. I gave him a big kiss and reminded him how I knew what I was doing, cheekily.

Even if I came back looking ridiculous, I’m sure he would have played along and told me I looked fine. We were in love, and my hair wasn’t going to change that. On the flip-side, I think the highlights worked a little magic and made me more attractive to him because, after being away from each other for a night, we had some great passionate sex before dozing off.

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Texts From the South

Smiles was halfway across the country and Christmas was rapidly approaching. There’s something about dating someone over the holidays that makes you really appreciate that person. There’s also something to be said about being single over the holidays that makes me utterly depressed. I was happy to be on the dating side of the fence this year, but I would certainly miss Smiles.

While he was home, he sent me periodic texts out of the blue. I got a few picture messages of him and his mother’s dog on the beach and some pictures from around town. They were sweet simple texts that showed me even though he was many states away, he was still thinking about me throughout his day.

This seemed a bit of a stark contrast to the conversation we had just before he left. He told me he couldn’t be in a serious relationship right now. If that was the case, why was he reaching out to me even when I wasn’t around. I started to wonder if maybe he didn’t know what he wanted.

As he was driving around, he called me to chat. It was a really sweet conversation. He was asking how I was doing and what I’d been up to since everyone left town ahead of me. He was telling me all about where he grew up and his old high school. We talked about his mother a fair amount and her business. He sent me a picture of some of the things she worked on.

I was getting access to mother information. You don’t share that with someone you don’t truly care about. I was getting more of him. It was exactly what I wanted. I wanted to know more about where he came from. I wanted him to open up. I wanted it all.

Maybe my conversation sparked something inside him. Maybe he realized he wasn’t appreciating me as much as he should, but there certainly was a stark difference between the time we spent together before the conversation and the time following.

As the rest of the family was arriving into town, Smiles started getting anxious. This is something he did regularly — Got worked-up over small things. He was texting me about solutions to the problem, such as drinking. I encouraged him to do whatever made him comfortable. There was no reason he couldn’t have a few cocktails to take off the edge if it would make him more relaxed. He was anxious about talking about his career. He was still working hard to get it off the ground, and I think he was ashamed about that. I told him he needed to be proud for being so brave for starting something from the ground floor. Not many people can do that. They just go work for someone who has already done all the heavy lifting. He has very low self-esteem when it comes to his job, and he has no reason to. No one finds overnight success, and I have strived to convey this to him constantly while being very supportive of all his ventures.

I think my pep-talk worked because his texts became more light-hearted and relaxed. Either that, or he took my advice with the cocktails to a much higher level.

The morning my sister and I were driving home to Pennsylvania, he texted just to see how my day was going. Again, I love these sweet gestures that show he’s thinking about me. I was much happier over the past few days than I was immediately following our conversation.

When I got home, I had no cell phone service. It makes it a little more difficult to talk without a little more effort. I made sure he had my parents’ landline number, but I knew he wouldn’t call it. He probably didn’t want to have to talk to anyone if he called and they picked up.

I had his number, but now I was settling in with the family. I wasn’t home for long, so I wanted to make sure the time I was there, I was present. I didn’t want to be running off constantly making phone calls.

It was Christmas Eve, and I was off to mass with my family. I texted him on the way to say hi and let him know I was thinking about him.

When I came back out of mass, I had a response. He told me he dodged the church bullet. I told him I wasn’t so lucky. My parents’ priest is one of the most boring people I have ever encountered. Going to church is penance in itself.

I wished him a Merry Christmas Eve just before driving out of cellphone service. We were on our way home to take our annual family Christmas photo before relaxing for the rest of the night in front of the TV…

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Pillow Talk

After my first date with Pillow, I was very excited to see him again. However, I would have to wait a week. When the day finally arrived, I was very excited. I tried my best all day to get my work done to ensure a timely exit. After the debacle of picking restaurants last time, I put the burden on him to choose where we would go. We talked a few times during the day about him stressing to pick a location. We finally planned to grab dinner at Dos Caminos at 7:30.

At 7:30 on the dot, I got a text from him saying, “Hey. I need to reschedule for tonight. My sinuses are acting up, and I’m not feeling all that great. I just need to relax and hit the bed. So sorry for the late notice, but just not up for drinks or dinner tonight.” Needless to say, I was very disappointed, but also slightly annoyed. I sat around work with nothing to do for two hours. I could have gone home or made other plans. I responded with the only thing I knew to say, “Ok. Feel better!” I have to admit, I was very suspect of the last-minute cancellation. It seemed odd. If he wasn’t feeling well, I imagine he didn’t feel well all day long, not just that evening. But I didn’t want my imagination to run away since I have a habit of letting that happen. He mentioned hitting me up the following day to figure out a time to reschedule. Later that night, he suggested Friday for lunch, so I was reassured he wasn’t just blowing me off completely.

That Friday, we went to Dos Caminos for lunch. It was a very nice lunch, and we had good conversation. It wasn’t 100% fluid, but it was getting better. He had a hard shell to crack. We talked a lot more about his home and his living situation. I learned about his cat and a bit more about his relationship with his mother. It was nice getting to know him better. When we finished, I suggested we hit up the High Line as we had spoken about before. It was a gorgeous day, so he agreed it was a perfect idea, especially since he’d never been.

We made our way across town and walked to the bottom end of the High Line. He was really enjoying it, and I was enjoying watching his pleasure. We had nice casual conversation the whole length. When we go to the bottom end, we took a break in the shade against the railing. Through our conversation, there were about fifteen moments I wanted to just grab him and kiss him. Every time there was a pause, I wanted to go for it. However, there was an audience. There was never n instance when there wasn’t a crowd of people around to sneak a private moment. I think he wanted me to kiss him as well, or at least his body language suggested it. After a while, we decided to make our way north again to the other end of the High Line.

The whole walk back, I looked for a quiet corner to sneak into — No dice. I had experienced those pillow lips once before, and I wanted more. It had been too long! I was really starting to feel comfortable with him. The nerves ended and the conversation was much easier. We both really enjoyed our time up there. From start to finish the date lasted four hours. We walked the entire High Line, and it ended at Penn Station where he would grab his train home to Pennsylvania. As I said goodbye, he grabbed my hand. I pulled him in for a kiss. And then another. And then another. All short kisses, but nice ones nonetheless.

On my walk back to the PATH, I texted him, “Soooo…. I wanted to kiss you about 15 times on the High Line today. I just don’t do well with audiences…” He responded, “Had a great day!! Um, I’m with you. I’m not totally into an audience, but I was so relaxed at the end of the High Line in the Meat Packing District. I could have stayed and talked a while longer with you. ;)” It was nice to hear we were on the same page. He was a great guy who I still needed to get to know better, but a great guy nonetheless. I was looking forward to our next date and wanted to move things along a bit.

I took the liberty of inviting him to join me at my friend’s lake the following day. He told me he needed to see what he needed to get done the next day and wanted to check out Musikfest, but he would get back to me in the morning. That night, I followed up with a late night text, “I had a really great time with you today. Hope I get to see you again tomorrow. i.e. Come to the lake in the am and then head back for Musikfest in the evening.”

The next morning I went to the lake with my friends D, K and D’s girlfriend. I spent the day on the water and went waterskiing for the first time in my life. It was fun, but I was a little disappointed I never heard from Pillow. I went on with my day and tried not to let it phase me. I was unsuccessful. That night I went out with my friends, but it was very hard to have a good time…

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Making It Work

When I got home from my business trip San Francisco, I was still reeling from my time with the man I met there. I couldn’t stop thinking about him and how close we grew in a matter of hours. From the moment I touched down in New Jersey, we were texting or talking on the phone. I couldn’t get enough of him.

I knew in my head it was crazy. We were on completely opposite coasts of the U.S. — Three time zones away. Him, a 34 year-old from Hawaii, and me, a 27 year-old from Pennsylvania. There were so many reasons why anything between us wouldn’t work.

But, at the time, I had no love interests in my life. There were a few adam4adam.com guys I talked to and set up dates (4 set up in 4 days), but who knew if the connections would be so strong. Subsequently, I compared every date to my first date with San Francisco.

I decided to send him flowers that Monday. I never sent anyone flowers before, let alone a man. But, I was a stranger visiting a city I’d never been to before, and he welcomed me in with open arms… and then some.

When the florist delivered them to his office, coworkers saw and flocked to his office to ask who they were from. He read the card that said, “I left a piece of my heart in San Francisco. Take care of it until I get back.” One of his coworkers wandered in and said, “Wow! Big night this weekend?”

San Francisco replied, “You actually met him. He’s the guy from the bar on Wednesday.” His coworker was impressed.

He called immediately to thank me. I could hear his smile in his voice as we spoke on the phone. He was so happy, and I was so happy he was getting all the attention of his coworkers. It was my main goal to make him the center of attention and realize how loved he was.

We talked every night since I left. He would call when he finished work, and we would talk for hours. That night, after telling him how much I missed him, I told him I wanted to try to make it work. I couldn’t believe how strong our connection was, and I had to at least put in the effort to know if this relationship had two legs to stand on. I think he was touched, and fully dove in head first with me on the venture.

Over the next few nights, I taught him how to skype. We could now see each other as we talked. Eventually, we began watching TV together. Since we shared such a connection over Brothers & Sisters, every Monday night, we would watch that week’s episode together. Anything we could do to make it a stronger relationship. We became Facebook friends, and I also taught him about gchat, so we could talk at work throughout the day. I got a text every morning saying, “Good morning.” And however we ended the day, I would get a, “Sweet dreams.”

We were both happy. The distance was a burden, but we were managing.

We started planning a trip for him to come visit New York. He lived here for 10 years. He had a lot of friends here he hadn’t seen in three years. In my head, he would come visit in May, and come June, I would trek out there again, this time for pleasure. If these trips worked out, there was no stopping us. But we would cross those bridges as they came.

I didn’t know what this was. We put no label on it. But I knew he made me happy. That was all that mattered to me. And, I couldn’t wait for his arrival!

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A Broadway Christmas

Since I’m from Pennsylvania and Broadway’s from California, I went home for Christmas, and he stayed in the city. I was disappointed we weren’t spending Christmas together, but I wasn’t ready to bring him home and his work didn’t allow for time off. A few days before I went home, we spent a night in the city. We saw the decorated storefronts and the tree in Rockefeller Center, finally ending at the Plaza Hotel for a drink. This was the first time a man bought me a drink. I felt so special and so loved.

For weeks, he bugged me about what I wanted for Christmas, but I refused to tell him. I knew, without asking, the perfect gift for him, and I wasn’t going to give him an easy out. I really had no idea what he was going to bring to the table.

We celebrated Christmas at my apt the night before heading home. I handed him a rather sizable box. He handed me an envelope. He opened his first. The Sex in the City complete dvd collection (deluxe edition). He was ecstatic. He mentioned months ago how much he wanted it. He threw his arms around me and gave me a big kiss.

Inside my envelope was a card and 2 tickets. Weeks earlier, we discussed going to see Driving Miss Daisy on Broadway (with Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones), but tickets were more expensive than I was willing to spend. I was so touched he remembered I wanted to see it and got us tickets.

Inside the card, he wrote about how much he enjoyed spending time with and getting to know me over the past few months. Also, we would have a night on the town with dinner, a show and topped off with sex. I couldn’t help myself. I started to cry. He was concerned, but I calmed his questioning look when I planted a big ol’ wet kiss on him.

We spoke on the phone Christmas Day even thought we couldn’t be together. Coming home from Christmas at my grandfather’s, my mother and I finally started talking about my homosexuality. We were talking about my sister’s relationship, when my mom finally said, “And are you still dating the same guy?” I told her how happy I was. Then we began talking about coming out to my extended family.

She asked if, how and when I planned to tell them. I told her it was irrelevant for the time being until I felt the need to bring someone home to meet them. At that point, I would probably send them an email. She asked if and how I would tell my grandfather. I explained how uncomfortable it may make him and how it could unnecessarily alter my relationship with him. I think my fear was also her fear. He’s from a different generation, and he may not understand. I could see she was relieved I wasn’t planning on breaking the news to him because she was worried about dealing with the fallout.

That year, I also spent New Year’s Eve with Broadway. I’ve had one good New Year’s to date, and I can’t even remember it because I was too drunk. It’s never been an exciting event for me. It’s a burden to plan for and a holiday I could do without, much like Valentine’s Day.

We planned a very nice night. We started at my friend’s apt in Hoboken. Following, we planned to go into the city to watch the ball drop at his cast mate’s apt. After that, we would meet up with his roommates and friends to close out the night at a bar near his place.

Plans changed, however, when we were unable to catch a bus after 45 minutes. The fear of passing midnight in the middle of the Lincoln Tunnel became very real. So we decided to head back to the party in Hoboken for a bit. When we got back, my good friend came up to me and said, “I’m so happy you came back. After you left, I was saying how I was disappointed I wasn’t spending New Years with you.” That was one of the sweetest things anyone’s ever said to me. I realized he truly was a good friend.

Everyone decided to go to the rooftop to watch the fireworks in the city and count down as the ball dropped. Broadway previously watched the ball drop every year, so he asked if we could stay in view of the TV. I didn’t care where we were, I was just happy to finally have someone to share New Year’s Eve with. After the ball dropped, we had our midnight kiss. I really felt at ease with him. I was thrilled with out relationship and never felt closer to anyone in my life. It was a New Years to remember.

After everyone came down from the roof (which apparently didn’t allow for any fireworks viewing) we decided to try our luck getting into the city. This time the bus came without much delay. At this point, we skipped the cast mate’s party and went straight to the bar to meet up with his close friends. We ended up at 9th Avenue Saloon and threw back a few more drinks before hopping in the photo booth for a photo shoot together.

We closed out the night with some New Years love making and then dozed off. For the first time, I truly had a happy holidays.

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