How Would You Like That Cooked?

“My favorite animal is steak.” -Fran Lebowitz

The Writer and I wake up late and get up even later–as usual. “Hit me up later,” he says on my way out. I get in my car and my mind starts to wander. This is never going to work. For SO many reasons. But that only makes the whole situation that much more alluring.

When I get home, I watch television for a few hours and remember that I’ve made plans with Wolf tonight. Yes, I’ve double booked. I text The Writer asking what he’s up to (and get no response) while trying to think up an excuse to tell Wolf. I’m nowhere even approaching exclusive with The Writer, but I feel a certain reservation about my sex life all of sudden. My stomach is in a knot about the whole thing–I don’t want to see Wolf, and I’m becoming overly anxious having not received a response from The Writer, so I turn off my phone. Because that’s the healthy thing to do–avoid your problems. I take a really long shower and when I get out, immediately turn my phone back on to discover no message from either. I plow through a pint of ice cream, which provides momentary relief to my prickling anxiety. At 8:30, I take two sleeping pills and pass the fuck out.

The next morning, I wake up groggy and a little upset about being blown off. The Writer’s on-and-off creepy friend Warren starts sarcastically sexting me, so I play along because it’s harmless–Warren has nicknamed me the prude. Also, he hasn’t had sex in a year. “Get on Skype,” he tells me. I do and when he turns on his camera, his dick is on my screen. “Put your penis away,” I tell him dryly. “Show me yours?” he suggests. “I’m hanging up now,” I reply annoyed. “Please?” “Fine,” I say, leaving the room for a minute. When I come back, I unzip my pants and a dildo flops out. “Very funny,” he says. “I’m so glad you think I’m going to show you my penis.” “Let’s hang out tonight,” he says. “I’ll let you know if I can,” I say, mostly planning not to. “You might as well just say no.” What’s the harm? “Fine,” I say, “but if you try anything creepy, I’m leaving.”

When I get to Warren’s, I’m hungry but he wants to continue the mock-sex banter. “Oh, oh, oh, I’m going to fuck you so hard,” he says in a weird voice. “Too late. I just came,” I say shortly. Warren tells me I’m sardonic, and then we leave to go to a burger joint. “You don’t mind walking?” He asks. “Of course not, it’s a beautiful night. Plus, I’m a New Yorker. Walking is what we do.” We sit at the bar and end up ordering the same burger. “And how would you like that cooked?” Asks the waitress. “Medium well,” he answers. “Same,” I say.

Most Los Angegays are unusually private about what and whom they do. Not Warren. He spills his guts on a boy that he’s in love with, but who is selfish and emotionally detached. Sound a little familiar? This is the reason he hasn’t had sex in a year. “Maybe you should just fuck the last person you slept with to help you get your mind off of him.” “I can’t,” he says. “Why not?” “He’s dead,” Warren says oddly. “What?” I laugh nervously. “It’s not funny. He fell off a building.” “Oh my god.” “That’s part of the reason I’m so fucked up,” he tacks on.

While we wait for our food, Warren recounts his previous night.  “I had dinner with Wolf and then I went home and was depressed,” he says. “I was supposed to hang out with him,” I say. “You’re the one who stood him up?” He nearly yells. “I did not stand him up. I didn’t hear from him. And I’m honestly kind of glad that I didn’t.” “And why’s that?” Warren asks. Without thinking, I tell him I’ve started to develop feelings for someone. “Who?” He demands. “No one,” I say. I’m smarter than that. Warren then relates the conversation back to his tragic romance, much to my relief.

When we get back to Warren’s house, his friend, Ralph, comes over to interview him for a law school project. Ralph, who is recovering from some kind of cold, asks several standard questions. The conversation steers toward criminal law, and I ask, “Is it true there’s gay jail in L.A.?” (I’ve heard this during conversation with some other LAGs and found it oddly comforting.) “No, but they do in New York,” Ralph tells me. “Yeah, you spent the night there!” Warren chimes in. “Really?” I ask, a little impressed. “Yeah, it was more of an after party than jail,” he says with a rasp in his voice. “Who were your cellmates?” “Lots of trannies, some cute boys, and this one teenager who beat up his aunt for hitting him and calling him a faggot. I was like, ‘good for you, honey!'” The interview then devolves into boytalk, which devolves into Grindr. Which annoys me because a) I don’t know who they’re talking about b) I don’t care who they’re talking about and c) Grindr pisses me off. While Ralph and Warren assess the attractiveness of familiar strangers, I get a text from Wolf. “What happened you last night?” “I didn’t hear from you,” I respond, having to stand by the window to get a signal. “Who are you texting?” Warren asks, and I tell him. “Oh, are you gonna go fuck him?” “You are so obnoxious, and no,” I reply. My phone buzzes again: “You’re phone was off, and I sent you a text.” “My phone was off for a little while, but I didn’t get a text,” I reply. “Do you want to do something tomorrow then?” “Sure,” I say not really caring.

Warren goes upstairs for a minute, and Ralph starts up a conversation. “Where did you go to school?” “NYU.” “Me too!” He graduated before me, so I don’t know any of his friends, plus I was too cool to hang out with NYU kids most of the time. I think of all of the well-known gays I know, and he shit talks most of them. I’m not necessarily a big fan of them either, but I don’t like that he’s trashing the only familiar thing between us. Warren comes back, and the boys continue on their Grindr spree, recounting who they’ve seen naked. I check my Facebook and see I’ve been poked by someone I’m not friends with. “I know him,” Warren says, “want to see his cock? It’s huge!” “Yes!” Ralph exclaims. “I’m indifferent,” I say honestly.” Warren shows us, and it’s true, he has a rather large member. “How did you get that?” I ask. “He sent it to me,” is his only response. I immediately drop out of the conversation again as they look at more boys.

After about five minutes, I say, “I’m leaving,” with a hint of annoyance in my voice. It’s midnight. “Why?” Warren asks. “Because I’m bored,” I say plainly, standing up. “I could make you not bored,” Ralph says seductively but nasally as he stands (with a hard on). He gets so close that he’s nearly pressing against me, and then squeezes my crotch. My eyes slit with anger as I slap his arm away. “It was so nice to meet you,” I hiss without eye contact, and I shove him out of the way, storming out the door. I’m not a piece of meat. I am not a fucking piece of meat. It’s one thing when I’m drunk at a gay bar, but it’s another thing when I’ve already say “no,” I’m sober, and we’re at someone else’s house. And then I realize: all of the excitement and advantages of this gay new world are going to be met with having to deal with assholes like this. Everything has its consequences. I wonder if I have the stomach for the entirety of this life.

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One Response to How Would You Like That Cooked?

  1. mindfulfeast says:

    I saw your post on the Forum, and I’m glad I stopped by to read your work. I’ll be back.

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