“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.