I’ve had pornography on my mind quite a lot over the last week or so, albeit in a non-traditionally male manner.
Last week I had a strange experience that made me think about several guys that I have dated in the past who were or ended up working in the adult entertainment industry. Writing that really made made me think about the industry as a whole and how it impacted the people who work in it.
It was quite an unexpected result from that little walk down Chagrin Lane.
I alluded to someone that I’ve referred to as The Short Hot Mess for over a decade, but didn’t really flush out my experience with him, thinking that I had already created a draft that I could edit and finish him off. The strange thing is that I’ve been stuck in a thought eddy about him but also about porn in and of itself.
Let’s tackle the namesake of this article first, eh?
The SHM is a guy I met while getting a haircut from him. As I sat in the chair, my head was still higher than his. I had two thoughts going through my mind during that haircut:
First, this guy was looking at some serious repetitive motion shoulder issues in his future.
Second, how much I love short guys. And he was cute, muscular and fun to talk to in addition to that low-bar quality that I’m so drawn to.
So, there was all that.
It seemed the feeling of attraction was mutual and somehow we ended up going out.
And then staying in.
The date was a shit-show of drunkenness, but still fun. We reinforced the connection we had had in the chair. It was flirty and fun. I was still new in town – I think this was the first guy that I actually went on a date with in Seattle – and it was fun to be out with him and meet his friends and acquaintances while we were out.
I think on the night we stayed in we actually had dinner out at this little restaurant many of my co-workers and friends talked about – 1200 Bistro – which has since been demolished and replaced with another tribute to the abortion of Seattle’s urban planning.
We ran into my doctor. How hot is that? He chatted with us for a while and then made his exit to leave us to our meals, dramatically rolling his eyes behind The SHM as he left.
Not in a “What a hottie” manner, it was more a “Do you know what you’re signing up for” manner. It was quite…not subtle.
We finish and head back to my place for some movie and wine. This was pre-Netflix & Chill, so I felt this was a reasonably safe and respectable endeavor. Back then, the code for “let’s have sex” was “let’s have coffee”.
So, we were Netflixing and Chilling before it was cool. On a DVD. Yeah. Back then. We ended up making out. Then playing fore.
He was super sexy with his clothes on, you should have seen him with his clothes half off.
Which is where we were at in the…process when he started crying.
Well, that’s not really hot to me, although I’m sure somewhere there is an audience that finds this to be a fetish. Me, being a decent human being, stop and change our activities course back onto conversation.
Thanks for that, mom.
Turns out, he really wanted to find someone to take it slow with and get to know each other and have a real relationship. He was kind of fucked up because everyone treated him like an object and he was really sensitive to it. He was tired of hooking up and never hearing from someone again. Oh, Seattle.
I cannot stress the extreme amount of paraphrasing happening here.
I assure him that slow is a viable direction in my opinion and that initiating sex with him was in no way, shape or form an indicator that I intended to never speak to him again. We cuddled a bit as he calmed down and chatted a little before he pulled himself together and his pants up and left.
I basically never heard from him again.
Show of hands: who saw that coming?
I’m not thinking too much of it. We Netflixed and almost Chilled before it was a thing, why wouldn’t he also ghost me before it was a thing?
Of course, Seattle gay culture being crammed onto a small hilltop neighborhood as it is, we eventually ran into each other. Eventually and repeatedly. He was with friends, usually. Sometimes “friends” that I suspected were the objects of colloquial friendships. Then one time, a super old guy that made me think, “You shoulda not have flaked on me”.
Then he was suddenly moving to Palm Springs.
Sometimes I can be slow on the uptake. I don’t think I am – or at least was – as jaded as people expect me to be or credit me with being.
“Hi, daddy.” – The SHM
After he moved, I got a friend request on this new-ish thing called Facebook. I was just kind of dabbling in it, still not sure what to do with my MySpace allegiance…poor Tom. Well, since I wasn’t yet as intractably grumpy – too early still? – I forgot and forgave and accepted the friend request.
So big of me.
Turns out, he was living in the LA area now.
“Bye, daddy.” – The SHM.
I like that I’m shortening The Short Hot Mess to the same thing that means Shake My Head in our text vernacular. It’s quite the happy little accident.
We have a limited social friendship, not engaging much, but virtually liking and poking each other.
Until Throwback Thursday starts becoming a thing and he posts pics from his way back that were cell phone pics of magazine covers he had been on…I’m thinking it was the Freshmen cover that made me engage on the topic with him. I actually thought I recalled seeing it.
He shared with me that it was part of what made him so sensitive about being treated as an object. He thought it was cool, but it turned out that it was just a bunch of bullshit that resulted in people treating him poorly. He regretted it, but he was still proud of the fact that he had accomplished the physical results that he had, which is why he posted it.
Interesting conversation, really.
Didn’t help either of us find that boyfriend we had been looking for a few years back when we had tried dating.
Now, onto porn as an entity.
The other week, I was having dinner with Diezel, his new boyfriend and The Silver Fox – of course – and the subject of porn came up. They were talking about a site called Xhamster. I had trouble grasping the name initially, trying to clarify whether it was a hamster porn site or a site dedicated to former hamsters.
Apparently, I am really out of the porn loop. Probably a knee jerk reaction to someone stealing my idea for a porn site with a pithy name versus something stupid like we were being given at the time – a la PornHub. Doing it poorly, in my estimation.
We got Xtube.
Other equally non-creative entries into the shrine of word smithiness, but then again, we are marketing these sites to Americans with porn-addled brains. I guess I shouldn’t expect so much.
Like my idea had been that great: YouTubeSteak.
Anyway…not the point.
Now, there appears to be someone doing something about the dearth of interesting names for porn sites. You didn’t even know there was a problem in this area, did you? Please try and pay attention. Sheesh.
I felt compelled to check it out, of course.
Surprisingly, it took several days for the urge to satisfy my FOMO and point my – ahem – browser in the direction of that site. It didn’t do much for me. I saw lots of familiar looking guys and felt…sad. Is that what porn is supposed to do?
It made me think again of the 20 year old I had accidentally picked up in a bar that I had linked to earlier. Then it reminded me that I hadn’t followed through with completing this post.
So, what ever happened to The SHM?
He bounced around the LA area for a few years. Relationship. Break up. New job. New huge car for a smaller guy. Boyfriend. New job. Wreck. Break up. Rehab.
Yeah, so that happened.
None of it producing any huge emotional responses in me past our typical “like” acquaintance-ship.
This is where I will unintentionally irritate or alienate friends of mine – yes, I have friends that don’t drink. Sheesh.
I have mixed feelings on Rehab and Sobriety. I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise anyone to read that I’ve said not clever things like, “Meetings are for Quitters” in my day. But the thing that rubs me wrong about sobriety of the Bill W variety is the religious aspect of it.
And there they suddenly were: the “Thank God for this beautiful day” posts.
Here’s what bugs me about this type of sobriety: they replace one addiction with what is basically a cult. Overall, I think it’s a great thing for people with a substance abuse problem to get help overcoming that substance abuse. I think it’s less great to replace that tangible crutch with a distinctly intangible crutch: God.
Give me a program that teaches its participants to manage the addiction versus training them to replace one action to a trigger with another and I’m on board. Not that this isn’t the goal of AA, I just think it lost its impact as it grew from a one-off weekly meeting in a community room and spread into the chain of sobriety it has become. Much like ma and pop shops lose the unique feeling you get from the quirky associates you meet in the first store as they build their empire to 200 stores.
It’s not always something that is scalable with that same success rate. You lose things. People fall through the cracks.
But that’s beside the point and not a very complete examination of my complex feelings around sobriety programs…just a little sidebar for context before I move on. I hope you figure out why I wanted to take that little trip. If not, I didn’t do a great job of following my train of thought from thought to keyboard.
What I view on this guy’s feed becomes something that I witness through a filter of wariness. Like I’m waiting for a shoe to drop.
And I am.
I’m not hoping for it, mind you. Just on the look out, having seen friends hop on and fall off of the wagon for periods of times throughout my life. Knowing the changes in behavior it creates in them when they slip. Wanting The SHM to not have to go through that.
Hoping for the best, I guess you could say.
Amazingly, I’ve seen a lot of posts outside of the “Life is great, God is good” type that really sound like his original personality, which I think is a great thing. Like he’s incorporated the discipline of sobriety into his existence without turning into an automaton that just spews step after step and embroiders them on throw pillows for his friends’ birthday gifts.
He started painting. He’s rather amazing at it. It’s something I never knew about him. I wonder if it’s something that evolved with him as a result of replacing the ritual of drinking. It would be a beautiful side effect of sobriety.
He moved back to his hometown in Washington state.
Got a job.
Started making commissioned art work.
And seems happy.
Doesn’t look so Messy anymore, though.
Twenty years in the making, but from where I sit, it looks like he found some happy and a place to call home and make a life.
An outcome I would wish for for any of the Lost Boys I encounter as I Jellyfish my way along the current of my life.
Did I do it? Did I bring that full-circle? I always look back on my blog posts and wonder what I might have left out…or see where I completely got off track and forgot to complete a thought I had intended to explore while writing. That’s one of the risks of stream of consciousness writing when you don’t possess the most disciplined mind.