Saturday morning, I woke up to CK’s lips caressing mine with a gentle kiss. “Morning baby,” he whispered. As my eyes opened and slowly adjusted, his face came into focus and a smile grew on my face. What a great way to wake up!
After taking my sweet old time getting out of bed, I made my way to the kitchen to start making us coffee and breakfast. We planned to hit the beach for the day, but our coffee wasn’t the only thing with clouds in it. I realized trekking out to Long Beach wasn’t worth it if the weather wasn’t going to shape up. So, instead of having cereal, I cooked us eggs and pancakes.
CK asked if there was anything he could do to help as he wrapped his arms around me from behind. “No. I think I have it covered,” I responded.
While I didn’t need his help in creating the food we were going to eat, I was hoping he would keep me company while I did it. However, while I was cracking eggs, he was off in the corner tweeting, Instagramming, GetGluing, and emailing away. This was a point of contention between us. At times, I felt he put more importance on his virtual friends and followers than he did with the man who was physically present at the moment. When I asked him a question, and it fell on deaf ears. I started to feel unappreciated. I felt like making breakfast for us was my duty. It was simply expected of me.
I asked him, once again, to be more present and put the phone down. I pointed out how often he was glued to his phone. Even though I understood how important social media was to him, I felt overshadowed by it. Of course, he responded quite defensively, and an argument ensued.
This continued for some time before he used the same phrase I heard on Friday: “Do you really want me, or do you want some changed version of me?” I reiterated for him how much I loved him and how I was not trying to change him. There were so many inherent qualities he possessed I loved about him, but there were also a few behaviors by which I felt disrespected. This was something new for both of us, and we were both learning what it means to be in a substantial relationship.
Instead of diving into another world while I cooked his breakfast, perhaps he could have sat at the counter and engaged with me. I know I’m sound like an unappreciated housewife, but at the time, that’s exactly how I felt.
In an isolated incident, this would have been nothing. However, I’m a very analytical person, and I notice patterns, sometimes in their infancy stages. I didn’t want this to become a typical behavior. We’ve all seen it in movies — The dad who doesn’t engage with his family because he’s glued to his blackberry putting out fires for work. I wanted him to take the time to separate out the noise. I wasn’t asking him to give up his virtual world. I was just asking him to be conscientious of when and where he engaged. Obviously, I have my own social media accounts to manage, but I never put them before the people I am with in real-time, especially him.
I’d been on the other side of this paradigm. Before I met CK, when I went out to straight bars with my friends, I was often engaging with others on Grindr. My friends complained I wasn’t present, but I explained how that was the trade-off for spending time with them in places I was much less likely to meet a man. Looking back, I can see how insulting it can be to be physically with someone while mentally, they are in a virtual world.
The fight grew and grew much bigger than the initial sentiment merited. I tried to calm things and explain I wasn’t looking for a fight. I was simply trying to point out something I didn’t appreciate so he could do something about. I was trying to communicate. I didn’t want him to get defensive, and I wasn’t looking to take the offensive. In time, hopefully these situations wouldn’t escalate like this. I was trying to lengthen my fuse, while he was learning to deal with the enigma that is myself.
Eventually, cooler heads prevailed, and we sat to eat our breakfast. He thanked me for making breakfast with a kiss.
Since the weather was far from motivating, we spent a majority of the day on the couch watching Game of Thrones and fooling around. Our ever-healthy libidos were calling out to be quenched as well. Fooling around soon turned into more vigorous exercises.
The front of my apartment is nearly all windows. This doesn’t exactly allow for privacy unless the shades are drawn. I didn’t want to interrupt the moment by closing the shades, and I knew it would only feed CK’s exhibitionist side to leave them open. Self-consciously, I glanced out the window and noticed a woman across the street. I had a feeling she’d seen us and tried to decipher whether or not she was continuing to watch us. I couldn’t decide either way, and I was far more distracted by the gorgeous man in front of me than the stranger across the street. If she wanted to watch, let her. All this commenced with a climax, and me taking an afternoon nap on top of him.
When we woke, I continued with my plans to bake a few pies. This time, when CK asked if he could help, I welcomed his assistance with open arms. Together, we made two pies, torturing ourselves with the delicious smells coming from the oven as they baked. We engaged in Instagram together, taking pictures of our masterpieces and uploading them together. At least our heated conversation earlier that morning was finally bearing fruit.
That night, to properly celebrate three months together and make up for the previous night, we decided to hit up a restaurant I’d been dying to go to for six years, Anthony Davids. It was always difficult to get into because there was usually a line of people waiting for a table. We didn’t have any other pressing plans, so we decided to give it a shot.
We were seated in the coziest table in the joint. The ambiance was already setting the perfect mood for the night. All the fighting and bickering from earlier in the week slowly disappeared from my consciousness. Our stellar waitress opened the Malbec we brought with us, and CK proposed a toast. “Here’s to the beginning of our 2nd quarter,” he boasted. It was a very cute sentiment, and it put a smile on my face.
Over the course of our amazing meal, I slowly began to realize the bigger picture. I realized it was all worth it. No matter how much fighting there was, the good times – times like these – were priceless!
Our night could not have gotten much better. The service was impeccable, the food was divine, the ambiance was indescribable… We finished our meal and walked back to my apartment hand-in-hand. We were exhausted from a long day of lounging about on the couch. When we got home, we brushed our teeth and climbed straight into bed. I could not have been happier. I was utterly in love, and my relationship with CK was really starting to take shape.
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As gay men, CK and I had been anticipating the release of Magic Mike with bated breath. One Friday night, CK suggested we check it out. When he said we, I assumed he meant just the two of us, but I quickly came to learn we included Old News as well. As long as we were inviting friends, I knew P wanted to see the movie as well, so I reached out to her. This was two-fold because it would also help balance the scale since I wasn’t exactly comfortable with how Old News was with CK. We were all planning to gather in midtown to check out a late showing.
I was meeting CK at his apartment before the movie, and when I arrived, I learned Old News would be meeting us there as well before walking to the theater together. I already couldn’t wait. From the moment Old News arrived, he began schmoozing CK. A friendly greeting with a hug is completely acceptable, but the kiss on the cheek was a little unnecessary. This was no air kiss, and I know because I was behind CK looking right at him as he did it. It probably was not his intent, but I felt it may have been done for my benefit. I didn’t like it — Not one bit. All I could do was stand by and watch this without saying anything. I would have to wait to have a private conversation with CK later.
Of course, he was very cordial toward me, but I couldn’t have cared less. I still had a bad taste left in my mouth from the last time we hung out at XL. That night, I was going to get the answer to a question that arose every time he came around. Was he actually flirting with CK because of lingering feelings, or was I imagining things? I had an advantage that night. I had two sets of eyes on him. I had asked P to watch and tell me if my suspicions were correct.
We met P in front of the theater, and as we took our seats, what transpired next could not have made me happier. It just so happened, as we walked into the theater, the order was Old News, myself, CK and finally P. So, when we sat, I was between Old News and CK, and I was thrilled. When CK and I go to the movies, we’re fairly affectionate in the way we sit. We hold hands or put our arms around each other. I wasn’t going to change that this time, and Old News was about to get a front row seat to this. Maybe he’d realized the CK ship has sailed. He was my man now, and it was time to back off and learn to simply be his friend. Nothing more. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t want Old News out of the picture completely. He was CK’s friend. I simply wanted him to respect the relationship between CK and I.
The theater was a sh*t show — Like being in an actual strip club. Women were everywhere, shouting and squealing at the screen as they jumped out of their seats in excitement. I was shocked I didn’t see a dollar bill or two go flying in the air.
As we left the theater, Old News commented to us, “Wow! It smells like wet vagina in here! Do you smell that?” I thought the comment was hysterical because he was pretty spot on, but I wasn’t exactly in the frame of mind to laugh at his jokes yet.
We stopped on the corner of the street to discuss what we wanted to do next. None of us had eaten, so food was discussed, but no one would make a decision. Finally, we landed on heading back to CK’s apartment to smoke and hang out.
As we walked down the street, Old News was joking and what I would certainly call flirting with CK. When the opportunity arose, he’d throw an arm around him or pat him on the back. Don’t get me wrong. I’d seen this interaction time and time again with Hip, and I had no problem with it. In fact, I welcomed it. It all seemed completely different with Old News. Old News would draw CK into a conversation, and the two of them continued on as if P and I didn’t exist. At some point, CK noticed I was a bit out of sorts. He hung back with me and asked what’s wrong. I reiterated how I felt Old News was flirting and still had a crush on him. Once again, he told me I was imagining things. I started to get adamant, and I think he finally realized how much this bothered me.
If he was willing to act like this in front of me, what would Old News try to do if I wasn’t around. Like I said, it wasn’t CK I trusted, it was Old News. After chatting for so long, I’m sure he realized something was up. We agreed to talk about it again later and returned back to the other two.
We hung out at CK’s for quite some time, and around 2:00am, we decided to go to Flaming Saddles, and P decided to head home. As I walked her out I asked her what she thought. She agreed he was still flirting, but to a bit of a lesser degree. It was all I needed to confirm I wasn’t being irrational. I thanked her and gave her a hug goodnight. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of going out since it was already quite late, and we were going to the beach the following morning with Boston and a few others. As our group was shrinking by one, we were also growing by two. CK’s roommate and his assistant joined us. The night was only getting better and better.
When we arrived at Flaming Saddles, no one was there. Instead, we continued on to Industry. It was a good scene, and the good news was that CK and I were dancing. Old News seemed to disappear. However, it wasn’t long before I felt I was beginning to disappear too. I was slowly but surely getting comfortable with going to gay bars, but I was also learning something about CK in gay bars I didn’t exactly appreciate.
When we danced, I never felt like I was dancing with just him. I felt like I was dancing with the entire bar. He danced, and I was tried to dance next to him. He constantly looked around to see who was looking at him, gently touching guys as they passed by him. I never had his full attention. This was only exacerbated when he stepped up on the stage, and I was two steps below him. I felt like I was there with a go-go boy, and I have to admit I was a little crushed. It hurt. Was my attention not enough for him? Did he need the eyes of every other guy in the room? This brought up a lot of worries I’d been having about our relationship. I was worried I wasn’t enough for him, and that was all I wanted.
We ended up closing down the bar at 4:00am. We were all starving, so we foraged for food. We settled on Empanada Mama and grabbed a table outside. They had a packed house, so it took forever for us to get our food. When it finally arrived, everyone dug in. When I went to grab my second empanada, it was gone. I looked across the table and noticed Old News shoveling it into his pie hole. I don’t think he took it on purpose, but it was a perfect picture of my relationship with him. First, he was trying to steal my man. Now, he was stealing my food.
I was already agitated by Old News, but at this point, it was 6:00am and the sun was starting to come up. As the time ticked on, I grew more and more anxious about getting up the next day to follow through on my plans. CK was already so tired he actually fell asleep at the table. It was time to go home and go to bed. We said goodbye and made our way home. While we walked he turned to me and said, “You’re nuts if you think we’re heading to the beach tomorrow at 10:00.” That set me off. I told CK about my plans to go to the beach days prior to this. He should have planned accordingly. This was important to me. I hadn’t seen Boston in over a year. He was completely disregarding my plans, and I was furious. “You’re nuts if you think we’re not.” He looked at me with a confused look.
I explained how upset I was and of course started getting loud. The fact that he remembered the beach plans and completely disregarded them was incredibly demeaning. In doing so, he was telling me that his unplanned fun mattered and my planned day did not. We could have called it quits at any point throughout the night so we could have done a bit of both. Had he brought it up before 6:00am, I probably would have been receptive of a compromise. I would have said we could leave around 11:00 so we could stay out a little later. At this point, after being told I’m nuts, I wasn’t about to give up any ground. I told him I was going, with or without him. I had made plans with a friend visiting from out-of-town, and I wasn’t about to back out because he wanted to stay out all night.
Against the advice of nearly every couple I’ve ever met, that night (or should I say morning) we went to bed angry…
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