Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
When my first boyfriend killed himself, I dated a series of men who were no good for me, with no intention of ever seeing them again. I didn't tell them absolutely anything about me, especially the whole My First Ever Boyfriend Just Killed Himself thing.
When Sora and I broke up, it felt like a death. Three years. Boo hoo hoo. Mellow melo drama. The clear solution was to once again date a series of men. But this time, maybe, just maybe, make them good for me. Maybe try and establish some sort of connection. Maybe actually talk to them about who I was, and why I felt the need to date several people at once. I wanted to be Open. But without hopping the line from Open to That Fucken Guy Who Won't Stop Talking About His Ex.
#1 and I had hooked up a couple of times, always at his apartment. We'd spent some time watching Top Chef together, we'd discussed exes, and he even introduced me to his Drag Persona.
#2 was a stripper. A gorgeous, finely tuned stripper. His name was Loleye, he was a show...no.
Like most of the numbers I would meet, I first encountered #2 on a dating website that was roughly half a step above Craigslist, and about twelve steps above ManHunt.
He lived roughly down the street from me, and we intended to meet at a coffeehouse to hang out the first time, but had somehow missed each other. This is how I ended up sitting on his bed on our first "date", listening to him talk about his roommate.
His bed is in what, in most apartments, would be the living room. You open the door and BOOM! Bed.
#2's roommate barged into the room, yelling into his cellphone in what I, at first, thought was a foreign language, but turned out just to be ScreamingFagese. "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?" he missled at me.
"Excuse me." #2 said, and he and his roommate went into the only other room in the apartment to talk.
When they emerged from the bunker, the roommate said "I'm really sorry. I'm having...a day." And he giggled. He was all smiles and giggles and polite conversation, and "What do you do for work?"
"Oh." I said. "I work in a comic book store."
"Really? I love comics. Are you familiar with" and here he mentioned a name I'd never heard before.
"Really, he's very well known, and super influential. I have some of his books in my room, hold on."
It's a good general rule that if you don't know someone very well, if, in fact, you have known someone for less than ten minutes, and your conversation has been purely platonic in nature, that it's probably considered gauche to break out your hentai collection and start showing your favorite tentacle rape scenes. Probably.
But I smiled and nodded, and mentioned that, in fact, we didn't sell very much hentai at my store, that we were more of a family friendly comic book store, which means all the gore and violence you can imagine, but very little sex. So, I guess American Family Friendly.
"Your roommate is a little..."
"I don't want to talk about him." #2 said. "How about I make us some tea?"
I don't enjoy hot liquids, but a quick scan of his refrigerator revealed 1: mine was not the messiest, emptiest refrigerator in Boston; and 2: any liquid he was going to offer to me should definitely be boiled before I put it in my mouth.
I drank the tea very slowly, as #2 regaled me with terrible stories about his terrible roommate. When I was finished, I walked the tea over to the sink.
"Wait!" #2 said. "I haven't read the leaves yet."
"You read tea leaves?"
"Why else would anyone drink tea?"
He had me there.
#2 took in a deep breath, covered the cup with a saucer, and flipped it upside down. "What does that look like to you?"
Somewhere in my childhood, a psychologist was picking up a notepad and a pen. In Florida, my mother was craning her neck north. And dozens of midwestern American housewives who spent the last five years reading my Livejournal rubbed their hands together in glee.
The bottom of my cup was the most bizarrely clear inkblot I'd ever seen. It was a cat. In an airplane. And it was waving. The airplane had a crack in the center of it.
"What the fuck does that even mean?" Jackie asked, when I relayed the story.
"How the fuck do I know?"
"He didn't explain it?"
"Of course he did. It has something to do with deceit and a terrible journey." I said.
"Unshocking!" Jackie said. "Your entire life is a terrible journey filled with liars."
"He didn't know that." I said, attempting to...wait, why was I defending him? Right, I wanted this to work. I wanted to date a series of guys with different attributes, and find either The Mythical One, or at least figure out what horrible thing they all had in common that I didn't like, so I could avoid that in the future. I didn't want to do anything to damage anyone of these possibly blossoming relationships. With strippers. And Drag Queens.
"Why not just round out the drama with a theater major?" Jackie asked.
I bit my lip.
The theater major was meeting me for Vegan Chinese food the following day.
Going out to dinner with Jackie is like sex with your average Boston Gaysian She never knows what she wants and she's always really afuckenpologetic about it.
"I'm sorry." She says for the dozenth time. "I just don't know...well, you know. I don't know."
"Yea. Yea. Yea." We're in Moogy's, a local stoner deli that I used to hang out at with my roommates before Sora and the Slut Across The Street stuttered everything up. We would sit in the corner booth having Connect Four tournaments while the same dozen or so Bob Marley, Jack Johnson, and Dave Matthews Bands would play on repeat. What would I say Mr. Matthews? I don't know, I can't concentrate until you shut your stupid goose hole!
Tonight, instead of my roommates and neighbors I'm about to play Sorry with Jackie and Jim.
"This ought to be fun." Oh, and Paul. Paul is one of my favorite awkward straight guys (and between poetry and comics, I know more awkward straight guys than there are atoms in your average White Dwarf Star). But he's so quiet, I some times forget he's there.
We decide instead of saying "Sorry" when we we're going to send someone back to the beginning of the game, we're going to say "Jim Silverman", in honor of Jim who can't finish a sentence without apologizing.
"I'm sorry. Do I really apologize all the time?"
"Drink!" Jackie says. In addition to changing the name of Sorry, we've also turned Jim into a drinking game. Anytime he apologizes, we drink. Any time he asks for a favor, we drink. Any time he says "Hear me out on this." we drink. Any time he pauses for more than ten seconds, mid-word, we drink. We do a lot of drinking.
We are here under the guise of hanging out and writing. The truth is I've been a bit withdrawn since the whole Sora thing. And my past being a public blog, I'm pretty sure my friends are spending time with me to keep me from regretfully sleeping with half the population of Boston...again.
"Ok." Jim says. "Hear me out on this." drink "Ok? So... Sorry" drink "Adam. Adam. Are you. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, really. Getting better every time you start talking."
"I'm sorry," drink "what? Oh. Because I know a bunch of gay dudes that would totally let you bone them." He takes a sip of Miller High Life to hide his smirk.
"Jim. I'm fine. Really. Thanks, though. Dick."
"I feel like we haven't gone out together in ages." Jackie says.
"That's because every time we make plans together one of us ends up breaking up. Or getting bones broken. Or killing a kitten."
Jackie's face goes all smeary. "Fair enough."
"So...Adam. I...sorry" drink "I've got to take this." Jim says, putting his phone to his ear and walking outside.
Jackie stands up, sits down in the seat next to me and then punches me while no one is looki...
"Why'd you hit him?" Paul asks.
"Broken bones? Really? Had to go there?" Jackie asks. "Asshole."
"Well, it's true. And you were the only one who went with me to Tuatara's to celebrate Sora's twenty-first birthday, and now we're both single. Every time we get together bad things happen. Now that you live a block away from me, I fear for my life."
"What about Writers' Group nights?" she asks. "Apart from that one time we had to put your kitten to sleep, there hasn't been any drama."
"Are you kidding?" I ask. "The last time you came to Writers' Group, you ended up spending forty-five minutes sitting on a couch next to Deborah crying about your mutual ex-not-quite-boyfriend. It got so estrogenny in the room that Wiz and I started talking about Nascar just to keep our penises from inverting."
"Nascar?" Jim says, sitting in Jackie's former spot.
"Cars." Jackie says. "Driving in circles. It's all a big metaphor for Adam's sex life."
I'd punch her but she's goddamned right, and everybody at the table knows it.
Food comes, and the playlist loops, and we laugh on repeat and say "Jim Silverman" a lot, as we eat our food. And, ultimately, I win both the board game and the drinking game, and Jim, who is the only one of us not drunk, ends up driving us all home, He drops Jackie off on the way. And Paul, right. He also drops off Paul.
"So...Are you sure you're ok?" Jim asks, as we pull up in front of my house.
"Yes. Mr. Skipping CD, I'm sure I'm fine."
"Sorry" dri...right, I'm outside my house without alcohol "I'm just. Hear me out on this. If it were me..." and he, like Jackie, and my roommates, and over-the-phone Celeste, Emily, and even goddamned Ben have their stories about why they hated Sora, and why us breaking up is so friggen great for me and how now blah blah blah.
I won't be lonely over this.
Jim drives off, and I go inside and turn on my computer. Four years ago, when I was desperate to get over Ben, I'd joined an online dating service, and met a really sweet guy who, of course, disappeared into the ether after our third date. Gone so far as to move out of his apartment, stiffing his roommates, and leaving no forwarding address. I'd stayed clear of the site since.
But tonight I don't care about love. it is too early for romance. Too sex o'clock for feelings. I open my profile, update my stats, pictures, and bio, and start cruising around the Boston pages. There are so many pots of brass at the end of The Internet.
I end up mailing four guys, hoping that one of them will e-mail me back soon.
"All of them?" Jackie asks. "You're going to date all four of them?"
"Sure." I say. I have already gone out to dinner with a hot theater twink, and have plans to hang out with an exotic dancer who lives in my neighborhood. There's also a tiny dancer, and a hotel manager.
"All of them?"
"Look." I say. "Between Sora, and Ben, and David, I've spent the last five years pining over exactly the wrong guys. I don't know what I want anymore. So instead of waiting for the same type of guy to drop into my life, I'm going to start sampling a bunch of different guys until I find a new kind of guy. Someone I can be in a healthy, symbiotic relationship with."
"There's a pu pu platter joke in there somewhere."
"Jackie, there's always a pu pu platter joke, if you look hard enough."
"How exactly do you plan on keeping track of who's who? You know you're going to call one of them by the wrong name, right. And I'm not going to be there to wipe their fruity cocktail off your face."
And just like that I get the most wonderful idea.
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.