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 »


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 »


The Cheap Trick

April 3, 2011

“I wish that I could have this moment for life.” -Nicki Minaj

I wake up late Saturday. I’m starving, so I call The Writer to invite him to a strictly eating-only lunch (Saturday afternoons have become prime writing time, and I’m full-on anti-work today), but he is of course still asleep because he sleeps always. When he finally gets up, I drive over to his house, and we select The Waffle in Hollywood as our dining destination. On our way, he calls his creepy friend Warren and invites him to eat with us, which makes me cringe. “The thing about Warren is he’s insane when he’s drunk. Like mad scientist bat-shit crazy, but he’s normally a very sweet person.” I nod discouragingly, remembering our last encounter, which ended with him drunkenly yelling something about Wolf and I on the street in WeHo.

When we arrive, The Writer insists on sitting next to me in the booth because we’re by the door and it’s quite drafty. He then stands and wanders around the establishment for the next five minutes in search of a different table until finally someone leaves. His shamelessness both embarrasses me and amuses, but this is why I like The Writer—he’s weird and unapologetically so. Just as we settle at our new table, Warren joins us and turns out to be an enjoyable conversationalist, which makes up for a less-than-stellar brunch (because what I really want is a cheeseburger.) Conversation turns to boys, and they pull out their phones to check Grindr.

What is Grindr? According to its website, it’s a “Free Gay iPhone App [that] finds local gay, bi and curious guys for dating or friends for free on Grindr. Meet the men nearest you with GPS, location-based Grindr.” Basically, it’s an actual gaydar. Grindr locates the nearest hundred gays and displays their profiles, which contain, among other things, naked to semi-naked photos of the user, their sexual roles, and other excruciatingly personal details. Users can then message whoever is in the vicinity and potentially hook up. What’s more is pretty much every gay I’ve met in L.A. has Grindr and uses it with as much frequency as Facebook. Grindr grosses me out, but the concept is admittedly fascinating.

Warren leaves to meet his personal trainer—he’s making big strides to improve his life, including not drinking and working out six days a week. The Writer and I leave shortly after, and I let him in on my anti-work leanings, so we agree to see a movie. “We have an hour before it starts,” he informs me. “Let’s go back to my place and take a nap.” “I’m not tired,” I tell him with legitimate naivety. When we get back to his house, The Writer suggests I read Diablo Cody’s Candy Girl while he naps, and we climb into bed. He reaches his arm out. “Come snuggle,” he says in a cutesy voice before scooping me over to his side. I’m a little cold on this given our history, but I don’t resist. I make it through a page and a half of the stripping memoir before I drop the book and reciprocate his embrace.

Half an hour later, it’s time to leave for the theater, so I poke The Writer. “We have to go,” I whisper. “Five more minutes,” he begs. “Fine.” Five minutes later, I shake him. “We’re going to miss the movie!” I exclaim. “No we won’t.” He rolls over. Yes we will, but I’m not going to win this battle. I kind of don’t want to anyway. Four and a half hours later, it’s nine, and I decide we really should get up, if for no other reason than my hunger–despite consuming every crumb of my last meal, I am already starving again.

Turns out waking him up was only half the battle. The Writer missed about twenty phone calls and thus spends the next half hour playing catch up. While he is texting, chatting, whatevering, his ex calls. The Writer answers, and I’m silent Read the rest of this entry »


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 »


%d bloggers like this: