The Widow

There’s an old Sandra Bernhardt schtick about Grindr where she riffs on the gays being idiots for needing an app to find…let’s call it a date.  She says something along the lines of. “I don’t need an app to tell me there’s a hot guy three feet from me!”

And she’s kind of right about the ridiculousness and depth of our retardation if we need an app to introduce us to one another.  That’s partly why I call gay (let’s stick with this for now) dating apps asocial media.

But for once it actually seemed to work out as ridiculously as she described it.

I “met” a guy who lives on the next block.

Allegedly.

He was in my neighborhood and was a cute lil Sparky, so I threw him a woof.  Immediately after which, I recalled from his profile how he said “messages work better than woofs” so I sent him a message culpa.

It worked and we began chatting.  I learned that he’d moved up here recently from SoCal and lived in the Elizabeth, which is one of my aspirational Pearl District homes.

Not my favorite, but with units priced starting at a cool half mil for us plebeian folk…darned affordable.

And, literally on the block right behind me.

One of the few people to ever earn the distinction of being blocked by me on an asocial media site was an old guy who lived in the Elizabeth.  Our units faced each other until the hotel on the backside of my block was built.  We used to chat online over our morning coffees and had a nice virtual friendship.  He was looking for more, I was looking for less so we were at a little impasse of interest levels.  

But still, we randomly chatted.

The third time he reminded me what I can expect my junk to look like in 15 years, I blocked him.  I felt for him, we are living the same plight.  Too old to catch the interest of a gay of our very own, too young to actually be dead.  But, I don’t want to see my friends naked, and him pulling this shit on me every month or so demonstrated an ulterior motive I didn’t want to deal with, so we never met.

But, boy-oh!  If only I could manage my attractions, I coulda been living in a dream house.

However, now I was chatting with a 31 year old unreasonably good looking guy that lived in the very same building.  

Quite a package deal!

Bonus points were given that after a week of chatting, I still didn’t know what his junk looked like.

And it was a week of talking about hobbies, and tacos and post coital ice cream and beer and wine and working out…but after that first day on the app, I never “saw” him in my neighborhood again.  He was always 2-3 miles away, which I randomly attributed to him being at work or at the gym – one of the only pics he’d sent me was him working out, and it wasn’t at either of the gyms in the Pearl so I assumed that he had a distant gym that he preferred.

I try to assume the best.

But I did have some misgivings, based not only on his phone’s inability to accurately place him where he said he physically was, but also because I really doubted that he could afford a place in the Elizabeth.  My suspicion was that he didn’t live in the Elizabeth, but maybe somewhere, oh…2-3 miles away.

Whatever. 

He mentioned briefly that he had been engaged and his fiancé had died suddenly last year.  I didn’t pursue it via chat, but my mind briefly flashed back to my old neighbor and I began wondering what ever happened to him.

Actually, in my mind I had decided that was his fiancé and he’d died, leaving my condo to The Widow.

Nonetheless, despite those minor, niggling misgivings, I asked him out for a Friday drink.  I told him that I needed to be in bed – alone – by 8 for work the next day, but we could meet for a beer at 6 and I would introduce him to some of my favorite Oregon IPAs that he hadn’t met yet.

He declined.

Sure, in a sweet way, saying that he wanted more time together for our first meet up.  Ok, sure…how long does it take to drink a few beers and chat?  Two hours seemed like plenty, but I accepted his tentative alternate of Monday.

<ignores obvious warning whistles>

I just assumed that his current weekend was booked up, which I got used to while dating in Shittatle.

Here’s the funny part:

No, I swear, this is gonna kill ya.

Me, being playful me, texted him early on Friday and suggested he sneak out of work early and we could grab some happy hour since it was gorgeous out.  He replied, in what I assumed was a genuinely adult tone about how he’d just been sucked into a project that was gonna keep him late at work.

Oh, well…and I go about my day.  This does involve replying to random messages I’m getting on Scruff, mostly from people flying into town for the weekend who want to know if I’d like to give them a congratulatory fuck for arriving in Portland.

No.

But, while responding to one such message, I happen to see The Widow is online…aaaaand 146 miles away.

Shittatle.

I click on his profile, and sure enough:

Travel icon engaged, upcoming trip announced and, as I mentioned, he’s 146 miles away.

Oh, well.  I’m not upset by this.  I’m really more just curious as to why he wouldn’t say he’s going out of town.

Between my favorite sounding board, the Silver Fox – who insists I’m too hard on people, we decide that I should just let it lie until we meet on Monday.

“If he makes it back, I grumble.”

But I do.

Until.

He messages me at 6:20, “I’m off!”

That’s your long day?!?

I continue to let it lie until he messages me again later that night.  I’ve already popped my melatonin, as I do in order to be able to fall asleep at 8 pm.  I forget the context of the message, but my response is something along the lines of, “Let’s talk about it Monday.  Enjoy Seattle!”

Because I just couldn’t help myself.  I blame the melatonin.

He gets into this innocent act, thinking my response was meant for someone else.  When I explain my text, he insists he’s at home and basically dates me to meet up.

It’s about 7:45 now, so that’s a “no” from me, but I fall asleep wondering what would have happened if I’d called that bluff.

The next couple of days were spent with him asking to meet up again on Saturday and then immediately taking offense at some innocent pith I tossed out a few minutes later.  Same thing on Sunday, which ultimately ended with him asserting that he’s been trying to get me to meet up, but I won’t commit, so he’s walking away.

Good, I think and tell him, “In the last 48 hours, you’ve called me an asshole, a dick, passive aggressive and a few other pretty hostile things while continuing to alternate between asking me to get together and then manufacturing offense to get out of it, all while your phone thinks you’re in Seattle.  But, ok.  Bye.”

I feel bad when shit like that happens, especially with someone you’ve never met.  But what can ya do?  Given the evidence I witnessed and the behavior I experienced, I’m fine believing he was in Seattle – possibly at a Black Widow convention, maybe not – and just didn’t like being called out on it.

Haven’t heard from him since and still haven’t seen him around the ‘hood, so I’ll call this a lose/win situation.

Next!?!

The Widow

Woodwork

I really oughta learn my place.

Saying things like, “I think I could be open to dating again…”

Really, who do I think I am?

The Yoda of gay dating?  No…but I could use one inside my head.

“Date or do not date.  There is no open to.” – Gay Yoda.

Because it takes two to tango, as they say.  Three, or an open dance card at least if you’re in Portland, Oregon.

I’m not closing my borders, by any means, but I am readjusting my expectations to the point where I can entertain the idea that it wasn’t that I was closed off to dating in the first place.

Maybe I was just the only one in the dating scenario who was ready.

Fine.

And, in the meantime?  I have tales to tell.

Because in the last couple of months, my past dalliances have been coming out of the figurative woodwork to…I don’t know what.  

Make a point?

For, or against.  That is the question!

The New Kid

A couple of month ago, while the words “I think I’m ready to date again” were still hanging in the air, the new hotel next to my building opened.  That’s all well and fine, the absence of both construction worker (they really aren’t particularly hot, despite what The Village People would have you believe) and construction fencing was a big plus in my book.  Plus, the new restaurant was lookingbto be quite the add to the neighborhood.

Serving up great local Breakside IPA – check that, great looking guys serving up great local Breakside IPA, well, The Silver Fox and I knew we were in a good place.  

News Flash:  the battle of the bulge is back on, because I’m off wine and back on beer!

Y’know how the beer was both great and local?  Yeah, well the staff of Turner Creek Tavern seemed to be only great.  Literally every member of the team – as we chatted them up, Fox style – turned out to be from Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania or some other far-flung, imaginary sounding, likely red voting land.

But the beer was good and local.  And closer than any other beer or wine in the neighborhood…so, go, we did.

The Fox’s nephew-in-law was moving to town for college and he had hoped to put his in-laws up in the hotel on move-in weekend.  Alas, the timing for reservations was just days out of sync with their trip.  But, family lodging still being top of mind, we wandered into the hotel lobby one evening to check it out.

Of course, we ended up talking to the assistant manager, who offered us a tour and gave us his card to set it up.

I set it up, since he gave me his card.

Turns out, it’s a pretty nice hotel.  Also turns out that the bar isn’t the only place that can’t hire locally.  On the tour, it comes out that The New Kid is – hence the name – from out of town.  We offer several suggestions for places to go since it seems he lives nearby. 

I offer to take him along to any of the aforementioned places, since it turns out that he’s in love with local craft beer.

We trade texts over the next week as we endeavor to set something up.  Here’s a breakdown of that…breakdown.

He thinks I’m nice and attractive.  Reflexively, I assume his employer’s vision plan is garbage.

I tell him that – while questioning his judgment – the best way to get a guy in the PNW is pretty much fresh off the boat before dating in Portland ruins them or makes them kinky.

He admits that he has been seeing someone, but he’s feeling neglected.

Great!  I can not neglect.  Plus, I’m on staycation for a week, so we don’t have to worry about meshing schedules, I’m pretty available all week.

He lets slip that the guy he’s been seeing is his boyfriend from back home, who he’d asked to not move here with him.  That explains the Pearl address on an assistant manager’s salary.

I revise my expectations for romance backward – I don’t want to date any mess, er…anyone fresh out of a relationship – but leave the social invite open.  If he wants to get together, I’m good with it.  We had clicked on an interpersonal level during the tour.  

Besides, I’m too old for him, probably.

He confides that he had surmised my age after seeing my email address and liked it.  No, it wasn’t an aol address.  Turns out, he would be turning 28 soon and apparently, older was on his next boyfriend wishlist.

Ok, that’s swell, but irrelevant unless we ever got together to further our friendship.

Never available.

Work.

Allegedly.

Once my entire week off had passed him by, I pulled out my spade calling bullhorn and informed him he was failing at friendship or whatever he wanted to accomplish in getting together.

Just figure out what you want, I told him.

I hadn’t shared with him that – through the power of Facebook Deductive Reasoning – I had figured out that the guy he’d kind of been dating was actually a five year relationship. 

If it were me, i helpfully told him, I’d start at home and clean that situation up, then find some work/life balance.  Once that happened, I’d be around, but I wasn’t looking for a text friendship or relationship.  While he’d been going home to a boyfriend that took him for granted every night, I was left holding a bag of nothing.

The Fox said I was too hard on him.

He never returned that text.

Perhaps someday.  Or not.  But speaking of perhaps somedays…

Jeo

I’d run into Jeo on MAX one day while checking out another guy.  So many cute men, so little time…even less actual opportunity.

He’d told me during that encounter that he’d been thinking about how he left things with me and how he wanted it different and had been wanting to talk.

Serendipity.  In a very Portland-y passive manner.

We’ve talked/texted in the last few months. Shared early morning MAX rides to the airport – he’s s flight attendant – and ran into each other on the street a few times.

But we haven’t managed to sync up on purpose for some face time.  Mutual responsibility there.

For my part, he shared with me that he was just out of a relationship and still living – well, this probably sounds familiar.

But for his part, he’s away from home so often that having his own place really doesn’t make a ton of sense to him.  Plus, apparently his ex is a way better roommate than boyfriend.

Whatever, it’s fine.  

Jeo has continued to impress me with his drive, creativity and constant initiative.  Ok, that might be redundant, but this guy is really inspiring.  

Also, an A+ hugger.

But overall, just a great person to have any type of interpersonal relationship with, regardless of what’s happening with the Slot As and Tab Ds between us.

The Wallpaper

Speaking Slot As and Tab Ds…I ran into The Wallpaper socially a while back.  Well, we sloshed into one another in a bar.

He got what he’d been wanting for the better part of a year now – his new boyfriend be damned – and I haven’t heard from him since.

Guess he realized that it wasn’t what he’d wanted all along.  Which is fine by me, because weird open relationships, freshly single men…none of that is what I’ve been wanting, right?

Plus, from an accomplishment standpoint…Jeo and The New Kid leave The Wallpaper looking a little outdated.

The Broken Poet

Thanks, Twitter.

Apparently, in an unforeseen “add all” error when setting up my Twitter profile, The Broken Poet got tossed into the fray from my phone contacts.

Hey, I was trying to use the Twitter to grow my blog presence, so help a brother out with some shares, aight?

Nope.  I cannot pull that type of talk off.

Anyway, my carelessness in not realizing my “add all” was from my phone contacts versus my Facebook friends list may have been aided by a little wine.  I didn’t realize that had been the case until it – he – followed me back.

He immediately started responding to my tweets with bullshit like, “I miss Portland”.

Yeah, not even engaging on that front.

But then he starts popping up on my Twitter feed with pathetic Poor Me tweets and I have to debate unfollowing him.  I go back and brush up on my Covert Narcissism facts to bolster my urge to respond supportively.  Plus, I try to temper my gut reactions to this guy based on how he treated me.  That was almost two years ago.  Even though I know people can change, I also know he basically pulled similar shit with his next boyfriend since he was a virtual friend of mine.

People can change.  It doesn’t mean that they will.  Plus, me being open to dating is about me not anyone that I’ve dated in the past.  I’m trying to relate to people based on their present actions and how they affect me.

Of course, when he starts tweeting from the hospital, I make the mistake of letting my empathy out.  Turns out, he’s in the hospital for a “staff infection”, maybe also for borderline literacy.  

I don’t correct him.

That’s definitely too much.

But he starts in with how his life is passing him by and all his Victim Greatest Hits like how if he could do his life over things would be different and I just tell him that he’s gotta focus in the future and not dwell in the past.

Of course, this gets me a “You don’t know me” response and I sprain my eyes and walk away.

The Other Kid

For once I’m able to actually find a guy that is kind, good looking – with some mutual attraction – and have a couple of dates.  

It’s nice.

He’s really sweet when we’re together, holding my hand while we sit on the couch and watch a movie and giving me the sweetest kiss goodbye when he leaves.

I have the pleasure of cooking him dinner.

He has good table manners!

I wonder how he manages to be single and available.  He corrects me be saying that he’s single but not gay available.

When I ask what that means, he tells me he’s saving himself for marriage.  He literally says the words “butt stuff” which makes me laugh out loud and sob internally.

But I get what he means by saying he’s not gay available.  He does seem to have a fantastic network of friends, based on the number of Friendsgivings he attended.  He also seems to have s surprising number of dates for someone in his moral position…he must have an itch he wants to scratch, because he’s dating pretty hard.

Sadly, that makes him unavailable to me as often as I would like, but at the same time, I understand that that means I’m not his future husband.

This doesn’t bother me.

Like with Jeo, it’s just nice to be in the presence of someone who is living their lives so intentionally.  So, this Other Kid is an enjoyable and occasional add to my life even without further potential.

Now that I think about it, they’ve both deleted their asocial media profiles over the last couple of months and seem perfectly happy without it.  Probably, I should embrace that.  Maybe that was my mistake in planning when thinking about dating, associating with these Lost Boys who are largely living their lives unaccountably from one orgasm to the next…that’s really not what I want for myself.

Woodwork

Sex vs Intimacy Blog

What’s out there once we put sex into the right context and give it the correct priority in our lives?

What is the right context?

This is actually my oldest (surviving) draft idea.  I created it after my first few dates after moving back to Portland.  This, along with another thought exercise I was engaged in during that same timeframe on the context of people’s subtext have been on my mind again recently as I explore my openness once again to a possible relationship.

I’m gonna try and get them both out soon.  This is an interesting time for me.  You all should enjoy it along with me…or at least get a peek into my head as I expose myself to other people.

I can’t say that this topic has been “off” my mind for two years, I usually scroll through my drafts once a week or so and this is the (current) last on the list.  By the by, that list is currently 17, down from 24 in early September.  I sure hope the quality doesn’t show between these dusty old drafts and my more spontaneous pieces about – oh, say…why I can’t go get a haircut.

Besides being naturally more attenuated to the chasm between sex and intimacy now that I’ve reinstalled a men’s alleged dating app, I’ve also recently learned – through the magic of the Facebook – that The Wallpaper has paired up.

Remember The Wallpaper?

He’s a real sweetheart.  We lived together for a bit after Sacha left me and my friends had encouraged me to not be alone so much.  Obviously, a newly minted 21 year old gay was exactly what they were thinking when they suggested that.

We lost touch after I moved to Shittatle and then randomly ran into each other in a bar here in Portland 10 years later, just before I officially moved back.

We’ve been promising to get together “sometime” ever since.

It’s never happened.  Mostly, I blame myself.  

Ok, maybe I should give a little backstory:

He’s called The Wallpaper because during one – or two or three – of our random evening FB Messenger chats, he sent me a pic of his tush – or two or three – which became the wallpaper pic for my phone’s lock screen.

It’s an insanely cute tush.

So, that probably gives you a little insight into the direction some of those Messenger conversations careened.  For the most part, they were innocent enough, but poorly timed, “let’s get some wine” conversations that never manifested.  The others…well, someone had an itch he needed help scratching.

I wasn’t not flattered.

But I was my open and honest self and told him that I wasn’t looking for anything casual…especially with someone I call a friend.  For me, sex and friendship are on two opposite sides of the intimacy line.

On the other side of the conversation, he wasn’t not looking to date – obviously, hehe – but he’d never dated an older guy before.

He was referring to me.

Or at least the 16-ish year age difference between us.  A legitimate hesitation on his part, as that difference is about 50% of his entire life.

I was his MoPed.  A lot of fun to ride, but he wouldn’t want his friend to see him on one.

Ironically, The Wallpaper has a motorcycle, so that MoPed analogy works on many levels.

I don’t know if he got what he wanted elsewhere in those instances, but I know he’s found what he needed in a boyfriend.  I can’t be anything but happy for him, good guys deserve good guys…that check the right boxes for them.  I’m excited to watch their journey from the relative distance of the Facebook.

But he’s unique in his situational need for sex.  He was tapping his pool of acquaintances – at least in my case – in his search for getting himself…tapped.  I wouldn’t do that, but I do understand the relative safety that provides over the insecurity of seeing someone’s picture on an app and going to a stranger’s house for a bit of the old naughty.

That’s a funny meme, but not so funny when contrasted with the real life story of the two guys who lured five men to their deaths back east over this past summer using…gay dating apps.  

Talk about asocial media.  They escalated the dysfunction of those social media apps by a magnitude or two.

In the end, I’m glad The Wallpaper has found the ultimate security of the sure thing a relationship provides.  Plus, it’s so much more fulfilling than an anonymous hook up.

Ok, sure…I say “sure thing” knowing that couples have to put some work into syncing up their respective sex drives and/or schedules when it comes to <ahem> coming.  But it’s less work than trolling for random dick or ass on these timesuck dating apps.  I’d rather think that successfully hooking up in one of those situations is like playing the Lottery of Lust.

Does he appeal to you.

Are you sexually compatible.

Is he even available.

While relationship sex might be an equal – if not decidedly different – amount of effort, in the meantime, you have genuine intimacy.  

That’s amazingly valuable, in my opinion.  And undervalued these days.  It’s not that there’s not some degree of intimacy in a hook up, it’s just illegitimate intimacy.  Well, that’s kinda judgy sounding.  It’s at least forced.

Intimate strangers.

Is that a thing?

Should it be?

Maybe it’s my religious upbringing, but I don’t think it should be.  Actually, I think it’s more that I doubt it actually is.

Maybe that missing intimacy is what’s actually creating this culture of Lost Boys that is running amok in gay America.

Is being held by a stranger – whether strictly as a cuddle date (don’t get me started on that bullshit) or after a hookup – a real enough intimate contact to meet our messy human emotional needs?

I know people are loathe to consider themselves needy, but I think intimacy is as important to people as food and water.  It’s probably just as crazy to deny that reality as it is to deny our need for shelter.

Yet people do.

People replace intimacy with sex and settle for whatever false intimacy they can get while cuddling afterward while not acknowledging that they don’t even know if they know this guy’s actual name.

Or pretending they aren’t judging the cleanliness of his bedroom and wondering if he washes his sheets regularly.

Because that’s intimate.

Well, anyway…at least another human is touching you.  Maybe even telling you that you were “good”.

If not intimate, at least it’s validating…

Ok, I have to go be grumpy now.

Sex vs Intimacy Blog

Paris vs. The X-Files vs. Scruff

In a turn of events that I would  classify as “Strictly Xtopher”, here’s my morning mash up.

I sat down to watch the X-Files from last night…ok, it was lunch time.  Myrtle decided to be insane and freak out about 2:00 AM, so I was awake listening to her scamper around skidding on the rug and chasing wine corks around like they were top offenders from the Feline’s Most Wanted list until about 6:00.

No, I have no idea where she got random wine corks.

Thank god the ongoing construction on my block took a break today from it’s normal jack hammering and pile driving routine, so I had gotten up about 11:30 after finally getting a few zzzs.

I’d also just paid a visit to The Salad Tosser for a $12 salad that I was too lazy to make myself at home.  But, hey, I had to run out and get some Diet Coke, anyway, so I just stopped on the way home.

Total First World Problems.

As I was wandering through those errands in a caffeine deficient haze, I had also been chatting with a guy from Scruff that had messaged me last night about the time I was trying to turn in.  He distracted me with a peculiar familiarity that he blamed simply on Portland being a small town.  It’s like he cheekily quoted me back to me, but it’s hardly like I was the first to make that observation so I am attributing that to coincidence.  Yet, he still indicated he knew me, even though we had never met.

A coy gay guy…how novel.

Also, Scruff in bed…makes for bad sleep habits, I know.  But I am still blaming Myrtle’s freaking out on my somnambulism this morning.  And a lack of coffee since The Silver Fox – my main supplier – is off visiting his granddaughter this week.

Anyway, as I was chatting with him, two other guys chimed into my chat thread.  They weren’t kidding when they said “When it rains, it pours”.  Three guys wanting my attention at once?  Don’t worry, I’m sure I will never meet any of them face to face.

Asocial Media won’t let me down.

Case in point, one of them I had chatted with in October.  What happened?  Nothing.  Not to be too overwhelmingly pessimistic, but the third one is completely new to my virtual acquaintance…but I only know what his arm looks like, it seems he’s “discreet”.  Code for “flakey and unaccountable” is how I translate that, but I did eventually shut him down – to write this so I hope you are flattered, my kind reader – with a “no face pic and name, no more chat”.  We’ll see what happens.

But that didn’t happen until after I told him that I was watching X-Files and he shared that he had gotten a X-Files Tee Shirt in his Lootcrate – courtesy of his mother – this month.  He asked if I was liking the episode, and I honestly replied that I didn’t really care for the subject matter of the episode, as it centered on a terrorist attack.  Right before my brain registered the potential ethnicity of the arm I had been chatting with for the last hour or so.

Awkward.

Well, potentially awkward…

But that conversation and the content of the episode I was watching reminded me of this blog entry that I had begun a draft of right after the Paris bombings a few months back.

The note I had made about it was simply:

19 y/o bomber compared to 35 y/o American “students”…

Admittedly, I am not well versed enough in either Politics or Religion to qualify my thoughts on the matter as significant – seriously, I don’t think my thoughts on this topic run nearly deep enough to have ever contemplated any legitimate Op-Ed on the tragedy of Paris or any like it – but, here we are.  What enabled me to pull the trigger on embarrassing myself with an entry on this topic?

The title to the post says it all.

I may not have any legitimate right to share thoughts on what happens in Politics or Religion on a global scale – my prior incarnation of this blog contained a piece about the 2008 Elections called Three-Fifths a President, as if you need any proof to back up my attempt to disqualify my right to participate in this conversation.  However, Asocial Media and Sci-Fi TV?  I can decidedly claim a not-so-tenuous expertise in both, and here I was…chatting with a maybe Middle Eastern guy and watching an episode of the X-Files that was about terrorists.

Quite a life I have carved out for myself.

So proud…

Maybe the terrorists have already won?  I wonder if this blog post will earn me a NSA flag.

While the show went one direction, my mind and musings went another.  Wow.  Musings was probably a poorly selected word.  Need caffeine.  Anywho…I let my mind wander back to the thought that I had about who the most junior member of that bombing-slash-firing-squad was and how at 19 he could commit his life to something.  Just his life!  Forfeit for a belief.

I’m weighing the appropriateness of inserting an Ursula the Sea Witch meme or picture here.  It won’t cost much…just your LIFE!

In our country and our culture we have 35 year old students.  Fifteen years ago, those students were called professional students because they were generally all pursuing their Masters Degree or completing some other advanced curriculum or another.  In a fit of typical American de-evolution, now the bulk of the people in their 30s that I meet who are in college are finishing their Bachelors…at best.

We’ve gone from Professional Students to Avoiding a Profession-al Students.  Then again, I am in Portland, where young people come to retire.  In spite of that geographic recusal, I’m going to say that I saw the same thing in Seattle and suspect it is not Portland specific weirdness.

Yet Muslims can raise someone who could decide to sacrifice his life before he could legally drink in our country.  Or a year after he or she could take his or her right to vote in America for granted.

Yes, I know we have young people who enter our Armed Services at that same age.  I would challenge that argument with the reward that each yields.  Someone entering our Armed Services knows they may see battle and face sacrificing their life or taking the life of another.  Most, I suspect enter more for a sense of cents versus a desire to serve.

A paycheck can be a powerful motivator in our culture.

As can a recruiter…in any culture.

Which is where the X-Files writers took their argument.  Not that they were making an argument…just that these are the deep thoughts that their episode ended on:  The power of words or the power of suggestion.

Faced with a decision that invariably must be seen to end with one’s death, young Muslims commit.  That is some amazing sense of self-sacrifice for a cause…a cause sold to them by a man.  About a god.  And, sure…seventy-something virgins in the afterlife, but who really believes that?  Amazingly, these guys do, at least to some degree.  The tool that works for these recruiters can’t be simple persuasion or suggestion, can it?

Our guys?  Yeah, their sense of service maybe comes from that immediate reward of a paycheck, or even the deferred reward of a GI College Bill, but it isn’t a decision whose logical end is the decision-maker’s death.  Unless they happen to be on active duty when a Republican takes office or maybe the Zombie Apocalypse hits.

Boy, someone binge-watched Z Nation, can you tell?

But our young, when faced with this decision at the hands of a Military Recruiter aren’t manipulated with glory for their god and family, or virgins in the afterlife or even the prospect of taking out infidels with their ultimate sacrifice…they are faced with the potential for several years of employment, maybe even a career with a pension as a reward.  Shorter term, maybe they get out with a skill that has dubious real-world applications.  They could even become some of those 30-somethings pursuing their BS college degree.

Reader’s Choice on what I meant by BS.

That’s a realistic trade off.  Sacrifice in exchange for an opportunity to participate in what you serve to defend versus “I bet this vest would really make your eyes *pop*”.

Seriously.

Told ya I wasn’t qualified to make any serious comments about global politics or world religions.  I guess I should just leave it to Chris Carter’s writing team.

Also, oopsies…

 

Paris vs. The X-Files vs. Scruff

Adventures in Yes

The birthday yes.

Not “Yaaaaassss!!”, just a simple exercise in counter-curmudgeonliness.

I had a full day of amazing celebrating with friends and family stacked up with well wishing socializing tighter than the evening commuter push over O’Hare on a Friday night…until my evening date cancelled.

Two things:

– First, maybe don’t schedule a date on your birthday with someone you haven’t known for three months.  It’s a recipe for disaster.  Well, it’s a recipe for normal flaky gay behaviors, but it happened on my birthday so I’m taking some license with the hyperbole.  Sue me.

– Second, he didn’t know it was my birthday.  That means there was no pressure to crumble beneath.  I was actually quite torn about withholding that information from him…obviously, my gut instinct served me far better than my neurosis.

The thing that pissed me off most about this was just your basic run of the mill Narcissistic Death bullshit.  I was the guy you could count on to get some Thanksgiving ass.  Before apps.  When we had to do it in real time.  Or any holiday.

Now it’s just snowing in my bedroom.

And uphill.

So…what’s an EOG gay to do with a few free hours on his birthday.

Hello, Scruff.  You dirty, disappointing bitch.

One thing leads to another and it’s suddenly 9 pm…which I suppose is late for my gay twilight years.  But I’ve begun this interesting chat conversation with a recent – as in one week prior – Portland transplant from France.  Is it wrong to nickname him The Frog?  I hope not, because it’s just happened.

He’s been out and about shopping-slash-exploring in his new city.  Hopping on and off public transportation in order to do so, like a good European.  Chatting with people he encounters around town or on the bus – as inadvisable as that sounds, I actually encourage it…conditionally.  Some of that exploring was situational, some accidental as he hopped on a wrong bus or train here or there.  He tells me that he’s going to pass through downtown to make a connection to his place in the South Waterfront and suggests a meet up for a drink.  Turns out he loves cider and I had told him about Cider Bite earlier in our conversation.

Of course, I pass.

It’s, like, late.

Or something.

But, time wears on and he and I keep chatting and I remember my commitment to say yes more often.

And “Say Something” by A Great Big World had just come on my Sonos, so I said “Yes” and met him at his stop in Old Town.

We traded a couple of texts on my way to meeting him, he told me that he was in a black jacket.  Helpful information, that.  I warned him that I was in a too lightweight jacket for the weather and that I hadn’t shaved in a week and hadn’t showered for an evening out.  He tells me that he’ll keep an eye out for a homeless person approaching him.  Sassy.

He was a tall one, wasn’t expecting that for some reason.

And it was raining, I mentioned that, right?

And I had loaned my umbrella to the Fox for his trip to Cuba, just in case.  He’s a planner.

I hadn’t planned on rain during his vacation, it seems.  Nor do I own a jacket like the Frog was wearing…one with a hood and also happens to be waterproof.  Soggy, I got.

It’s getting on to closing time at Cider Bite, so we hoof lively and make our way there.  The home of 24 taps of delicious cider-y goodness.  I arrive, dripping.  Planting the Frog at the bar, I introduce him to one of the boys that owns the place before sneaking off to the loo to give myself a good toweling off.  I’m calling a 33 year old bar owner a “boy”, FML – incidentally, said “boy” promptly gives me a side eye dripping with “a little young for you” judgment.  Knowing I have zero romantical type designs on the Frog, I don’t give it a second thought, past enjoying that he thought that maybe I could.

Bless his heart.

We go on to chat and make some fun small talk as we sip.  We discuss the origins of the ciders with the owner.  All very interesting info to the newb.  Most tend to be Pacific Northwest by design, but there happen to be a few from the east coast that you simply have to have if you’re gonna open a cider bar and please the masses by passing their low-bar street cred criteria.  Woodchuck cider lurches into the conversation.  I explain that it’s from the New England area of the east coast.  He asks where and I tell him it’s right by New Hampshire, making my hands into the parallelogramish shape of the state for him and only add to his confusion.  Trying to clear that up, I proceed to make it worse by saying that it’s south of Maine, north of Boston like it’s a question.

This all earns me the teasing of a European because I don’t know my own country’s geography like the back of my hand.  Defensively, I counter that it’s not like I thought that Portugal was in South America, but can’t fault him for putting a dunce cap on America as a whole.

He saves my unhurt ego by telling me that some people he has met in America think that France is in Australia.  Sweet Jesus, people are dumb.

I also learned that the prior day – 1/20 – had been his birthday, so that was fun.  

We’ve tried a couple of ciders and it’s time to head out as the guys close up for the night.

Deciding it’s never a bad time to not end fun conversation and also always a good time for food, we head over to Hobo’s for some later-night grub.  It’s a great choice, because:  food.  But also because it’s a good introduction to a neighborhood with a little cluster of gay bars that a newbie gay will undoubtedly frequent, but a bar that we can easily still talk comfortably in.

Also, not to put too fine a point on it, but there’s food.

I know he’ll find CCs on his own, so I figure this is a better choice.  I introduce him to Uncle Dave, who is frequently behind the bar at Hobo’s.  My friend, frequent bartender, occasional caretaker and always good guy.

I have some chicken wings – I’m always ordering the tenders and Uncle Dave is always serving me the wings.  Silly man.  The Frog has a burger.  Having just introduced the him as a recent transplant from France, I’m not surprised he wants to try a burger.  I am surprised at the rapid-fire-fucking-with that Uncle Dave engages him in around his order…I try to stop it as my stomach turns over, but an enthusiastic immigrant is running amok, enabled by a bartender suddenly turned auctioneer:

I’ll have the Hobo’s Burger

You want cheese on that?

Yes!

Bacon?

Yes.

Guac?

Yes.  (in a tone that suggests he isn’t entire sure what that is…)

Egg?

Ok.

Jalepenos?

Yes.

<barfs in mouth>

Fries or a salad?

I say something about how ridiculous a salad would be on top of that order and suggest the French Fries then laughingly comment that he’s not going to be able to lift that monster of a burger and then order us a couple of hard root beers.  Uncle Dave skulks off to the kitchen to start our order and if he’s not chuckling about what he just did to this poor kid…well, I would have been.

We talk more about what he wants to do for work.  He’s a trained in environmental ecology and I congratulate him on picking Portland.  That leads to how the hell he chose PDX in the first place.  Turns out that it’s really just a marriage between convenience and flight of fancy.  He knew he wanted to live in the US and on the West Coast but between here and SF this was where his father had a tenuous network connection to help get him started out.  A colleague whose niece or daughter or something – it’s France, I really wanted it to be “former mistress” – lived here and needed a roommate, voila!

His burger comes and I tease him about what his eyes did when Uncle Dave put the plate in front of him.  Uncle Dave lays down on the floor to rest after carrying the burger out.  I kid, but he deserved to wear himself out after trying to kill this kid with a hamburger.  Hehehehe.

I ask him how he settled on Joe for his Americanized name.  He explains that it’s just JO, short for Jean Olivier…his first name.  I explain to him why that might be awkward.  He seems aloof and/or indifferent.  He tells me his middle name, another hyphenated tongue twister for my American pallate.  Then his last name, which I am sure is the French equivalent of “Smith”, but I’m distracted by the overwhelming number of syllables in his complete name.

Oy.

Glad he chose JO.

Having finished my 6 wings, I go to the bar for another root beer as he chokes down the last of the first half of his burger.  This second half might take a minute to finish.

Uncle Dave starts off with some conspiratorial muttering about how cute the guy is and whether I’m intending anything he’ll want to hear about later.  God bless everyone who thinks I’ve got the kind of game it takes to be the object of any random 20-something’s affections.  When I am, I consider it a viable reason that I won’t win the lottery.

Like any reason for not winning the lottery needs to be realistic.

I mean, I had just “lost” $1.5 billion (potential) dollars in the Powerball…but, no.

He had told me his bus schedule home when we were chatting earlier, and it occurs to me that we have about 20 minutes to get him on a bus.  See?  I’m not even maneuvering toward getting him to spend the night at my nearby place.

He chews and stuffs faster.  I’m actually a little worried about how much he is consuming.  He’s visibly struggling to swallow and I think his forehead is beginning to glisten with a light sheen of the meatsweats.

Undeterred, he paces out his last bite just in time to get our change and head out to the bus stop.

Into the rain.  Portland’s weathery breach, once again.

I walk him down to his bus stop, not just to make sure he gets there but also to ensure that the bus actually arrives.  Midnight buses in Portland have screwed me more than once.

So, we stand there and wait.

In Portland’s sliver of a remaining skid row.

In the rain.  Did I mention it was raining?  Oh, I did?  How about my lightweight jacket?

Naturally, the bus is late.  I spend the time showing him what apps I use for transit and discuss Uber with him as a back up to have handy.  I’m wiping down my phone frequently, since any bus shelter in this neighborhood would ultimately just be shelter.

His bus finally arrives and we part, committing to another meet up soon.

Flash forward a week and we’ve chatted a few times.  He actually scored a job over the last few days.  I’m jealous…but it was a good story.  Some random stranger he said “hi” to on the street during his explorations.  That guy’s company was looking for a French-speaking reviewer of some sort.  You can’t fight the universe on random encounters.  He’s disappointed that it isn’t in his field of study, but that is actually not surprising for my American sensibilities.  No one seems to work in their field of study any more.

Still, this whole story about his job just kind of falling into his lap reminded me of why I started my Yes Game in the first place.

He’s a good guy.  Maybe I’ll make him take me out for a congratulatory cider when he gets his first paycheck.  I mean, I didn’t even mention the Coneheads…obviously, I have to see him again!

And all because I allowed myself a birthday yes…I wonder what else this game will yield.

More friends?

A job?

It certainly seems to like doing that for others – why not me?  We’ll see!

Adventures in Yes

It’s not me, it’s you. 

It really, really is.


Not that there’s anything wrong with that, empirically speaking.

And there’s nothing really wrong with my friend Diezel – formerly: Lurch – either.  We, like so many other singles in the world, optimistically bang our heads against the dating and relationship walls until we’re slightly worse for the emotional wear and then ask, “Why?” like a deranged Nancy Kerrigan.

Why?  Why us…why anyone?

Strangely, knowing there’s nothing wrong with oneself doesn’t always cushion the blow of another’s careless behavior.  Not necessarily intentionally careless behavior but definitely not cluelessly careless.  It would take a pretty special type of idiot to not know that pulling a fade away on someone just isn’t the adult thing to do.

One of the languages I’ve become somewhat fluent in over my dating career is Hint.  Enough so that I tend to check in and verify my Hint to English translations with people just to make sure they know what their actions are saying to me.

It’s a horrifying surprise to find out how truly clueless people are about what their body language and lack of follow through to their words and commitments says to someone else.

Shockingly horrifying.

We’ll see how I feel about providing examples of such behaviors later…maybe they’ll just show up magically like solid friendships or relationships do.  Y’know, without any actual work or effort on my part.  Oh, wait.

For now, I want to focus on the fall out.

A lot of things can happen when making new friends or building new relationships, it depends on the individual and whether or not Hint is their primary language, one they’re fluent in or even one that they are completely unaware of.

I find it’s easy for guys – gay guys, most famously in my opinion – to ask if someone wants to have sex.  Here in 2016, us awful people – men, not that we do a good job of living up to the definition of that word and acting like men outside of carelessly wielding an erection – tend to pretty much just barf out things like “Looking?” – or “You looking?” for the more verbose gays – to one another.  Personally, I’d like nothing more in life than to use that simple action as a conduit for culling perhaps the worst elements of our society.

Is that a genocidal thought?

Let’s table that…but remind me to tell you about The Jettison Project someday.

Some other folks, let’s consider them the less desperate element at the least and more genuinely self-aware at best, might want to take a more mature approach like meeting for a safe coffee or drink and see if there’s a spark or another reason to plan future social engagements over committing to just meet up and go right to Bonetown with someone they’ve never met.

I saw in a movie once that this is called dating.  It was in a movie, so it must be real, right?

So, here’s some options of what can happen, fallout-wise:

Equally clueless people probably stumble merrily along from one such instance to the next occurrence where they just “see what happens”…and are unsurprised when nothing happens again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

These good folks in the above scenario could be of the mutual hook-up mentality or you could have an instance of the mixed hook-up and dating ilk.  Tragedy usually occurs when one of the participants isn’t really aware of which kind of guy he is, or – more commonly, I suspect – isn’t being honest with himself about what he wants or what his motivation is.  That’s when things have the potential to get really messy.

People with a bit more focus in life, trying to live an intentional existence like Diezel and myself, tend to be affected a bit more by these messier encounters.  We can easily identify what our goals are in our emotional life and aren’t necessarily looking for fulfillment based on the luck required when one simply waits to just “see what happens”.  For my part, I will often push people away by trying to clarify what they are intending to communicate through their actions.

Boy howdy, so many people hate that.

Mentally, I picture those people as amusement park goers and myself as an adventure ride…they are simply not (emotionally) tall enough to ride my ride.  Know what I mean?

It gets worse.

“Dan Savage Wisdom” may help teens survive the coming out process but a few decades after surviving that trauma, I kind of want to shake him like a crying baby.

Undoubtedly, if we were a bit more intentional in how we prepared our young to function in the adult world of human interaction we would probably end up with a much happier populace.  I say “human interaction” because it’s not just how we date, but also how we treat each other in generic day-to-day social situations.

But, Diezel and I were recently discussing his dating life in particular.

Surprisingly, I was the participant on more solid emotional ground during our conversation.  Quite a feat after my summer of Broken Poet-ry.

Diezel, not so much.

I was surprised to find that he’d been experiencing tortured evenings at home following a prior conversation where we’d talked about him successfully navigating the holidays as a single man and frequent odd-man-out in the requisite holiday socializing.

Things can change and get dark quickly in the dating world and that’s where poor Diezel was existing lately.  So much so that I was surprised to find out that his two other confidants had held a well-being intervention with him a few days after our holiday survival conversation.

They were worried about him hurting himself.

What had I missed, was there something – a tell – that I hadn’t picked up on?

He assured me that no self harm was planned.  We exchanged assurances that he knew which friends to reach out to and what networks existed for people in crisis should he need them.

He can promise me all he wants, but I’m not one to assume that my loved ones won’t “pass themselves away”, to quote Ms. Evie Harris.  I’m fine telling them what I want them to do when the going gets tough.  Between life in general and AIDS in particular, I’ve lost too many friends already.  I’ve cleaned up one friend’s bathtub after he shot himself in it.  Thoughtful until the end; tile is much easier to clean blood off of versus paint and carpet…still, I’d prefer he was thoughtful enough to not deprive me of his presence in this world.

I’m selfish like that.

I’m also prone to offering helpful humor like this in between more substantial texts:

So, what was Diezel’s trigger?

A literal trigger.

He’d recently been talking with his friends about a couple of recent purchases, god help me, I can’t recall both…just the new gun that he had told me about.

Now, I recall asking about it as I mentally rolled my eyes since I have never really understood the allure of gun ownership, let alone multiple gun ownership.  As he discussed the purchase I also recall my threat level returning to a neutral color from the red-level that had briefly piqued.

Not so, the interventionalists.

But, Diezel admitted that he’d spiraled a bit after we met.

I don’t think that wanting a partner in life + owning a gun = suicide.  But I’m still glad that our friends are secure enough to discuss their concerns when they have them.  That’s super scary emotional ground and can be really awkward, but better safe than sorry.

I also don’t think that suicidal thoughts are as uncommon as people maybe would tell themselves.

I have had them.

I have them.

Friends sometimes share theirs with me when they have trouble banishing them back to the darker corners of their psyche where they belong.

I am a doctor, after all, so why wouldn’t they?

Well, I am if you listen to a few folks from my past that didn’t appreciate the guidance and comments I had made in regard to their actions and what their motivations might be.  But that blog post is still in draft form…stay tuned, the working title is The Doctor Is In(sane), because I’m ultimately no better or worse than anyone else, maybe just at a different point in my journey and able to offer some outside perspective.  People don’t have to listen…it’s not like I’m holding a gun to their heads.

Which, figuratively, brings us back to Diezel.

Knowing that he wants a boyfriend or a partner, partnered with how we both know Basic Gays, I offered this advice:

Don’t beat yourself up over wanting a partner, just check your expectations around having one so you can remain realistically optimistic.

He admitted to failing in the realistic optimism, offering “despairingly pessimistic” as his current state of well-being and admitting he had been thinking about seeing a therapist.

So, here we go…I admire that he openly discusses this with me.  Like suicidal thoughts, I think the majority of Americans – aside from New Yorkers of the 90s – consider seeing a therapist as a sign of weakness.

I disagree.

Strongly.

I think that admitting to oneself that they need that outside help is hugely beneficial to the self and incredibly brave.  Why do we have to live in a culture where getting help being the best and happiest that we can be as individuals has the connotation of weakness?  To beat another of my favorite drums for a second, consider the difference between amateur and professional sportspeople…is it coaches?  To me, this is the difference between people who get therapy and people who don’t.

People who don’t ever get therapy might be lucky, they might be living in denial, or they might be amateurs at living.

Chew on that for a minute.

So, what’s next when confronting the demons of dating?

You’ve bloodied your forehead against the wall of the dating world, be it a bathroom wall in a bar – and not in the good way – or against the screen of your smart phone.

You’ve gotten help.  A good debriefing of the good, bad and ugly of dating with your friends can go a long way.  Sometimes you have to pull out the heavy artillery and get a therapist or life coach to provide some clarity.

Then maybe all that’s left is the old chestnut:  If you can’t beat them, join them.

That last one is risky.  You know I’m a strong supporter of being a part of the solution versus part of the problem – again, you’d probably be surprised to find out how many gay guys hate being asked to consider whether their actions are part of the problem or part of the solution.  But, someone has to be the pariah.

I wish it was someone else, but really only so their blog name could be Pariah Carey.

So what do I mean by joining them?  Who are them, anyway?

The hook-up guys.

<needle skip>

Seriously.  When I left my ex up in Seattle (working blog name:  The Lost Caretaker, standby…) one of the Fabulous Baker Girls offered me this advice, “The easiest way to get over one man is to get under another”.  Which is just bullshit pop psychology…conditionally.  Medicating with sex is a dangerous path.  A path that leads to pathologically avoiding real life in favor of the potential mistaken gratification and validation that can be inferred from a hook-up.

After I was gay bashed in college, I spent a little time in denial.  Then I spent a lot of time self-medicating with sex in order to prove to myself that I had value as a person, was desirable as a sexual object and had the stamina of legend.

A lot of time.

Years.

Don’t ask me my number.  It makes other gays golf clap when they hear it.  That was not a humblebrag.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a long-term coping mechanism, but I didn’t have any real friends at the time that I could rely on.  I was fucking them all.  Oopsies.

Yet, when Diezel and I were continuing this conversation this morning, I observed that he had had a very social weekend, according to Facebook.  He commented that he had but that he’d been having too much sex lately and needed to stop that behavior.  FBG5 (yes, there’s five of these fantastic sisters!) and her pithy advice popped back into my mind and I was able to share with Diezel that it’s not bad to self-medicate with sex.  It’s bad to get lost in sex and abuse that particular form of medication.  Particularly if you aren’t honest with yourself about the need you are feeding or with the partners who are effectively your pharmacists.  Again, part of the problem or part of the solution?  Your solution can’t be part of someone else’s problem.  Right?  So you’ve got to be emotionally evolved enough to talk about expectations.

I used to flat out tell people “I’m never going to call you again” when I was self-medicating and would pick guys up in bars.  It was the 90s, we didn’t have the Scruff or the Grindr.  Hell, we didn’t even have smart phones.  That might be a little crass or jaded as far as behaviors go, but at least it was honest.  And I was too fucked up to be anyone’s boyfriend, anyway.  Yet, sometimes guys would ask if they could give me their number or have mine when bye-bye time came around.  I just looked at them.  I said something like, “Did I literally fuck you senseless?” to one poor guy.  Optimistic dating-type guys hooking up with 90s-damaged-me…I’m sure I would have been lucky to date him.

If you believe in karma, you could feel a lot less sympathetic to my dating woes after reading that little admission, eh?

But I think that approach is a lot less injurious to the other guy(s) than people who are confused about where they are in their sexual/emotion evolution.  The guy that thinks he’s a dating-type but is really a hook-up-type.  Or the guy who vacillates between the two, but at least he’s probably optimistic about becoming a dating-type eventually.  And I see – meaning: meet on dates – those optimistic guys every now and then.

Like recently.

I met a guy that wanted to hook-up a few weeks ago.  It was late, so I put him off until the next day.  We actually texted throughout the day and then decided ultimately to meet for a drink first.

During which, he decided I was dateable.  Yay, Galby.

On the second date, what?  New Year’s Eve?  Crazy.  Yay, Galby!

That NYE spirit got the best of him, or that Galby charm overwhelmed him and he put his mouth on mine.  Me, pitching a perfect game that night, apparently drove him to the edge of his self-control and he ended up sticking my hand into his pants.  Yay, Galby!

Also, yay, him…I’d have saluted him if my saluting hand hadn’t been busy bearing witness.

But then by date three, the reality of his situation sank in and he friend-zoned me in a fit of Hint-o-nese over dinner and drinks.  Naturally, I pushed for clarity and he shorthanded a recent heartbreak.

FML.

And that’s just an example of how people can optimistically be dating-types.  He will be a legitimate dating-type someday.  Not today, apparently, which isn’t at all helpful to my favorite person.

But sometimes it’s just about bad timing, and I’ll take that over the potential that someone is truly a bad person any day.

I hope I don’t get a “cease and decease” from Grumpy Cat.  Yes, I didn’t mean to type Cease and Desist.

It’s not me, it’s you. 

The Layover

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,

molly you in danger girl

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.

Blindsided again.

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.

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.

1:30 pm.

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?”

6:00

“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.

 

 

The Layover