Posts Tagged vulnerable

Welcome Back?

Sorry for the late post… Had a very busy morning at work…

 

Since that fateful night on December 31st, 2011, I’ve had my eye on a certain someone. He was also attending the party I went to on New Year’s Eve.

Throughout the night, I talked to him a fair amount. He seemed like a really nice guy. For a solid twenty minutes, he and I were the only ones in the living room until more guests arrived. We got to know each other fairly well. My original thought on him was he was too young, but the more I got to know him, the more I learned how mature he was. Obviously age had nothing to do with maturity. I learned that the hard way with Smiles. I wasn’t going to rule him out just because he was 22. It also helped he was very attractive. He had both the jock look and the intelligent look about him. It was very sexy.

I didn’t want to jump the gun however. I somewhat embarrassed myself that night, and I wasn’t sure if he took notice. I decided to wait until the dust settled, especially since he knew Smiles though a mutual connection, the party’s host. Before my trip to San Francisco, I laid the groundwork. I informed him of my breakup with Smiles on Facebook. He sent his condolences.

Now that I was home, I was ready to dive in and see if I could ask him out on a date. I sent him a Facebook message that Tuesday: “Hey dude. I know this kinda comes out of left field, but I thought you were a pretty down-to-earth guy when I talked to you on NYE. I was wondering if you’d be interested in grabbing a drink sometime…?” I don’t know why, but I felt very vulnerable doing this. It’s crazy. He’s five years younger than me. Why was I so intimidated? All I could do was wait for an answer.

That night, he finally responded: “I am flattered, but I am kinda seeing someone. Happened right after New Years actually. Doesn’t mean we can’t chill as friends.” My hopes were dashed. I’d been plotting and planning this whole thing out over time to find out I missed the boat. I was kicking myself, but there was nothing I could do. It is what it is.

I needed to graciously respond, and secretly hoped I could meet him as friends, and he would realize how much of a catch I am. Maybe he’d let things fizzle out with the other guy. The door wasn’t closed, even though it was beginning to shut. There was still a glimmer of light — A glimmer of hope.

“All the good ones are… haha… but yes.. Chill as friends works for me too. Always lookin’ for friends as well. Shoot me your #, and maybe we can find a time to hang/grab a drink…” I responded.

Sadly, I wouldn’t hear back from him again. Three weeks later, I tried to see if he would be interested in meeting up, but I got no response. If he was truly interested, he would have responded. I was learning to stop pursuing men who didn’t return an interest in me. It never worked out in my favor, and it just caused me greater frustration. If there were interested, they’d be as excited as I was to message/call/text. It wouldn’t matter about waiting two days before calling. If someone is interested, they won’t care about any of that. They’ll just be thrilled you connected at all.

I was beginning to feel very disappointed and lonely. I had no promising prospects on the horizon. As time goes on, this dating thing is getting harder and harder. Everyone thinks gay dating in New York City is a cinch but far from it. It is so incredibly hard to date in this city. The gay men here certainly don’t do anything to make it any easier.

Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. In the meantime, I was back on local Grindr. I found a guy who lived very close to my apartment who wanted to be dominated and wanted to muscle worship me. I hardly think I’m the muscle worship worthy type, but if that was what he wanted, why not give it to him. I went over to his apartment. He was a bit awkward, but I wasn’t there to find love. I was simply there to satisfy a primal need. I thought I would be able to play the part. I thought I could say all the things a dominant top would say, but in the end, I think I sounded ridiculous. It’s not who I am. It wasn’t awful, but I don’t think either of us were getting out of it what we thought we would. It took me a long time to finish with him, as usual, which didn’t exactly make for a smooth evening. When I did, it was worth his wait. However, because of the nature of my climaxes, he had to run to the kitchen and grab a bottle of Resolve and a paper towel to clean up a spot on the carpet when I overshot his chest.

He came back to the bed and we laid next to each other chatting a bit. I learned he knew the other awkward hookup I had in the same building. Apparently they were friends. I specifically asked him not to mention me, which of course spurred a whole new line of questions. I knew this was going to come back to bite me in the a$s. It was only a matter of time before the 40 year-old started messaging me again.

With that, I got dressed and made my way home on my walk of shame. Luckily it was cold out and it helped me clear my head. What was I doing? This isn’t me. This isn’t what I’m looking for. Why am I doing this? Yes, we all have needs, but I should be putting more energy into finding the right guy instead of Mr. Right Now.

I thought about all the other guys floating around out there on my roster. Was it even worth it to revisit with long-time online friend after our failed date? Maybe the southern boy I was chatting with would finally find the time to meet up. The guy who came back on the roster after almost a year was still a possibility. I needed to plan drinks with him. My Asian neighbor friend from Grindr was still asking me to grab dinner sometime, but he doesn’t drink, so I didn’t see us being very compatible. There was the very sexy, very compatible guy I found on Adam, but he wasn’t responding to any of my messages anymore. I needed to cut him from the list.

I needed to get back in shape and concentrate on building a better me. Ironically enough, I was hitting the gym regularly again. For so unknown reason, I was looking for N there every time I went. I don’t know why, but something inside me wanted to see him there, even though I wanted nothing to do with him. I needed not only to close that chapter, but also to toss the book to someone else and forget about it.

I was spinning my wheels. I was constantly Grindring, and it was getting me nowhere. I was still feeling a little angry for letting Smiles take advantage of me. I thought back to all my relationships and realized how each of them let me down. N, San Francisco, Smiles… I didn’t need any of them anymore. They brought nothing positive to my life. It was time to drop that baggage. The only one I wanted to keep around was Broadway. Since we’ve broken up, we’ve managed to remain friends. I turn to him for advice, and he is always there for me. He’s a good friend and I truly appreciate him. I can’t understand why they all couldn’t be that way. I’m thrilled we’re still friends and want that with all my exs, but if they weren’t going to make that possible, so be it.

I needed to get to a better place. I wasn’t in a dark place, but I was certainly stuck in this constant gray area. I was walking around in a cloud. I was wasting my life away searching for a guy in all the wrong places. If I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t going to find anyone. I just needed to figure out how to change things. It wasn’t going to be easy…

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Last Minute Regrets

After my awkward date with Smiles, I felt I needed some change. The date was uncomfortable and the goodbye was lack luster.

Two guys had been reaching out to me on OKCupid, so I took the time to respond to them and try to set up a time to grab drinks. I shot them a text to see if they was available the following evening.

One of them, a guy who happened to go to the same college as me, responded informing me Wednesdays were the only day during the week that really worked for him. He was taking graduate courses, so he was quite busy.

The other guy texted me back to explain he was most likely available to meet for a drink when he finished work, but was unsure when that would be. He is a financial planner, so his hours are somewhat sporadic. We planned to touch base again at 5:00 the next day.

I had a lot of regret after setting up this date, but I tried to proceed with an open mind. All my friends encouraged me to date more people and not put all my eggs in one basket. I was finally following their advice. Smiles wasn’t exactly being the warmest towards me, so no harm, no foul.

When 5:00 arrived, the regret came flooding in. I didn’t want to meet up for drinks. I felt like I was cheating on Smiles. The planner sent me a text explaining he would be working late. He asked if I could meet for coffee at 9:30. I agreed, and sat with my guilt. It was already bothering me, and I didn’t even go out for the drinks yet. What if he tried to kiss me? What if he really liked me? What if I really liked him? This just goes to show you shouldn’t make quick irrational decisions.

As it got later, I got more nervous about the date. Not because of the date, but because of what it would mean for Smiles and I. I didn’t want to betray him. We hadn’t talked about exclusivity yet, but I was hoping we were moving in that direction.

I received a text that calmed my nerves completely. He had to cancel because he got called back into work. I was off the hook. I’m very grateful he cancelled on me, because the guilt would have really gotten to me. It’s just who I am.

I began to examine my relationship with Smiles. There were times he was completely affectionate and a total sweetheart. He really made me happy during those times. Probably far more than he realizes. I really enjoyed spending time with him, no matter what we were doing. On the other hand, when he would ignore me or not take me into consideration, I felt like such a small man. It really hurt to feel he wasn’t feeling about me the same way I was feeling about him. I wanted him to adore me the way I adored him at times. I felt like he always kept me at a safe distance. Not so far that I leave him, but not too close that I could ever hurt him. If we were going to proceed together, he was going to have to make himself more vulnerable and let me in.

I felt like I was part of his second life. He had his friends and acted one way with them, but when he was with me, he was different. He never integrated the two lives. Always separate. This is the reason I broke up with Broadway.

All this also helped me realize I needed Boston back in my life to talk me out of these crazy ideas. He is my sanity. I let my mind run wild after one bad date. He was always someone who could put me back on track and give me a strong dose of reality, not what my mind was conjuring up. However, he isn’t the easiest to get ahold of since he’s in he final year of school.

Smiles wasn’t talking to me much, so I would wait until he felt the need to talk to me. I didn’t go on the date, but I wasn’t exactly running back into Smiles’ arms. I was going to play hard to get a little bit…

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Happy to See Him Happy

In continuing with sharing fun videos I come across, I thought I’d share this one. After reading Anthony Romero’s comment on Twitter, “Siri, tell my wife I’m gay,” I thought I’d heard the funniest Siri reference. (BTW, follow the porn star couple, @AnthyRomero and @AustinWilde on Twitter, they’re very entertaining!) Then this video came along and made me laugh so hard I cried… You may have already seen it, but I hope you like it!

On with the story…

On the night following my conversation with Smiles to bring him back from the edge, he had a film screening in New York City. This was the same film I had traveled out to the Hamptons to view. But, that was a dry run of sorts. The New York City premier was the real deal. Smiles was stressing about all the last minute details, and who could blame him?

I didn’t talk to or text him that day. I knew he’d be busy. Long ago, I made plans to attend the screening. Even though I’d seen it, I wanted to be supportive. I wanted to prove to him I cared about him and wanted him to be successful. And, if he wasn’t, I would still be there.

When I arrived, there was a small line forming. They weren’t allowing anyone in until 7:00. I stood in line patiently while optimistically telling him there was a decent line forming outside stretching to the corner.

When they finally let us in, I found Smiles. As per usual these days, I didn’t get a kiss. We said hi and chatted about our days quickly and the set up of the film. Shortly thereafter, his friend arrived and we were introduced. The friend was very familiar and quite attractive, and then I learned he was at the birthday gathering weeks earlier. The three of us chatted a while, but Smiles hadn’t seen him in a while, so they dominated the conversation.

After some time, one of Smiles’ cast mates came over to talk to him. He was introduced to the two of us. While conversing, he asked us, “So how do you know [Smiles]?” Just then, my phone rang, and I didn’t have to answer the question. I politely excused myself and answered the call. It was A. Her plans for the night fell through, and she was able to come to the screening. I talked details with her and returned to the conversation, but it had already moved on. I didn’t have to answer the question, but I also didn’t get to hear Smiles answer the question. It would have answered if we’d made progress since the last time that question was posed and would give me insight as to where I stood with him.

I didn’t jump right back into the conversation between Smiles and his friend. Instead, I leaned against the bar, drank my drink, and took in the whole scene. In my peripheral hearing, I heard the friend ask Smiles, “So, you dating anyone these days?” My ears perked up. Now I would get my answer!

“Yeah. This shy little guy over here,” he said as he pulled me closer.  I must have had a smile from ear to ear. “Oh,” said the friend. “I was going to ask who brought the kid? he joked. Shortly after, Smiles had to run to take care of other things. I was left to talk to the friend, and we got along great. He’s a really nice guy. When A arrived, I introduced the two of them.

It wasn’t long before the film was about to begin. Just before we were about to sit, I grabbed Smiles and reminded him to have fun. Too many times he worried about things and forgot to enjoy them as well. We grabbed three seats (Smiles was sitting elsewhere) and settled in before the film started. A leaned over and said to me, “He’s really cute! You should totally go after him.” She’s such a bad influence sometimes! Just before the movie started, I leaned over to the friend and asked him if he knew Smiles was in the film as well. He too had no idea. Apparently I wasn’t the only one he didn’t tell that detail to.

The movie was actually better the second time around. It also helps when you watch it with a packed house. The premier was so successful, they had to bring out extra chairs. I was so proud of Smiles and happy for him. When the movie ended, they had a little “Inside the Actors’ Studio” moment with a few questions and explanations. He looked comfortable yet slightly embarrassed on stage. It was cute to see him a little vulnerable.

Afterwards, he came up to me and planted a big kiss on me. I was a little shocked. I was so happy to see him so happy. He needed a break like this! For the rest of the night, he was floating around being a social butterfly. I hung out with A until she had to leave. At that point, I held my own being alone. Smiles would come and snag me periodically to make sure I was okay and to semi celebrate. He was being very affectionate and quite publicly. I rather enjoyed it!

One of the girls in the film was in attendance and was also working for a show on HBO. I had just watched the episode she was in at work to kill time before the screening, so I took the time to pull her aside and chat with her. She asked if I knew anyone in the film. When I told her I knew Smiles, she had nothing but amazing things to say about him. Once again, I was so proud of him.

The the crowd was thinning out, Smiles ran out on the dance floor and started dancing with the star of the film while one of the bands in the film played music. He noticed I was standing by the bar. He came running over, grabbed my hand, and drug me out on the floor with him. I was having fun.

When he finished his business and wrapped up, we left together, but not before he introduced me to the star of the film. We walked to nearby Pop Burger for dinner. We were drinking all night on an empty stomach, and Smiles’ tolerance is much lower than mine. We ordered food and sat to eat it. I had never heard of a shrimp burger, so I ordered that.

While we sat, I made fun of his clamshell phone, taking pictures of it and tagging him in the photo on Facebook.

I called for the car service from work and had them pick me up to take me home. Shhh. Since Smiles lives on the way to the tunnel, we dropped him off in front of his building. He climbed over me to get out of the car and gave me a kiss goodnight. I went home a happy man. I made a lot more progress that night. Dare I say it? I think I was in a relationship at that point???

I went home and climbed into bed with a big grin on. However, the grin didn’t last long. Just my luck, I woke up with food poisoning in the middle of the night. I spent a majority of the night in the bathroom and did not get much sleep. I went from having a very happy night to a miserable one in no time…

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Alumni Weekend

Following my debacle of a night with Sexy Eyes, I woke early in the morning to go back to my apartment and get ready for alumni weekend at my college.

The previous night, while sitting on my couch, I received text messages from a teammate of mine from college. Unbeknownst to me, many of my teammates were attending the wedding of one of the guys I swam with in college. The texts started off saying hi and asking if I was still going up to school the following day, but then they took a turn I wasn’t expecting.

A little over a year ago, when I came out from behind the brick wall I built up, I started telling my friends as I felt comfortable with the news myself. I was hosting my annual holiday bash, and I invited many of my teammates from college who were in my graduating year. The guy I was dating at the time would be in attendance, so I felt the need to clue my friends in on this news as not to blindside them if they decided to attend.

I sent out emails, text messages and instant messages to many of them. They were all supportive. It was very refreshing to see their positive reactions. I did ask them to all please use discretion since it wasn’t yet public knowledge. I figured by telling them all around the same time, they could chat amongst each other, rather than with the people I hadn’t had a chance to tell yet.

Fast forward to today, and many of my younger teammates still didn’t know. That is, until the wedding. I’m not sure how it came up, but one of the guys I graduated with told one of the younger girls. I do have to say, I’m surprised and impressed he lasted that long before telling anyone. It was only a matter of a few hours before it spread like wildfire among the rest of the attendees. I’m certainly not mad about the situation. It’s a slightly uneasy feeling — I felt very vulnerable. I would have preferred telling them myself at a comfortable and convenient time, but what’s done is done. Now, they all know.

So the text messages began with: “So I heard you came out.” I acknowledged the statement and asked how he found out. He wouldn’t tell me. He wasn’t going to give up the source. I told him I wasn’t mad about it, but more just curious. I wanted to know who knew, so I wouldn’t say anything dumb or lie to someone who already knew the truth. He finally told me one of our female teammates told him. I asked her where the intel came from and she led me back to the source. The text conversation with my male teammate ended with him telling me he had something to tell me, but only in person the following day. A small red flag went off in my head, but only the following day would solve that question. What couldn’t he send me in a text that he had to say in person?

I assumed they all went up there early to go out to the bars Friday night. When I arrived on campus and found out they were all there for a the wedding, I could only assume my entire team knew at that point. Surprisingly, no one said anything about it to me, and no one treated me any differently. Not that I immediately noticed anyway.

We had an alumni swim meet Saturday morning when I arrived at the school. My main concern was not looking fat and swimming at least decently well. I wanted to be the guy who stayed in shape or even looked better than college instead of the pudgy men many of my teammates have become. It was just my inner gay coming out at that point. Much to my surprise, one of the fittest guys on the team asked if I’d been lifting and commented on how I looked more muscular. I was thrilled. Goal 1 — Accomplished. Then we swam a few races, and I actually had the top time of anyone in the pool. I felt great, especially since many of these guys were much more talented than myself when we were in school. Goal 2 — Accomplished.

Following the meet, many of the swim alumni hung out together. We drank in the parking lot, hit up the campus green, toured new buildings, etc. One of the younger alumni, whom I’ve never spoke to before, was chatting me up throughout portions of the day. I didn’t really notice this until that evening when I was leaving. One of the guys who lives near me in Jersey and I decided not to spend the night. We just made a day trip of it. When the younger alumni learned of our departure, he came up to me and inquired about us not going to the bar that night. I found it odd he would care I was leaving. Then I remembered the topic of conversation among the group the night before. It just seemed to come out of left field the way he asked the question and said, “Well, maybe some other time then.”

Between the drinking on the green and getting in the car to go, I decided to stop by an old friend‘s apartment on campus. He was my freshmen dorm’s mentor and a close friend over the years. It had been over a year since we last spoke, and I wanted to make a point to catch up with him. I took two of my teammates with me to visit him. We had a nice chat, and I chuckle when I think back to the point in the conversation where he asked me about dating and marriage. I smiled and told him I was a bachelor, at least for the time being. He is a religious figure, and I wasn’t 100% ready to tell him right then and there. I do want to take the time to tell him since he is such a good man and good friend, but I still need to find the right timing and setting.

On the ride home, I realized my teammate never told me what it was he had to tell me in person. When I texted him, he didn’t remember making that statement at all, and claimed he was very drunk the night he was sending them. He thought it was just who the source of intel was, but I doubted that. I’m not sure what he had to tell me, but I hope he would feel comfortable telling me whatever it was he needed to say. But maybe it was simply what occurred the night everyone found out. Who knows?

He also took the opportunity to reiterate his support of me and noted he has many gay friends he supports fully as well. It was nice to hear because he was a good friend in college when we swam together. I know he has a big heart, and it meant a lot to hear it all from him.

All in all, it was a successful weekend. It’s relieving to know the cat is out of the bag, and I received no negative reactions. I can never know what was actually said or joked about when they found out, but that’s simply human nature. I can only hope they come to accept me for who I am and be happy I’m finally happy…

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