Posts Tagged shopping

Once You Go Black…

BlackFriday

Oh wait. It’s not that kind of black…?

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Hoboken Seconds

Today is another Fast Forward Friday!!!  

Hope you are enjoying these. It will help bring the blog a little closer to real time. If you’re keeping up with the stories chronologically, please skip down to this morning’s post first, then read this one. I think it’s a good one! Enjoy!

Back to your special edition of One Gay At A Time…

After our date on Monday, I wasn’t sure when I’d see Chelsea again. Things were moving forward at a nice pace, but I still wasn’t diving in like I normally do. What was holding me back? Was I finally going about things the right way? Was I not fully interested in him?

That Tuesday was his last day in his current role at his job. He went out celebrating with coworkers, and when they were nearing the end of their evening of drinks and fun, he texted to ask if he could come by. Two days in a row. I certainly didn’t have a problem with that. He obviously wanted to see me, and I was very happy about that. One of his coworkers lives across the street from me, and they were able to share a car. I told him I’d be thrilled if he came over.

When he arrived, I could tell he was quite tipsy. It was cute how he couldn’t hold his liquor. Alcohol gets him quite lubricated. He was very flirtatious once again, as he was at the end of our first date. Everyone was buying him drinks since he was no longer be working out of that office. His new territory was Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, etc.

We started with some kissing when he walked in the door. I took his hand and led him to my bedroom. He was wearing a full suit, so I found him some more comfortable clothes. In the middle of changing, we began to fool around. It was fun. He was a good kisser, and we were making out all over my bed. I liked having someone of the same size to hold, kiss and roll around with. This time around, he certainly wasn’t shy about being in just his briefs. We had a lot of fun with each other and still no sex. And, I was fine with this. I knew things would progress slowly, and I was quite happy about that. ( I was missing sex a little).

He was a sweet guy, but that night was a little different. I saw a side of him I hadn’t only caught a glimpse of. A lot of his drama started pouring out, and I realized he had just been trying to keep it all down in an attempt to not scare me off. Now, I was getting to see the real Chelsea. I went to bed with a different picture in my head. Was this what was holding me back? Did I think maybe he was a bit too gay for me?

We watched TV and ate some dinner. a lot of the little things I ignored previously were bothering me that night. We went to bed at a reasonable hour. After sleeping together twice and it not ending well, I made a suggestion at the risk of sounding cold. I told him there was no need for us to snuggle while we slept. I tried to be honest and realistic about it. I said, “We can cuddle and snuggle, and when we’re ready to fall asleep, we can curl up on opposite sides of the bed. That way you will get a good night’s rest.” I also took this as the opportunity to tell him I wanted to go for a run the following morning. I was finally getting into a workout groove, and I didn’t want to throw it off. I could sneak out while he was still sleeping, and when I returned we could get ready to head into the city together. With that, we both went to sleep on opposite sides of my California King bed.

I woke in the morning and quietly snuck out to pound the pavement. I had a good run. I needed to clear my head, and the run was just the ticket. When I returned, I hopped in the shower. When I came out of the shower, I gently woke Chelsea. Normally, I would have slipped back into bed with him to cuddle, but I wasn’t feeling it. It was then I realized I wasn’t particularly sexually attracted to him. He was very shy about his body, and while I enjoyed the slower timeline and waiting, a part of me knew it was an important part of the relationship I couldn’t ignore. I’d sacrificed that in the past too many times. I wouldn’t make that mistake again.

I continued to get ready. I was pretty quiet, but then again, I usually am after I work out. I’m also not a morning person to begin with. I either get quiet or I become combative, as my mother learned many a time riding home from swim practice in high school. There was little talk and discussion as we got ready for work/for him to head back home. When we emerged from my room, I found a mess left by my roommate. I detailed to him why I was so annoyed and how this was a common occurrence.

The walk to the PATH wasn’t exactly full of chatter either. I struggled to think about things to talk about. I fixated on his new job and asking the questions about how he was going to handle it. Subconsciously, I was noticing all the things in the back of my head I’d brushed aside once again. Now, my cons list was growing.

When we got to his stop, I gave him a quick peck on the lips. I could tell it made him uncomfortable, but I was trying to force myself to stop being ashamed of being gay. If he were a woman, I’d have had no problem kissing her to say goodbye on the PATH. Why should I censor myself just because he was a man?

Later that day, I received a text from him asking me if everything was okay, or was it my roommate. I blamed my quietness on being annoyed with my roommate, but in reality, I was no longer looking at him as a prospect.

That weekend, I went shopping with my friend, P. While at the Woodbury Common Outlets, I got a text from Chelsea asking, “Will I see you at the end of the week?” I didn’t want to drag this out. I decided in my mind I was no longer interested. It was going to be tough to convince myself otherwise. I replied, “[Chelsea], I don’t want to lead you on or anything, but I’ve been giving it some thought. I just don’t know if we’re a strong match. You’re a really nice guy, I just don’t know you’re the guy for me. I want someone who is going to be around more… That’s important to me. Hope you understand.” Immediately, he responded, “Yup. I feel the same way :). Anyways, all good here. Please do me a favor and put me in touch with your friend about subletting my apartment, and I’ll see you sometimes in the city :).” I don’t know if that was his way of protecting himself emotionally or if it is how he truly felt. Either way, it was a clean break. All was good, and we could still be friends if we ran into each other in the future.

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My Week with PR

Things between PR and I seemed to be something of a fairy tale. We’d met months earlier on Grindr after he had a very rough breakup, and I was just getting my relationship off the ground with Smiles. He temporarily moved a few blocks from me, and after a night out as friends, we’ve been spending a lot of time together as love interests.

After our night out to the movies and dinner, PR spent the night once again. Why should he sleep on a pull-out when he could be sharing a California King with me. I got ready for work, and he made his way home to figure out his day. He was on-call that day, but ended up not having to go into work. Instead, he went shopping with his mother.

When he returned to Hoboken Wednesday night, he came over to hang out. We watched TV in each other’s arms on the couch and he spent the night once again. Things were getting hot and heavy with us, and fast. We still hadn’t had “sex’ in the traditional penetration sense of the word, but we were fully enjoying each other’s company.

Thursday night I have volleyball. This was good because it offered a natural break for us. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t tired of me yet. We’d been spending A LOT of time together, and I’m not always the easiest to be around. I was happy to have the time apart – Not because I didn’t want to see him, but more so because it made me look forward to seeing him again that much more.

When I got home from volleyball, he started texting me. We texted about the shows we were watching until he added, “So, I miss you.” I quickly replied, “Stop being so adorable. You know I can’t resist it!” And then he called it spot on. I love how real and upfront he is about things. “Is today resist each other day? If you need a break, I understand. I find you intoxicating in the best sense — Like happy,” he texted. I told him I did not need a break, and I in fact did miss him. But I also told him I wanted to make sure we didn’t tire of each other. He told me he was having a rough day. He heard back about a job he applied for and was told he didn’t get the position. I felt really bad that was the night we decided to spend apart. I’m sure he just needed a hug. He was depressed. I told him. “I can try to hug it away.” He asked if we could hang out the following night. I told him I had no plans and would love to.

When he stopped responding to my texts, I joked, “Replaced me with pizza?” He apologized since his pizza was delivered, and he added, “Food won’t comfort me as much as you.” And with a smile on my face, I dozed off for the night.

The next night, he came over. I made dinner for us both, and we watched movies. It was nice to have someone to spend my evenings with. This is what I really wanted in a relationship. This is what I was looking for. I was happy!

When we woke the next day, I made us breakfast. He spent the afternoon with me, and we finally motivated ourselves to hit the gym. He went home and changed while I showered. We met at the corner and walked to the gym together. He was very quiet and solemn that morning. We didn’t work out together, but that’s because I like to do my own thing at  the gym. We finished at the same time and walked home together.

That’s when he dropped a small bomb on me. He told me he was moving back home. I didn’t quite know how to take the news. I wasn’t thrilled with it. It meant he would be much further away, and we wouldn’t be spending evenings together so readily. I knew why he did it, and I realized he needed to get his life back on track. But, I selfishly didn’t like the idea.

That evening I had a bunch of friends come over to pregame before hitting up my friend’s birthday gathering at a bar a block away. He met many of my friends and seemed to fit in, but I still had the idea of him moving home in the back of my mind. When the time came, we all made our way to the bar. It was a fun night, but PR was being standoffish. He wasn’t mingling with my friends and was only talking to me a majority of the night. I was a little disappointed. On top of this, he was getting pretty inebriated and flirtatious. I’m comfortable with my sexuality, but I don’t like PDA in a “straight” bar. I feel all eyes on me, and it hinders me from enjoying myself. Nothing he was doing crossed the line, but it also was edging further and further.

By the time we moved to a friend’s bar (after hours) he was being overt. Granted it was a much more exclusive group and mainly my friends, but he was drunk and making me uncomfortable. I tried to just look past it.

Once again, we went to Cluck U to get a late-night snack. He was so drunk he couldn’t stay awake long enough to eat his. I carried him to my bed and tucked him in. He wasn’t happy because he wanted his chicken, but soon enough he dozed off. I put it in the fridge until the following day. I wasn’t resentful at all of this. I actually enjoyed taking care of him. I knew if our relationship continued, he’d be doing the same for me down the road. I sat in the living room and ate my chicken with the company of my thoughts. I had a lot on my mind since he told me he’d be moving back home. The news he didn’t get the position he applied for was a little unsettling as well. On top of this, there was the incompatibility we shared in the bedroom that hadn’t been resolved. This wasn’t the stability I was searching for, but I was still enjoying his company.

When I had my fill, I tucked myself in bed in quickly dozed off.

The next day, we woke, and he continued to give me $hit for not allowing him to eat his chicken the night before. He ate it for lunch instead.

We got dressed and ready for the day finally. I needed to go grocery shopping, so we walked to Garden of Eden together. His mother was coming in an hour to take him home. It was a bittersweet day. We’d spent more than a week straight together with the exception of one day. Things progressed quickly, but then again, they were about to change drastically.

I said goodbye to him as we made plans for the coming days. We were a few days away from Valentine’s Day, and he really wanted to celebrate it together. I obliged.

I thought about him the rest of the night and what this new arrangement would mean for us. I was quickly coming back down from the clouds…

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Ozzy Bonobos

Today, I am bringing you a tag team post created for you by myself and another one of my faithful Australian readers, J. Argenta. I hope you enjoy.

Recently, I posted about Bonobos. As a result, one of my readers, J. visited the site and did a little shopping.

“I’m one of his avid readers and couldn’t help but check out the Bonobos site after he spoke so highly of it! I found some great stuff on there, but when I got to the checkout and it was $91 to get stuff shipped to Australia! — More than the pair of pants I was going to get. I was basically a stranger and hoped what I was about to ask wasn’t too strange, but I asked if he wouldn’t mind placing the order for me and sending it over for me? I offered to transfer you the money to cover it all and do so before he placed the order. I just don’t happen to know anyone in America and figured the shipping would be cheaper this way. I knew it was a long shot, but I hoped he would be comfortable with this.” – J. Argenta

This posed many challenges. I wanted to help him out. I was totally game to do whatever I needed to do, but this would certainly force me to give up anonymity. He would need to know my name and address to mail me payment. I didn’t feel comfortable breaking down the fourth wall.

I thought about how else I could help. I knew as a blogger, I had a certain level of power. I could reach out to the Bonobos PR team and see if there was anything they could do. I sent them an email:

Hey there Bonobos PR team. 
I am one of your biggest fans (I bought the Shortboards – Lapis Lazuli and ABSOLUTELY love them! and have since bought some pants and hats because I love how everything fits me well. I digress) I have an odd request to make. I am a blogger. My blog mainly (but not limited to) attracts a specific audience, but one that fits well with the Bonobos brand — the gay community. You can check out my daily blog at onegayatatime.com. That being said, I love Bonobos products and am not shy about telling my readers about this. In one of my posts, I mentioned your brand and how much I enjoy it. Afterwards, I received an odd email from one of my readers in regards to your products. 
[I attached his original email]. 
I’m not 100% comfortable making this transaction for him, but I was hoping maybe by reaching out to him I could help him solve his high-priced shipping problem. I told him I would reach out to you and see what you could do for him. I work in media, so I know the value of word-of-mouth. You can expect me to continue to speak positively about your products in my blog and can be assured I will make special note if you find a viable solution for my reader. Thanks for your assistance with this issue.
I look forward to hearing from you!   
— O.G.A.A.T.

I was CC’d on an email to the Ninjas who take care of this, and they replied back, “Done. Thanks.” I was surprised how brief the response was, but I decided to wait and see what they sent to J. Argenta. I also asked them to keep me up-to-date with what they were doing so I could share the positive story. I got an email in response:

Sure no problem. Sorry about the curt email. Your message was forwarded to us from the PR team so I though I was giving her a direct reply. My apologies if that came off as short. I can definitely keep you updated. I didn’t know your friend/fan’s name but I shot him an email outlining our international shipment options (we actually pay for outgoing shipments but have to do it manually due to shipping negotiations and site shortcomings). 
Thanks for reaching out on this.
Cheers.  

— Nick

“I told O.G.A.A.T. they offer free international shipping, but because of ‘how the young program is and various logistic negotiations/planning/tweaking,’ Bonobos covers the cost of shipping manually in the form of store credit. Nick also said I would have to cover customs charges, but I’ve never had to do this with other international orders from other sites. I’m not sure if other sites maybe cover this cost or just include it in their selling price.” — J. Argenta

I emailed the Ninjas again and told them the issue:
Because of this, I think you may be losing a sale and a customer, and I am disappointed in how this problem is being handled. I was hoping to report a viable solution on my blog with a happy story of great customer service to match a great product, but as of now I can’t do that. A store credit of $91 doesn’t sound like a viable solution to me. The problem would just represent itself when he attempts to apply said store credit. I would hope you would further investigate this issue or possibly escalate it to a higher level. I look forward to hearing a happy ending to this story.
Thanks for your help!

This is when Nick really went above and beyond to clarify the situation and make sure he had a satisfied customer. He quickly sent me a reply:

Hey again,
Let me start off by saying that I don’t think your friend will have to pay duties. Sorry about the confusion here. I think maybe there was a miscommunication on our part. Basically the deal with customs is that we (or any company/site/vendor) have no control over duties and customs charges. These are determined solely by the host countries and reimbursing recipients for customs/duties is a legal ‘iffy’ area.
[He then went into detail on international shipping and customs policies, as well as breaking out costs and examples].
So basically our feeling was since we lack the ability to predict or control customs costs in other countries we would make it up to the customer by not charging them for international shipping a la the store credit option. I think the confusion here might have been due to when and how the store credit is applied.
The idea was that the most viable way of compensating for our systems/logistics shortfall was to offer a free shipping service until we could finalize a partnership with an international shipper.
Sorry for the long-winded email, I just wanted to make sure I was specifically answering your concerns in regards to, “The problem would just represent itself when he attempts to apply said store credit,” since the store credit actually resolves the problem of shipping costs, not make it worse.
I know it’s a bit of hassle if you’re an international customer which is why we really do try to do as much as we can at the moment given the resources available to us. It’s a big headache on our end as well as we would love to develop an international customer base (pants = the universal language). It’s just proven to be a much bigger bag of worms than anticipated and therefore has been much slower going in terms of negotiating with a shipping agent.
The short answer for your friend is that he will only pay for his clothes, we will cover shipping, and as far as I can tell he won’t have to pay for duties (though again, my knowledge of Australian customs law is cursory at best). The only catch is that he has to shoot us a quick email or give us a call so that we can drop the credit to cover shipping into his account. 
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot us another email or give us any feedback. I always love talking shop. 
All the best.
— Nick

I was duly impressed, and I let him know:
Hey dude. Thanks for the explanation. I indeed appreciate the long-winded email. You know your sh*t. I also appreciate the time it took to write and explain. I’ve passed along the info to my reader. I will continue to give nothing but rave reviews going forward of Bonobos and will not the extra effort you made to make a customer (and myself) happy.
THANKS!

He replied once more:
No problem dude. I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page. We’re definitely a little behind the eight ball when it comes to international shipping so your (and your friend’s concerns) were well founded and we appreciate you keeping us honest. We’ll be in touch and feel free to give us a holler any time you have a question.
Best.
— Nick

I relayed this information to J. Argenta to make sure he knew how this would go down.

“I finally understood what they were talking about. It all sounded good! All this for a pair of pants! But, I thanked O.G.A.A.T. for being so persistent and placed my order. It’s nice to know there are people out there willing to help out a stranger in need (of some new pants).” — J. Argenta

I was happy to hear the transaction come to a positive outcome. I am happy to bring the story to you and highlight Bonobos customer service on this issue. They once again proved they are a company with not only top notch products but also top notch service. They really went above and beyond to help an Ozzy out who needed a pair of pants…

I’m Jason by the way. I live in Australia, obviously! Hello! I’ve got a blog as well — Not one that I advertise much at all, but I’ve sort of been branching out a bit with it lately. Not sure if it would be your type of thing — It’s a bit random really, just about everyday goings-on, and things that I find interesting like racism and gay-related things. I wrote my own little gay life story a few posts ago after coming across so many gay-related blogs. Anywho, check it out if you like — jaargenta.blogspot.com – and I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

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Back to Reality

Christmas day had passed. My time home was coming to an end. I was happy to be home, but I was also anxious to get back to normal life.

The morning after Christmas, my father and I decided to do a little shopping to see if we could land any special deals to kill time. I would also finally be in cell phone service, so I could text Smiles and wish him a safe flight. When I got into service, I got an influx of text and picture messages. He’d sent me quite a few, keeping me updated on what he was up to. I really was missing him and quite anxious to get back to see him. I proposed we do dinner at my apartment since he had to postpone it before the holidays. He texted back in agreement. I was finally going to get to make us the standing rib roast. I told him I missed him, and he responded, “I miss you too! 🙂 “ I could have melted into a puddle right there. This was so unlike him to express his emotions like this, but I was eating it up!

The day after Christmas is always spent with my father’s side of the family. We all gather together for a nice potluck meal that rotates from house to house year to year.  This side of the family has also shrunk significantly. My grandparents have been gone since I was quite young. My father’s brother is in rough shape these days from his battles with diabetes. His sister died a few years ago and her husband is in a nursing home. I rarely see their daughter, my cousin since she moved away and got married. That left one sister whose husband also passed away a few years ago. But as that generation was shrinking, another was growing in leaps in bounds. The living sister has 5 children, all of which are married and have become baby making machines. They now outnumber the four of us five to one.

The gathering is always a lively one with many children running about. Christmas is one of the two times I spend with this side of the family each year (the other being an annual family reunion). We also have an annual tradition of a “Yankee gift swap” or “white elephant sale” depending where you come from. The tradition has lost a lot of its allure as my cousins have adopted a new tradition of buying crap at Wal-Mart and Big Lots the day after Christmas for half price.

My sister and I had to work the Tuesday after Christmas, so around 5:00 we hopped in the car and made our way back to Hoboken. When I got back to my apartment and unloaded all my presents from home, I picked up the phone and called Smiles. Sadly, it went straight to voicemail. I was hoping to relax after a long car ride with some time talking to him, but alas, that wouldn’t be the case.

My roommate arrived home, and we swapped all our holiday stories. We plopped down on the couch and started to catch up on the programs we saved on the DVR. After some time, Smiles called. I think if you were in New Jersey when the phone rang, you may have seen a beacon of light in the sky that was my smile.

He told me about his trip home and the ordeal he went through. When he got back to the city, he’d gone out with one of his female friends for dinner. He devised a new plan to work out of her apartment going forward so he would be more productive than he was working out of his apartment. He felt if he had a place to go to every day that wasn’t in line of sight of his bed, he would get more done. I told him I thought it was a great idea. Even though they wouldn’t be coworkers, they could keep each other on task. Either that, or it would be a complete disaster, and they would be a constant distraction for each other.

I told him about my time home, my family and how the gift swap has become a sham. He laughed and told me about the rest of his time home with the family.

It wasn’t a long phone conversation, as our phone calls never are, but it certainly satisfied my hunger for Smiles. It would satiate me until I got to see him the following night when he came over for dinner.

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