What’s A Guy Like Me Doing In A Place Like This?
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 29
Love thermometer: Not registering. Sex thermometer: Not registering. Am going to have to return and ask for money back.
Home. 7:30 p.m. Richard barks into the phone, “I’m not in the mood for your bitching and moaning about being single, Dale. Go to a sex club for God’s sakes. Maybe you won’t be so annoying if you got some dick.
Me: “Yeah, right. Me at a sex club? That’ll be the day.”
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31
Sex club. 2:15 a.m. Can I get any lower than this? Am I that desperate to kiss and hold a man that I’ve resorted to seedy sex clubs? Yuck. What an awful place. Especially on New Year’s Eve! Everybody’s walking around with their shirts off in dark, dank, maze-like hallways. There are small empty rooms dotting the joint. Yuck. Did I already say “Yuck?” Well, I’ll say it again: Yuck. What am I doing here? This is the worst… wait, hang on.
Who’s that? Oh, crap, it’s that hottie, Jeff what’s-his-name, the one I’ve hit on at the Heretic, the one who always walks away after he says hello. He’s actually pretty plain looking. But from the neck down there’s nothing plain about him. Smooth upper body with muscles that blend into each other, one defining the other. A regular Joe with the body of Thor. And a chest harness to boot. A chest harness? Geez, I never pegged him as a leather guy. God, how embarrassing! I’m in a SEX CLUB and I run into somebody I know. I better duck into this hallway before he sees me.
11:30 p.m. Took my shirt off. If I’m going to be here I might as well be here. Most of the guys are either over 50 or over ugly. Nobody I’d do here even with Richard’s dick. Jesus, I can’t believe that I’ve sunk this lo….oh, shit! It’s Jeff. He’s walking toward me in the narrow hall. Now, I’m going to HAVE to say hello. Okay, keep calm. Don’t be embarrassed that he’s caught you at a sex club—he’s here too, you know. He’ll do what he always does, say hello, skitter away and I’ll be fine.
He doesn’t. He says hello, stops and talks. Doesn’t say a fucking word to me at the Heretic, but here, in the most embarrassing place on earth, he’s chatty Cathy. The harness makes his already sculpted chest look even more sculpted. He’s blabbering on about something and I’m staring at his nipples thinking I’d leave home, family and career just to smell his dirty shorts.
Well, I didn’t come here to talk, so I said “nice to see you, gonna walk around.” Next thing I know he pulls me towards him, caresses my chest and says, “What’s the hurry?”
I’m thinking to myself, “You son of a bitch. You won’t give me the time of day at the bars, but now, here, at a grubby sex club, your hands are all over me?”
If I had any self-respect I’d tell him to kiss off, but I don’t. I have found that it’s only through the loss of dignity and self-esteem that I can put my hands upon the wonderment.
The truth is, I really wanted him, but not here, not in a sex club with somebody I know, somebody I’d want to date. “Come home with me,” I say.
“No,” he says. “Let’s do it here.”
“This isn’t really my style,” I say.
“This is totally my style,” he replies. “Come back to one of these rooms with me.”
I relent but only because I have no dignity or self-esteem and can’t wait to put my hands upon the wonderment.
We go into the dark room and he kisses me wildly. I ask him about the harness. “What’s it for?”
“For you to grab,” he said.
“Like this?” I ask, tugging it lightly.
“Harder,” he says.
I yank it hard and when I see how easily it forces his body to come to me I get flushed with the feeling of…power? I kissed him hard and push, pull, and shove the harness –and him in it– in any direction I want. As I do it, his body obeys helplessly and I get so hard it tents my jeans.
He drops to his knees, rips my 501 jeans open and puts me in his mouth. I grab his harness and use it to guide him down my dick. He’s jacking himself off the whole time. After a while the pace of my breath picks up. I make it sound louder on purpose, to let him know I’m going to come, to give him time to take it out of his mouth if he wants, but the louder my breathing the more determined he seemed to want it. I grab his harness harder and harder, thrusting myself into him faster and faster. I shoot into his mouth and that makes him spray onto the floor.
He comes up and we kiss forever. With our pants around our ankles. Not exactly the kind of romance I fantasize about, but he feels great and he’s kissing me like he loves me.
Midnight. We come out of the room. He grabs my hand and leads me to the lounge where the TV’s playing porno. Lovely. But we talk for half an hour and he’s actually charming. He asks me for my number. I ask him to spend the night with me. He asks me for my phone number. He’s too high on crystal to go home, he says. The whole time he’s snuggling next to me. Keeps reminding me to give him my phone number and email address. “I’d love to go out with you,” he says. That makes me hard and we go to a different room and we do it all over again.
Afterwards, he begged, BEGGED me for my phone number. Now that’s what I consider Livin’ Large, when a hottie like Jeff begs for your phone number.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 5
Love Boat’s estimated time of departure: Soon as Jeff calls. Sexual destination: Wherever Jeff wants.
Starbucks. 7:43 p.m. I’m impossibly full of myself as I tell Richard what happened last night. “He begged me for my phone number,” I crowed. “BEGGED me for it.”
“Excellent,” says Richard. “How big was his dick?”
My new tactic when the Vulg gets Arian with me is to pretend I didn’t hear him.
“Wouldn’t it be funny,” I said, “If I end up getting a boyfriend out of a guy who ignores me in the bars and falls in love with me at a sex club?”
“Very funny,” he agrees. “How big was his dick?
THURSDAY, JANUARY 12
Love Boat re-christened “Titanic.” Destination: Iceberg. Estimated time of arrival: Now.
Starbucks. 8:43 p.m. It’s been a week and Jeff hasn’t called. “Why in the world would you beg, BEG somebody for their phone number and then not call?” I asked Richard.
“How big was his dick?” he replied.
“Fuck you,” I say. “Answer the question. Why bother to beg if you have no intention of calling?
“How big was his dick?”
“Fuck you,” I say. “I didn’t ask him for his number, I didn’t offer mine. He BEGGED for it and then didn’t call. Why?”
“HOW BIG WAS HIS DICK?”
THURSDAY, JANUARY 19
Piedmont Park. 2:18 p.m. Ran into Arch Kennedy. He’s saying hello to me these days. A big change from when we first broke up. He wouldn’t even look at me if he passed me in the hallway of someone’s home.
When I first saw Arch at Blake’s I grabbed onto Richard so he could steady me. Six foot four, broad shoulders, small waist. I can’t remember seeing a torso with such a perfect “V” shape. Brown eyes, spray of freckles on his face, and of course, hair that moved. He looked like an extra in a lifeguard movie.
As I walked past him he smiled and nodded. Richard had to take me upstairs and practically administer smelling salts.
I went downstairs to talk to him. Nine months later we were still together. I remember the beginning of the end. Arch asked me if I would ever do a three-way with him. He asked it like he was gonna pound me if I said yes.
I hemmed, I hawed.
He tried a different tack. “What if I said it was okay to have a three-way? Would you?”
The roof caved in. I had been seeing more and more of Arch’s explosive temper but this was something else entirely.
He said that’s it, we’re through, and he packed his bags. When he got to the door I said “Arch, why are you doing this? I haven’t cheated on you” (and I hadn’t. For the first time ever. Hell, it had only been 6 months. Even Richard can keep it in his pants that long if he’s seeing somebody he likes).
He goes, “Yeah, but you WANT to have sex with other people, and worse you want to have it while I’m there!”
I looked to the right. I looked to the left. But the “Real World” cameras never popped up.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get more absurd, Arch, who is 6’4 and 190 pounds, drops to the floor, screams, cries and beats the ground with his fists and feet like a two year old having a tantrum.
And all I could think of was, “Why can’t I date whores like everyone else?”
TUESDAY, JANUARY 25
David’s house. 8:15 p.m. David’s proud of the fact that he’s “embraced” his feminine side. He’s a bit of a flamer but it’s not like carpets get charred when he walks across the room. It’s just that sometimes his wrists seem to have a life of their own.
Richard looks at David’s slight effeminacy the way he looks at my eyebrow. Er, eyebrows. A cause for endless needling. He turns to David and says, “Tell me something, David, do you think your nelliness is caused by nature or nurture?”
“Nature,” David says.
“Maybe,” Richard says. “But you have to admit, gay life has a “Pansy Vortex” the size of the Grand Canyon. Regular guys fall into and climb out of it with their masculinity dripping like mascara.”
Well, David let him have it. Called him a writhing rack of bleeding homophobia. “Did you ever think,” David said, “That people like me are naturally effeminate and coming out gives us the first freedom we’ve ever had to express it?”
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1
Boyfriend weather: Sunny. Sexual visibility: Unlimited.
I met this dreamy guy named Rob. A bit stockier than I usually go for, but he is just ‘da bomb.’ He’s got this kind of long equine face, thick lips and a kind of intellectual countenance, like he’s about to tell you that Nathaniel Hawthorne came up with a yellow letter, too. And of course, straight black hair that moves.
Problem is, he’s giving me that classic “come here/go away” vibe. He introduced himself at the Heretic, said he’s been wanting to meet me for a long time and then 10 minutes later he leaves without saying goodbye.
I see him a few days later at a party. He sneaks up behind me, whispers “How are you, handsome?” and gives me a hug.
And 10 minutes later he leaves without saying goodbye.
What am I missing? He always acts so interested but he never stays put long enough to get my claws in him.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2
David’s house. 8:50 p.m. David and Richard were at it about the nelly thing again. This time Richard roped me into the conversation. I hated to side with Richard but he’s right. “I’m sorry, David,” I said. “But there really is a “Pansy Vortex” in gay life. Like Richard said, you fall into it with baggy jeans and climb out of it with spandex up the crack of your ass.”
I told them about Jerry Merabee, one of the cutest guys I’ve ever dated. Closeted when I met him, he was popular, gorgeous, smart and athletic. Then he came out. And ripened into a fruit before my very eyes.
Everybody he hung out with liked to do drag and camp it up. Suddenly, Jerry started shaving his legs, wearing tight shorts, and calling everyone “girl.”
Jerry slid into the Pansy Vortex and I couldn’t do anything about it. One day he made me close my eyes and sit at the foot of his bed for a surprise. He pulled out a long black wig, a slinky Bob Mackie knock-off and lip-synched to Cher.
And that, as they say, was the end of that.
Now, was Jerry born with the desire to dress like a diva or did he just adapt to a culture that demanded it?
I’m not the only one who’s lost boyfriends to the Pansy Vortex. Richard himself dated this really cool guy who spoke four languages. He got sucked into the Pansy Vortex and never came out. Now he lisps in four different languages.
Is nelliness a function of nature or nurture? There really are guys who come out of the womb complaining about the awful lighting, but my feeling is that just as many learn to complain.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8
Boyfriend Weather: Partly cloudy, partly sunny, completely confused. Chance of sexual precipitation: See Boyfriend Weather.
Rob emailed me today. I think he asked me out.
I say “I think” because this guy’s giving off so many mixed signals I can hardly figure out his name let alone his intentions.
I keep coming back to the same question about my love life: Why can’t I date whores like everyone else?
SATURDAY , FEBRUARY 11
Richard’s birthday party. 10:15 p.m. I didn’t turn my face fast enough and “Tentacle” Tom Tabor gave me a big sloppy kiss on the lips. Tom is a leathery-skinned 58 –year-old, tall as a skyscraper, who can’t say hello without undressing you with his eyes. He even walks with a leer.
A hello isn’t really a hello to Tom unless you end up wiping saliva off your mouth. It’s not just Tom. Why do gay friends insist on kissing each other on the lips? Yuck. The only guys I want to kiss on the mouth are the guys I’ve slept with, am sleeping with, plan to sleep with or hope to sleep with.
I cornered Richard in the kitchen and demanded a paper towel to wipe my mouth. He thinks I’m too uptight about it. He kisses everyone on the lips. “What’s wrong with it?” he asked, handing me a moist towlette.
“It’s the most intimate act you can do,” I said. “I don’t want to kiss anyone on the lips I’m not going to have sex with.”
He rolls his eyes. “God, you are such a fucking priss. Now will you please go fill the ice bucket?”
THURSDAY , FEBRUARY 15
Home. 7:45 p.m. Date with Rob tonight. My plan: Charm the pants off him. By taking him to three different places, all within walking distance. This will create energy and a quick change of scenery as his ambivalence moves from lusting after me to forgetting my name to wanting to marry me. I figure keeping him off-balance will zip up his flip-flops.
First stop: Drinks at Alloy, this hip New York-ish bar with the brushed metal façade and a deep purple neon sign. Then Baraonda, this snazzy European pizza place (Feta cheese, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes are considered art supplies there). Then finally, ice cream at the Dessert Place.
Or maybe he’ll come to his senses and we’ll have sex first and then go out to eat.
Rob’s loft. 8:00 p.m. Awkward as hell. Greeted me by shaking my hand. Shaking my hand! There goes my sex first/eat later fantasy.
Alloy’s. 8:15 p.m. Can’t tune him in on my AM or FM dial, he was scrambling his signals so much. I made sure our hands touched at the bar; I made sure our legs touched under the table. I tried to make sure my signals were unmistakable. No dice. He pulls away. But he seems to moon over me, his wide-set brown eyes seemingly incapable of looking away from me.
Baraonda. 9:00 p.m. Better. When I touched his hand on the table he didn’t pull away. Great leaps in the bedroom, I’m hoping, are made of incremental steps in the restaurant.
Dessert Place 10:30 p.m. He orders a delicate pistachio ice cream called “Green Dreams in a cup. I order a fudge-based, table-thumping “Chocolate Slap yo’ Mama” in a waffle cone. Come on, Rob, ask me for a taste, I think. I want to see you lick my cone. I offer him some. “No thanks,” he says. Rats.
Rob’s loft. 11:05 p.m. We’re sitting on the couch. I make my move. He makes a counter-move. I give up; he moves in. I respond; he pulls away.
I guess I could have pressed the issue but I really hate that whole seduction thing. I don’t want to feel like I manipulated somebody into bed. Half the fun of sex is feeling the other guy’s attraction to you.
He yawns and says he has to get up early in the morning. I gave up. At the door I went to shake his hand. He pulls me into him and gives me the best kiss I’ve had all year. Then he nudges me out the door and shuts it.
FRIDAY , FEBRUARY 23
Blake’s. 10:00 p.m. I narrowly escaped “Tentacle” Tom’s leech-like lips tonight. Tom’s like a frog who sees a fly at the back of your throat. Every time he says hello he tries to relieve you of the insect within.
I’ve tried sticking my hand out for him to shake but with Tom it’s a pretty useless tactic. He who flicks tongues swats hands. I’ve discovered a somewhat more successful tactic, though: turning my face at the last minute. I turn my cheek just at the moment of impact and not a second before.
The thing is, it’s a stopgap measure, because once an octopus like Tom understands the flanking maneuver he changes strategies.
You know, it wouldn’t be so bad if it were the hot guys doing the mouth-to-mouth hellos. But it’s always the balding, rotund Gecko lizards who do it the most. Which leads me to believe that the whole kissing phenomenon got started as a way for dateless guys to get a piece of the action.
It’s a brilliant move, really. Probably a bunch of guys got together and asked a simple question: “How can we cop a feel from guys who wouldn’t normally touch us with a ten foot pole?”
The answer was simple: Develop a social expectation of kissing men on the lips when you say hello. The founding fathers of the gay lip-lock struck gold. They couldn’t get laid, but they could get kissed. In fact, it worked so well, they broadened the lip kissing expectation from saying hello to saying goodbye. That way you can get two kisses out of one encounter.
The lip-lockers are like low-pressure sex telemarketers, transforming subtlety into higher-margin sales. Every kiss has the potential up-sell for a graze of the chest, a squeeze of the butt or a hold of the hand.
I don’t know. Maybe Richard’s right. Maybe I am too uptight.
SATURDAY , FEBRUARY 24
Home. 8:30 p.m. Dinner with Richard and David. “So back to the sissy factor,” Richard starts up. “If being nelly is so natural, so ‘freeing,’” Richard he asks David pointedly, “Then why don’t nelly guys like other nelly guys in bed?”
Ouch. Even David flinched because he’s never been attracted to other nelly guys.
Richard goes in for the kill. “I mean, when was the last time you saw an online profile that said, “Effeminate gay man seeking other nelly queens for hot times. If a purse doesn’t fall out of your mouth when you speak then keep moving. But if you say “Girl” every other sentence, let’s hook up.”
Richard’s got his arms crossed. “Well?” he says to David.
“Oh, fuck you, Richard. Pass the ketchup.”
SUNDAY , FEBRUARY 25
Barometric Love Pressure: 90 degrees. No, 15 degrees. No wait, 75 degrees. No, 20.
Good news: Rob called me after our “date.”
Great news: He wants to go out again.
Bad news: He wants to do it in 3 weeks.
Jesus Christ, why am I putting up with this? Oh, like I don’t know. For the same reason I put up with bullshit from anyone I’m attracted to: Because he’s gorgeous and because I have no dignity or self-esteem and hope that he’ll sleep with me.
THURSDAY , FEBRUARY 28
Blake’s. 10:34 p.m. I think I’ve found the perfect way of fending off the lapping lips of the can’t-get-laid. It’s a form of face-judo. You use their puckering up energy against them.
I tried it on Tentacle Tom and it worked like a charm. He was coming at me with his mouth so wide open I could see his tonsils. Instead of recoiling back I rushed in and hugged him before he got a chance to pucker up.
I’ve tried this move on several people tonight and it seems to really work. They feel warmly welcomed and I feel dry and safe.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6
Good news: A beautiful guy moved in to the apartment across the way.
Bad news: Richard’s dating him.
Horrible news: The guy is Rob’s ex-boyfriend.
I swear, life is one hot boiling vat of homo juice. Can’t I catch one break with Rob, just one?
THURSDAY , MARCH 7
Chances I’ll die single: Great. Chances I’ll have sex before I die single: Not as great.
Work. 9:30 a.m. I cannot believe what I have to go through to get a date in this town. This whole Rob thing is falling apart in front of my eyes. Rob found out about his ex- moving in next door and I can just feel him pulling away.
I wrote him an email trying to make light of it all, but I don’t think there’s any way of salvaging this. Here’s what I wrote:
“Rob, no matter how awkward it May seem, I promise you it’s worse than you think.
See, your ex-boyfriend didn’t just move in next door. We can look through our windows and wave to each other. And it’s worse than that. Richard, the guy he’s dating, isn’t just a friend of mine, he’s my best friend.
I believe the word you’re looking for is “FUCK!”
That’s certainly the word that came to my mind.
Well, there’s only one thing you can do in a situation like this: Sleep with me to get back at your -ex.
Think about it. I get to have what I’ve been wrongfully denied, and you get to drive your ex-boyfriend nuts. Everybody wins.
When can I come over?
Well, if you’re not laughing by now, you should be crying. Those are the only two possible reactions. If there are others I don’t know about, let’s go out for a drink and talk about them.”
FRIDAY, MARCH 8
[email protected]: Let’s just be friends.
[email protected]: Dale?
<disconnected. Member has logged off>
SUNDAY, MARCH 10
Bench in Piedmont park. 3:30 p.m. It feels like forever since I’ve been with anyone I really liked. When a man touches you, life wakes up. Whether his hand is on the small of your back or the nape of your neck, there is no slouching in the presence of a man’s tenderness.
Words are simply love’s dialect. Touch is its native language. The most powerful word, the most eloquent phrase pales to a passing kiss, a parting hug, a glancing touch. Marinate in a lover’s touch long enough and it tenderizes you.
It’s only when a relationship ends that you understand the power of touch. It’s been 2 years since I’ve been in a real relationship and I think my body is rebelling at its absence.
I never realized how much touching goes on in a relationship until you’re out of it. I never thought about how often my legs were entwined in bed with Will or how long my hands were clasped with Arch’s on the ride home.
Goodnight kisses, assuring hugs –I took them for granted and now they’re not there anymore.
My body was used to touching and being touched, kissing and being kissed. And now all I’ve got left is a relentless, aching skin hunger.
I swear it’s not just my sex drive that propels me out to the bars. I’ve been drinking too much; drugging too much, all because my skin is starving so much.
I’ve sat in temporary couches, laid in untenable beds, all so I can feel the butterflies land, the pines whisper and the morning dew melt.
And I do.
For a minute, an hour, a night.
Every time one of my relationships end, my body suffers the most. I can distract my mind, I can divert my heart, but I can’t do anything with the skin hunger except feel its pangs.
The yearning to lose myself in a man’s touch is turning into a crutch. Being touched is becoming more important than the guy who’s touching me.
The craving for contact blurs my vision; I confuse surface with depth. I can’t really see the man in front of me, only his potential to get me through the night.
My body ends up looking at my soul the way my dogs look at their empty dinner bowls –with imploring eyes.
“Didn’t I just feed you last night?” It’s a question I’ve often asked my soul in exasperation. A question I wouldn’t ask of my pets yet I ask it of myself. As if you can live off a man’s touch once and never get hungry for it again.
Losing the consistency of a man’s touch has made me harder, tougher. I can feel myself congealing. I’m withdrawing, toughening up, closing things down.
Then I look for, act on and plunge into anything that can make the hunger go away.
I bounce between having no boundaries to having too many. First I’m in heaven, then I’m in hell. Then I’m in heaven, then back in hell. The bi-polar attendant at the Pearly Gates can’t make up his mind.
I often wonder, why is everything too little or too much when you’re single? Why do the choices seem so stark? Why is it gluttony or starvation, boredom or overload?
Why is it that when you’re single nothing is the only option to everything?