Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
I'm in the middle of writing this extremely graphic sex scene for the book. I'm dressed in my boxers and my Fantastic Four shirt, with my hair still wet from the shower ("are you purposefully trying to look more gay?" Wiz asked the last time I had my hair slicked outlike this). The doorbell rings. Thinking it's Zuzu, coming over to talk about the reading I'm hosting at the DNC, I run to the door without putting on any pants. On the other side of the door are the two hottest Mormon missionaries. I so just got their phone numbers. You know, just so I could talk to them about God and stuff.
I'm working on a novel which is, essentially, a fictionalization of this journal. If I'd met Ethan in the book, I'd have the benefit of being able to tell you why he chose to first invite me over for sex, then reject me, then show up on my doorstep looking for sex. I could relate it to how his parents abandoned him or how he has a fetish for making people uncomfortable. Maybe I could invent an ex who was a writer who was hung like a an elephant with elephantitis and shot strawberry flavored semen out of his cock. Semen that not only tasted great, and cleared up your skin, but also built up your self-confidence, and shampooed your hair.
But I'm not an omniscient narrator of my life. I asked Ethan what was going on, and he left. Sure, I know where he lives. I know his phone number, I even know that he reads this LJ (do you have anything to say for yourself Mr. Stalker?). That's all I know. And while I do have some degree of fatalism and curiosity, I can't bring myself to knock on his door, or give him a call. Then I, too, would be a passenger on The Psycho Train.
This whole incident has me thinking of sitcoms. How much easier it would be if my life was confined to a cast of revolving characters. I could have run into Elvis at the gay marriage ceremony. He would have been marrying Tommy. I could have stepped in and stopped the whole thing. Presented the list of Rex crimes, confessed how much I missed Tommy and his tongue. We would have dated until the cliffhanger season finale when Liam would have shown up on my doorstep. Why? You'd have to tune in next season to find out.
What if, instead of a sitcom, I hired Chris Carter or M Knight Shyamalan to write this journal? Would Ryan come back from the dead? Maybe Elvis, Byron and Rex would actually be three different people. Clones, perhaps. Maybe Ethan would turn out to be a brother from the family that gave me up for adoption. Hmmm...these ideas seem a bit more like "Dark Shadows" or "Baywatch Nights."
I guess I have to settle for taking what I get. Living what I'm given.
What I got from Ethan was a sense that I need to slow down before I end up a character in the next SLC Punk. Big City Fags? Sodom 90666?
Maybe the next book will focus on my religious conversion. How I became a Mormon minister. Or better yet, a Republican fund raiser. I'll call it "The Way Things Ought to Be Part 2: The Right Way." My book will be sponsored by Wal-Mart and MobilExxon. I'll move back to Pieceofshitdeserttown and sell coffee while I listen to really crappy poetry about how Dick Cheney is baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.
Maybe not. What's most likely is that I'll stay reclusive until the book is done. When it's over, I'll --- ok I don't have a clue what I'll do. Anyone have any ideas?
Earlier this month, for the first time, I met someone as Insafemode. It wasn't a date, or a hook-up, or anything remotely scandalous. I was meeting another writer for a drink (Cola, for those keeping track of my alcoholism). I was curious how I would come across to someone who only knew me through this blog. The few people who know me in person, and who read this can probably vouch that I don't come across as...well, slutty in real life. Maybe if I wrote moreentries about my music obsessions or my recipe for Ground Nut Stew, Insafemode would be a more balanced me, instead of a cariacture. But who wants to read about how I couldn't sleep this morning because a pack of cute Latinos are scraping paint off the house?
Put your hands down, there's no nudity involved in the story.
Before I agreed to meet said writer for drinks, I tried to evaluate whether I should "Insafe it up." Should I be as catty and queercentric as I am in this LJ? Hell, no. I can't stand being around catty guys for more than a few minutes at a time, I certainly wouldn't be able to be one.
So I went as me. Straight seeming gay guy. Good listener. Inquisitive soul. Forever in blue jeans. I showered the "unemployed poet" stench off me before I left. I would have been early to the meeting had not my roommate said "What's wrong with your hair? Are you trying to look gay?" which meant I had to towel my hair drier so as not to have the "slick emo kid look." (I prefer having the scruffy emo guy look)
As a regular reader of this LJ, the other writer remarked that I don't come across Insafemodish in person. I'll take that as a compliment.
In addition to learning that I'm not Insafemodish, I also learned that I have a number of readers not brave enough to put me on their friends lists (pussy pervs!) for various reasons. Some don't want their friends page covered in gay porn, some don't have LJs, others are just afraid I'm contagious (they're just fucken freckles).
What I didn't realize is that there was at least one person not on my friends list who wascyberstalking me.
"Did you just call me Safey?"
I pushed his ass of my crotch. "Why?"
"I thought that's what some of your exes called you."
What would Clark Kent say if, one day, Jimmy Olsen was bouncing on his cock and said "Go ahead, call me Lois if it turns you on, Superman?" Fuck if I know. (author's note: I'm using fuck as an interjection, not a verb in that last sentence)
"Look." he said, as I pulled up my boxers. "I have a Livejournal. I've been reading your stories for a couple of months now. I kept answering Craigslist ads that I thought might be yours."
"How did you know when you found me?"
"Your e-mail address has Insafemode in it." Ok, it was my turn to be the moron asking about cancerous freckles.
I tried to rectify things in my mind. A cute guy had been searching me out because of my LJ. He'd found me because I, apparently, have no secret agent skillz whatsoever He'd invited me over to his house so that I could fuck him, and then he threw me the fuck out before I could even take off my shoes. Then, for whatever reason he'd gone to my house (since I'd foolishly given him my address & phone number). There, he threw me on the couch, took off his clothes and proceeded to address me by a fictional alias.
"Um." was really the best thing I could come up with.
"I should go." Yes, you should go. But now you know who I am, where I live, what I look like. Fuck, I need a hypnotist or the MIB memory eraser.
Ethan. Ethan? On my front stairs? How...how should I approach this? Maybe start off smooth and snide. Pretend to ignore him and mutter "Man, I'd love to go home right now, but the vibe is all wrong." And then just walk on by the house. Then I would not answer his e-mails or phone calls (which I was certain there would be hundreds of) until that one day when I'd run into him at, of all places, Good Vibrations. I'd be by the vibrator wall. I'd slowly turn toward him, offer no proof that I recognized him, and say "Gosh. I want to get one of these vibes for my hot, eighteen year old poolboy/boyfriend, but I'm afraid I'll get the wrong type. You look like someone who knows his vibes, what would you get?" He would be not only crushed but rendered impotent by the exchange, and would spend the rest of his life breaking out into hives whenever someone discussed sex toys, acoustics, or that Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch video. One day, five years down the line, he'd be at a party, doing lines of Pixie Stix off some skank's diseased stomach when a certain Beach Boys song would catch his ear. At that moment he'd realize how empty his life was without me, and he would have no choice but to slit his wrists and throw himself into a vat of Hydrochloric Acid and lemon juice. His stomach skank would think it was a bad reaction to the nose candy, but, even though I would have so moved on by then, when word of Ethan's death reached me, I would know that I was the reason he pulled his fizzing body out of the acid vat and threw himself out the plate glass window and on to the salt-covered barbed-wire electric fence.
When I realized how that scenario was far too good for Ethan, I looked him almost dead in the eye and said "Hey."
"Why are you sitting on my doorstep?"
"I felt like an asshole."
If I had written the experience, instead of living it, I would have said "You were an asshole. I hope you didn't come here looking for forgiveness or sex, because you can forget about either." Instead, I said "Don't worry about it." I am a fucken pussy.
"Can I come in?"
No, you cockblocking, bad vibe having piece of spermicide, you can't. "Sure. You have to be quiet, though, my roommates are sleeping."
Let's pretend that we had some long conversation that completely vindicated why he essentially threw me out of his house. Maybe his Dad died, or his roommate urinated in his fish tank. The assumption that we'd reconciled our first encounter, makes us both sound a little less desperate than the truth: as soon as we were inside the door we began snogging.
"Before we go any further," he said with one hand down the front of my jeans, "I have to ask. Do you have AIDS?"
"No. I'm very much negative."
"So what's with all those spots?" I wondered if I'd had such a stressful night that I'd entered some sort of second puberty. Was my face a minefield of pustules? No.
"Spots. They're all over your arm."
"My freckles?" Was it possible he'd never seen a person with freckles before?
"Yea. Freckles. When I'm out in the sun, instead of getting a tan, I get freckles. It's like low carb skin cancer. I've had them since I was born."
"So, they're not like lesions or an STD or anything."
"Unless you consider life as an STD, no. They're just freckles. No more contagious than my hair color."
"Oh." He pushed me on the sofa, slid off his Umbros, and sat his ample ass on my exposed cock. "Ooooh. You like that don't you."
I suppressed a snicker (and perhaps a Twix or two). Talking dirty is a fine art. Ethan was stillfingerpainting.
"I know you love my ass. Don't you Safey?"
I froze. "What did you just call me?"
A majority of homes that I've lived in have hard wood floors. No wonder I grew up gay.
As a hard wood sort of fella, I've always had an aversion to carpets. They're high maintenance. When I moved to Boston, four years ago, the first major purchase I made was a bed, which was followed by sheets, a bedspread, and a matching carpet. I remember thinking how out of place the patch of carpet looked on the floor. I got the same feeling when James took off his clothes, and asked "So, do you like what you see?"
No, I didn't like what I saw. I saw a bunch of flea-sized Tibetans dying various patches of his hair, and weaving them into patterns. I saw a chia face with that ugly "not yet a beard, no longer just stubble" look going against the grain of his skin. I saw a man so petrified by the way he looked that he sent out fake pictures and then had the balls to take off his clothes and ask me if I liked what I saw.
I didn't reply. I pretended to be so absorbed by examining the room's decor that I hadn't heard him. I decided that if he was the type of person who loudly repeated questions when they weren't answered, I would leave. I prayed for him to ask again.
The next thing I knew Fuzzy Sluglips was more up close and personal than that horrible Robert Redford movie. I braced myself for impact. Scratch. Scratch, Scratch. I loathe stubble burn. I pushed him away. "I don't think this is a very good idea. The vibe is all wrong."
What the fuck did I say that for? I mean, I know that I needed to say something to stop the kissing and get out of naked guy's house, but of all phrases to come out of my mouth, that one kind of hurt to say.
I walked home quickly, taking a light detour when I noticed a skunk down the street from James's house. The night had been bad enough, I didn't need it to end traumatically.
I was staring off into space as I got home. Trying to spit the venomous taste of "the vibe is all wrong" out of my mouth without actually spitting. I was so wrapped up in my thoughts that I nearly tripped over Ethan as I walked up the stairs to my front door.
At some point in the past month, I've begun to schiz. Adam flops between leather computer chair and leather sofa, watching TV screen or computer monitor. He lives on Ramen noodles and Cherry Coke. Insafemode leaves the house at odd hours, whether it's to meet strangers for sex, or just to mill around Boston.
It was Insafemode who left the house at 3:45 on a Friday morning, after Adam had been rejected. While Adam had fretted about what would happen on his way to meet Ethan, Insafemode was writing a LJ entry in his head as he swaggered over to James's house.
Neither personality had walked in this direction before. I'm not talking metaphorically, I'd never had any particular reason to investigate the area Southwest of Chez Insafemode. After a couple of blocks, the familiar multi-family houses gave way to apartment/condo/dorm complexes; the sort of buildings with broom closet sized rooms, where people who wanted to live closer to their sub-living wage jobs.
I envisioned entering James's terrarium. He would be standing on the not-so-far side of the room, that "come hither, even though you're only standing three feet away" look in his eyes. He would coyly offer me a drink from the water bottle hanging from his wall. After a few sips, he would start playing hard-to-get, running laps on his metal wheel.
At roughly the point where I was mentally envisioning leaving his house in a plastic ball, the quality of the buildings started to improve. Parking lots were filled with Maseratis and other mid-life crisis mobiles instead of 1984 Ford Tauruses.
James would answer the door in a cashmere bathrobe. In the middle of his room would be a water fountain shaped like an erect penis. His chihuahua, Gates, would be shivering in his lush doggy bed. "Insafemode," he'd say, "so glad you could make it. Your picture doesn't do you justice. Let's say we cut through the bullshit." At which point he'd, literally, disrobe, revealing his perfectly chiseled ass. We'd fuck until the Cubs won the world series. When we were both too spent to do more than twitch and moan, we'd fall asleep in each others' arms. The next day, my own private Dellionairre would take me out to brunch where we'd discuss those poor slobs running around the streets in plastic hamster balls.
As quickly as they'd popped up, the posh condorms disappeared. I arrived at the properly numbered house. Hamster cage it was.
I buzzed the button with "james's place" written in cursive letters on a post-it note, a big smiley face dotting the "j". Nothing about our encounter was what I imagined. His condorm was deceptively large. Two bedrooms, one kitchen, one bathroom, one den. His room was the swallowing image of Ethan's. Madonna poster? Check. Computer with pretty boys fucking screen saver? Check. Rainbow triangle adhered to window? Check.
James was...not the guy from his picture. Heavy-set, but not fat, he was majorly stubble-faced. I imagined he had a thick carpet of hair covering his body from Adam's apple to toe knuckle. A theory that was quickly proven accurate.
He pulled me toward him, and shut the door in one fluid motion. "So," he asked, "do you like what you see?"
As the front gate clicked shut behind me, I tried to figure out what I could have possibly done wrong. I'd barely said anything, I hadn't made any moves on him...maybe that was the problem. Maybe I hadn't been forward enough. We'd been meeting for sex, and we'd spent the ten or so minutes I'd actually been in his house making small talk and watching Tom Green beinginterviewed on Leno. I don't even like Leno, and I fucken hate Tom Green. I should have jumped him, or at the very least kissed him. Fuck.
I'd only ever been rejected for my looks before. Now someone who had found me physically attractive, someone who liked being around me and was 100% definitely gay, someone who had invited me over to their house for sex had rejected me without even seeing me naked. This was new territory. Painful new territory. Atlantis without an oxygen tank. I got the bends, and they weren't nearly as fun as The Radiohead album led me to believe.
Since I only lived about a ten minute walk from his house, I didn't have to spend too much time brooding in the rain that should have been falling around me. It had been less than a half-hour round trip. Some evil bastard in my brain took possession of the remote that controls my mental broadband. Images of my dead gecko, the smell of Ryan's shampoo, Ethan saying "I'm really glad we finally met" "the vibe is all wrong" "you should leave". To top it all off there was some sort of fire near my house, so in addition to the lovely mental soundtrack of rejection, I had the piercing sounds of fire engine to fill my head.
Refusing to surrender to depression, I watched some South Park as soon as I got home. I didn't do a lot of laughing, but it kept my mind occupied.
After about an hour, I grew steadily more bored and negative, but not an ounce less horny. What to do? Watch more TV? Write an Insafemode entry? Masturbate? E-mail James? Hmmmm.
I'm not sure whether I had some subconscious premonition, but I'd given James a short-term bullshit excuse. One of those things that could have taken ten minutes or ten hours. Much like sex, but not.
I shot him an e-mail letting him know that I was once again looking for something someone to do. Then I sat back and waited for a reply. And waited. And waited. After an hour had passed, I figured he'd either gone to sleep or found someone else. I headed to bed, but remote control wielding demon wouldn't let me sleep; images of gecko, Elvis's laughter, dead chinchilla, the smell of David's cologne, "you should leave."
After two hours of pointless tossing and turning, I got up and plodded over to the computer to write an entry. One new message in my inbox.
Subject: Still up
Sorry I missed you. After your e-mail, I decided to head out to The Leather Bar with a friend. I just got back. Am a little buzzed, but wide awake and still very interested in getting together. If you're still awake, hit me up.
I looked at the time sent. It had just arrived. Sweet. I replied that I was, in fact, still awake, and could be in his house (which was about the same distance as Ethan's but in the opposite direction)
in ten minutes or so.
The same distance, but in the opposite direction. I liked that. Surely that meant I would have as much success with James as I had failure with Ethan, right? Isn't that the way metaphors and cheesy chick-flick logic work?
before I left Cranberry Lake for Boston, I worked as a stage manager/actor/lighting designer for a theatre troupe. It didn't pay well, but it allowed me to spend several hours a day, attending to the needs of a certain parasite named Elvis who need not be named. When said parasite was removed from my gills, I began shark swimming through life. When the mother of one of my coworkers got wind that I was leaving for Boston, she smiled at me and said "I knew you'd be moving on soon. You're a big fish in a small pond."
I know that she meant I was a talented actor in a limited scene (there's no accounting for taste), but my subconscious interpreted the statement differently. I had lived in Cranberry Lake for nearly seventeen years. I couldn't leave the house to get my mail without running into four people I'd slept with, two of my elementary school teachers, one of my mother's best friends, and a former coworker with a partridge in a fucking pear tree sticking out of their ass. After Ryan's death, I lost all desire to get into a relationship with someone I already knew.
I began moving on whims. Six months in Boston, a year in Vermont, a year and a half in Boston, three months touring the country, five months in Boston, five months in Arizona, and another six months in Boston. All in all that's nearly three years of the last five that I've lived in Boston. No one will ever be able to say "You're a big fish in a small pond" to me here. I live in an ocean.
The problem with the ocean is that there are a startlingly high number of beautiful fish: marlins, coral angels, clownfish, heniochis, red volitan lions. I'm at best a minatus grouper. I stand out enough to get noticed, but I'm not the fish that either the tourists, the scientists or the anglers are looking for. Discarding the fish metaphor, I'm never surprised when someone expresses an interest in meeting me because of my writing or my personal ads, then stops e-mailing me after they've seen a pic.
Last night was an exercise in frustration. I've been writing about Ryan for the book, one of my geckos died, Timmy didn't work out, Saint went back home, blah blah blah, depressing shit. So perhaps it wasn't a good time for me to be trolling for a date, but (insert deity here) I wanted to fuck the pain away.
Enter The Internet. I had a few e-mails from people who wanted to meet me, filed away in my inbox. I sent them replies, and placed an ad of my own. Among all the thirty-eight year old obese married guys who chose to ignore the "under thirty" that I placed not once but twice in the four sentence ad, was an e-mail from someone named James. James was my age. His picture was a face. A cute face but it could have been pasted on to any body. Whatever, I was depressed and horny. We made plans to meet around 11:30.
At 11:00 I got an e-mail from someone I'd been interested in for a long time, Ethan. Ethan was Colombian. His pic suggested he was slightly chubby and a shy, fairly masculine guy. In short, perfect. Also, he'd known what I looked like for a month or so, and he thought I was cute. Booya.
Ethan's roommate was out of town, and he was horny. I e-mailed James a bullshit excuse why I couldn't meet, showered, grabbed some condoms and lube and headed down the street to Ethan's house. Down the street.
It's been a long time since I've gone to someone else's house for sex. My record on going to people's houses for sex is poor. This is why I prefer to host. Last night, hosting was not an option, so I trekked over to Ethan's house.
Ethan was not a slightly chubby, shy, fairly masculine Colombian. Unlike certain Pakistanis, he hadn't lied to me, he'd just lost some weight since the photograph, and become, for lack of a better term, gayer. My gaydar has very limited range, but even I could tell from the moment that he opened the door that he would have a Madonna poster in his room. I don't know what he does for a living, but I imagine it involves flowers, choreography, or a pair of scissors. Not exactly my type socially, but the boy was hot.
We walked up to his bedroom, where we sat down on his bed. The next two minutes were a blur. We talked about how his little brother was living in Arifuckenzona, how disillusioned he was with "the gay scene," how he was really glad we'd finally gotten together.
This was the moment of the film where everything turns around for the hero. After a particularly tragic time involving lots of rain and tear-stained introspective brooding, the main character meets someone he finally clicks with. Fuck you, Timmy. I'm so over you, Elvis. Look at this extremely hot guy who likes me for my looks and my personality. I'm going to fuck all the ghosts away.
Camera zooms in on the protagonist and his love/lust interest. They are sitting together on the bed. Both are smiling. The camera pulls in tight on the love interest's lips as he says "The vibe is all wrong." Pan out. Protagonist is clearly rattled. "You should leave."
There's nothing terribly original, unique, or even slightly uncommon about the fact that I find sleeping people beautiful. I can't possibly be the only person on my block who ever wished they could kiss, caress, fuck the hell out of a sleeping person without having to deal with their being awake. Unfortunately, the only options for that are roofies or necrophilia. The former is far too expensive for my taste, and necrophilia? Well, my mother always told me "don't knock it until you try it." I shall never knock necrophiliacs. Likewise, I shall never knock up a corpse.
So here I am, on a Saturday night, staring at a sleeping boy. A sleeping boy who a few hours ago was nothing more than a name called out during masturbation. Call him Timmy if you'd like. I do.
Tonight after a big gay fundraiser full of some of the most talented same-gender-fucking writers in Boston, Steggy and a few stragglers came to Chez Stone for some gossip and writing games (we're losers, fuck off). About ten minutes after we sit down, the phone rings. It's Timmy, The King of Impeccable Timing. While there is little I'd like more than some Timmy ass up in my grill, my friends currently in the house come first, not me. At this point, I may never come. So I tell him I'll see him tomorrow, when I mean Monday.
Well, an hour or so passes. The friends drive off into the moonset, and I sit down at my computer to check e-mail. The phone rings. "Hello, Timmy."
"How'd you know it was me."
"It's 2:15 in the morning. Not many other people call me this latearly."
"Oh." "Yea." "Are your friends still there?" Why is it that gay boys sound so damned cute when they're nervous? Is that the vocal equivalent of being asleep?
"Nope. They just left. What's up?"
"I'm down the street from your house."
"Can I come over?"
"That would be"'the best thing that's happened to me all week, and it's been a good week. "That would be" a good way for me to get rid of my oceanic backlog of sperm "That would be" the reason why I'm stuttering like an idiot "fine."
And there he is, all 6'2" 150 pounds of him.
After the disappointment of my last few potential relationships, and the kind of let down of discovering that my tryst with Saint would likely be a one time thing, I believe that Timmy and I could go really really right. We sit down on the sofa and do some talking snuggling.
Snuggling? What am I a fabric softener? Since when do I snuggle? I don't even know this kid. This beautiful, intelligent, romantic kid. Shit, I'm getting sickeningly schmaltzy here. And, damn it, it hasn't even been an hour since I was openly ogling my Jackie's gay friend. The absurdly cute kid who actually wears *gasps* briefs. I can't love Timmy. Were it not for Caller ID, I wouldn't even know his last name.
Yet, there I was snuggling with him not one hour ago, right before he started snoring. It's very cute snoring, kinda like Huey, Dewy, and Louie from Duck Tales. Still, that's not what I wanted him to be doing with his mouth within the first fifteen minutes of our meeting.
As he snored, I couldn't stop fucken staring at him. Full blown, deep breathing, slack-jawed, I'm a dumb-ass romantic, staring. I'm going to have to fuck him all day tomorrow to get this romantic crap out of my brain.