Can’t Say Why I Kept This From You

April 18, 2012

“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.” -The Winter of Our Discontent

I’ve been thrown into the gay end of the pool.

I just arrived at a party that my cousin invited me to in the hills. It’s at a gorgeous house with an even more gorgeous view, packed with gorgeous gay men… or at least ones intimidating enough to pull off hot by proxy. Standing there, watching them chatter and play around the pool, I pull the pink plastic sunglasses off my face, trying my best to feel less out of place.

“There you are,” my cousin Clark says, noticing me standing at the house entrance. “Here I am,” I mutter before deciding how stupid my words sound. “This is Chase,” Clark says, introducing his co-worker to me. “Nice to meet you,” Chase says. “I think we’ve met before,” I say, by which I mean we have definitely met. I’m a little disappointed he doesn’t remember me. I always wonder in these situations if it’s better to just pretend you don’t remember either. As I shake his hand, he looks at me a little sideways before someone else greets him, then he’s gone.

“Can I get you a drink?” Clark asks. I try to work out the mathematical formula in my head to figure out the maximum quantity of liquor I can consume but still be safe to drive by the time I leave: no less than three hours here without an excuse to bounce, factor in the probable alcohol ratio of the mixed drinks, carry the one… that equals one very strong vodka tonic and a beer to chase with later.

After he retrieves me a drink, Clark talks to me for another ten minutes and introduces me to so many people that I can’t manage to hold onto a single one of their names. I think to myself, This is L.A. Can’t people just hand me their business cards? It would make all of this a lot easier.

I take another sip of my drink, hoping it will chill me out. I don’t know what it is about drinks, but having that cup in your hand—at first glance, an utterly useless prop—is a better weapon to fight social awkwardness than the actual liquor in it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Disaffection

March 29, 2011

“There’s a thin line between attraction and repulsion. And usually the repulsion starts when they begin wanting you to treat them as people, instead of sex toys.” -A New Yorker

Having only had sex once in the past several months, I’m a little bit nervous about my prospects with Mr. Wolf this weekend. I decide I need to practice, so without hesitation, I decide on Dan. Besides, he has extremely useful parking passes for WeHo, which I figure I can hold on to. (Re: steal.) I call him: “Let’s get dinner.” “Cool, let’s go out this weekend.” “No,” I say, “tomorrow.” “Alright, I’ll cook,” he agrees. Good, he knows where this is going.

I arrive a little late, and Dan meets me outside with the street parking pass I intend to keep. The second I step through the threshold, I get this overwhelming sensation that this whole night is a mistake. Dan is immediately too touchy feely, but I let myself enjoy it. Standing in his kitchen, I flashback to the dinner I made in my humble quarters and scoff at how immature I was in comparison. As we sit down to dinner, it’s quickly apparent that there’s little to talk about, so I compensate by downing two vodka cranberries, which doesn’t sit well in my stomach. He does manage to must up one interesting piece of interesting information: “The night I met you, The Writer was being SO territorial with you.” Interesting. Dan practically drags me over to the couch where I try to strike up conversation about Adele, who he’s playing on his complicated sound system, but he’s more in to humping my leg. I find myself rolling my eyes as he pulls our clothes off and once more when he carries me to his bed. A little bit of panic sets in as I debate if I really want to be fucking Dan. Why are you freaking out? I ask myself. The answer is lost on me. I arrive at the conclusion that I’m done with this, so I finish. “I need a few minutes,” I tell Dan with no intention of getting off again. We hop in the shower and when I turn around, he’s staring at me. Again. “When you cum, you look like you’re in a whole nother universe,” he tells me. I have no idea what to make of this.

After putting my clothes back on, he gets a call from his friend, Eyebrows, who invites us to dessert at Boa. “Vanessa Hudgens is here, and we’re totes BFFs!” He squeals through the phone. For some reason, I agree to go with Dan and bare witness to this shitshow, which is just a few blocks from his house. Dan parks outside Boa, something he informs me he can do thanks to his resident parking pass. Awesome. We head into Boa, which is surrounded by real life paparazzi (my first interaction with them in their natural habitat), and Eyebrows waves us down. I slump down at our table while Eyebrows tries to start something with our shitty waiter. After a quick briefing, Eyebrows sweeps Dan away to introduce him to Vanessa, so I volunteer to hold down the table. (The lenses poking through the bushes next to the table keep me company.) Dan and Eyebrows returns, and I suffer through a short dessert during which Dan clumsily winks at me eleven times, attempting to be seductive. Meanwhile Eyebrows, who is openly discontent with the amount of attention I’m allotting him, brags about his celebrity photo portfolio. “I just shout, ‘I’m your #1 Gay’ and they love me. Even if I don’t like them, I want a picture with them. Duh!” I nod with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm. Dan takes me home, and he kisses me goodnight, so I feign a smile. He asks for his parking pass back, which I begrudgingly return. I don’t call him again.


Mr Wolf. With The Handy. On The Patio.

March 22, 2011

“A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement: ‘There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.'” -The Great Gatsby

It’s been an emotionally hectic few weeks for me, so when The Writer invites me to write with him for the second Saturday in a row, I readily accept–it’s nice to have the groundwork of a social routine to rest on. He asks for my thoughts on his screenplay, and I tell him it moved me because really, it did. I give him a suggestion or two, but I’m legitimately surprised by what a peer he takes me for. I don’t mention Dan, who is friends with The Writer, or my disaster night with the couple and their neighbors. Instead, we get our respective work done, and I realize for the first time how much I appreciate The Writer as a friend–something I haven’t had in LA yet. He even cutely steals my coffee cup. While we’re writing, I remember that I’d received a pervy Facebook message from one of his friends earlier in the week. He asks me who sent it, but I don’t recall the name and have since deleted the message. We finish up our writing, and I tell him if he’s doing anything later to give me a call.

By ten, I’m wiped and in bed watching Spartacus. Just as I’m about to go to sleep, The Writer gives me a call and asks if I want to go out. Because my retainer hasn’t yet entered my mouth, I agree and meet him at his house. We have a drink with his roommate’s boyfriend, Connor, who joins us for the night. Connor is closer in age to me than most of the guys I’ve hung out with since I’ve been here. I certainly enjoy and probably prefer the company of older people who have their lives together, but the ease with which I maneuver my interactions with Connor is remarkably refreshing. It makes me miss college and my friends in New York. Plus, he’s kind of sexy in a dimwitted way.

The Writer drives us to his friend’s apartment for another drink before we go out. We park in the building’s garage, and go up one floor in the elevator when the doors open. A man, the man who sent me the pervy Facebook message to be exact, is standing there with his dog. My eyes widen as I take several seconds to piece this together—this is the friend whose apartment we’re going to. However, I keep my cool and introduce myself, but it’s immediately clear: this guy, Warren, is insane. The Writer seems to be fully aware of this but mostly amused, and Connor plays it off his passiveness. I probably come across as a bitch. Warren leads us into his apartment and introduces us to two other gays, Princess and a fairly young looking guy, who they keep calling Dirty Fingers. Dirty Fingers keeps to himself and eventually disappears upstairs, never to return. To make up for his friend’s absence, Princess, who is so superficial I’m sure that if he were dissected there would be no blood, takes it upon himself to double his ego and with it, the volume of his voice. He is so loud and pretentious that I consider punching him in the face (or rather the collection of pristinely synthetic features inhabiting the space where his face once resided.) Instead, I pick a fight with him over Lady Gaga, which he tries to turn into a pop music battle royale, but I’m not having it. “Gaga wins, you lose,” I inform him, and then I’m done with the conversation. Meanwhile, Warren has offered Connor and I a hallucinogenic European beverage, which I fear might contain roofies, so I only pretend to sip. Between Princess’s self-parody yakking and Warren’s alarming behavior, I’ve had it, so we catch a cab around the corner and make our way to the bar. Princess gayshouts in French for the duration of cab ride, provoking more violent acts to fill my thoughts. Maybe I’ll put him in a headlock. Nah, a bitchslap would better serve my purpose. I settle on wrapping my hand over his mouth, but the queen is persistent. Muddled French and gasping replace whatever the hell was happening before, and his lip-gloss smears on my palm. But it’s a win for me, so I stick with it until we arrive at the bar (which is named after a number), and I apologize to the driver for the obnoxiousness.

Once inside, an elevated stripper’s bulge greets me, and I bee line it to the bar because after putting up with that shitshow, I’m in serious need of a drink. Not realizing that there’s a five-minute open bar, I’m confused as to why every person in the establishment is simultaneously dying for another beverage. I unknowingly pay for mine and walk back over to my group, and Connor laughs at me for paying. “You’re no fun,” Princess and Warren tell me before they disappear into the crowd. Connor and I laugh at them and then get into some playful banter, which leads to some harmless flirting. He is in relationships after all. The Writer has disappeared too, so Connor opens up a little (partially from the alcohol) and tells me about his career and family. Some of his insecurities even peek through but in a cute way. Eventually, we make our way out to the bar’s patio where Connor begins pointing out all of the guys he thinks is hot. “What’s your type?” He asks me. “Tall,” I tell him with a smile because I really don’t have a type–much to the frustration of many inquirers. And then the drunk hits me, but it’s a really fun happy drunk that hasn’t inhabited me in a while, so I giggle and dance with Connor. The Writer spots us and waves us over the front of the bar’s patio where he’s entertaining some of his friends. As Connor and I take our place at The Writer’s side, I spot Mr. Wolf (from my last night out with The Writer) in the circle, chatting up a boy with auburn hair. I watch for a moment as he sinks his irresistible accent into the boy and for a second, I think that I might melt into a puddle.

At some point, Mr. Wolf loses interest in the young chap and notices me. “Hi,” I say cautiously smiling. “Remember me?” “I do!” he assures me, “but don’t expect me to remember your name.” “Why would you need to know my name?” I ask, trying to start trouble. Unlike last time, Mr. Wolf is pretty drunk. Advantage: me. One of us brushes up against the other, which leads to one thing and another until our arms are around each other’s necks. We chat, and I make sure every word out of my mouth sounds extra suave. At this point, the booze are getting the better of me, so when Mr. Wolf sticks his hand in my back pocket, I let him pull me closer. “Are you coming home with me tonight?” He asks, gazing at me through his wolf eyes. I stare deep into them and think to myself, this guy is going to eat me alive. “If you’re lucky,” I whisper in his ear. “Oh, I’m feeling lucky,” he tells me confidently. Then things get a little crazy. He removes his hand from my pocket, only to slide it into the back of my pants. While he’s distracted groping me, I lean over to Connor and say, “make sure I go home with you guys.” He promises just as Mr. Wolf tugs me closer. “It’s so nice to meet you again,” he tells me. And it really is. I’m enjoying this. Connor asks me about a few more boys as Mr. Wolf slides his hand around front, proceeding to place his entire forearm down my pant leg. Interesting choice, I think to myself. The Writer looks at me, lacking any readable expression, but I don’t care. We’re just friends now, right? Then without warning, Mr. Wolf starts to give me a handy on this public patio, mere feet from one the busiest boulevards in Los Angeles. I hesitate to stop him but only for a second. I grab his bicep and dislodge his appendage from my “junk.” He smiles, and I can barely resist. But I do. It’s time to go, and The Writer and Connor are practically out the door. “I have to go,” I tell Mr. Wolf. “Don’t leave,” he insists. I lean into his ear and whisper, “I’m not like the other boys,” and flick his earlobe with my tongue. This drives him wild, but I take off after my friends. “Aren’t you going to get my number?” he asks. I’m surprised by this, thinking he’d just find another boy to take home, so I back track and give him my digits, then catch up with Connor and The Writer on the street.

“Hey! Hey you!” We all turn around, but the yelling is directed only at me. It’s Warren, breathlessly running to catch up. “You got felt up by Mr. Wolf! I bet you feel really good about yourself!” He shouts although I’m not sure to what end. He’s expecting some kind of reaction, but he gets none. Then my phone vibrates in my pocket—it’s a message from Mr. Wolf. “You were lovely.” That’s when I realize: these boys, these men want me and are going to continue pursuing me. Whether I like it not, my new place in gayworld is going be an organizing principle in my life. It’s time to get busy.


The Bare Essentials

March 21, 2011

“Carving is easy, you just go down to the skin and stop.” -Michelangelo

My self-esteem in shards, I crawl my way through the first two days of the work week feeling extremely insecure — not myself. I decide the only thing that is going to make me feel better is not intimacy, but rather a rough lay…something I haven’t had in quite some time. Due to the tragic and mildly psychotic circumstances surrounding the parting of ways with the last boy I had sex with, I’ve been more or less celibate for about six months. (Perhaps I should have more carefully considered this before diving headfirst into that five-sum, but I digress.) Tuesday night, I text Dan from the Log Cabin Republican fundraiser. (It is my understanding that Dan is not a Log Cabin Republican himself, just friends with some. I’m all about socially responsible fornicating.) I’m upfront with myself in knowing that I think he’s a little creepy, and I have a not-so-sneaking suspicion that I am not and will never be in any way emotionally attracted to him. But that’s exactly what I want, so I ask: “Want to get dinner tomorrow?” “Sure,” he replies just seconds after my message sends. Red flag. Or is it? “Cool,” I respond. “I’ll cook. Come over at eight.”

The following night, I rush home and prepare the same meal I made for my dinner party the prior week. The same meal that I attempted and failed to lure The Writer with. Only this time, I make sure to overcook the chicken. I hear food poisoning kind of ruins sex, meaningless or not. If I weren’t busy cooking while simultaneously trying to make my apartment appear as though it housed a resident more mature than I, I probably would be taking the time to ponder the consequences of using someone strictly for sex. But I’m not. Besides, I would be feeding him first, so there’s that. When Dan arrives, I offer him a drink and he only wants white wine. We delve into a conversation that is so forgettable that I’m not sure I could tell you one thing about Dan, save his physical appearance. After dinner I give him the “grand tour” of my apartment, which comes to an end at the gift shop (a.k.a. my bed). We sit down and he goes on and on in an inane pronoun-fueled blur, and all I’m thinking is, seriously? What the hell are you waiting for? Tear my clothes off. How long can one person talk about absolutely nothing? Dan must see the drowsiness fill my eyes because he finally moves in for a kiss, which is a little too sweet, so I shove him on his back and climb on top. His over-eagerness once more shines through with his creepy sex stare, which he used on me when we first met, although I suppose it is warranted this time. Not that I care much. And that not caring is what makes this sex SO good. I don’t have much regard for what Dan wants to do or even if he thinks I’m good. I’m just enjoying the ride.

It’s one thing to get drunk, pick someone up, and have a one night stand, but inviting Dan into my apartment for the distinct purpose of screwing him isn’t something I’ve actually done prior to this evening. And I feel a little iffy about it. But also wildly empowered. It’s much easier to let your guard down and get wild around someone who I know can’t penetrate me…emotionally. As it turns out, carving is a lot like meaningless sex. Thanks Michelangelo. After a quick shower, we split a red velvet cupcake from Crumbs and chat. I keep the conversation personable but shallow enough to keep him out then send him home.


Dinner Party Desperado

March 15, 2011

“We came here to eat dinner and to party. This is a dinner party, right?” -Dwight Schrute

It’s a Friday and having not yet secured a job, I’m quickly approaching housewife status, holed up in my excessively-tidy one bedroom. All I need is a couple of valium, some kids, and a minivan to drive them to soccer practice. With so much time on my hands, I decide to throw a dinner party. And I’ll invite The Writer–you know the saying, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. (It’s a good thing I know how to cook one solid meal.) That’s right, I tell myself, I’ll steal his heart with food and good company. And maybe a few drinks. That same afternoon I go to an interview, am offered the job on the spot, and agree to begin working Monday. Still set on the dinner party, I send out invites Sunday night before I can succumb to the anxiety or exhaustion of my new job. Clark and my new friends, the gay couple, respond to tell me they’ll be there. “I’m in,” The Writer tells me a little later. My plan is simple: the night I went over to The Writer’s house to watch a movie, we talked about some of the classes I’d taken in college, and I offered to copy some of my notes for him. When my guests were ready to leave, I’d say goodbye then “suddenly remember” I had those notes for The Writer, keeping him back to spend the night. Then reality kicks in and I realize there’s a lot to be done. My apartment is not conducive to seating, so I rearrange my furniture and for the first time in the few weeks I’ve lived here notice how barren the space is. So after my grueling first day of work, nerves shot, I drive to Ikea and buy a chair and coffee table, neither of which am I actually strong enough to carry, but like a Momma Grizzly, I summon the strength. Staying up until nearly two, I finish assembling the furniture and prepare tomorrow’s dinner with blistered hands.

Getting 4 1/2 hours of sleep the night before the dinner party was not part of my plan. I somehow make it through the workday, extra chipper, but sitting in traffic on the way home, my remaining enthusiasm evaporates into the L.A. smog. I burst through my front door and without any hesitance, put vacuum to carpet, cut the brownies, pre-heat the oven, and marinate the chicken. I then turn off the oven because I only need it for biscuits. Don’t get ahead of yourself, kid. While washing a dish, I realize my hands are a little shaky, so I pour myself a Jameson on the rocks and wait. It’s ten minutes after everyone is supposed to arrive but no one’s here, so my anxiety runs wild, and I pour a second Jameson. My hands aren’t shaking anymore, but thanks to my sleep deprivation, I’m feeling rather incoherent–a great quality in any host. Finally, they arrive, almost all at once apologizing and citing traffic for their tardiness, and I notice The Writer is uncharacteristically enthusiastic to see me. After a witticism-heavy guided tour of my pad, I serve drinks. The Writer asks for water, which is also not part of the plan, but we continue into conversation. Which I’m bumped from almost immediately because my guests know hundreds of the same people, having all been friends for years where as I just met them weeks ago (except Clark, obviously). Plus, I had to stay in the kitchenette to start cooking the chicken. What I hadn’t accounted for was the time it would take to cook enough chicken for five grown men (three or four pans worth) when each pan full of chicken takes 30+ minutes. I can barely do the math on that in my current state, but I know I don’t have two hours to cook dinner…these people will hate me! So I turn up the heat and shorten the cook time by a few minutes. As I serve the salad, The Writer comes over to thank me for dinner. “I’m pretty impressed,” he tells me. “I don’t even know how to cook, much less have groceries in my house.” I’m legitimately unsure what to think of this. A little over an hour later, dinner is served! The broccoli is appropriately steamed, and the Italian chicken looks superb. Until The Writer cuts into it. “I can’t eat this,” he announces. “What’s the problem?” I ask. It’s pink. How could it be pink? I cut into several pieces to make sure they weren’t pink! Alas, the lighting above the stove is less than stellar, and in case you’ve forgotten, I’m still a bit incoherent. That’s right, I’ve nearly food poisoned my guests, who revolt, so I throw all of the chicken back on the pan for about 15 minutes. Embarrassed, I let the conversation wash on mostly without me, but I’m pretty sure I manage to slur a word or two. Great, now I’ve really reached housewife status!

I serve the chicken again, and my guests once more protest because somehow this fucking chicken is STILL undercooked. Housewife status revoked. Next, The Writer, the self-proclaimed least domestic of the party guests, takes charge and shows me how to cook. And that, kids, is what we call being shamed, especially because I’ve made this exact dinner flawlessly several times. Finally, dinner is really ready, and Clark asks for a biscuit. Panic shoots through me as I realize the biscuits have been done, sitting in the oven since I announced dinner was ready the first time. And now they’re toast–deeply blackened toast. But my guests, now unequivocally embarrassed for me, insist they still want to eat them. They devour all of the food (it’s past 10 at this point, so they’re definitely starving), and I serve dessert, which I assure them can’t be bad because I had already made and tested out the brownies. I win my guests back over, and we talk for two more hours having all types of heated to lighthearted discussions and debates. A little after midnight, Clark announces he has to go, and the others follow suit. The Writer is the last to give his goodbye, but his is a warm one. “Oh, just a sec!” I exclaim as he’s almost out the door–my plan now falling into place, better late than never I guess. “I have those notes for you.” The other guests leave us, and I pull out the copies. “Thanks so much, I really appreciate this,” The Writer says with a smile. I explain the papers’ order and a couple of other details, then he’s ready to leave. “Why don’t you stay for another drink?” I almost ask. But I certainly don’t need another drink, and I’m tired. I’m tired from work. Tired from drinking. I’m tired of trying to fit into this gay little world, and I’m tired of trying to read The Writer. So instead, I tell him to drive safe, but what I really mean is “goodbye.” I lock the door behind him, decidedly ignore the mess, then collapse into bed and pass out. I wake up alone the next morning but feel completely satisfied.


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