I was out having a nightcap a while back after having dinner with the Silver Fox. Literally minding my own business since no one else could be bothered.
I was just sulking in the corner of a bar down the street when a guy I had gone on a single date with a couple of months prior shot me a message on the Scruff.
“Are you at CCs?”
Surprisingly, I wasn’t. While I love their cheapskate pricing, and I had actually set out intent on making there, I ultimately decided that the deluge I was walking through wasn’t worth saving the $.50 per drink, so I ducked into the second saddest gay bar in Portland: Embers.
I told him I was almost done with my drink and then heading home and he replied that he was at CCs and I should stop by on my way home.
Feeling generous, I didn’t point out that he probably could have figured out whether I was in the same bar as him or not pretty easily. Nor did I correct him on his poor trip planning but decided I might just as well make an appearance since the rain had tapered off.
I walk in and he’s sitting by himself in the corner…not judging, that’s my big move, too. But he is like 26 or something, so I don’t think he can use the same grumpy, old man reasoning for sitting on the sidelines. Anyway, we chat a few minutes and go to the bar to order a drink, a second for each of us just with better company than the last.
Definitely better for him, IMO.
The bartender is someone I consider a friend of mine, even if it’s really just within the confines of the bar. He’s just a nice guy. Does a pretty fine job of balancing the needs of the customers at the bar with spending a little more time with the regulars that he appreciates. It caught me off guard when he told me that he really enjoyed when I came in and sat at the bar with him.
Anyway, we approach the bar together and he gives me this sly look that says,
But what are ya gonna do? I order a cider or something and he orders a…I dunno…a cocktail with a premium alcohol in it, a far cry from the crappy Bud he was nursing when I walked in. My buddy looks at me as if to ask, “That alright with you?” and I just nod. The cocktails are $7. I get the message he’s sending loud and clear. But, whatever. It’s $7, I think I can splurge for him. Plus, I’ve been known to have beneficial effects on some of the Lost Boys I have spent time with, so let’s call it an investment.
A very small one.
He starts talking about how he was going to buy his own drink and “it was nice that I had bought his but I didn’t have to” then careens into “we can go to my place after this drink and have some wine” which produced an unchecked”WTF?” look from yours truly.
Surprisingly, he noticed it.
It didn’t land well…
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet The Layover.
I knew from our first date that he was new in town and staying with friends that were quickly becoming not friends. He was often unable to get into their place because they wouldn’t allow him to have his own key so he could come and go without them being there. Some friends. But kids these days do the craziest things. I had my couch surfing days in my 20s, but I considered the friends I imposed on to be more substantial than the friends this guy seems to have. The guys I dated were shit, but my friends were grade-fucking-A.
A layover is what you call having sex with someone as a cover for crashing at their place versus going home.
Think: drinking too much at a bar and not wanting to drive home.
See also: stayed out too late and the buses stopped running.
Or this bullshit.
It was a move that was strangely reminiscent of the Broken Poet and his living situation when I met him. Another Fagabond.
So, I ask him if that’s why he invited me out, so that he’d have a place to stay that night. Seriously.
“No, no, no. I just haven’t gotten any reply texts from my friends, so I’m not sure when I can get in. I thought it would be fun to hang with you until they text me back” he says, “Not that maybe it wouldn’t be nice to stay over…”
No. Nonono. I have an early squash game. Ok, that’s me ripping off When Harry Met Sally, but I did have breakfast plans with the Fox in the morning. Not that he doesn’t understand sly, old Galby getting a little of the hush, the bad and rescheduling. I think he rather likes it, some good old vicarious living for the Fox.
But, no. This is not acceptable behavior and my grumpy, old man tells him just that. Plus, it’s been two months, I’m dating other guys and would like to just narrow the field to one. So, I’m not having sex with anyone, let alone a rando.
I swear, I say it nicer than that reads. Just accept that my blog has a lot of paraphrased conversations in it.
Which lands him in his phone for most of the rest of our drink. When I push him on it, he pouts that he needs to find a place to stay, just in case. Since I won’t let him stay with me.
Having left my sympathy in my other coat, I tell him that he should have been up front with his need when he texted me.
“But I didn’t know for sure that they would do this!” he complains, picking up his phone.
Don’t let me keep you. I know that’s important.
“There’s a guy who invited me to his hotel.”
And that’s your plan? Sex for a place to stay?
“I just want to sleep! I didn’t sleep at all last night and then I had a shitty day at work…I just want to sleep” he cries. “I told him that, and he said it’s fine, but I know he’s gonna want sex when I get there.” He actually looked himself over while he was saying it, as if agreeing with himself that he was irresistible.
I propose to him that a guy in a hotel room on Scruff probably didn’t come to town to cuddle with a stranger.
Who raises these people?
Am I alone in being unflattered in the extreme at his behavior toward me? The assumptions this guy trades in…and he’s not alone, it’s like these assumptions are the new legal currency of America.
What would anyone else have done? Feel free to comment, text or talk amongst yourself.
Poor, old Galby.
He asks, “Is that what you want, to date someone? Because I totally would be up for trying that.” Especially if it gets him a roof over his head tonight. “Then why did you stop talking to me? Why didn’t you ask me out?”
Well, you didn’t reply for days at a time to my texts after our first date. You started off strong and then tapered off from there. When you told me that you had rented a room out in the suburbs close to work, I saw the writing on the wall: delayed replies + moving out of the area = no dating.
“Um, hello! It’s called mass transit, people! Why does everyone make such a big deal out of 7 miles? I don’t get it.”
I’m guessing prior bad experience?
Some days it just isn’t worth chewing through the restraints.
He texts the next day to tell me that he had fun with me the night before and that work was slow. He wanted to get together that night because he was off the next day.
I quickly came up with alternate plans, but suggested we could have coffee that following afternoon.
If he was serious about wanting to try dating me.
Well, let me tell you. That was a shit show.
I made it.
I created it.
I produced it.
And I acted in that show.
Text me when you wake up (not mentioning anything about where that might be…) and we will make plans.
That’s when he texts. I’d already written him off. I intentionally put the ownership of people I suspect will flake on me. Like I don’t learn a few tricks in 25 years of dating. This guy’s celebrating 25 years of not wearing diapers, so this tactic might have not been obvious to him.
I tell him I’m busy until 4-ish and he has a little melt down. “That means I have to kill two hours! Tell me where you are and I’ll meet you.”
I’m on my couch watching a movie, so I dodge by telling him I would text him when I was free.
And I do. I tell him where to meet me for coffee and he asks if I’ve eaten since he hasn’t. I had a delicious Bing Mi from the food carts, as I recall, but remind him that we were just meeting for coffee. It seems like he just had two hours to eat, when it hits me: he’s out of money.
Papa Xtopher? No. Nonononono.
I get to Barista and – as usual – there’s no friggin’ seating. As a nice change of pace from the normal laptop wasteland that usually greets me when I walk in, there’s a mommy and me coffee klatch happening. I’m happy to not be able to find a seat, because I sense from the people around the moms and their toddler twosomes, that their experience has been rather negatively impacted by the kids.
Well, I’ve got my own kid to deal with and figure I can throw him a burger. I walk out and run into him as he’s coming out of the home goods shop next door. I suggest an alternate and we’re off.
As suspected, I get to buy him a burger. The waiter suggests we get large sides since it’s happy hour and they are the same price as the small. The Layover suggests he’s hungry enough to eat a large and I suggest we just get a small of each: fries and onion rings.
We sit, and I immediately excuse myself for the loo. When I return, he’s on Grindr. Really? That’s how this works?
Looking for a place to stay? I chide.
He kind of puts his phone away while we eat. Telling me that he found a place to stay “Out by work” again, as if daring me to say something about how far away that is.
I wonder if we secretly got married on our first date as I let that land out of bounds and watch it roll away into the bushes.
Instead, I encourage him to tell me about his new place while he eats. He makes an attempt but keeps getting pulled into his phone. He’s a double-tasker, it seems. He can eat and text, eat and talk or talk and text.
Talk and text wins and he tells me a little about his new place, a little about how tired he is and asks what I have going the rest of the night.
You know…just meeting friends for dinner, I lie because I’m kind of donezo with him.
“Yeah, I’m meeting a friend at his place when he gets off work”…”But I’m super tired since I didn’t sleep at all last night.”
I mentally visualize another ball bouncing into the underbrush.
“What time is dinner?”
“We could go lay down for an hour…”
Or not. You’ve got a burger to finish, Mr. I-Haven’t-Eaten-All-Day.
“I could get a box.”
Do that. I’ll walk part of the way to your friend’s with you.
So, for any of you who have read my blogs about dating or lived through any of my recent dating misfortunes…this one’s for you. I can learn from past mis-steps. I don’t write people off immediately, nor do I make them pay for another’s transgressions. I do hold them accountable to bringing something to the figurative table.
If what they bring is a penchant for hook-up apps and a skill for staying one step ahead of homelessness…well, I’m not the solution for their problems. I could be fun to date once they get a grip on their problems, but while I may liken gay guys to broken-winged birds that doesn’t mean I have to cast myself in the role of St. Francis of Assisi in the little drama they call a life.