Posts Tagged West Village
Over the next few days, I thought a lot about my relationship with Smiles. It was a constant roller-coaster. As far as relationships go, I am an infant. I’ve had all of five real relationships in my life, including this one. I was still learning how to be in one.
I needed to clear my head. For three days straight, I woke up early to run. It was the perfect way to start my day, I allowed me time to think without really being distracted, and I was able to work towards my spiteful goal of losing my pudge as Smiles so gently pointed out.
It was also beginning to be quite a busy week for me at work. Tuesday I worked until midnight. I talked to Smiles that night when I had a break to make dinner plans with him for the following night. Since I started dating him, I purchased a lot of Groupons for restaurants, so I thought it was time to start using them up. I was eating out at restaurants a lot more than I would have if I weren’t dating Smiles. This was the perfect way to lighten the blow to my wallet. As I left work, I texted, “Dinner tomorrow night maybe? Just leaving work (12:00) :(”
It wasn’t until the morning when I got a response: “Morning! Just getting this. I went to bed early last night. Dinner tonight works.” I explained the Groupon I purchased for Philip Marie in the West Village and asked him if he was okay with the choice. “Sounds good if you get off before 12!” he replied.
Later that Wednesday afternoon, Smiles called to make sure I was still getting out on time, otherwise he was going to grab dinner with some of his friends. I got where he was coming from, but it also felt a little like he was trying to get out of our date. I assured him I would not be working late. As the afternoon progressed, he asked about what time we’d meet, joking about “a blue plate special at 6:30” when I told him I’d be done around 6:30/7:00. We made plans to grab dinner at 7:30. I took the opportunity to slip a joke in there about his grandpa status and his ability to make it until 7:30, and he retorted by saying, “I’m stressed. It makes me sleepy. I’ll bring my cane.”
We sat in the front window of the restaurant, and after we ordered drinks, we dove into conversation. We talked about family and career goals among other things. He talked about his desire to be beyond financially stable so he could spend more time with his family. He is not originally from the Northeast, so spending time with his family isn’t the easiest or most convenient. He also talked about his desire to build an empire. He is very passionate about a lot of different business ventures, many of which are sound ideas. However, sometimes I worry he tries to take too much on his plate at once.
The conversation was great. It was a conversation two people in a relationship would have, not two people who were just dating. I joked with him, “You’re going to be the next Nate Berkus.”
Oooooo, did I get a look! Apparently, Smiles met him in the past, and isn’t the biggest fan of him as a person. “Okay. Note to self: Don’t equate you to Nate Berkus ever again,” I said with a smile.
When the waiter came to ask us about desert, Smiles started a conversation with him like he always does. He asked if we were his only table, and the waiter described his other table. It was a man and a woman who he suspected were on a first date. We joked about our date. While we weren’t on a first date, he was learning all kinds of new things about me, such as my penchant for Black Friday shopping. He took the opportunity to take a few playful jabs at my sanity while we all had a good laugh.
After we paid our bill, we started to walk the five blocks towards the PATH. Instead, we walked about eight blocks. That was about the time Smiles realized we’d gone too far. He questioned the situation, but I explained how I was enjoying the conversation and was willing to walk back up to the PATH if I needed to. We were standing in front of a liquor store while he finished the story he was telling. When he finished, I grabbed his jacket and pulled him in closer so I could kiss him. For the first time, I felt like we were really kissing. We exchanged many affectionate kisses before finally pulling away from each other.
At that point, he said, “Why don’t you live in the city?” I laughed and replied, “Was that a subtle hint? I’m not that far!” And with that, I walked away with a smile from ear to ear. I finally felt like we had moved beyond going on dates with each other. We were dating. We were in a relationship, and I was very happy!
When I got back to Hoboken, I sent a text, “You make me smile 🙂 .” Shortly following he responded, “That’s a good thing cause I ain’t so easy to like all the time!”
I was REALLY HAPPY with everything that night. I was getting the validation I needed. I was also looking forward to Friday. That was the first time I’d be able to see him next since I play volleyball every Thursday. That would also be when I would once again attempt to seduce him and attempt to roll around with him in bed…Follow @onegayatatime
Yesterday’s video got great reception, so I decided to include another video I came across lately thanks to Smiles. I think it’s amazing shots and a very emotional piece. On top of it, the music is spectacular! Hope you like it!
On with the story…
Monday came, and I had a very light day at work. I was hoping Smiles would ask me to grab dinner, but alas, nothing. I was always the one to initiate dates, and I needed to see if he would take the initiative for once.
I gave up all hope and went home without hearing from him. Surprisingly, while lounging on the couch in front of the TV, I received an email from Smiles. He wanted to know what I was up to for the night. I logged onto Facebook to chat with him. “They are partying in the streets below me. I’m getting cage crazy,” he typed. I forgot about the Halloween parade that was happening in his neighborhood since I didn’t partake in the Halloween festivities this year.
I responded to him, “What do you propose?” He suggested coming to me since it was so crazy where he lived. I explained I was already home, but I would come back into the city to meet him for dinner. When he learned this, he said, “Oh, no don’t do that. I thought you were still at work.” I suggested he could also come out to Hoboken, which prompted the response, “I’ll get [my friend] and keep myself entertained.” That’s not the response I was looking for. I told him I was bored and really didn’t mind coming back into the city (So much for playing hard-to-get). He told me he felt bad, but I assured him I was as close as I’d be if I were still at work.
We picked a convenient place where we could find each other in the melee of the Halloween parade. We walked around the West Village and found a cute spot to grab dinner, Hudson Corner Cafe. There was a slight wait, so we hit up the bar. Once again, I was a little taken aback by the charisma he showed everyone at the restaurant. From the host to the bar tender to the waitress. He always made it a point to be personal with them, and I found it incredibly sexy.
We ordered drinks outside our comfort zones at the bar until a table was made ready. I wasn’t 100% sure, but I thought he switched the drinks when the bartender served them. Interestingly enough, we tried the drinks the other was served. I didn’t like his, and he wasn’t thrilled with mine. When we sat at the table, we ordered another round, and the waitress clarified the confusion. It worked out well considering we liked the other’s drink better.
We ordered our food and chatted while we waited. I was surprised the conversation was flowing so easily since I’d just seen Smiles the day before. When the food arrived, he commented on how little food I received. We split a brussel sprout salad, and he encouraged me to take a much larger portion. It was a very sweet gesture. We talked a lot about work and his aspirations. I was being very encouraging, but I also gave him my strong opinion on the situation. He was trying to find a typical office job while struggling to reinvigorate and old company he started years earlier. I knew that was his passion, and he would be very unhappy with a desk job. I told him he was at a great advantage. He didn’t have a comfortable job he wasn’t thrilled with that he was stuck with because it was a paycheck. He had the freedom to do whatever he wanted. He should just take a job to have a job. He took my advice to heart, which I really appreciated.
After dinner, we walked the streets. We passed someone in an amazing E.T. costume like I’d never seen before. We decided to grab desert at Magnolia’s Bakery before more walking. I made friends with a few British pigs in a blanket while waiting in line. We ate as we walked, and when we finished, we were near the PATH station. He asked, “What do you want to do now?” I was under the impression he was dropping me off, but that wasn’t the case. I didn’t think very quickly, but I suggested we head over to the parade and check it out.
Smiles had his camera, so we snapped a lot of pictures of some special characters along the way. We finally arrived at the parade and watched for a short while. When we had our fill, we continued on. Smiles suggested we go into a bar. This sounded like a great idea to me considering I already thought our night was going to end a while ago.
When we walked into the bar, Julius’, Smiles needed to use the facilities, so I attempted to order us drinks. For some reason I had no luck with this task. Usually this is my forte since I’m 6′ 2″. While standing there, an old man was creepily eyeing me up. He wasn’t being nonchalant about it at all. His eyes were burning a hole in me. I made NO eye contact with him, even though he was standing two feet away from me. When Smiles returned, he magically had no problem getting service. He commented I wasn’t smiling, and that’s why I wasn’t getting service. (Probably cause I felt uncomfortable).
We drank our beers and had a chat about weight. I joked about the Magnolia’s stop and the beer and how it would affect my waist. He casually made a comment about my weight. This wasn’t the first time he alluded to my size. Over the summer, I was extremely confident about my body, but once fall arrived, I put on a few pounds. By no means was I fat, but I wasn’t as sexy as I was over the summer. I asked him,”What’s your waist size?” He told me and was shocked to learn mine, 32″, was only one inch larger than his. He couldn’t believe it. I wanted to point out to him we share similar body shapes, even though I think he thought I was heftier. I made a lot of jokes about losing weight not for him, but in spite of him. I was making it a serious goal to lose weight just to prove it to Smiles I could. He looked at me with skepticism. I still couldn’t believe he was basically calling me fat, even if it was playful.
After we finished our beers, we continued to a bar he frequented, Diablo Royale. He knew the bartender quite well. We found a nice corner to stand in and chat. We took in all the costumes around the room. I remember specifically realizing I didn’t feel 100% comfortable with Smiles yet. I questioned this. We’d been dating for some time, and while I enjoyed his company, I felt I couldn’t completely relax. It was as if I was on a constant audition.
When we had our fill of the night, he walked me to the waterfront. Even more than usual, there was quite a cast of characters walking around. He pointed out a piece or property he’s had his eye on for some time he’d like to develop. I agreed with him about the possibilities for the property. That night, he was opening up to me more about work. I liked learning about that side of his life. I shared a lot of the passions he had in that respect. Finally, he walked me back to the PATH. It was 12:30, and I knew I would be heading home. This was one time I wasn’t hoping/expecting to go home with him. I had to work the next day. I was still shocked and very pleasantly surprised the date didn’t end after dinner. He gave me a kiss, and I hopped on the PATH.
He was quite sweet and affectionate that night, but we still hadn’t completely clicked. Something was still missing, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it…Follow @onegayatatime
As we walked, he reached down to grab my hand. I’m terrible at making those first moves, so when he did, I nearly melted into a puddle right there on the street. I loved every second of it. It also gave me the validation he was enjoying my company. We stopped to snap a few pictures of interesting things along the way. I was happy to see he was into photography since this was something I was truly interested in as well. We chatted more on the subject as we walked and stroked each other’s hands.
When we arrived at Extra Virgin, I learned why he warned me he was quite the regular. Immediately, the host made a killing fuss over him. He was a tall flamboyantly gay black man who had no qualms about jumping all over Smiles in front of me. I enjoyed the spectacle, especially since Smiles was getting quite embarrassed by the fiasco.
We took our seat at the bar and began to peruse the drink menu. Dark and Stormies have become one of my new favorite drinks, especially in a crisp fall day. The bartender asked Smiles what he wanted to drink, and much to my surprise, he replied, “I’ll have a Dark and Stormy.” Of course, when he turned to me, I replied, “I’ll have the same.” We commented to each other how much we like he drink and how perfect it is for this time of year. It was nice to see more and more commonality as the evening progressed.
As I was looking over the menu, I settled on the chicken with a mushroom sauce. He was looking over his menu and made the recommendation, “The chicken is excellent.” I informed him I already decided on that and was looking forward to it. Once our orders were placed, we could return to our conversation. We found more and more commonality between us, and I was really enjoying the time I was spending with him. What was supposed to simply be coffee and a stroll on the High Line turned into an all day affair.
Shortly after we arrived, a coworker arrived and sat next to Smiles. We didn’t acknowledge each other, and I was okay with that. I wasn’t hiding anything, but I’m still not out at work. It made for some slight awkwardness, but it certainly didn’t taint my evening.
Our meals arrived, and we both enjoyed them thoroughly as the conversation continued. At one point, he stood to use the restroom. As he passed my chair, he put his arms around me from behind and gave me a hug. It was one of the sweetest things any man had done to me in a long time. When he returned, he sat with his hand on my thigh as we chatted. The bartender brought over the desert menu since the host offered it to us on the house. I then took my hand an placed it on his thigh, gently stroking his knee while we chatted. At one point, I removed my hand, and he reached up to the bar and placed my hand back on his leg. I liked his conviction and it sent a clear signal to me he was enjoying his night as much as I was.
Following our meal, we walked down the street. He again reached out and grabbed my hand. While walking down a darker street, he guided me across the sidewalk, pulled me in closer, and he planted a kiss on me. These are the little things that really win me over. I was really falling for this guy, which was very interesting since the first date didn’t go extremely well. We came upon a cellist on the street corner playing for all passersby. He took the hand he as holding and pulled it around his back. We stood and listened for a song while he played. It was very relaxing having him leaning against me with my arm around him. I was truly there in the moment and extremely happy. I’m sure I had a smile from ear to ear.
When we decided to continue on, we walked toward the PATH station. We made one quick pitstop in a sex shop on Christopher Street. We looked in the front window at some of the wares the store sold. I wondered if this was a test to see if I could roll with the punches and have fun. I think he wanted to see how I would react, and I performed superbly. We had so much fun talking about everything in the store. He even took pictures of a few things, and we had a good laugh.
We continued another block before we were at the PATH station. We stood facing each other talking about how much fun we had. We hugged, and I pulled him in for a few kisses. I wanted to ravage him, but it was neither the time or the place. We had a conversation earlier in the night about making people a priority and seeing the people you care about the most. I acknowledged that conversation by turning to him as he walked away and said, “Let’s do this again soon! Make me a priority.”
After the date, I shot him an email the following day. “So I tried not to jump the gun so much this time… Waited ’til I had some downtime this afternoon to hit you up… Better?? Hope the cold calling isn’t too painful! (Acknowledging his workday) Had a great time yesterday! Hope you negotiated good rates with everyone (the cellist, bartender, host, Joan Rivers, …) to play their parts. Would love to see you again, so let me know when you’re free, and we can get together. P.S. Do you think I’m I phone number worthy yet?”
Shortly after, he replied, “LOL! yes, ###.###.####. Glad you appreciate my unplanned dating Karma ;-)” It was great to hear back from him so soon. It showed he was still interested in seeing me. I couldn’t have been happier. It was just a question of when I would get to see him again…
After meeting Sexy Eyes for coffee, I continued on to my planned date that evening. I picked up a guy on Grindr one morning taking the car service to work. It was complete chance this happened. Normally, my driver takes the Lincoln Tunnel, but because of traffic, he took the Holland. I was particularly bored that morning, so I pulled up Grindr to see what would pop up. Once I was in New York City, I noticed a guy who had a great smile. I messaged him my standard, “Hey stud,” but I also added “Great smile!”
We began chatting a bit after that and he quickly found a spot amongst my favorites. Over the course of a week, we would chat in the evenings. Many times he’d be walking home from being out somewhere and pull up Grindr to pass the time.
He seemed like a very level-headed guy and I enjoyed our chats. We had a few things in common, but our conversations were never very in-depth. In my typical fashion, I asked him to go out for a drink sometime. He graciously obliged. When I asked him for his phone number, instead I got his email. He wasn’t comfortable giving me his number before we met. I assured him I wouldn’t stalk him, and he could trust me. But, I wasn’t going to pressure him into giving it to me.
On a Saturday evening, I sent him an email: “Not to be too forward, but would you have any interest in coffee or brunch tomorrow? Like meeting new people… Pretty chill… No expectations. You just seem, like a cool down to earth guy…” He replied back, “Normally I would say yes, but I actually have a full day tomorrow starting at 10 until late night. Sometime during the week would be better, this is an unusually packed Sunday. ” The response was promising, so I would just have to be patient.
I was running a few minutes late for the date, so I sent him an email telling him I would arrive about five minutes late. I got to the bar at 8:05 and sent another email letting him know I was standing outside with an umbrella and a blue shirt. After twenty minutes and no word from him, my patience was waning. I began to wonder if I was stood up. I texted the guy who cancelled my OKCupid friend date earlier that evening to see if his interview was over and to see if he wanted to hang out since I was still in the city. I was about a minute from walking the block to the PATH to head home. I also had the prospect of meeting Sexy Eyes again that evening in the back of my head.
Just then, a man with an amazing smile emerged from the bar to greet me. I had no idea he was inside this whole time. He apologized for the confusion and told me he could explain. While he was standing at the bar, a man approached him and began chatting with him. All “Smiles” could think of was how much this guy didn’t look like his Grindr pictures (thinking he was talking to me). The guy happened to be there on a match.com date and confused Smiles for his date. After chatting for about ten – fifteen minutes, they realized they were talking to the wrong guy. Smiles hadn’t wanted to be rude while they were talking, so he wasn’t checking his phone. At this point he saw my emails, and he came outside to retrieve me.
I grabbed a drink, and we stood in the corner chatting a bit. The conversation started off VERY rocky. I didn’t know what to say, so I said, “So how was work today?” He replied, “That’s what’s going to break the conversation. Haha. Work was good,” jokingly. The conversation was much easier after that. I learned he was against Grindr in the beginning. His friend encouraged him to download it and use it. His response was, “If I want to take a guy home for a hookup, I can just go to the bar and get one. That way I can see him and feel him up (as he reached out his hand to feel up my chest) before I take him home. Why would I need a digital version of that? That’s not what I’m looking for.” I couldn’t agree more with his sentiments. He told me after begrudgingly downloading the app, he actually had gone on a few dates from Grindr. None were spectacular, but they were adequate enough to keep him on it.
While we were talking, he warned me he had to leave at 9:00 because he had dinner plans with a friend. I wasn’t sure if this was the real deal or if he was using it as an out because he thought the date was going so poorly. “I originally thought an hour would be enough time for us to meet for the first time,” he said. I barely had a chance to meet him, let alone get to know him in the half hour we spent together. I was very disappointed. He was very cute, smart, established, successful, funny, active… Everything I look for in a man. I wanted more.
After we awkwardly closed our tabs, we walked outside. The date ended with an awkward hug, and I said we should definitely try to meet up again sometime soon. He seemed a bit nonplused, but he certainly didn’t shoot me down. I left the date wondering if I made a bad first impression and if there was anything I could do to repair that.
Later that evening around 11:00, I sent him an email stating: “Let me start off by saying your smile pays off even more in person! But anyway… Great meeting you tonight. Hope we can meet up again some time soon…” And in a follow-up email, I sent, “And my number’s ###. Use it.” He seemed to be very good about checking his email, but I wanted his phone number. It offered the option to call. I would get it if he chose to text or call me.
That’s when I finally got a response. “Easy big guy. Good morning. Haven’t had a chance to get into email yet today. Enjoyed meeting you last night, maybe Sunday we can catch up again for a little longer?”
I felt like a fool. I immediately replied, “Sh*t! I knew I jumped the gun! haha Sorry bout that. I should be around Sunday. Hit me up and we’ll figure something out…”
I was elated. Apparently I didn’t make that bad of a first impression after all. He was interested, and now I had something to look forward to. Who knew what Sunday would bring?…Follow @onegayatatime
In the week leading up to San Francisco’s arrival in New York, I began to have doubts. I was staying up until 3:00 am most nights to talk to him. Morning runs became a thing of the past, and my waistline showed it. I went on a few dates since I left San Francisco, but none compared to the immediate, strong connection I had with him. I had no replacement, but I doubted my ability to continue a long-distance relationship.
As I drove to the airport I had panicky thoughts. What was I doing!? A man was flying 2,563 miles cross country to see me after spending two shorts days together. Was I ready for this commitment? I wasn’t worried about getting hurt because I was strong and had an open mind about us, but what if I broke his heart?
When he arrived, we shared a long, passionate kiss. We talked on the ride home. When we arrived at my apartment and hopped into bed relatively quickly. This time, I insisted on a condom. I wasn’t making that mistake with him again! I learned my lesson. He too was on the same page about the issue.
After a romp in the sack and quick shower, we traveled into the city. He made plans to meet one of his old friends. Little did I know, but old friend really meant old. He was 50 years old. They were flight attendants together way back in the day. That night, the three of us went to see Sister Act on Broadway.
During intermission, I was chatting with the 50 year-old. He was complaining about the difficulty of deciding if men were gay or straight. He pointed to one particularly sexy man I was eyeing, “Like him. Gay or straight? Who can tell?” At that moment, I looked over the man’s shoulder and noticed he was chatting with someone on Grindr.
I replied, “Gay!” and explained. I was tempted to immediately hop on Grindr and seek him out, but there was no possible way to pull it off while on a cross-country date. However, I still regret not talking to the sexy man.
At dinner following the show, I met yet another old friend — a 40 year-old. I’m a good sport and can hang with ease, but dinner became truly awkward when the discussion turned to age. San Francisco is seven years older than me. His friends pointed out that he’s never been the older man, and then they insisted I call him “daddy” while they filmed it on one a BlackBerry. I adamantly declined.
The next day, we met with yet another old roommate, this time on the Upper West Side. This time a married couple in their 50s whose guest room SF used to live in. The one husband who was home was not very welcoming to my presence. I felt incredibly awkward, and couldn’t wait to exit his apartment.
We wandered the city shopping, and that night, he made plans to meet three friends for dinner. Luckily, everyone at dinner was in their 30s, and the nice guy from the night before was there. So, I spent the night chatting with him while SF caught up with the others.
Throughout dinner, San Francisco had one hand on my leg, and the other on the leg of his best friend from New York. They were being a little more than just friendly. They had a long history, and I don’t get jealous. But, I started to feel a bit jaded.
After dinner, San Francisco, the best friend and I went to a bar. The two of them were tipsy, and the truth finally came out.
I learned he had been going to gay clubs in New York since the age of 19. Not only that, but he was the one known to be carrying K among his circle of friends. I am not anti-drug use, but the picture that was being painted was not something I wanted to hang on my wall.
The ride home that night on the PATH was a quiet one. I could tell it really bothered him that I wasn’t drinking with his friends, but I wasn’t feeling well after dinner. I asked him, “What’s wrong?” but he wouldn’t acknowledge his discontent. I explained my lack of participation was due to feeling ill after dinner, and he became slightly more relaxed.
As we waited for a cab, SF and two drunk “frat guys” exchanged shoulder checks and words. SF is roughly 5’ 5” — no match for these two — but his beer muscles were flexed. I attempted to avoid the situation by coaxing him into the cab. However, he escalated it by rolling down the window shouting back at them and antagonizing them.
He rationalized the situation as protecting me and didn’t stop ranting about how he could have taken them until he finally fell asleep. I was starting to have my feelings affirmed that a relationship between the two of us was not meant to be. I will always defend myself, but antagonizing drunk as$holes is infantile and useless.
The next day, we took my motorcycle out for a spin and spent the day on the pier with one of my friends. When SF left to get ice cream, she asked me how it was going. I explained to her the situation. It was written all over her face — this relationship had ended.
That night, my sister and a few of my friends came over for dinner. I graciously invited all of his friends to join, but all declined. I enjoyed seeing how much my friends accepted him, but at this point, I was completely turned off by his past. That night, we had sex again, but the passion was gone for me.
On his last day in NY, we met one final ex-roommate. While SF was a flight attendant, he lived with a hairdresser in a 1BR apt. Whenever SF was out of town, the hairdresser got the bed, but when SF returned, the hairdresser was relegated to the couch. Meanwhile, he was running a salon out of this 1BR apt. The whole idea was inconceivable to me.
At one point during lunch, between reminiscings of cross dressing and coke lines while watching The Golden Girls, the hairdresser waved his hands at us and bluntly said, “So, what is this?” I was insulted by the tone in which the question was posed, but i wrote him off when I remembered the main purpose of the cross-country excursion was to visit me, not him.
We went home and had one last romp. At this point, I was going through the motions. It wasn’t so much his past that turned me off, as it was that he was hiding it from me.
When I dropped him at the airport, we kissed and said goodbye. SF was the still the sweetest man I ever met, and I truly did enjoy his company. But, I wasn’t completely heartbroken to see him off.
As I walked home after parking the car, I felt alone. I wasn’t sure if it was because he was by my side for the past 72 hours, or it was because I already missed him. Only time would tell.Follow @onegayatatime