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.

A Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing

March 27, 2011

“A gentleman is simply a patient wolf.” -Lana Turner

Mr. Wolf texts me most of the next day. I insist that I’m not going to see him because it’s Sunday night, and I have work early tomorrow. But he is persistent. (If persistence is a virtue, the men of L.A.’s gay scene are more virtuous than nuns.) At work on Monday, Mr. Wolf sends me a message to inform me that he’s made reservations for dinner at nine, and I (admittedly nervously) agree to meet. “You should come to this short film screening before dinner. I’m an editor on one of the films.” I again somewhat reluctantly agree, so after work I hurry home and try to make up my mind whether or not I’m going to spend the night with him. When I argue with myself, it’s not pretty. These types of situations make me extremely anxious, so I have a tendency to need to be in control of how things are going to go even though they usually don’t go the way I plan, so I end up driving myself crazy. After 35 minutes of back and forth (and packing and unpacking an overnight bag), I come to an inconclusive “maybe” and decide to take half of my anti-anxiety pill.

It’s my first time in downtown L.A., which compounds my nerves even more, and I arrive just minutes before showtime. Mr. Wolf greets me with a hug and introduces me to a couple of his friends before we find out seats. I’m unusually quiet but calm thanks to the pill, and Mr. Wolf is on his best behavior in front of his peers. The short films are hilarious, and I give him an exaggerated pat on the back when his name rolls in the credits. Afterward, we make our way to the rooftop for the after party where Mr. Wolf buys me a beer. (Even though the restaurant is within walking distance, he doesn’t drink because he’s driving home after dinner–he’s extremely strict about this.) As it turns out, the beer compounds the medicine’s effects and makes me something of a zombie, so as my date introduces me to more of his friends, I make a rather poor impression. One guy in particular stares at me while Mr. Wolf chats up his girlfriend. “Chill out, buddy,” he says, patting me on the back. I try to defend myself by telling him I’m kind of cold, but my face (much like my mind) betrays me.

Mr. Wolf and I depart for the restaurant and although it’s only about four blocks away, I can think of almost nothing to say. I’m choking in the worst way–something I usually reserve for second dates. I guess a guy sticking his arm down your pants sort of replaces date numero uno. As we sit down, Mr. Wolf charmingly shares that this is one of his favorite restaurants and explains the menu. It’s family style, so I sign away food choices to his liking and when the waiter arrives for our drink orders, I abruptly plead for water. I fumble my way through some conversation when the Wolf asks some rather personal questions.

As you might have learned from reading, very few of the normal rules of sex and dating really apply to gayworld, but first dates have a tendency to be extremely intimate. And not just because there’s usually sex immediately afterward. You know those pride parades and protective gay camaraderie you see or hear about? That’s not for shits and giggle. Well, a little bit, but pretty much every gay man in America has gone through the same excruciating coming out process. Regardless of the details, almost every single gay man can relate to the hyper-emotional undertaking of handling self-loathing or rejection from family and friends and any related discriminatory shit that’s been thrown at us along the way. We are survivors at our core. Or at least I am.

My answer to Mr. Wolf is fairly vague and impersonal, which surprises me. I tell him about my religious upbringing and conservative family, but I find myself saying very little that’s actually interesting. However, thanks to the medicine, I’m fine with sounding stupid. Besides, he probably finds it charming. I doubt it’s any kind of accident that when I was in diapers he was in flares. That’s when Mr. Wolf takes it upon himself to give me his adolescent biography in full unabashed detail but with a quiet solemness. He tells me about boarding school and how his father left his family. He tells me about his pubescent fears and his first boyfriend and his current lack of familial structure. I get stuck on this last one. I can’t image being alone like that fifteen years from now. Which probably explains why he goes on to casually mention his ex, who he recently got out of a long, long relationship with and how he’s very recently gotten into great shape and gained a new perspective on life. This changes everything. I’m suspicious at first, but whatever angle he’s trying to play works, and I let myself become a little vulnerable. Just not so he can see.

Mr. Wolf pays the bill, and we leave. “Thanks for dinner,” I say as he walks me to my car. “It was my pleasure,” he assures. “And it was nice getting to know you without the…” “Fondling?” I interject. He laughs slightly and grins. So do I. “What are you doing the rest of the night?” He asks. “Just going home,” I answer blankly before realizing…”oh, was that an invitation?” He laughs again. “If it were, would it change your mind?” He asks with a mock sheepishness. “I’m tempted…but I do have work very early tomorrow.” “Ah,” he says as I look him right in the eye. He hugs me then asks, “was that supposed to be a kiss?” “I think it might have been.” He kisses me gently but with great precision, and all I can do is smile. He calls the next day, and we agree to get together this weekend.

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.

XXXX (or The Ecstasy And The Agony)

March 17, 2011

“Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.” -Oscar Wilde

It’s Wednesday, and I receive a text from my new friends, the gay couple: “Thanks for everything last night. We had so much fun!” “It was my pleasure,” I text back. They’re response? “We’ll have to treat you to dinner sometime. Or maybe some E,” so we make plans for the weekend. Now, I’m not a huge proponent of drugs (although I used to be) and haven’t done much more than smoke pot in the last year. Also, I haven’t ever actually tried ecstasy proper, but I have used its closely-related cousin Molly, which, despite my mixed history with drug use, was wildly beneficial to my mental state, even after the immediate effects wore off. This is a concept a lot of people misunderstand about drugs. There are the active effects and then the residual chemical changes that your body is left with for better or for worse. Besides, E, X, ecstasy, Molly, whatever you want to call it, has roots in psychiatric treatment in which people, who were psychologically crippled by tragic events were able to confront their life’s darkest moments after ingesting the substance.

Saturday night, I arrive right at their apartment just outside Hollywood, greeted by Steve. Steve is the type to try everything at least once and probably already has. He’s extremely nice but also holds a bit of a dark perspective of the world. He’s also made it clear that he finds me attractive on more than one occasion. His–whatever they are–Chase is locked into his computer as usual, working…even though it’s 8 o’clock on a Saturday night. If opposites attract, Steve and Chase are a match made in heaven. Steve is the dark of midnight to Chase’s golden boy day. After a drink, a bowl or two, and an hour of conversation, Chase asks if we want to go to The Abbey, an bar in WeHo. “Why don’t we stay in and take some E, instead,” suggests Steve. “Sure,” I say so enthusiastically that I find I’m surprised by myself. At this point, I should have had a very clear understanding of where the night was going. After all, I’ve been in situations similar to this more than once, but for whatever reason, I’m not thinking about what comes next, and I’m also mentally unprepared. We each take a pill and 40 minutes later, I start having wild sensations in the bottom of my feet as I drag them through my hosts’ jungle carpet. “Are you feeling it?” One of them asks me. “Mmhmm,” I respond. Apparently they weren’t feeling much, so they each took a second pill and offered me one, too. “Is it safe to take another?” I ask. (Since all of my experiences had been with Molly, which is a powder, I didn’t know how much pillage was safe.) “Oh yeah,” they assure me. Then Chase gets a phone call from another gay couple, who I’d met at their apartment on the first night I went out with The Writer. “What are you guys doing?” They ask, and Chase explains. “We want in,” they beg.

The other couple comes over, and I’m more than a little thrown by the presence of our new guests. Being a third wheel makes you a tricycle. Being the fifth wheel makes you a spare tire. Regardless, we take another pill–this time I don’t even give thought to the consequences, and things (re: my memory) start to get very splotchy. The next thing I know, I’m in bed with this new couple, whose names I’ve completely forgotten, and Chase, whose name I’m also struggling to hold on to. At some point, Steve arrives in the room, but to me it seems like he’s suddenly appeared. “You’re the only one still wearing clothes,” he informs me. I look around a little dazed, and I am. This is where things go bad. I strip, apparently take a fourth pill, then I try to start things off with Steve. I notice everyone’s staring at me and also that I can’t keep my mouth open. Also, I’m sweating profusely. Not because I’m overdosing or anything dramatic like that…although I’ve definitely taken too much. Chase informs me I’m having a panic attack. I can’t handle it anymore, so I roll onto my back, hoping this nightmare will stop, but all I hear is laughing. Let’s recap: I’ve taken too much ecstasy and am experiencing a panic attack, completely naked, in front of two complete strangers and two other people I’ve known for less than a month, whose bed sheets I’ve drenched with full-body sweat. And they’re all laughing, presumably at me. That’s all I remember from this point on other than some very weird hallucinations (which I didn’t know you could even have from E but I promise, you can–especially if mixed with weed). I’m not even sure what level of consciousness I’m registering in, but I can barely speak (not that I want to), and all I can see are these guys running around in skin-tight Velcro suits. Even though they definitely are not.

I wake up the next day, serotonin depleted, wishing I were dead. You’ll feel better soon, I think. But it only makes me feel worse. Normally, I’d make light of the situation but there’s nothing there. I drive home and decide to read The Writer’s screenplay, which is beautiful and also manages to shatter my self worth on so many different levels. I lay on the couch, thinking about how awful the prior night was, especially the laughter. I don’t move until the following morning. But only because I have to go to work.

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.

Family Matters

March 14, 2011

“We live in a disposable society. It’s easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name — we call it recycling.” -Neil LaBute

I spend the rest of the week alone, not seeing anyone I know until one afternoon my aforementioned relative (let’s call him Clark) invites me to dinner with some of his friends. I want to tell Clark about The Writer, but I think better of it. Although I don’t know Clark super well, he is an incredibly friendly guy with a lot of influence, which translates to him knowing pretty much everyone ever, so I figure I’m in for a nice dinner with some interesting new people. I meet him at Boa in WeHo, one of the nicest restaurants in town, but when I arrive it’s just Clark, his best friend Noah (both are around 40), and a boy who appears noticeably younger than myself (despite my actual age, I’m frequently told I could pass for 16). Our party of four is seated at a table of six, which I find peculiar, but this thought is immediately interrupted by Noah, who begins recounting his exchange with the valet. “The valet asked if I was his dad, and I said no,” Noah says, referring to the boy. “Then the guy asked if I was his older brother. I said no. Cousin? No.” I look at Clark with a smirk. “Teacher? No. Coach? No.” “I would’ve accepted coach,” Clark chimes in. (He has a bit of a sports fetish.) “I told him we’re ‘friends,'” Noah concludes, uncomfortably attempting to land a punchline. I suppose it would help if I knew their actual relation. But then again I already do, I’m just being politely naive for my own sake. Not that it’s any business of mine or the valet. I learn Boy Toy is in from New York for the long weekend to visit Noah. “Cool, I just moved here from New York,” I offer. A weak smile is all I get in return. I try again, asking about his plans in LA to which his excitement climaxes (weakly), announcing his amusement park trip for the following day. I’m not one to judge people’s sexual preferences — ever. There are certainly acts that I would never be party too, and I admittedly carry some deeply rooted stigmas that I’m sure would give Freud a total woody, but I don’t condemn people for their sexual desires, short of anything blatantly criminal. However, I’ve always been a little weird about age. And frankly, this dinner is starting to recall some scenes from True Blood, in certain ways painting its fangs = fags metaphor as vividly accurate. So while I’m definitely not judging Noah, this situation does make me a little uncomfortable — admittedly because of my own insecurities. “What do you do?” Clark inquires. “I used to be a lifeguard,” Boy Toy punctuates before curling up into Noah’s arms sleepily. “It’s past his bedtime,” Noah jokes. But really, it is. All that’s missing are some footies and a pacifier. And maybe a diaper if one of them is into that kind of thing.

Clark then asks me to move to the seat next to his so that the two empty seats remain together. “Some other people are joining us.” Good, I think. “Anyone I know?” “I’m not sure. Do you know The Writer?” Read the rest of this entry »

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