“But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.” -Catwoman
I wake up the next morning at a somewhat decent hour with my arm draped over The Writer. I smile and decide to leave him alone but inch a little closer. I love this. But by noon, I’m starving so I poke him. “I’m sooo hungry,” I bemoan. “Five more minutes,” his typical response. So I wrap my leg around his and squeeze his torso and we lie there for fifteen more minutes. “Get up! Get up! Get Up!” I demand playfully, but he just rolls over. “Fine!” I noisily exit my bed and head into the kitchen to brew some Java, hoping the steaming grinds will lure him out of bed like some 50s cartoon floating through the air incited by the scent of bacon. My attempts are once more met with utter failure, so I violently jump onto the bed and flip The unflinching Writer onto his stomach. Position myself on his lower back, I reach up to his shoulders and give them a tight squeeze, massaging him. “Mmmm,” he moans. Finally! I think to myself. I love The Writer’s body–he says he used to be more built, and he definitely has some muscle but with slightest bit of doughiness to him, so that he’s both firm and soft. Sometimes I fall asleep with my head on his chest, which, if positioned just right, is better than a pillow. And I can listen to his heartbeat. “You’re really good at massages,” he says. “Where did you learn how to do that?” “At the ‘Happy Endings Spa’ in Chinatown back in my New York days,” I retort. “They taught you well,” he laughs. “I do what I can,” I tell him. “Well don’t stop,” he says. “Alright, but when I’m done you have to get up. I’m starving!” “Okay, okay,” he complies, so I finish my work. Happy Ending-less.
The Writer and I head to a rather vacant diner for a would-be lunch (although I don’t think it qualifies as such at 4PM). The sky is apocalyptic grey today, clouds swirling. Looking out the diner window, I notice a small circular hole that penetrates the thick glass with a cauterized border. We debate on how the hole got there without shattering the pane, and The Writer decides it’s a bullet hole. “That’s why it’s so empty in here,” I joke. When the waitress comes to take our order, The Writer orders his coffee with milk, but she brings it black. “Oh, can I have some milk with this?” He asks. “Sure darlin’,” she says sweetly and returns a few minutes later with a tall glass milk. We snicker, and The Writer attempts to pour the milk into his coffee without spilling it, but he’s unsuccessful. We get some work done, and I help him brainstorm on some script ideas he’s been working on. I have a few good notes, and he gets really excited about the characters and situations, which does something to me although I’m not exactly sure what. I have an appointment with my new psychiatrist at 7, so I drive The Writer back to my place to retrieve his car.
The psychiatrist, who I’ve only seen once, asks me about my personal life–sex and friends. When I first met with him, I was concerned about not connecting to anyone in my new city. I didn’t have anyone I could confide in or truly relate to. I tell him that I’m sexually active, but I can’t find the words to tell him about The Writer. “I think I’ve made one friend,” I say. “That’s excellent,” the doc tells me. “He uh…is a writer–” “Something you have in common,” he chimes in as though he’s reassuring me of something very important. I tell him a few more details about The Writer, including his age, which garners a slightly suspicious response from the doc. He then asks, ever so delicately, about the nature of our relationship, and I am a little floored, not knowing how to answer. I do my best to stumble through the story of how we met (select details only) at a party and how The Writer knows my cousin, but I find myself slightly bewildered by my inability to piece together what the implications fr my relations with The Writer really mean, so I change the subject.
When I get home, I message The Writer: “I kind of want to get really fucked up tonight.” I don’t get a response, so I watch TV and deflate on the couch. Just as I’m about to call it a night, he messages me: “I’m going out. Can you be here in 15?” “Absolutely!” I respond, flying through my apartment, throwing my clothes on and soaring out the door. It’s pouring rain. Twenty minutes later, I’m at The Writer’s house (and he still isn’t ready). “Where are we going?” I ask. “Tigerheat” is the answer…obviously.
Tigerheat is allegedly the largest gay dance party in the world, and it happens every Thursday. Pretty much every homosexual in Los Angeles (and all of their closest fag hags) pile into a converted-theater venue to dance to Top 40 songs, whose music videos are projected all over the walls. I wasn’t a fan of Tigerheat my first time, but it grew on me, and I love dancing like nobody’s watching. I’m not sure how Grindr doesn’t crash into a big gay black hole every Thursday night. (Despite there being an all you can fuck buffet directly in front of them, guys are still on their iPhones all night checking out profiles.)
“We have to pick up my friend on the way,” The Writer tells me as we drive into WeHo, which technically is out of the way. “Who’s your friend?” I ask. “Ken Starr.” Ken Starr is something of an Adonis. I met him at the same party that I met The Writer, where the three of us had a very brief conversation. Ken is suave, masculine, and perfectly groomed with an exceptionally interesting chin. “Wait…is he gay?” I ask. “Of course,” is the response I get. “I only ask because Ken said he had gay dads, so I assumed he was straight and just super gay friendly.” Interesting. The Writer laughs and tells me I should tell him that. I won’t.
When we pull into the driveway, I’m blown away by the rather large and a powerfully adorable house. “Does he live alone?” I ask amazed, by which I really mean holy shit. “Yeah.” Ken takes a minute to make his way out and immediately introduces himself. “We’ve met. At that party,” I say. He smiles confidently and nods, but I’m not sure if this means he remembers. Either way, he’s unphased. The Writer goes off on one of his tangents, and I just smile to myself in the front seat. “What are you smiling about?” Ken asks me with a big bleached smile. He’s very flirty—He makes me know there are no boundaries, no barriers with just that much. “Nothing,” I answer, equal parts sheepish and teasingly abrasive.
“I need to find some boys to objectify tonight,” says The Writer. I raise my hand to volunteer myself, half joking. Ken smiles, but The Writer interrupts him: “I can’t objectify you.”
Next, The Writer recounts a story about being punched in the face at Tigerheat a few weeks ago. “You know those girls, who think they fucking own the club? Well, this bitch got in my way and shoved me for no reason, so I called her a tranny.” “Yeah, five times,” I add. (I’ve already heard this story.) “No I called her a tranny three time, and then I told her boyfriend she looked like a tranny twice…” “And the he punched you in the face,” I conclude. “Yeah and he broke my nose.” “Shit! Did it hurt?” Ken asks. “Not until the next day. I was pretty shitfaced,” The Writer says. “I’m thinking about suing the guy.”
“I need some gum,” The Writer announces. “I want some too. You don’t mind running in to get it, do you?” Ken asks me directly. I wonder why he’s asking me to go into the store. Does he have something he wants to say or ask about me? It doesn’t matter because when we pull up to the convenience store, The Writer gets out of the car before I even unbuckle my seatbelt, and I follow him in to grab a bottle of water.
A couple minutes later, we illegally park a block or two from the club, and I dread getting out of the car because the raindrops are still falling…with a vengeance. “I’ve got an umbrella,” Ken tells me. “We can share.” I agree and he wraps his arm around me while The Writer pulls his jacket over his head and stomps forward like a chicken. Ken gets a little handsy, gripping my waist as we navigate our way through the flooding street. When we arrive at the entrance, Ken abandons his umbrella, apparently not caring about getting wet on his way out. (I wouldn’t mind seeing him wet, either.)
Both Ken and The Writer are on the VIP list, and I get in as a +1. Making our way into the VIP lounge, Ken asks what I want to drink. “I’ll have a Strong Island,” I say. He hands me the drink, and I pull out my wallet. I’m obnoxious like that. “No, no, no. I got it,” he says. “Thanks,” I say with a sprinkle of attitude. The Writer disappears talking to whomever—he knows half the club, and I quickly become bored with the circle of people Ken and I are conversing with, so I lure him away. Ken addresses me by name much more than the average person. It’s part of his charm. He’s extremely popular and is personal friends with several celebrities. The no-rules mentality that he applies to his interpersonal interactions allows him to dominate his every situation. I would probably usually find Ken intimidating, but that’s his trick—he doesn’t let you feel uncomfortable.
“So, Ken, tell me about yourself,” I say nonchalantly. “Well, my name is Ken. I have gay dads, and I recently got out of a relationship. But I’m always looking. I’ve been running my own business since I was a kid, and it’s still very successful today. I’m in my mid-thirties and a few years ago, I bought my dream house, and I absolutely love it. Other than that, all I know is, life is good.” “Really? I thought you were like 27,” I say, probably sounding insanely vapid. “The secret is SPF. Keeps away the wrinkles.” He flashes his perfect smile and addresses me again. “Why don’t you come dance with me,” he (what I can best describe as) informs me. I comply, naturally.
On the dance floor, Ken immediately becomes very aggressive but in some bizarrely natural and gentle way. He grabs my ass and rubs his hands up and down my sides as if he were appreciating human touch for the very first time. Basically, he knows what he’s doing and what he’s doing is hot. As for me, I’ve finished my Strong Island, the last sip of which just sent me over the edge like a bomb dropping. Ken thinks he’s playing me like a saxophone when I take a strange turn and return his boundless touches—only with none of his grace. I’m like an animal squeezing and slapping him, and I shove him up against the wall to dance on him real crazy. I’m like an animal, and I think he likes it but when I think about how I compare to his calculated fluidity, I laugh at myself out loud. “What are you laughing at?” He asks when the song ends. “Nothing,” I say as he leads me back to the VIP lounge for another drink. On our way, he slides his hand in my pants, and I pull it out. “If you weren’t so cute, you’d be in big trouble, mister,” I say right in his ear before biting it…probably a little harder than what is comfortable. “Do you wanna come home with me, and have a threesome?” Ken more tells than asks me. “Who said anything about a threesome?” I say dramatically. “I did,” he smiles, and I punch him lightly in the arm while shaking my head laughing.
As we reach the bar, I see The Writer, who is chatting with everyone—like he does. He’s the star of his little circle, rallying like a ringleader. And then he sees me out of the corner of my eye, and he slams on the brakes. “Excuse me for a second,” he tells the group. I turn around to talk to Ken, and The Writer grabs my shoulder. “Hey. Can I talk to you for a second?” He asks. “Sure,” I say. I get a lump in my throat. He grabs my hand and leads me over to a couch in the corner.
The Writer sits me down and looks me in the eye. “I’m not sure what you’re looking for…” My stomach seizes into a knot “…but I can’t be in a relationship right now.” I blink. “That’s OK,” I say trying to cloud my voice with a sheet of vagueness to hide any confused emotions that might leak out.
“I really like you and care about you, and I want to see where you go and what you do and be close with you, but I can’t be anything right now.” “I have feelings for you too,” I tell him. “I just got out of a long, long relationship, and I can’t be chained down right now. It’s so stupid…my ex,” oh, him again, “wanted us to be completely monogamous, and I was like ‘so you want to conform to the same heteronormative values that oppressed you and ruined your life?’” I see what he’s saying, but I still have to try really hard not to roll my eyes. “I don’t know what I want right now, so I don’t know what I want to be doing.” “We can do whatever you want do,” I tell him softly but surely. He looks up at me with a smile.
Just then, Ken comes up to me, plants one on my cheek, and walks away. I’m confused as to why, but The Writer leads me back to dance floorwhere we begin to kiss for the first time since our first night out together. “You are so cute,” he tells me. “Thanks. You’re not bad yourself,” I retort. “Hey, are you a top or a bottom?” He asks. I know he’s been dying to ask me that, but he already knows the answer. I tell him anyway, confirming that we share the same sexual role (re: we’re sexually incompatible. God being gay is so frustrating sometimes.) “We were meant to be together…except for that,” he says smiling. “I bet we could work something out,” I say. I feel like I’m in the melodramatic climax of a prom scene. Or more specifically Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns when they both realize the secret idnetity of the other and struggle over the knowledge, wondering what to do next. She ends up pulling a gun out of her clutch. I wish I had such a dramatic device to move these event forward. Instead, we dance for about an hour and kiss a few more times, but The Writer eventually gets sucked back into conversation. A little irritated, I tell him I’m going to go look for Ken. “He left,” The Writer tells me. “Oh,” so that’s why he kissed me on the cheek. “Why? Did you want to go home with him?” He asks with a certain degree of pettiness. “No,” I declare, “I want to go home with you.” “Good.” And I do.
By the time I’m in The Writer’s bed, I’m exhausted. I want to fool around, but I have zero energy and it doesn’t really seem like The Writer wants to either. Instead he starts talking, opening up. “Hey, can I ask you a personal question?” I say wrapped in each other’s arms. “Sure.” “Are you still in love with you ex?” “No,” he says, “I was never in love with him. I mean I love him and care about him a lot. But I was never in love with him. I don’t know. He just needed me, and I took care of him, but he’s too immature.” I sigh in relief but hope he doesn’t notice. “I’ve never been in love,” I announce. “I’ve only been in love once, when I was younger.” “With who?” I ask. “My first boyfriend. He didn’t love me back.” I squeeze The Writer a little tighter, and we fall asleep.