Thank You Should Go

December 24, 2011

“Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.” –Tender is the Night

The Writer calls me the next day. When his name pops up on the screen, I ignore the call. My life was one way before and today it’s not. It wasn’t my choice, and that makes me feel helpless. I’ve recoiled.

The voicemail he leaves is concerning the movie pitch that we’re supposed to write together, so I give it a few minutes then call him back. “Hey,” he exclaims like a little boy, excited to hear from his father who’s been away on a business trip. “Do you want to come over and work on this outline?” “Sure. When?” “Come now.”

It’s rush hour, so it takes me almost an hour to get there instead of the usual ten minutes. He texts me as I pull up in front of his house: “Are you still coming?” I ignore it, as I hustle up the front steps. When I ring the doorbell, the door opens almost immediately. It’s Dalton, his ex. I choke Read the rest of this entry »


It’s Not My Party But I’ll Cry If I Want To, Part 2

August 20, 2011

I’d Like To Tell You All About It

“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.” -Billy Joel

The next night, I’m feeling under the weather. I consider skipping Wolf’s party. My throat is soar, my eyes are scratchy, and I have a slight cough. But how could I miss this? What would it say about me? No one would really even notice, but I would know. Besides, all of the ridiculous drama that I imagine will climax tonight will make for a wonderful story to share over drinks with friends. So I ready myself, and get in my car. I’m pumped. I feel a little adrenaline. A little anxiety. Dread is the exact emotion I’m feeling actually. But whatever. Who doesn’t have a precise fear of the unknown? What’s on my mind, you ask. Well, I’ll be meeting Dalton for the first time, which frankly doesn’t sit well with me no matter which way I angle it. He’s predetermined to hate me. I have no idea how I’m supposed to begin to interact with him. We’re sharing what in some way belongs to the other. I’m nervous about seeing Wolf and meeting his other “boys.” It’s immature, but I’m genuinely curious how I compare. I don’t really care about seeing Turtle or Warren, but I am anxious about what they might say to or about me. I know what I’d say to either of them; something along the lines of “oh, hey.” And while I’m considering all of this, one thought lingers above the rest. It’s like a constant static shock somewhere near the top of my spine. What will I say to The Writer? I promised myself to talk to him the next time I see him. Talk about everything. And that time is tonight. I don’t know where to begin. What I have to say is simple. The situation? Not so much.

I start my car. Before I switch gears into reverse, Clark calls. Relieved, I turn off the engine and remove the keys from the ignition. “Hello?” “Hey buddy, what’s up?” I used to hate it when people called me buddy, but Clark has the kind of authority where it doesn’t bother me. “I was just calling to check in with you,” Clark continues. “Oh, I’m just heading to Wolf’s party,” I tell him. “Cool, me too. I’ll see you there then,” he says conclusively. “Great! Can’t wait.” It’s extremely comforting knowing Clark will be there. He always has my back one way or another, and my back is going to be rather exposed this evening. Especially because I’ve decided not to drink, given my not feeling so hot.

I arrive at Wolf’s about an hour after the party kicked off. But the sun is still glimpsing over the horizon…a sign that I’m here too early. I knock on Wolf’s door, and no one answers. I hear people around back though, so I let myself in. My eyes dart around searching for Turtle first. Turtle has the temperament of a scorned overweight junior high cheerleader, and while he doesn’t pose any real threat to me, I’d prefer to steer clear. Number two on my search-and-avoid list is The Writer and/or his ex. I haven’t met Dalton, but I’ve seen pictures, so I know what he looks like. I feel some kind of weird kinship with him. He’s what came before. Deep down, I pray to whatever someone like me would pray to that Dalton flaked out and The Writer would come solo. It would take a lot of stress of the agenda I have for the evening. And it’s not too much of a stretch, especially considering Wolf and Dalton never really seemed tight. And finally, Warren. At this point, I’ve come to believe he’s insane. Like truly unstable. As luck would have it, not a single one of them is present. By the time I make it through the house and onto the back patio, I know I’m in the clear. That’s when I realize…my anxiety about who would be there was misplaced. What I should have been worrying about was who wouldn’t be there. I don’t recognize anyone except Mr. Wolf, and it’s his party.

Wolf and I haven’t really spoken in a couple weeks, and all of a sudden I feel guilty. Other than a couple of simple misunderstandings, he’d always been very genuine and kind toward me. Not to say that I plan to rekindle our fling, but I displaced frustration I had with myself onto him. My shoulders tense up and my breathing becomes shallow. That’s when Wolf notices me. I do have impeccable timing like that. “Hallo, you!” I give him a weak smile and a strong hug. “Happy Birthday,” I muster up with appropriate sincerity. “I see you’re cooking. Your favorite!” I inch closer. “Well, grilling but yes.” He has to correct me. If I wasn’t so uptight at the moment, I’d find it charming. I even go as far as to grin but imagine my expression looks more like a wince. As more people arrive, Wolf greets them, and I stand, watching for a moment unsure what to do with myself. I lean on one leg and pull out my phone, pretending to text someone like I used to do at high school parties where no one wanted to talk to me. I’m literally making myself crazy. My shoulders are so tense, they’re practically touching my ears, and I think of more things, more reasons why I can’t free myself from the man I care for so deeply:

16. He’s the only person I’ve ever liked sleeping next to.
17. He made me fall in love with cuddling.
18. How weak I’ve become to not give that up.
19. How hard he tries to do right by me.
20. How often he fails.

I hear a laugh. That’s when I snap out of it. Clark and Noah are sitting at the table right behind me. My chest heaves a heavy sigh. I slap on a smile, which I hope is big enough to blanket my enormously exposed insecurities. “Hey cuz,” Noah says with a wink. I bend over to give him a hug before embracing Clark. He hops over to sit on the cooler, offering me his seat. “You’re the best,” I tell him. “What have you been up to?” He asks me. I tell him about New York and we talk family matters, which calms my nerves. Then Noah interrupts to introduce a friend. “I don’t think you’ve met The Model,” Noah says. I turn to shake his hand and nearly swallow my Adam’s apple. The Model is gorgeous. Perfect teeth. Perfect hair. Perfect skin. Perfect jaw. Everything. The reason I’m really so faint though is his uncanny resemblance to Jake, the first boy I ever fell for. Same facial hairline, beauty mark on the same spot on his cheek, exact hue of his eyes. Noah elbows me, getting the wrong idea. The Model, just like Jake, is way out of my league. And for those of you tuning in, I’m buried under a mountain of someone else’s emotional rubble. “H-hi,” I sputter. “Nice to meet you,” The Model says, making me feel much more comfortable. The four of us carry on some conversation, and I mostly say things that make me feel stupid. I actually feel kind of drunk despite not drinking anything but water.

When I feel I’ve worn out my welcome with the people I know, I do the rounds…only to discover I know no one else. I recognize a couple of lesser-known actors, who I have a lot of respect for but can’t summon up the courage to introduce myself. Everyone’s mingling, so I lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes. Where is The Writer?

21. He uses wipes instead of toilet paper.
22. He only takes baths.
23. If he was here, I’d probably be just as quiet. But I’d be content just standing beside him.
24. He expects me to wait.
25. But doesn’t care if I don’t Read the rest of this entry »


Tic-Tac-Tequila

June 23, 2011

“Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer sex raises some pretty good questions.” –Woody Allen

The rest of the week is turbulent at best. There’s no more talk of plans for my birthday, and The Writer and I don’t seem comfortable together. Except when we’re sleeping. Thursday morning, I ask him if he wants to go dancing at Tigerheat, but I don’t get a response until I’m leaving work: “I don’t know.” I’m uncertain how to feel about the weird air that I’ve returned to, but the tension makes my insides feel like twisting scrap metal. Regardless, I won’t let this keep me down. Instead, I call Trick Bradley, who I’ve been getting along with recently. We went out for a drink in WeHo and hung out a few other times. He broke up with his boyfriend, which was a bummer, but he handled it well–better than I would’ve–and he’s actually pretty fun to hang out with. Nice kid, too. “Let’s go dancing tonight,” I say. “Okay. Is The Writer coming?” “No,” I say decidedly, “we’re going by ourselves.”

Bradley suggests we go early, given the line at the club can be utterly ridiculous. Normally this isn’t a problem since I go with LAGs of status, who have connections on the inside or who are on the inexplicable perma-list of V.I.P.s. Despite arriving early, there’s no parking to be found, so Bradley and I go splitsies on a sketchy pay lot a few blocks away and make our way to the venue. It’s 10PM, a little more than an hour earlier than I’ve ever been, and there’s no line. Despite this, the bouncer makes us wait for a couple of minutes before acknowledging our presence. What’s worse is, I have to pay for admission, something I’ve never done before–liberation is a luxury that comes at a cost. And that cost is $10. (But honestly, don’t they know who I am by now?) The steep cover is ridiculous considering when we walk in, it’s a ghost town. It’s like being the first one to show up to a high school dance. So we retreat to the upstairs “bleachers.” Sitting alone and bored to death, Bradley’s phone buzzes. It’s a text from The Writer: “Pick me up on your way.” “What should I say?” Bradley asks, probably embarrassed by how early we’re here. I grab his phone and write back, “We’re at a bar nearby, so I can’t.” I’m annoyed that The Writer ignored me all day and that he’s now trying to piggyback on my plans for the evening. Plus, why did he text Bradley instead of me? He’s acting strangely. But tonight isn’t about The Writer–it’s about fun. And since it’s cinco de mayo, I’m on a tequila kick (warning: danger), so I order a shot and a margarita to chase. And we’re on our way.

…Only not, because the place is still empty 30 minutes later. Even as it starts to fill in, I don’t see anyone who I recognize from our birds eye view. Probably because everyone I know is smart enough to know not to go out dancing before ten. “Give me your phone,” I demand of Bradley. You know how scientists design some substance that can withstand like a million degrees of heat, but they only use it for some dumb experiment then it sits in a lab for a decade until someone from the military is like, “oh yeah, we definitely could’ve used that,” so they buy the patent and spray said substance on everything they can find? Well I’m pretty sure grindr was created under similar circumstances prior to its proliferation as cruising gaydar. Yes, grindr might finally do me some good, so I launch the app to see who’s nearby. It looks like The Writer is a little less than a mile away. I can’t help but read through his profile…which says he’s “24” (not even close, although I thought he was 26 when I first met him) and “straight-acting” — his words. I hate this term. So what? You’re into vag? Great, then go fuck a girl, asshole. There’s nothing that isn’t condescending about the phrase, which in every way connotes that there is something inferior and behaviorally wrong with being gay. I look at his picture one more time, then go back to searching for another recognizable face. And I see one: Turtle. “Fuck,” Bradley says. “That guy keeps texting me.” “He’s such a creep,” I say. Turtle’s kid friend has since returned to wherever he came from, so Turtle has moved on to searching out any new potential too-young-to-drink boys to victimize. I was wrong. Nothing good ever comes of grindr.

“Let’s go downstairs,” I suggest, and we do. And it’s our lucky day! A random tequila-sampling booth is set up in the lobby, so I New York my way through the crowd of sleeveless pretty boys and shrieking queens up to the table and down what I can get my hands on. “I’m feeling better now,” I tell Bradley. He looks at me like “whatever,” and I lead him to the VIP lounge. “How are we going to get in?” He asks. “I pulled your ass over a bar patio wall last week, this is easy apple pie,” I tell him, not particularly sure what it is I’m saying. It takes less than twenty seconds for the bouncer to be so engrossed in some mundane distraction that we walk right past him.

Near the VIP bar, William is waving at me. William is a Tigerheat regular, friend of The Writer, and politically angry. And usually not in the good way. The Writer also informed me (on the night that he told me he just wanted to be friends before trying to get me to have a threesome with him) that he gave William his permission to sleep with me. Which through the lens of sexual politics I find completely appalling, but in the moment works well for me because William is looking fine tonight. “Want a drink?” He asks wrapping his arm around my neck, his big bicep bulging out of his shirt and against Read the rest of this entry »


Fuck Or Flight

May 31, 2011

“Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.” –Sophia Loren

It’s Saturday, and Wolf wants to “hang,” but I have plans. “Maybe tomorrow,” I suggest although I hold more than a tinge of reluctance. At first I don’t know what it is, but then I realize a pattern developing. It started with Dan. If I have a recurring hook up and no emotional connection with the guy, I begin to resent them. I pick apart every little thing I don’t like about them. But if an emotional connection does develop, I like all of their dirty little habits to the point that they amuse me. So I decide in my mind that I really don’t want to sleep with Wolf anymore. But do I fuck or do I flee? I’m really in need of a good lay, so I think we know how this story goes…

After spending the day with a friend, I return Wolf’s call. “Want to get dinner?” He asks. “Sure,” I say. “Alright come over.” I’m tired and a little sick of always going to him, so I ask him to come to my part of town. “But I wanted to ‘hang out.’ Do you just want dinner?” I’m confused by what he’s saying. “No, we can do whatever,” I say. “Then why are we going to your place? Don’t you live with like five people?” I’m not really surprised by this. “No, I live alone.” “Oh, I thought you lived with Chase and all them,” he says. Chase is in his early thirties and lives alone in Hollywood with his boyfriend of a decade. I don’t say this, but you understand what I’m getting at.

Wolf says he’s on his way and I begin preparing my usual deadly chicken dish with broccoli when I realize I’m out of lube and condoms. Wonderful. I race out to the grocery store and see that they are in a glass case by the pharmacy. As I slide the glass door open, it makes a screeching sound. I don’t see the usual lube I buy…probably because I’m buying sex supplies at a grocery store. So I spend a minute evaluating the inventory. Finally, I grab one and decide I need a few more food items, so I dash through the store, receiving some uncomfortable glances. I manage to avoid one of those awkward price-check moments and run home, but when I walk through the gate of my apartment building, the landlady, an elderly woman with a hint of Betty White to her, is there. “How are you?” She says with a warm smile. “I’m great!” I say. “Just about to cook dinner.” “Oh! Wonderful! What are you cooking?” She asks, looking at the bag. Grocery bags are mildly see-through. She totally sees the condoms, but I don’t have time for this. “Chicken,” I say as I continue toward my apartment. “It was good seeing you! Have a good night,” she says waving. What a hoot.

Wolf takes a while to finally arrive, but when he does, he tells me he’d been drinking–not that he was drunk, but there’s a little buzz going. He tells me how my building should change the structural integrity of its stairs (“It would only cost them a few thousand dollars”) and maneuvers his way into the position of captain of the kitchen. Not that I mind. Cooking is not my forte. As we know. “Can I get you something to drink?” I ask politely. “If you don’t mind, I’ll have a vodka something.” I make it for him, knowing this will likely be the end of him for the night. He’s not going to be driving home.

We eat the uneven meal and both enjoy it–that fucking chicken is a homerun! But while we’re eating, he drinks more, getting flush in the face. We make out on the couch, and he rests his head on me before actually passing out on my lap. I’ve never watched someone sleep so closely with the light on before, and his REM is insane. I’m totally infatuated with watching the creepy movement of his irises through his eyelids…for about thirty seconds. And then I’m bored. So I slowly lift his head and switch out my lap for a pillow. I go into my room and decide I’m going to play dress up. I put on a gold bikini/speedo thing from American Apparel that my friend got me as a (sort of) gag gift for my college graduation. It doesn’t cover much, and stuff is popping out from every angle, but I’m amused. Peeking out my bedroom door, I check to see that he’s still asleep and tip toe into my living room. I’m extra quiet as I approach the couch and slowly mount him doing some kind of ridiculous pelvic thrust lap dance. He wakes up, smiling before his eyes open. I put my hand over his eyes as he feels me up. “Guess what I’m wearing.” He removes my hand from his face. “I was guessing just that!” He says laughing. We make out some more as he feels me up and down. “I want to do a body shot off you,” he says, so I comply, laying on my back. His tongue slurps on the vodka slowly, then drips down on my stomach. “I’m drunk,” he says with an embarrassed smile.

We go back in the bedroom, and I find myself doing more work than usual, which displeases me considering my reluctance for this night in the first place. Wolf is kind of hammered and keeps pseudo-apologizing despite my promising that I don’t care. As long as he can keep it up, we don’t have a problem. And luckily that problem doesn’t occur. (I’m kind of a fox like that.) We’re going at it when he stops for some more lube. “Hey, we buy the same products,” he tells me incoherently. “So we do,” I say impatiently. We start going at it again, and it’s good. Real good. But not as good as last time. Maybe he’d be trying harder if he knew this would be the last time we’d be doing this. I think about telling him, but I’m not serious about it–it would kill the mood. “I like fucking here,” he says to me in a dazed voice. “Why’s that?” I regret asking almost immediately because I’m sick of conversing. “You like to take control here,” he answers. Actually, I have to because you fell asleep on my couch, but I suppose I should be putting in my fair share. We both finish and hop in the shower. I get out fast and get in bed. Wolf comes out in a towel and seems expectant of a toothbrush, but goes for the mouthwash when I don’t offer one. “Sorry I got so drunk,” he says again. “Really, you’re fine,” I assure him from my bed. He climbs in next to me as I read a book, and he passes out pretty quickly. I don’t want him to touch me, so I sleep on the edge of the bed. Not that it matters. I’m fairly certain he doesn’t move all night.

The next morning I wake up before my alarm goes off. I take another shower (because I always have to take a shower in the morning) and get dressed. Taking my computer into the kitchen, I read the news and drink some coffee. A few minutes later, I go back in and wake Wolf, who is still sound asleep. “I have to go to work in ten minutes,” I tell him. “What?” He seems disoriented. “I heard you stirring, but I didn’t think you had to leave!” He throws his clothes on and we leave together, going out opposite ends of the building, and I drive to work. I’m an hour early.

*     *     *

I think about my pattern of booty-call resentment. I don’t like it, and I realize that the real reason for pretty much all of my hook ups since I’ve moved here have been motivated by low self-esteem. And for the most part, I feel like they’ve been bad decisions for my friendships, my mental health, etc. It’s like your mom says when you’re little: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Only it’s more like, “If you can’t make good decision about sex, don’t have sex at all.” I decide I’m going on an indefinite vow of celibacy. The first leg will last two weeks, and I’ll reevaluate things from there.


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