The Yes Game

I’m a fairly permissive person…with myself, anyway.  Which is probably to say that I am undisciplined.

I make plans:  gym, writing, hiking, biking, chores around the house, whatever…and let them slide.  I’m good at keeping commitments with my friends, I think.  And with Netflix.  Although, those plans seem to be more spontaneous occurrences versus actual plans.  It’s keeping commitments to myself where I tend to be less disciplined.

That said, I am also unabashedly grumpy at times.  Sometimes it’s a sincere grumpiness.  Others it could be misread grumpiness.  Still other times it might be someone projecting grump onto me.  It’s the risk I run being open about my codger-ly tendencies, I suppose.

I think that my grump spends a fair amount of time focused inward, to be honest.  I know some of my friends would find that hard to believe given its seeming consistent outward trajectories.  But I am pretty grumpy old man on myself at times, too.  When I’m at the gym, I have replaced my inner voice – which used to be my dad’s voice – with the grump’s voice.  “You’re only cheating yourself!” he tells me in an attempt to drive me to completing my set versus giving into fatigue.  Sometimes yelling, “You want to look like an olive on toothpicks forever or are you gonna actually put some weight on for your next set and build some muscle?” to clear the apathy out of my routine.

He’s kind of a dick.  I wish he’d just stick to telling me to get off of his/my mental lawn, but he’s decided he gets to play the role of tormenting coach as well as mean old neighbor.

So, that’s a little back story to my thought process as I close out 2015.  It began in earnest back in early November when I was in Seattle getting my condo ready to rent.  I stopped by a friend’s shop – Custom Smoothie – in Fremont just to see if one of the twins that owns it was in that day.  One was and we got to chat for a while and catch up.

I hope she doesn’t feel shorted that I didn’t come up with a nickname for her…

An added bonus with good old impromptu conversation is that you never really know where they are going to go.  Eventually, ours headed toward social media, Facebook specifically and our mutual friends.  We worked together at Macy’s for a bit – but were all three restructured out of jobs, as Macy’s likes to do – and she and her twin started the smoothie shop.  That’s a long way of saying our mutual friends are mostly tied to former colleagues.

Except two.

Well, three, if you count her husband.

She asked how I met…let’s call them The Vagabond Parents.

Unsurprising to anyone that knows me is that we had met in a bar.  Well, it could be somewhat surprising, because now I tend to sulk in bars more than I used to versus being open to random conversations with strangers sharing the same watering hole.

But in thinking and talking about The Vagabond Parents, I got to get some answers to questions I have had about them but not had a forum to get answered because like many of my acquaintances I have met in a similar manner, I haven’t seen them in person since.  The reason behind their moniker is the source of many of my questions about their life…so allow me:

After we met, they became pregnant.

Soon after their beautiful baby was born, they actually moved out of the country.

Both life events would – not shockingly – severely impact our ability to meet up in the most likely fashion again.  Parents rarely hire a sitter to go swill booze with a rando old dude and – outside of true jet-setters – people who live abroad are unlikely to fly in for a night of inebritude.  Inebritude = Chrisism.  But I got to monitor their travels and their daughter’s growth on Facebook, and I appreciated it.  In the years since we met, they’ve been through Europe, Australia and I think even SE Asia.

So, my question was, “How the hell do they swing that life?  I’m so jealous!”

The answer was basically “The Yes Game”.

And this is where our personalities diverged since the night of shots and effusive conversation in Purr so many years prior.

Back then, I was completely open to passing the evening chatting excitedly with people I just ran into, be them stranger or prior acquaintance.  Now, I’m more prudent with who I invest my time with.  I honestly think that it’s that The VP were exceptions to the Seattle Freeze, which eventually doused my enthusiasm for investing in random strangers in a bar.  I would prefer that those initial engagements more frequently garner friends versus acquaintances and that simply was not my experience in Seattle.  Meeting these two is a bright spot in my social drinking career in Seattle.  But the people whose lives changed significantly due to offspring or emigration were far outweighed by the folks whose paths I crossed again and the circumstance that prevented us becoming friends was more along the lines of “my normal people are here with me now, so I don’t need you tonight”, which is pretty fucked up.

So I kind of shut down my social drinking career and became a curmudgeon over the course of my time in Seattle.

They did not.

While raising kids can turn the most outwardly social people into homebodies, The Vagabond Parents left the country.  Their lust for life and adventure seemed insatiable.  My friend told me that things just kept falling into their collective lap and they availed themselves to it.

They kept saying yes.  Not because they had to, like in the actual Yes Game.  Because they wanted to.

And look at the lifetime’s worth of opportunities they have experienced in the better part of the decade since we met.  It’s truly inspirational.

Since moving back to Portland, I have openly acknowledged my Early Onset Grumpiness, if for no other reason than to take away its power.  I want to retire my reserved “no” mentality in lieu of a better, happier social life here in my hometown.  It’s time to vanquish the near emptiness of my social life in Seattle.  Nothing against the friends I did make up there, by any means, there simply weren’t a lot of people in my social circle beyond co-workers and neighbors.  I prefer to have a less focused group of people to surround myself with.  People who have different interests to keep my growth as an individual on an upward trajectory versus a flatline.  I wanted to take away the safety net that friendships evolving from work have, which is that there is always a significant and safe common thread to fall back on:  work.

To that end, what I have begun to focus on recently is to stop saying what I don’t want or like and start noticing and embracing the things I do in order to surround myself with that growth.  Create my own trajectory.

Or destiny.

I can trace this change of attitude back further than last Fall.  Back to late Spring of this year when a friend suggested to me that I should write.

A blog, specifically.

I had started one back around 2005 or 06 that I ran a few posts through, but I decommissioned when I moved to Seattle in order to better focus on making a life for myself up there.  Outward focus versus inward focus.

So, after that conversation, I set a goal of publishing one post a week and just seeing what happens.  It’s been 40 weeks since that day.  I’ve published 24 blog entries since then, this will be number 25.  So I am a bit off my pace.  A good indication of my lack of discipline, eh?  It’s not a lack of content ideas or thoughts that I want to share, there’s 18 drafts in my pipeline.  I just need to commit to this.  To myself.

I need to say yes to it.

Another friend – former co-worker, go figure! – reached out to me late in the Summer.  She’s a writer of children’s books and had just returned from some publisher’s convention or something where she was amazed at the sheer volume of publishers openly seeking LGBT content.

She thought of me.

This was not the first time, either.

After she published her first book, we had chatted about a career as a writer.  I started a book at her urging.  But I never really found my voice as a writer and the pages languished on my laptop.  Filed away, collecting virtual dust.  When she reached out to me again last Summer and actually sent me publisher contacts as well as offering to help me draft a submission letter, I re-opened my literary cold case.

Re-reading it and fathoming getting it ready to submit was akin to raising the Titanic with the goal of getting her sailing again.  I love my story idea…it’s just the prose that bothered me.  It didn’t sound like me.  I couldn’t imagine completing the task in some stranger’s voice.  So, the blog became a practical solution to figuring out how I want to sound and tuning up that voice.

I admit, there may be some Fear of Success happening here.  Like I said, it’s not lack of topics or shortness of material.  It’s me allowing me to not follow through.

I’ve read a lot of the LGBT authors out there.  A great deal of them…suck.  In my opinion.  Much like gay cinema.  The execution just isn’t polished.  My former blog, my Facebook page and certainly this current incarnation of my blog have all had comments along the “You remind me of David Sedaris” or similar.  Which is great.  He’s pretty funny.  I don’t really want to be a monologuist, though.  I’d rather follow in the serial footsteps of Armistead Maupin versus Augusten Burroughs.

I also get a lot of people acknowledging how open, honest and raw my posts sound to them, which they call brave.  These types of comments were certainly part of the conversation back in November at Custom Smoothie…it’s unexpected support like that that invigorates my creative juices.  I returned to Portland and began a draft-a-palooza.  Like I said, there’s 18 in my pipeline.  I was just having trouble pulling the trigger to post them.

Likely this is a form of paralysis relating to writing in a voice that is so unique to my actual personality while wanting to be a novelist versus a memoirist.  I’m sure there is some personal emotional baggage residue from my time and the subsequent fallout from the Broken Poet, too.  Proof that every time you say yes you aren’t guaranteed success.  But perhaps the Seattle Freeze experience and failures like the BP have scared me away from saying yes in the past…I overcorrected and withdrew from the game.

Not anymore.

Not in 2016.

Game on.

And Sonos just pops out Brave by Sara Bareilles as this train of thought reaches its destination.


<fist pump>


The Yes Game

I’m a scientist…no offense, Actual Scientists

After yesterday’s post about shit, I thought I would next polish and post one of the drafts I have in the queue about a guy I dated who turned out to be a shit or treated me shitty.


Which is more grammatically correct?

Regardless, I couldn’t pick which draft or guy would deserve that honor or privilege, so just to avoid the decision I am sharing this random, irrelevant and mostly narcissistic thought about my favorite topic.

Not Mac & Cheese.

No..not beer.  Did you even read the last blog?  Thanks for picking that scab.


For some reason, I thought it would be nice to get my blog more widely read.  Gotta get those likes, right?  So, being the man of science that I am, I thought, “How does one do?” and decided that I was going to have to make a scientifically deeper dive into social media.

The Beautiful/Broken Poet has recently begun a Tumblr page for his work.  He also linked his work to Facebook (done) and Twitter…I don’t Tumbl or Tweet so I was at a loss.  I had an account on the Twitter for a long while a long while back.  All that ever happened was that it got hacked and I was changing my password more often than I was Tweeting, so I gave the Twitter the bird and deleted my profile on that app.  Not sure I want to repeat the same frustrations before I’ve exhausted my grumpy old man rage on each social opportunity equally…so, I figured I needed to decide whether I wanted to go with reddit or Pinterest.

Just kidding.  Pinterest can suck it.

I’m a redditor, Harry!

Now, because I am a crappy scientist, I didn’t actually check my baseline before beginning this experiment, but I know – I dunno…from September? – that previously my reader footprint had been strictly US based.

After posting the first blog to reddit – Grain Freeze – last night, I waited an appropriate amount of time – which turned out to be the amount of time required for a couple of showers, a little of “the hush, the bad” with my Poet, some sleep, a little coffee run – and checked my stats to see if there was any lift.

Traffic is marginally up, so I immediately decided to throw another blog on the reddit fire.  I tossed a dating blog on the Gaybros page and got an immediate comment!  Don’t get too excited, it was an auto-post from the moderator of the Gaybros page saying they didn’t allow posts from new users.  So much for Gaybros, but also exactly the precious behavior I would expect from a group of the gays.  Which is why I find so much material and inspiration for blog posts in my dating life.

I “donated” my Volunteerism blog to a reddit page dedicated to volunteering.  They were at least grateful enough to keep quiet.

When I checked some deeper statistics, it appeared that yes, my traffic was up, but my reader footprint was suddenly global!  Just this morning, I had picked up readers in Canada.  Not an unreasonable geographic leap.

Then I expanded the metrics to an overall view of the life of my lil corner of wordpress.

I had people in Mexico reading, not surprising…but now I can say I’m world (im)famous in North America.  Why anyone in Canada or Mexico would listen to an American about anything is slightly mysterious to me, but I will try to only improve the American image with my posts.  So there’s that.

Great Britain and Poland were surprise hits.  And while I would just like to think I’m worth random readership across the globe, I think the reality is that D/ and Other Chris are likely candidates for those clicks.  So, while my global footprint might not be the explosion my not-so-secret ego would like it to be, it is a good reminder of the fact that I have friends that I adore across the globe who might feel a twinge of the same emotions for me.

That’s a much better footprint to leave behind than interweb fame.

I’m a scientist…no offense, Actual Scientists

I think I got my period

Sometimes I think critically about whether or not I have a drinking problem.

I found out today that after almost five weeks of occasional conversation about reconciling followed by retreat, that the Broken Poet has a new boyfriend.  He changed his relationship status on Facebook and then deleted his profile altogether shortly thereafter.  You’ve got to love friends who have both my back and the ability to grab a quick evidentiary screen shot.

This comes on the heels of a return to texts with the Poet after a week of semi-blissful, emotionally healing radio silence between us.

We spent the last weekend texting.  Frustrating for me, with a hint of optimism as he texted things like, “You were right, I shouldn’t have left”, “What if the life I had made for myself up there is better than the life I have here?” and “I’ve been thinking about coming back.”  All paraphrased, mind you.  Why would that be frustrating?  Because I hate having serious conversations via text.  I’m sure a few friends would enthusiastically vouch for the statement that I text in complete sentences and complete thoughts.  They’d also probably stand behind my statement that I like context, too.  I know that the Poet, in text, is a man of his generation…few words.  Sadly, that provides precious little context and lots of room for inferring.  Bad combo for communicating clearly.

Friday night I was looking at airfares to bring him up, not knowing when, exactly, but the following Tuesday had decent rates.  I was going to have to consolidate my open credit on two different cards to buy it and then likely break into my piggy bank for spending money while he was here; but in for a penny, in for a pound as they say.

I can commit.

Plus, I was in a great mood because I had an extremely promising interview for a job that an old manager of mine had put on my radar and strongly encouraged me to apply.  I would report to the person who reported to him.  This was who my interview had been with.  I was in a particularly good mood.  Did I say that twice?  It deserved to be repeated.

The Poet is potentially coming home and maybe I’m going back to work.

Imagine trying to reconcile a broken relationship via text, across two time zones and five states.  I kept pushing to talk.  Call.  Give me a time.

I pushed too hard and *poof* he was gone again.

We were at Sunday morning at this point.  By Sunday afternoon, he’d changed his relationship status.  With a flowery dedication to his new emotional bandaid – er – boyfriend, no less.

You did believe me when I said he was broken, right?

By Sunday night, he had deleted his Facebook profile.  Unbeknownst to me, of course, as I explored options for selling my Seattle condo and moving to New Mexico to be with him.  Or near him.  It’s an appealing idea…three bedroom houses are $60-75k in Grants, $125k if you want central air.  Central air is comfortable in the desert, but I had gotten as far as admitting that I would have to forego central air if I wanted to buy a place outright, have enough left over for a car and some money to get by on until I could land a job, y’know…be actually comfortable and not starve.

I can fucking plan.

And perhaps stalk?

Let’s go back to “I can commit” and leave it at that.  But, I am honest, you can count on me for that, my friends.  Although, you must allow a little latitude for alliteration and hyperbole.

At 7:30 Monday morning, I get an auto-reject email telling me I was out of the running for this job I really thought I had a better than average chance at snagging.  Who the hell turns away a candidate that his boss puts in front of him?  Well, maybe I can have his job.  🙂

On Tuesday, my screen-grabbing-friend breaks the news to me about the relationship change.

On my way to coffee with the Fox, I’m texting the Poet, not being too rough, but letting him know that I know about his new boyfriend.  Asking him to clarify how he could be telling me he’s thinking about coming back to a life that is better than the life he retreated to while dating someone else.

It didn’t jive.

His response sent my balls right up into my abdomen.  The new boyfriend had changed his status to “In A Relationship with” and tagged our poor Poet.  He felt like he had to accept so that he could still have one person in his life that wasn’t yelling at him.

This actually made sense to me.

His family gets credit for the original fractures that were the foundation for the ultimate breaks in our friend, the Broken Poet.  His grandmother had cut him off financially after buying him a plane ticket home and filling his tank with gas, suddenly the doors of the home he had been raised in – the doors that were always open for him – slammed shut.

That couldn’t have happened before you bought him a plane ticket out of Portland, lady?  Just saying, things would have been a lot easier if you’d drawn the line a few days sooner.

He’s been living with his dad since he got home, whom he had been estranged from for…20+ years?

These are the people he’s licking his emotional wounds around.

Then there’s your favorite verbose, context and truth loving optimist.  I could easily see where my context-filled-texts that frequently called him on his predilection to retreat behind excuses created in the moment to justify his actions versus being introspective and honest with himself and urging him to do the right thing versus the easy thing could have come across as – I dunno – lectures?  Sure.  But “yelling” would be a stretch.  Maybe if he’d talked to me on the phone he could have heard the reason in my voice versus the rage in his internal Jiminy Cricket’s voice.

By the way, my antagonistic Sonos is now playing Sara Bareilles’ Gravity.  I swear it’s on a Motley Crue station.

By the time he’d sent the text demanding I send him the notebooks with his art sketches and poetry in them so he could “leave something behind”…well, I almost felt bad for IMing the new boyfriend screen grabs of the texts I’d gotten hours before he got a new boyfriend that painted a clear picture of how close he had come to not actually having a new boyfriend.

Never mind, it might paint the picture that your new beau isn’t one you might actually care to have.

At coffee with the Fox, we had discussed the whole shituation.  My word, BTW, look it up on urbandictionary if it is somehow indecipherable to you.  I left feeling relieved.  I bluntly stated that I was old, ugly, unemployed, broke, out of shape, emotionally over all the American unaccountability…but he countered with a well reasoned, “You can fix some of these things:  Being out of shape, go back to the gym!  You’ll get a job again, that will fix being unemployed and being broke, eventually.  I’m old.  You aren’t old.  And you’re not ugly!”

Well, I was with you up until that last point.

How come I don’t get a gofundme?  Because I’m not a put upon Christian Conservative?  Sheesh.  This is worse than going to Catholic school and not getting abused.  What’s wrong with me?

And I tell him that I appreciate the effort, but I am as real and honest with myself as I am with the people in my life.  I have to live that life.  The mirrors in my house work just fine.  I also have a good many photos that make my argument for me.  Nonetheless, resisting the urge to throw my coffee cup at him after his parting platitude, I leave feeling relief.  Not happy.  Relieved.

Who wants a goddamned Sonos?  This is the time it decides to barf out I Know Him By Heart by Vonda Shepard?  Don’t make me come find you, karma.


It’s over.

I lost.


But…not my monkey, not my circus.

I could move forward.

Perhaps, limp forward.

But it sure beat the last five weeks of sitting around in virtual seclusion moping and pining for someone who wasn’t to be.  I think I would have a better chance of drifting on a dinghy in the Bermuda Triangle hoping to find the missing Ghost Ship Mary Celeste than I have of getting my Poet back and seeing him grow from Broken to Beautiful.

Anyway… redux.

It was time for a return to the gym to blow off some steam – which was met with mixed results.  All I have to say is that if your mood is as heavily influenced by music as mine, do not make the mistake of falling for Google’s Pop to Make You Feel Better playlist.  Every damn song reminded me of the BP.  Every.  Damn.  Song.

I came home, sweating.  While waiting to not sweat anymore so I could take a shower, I thought about writing it out.  When I opened my laptop, the manuscript I’ve been kicking around was open, so I thought, “Why not?  Chapter 4”.

Here’s why not:  I’m drawing off of some personal experiences, namely my own gay bashing in college and leveraging that time of my “character’s” life against his present day life in Seattle where hate crimes are on the uptick.  Dropping that poor schmuck right in the middle of that mess.

It’s a love story?

Obviously not.  One of the trite rules of writing I’ve always heard is “Write what you know”…when I write, I like to picture Bill Shakespeare over my shoulder shaking his head.

It’s an inspiring tragedy?

So, more heavy stuff.  Not that I am not happy to be making the effort to actually write a novel.  And, as you can see from the last five weeks, and maybe a few of my other blog posts, I am clearly a rejection junkie.  Why not add a few literary rejection letters to the mix?  At least then I can say that I did it, and I doubt this process leaves the same type of scar tissue as dating.  So, I’m grateful to the friend who got this ball rolling and the friends and family that encouraged me.

At some point, I bet one gentle reader or another got up and got themselves a drink.  I’m going to get one now, too.  Because, sometimes, when I think critically about whether or not I have a drinking problem, I suspect the problem is that my alcohol tolerance is simply too low.

I think I got my period

The Broken Poet

I spent almost two months with a sweet, fucked up young man.  I know none of those things make him special in America today, but I do know that he’s broken in a way that really resonates with me and draws me to him.  I quite love him.

The Broken Poet.

One day, I sat on the bed to talk about how him not working on his needed repairs was affecting me/us.  It couldn’t go on.

It’s amazing what people hear versus what is said.  I’m a pretty gentle guy, but replaying what I said, applying a filter of his life experience…I know what he heard.

He left.  He stopped talking to me.  He ended up on a plane home.  He’s still there.  We’re texting…but I honestly don’t think he’ll be able to get to a place where he comes back.

Fuck me.

The day of “the talk” I slept three hours, from 6:00 -9:00 in the morning after he’d left.

The next day…five hours, from midnight to 5:00 am.

Day three…well, I’ve been up since 5:00 and it’s 2:15 now.  I committed to myself that clarity was key, not to drink away the pain.  Maybe just one – or three – would have helped.  Sleep that is respite versus restful still counts, right?

Breaking this down…what gets center stage:  The Poet or The Broken?

The Poet.  That’s who he is, at his core.  The Broken part?  That can change, it isn’t or doesn’t have to be what defines him permanently.

When he heals…he’ll still be the BP, but when he puts the Broken to bed, he will become the Beautiful Poet.

He has notebooks all over.  He carries several with him in his backpack.  Not one, not one with a back up.  Several.  The covers mean things to him.  He looks at notebooks at shops we pass.

Inside…blank pages await his muse of the moment.

He writes poems, obviously.

He writes songs.

He sings.

He plays myriad instruments, but I think guitar is his favorite.  Just guessing.  I would never ask someone to choose a favorite child any more than a favorite pet or his favorite instrument.

He doodles.

He draws.

Frankly, I think the singing and music is his most organic talent.  Some of his drawings are really good, to my untrained eye.  I appreciate them all, even though some I think are just ok.  His poetry is good, too, but I think he has a limitation in both his singing and his poetry reading:  self-confidence.  It’s less obvious in the music, because there’s more cover.  When you read poetry, it’s all you.  Mumbling gives away where the piece came from; pain.  I think a good poetry performance will have that pain in the piece, but it will also be read with peace (see what I did there?), clarity and confidence; read by a strong voice that can take you to the pain with its rhythm and dramatic emphasis versus displaying the pain with a fragile tone of voice that is barely picked up by mic. You never know, though…banish the pain to the past where it belongs and any of his disciplines could overtake the music.  Just because it is most natural to him, doesn’t mean it has to be the one that he is known for.

The Broken. This is who he is situationally.  The larvae or the caterpillar.  Not the butterfly of a man and artist he will become.  It doesn’t mean he must become, some breaks don’t heal.  I hope his do, but these aren’t like literal scabs that will heal over time, even if you keep picking at them and end up with a scar.  His wounds are to the psyche, figurative scabs.  That shit ain’t easy, brother.  I know it.

He was raised by grandparents after he was found to have been runner up in a two entrant pageant between him and booze.  His parents took off for a night on the town instead of staying with him.

His grandparents were weak and strong.  A role model of a father figure in his strong, opinionated “dad” who did the right things.  A docile grandmother for a mother figure that was a generation beyond raising a kid in the 90’s.  Not hers.  She was in her mid to late 60’s, if my math is right.  Her favorite response to his need for guidance was a variant of, “I don’t know what to tell you…”  That didn’t help when her husband preceded her in death a few years back when our Poet was barely in his 20’s.

He was raised away from his siblings, but close to his cousins – one of whom he refers to as his “sister”.

Let’s see, a quick recap just to make sure you are following this, because I barely did and – frankly – probably recall it incorrectly.

Mom = Grandma

Dad = Grandpa

Sister = Cousin, but not in the incest-y, white trash way.

What else?  Oh yeah…his Godmother is his Aunt.  His Mom/Grandma’s daughter.  This took me longest to get.  And she is a piece of work, to hear him tell the stories.

His actual mother was Mexican and his father is Native American, but two tribes:  Laguna and Acoma.  I’m not sure how he knows where he belongs.  Maybe he doesn’t yet and that’s – not to skip ahead – how he came into my life in Portland.

His mother died, estranged from him.  His father is still estranged from him.  A drunk.  An addict.  Befriending his kids to score their weed or booze or whatever harder substances they might be able to part with, y’know…for dad!

His Grandparents really were the positive models in his life.  But the remainder of the family, one of three families in his hometown of less than 300 people, live the idiom of tearing down others to make themselves look good.  That goddamned godmother.

Oh, the cracks that causes.

Speaking of crack.  I don’t know what drugs he used after he finally left home for the big city 90 minutes away – or I do and am not saying, I can be cagey – but he did use them.  And the people he used them with, used him in return.  The roommate/trustafarian that had a few friends she would invite over who only had eyes for our vulnerable poet.

More cracks.

The therapist that definitely knew better.


The man who took him away from it all!  Got him out of his home state and into my favorite People’s Republic…Portland.


And then started beating him.


And then started passing him around to strangers with drugs.  Sometimes participating as a third, other times as a spectator.  Sometimes, our clever young poet would go to the bathroom to “freshen up” and just not come out until it was over.  I’m not expounding on what “passing him around” means, but looking back, expounding was an accidental yet interesting choice of words.


I first met him on a hook up site – sorry mom, trust me…I hate it more.  We chatted.  I liked him.  His words were fully loaded.  He was with the man who took him away from it all…they – he, I’m sure – were trying to work it out.

Cool, I don’t play the side piece, I respect myself and know what I want and my worth.  I told him I could be friends, but nothing more until he broke it off.  They worked on it.

After a few weeks of silence, same app – no, wait…I gave him my phone number, he was texting me – ‘Sup?

Not much, how’s the BF?

We’re good.  Decided to open up our relationship.

Still not interested.  You happy about that?

It’s not my thing.

You don’t have to be happy about it.  Or do it.

I know.

You should dump him.  Not that I can tell you what to do.  I can still be your friend if you want a tour guide to PDX.

We’re going to get our place today.  Hopefully, now that I have TWO jobs!

The pride in that statement – however devoid of a direct answer it was – again, the words were overflowing with the pride he felt at having a dollar value to place on his contribution to the relationship.  Where had they been living, I wondered.  Aloud, apparently, because I know now that the answer was “In the man who took him away from it all’s car”.  I’d like to revisit my statement about dumping that zero.

This rough gem needed to get with a hero – your favorite obscure blogger.

I restated my “no side piece” rule and reaffirmed my offer of friendship…no go.

Months go by.

Good old Facebook and their People You May Know feature.  I get an IM from the Broken Poet, your basic “You might not remember me” self-intro.

I remembered him.

Turns out, being beaten up and sitting on a toilet playing games on his phone while his fiance had sex with a stranger in the next room for drugs wasn’t the romantic life you’d imagine.  He dumped him.  Free agent now and looked me up.

<warning bells>

Too soon, too soon!

What could possibly go wrong?

He lived in Tigard.

Ok, sure…but no body is perfect.

We meet.

Good lord.  So cute.  Tattoos.  Sleeveless Tee – on a first date…what is this, Seattle?  Those bitches don’t dress for anything.  Hehe.  Eyes.  Perfect half moons when he laughs or smiles.  God.   Neck tattoo.  Tastefully small ear gauges.  He’s a shorty.  Thin.  Shy.  Neck tattoo?  Fuck.  Really?  Well, bad judgment is bad judgment.  The tattoo might be on his neck for life, but at least he got rid of the other poor decision – his ex.  Plus, it’s video game characters, just like his sleeve.  Cute!

Oh, and he quit drugs cold turkey because he saw that it was what got him into this mess in the first place.

Smart.  Or smarter now, anyway.  I’ve been there.

We walked around town all afternoon.  I showed him around.  Poorly.  I got lost.  I’m old, I get confused!

That’s all.

We have other dates that are similar.

Those tattoos enable my favorite date for no other reason – old school video games!  He is more than impressed and has a blast.

We stay up late talking.  Throwing him in an Uber at 3:00 in the morning so he can make his SBUX shift at 5:30.

Eating each other’s stories as we get to know each other.

My friends begin meeting him.  They.  All.  Adore. Him.

Sometimes we just sit and he flips through his journals…whichever he happens to have in his bag that day.

We go to an open mic night that he saw a flier for.  It’s awesome.  Some good people doing what they’re good at or passionate about.  Some other good people doing what they’re passionate about but not yet good at.

Everyone sings.

Save the BP.

He mumbles his way through the only spoken piece of the evening.  People love it, even though it was hard to hear him and they might have been terrified to hear him announce proudly that it was a four act piece.  He wrote it in an hour before we left for the event.  We Ubered over to SE and sat in an idyllic side yard at a hostel.  Watching.  Listening.  Canoodling.  Waiting.

Amazing.  You wouldn’t know that you were close in to downtown in a big small city.

Afterward, we walked around looking for food.  We closed McMenamin’s on a fucking Tuesday.  This was when I really told him my story.

Keep going, he kept encouraging.

I talked for three hours.

After we got the boot from McMenamin’s, we started heading for home.  He was broke.  I had just started a new job and definitely preferred to watch my pennies versus revisit the well of white entitlement I am fortunate to sun my broke ass near…so we walked.  Maybe we catch a bus, maybe we don’t.  It took us two hours to walk 60 blocks.  Cue up some Clapton, cuz it was already after midnight!

Keep going.

I had an excursion planned to go with my storytelling.  And I can talk for 60 blocks.

I got lost along the way – hey, we covered this! – but I finally, super coolly, led him to the Portland Building downtown as I talked about my favorite topic.  Holding his hand, I planted my feet so he spun in front of me.  I turned him around and hugged him from behind.  Talking in his ear.

I leaned us back.

His eyes exploded open as they focused on Portlandia leaning down to us from 30 feet up…her silent plea to pull her finger looming.

I think I might have farted.

I definitely teared up at the amazement in his eyes.  The energy pouring out of him.

I opened myself to him more than I had any of the other guys I’ve dated.  Mostly because I’ve only seriously dated four other guys.  They all lengthened my story slightly.  Most of them rather negatively:  Beat me, insanely jealous, cheated on me.  But also because most of my dates are guys putting in time until it’s time to bone.  Jerks.   It should be noted that there is a champ in my dating history, so I can pat myself on the back over that.  I thought he was my last one.  This Broken Poet was challenging that assumption.

Is it bad that there was just a flash of lightning, a clap of thunder, followed by a Morrissey song coming on my iTunes and then a deluge outside my window?

Nah.  C’mon.

I know I’m in love after three weeks.

We still haven’t had sex.

No, not even a blowy.  Sheesh, I can’t believe you asked that.

He asked me to take it slow.  I can do that.  It’s way easier for me, you’re 25, your balls are like grenades.  I’m a camel by comparison.

I cook for him.

He gives me something special.  It was great…even on the hottest day of the year.  You can blame us for that – we put off heat.

We never really figure out the sex after that.

Our intimacy is off the charts.

Hand holding.


Locking eyes.

Kissing and locking eyes…

Showering together.

The cuddling when he slept.  Wow.  Always touching.

We took a road trip to Seattle.

He got a new job he loved.

He got accepted into the Art Institute for a short summer semester.

We talked about getting a place for us that was bigger than my little studio once I got a job.

He had gone from doped out, abused fiance to this guy with his shit together in less than six months.

My work life was crap.

But I was winning the love life.  This was everything I wanted in a boyfriend.  The fearless investment of emotion.  The open vulnerability.


Fuuuuck.  It’s hard for me to handle.  You know how you get hangry when you wait too long to eat?  Yeah, I was hungry.

I tried.

Sexually it was getting less frequent.

Our average was fine for me – had we been going into year two or three…but we were in month two.  We should have been all over each other like…condoms on bananas in a renegade high school Sex Ed class.

I should have been worried I couldn’t physically keep up with a man that much my junior.


There were nights I couldn’t sleep.

I’d kiss him goodnight and feel his energy beneath the skin of my lips.

The flick of our tongues created in me the same inspired eyes he had seeing Portlandia loom above him at 2:00 in the morning.

He touched me and it ignited my imagination.

I sobbed a couple of evenings as he slept.  He cuddled, my shoulders heaved with heavy breath and heart.

Not being able to physically express my feelings to someone so perfectly in tune with myself was killing the perfection while doing nothing to resolve the erection.

Editing my behaviors to avoid making him uncomfortable and bringing his ex to the front of his mind was preserving the moment, but eroding the lifetime of our relationship.

We had unfinished business.


He had been in therapy when we met but stopped going when he switched jobs and the benefit ended.  Twenty-five year olds apparently switch jobs a lot nowadays.

He needed to go back and knew it, but wasn’t doing it.

I woke him up one of my sleepless mornings to talk about it.  By the end of that day, I’d fixed things so well, he left and I didn’t hear from him again until 12 hours later when he told me – texted me – that he was getting on a plane for home.

He chose home over me.

That fucked up burg of 300 where he has one ally and 298 people waiting for him to fuck up and when he doesn’t they trot out some of his greatest hits.

That’s better than staying here with me where he has resources to get help, as well as love and support…






Regardless of when, I wonder if expecting things of someone who had only been expected to fuck up his entire life was always destined to fuck up our relationship.

And I only expected him to get the help he needed to be 100% happy and present in our relationship.  But that only sounds simple.  I know how it would look to me as a 25 year old.  I was only half way through my self-healing at that age.  I didn’t have the resources kids do now.  I didn’t want him to suffer through a decade of compensating for the pain in his past to get to a time when the pain he caused himself had taught him his self worth.  When youths in my day didn’t kill themselves, it wasn’t because they ignored the resources available to themselves, it was because they fucking bucked up and drank their way – er – powered their way through the pain until they came out on the other side.  Put on a brave face, buck-o!

Today, there’s agencies to choose from.  Not one, you can pick where you get help.  But I made the error of pointing out the lack of urgency in a time where I was having my own urgency crisis.

It’s not that I needed to fuck someone; I needed to meet a deeper, more spiritual need that he couldn’t get comfortable with and our relationship was incomplete without.

I ended up fucking us up.

Probably for good.

So, here I am, gentle reader…at your disposal.  This needs editing, some finesse.  But it’s 4:45 now, I think this will have to do.

Who has two thumbs, three beers, barely 10 hours of sleep over the last three days and just got his therapy on?  This blog-poseur.

The Broken Poet

Asocial Media

I think the internet is an amazing construct.  Admittedly, it might be making me a little lazier and perhaps less mentally nimble, with it’s fairly unlimited applications for information gathering and entertainment.

I mean, cat videos…c’mon.  Hours can easily be lost.

But as entertaining as it is, it’s also incredibly complex.  Well, once you make it interactive.  Humans – Americans in particular, methinks – can ruin just about anything.

Once MySpace imploded, I was slow to follow the ranks of social media users flocking to the Facebook.  My initial reluctance was mostly a factor of whether I was just pulled to it as basically nothing more than a conditioned lemming.  Now, I’m one of the heaviest users that I know.

But I like to consider myself a slightly cognizant user.

Facebook is a component of social media, with almost 2 billion users.  It’s certainly one of the – if not the – most successful examples of social media.  That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily different or better, just the top of mind.  Other social media sites or apps may seek to duplicate the recipe of Facebook’s success; remember ‘ello from last year?

Other social sites or apps seek to specialize.  Dating and hook up sites and apps are probably the next most trafficked sites on social media.  Simpler sites, like Meet Up, draw like-minded individuals together for socializing and you participate just by creating a profile and searching out activities you are interested in.

The reason I call it Asocial Media?  There are rules.  Not necessarily social mores and norms like you find – with frustratingly less frequency – exercised in day to day real life.  Different rules.  Almost tending toward cliquish rules at times.  Even on the more benign sites like Meet Up, you can simply follow or join some groups, while others require members be approved by a moderator.  This usually involves a questionnaire and possibly even a short essay.

How precious.

Then there are the hook up and dating sites, where poor manners are excused or even expected.  One of the more common misbehaviors I encounter on these sites or apps is being ignored when I send someone a message.  I totally get that it’s accepted to ignore someone if they don’t fall into one’s own particular set of likes or interests.

It’s accepted.

Do we have to agree that it’s ok?  If we say nothing and allow it to become the norm, then we have tacitly approved of it and then collectively ratify this new social behavior.  It’s like voting for Trump or watching anything involving a Kardashian.  We’re allowing ourselves to be controlled by the lowest common behavioral denominators our culture has to offer.

I can’t imagine the collective disgust we will feel once we finally wake up and realize what we have allowed to happen.  Not that 100% of the world or even the country uses these sites and apps.  Even Facebook can only claim less than 1/3 of the global population in it’s membership.  So suddenly, it’s a small percent of the population that is propagating these new behaviors and pushing them into day to day life.

When I discuss this particular phenomenon, some people call me dramatic.

Others tell me I’m too hard on people.

Well, second point first, I counter that people aren’t hard enough on themselves.  A supposition that I believe my time on social apps and sites as a heavy user qualifies me to float as a Subject Matter Expert.

Perhaps the world needs more Serial Mom-types.

Now, back to the more pesky first point:  am I just being dramatic?  Let me end your suspense by telling you that I don’t agree with that assessment.

Think back to the last time you did something nice for someone.  My favorite is holding doors for people, as some of you already know.  But that simple courtesy can be extrapolated out to letting someone in front of you in traffic or waiving right of way at a stop sign – something that virtually hogties intersections here in Portland, which is fun to observe.  Did you get a thank you?  Eye contact?  A friendly wave in the rearview mirror?

Probably not.

I still hold doors habitually.  Just this morning I did and was not surprised to have the recipient follow me through like they deserved it.  I’m not familiar with all the world’s royalty and – larger point – I doubt that any of them were actually shopping at my local RiteAid in the Pearl at 11:30 on this cold Sunday morning.  I am familiar with Americans and their overdeveloped sense of entitlement, so I think I glared at an almost-definitely-not-royal-person as they left RiteAid.

I’m guessing that the latter is where this example of asocial behavior behavior falls.  Not that it’s all gloom and doom in my world, when I was walking in to said RiteAid, I held the door for someone approaching from the other direction and I think the shock nearly killed him.

Am I being dramatic?

Nah.  If I would have used the example of men greeting me with a picture of their junk, that would have been dramatic.  Of course, I would only use that example humorously, so the intelligence of anyone assuming otherwise would be judged rather accurately.  Er – harshly.  Still, imagine it:  you’re at a cocktail party and someone walks over to you and flashes you.  This is essentially what is happening on these hook up sites.

And it’s condoned because it’s a hook up site.

Well, newsflash:  these sites didn’t develop as a way for people in urgent need of sex or exhibitionism to meet, that’s why “god” created cars and hookers.  No, these sites started as a virtual social meeting place for people within a specific demographic.  That said members ruined it by elevating the least valuable commodity to the most sought is part of the problem.  When you fill out a profile on one of these sites, you’re asked to select why you are using the site.






This is to help you sort for other people looking for similar things from the site.

I love looking at profiles – many people don’t, which is how someone looking to date is greeted by a picture of a penis that is attached to someone looking to get a little right now – because if I am looking for someone to date, I want to know who they think they are.  That six pack is going to go away eventually.  Trust me on that.

Yet many people don’t even bother to fill their profiles out.  Because they are there looking for someone who can give them what they want.  Re-read that last sentence.  I think it’s fairly representative of the selfish behavior or mindset many denizens of dating sites operate under.

Selfish.  Ugh.

And don’t get me wrong, I use these sites.  They.  Are.  Retarded.  From my own experience, I know that relying on them as a resource to get laid when one is horny is an exercise in futility.  Look at all the other choices!  Getting someone to commit to you when someone hotter might return their flirt is damn near impossible.  My grandfather used to use the phrase “Betting on the come” frequently.  I know what it means.  Its convenient application to this scenario and the potential humorous double entedres make me giggle like Anderson Cooper.

So, when someone asks if I’m looking, I tell them what I’m looking for:  dating material.

Not being a dramatic type, I don’t tell them how they can easily sort for people looking for the same immediate gratification that they seek by sorting for it in their search parameters.  I’m all for solving the problems of the world by being as good an example as I can be…which isn’t top tier, by any means.  I am not here, however, to help other people get laid.  Like they’d listen to me anyway, these people just scroll until they find an acceptably attractive person and then send them a picture of their naughties.  It’s an irresistible and unfailing MO.

Fo sho.

Having honest conversations with others may be too passive for some people.  Some folks go on the offensive and write something in their profile along the lines of “If you’re not interested, block me”.  Some might call that proactive.  I think it’s somehow enabling the bad behavior that is blocking.

I’m just going to jump back to Facebook for a second…where I imagine it would be fairly easy to get confirmation that the block feature was intended to limit unwanted behaviors from offensive individuals.  Certainly, I don’t imagine it to be the anticipated norm.  I have blocked three people in – what – eight years?  Yet, here we are on social dating sites encouraging people to block us or each other.  While I think that’s certainly a good strategy for streamlining your search for Mr Right or – ahem – soul mate or even Mr Right Now…remember, we’re Americans.  We can’t commit to a consistent favorite anything.  To presume to block someone based on their hairstyle, preferred sexual role, who they say they’re interested in on their profiles…well, knowing people – gay men in particular – the way I think I do, it seems rather short sighted.

Think of the FOMO principle…how much potential dick are the guys that engage in this block strategy missing out on?


Gays are notoriously flaky.  By the way, it’s snowing.

I said the above strategy was good…call it second-best at best, IMO, I’ll stick with using search functions to find what you want versus blocking what you don’t think you want.  Ah, life with intent.  How do so many miss this concept?

Now, something happened the other day that demonstrated a more strategic use of the block feature.  Although it was still socially horrifying to me.

A guy hit me up on Scruff.  “Looking” was all the message I got.

I wasn’t sure if he was telling me that he was looking or asking me if I was while demonstrating that he did not consider me question-mark-worthy.

The subtleties of gay insult.

Nonetheless, I did recognize him as someone one of my best friends – and a damned fine human – had been excited to go on a recent date with.

The night before.

I politely passed.

He persisted.

I explained.

He actually responded in a mature and reasonable manner, telling me that he totally understood and appreciated that I was loyal to my friends and able to separate their happiness from any potential biological imperatives that I may have.  I remember thinking that the word or idea he was looking for was “ethics”.

Then he blocked me.

Luckily, I had taken a screen shot of the conversation in case I ever needed to defend my dislike for this character.


Initially, his action had really pissed me off.  It’s not a great reward for good behavior, after all.  I considered telling my friend.  Then reconsidered; they had been on one date that one of them had told me was fun.  That’s all.  No one was committed to anyone or anything, this is dating.  Then I realized that he was just employing a strategy to keep from repeating the same awkward misstep again and removing my profile from his view.

It made sense.  Although, really, if you’re going to actually date…maybe give it some time and focus to see if there is chemistry or give it a shot at working out.  Otherwise, you’re probably only dating so you can sleep with someone the first time you meet them and tell yourself you aren’t a whore.  Or get a free meal.

This guy probably falls into that category.  At best, he’s not being intellectually honest with himself about his motives.  At worst, he’s clueless about how to date successfully, which would be sad.  Regardless, I feel comfortable self-righteously retreating to my grumpy old man moral superiority and judging him.  When I was living my whorish existence, I told people I would pick up that I wasn’t going to call them again.

Aaah, the peace of mind that comes with being a conscientious slut.


Strangely, this same friend factors into the other recent head-scratching occurrence of me getting myself blocked by someone.  We had been at a birthday party last year and neither of us had really gotten a chance to talk with this one particular attendee.  My friend was on a date – yay for him!  I was stag but was separated from this newcomer by several friends, so he was just out of conversational reach the whole night.  His fruitfly had come down to my end of the table and been super engaging and managed to hang out with us at our end of the table – sitting on a friend’s lap – until it was time to make my exit.  I did say hi to this guy as I stopped and offered my best wishes to the birthday boy and the host on my way out.

In the Facebook comments that followed the event, I saw this guy pop up, hell…let’s give him a name:  The Marathoner.  I can’t recall if we traded comments on the thread or if I just IM’ed him once I’d seen his profile.  It was interesting, he worked for Nike – where I would love to work.  He was from a little town on the gulf coast of Mississippi, Long Beach, that I had visited frequently decades ago because my second significant boyfriend was from there.  He was a runner, as if the name I chose for him wasn’t clue enough, and I had been resisting my doctor’s order to retire from running at that time.

So there was a lot of potential interests for us to pursue or develop a friendship.

Yes, friendship.

He’s 6’6″ and I don’t usually go for taller guys.  Not that that means I block them on Scruff to avoid seeing people I might not be interested in…zing.

Oooh, foreshadowing.

Anyway, I suggested getting in some face time over a beer.  He was busy.

I suggested another get together a short time later.  Oops, busy again.

After getting shot down over bad timing on my third effort, I suggested he propose a day and time and I would do my best to make myself available.  He decided to take umbrage to this statement, I’m not sure why.  Oh, yeah…I might have prefaced it with something like “if you’re actually serious about getting together”, but still.  If he was serious about making new friends, he probably needed to make himself available to potential new friends or be – here it is again – intellectually honest with himself and my favorite self and be direct and tell me he wasn’t interested in making friends in the real world.

But, instead of that, he blocked me.

On Facebook.

In Portland.

As one gay man to another.

How precious.

Portland is such a small city.  I think people forget that.  See also:  The Biscuit.  Certainly, newbies may not even realize it for sometime.

Oooh, more foreshadowing.

Flash forward, oh…about a year, to last week.

My phone tells me that I have a message on the reviled Scruff.

I open up the app and go to messages where I am greeted by – honestly – a rather beautiful penis.  There are worse ways to begin a Sunday morning, but overall, this is not my favorite form of introduction.  I mean, if someone flashes me in the supermarket, I think I would probably react the same way:  not invite them to my house or pursue any form of getting to know them better.  There are social workers for those people.  But, hey, it’s Scruff.  Don’t be so dramatic, Chris.


Nevertheless, I look at the guy’s profile.  Oh, it’s The Marathoner.

I reply, “Nice penis?” Which resulted in him bestowing “Looking?” upon my inbox.  At least I warranted a question mark from him.

“You don’t remember me, do you?”





The message thread disappears before my eyes.



I guess he remembered.

That’s Asocial Media for ya, right there.  Why be accountable to society or even your own best interests when you have a block button?  Just get rid of people you aren’t interested in or people who have expectations of you as a fellow member of the human race.

Full disclosure, there is one app that I enjoy quite a lot.  Another that I came to quite late:  Instagram.  I love it, even though I initially resisted because it seemed like a Facebook for pictures.  What I enjoy about it is that you can basically follow anyone you want.  People seem to largely leave their profiles open to follow without approval required.  So it is quite entertaining when I am bored.  Those cases when Facebook lets me down because my friends aren’t posting updates fast enough to keep me from boredom are times I just go to Instagram and scroll.  If I run out of fresh posts, I go to the search screen and just follow interesting people.

Or cute ones.

Because I can.  If someone has a locked profile, no biggie.

Kinda precious, though, wouldn’t you think?  Given the app, wouldn’t you just choose Facebook if you needed control over who has visibility to your feed?  But, Americans can’t commit to one platform for communication, I guess.  It’s FOMO.

I’ve actually made a friend recently that I found on Scruff.  He had listed his Instagram in his profile and I looked at it – it’s a good way to see what people really look like without having to look at their private pics on Scruff because then you’re usually just getting junk pics.  Anyway, he never responded to my greetings on Scruff.  Ah, yes…here to make “friends” on the old Scruff.  But, I liked a couple of his pix on Insta.  Made a comment or two.  He and I were in the same bar one night and struck up a conversation.  He didn’t know who I was, but we were enjoying the conversation and having fun.  I told him that I was glad to talk to him in person and when I explained why, he was a little embarrassed.  But I totally put him at ease about it and we got back to shooting the shit.  He bought me a beer…or was it a cider?

Ok, he’s more of an acquaintance versus friend, but still.  It could have been worse:  he could have blocked me.

And that example is kind of why I don’t generally block people.  Not on Facebook, not on dating apps, not on my phone.  I laughingly say that it’s because I don’t want to make it hard for people to apologize to me.

People that block me are usually lacking some sort of foresight.

Or making an emotional retreat.

Or both.

The Marathoner blocked me.

The Fox’s most recent ex blocked me.

The Broken Poet blocked me.

Both of those last two are most certainly in the midst of what I hope are healing and growth periods.  There may be a time when they look back at their respective relationships with yours truly and feel remorse.  A truly special person would want to make amends.  I’m not going to withhold that potential healing step by denying them access to me via social media or cell phone.

It’s a long shot with each of them, but damn it…sometimes my optimism overrides my grumpy old man-ness.  It has happened before, and I suspect it will happen again.  My door is open for people when they are ready.

Ready to apologize?  Sure.

Ready to be a part of the solution versus part of the problem?  Definitely.

It’s rewarding to see people grow like that and think that I had a part in it, even if it was just backing off and letting them get there on their own.

Asocial Media