Bored on a Wednesday night, Ben has made a new dating profile “A. Ackbar.” which is just a picture of the famous rebel admiral with a profile that reads “It’s a trap!”
He spends hours trolling the various guys who message him asking for dick pics. He sends them pictures of tentacles.
I don’t need to be this creative. All I have to do is sign in to my account and, within five minutes I get a message like the following:
”Love your profile. You out in the snow today, babe? Want to come stick your carrot in my face?”
To which I reply, ”Hahahaha, no. Not ever. How about I just stop by and press coal into your eyes?”
Then he blocked me.
"Actually, I might have met someone."
There was a pause.
I earned this pause.
Three years of unrequited I love yous built up to this pause.
"What's he like?" Sora asked.
Who should I tell him about? The sweet, gorgeously nerdy drag queen? The stripper with the heart of platinum? The dancing actor with the scathing sense of humor and perpetual smile? Or #4, who had also just gotten out of a three year relationship, and who I was supposed to be meeting for lunch in a couple of hours.
"He's a dancer." I said.
"How old is he?"
Sora was, by far, the youngest person I'd ever dated. Eleven years younger. And our relationship made me pledge that I'd never date anyone with that much of an age discrepancy again. I was 32. #1 was 26. #2 was 24. #4 was 27. But #3, the dancer was "A month younger than you."
"What about you?" I asked. I was okay with answering questions about #3, but I really didn't want to get stuck on how old he was. He was only a month younger, calendar-wise. Maturity-wise, he was at least a decade older than Sora. Perhaps a couple of years older than me.
"Well, there's this guy online. He's 27, runs a motel in the suburbs, and thinks I'm an amazing artist."
"You are." He was.
"Speaking of...." Pause.
"Yea?" I asked.
"I finally got into MassART."
"Wow!" I said. "Congratulations!"
"There's just one problem." Sora said. And I could smell the bullshit churning in his brain. "I need to get married."
What now? "What now?"
"Well, you know that minority scholarship they offered me a couple of years ago?"
To be truthful, I probably wouldn't have remembered anything about the scholarship if it weren't for a night I spent in the kitchen with Ben and Celeste:
"It's bullshit!" Ben had screamed. "Why does he deserve a scholarship more than me? I'm much smarter than he is."
"Dude." Celeste said. "It's a minority scholarship. You know, to encourage diversity."
"So why does he get it? He lives in suburban Rhode Island.Scholarships are for kids from the ghet-toe."
I shot him The Velociraptor Look. "He's a gay Puerto Rican. As in born in Puerto Rico Puerto Rican. He's a double minority threat. Republicans hate him twice as much as they hate you."
"But that's only because they don't know you well enough." said my other roommate, Sir Trick. He was still pissed that Ben had once borrowed his Michel Gondry DVD without permission.
"Well." Sora said. "I got it for this year. But in order to get the scholarship for next year, I have to marry a Massachusetts resident."
I laughed. "No. Sora. All you have to is establish residency. We talked about this when we lived on Mission Hill. All you need to do is pay a bill in Massachusetts in your name. Like, an electric bill or rent or something,."
"No." He said. "For this scholarship, I need to be married to a Massachusetts resident."
"Is it a green card scholarship?" I asked.
"Sora, I'm not marrying you."
He sighed loudly. "I wasn't asking you."
"I..." Pause. "Some day. Maybe."
I no longer believed in our potential Some Day. I shouldn't even have been talking to him.
"Seriously!" #3 said, when I called him to schedule a make up date for our previous lack of encounter. "You need to change your address and phone number, and block him on Facebook."
"Yea, yea, yea. Look, I'm going out to lunch with #4 today. Do you want to go out for drinks after?"
"Seriously?" He asked. "Two dates in one day? And I'm the second one?"
"You're the headliner." I said. Which really was how I was considering it. #4 seemed cutely nerdy, but I was already pretty certain that #3 was The Keeper.
"Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine." He said. "Where should we meet?"
My initial suggestion was "Tuatara's." The bar I took most of my first dates to ever since the night I introduced Ben, Celeste, and Sir Trick, several years previously. But #3 had other ideas, and we spent forty-five minutes debating a hundred possibilities before he said "Let's go to Tuatara's."
First, though, was lunch with #4.
"My life is so weird right now!" He said.
"How so?" I asked.
"Well, ok! You know how I told you about my breakup last week, right?" I did. "Well, like, ok, yesterday, I got this awesome promotion at work. Which means I'm practically running the hotel now. And we have this regular customer who's just a huge pain in the ass, he comes every month for one weekend to visit his kid or something, and he's just this, like, total dillweed, and anyway, yesterday he he shows up with his kid, right? and he"
I so did not care about anything he, like, had to say.
"right in the pool?"
"Isn't that hilarious?"
"Yea. Wow." Two hours before I was supposed to meet #3 at Tuatara's.
"and he was all like aren't you going to get off the phone, and I was like but this is an important call, and he's standing there and his suit is positively dripping, and he's like what is more important than your customers and I was like"
He was, like, wicked fucken annoying. I pitied anyone who had to spend more than, like, an hour, like, listening to this guy and his dull dull stories. He was nice enough, but
"and then he asked me to marry him, and I was like what?"
"The customer asked you to marry him?" I asked.
"Not the customer, silly. Are you listening to me? The guy. The art student. We went on, like, two dates, and he actually, like, proposed to me. I mean, he says it's for this weird art school scholarship thing, but I think it's--"
Are you fucken kidding me? "Sora?"
"Yea." He said. "How do you know his name?"
"Oh. My. God." said #3. I was explaining to him why I needed to drink more than should be humanly possible that night. "So your date was proposed to by your ex? Your The Ex?"
"Yea." I said, taking a sip of Tuatara Tea (which was all alcohol, no tea). "Hey, do you want to try this beer punch?"
"What is it?"
"I don't know." I said. "But it comes in a pitcher."
"Bring it, bitch!"
We were about halfway through the pitcher when #1 texted me, asking if I wanted to come over.
"You should go!" #3 said.
"Fuck, no." I said. "I'm having a good time with you."
"Ok." And for the first time, his smile wrinkled into a half frown. "Here's the thing. I like you, but we're friends."
"Yea, I don't knoooooooow. I just think we're friends."
I chugged another glass worth of beer punch, and filled it back up. "Friends." It didn't sound as firm when I said it.
"You can still check out my ass, if you want." He said. "You just can't touch it."
We only made it through 3/4s of the pitcher before we had to call it quits. I wasn't going to end my eleven year not puking streak just because I'd had my heart walloped twice in one day.
"Awww, poor baby." said #1 when I took the T to his house. "Come to bed, daddy will make it all better."
"Really?" I shot him The Spock Eye. "Daddy?"
He kissed me. "Would you rather be Daddy tonight?"
"I would rather we not be related."
"Kinky." He said.
When we were done being positively no relation to each other, he looked at me. "I'm not the one, am I?"
"Don't be silly." I said "You're #1. That's as one as it gets."
He smiled, and pulled my arms around him. "You're sweet." He said. "But you're a terrible liar."
When the Chinese restaurant under Asterisk's apartment started letting their trash pile up onto his fire escape, and blasted Chinese pop after they closed at 2 AM, Asterisk decided it was time for war. He made an offhanded joke to Ben that he was going to start posting missing cat posters throughout the neighborhood, forgetting that Ben had both copious free time, and access to an industrial printer. The next day, every lamp post, telephone pole, and wall of an abandoned building was littered with flyers for Snuffy, Shadow, Anabelle, Mr. Whiskers, Grape, Francis, Hamlin, and dozens of other fictionally missing felines. All with some variation of "last seen in the vicinity of Jade Panda" , many rife with misspellings, backwards lettered children's scrawl, and wet with fake tears. It was truly a work of genius. Wait. No. It was truly a work of racist. A genius plan would have actually solved the problems of the lingering trash and loud crimes against music. The posters didn't help with either of those things.When I use ironic racism, I try to stay far away from actual racist stereotypes. I may lament how those fucken Hawaiians drive me insane with all their fucken bowling tournaments, or how I'm tired of the waking up on Tuesday mornings to find a Navajo on my front porch trying to convert me to Shamanism.
So it is with great shame that I must include the elements of cats and Asians in yet another story, but the two things just seem to keep showing up to the same parties in my life, doing little dances, and then wandering off alone.
#3 exuded theater major in most of the common ways: flair for the dramatic, intense eyes, and the creepy smiling as a defense mechanism that so many actors seem to adopt. He was, however, missing one of the most crucial properties of a theater major: he seemed employable.
Months later I discovered that, while at no time was #3 not in a play, he was also, at no time, a theater major. "Bitch, please. Do I look like a theater major?" Again, yes, he did. "I am a psych major."
"Pfffffffft." I replied. "Theater majors at least have a little bit of fun getting their useless degrees. Psych majors all end up bitter Starbuck's baristas wishing they'd majored in something more useful like theater or competitive Bocce Ball."
He shot me a Theater Major look.
Our first date was on my birthday. Which happened to also be my anniversary with Sora. Which, on the list of my great ideas, was probably not in the top ten.
After a delicious meal of Vegan Chinese food, we walked back to my house, and each had a piece of my birthday cake that my roommate, Koko, had made for me.
"What do you think?" She asked.
"Wellllllllllll, it's ok, but I'm more of a Red Velvet guy." Pause. "I'm joking. It's delicious."
All three of the people I had started dating so far were way gayer than I'd imagined. In fact, after our successfully chaste first date, I called #3 to schedule a second date. "Helllllloooooo?"
"Hey #3." I had been very up front with the numbers that they were, in fact, being labeled as numbers. "What are you up to?"
"Ohhhhhhhhhh, you know, I" and then there was commotion.
"Yo, Stone." said an unfortunately familiar voice. Goldschlager.
Goldschlager was a poet I knew from The Cantab. He had a long, hyphenated name, but had earned the nickname Goldschlager when he'd showed up at my house with a bottle of that glittery monstrosity that calls itself alcohol, as well as a date. He had brought a date to the writers' group I held at my house, and then had the nerve to be surprised when she broke up with him.
"I knew it!" He said.
"I knew you were dating Dallas. He said he went out for Chinese food with a poet, and I knew it was either you or Ben. I also know you have a thing for tiny Asians."
I dredged my brain for the logic in that statement. While I had certainly dated Bacchus since I'd met Goldschlager, I was pretty certain the two had never met. "What are you talking about, Schlag?"
"Ummmmmm." Not many people can make the letter m sound as nasally as Schlag could. It was a gift. One he should probably return to whoever gave it to him. "Well. Sora."
My brain exploded. "Sora is Puerto Rican, not Asian. He's also 5'8"."
"Right. Puerto Rican is a type of Asian."
The fuck? "No, asshole, Puerto Rico is in the opposite hemisphere from Asia, across both axes."
And in the background I heard #3 say "Sorry, Adam." It was very melodic.
Once Schlag gave #3 his phone back, he invited me to Guerrilla Queer Bar, a weekly event where a bunch of gays crashed an unsuspecting bar and turned it into their night.
Neither #3 nor I were especially amped about being completely surrounded by other gay and bi people, but we both agreed we needed more gay friends who weren't people we'd had awkward sex with, so we made it a date. 8:00 on a Friday night.
I got home from work at 6:30, took a quick shower, and headed into my room. Once dressed, I filled the cat bowl, and tapped it with my finger. Motherfucker came running to the bowl. Selina did not. I clucked my tongue in the universal Come Here Cat manner, which always caused her to either run to me or from me. Neither thing happened.
"Selina?" I called.
"Where the fuck is Sel---" the top half of my bedroom window was open. God DAMN it.
I called #3. "Hi. I might be a little late. My cat has gone AWOL."
"Reeeeeeally?" He sighed. "That's ok. I have a couple of friends who are going. We'll just....entertain each other until you find your cat."
I spent the next hour walking up and down my street calling Selina's name. I was relieved that, at least, it was her that ran away, and not Motherfucker.
At 8:30 my phone rang. It was #2. "Hi!" he said. "What are you up to tonight?"
"My cat ran away." I said. "And I can't find her anywhere. I keep calling her name, and thinking I see her, but it's always some stray cat taunting me. And there's all this caterwauling, and I had Selina fixed, but she's so slutty, and so cattractive that I know the longer she's out here, the more pregnant she's going to get."
"Oh, God!" He said. "I'm coming over right now!"
So, while #3 sat in a bar with a bunch of sparkly shirted flirters, #2 and I walked up and down my neighborhood, through people's back yards, searching for my slutty, lost cat. God DAMN it.
At 9:15, I called #3 and told him there was no way I was going to make it.
"You look really stressed!" #2 said. "It's cute how attached you are to your cat!"
The truth of the matter was, I was mostly stressed because I was missing my date with #3. I liked #2, he was cute, eccentrically fun, but there was no long term potential there. Apart from the sex, the only thing we had in common was that we both enjoyed reading and writing poetry. Sadly, there were centuries between the poetry we wrote and enjoyed. #3 was more than just a cute guy I wanted to fuck. He had...something. That stupid intangible something.
Maybe it was just that he was the first guy I'd gone on a date with in three years that I hadn't put my penis in the first night we'd met. Maybe it was his smile. Maybe it was the melodic sound of his voice.
"You owe me big time." He said, during the 9:15 phone call. "I am. Not pleased."
I sighed as I hung up the phone. Across the street, #2 was shining a flashlight in the neighbor's hedges, softly calling Selina's name.
An hour later, we were in The Slut Across The Street's back yard when he #2 said "Oh my god! Oh my GOD!"
"You found her?" I asked. I wasn't hopeful, we'd had a series of false alarms. There appeared to be more stray cats in my neighborhood then there were houses.
"No!" He said. "But I just realized this is your fortune!"
"The cat in a broken airplane! Your terrible journey! It even involves a cat!"
It was too dark for him to notice that I was rolling my eyes. "Right. Look, I'm kind of tired, and thinking of just putting some food out on the porch, and sleeping. That way I can get up early, and look for her when it's light out."
"Oh! That's a good idea! Want me to stay over, so I can help you look tomorrow?"
And he looked at me with the most hopeful eyes. Nothing sexual, an honest I Want To Help You More stare.
"That'd be great." I said.
I made him some tea, and poured myself a Cherry Coke. In my room, we talked about his insane roommate.
"Yesterday, after you left, he started shouting at me because you stayed over!"
"I'm sorry." I said. "I didn't mean to cause drama.
"It's not you!" He said. "I pay rent, I can bring over whoever I want to! But last night, he decided he loves me!"
"I know! I locked myself in the bathroom when I got tired of talking to him, and he knocked the door down!"
I put my arms around him. "Jesus."
"I know he doesn't actually love me! He's totally in love with this other guy! When he came home last night, he had just finished getting fucked by the other guy! He is SO fucked up!"
"You need to get out of that apartment."
"I know! I know! There's this guy in Philadelphia who thinks he's totally in love with me! He bought me a violin last week! He's creepily possessive, though! But sweet! I think, if things don't get better by the end of the summer, I'm going to move down with him!"
"But," I asked, "do you really want to move down to a city you've never been to in order to spend time with some creepily possessive guy you don't even know? One who thinks he can buy you with gifts?"
"Oh! I think it's a terrible idea! But I cut up an apple last night, and it revealed that I would soon be taking my own journey! That it would be hard, and filled with awfulness!"
"Yikes." I said. "So, I'm going to throw it out there that you probably shouldn't go."
"But I have to!" He replied. "The apple said I'm going!"
I let him go, and looked at him. Really, looked at him for the first time. At the end of my first date with #1, I'd been shocked to discover that he was a Drag Queen, and then sat back and thought about it, and realized I really shouldn't have been shocked. I was having the same experience with #2 now, only instead of realizing he was a drag queen, I was realizing he was out of his fucken mind.
"You think I'm crazy! Don't you?" He asked.
And I thought about the the split apple, the many dying plants in his basement apartment, the tea leaves at the bottom of my cup. A cat in a broken airplane.
"You will soon go on an adventure!" He had told me on our first date. "That's the airplane.! But see how it's split in the middle?" I did. "That means it's going to be a sad journey!"
"Ok." I said. "What does the cat mean?"
"The cat is a sign of deceit! Your journey is going to be littered with lies!"
At the time, I thought that maybe, instead of reading my future, he had read my past. That the tea leaves represented my life with Sora.
Tonight, #2 had decided that the cat was not a metaphor for deceit, but actually Selina. "Which is great!" He said. "That means I was wrong about the lies!"
And now here we were in my bed, him looking at me with that stupid, hopeful expression. "You do! Don't you?" He asked. "You think I'm crazy!"
And I looked him straight in his gorgeous eyes, and said "No."
Ben: “See that guy over there?”
Me: “The one crying, and singing Strong Enough by Cher?”
Ben: “Isn’t he cute?”
Me: “Well…not right now.”
The realization that Elvis was a flat-assed liar didn't ruin my life, or lower my respect for him. I had none. He was just some guy with no ass, bad teeth, and a horrible dye job who had invaded my life to escape...well, I have no idea what he was escaping because he never told me the truth. Finding out he was a lying liar didn't take away from all the happy times we'd shared together. We had no happy times.
Things were different with Sora.
If you read The Insafemode Journals before they were deleted by a Russian hacker, you may remember that Sora and I had lots of happy times. I wrote frequently about the happy things we shared. Easter with Cheerio, Ben, Celeste, and Sir Trick; antagonizing Ben at a house party. There were other times, I know there were. But they disappeared in a whiff of internet hackery.
I didn't write about the lying, because unlike Elvis, I actually love Sora. But our entire relationship was built around a lie. And, no, not the epic He Never Loved Me lie. Though, yes, that, too. The first lie was an innocent one.
We met at one of my shows, I invited him to another competition. He told me he would come up to Boston, we could hang out, we'd go to my show, and then he was going to stay with one of his friends. And then, totally weird, right, his friend never called him back, so he needed a place to stay, and came home with me.
Of course there was no friend.
Two weeks later, he was supposed to meet me and Celeste around noon to go to one of Celeste's shows. At 1:30, Celeste was long gone, and I was thinking I had maybe overjudged our relationship, when he called to apologize for being late, that he was almost to my house. So I walked down in the direction of the T to meet him. I was halfway down the hill when he bounded up, a white rose in his hand. And the kiss. And the kiss. And the wow, okay, kiss. And a white rose. No one I had ever dated had ever given me any sort of flora. And no guy since.
Back at the house, Sir Trick was watching MXC. "Hey guys." He said, flashing a rare smile. He hadn't been smiling at me, partially because he wasn't a full time smiler, and partially because Ben, who I wasn't talking too very often, had borrowed one of his DVDs, and had now had it for several months. And I, being an associate of Ben's, was guilty of overborrowing by association. But, at that very second, Sora had committed no wrong, and was, thereby, smileworthy. "What happened? Thought you were going to be here at noon."
"Oh." Sora said. "I forgot to take my medication, and I passed out on the train, they had to stop it and call an ambulance."
Which was news to me. "You passed out?"
"Yea, it was no big deal."
"What condition do you have?" Sir Trick asked.
"Oh, I don't know."
Because, of course, he had no condition. He was not on medication for a condition that he didn't know about. He did not pass out on the train. He missed a train, because he was completely unreliable. He would miss train after train in the coming months. He would get caught in traffic that didn't exist. I would lose entire days waiting for him because I loved him and knew he was lying and didn't care because I loved him and.
There were many, many little lies littered throughout the happy times. But there were happy times, so why focus on tiny, little harmless lies?
In August 2007, after four months of knowing each other, and three months of dating and living together, I went to Austin for a national poetry slam competition. On my second day in Austin, I got a call from my friend Don, who happened to also be Sora's boss at The Truffle Shuffle chocolate store. "Hey, Adam, tell your boyfriend he's late for work."
"Ugh. Really? Sorry, Don, but I'm in Austin, so I can't exactly dump him off the couch or wherever he fell asleep. I"ll call Celeste, though, and see if she can wake him up."
Well, Celeste said he wasn't home. I told her to call me when she saw him. I told Don to have Sora call me when he got to work. I called Sora's cell a few times.
No one called me back that day.
The next morning I got a call from Sora that his dad had a heart attack, and he had to spend some time helping take care of the house, and he didn't know how long it would be for, but probably not too long, and he missed me, and was really sorry, but "Don't be mad. It's an emergency."
What were the odds of me dating another compulsive liar with a supposedly dead parent who would leave me by telling me a close family member was ill and he had to take care of them?
Apparently, pretty good.
#1 asks:despite the fact that he frustrates, I think that I've fallen for him what defines "fallen" in your opinion?3:23 AM I'm looking for real responses here not something contrived
When it comes to gravity, I'm stupid. I don't know how or why it works. I've heard things about the moon, and Newton's apple. I've even fallen down stairs just to see if I could hit my head just right enough to figure it all out. But I still don't know anything about gravity, other than, it works.
And, of course, I'm going to liken falling in love to gravity. It's an easy analogy. Both can be explained with graphs and equations. Neither make any damned sense to most people. Still, devotees of science and romance claim that they understand them. Both get you through most of your life, while occasionally knocking you on your ass. Both are bitches.
I've never really thought of either one of them having definitions. Gravity is serious. It's something that binds you. Falling is an accident that results in gravity.
Here's something I've never been completely honest about. Sora.
I was turning twenty-nine. I'd been in stupid with Ben for months, and knew that if I didn't get in a relationship soon, I wasn't going to get over him, the way I never really got over Ryan (and I don't mean I was going to kill him, though that thought certainly crossed my mind on a near-daily basis). So all I wanted for my twenty-ninth birthday was to fall in love with someone else.
So when I was asked to do a poetry reading on my birthday, I said sure. Why not? Ben was out of town. Celeste had plans. And I tried not to make big deals out of birthdays, so I invited a few friends to my show in Rhode Island, printed up some books, and grabbed the commuter rail to Providence. There, I met up with my friend Cheerio and blah blah, the show happened. And the show went long. Very long. I'd planned a half hour set, including a reading of my first ever "chapbook", a hand scrawled journal I'd written when I was six. Complete with stick figure drawings, and a count of how many Cherry Cokes I'd had to drink (it's a life long vice). When I realized I'd been going for forty-five minutes, I asked how much longer I had, and the host told me to keep going. SO I went. And, at one hour, I stopped. And the host asked me to do one more piece. So I decided to do my hallucinating while waiting tables poem, which involves me wandering around the venue. And, while wandering, I circled around a pole that had been obstructing my view of a certain section of the audience all night. And on the other side of that pole was Sora. He was staring at me. Like, in a creepy way. STARING.
At the end of the night, I was selling books, and talking with Cheerio and Zouzou (no relation to Zuzu, they just have the same phonetic name), when Sora approached me.
"This was my first ever poetry reading. My friends told me it would be something I would really like, but I didn't think it would be for me, but I thought you were really really good, and I wanted to buy your books and see if maybe you had another show coming up somewhere that I could go to and see you again." And then he just smiled.
"Uhhh. Thanks. Well, I don't have any other show shows for a month or so, but there's a big slam in Boston next Wednesday to decide who will represent Boston at the National Poetry Slam. I'll be in it. And, no matter who wins, it should be a really good show."
"Cool." Stare. Smile. "Here's my Myspace profile, could you send me the info? I'd really like to be there." Stare. Smile.
Stare. Smile. Walk away.
"Wow." Zouzou said.
"Yea." I said. "He was a little intense."
"A little intense?" Cheerio said? "He wants your dick. Often."
And because I am completely oblivious, I said "No. He's just really really into poetry, I guess."
Zouzou laughed. "Hon, no. That intense little drama student is completely besmitten with you."
I shrugged. "I don't know if I could date someone who was majoring in Drama."
"I think you're a little old for college students, anyway," Said Cheerio, who had just cursed me more than either of us could ever possibly know.
My new friend Mike offered to drive me back to Ben's apartment (I was catsitting Rufus while Ben was in Virginia), and on the way we discussed "the intense drama student", whose name I didn't have, but whose myspace profile, I did. While we were talking, I turned my cell on, and noticed I had a message.
"Hey, Adam, it's Ben. I'm still in Virginia. Anyway, I saw this totally awesome pair of shoes down here that would be completely perfect for you. And I know it's your birthday, and all. Happy birthday, by the way. And I was thinking about getting them for you, but they were really expensive, and I didn't know if I could afford them, or if you could afford them, so I decided not to get them, but I wanted to let you know that I was thinking of you. Happy Birthday."
And that's why I needed to not be in love with Ben. A really good friend would have bought me the damned shoes. A moderately good friend would have called, regretted that they couldn't really afford the shoes, but would have bought them, and asked to be reimbursed. A really good friend who was completely broke would have never mentioned the shoes at all, and just called to say Happy Birthday. Ben was none of those things. But I had been in love with him. I didn't really like him very much, but I was in love with him.
It turned out that the message was very old, because Ben was already at home in Allston, when Mike and I arrived. And we drank a little. Shit was shot. Ben sprawled out on his bed, and craned his neck in a way that someone had told him accentuated his jawline. And I packed up my stuff, said goodbye, and Mike prepared to drive me back to the apartment I shared with Celeste and Sir Trick. And it would have been a long night, sure. It was a bit past midnight, but I could get in bed by say, twosih, on this now early morning after my birthday, except...except...except Mike's car was not at all where he parked it a scant half hour ago. But right above where he had parked it was the number of a tow truck company. A number Mike dialed while scowling at his phone.
Now I could tell you that while he dialed, and spoke, I was thinking only of that strange intense little drama student. That my thoughts were pure or dirty or whatever. But I wasn't thinking of the (I still think) hot guy who'd given me his myspace profile because he wanted to come up to Boston and have me do him. I was thinking of Ben, who had been very direct about how he didn't find me attractive, how he didn't love me in any way. I was thinking of him sprawled out on his bed with his head cocked at a funny angle. How he had called to let me know that I wasn't important enough a part of his life for him to get me a birthday present. How much I loved him, and his stupid goddamned chin.
1.) I lost my favorite shirt.
2.) In the pocket of my favorite shirt is the key to my hotel room.
3.) Because we're in the penthouse, and you need a penthouse room key just to get on to the penthouse elevator (or to access the penthouse floor via the stairway), I can't even get to the floor I am staying on, to knock on the door, to see if my hotel roommate, Mazarine, is around to let me in.
4.) I could call Mazarine, but I don't have her number memorized. I do have it in my cellphone, but...
5.) My cellphone is in the pocket of my favorite shirt.
6.) I have imbibed just enough alcohol to be cranky about it.
7.) It is nearly 5:30 in the morning.
8.) After several hours searching for my shirt, I ask the concierge to give me another key. He does. When I go upstairs and in to my room, the first thing I notice is that there, on the bed, is my favorite shirt.
9.) I'm the kind of person who makes absolutely sure that when I remove an item of clothing filled with objects, I check all my pockets and transfer anything I need. Therefore, when I removed my favorite shirt in my room, I transferred the hotel room key to my pants pocket, which means that I had the key with me THE ENTIRE TIME.
When I still lived with Ben, he took a vacation to a woody retreat, and did a lot of acid. At some point, during the trip, he borrowed his friend, Lisabelle (last referenced here)'s cell phone. He was fairly certain he returned it, but when it was nearly time for he and Lisabelle to leave, she couldn't find the phone, and knew that the last time she had seen it, Ben was using it. To call me.
According to Ben, he spent the next hours cleaning the house they were staying at. Every couch cushion was flipped, and dusted for potential cell phone remains. Every jacket in the house was emptied of pockets. Every cupboard emptied, then refilled and reorganized. Every square inch of the house was covered. At this point, Lisabelle's poor pussy-whipped boyfriend was informed that he had to hypnotize Ben, to make him remember what he did with it.
The hypnosis didn't work, but during the hypnosis, Lisabelle put her hands in her pocket, where her cellphone had been the whole time.
Upon hearing this story straight from the twink's mouth, Sir Trick said "Wait. They thought to hypnotize you? She wasn't thorough enough to check her pockets, but she thought of hypnotizing you? Why not just burn the house to the ground, and use a metal detector to find it?"
I have spent the month of August trying to burn down my past and discover where I went wrong. While, technically, July is when I lost Ryan, August is when I lost dignity, Ben, Sora, my mind (when I moved to Arifuckenzona), the list is endless.
"Your life is a fucken novel on acid." JBob says. We've seen each other once in the past decade. About a year ago we met for lunch in Boston, just after Sora disappeared. We had a good time, and some good laughs (and I stewed about him being hotter at 31, then he was when we were in high school, sleeping in the same room). And since slam nationals were in Madison, where he lives, we agreed to hang out during the competition. The highlight for JBob was when, in order to psych me up for a particular poem, he got to repeatedly shove me, and slap me in the face. It worked.
"What do you mean 'my life is a novel on acid'?"
"Well, ok, you're part of this big weird community where most people seem to know you, and, at least on the surface, like you. But you've got two nemeses. One is this Punky Brewster looking gay kid with leggings, and too much eyeshadow. And then there's the thirty-five year old Gothtard who wanders around in his lame-ass black trenchcoat all the time, leering at you."
"You've got it wrong." I say. "Ben is not my nemesis, he's just...you know, Ben. And the Gothtard isn't my nemesis, I'm his. If I chose a rival, it would be someone who had a talent for what they do, or at least someone with dignity. That dingleberry doesn't even warrant a special name in my Livejournal."
"Well, that's because he already has a special name. A Blue Light Special name. In his case, probably a flashing blue light pulsing to the rhythm of some lame ass techno band from 1994."
We are walking to JBob's house. We are both fairly drunkwasted. We also spent some time in a Madison parking lot with a Boston poetry friend smoking a non-cigarette. I am vaguely aware of the turns we take between my hotel and his house. And when we get there, we resume smoking, and talking about high school, while the Olympic Opening Ceremonies play on his TV.
"I totally had a gay crush on Fledge." JBob says.
"Everyone had a gay crush on Fledge. He was cute, funny, and hung like a...like I'm too high to come up with something funny."
"Yea, but, I used to wait outside the showers to try and see him naked."
Well, this is uncomfortable. My hot, hilarious friend and former roommate is confessing a gay crush while we're both hammered and sitting on his couch. My hot, hilarious married to a girl friend and former roommate. God, I wish she was a bitch so I could sleep with JBob and not feel guilty.
"Well, I have to work tomorrow. So I should get to sleep. Do you want to crash here, or...."
"I'll, uh, I'll just go back to the hotel. Yea. The hotel. Thanks for having me over. This was" awkward hug "fun."
And he gives me spoken directions on how to get back to the hotel. Directions which I can't concentrate on because I'm thinking stupid stupid stupid just go back there and stupid stupid back to the stupid hotel but I think he was trying to no stupid stupid stupid just go. I've been walking aimlessly for about fifteen minutes, and thinking I'm hopelessly lost, when I look up and see a crowd of mostly-dressed-in-black-people in a circle around someone performing bad hip-hop. Clearly, I'm back in the poetry zone. And, sure enough, I see the hotel.
I want to turn around and go back
Jim, my roommate Byrne, and several other people in the poetry community seem to have the mistaken impression that I hate all Gay People. "And I don't mean you're self-loathing. It's just other Gay People you hate. I mean, if I were to make a pie chart of The Gay Community where the red part was people you hated, and the black part was people you liked, it'd look like a watermelon."
"To be fair," I replied, "the chart would look exactly the same were you to divvy up the straight people I did and didn't like."
But it's Pride Week, and most of the people annoying me are Gay. Here's the thing, I don't like PDA, even when it's hot gay guys groping each other and doing the type of kiss that surrenders to Germans. I don't like the huge rainbows, the Madonna karaoke or the horrible fashion shows with clothes designed by people who should never be given scissors within a hundred yards of curtains or bathmats. When I was invited me to read for Coming Out Day, rather than Pride, at a local spoken word venue, I knew the organizer understood me.
Ryan and I had a couple of hilarious conversations about how we hated melodramatic gay people. Which made his choice to kill himself rather than come out to his parents all the funnier. Ok, I didn't find it funny at the time, but it makes me giggle now. Ben and I used to riff on hating stereotypical Gays, too. And that was funny because Ben is as stereotypically Gay as you can get without bursting into Flamer (note, I am not calling him a Flamer...he's just sort of sparky). But it was Sora that I really bonded with on the loving homosexual men, and disliking Gays.
And while I may joke about not liking Gays because of their fashion sense, their musical taste, their propensity for PDAs, their coifs, their deliberately screechy octavoices, or their gonorrhea; the truth is none of them seem to know how to kiss properly.
Trey kisses like a damp sponge being pressed against your lips and slightly squeezed into your mouth. I met him, as I'm sure you're shocked to know, over The Internet. And his kissing was the only thing I could fault him on, but I haven't called him back.
Breezy uses his tongue like a woodpecker searching for ants at the back of my throat. I wouldn't have called him back either, but the thing is, he has this great apartment. I mean, the apartment itself is average. Not furnished very well, devoid of any art, but it's on the water, meaning bay breeze, which, given the current heatwave, is good enough reason for me to continue seeing him.
"So you're dating a guy for his apartment." Asterisk said. "I've done worse. I've dated people because I've liked their dog."
And while I've never dated someone for their dog (and I do love dogs), I did threaten to break up with someone when their ex-roommate got custody of their awesome cat.
But it's not just the apartment. Despite his being the sort of Gay you can see from space even when your eyes are closed and you're facing in the opposite direction, staring into the sun, he looks really good naked, and since he has no roommates, we spend a lot of time naked in various rooms. But we're not dating. I know we're not dating because both of us had sex a few hours before we met up (with other people, natch), and then a few hours after we parted ways.
Clem was the guy a few hours earlier, and he received kisses exactly the way a closet case kisses back when they're about to freak out. Our sex didn't really last long. We'd been trying to meet for months. And by we, I mean he. I gave up on him after the first night of his utter wishy-washiness. He wanted to meet. He wanted to bottom. He had the night off, but, horrors, what if someone saw me go into his house and knew I was A Homosexual? What would the neighbors say? (I surmise they'd say "Yawn. He could do better.") Three months and eleven potential meet-ups later, he sent me his address, and I hopped on a bus that connected with another bus, and yet another bus that dropped me off in his neighborhood. We made very small talk before we went into his bedroom, where he closed his shades, turned off all the lights, and took off his clothes. When I tell you he had the tiniest penis I've ever seen, I'm not trying to insult him. As much as I can appreciate a good looking penis, it's not the part of the body I'm most looking for. His ass was assdequate. But barely had he slid his skivvies around his ankles, when he started stuttering. He had one hand on my cock, and said "Your c-c-cock is so big. I can not b-b-bottom for you." Which is flattering, but not at all true. Not even remotely true. So I started putting my clothes back on. "I can jerk you..."
"No." "You can't." "You've got a car, right?" In the movie version of my life, I'm smoking a cigarette. Perhaps two cigarettes.
"Yes. I have car." Apparently, my cock was also so big he forgot how to use articles in his sentences.
"You're giving me a ride home then."
And he did, without question. And as soon as he dropped me off at the house, I e-mailed Breezy, and he took care of my Indigo Testicles. And I took care of his. And he took care of mine. And I took care of...you get the idea.
When it was finally well past time for sleep, Breezy plopped down beside me on his bed, and grabbed my arms around him. Which is fine. I can be rather cuddly when the mood strikes, much to the chagrin of Sora, and the amusement of Zach. The latter referring to me as a Reverse Teddy Bear. "A big furry thing that never lets go." Breezy was the first guy I've ever thought of as aggressively huggable. Every time I was certain he was asleep, and I tried to move to a more comfortable position, he would wait for me to adjust, and then commandeer both my arms, roll his neck under my chin, and slide his butt up against my cock, which is a pretty surefire way to get me to not move too much for a while.
"Where are you going?" He asked when it was time for me to head home, shower, and consider going to work.
"Not yet you're not." And he was correct. Three times.
When I got the e-mail from Diego, telling me he would die without a sperm transfusion, I wondered if meeting him was a bit over the top. True, I hadn't been laid since Wednesday afternoon, but it was only Friday afternoon, and I had a show to go to Friday night. But he was insistent that he come over. he was insistent about everything. Kissing too desperate. Mashing of mouths, yanking of head. It was like kissing a fish that kept flopping around to different sides of your face. "Am I too rough?" He asked.
"No." You just suck at this.
"I am ready to be-" don't say it, don't say it, don't say it "taken by you, Big Boy."
Sora developed a sense of dirty talk sometime after the first year or so of our on/off/on/off/off/off/on/whatever dating cycle. I think this goes back to a conversation we had where I mentioned liking when a guy was vocal in bed. But what I meant was guttural, or pleasured, not loquacious and porn talky. But Sora gets away with it because I like him & he has a sexy voice. Diego...Diego doesn't fall into either category.
It's not just the bad kissing, the bad porn talk, or the everything else. Diego proved something I suspected, but didn't know for sure. I'm not into black dudes. It's not a racist thing. I cold surely fall in love with someone black, and I can damn sure realize when someone black is hot, but I'm just not into them, precisely the same way I'm not into women. They can get me hard, they can get me interested, but they can't make me come. Diego tried and tried and tried and tried, until Byrne knocked on my door to let me know it was time to go to the show. I don't think he heard what we were doing (and if he's read this far, I'm sure he now regrets it). "What do we do?" Diego asked. "You have not--"
"We've got to go." I said. "Sorry, I didn't realize this would take so" epically "long."
"I will call you later." He, I hope, lied.
"You are such a whore. Again." Dmitri said, when I relayed the stories to him. "Who killed himself this time?"
"Ouch. No one. I mean, I'm sure someone, but nobody I know. It's just..." Oh shit.
Trey kisses sponge, Breezy woodpecker, Diego cinder block, Clem like a terrified mannequin. Diego is too needy armed, Trey too non-existent. Diego too existent. Clem not enough anything. These ass shaped men trying to fit themselves in my heart slot. And, in theory, the piece should fit. Not perfectly, or even well. But they should drop into the too big space for them, and slide around like the last pretzel in a kiddie pool sized bowl. Everything about Breezy is nearly acceptable except that he isn't Sora.
The best thing about having your perfect boyfriend commit suicide a month into your relationship is that you realize pretty quickly that there's no way you can improve upon your relationship or bring things back to the way they were. He's never going to be nearly as responsive, even if you dig him up and put a tape recorder in his chest. He's never going to kiss back, or silently judge you for your horrible necrophilia jokes. Ok, he will always silently judge you for your necrophilia jokes, because silent judgment is one of the few things corpses are good at. But, I digress.
Sora is, thank everything, in no way shape or form dead. Nor is he, nor has he ever been perfect, as my friends frequently remind me. But he kisses properly, which is sometimes enough. And we've become accustomed to our cycle of whatever it is we do or don't. And Zach was right about me. I'm just this big, furry thing that never lets go.
For years, I've had a No Fly Over rule with another gay, redheaded poet from Boston, Asterisk. This rule made dating in Boston increasingly difficult, as he has slept with everyone who's ever even thought the word Boston. It's one of the reasons I'm glad things with Ben never worked out.
A few months ago, Ben, Asterisk, and I were involved in a spoken word show. Among the crowd was an amazingly hot guy that Ben was trying to bang. "He grew up in France." Ben said. "He was going to be a prostitute, but he had a curfew."
When Asterisk started hitting on said Curfew Boy, I was legally obligated to chastise him. He and Ben had both ripped me apart over Sora, who was eighteen to my twenty-nine. Asterisk was comfortably in his thirties, and Curfew Boy was eighteen. Barely.
And, despite some major triangle trauma (by the time it happened, I was, fortunately, well out of range), Asterisk ended up with the guy for the night. (Ben ended up getting him several times later.)
But before Ben slept with him, Asterisk was chiding him about how good Curfew Boy was in bed. "Man, that kid's ass tasted like gold."
"Eww." I said. "Who wants to lick gold? Now, if his ass had tasted like Golden Grahams, you just get me a spoon and some milk, and I'll be over that."
The last couple of Thanksgivings, a bunch of my poet friends and I have gotten together to have a family-free holiday. We have lots of alcohol, tell lots of raunchy stories, and eat a lot of amazing food. This year, my former roommate, and former romantic foil, Ben joined in. The favorite story of the day was about the Mr. Hot Positive Load. We, in fact, referred to Thanksgiving as Hot Positive Loads Of Food Day. I was almost thankful that I had fucked Mr. Hot Positive, as he'd given me a great story. He had also, however, bruised my ribs while riding me. I thought that was his final gift to me. I was wrong.
The day after Thanksgiving, I was preparing to take a piss when I saw a thick yellowish liquid on the head of my cock. Now, after nearly a decade of very carefully protected sex with many, many people, I've never had an STD, but I knew immediately that I had one then. So I entered my symptom online and took an educated guess that I had gonorrhea. I made an appointment at an STD clinic, and sent off an e-mail to Mr. Hot Positive's Myspace Profile. It said "Hey. You should e-mail me. There's something we need to talk about before you sleep with anyone else."
He responded by defriending me. So I left a comment for him. "Thanks for the STD, jerkface. Get tested before you give it to someone else."
How was I supposed to know his mom and his sister read his MySpace page?
Oh, right, he'd told me before we met.
He replied with "I don't have any STDs. Why are you being such an asshole?"
Now, I had only had sex with two people during a two week stretch. Mr. Breedme and Mr. HotPositiveLoad. I had inserted my penis (fully condomed) into Mr. Breedme for a couple of minutes, and then made him leave. Also, Mr. Breedme said he hadn't gotten laid in years, and given his appearance and self-esteem, I believe him. Mr. HotPositiveLoad is a big slut (I realize this is the proverbial pot calling the proverbial kettle Cookware American) who likes to have men pee in him. We had fucked and whatnot for hours, and while I had been very careful with condoms, there had been some non-latexed oral that would lead me to believe he, and not Mr. Breedme was the one that gave me The Applause. But if I'm wrong, then Mr. Breedme gave me The Applause, and I probably passed it along to Mr. HotPositiveLoad. Either way, he had gonorrhea.
By the time I write out my kindlier than it should be e-mail, I discovered he had me blocked, changed his MySpace profile to private, changed his name, gotten rid of his picture, and changed his age and location.
I'm pretty sure that doesn't change the fact that he had The Applause.
Around about this time, my penis started to hurt. I already had an appointment at the clinic for the next day, so I resigned myself to the fact that there was nothing I could do. I made it a point to not pee very much, as the idea of having hot lava shoot out of my cock has never been very appealing to me.
Ben called. He was running a show at his college, and his host had bailed. He wondered if I could come host the event. Seeing as I had a show there myself the next week, I agreed. I wrapped some Kleenex around my cock, and shuffled off to the train. An hour and a half later, I reached my destination (late), and Ben picked me up. We drove about 100 MPH all the way to the show (about another hour of travel), where I waddled into the lecture room. In order to host, I had to walk up and down the stairs of the lecture hall every five minutes or so. My ribs were bruised. My cock was ON FIRE. The Kleenex had shifted to somewhere around my kneecaps, and my penis, dripping hot lava out of it, was now scraping against my jeans.
The show lasted about two hours. So I missed the last train home. Meaning, I would not be able to make it back to the city in time for my appointment.
I was not very happy.
Ben got on the phone to his sister, who is a doctor. The conversation that I heard went something like, "Well, it's my friend Safey. He's got The Applause. Uh huh. Well, he's not going to make it in for his appointment at the clinic, which means he's not going to get any medication for at least another couple of days, and I was wondering if you could prescribe me the drugs, and I could pick them up first thing tomorrow, and give them to him. Well, it's kind of my fault he isn't going to make it to the clinic. I know I'm not supposed to ask you about drugs, and I normally wouldn't, but do they really think someone is going to recreationally take antibiotics? Thanks. Thanks. No, really. I'm sure he appreciates it."
Ben went to sleep a bit later, while I kept waddling back and forth to the bathroom to survey the damage. I may
First thing the next morning, we took a trip to the pharmacy, where Ben picked up the prescription, while I waited in the car. "You know that the lady inside totally thinks I'm the one with The Applause." He said, fluffing his hair at me.
I did. And it amused me.
I took the pills immediately, thanking any deity in the vicinity that, if I had to have an STD, it, at least, was one that you can knock out with one dose of pills, and not have any sort of recurring rash or quickened death.
Ben then drove me, and a few of his friends to the restaurant/poetry venue where I work. I was dreading going up and down the stairs all night, carrying plates of food; and was overjoyed to discover that the kitchen was closed, and I would still get paid, even though all I would have to do was deliver the occasional drink from the bar to one of the nearby tables.
I still decided that this was a sign that I shouldn't be meeting strangers for sex via The Internet anymore. So I was pleased to receive an e-mail from Duke, a couple of days after a doctor confirmed I was "cleared up". After all, I'd fucked Duke once already, so he was hardly a stranger. Also, I hadn't even been able to masturbate while I had The Applause, as even brushing the tip of my ON FIRE cock against a sheet caused incredible pain. I could tell by the way he kissed me when I got to his house that we were going to have loads of sex to make up for the last couple of weeks. But while they would certainly be hot loads, and I hoped they'd be positive loads, I was hoping they wouldn't be hot positive loads. Near as I can tell, they weren't.
Also, the next week I had my show at the college, and it went very well. My ribs felt a lot better, and I was definitely Applause free (though many people clapped during my show). I had Ben call his sister and let her know how much I appreciated what she did, and that I think of her every time I pee, and it doesn't hurt. I hope she understands that's supposed to be a compliment. also have put a voodoo hex or two on Mr. HotPositiveLoad. I barely got any sleep, as the pain was...and the gross was...and ewww.