lonely lovely city

lonely lovely city

Friday, December 31, 2010

Forging ahead

Over the course of the last few days, I've been thinking about summing up the year of 2010.

Surprisingly enough, I feel like I've learned a great deal about who I am and the people in this scary world. Perhaps the most reassuring element to my metamorphosis, is not taking everything so seriously. Innately, seriousness will always remain a component of my nature. But, what I've learned as of late is that if I don't stop over analyzing, I'll miss out on the good stuff. I am learning to temper uptightness and let go. Roam the streets of my beloved Manhattan, have a drink or two and let my hair down.

On any given day, when I am adamant about where I have to go, what I have to do or appointments I have to keep, I tend to abandon spontaneity. The other day as I was falling into a puddle of black slush en route to my gym, I came across a cute guy. He looked at me and smiled. He even said hi. I wanted to turn back and give him a look. But, I was scared. If I had taken a chance on him or did some irregular, something out of character, what would have happened?

At this point, I will never know. What I do know, is that I don't want to leave things to chance. In 2011, I want to take more risks. No. I need to take risks! I want to know what it feels like to care for another individual. I dream of being swept away in knowing that another man wants to share his day and his dreams with me. Yes, I am probably an idealist. After all, I am an Aquarian. Idealism is in my DNA.

What I am trying to convey is that while goals, impending achievements and accomplishments await with revenue to be generated, love and connections are the one true thing that keeps the spirit nourished and intact. I realize that while I have a great apartment, a good job, attend an prestigious school, have wonderful and caring friends, and a somewhat positive outlook, it isn't enough.

The other night I was catching up with a good friend who lives in New England. We were discussing goals and the things in life that one requires for survival. I mentioned in passing that while we are blessed with certain gifts and amenities, it's a part of being human that makes us yearning for more. Regardless of what one has or is, we all want to aspire for something else, and hopefully, strive to be a better person. At least I do.

In spite of having a lot, the one thing I want the most is absent: love. Most of my friends say that when you stop looking for it, love finds you. I am not sure I completely agree, but I do believe that when the universe is ready for your heart and capabilities, it can and will happen.

As this year comes to a close, I am reflecting on the personal changes I've acquired. For some crazy reason, I feel calmer and rested. Call it turning 35? Moving back to Manhattan from Brooklyn certainly contributed to my inner peace. Making new friends at school and beyond as allowed me to feel less lonelier than I thought I could be. And, strengthening ties with certain loved ones has provided security. I could list more, but I have chosen to keep that in my heart for no one to know.

I'll refrain from spewing cheesy lines or sounding preachy, but what I want to offer to everyone who takes the time to read my ongoing personal project, is that anything is possible. Anything. I just know it. Change can me miraculous given the right time. The one thing that gets me through the rough intervals is hope in knowing that nothing stays forever. People come and enter your life. Some of them stay. And, some of them forge ahead, without you.

Break up your routine and walk a different way home. If someone strikes your fancy, walk up to them and talk. If there is a burning desire to be somebody or move somewhere and start a different life, make it happen. Believe. Dare yourself to do the unexpected. Challenge your comfort zone. Trust others. And never, ever, fucking give up.

Best wishes to everyone and to a happy and healthy 2011. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stop saying I can't girl...


Rest is always good. For the first time in about five months, I slept in. No work,school, gym or other appointments. I tried not to feel guilty. I snuggled on my glorious bed with the heat roaring in the background. I watched a hilarious, brilliant comedy show on the BBC for a couple of hours and eventually headed out into the real world. Even though I could feel a headache coming on, I braved the Manhattan cold in search of Christmas presents.

I was on a mission: buy thoughtful gifts that my friends could actually use. Let's just say I payed homage to a delightful, very modern venue I visit all the time. When looking for gifts, these items screamed,"Buy me." I felt happy that I discovered them. Nothing crazy or really that expensive. Just practical and fun. Perfect. It's gets better.

I stopped off at Bed, Bath, and Beyond on Sixth in Chelsea. I finally located the metal rods I needed for my window curtains. Yay! The line moved rather quickly and for the first time in a long time, I wasn't annoyed by the incessant Christmas carols blaring on the streets or the Santa Clauses ringing their silver balls for charity. Could the Christmas spirit be entering my system?

With the cold, I wasn't dismayed by the twenty pound bag of various things in my hands as the hole gave out in the finger portion of my J Crew black woven gloves. Cabs were nowhere to be found. So, marching home to the East Village, I went through Union Square and came across my favorite taco stand. Patty's taco's. You might want to give it a whirl. Anyway, as I was inhaling my delicious chicken soft tacos with green Habanero chili sauce, a quirky woman walks besides me. She is stout and probably in her late sixties. She ordered her food in Spanish.

I immediately asked for more sauce to my friend who runs the counter... in Spanish no less. She said,"Oh, you speak it." "Yes...a little", I said. She continued to talk to my friend with authority, confidence even. Now, I was interested.

I asked her if she was a linguist. "Yes, I am. You know in the next few years, if you don't speak it, you're fucked." I officially liked this outspoken stranger.

I mentioned that even working with Mexicans at my restaurant and at many personal attempts to speak French and Spanish, there was a road block. "I can't do it, I said."

"Fuck that," she said. She took her jagged finger and pointed in my unsuspecting face. "Don't ever say I can't. Gotta me? Look at me. My wheelchair is right here and I have to get up for the food. I have sores on my feet right now that are bleeding through my white socks, kido. Do you see me stopping? Fuck no. I am here aren't I? Listen, I heard you speak to your friend and you're actually pretty good when talking Spanish. You do have a ear. I can tell. Just never tell yourself, I can't. One of the things my mother told me was that can't shouldn't be in your vocabulary."

I was taken by her brashness. She was inspiring. As she was positioning herself back in her motorized wheelchair, she revealed something to me in passing. This mystery woman speaks over eight languages and has lived all over the world. Pretty impressive, right?

After she drove away, complaining about how loud the city is and how Americans are,"too fucking angry and stressed all the time," I stood there in the cold with chili sauce running down my chapped cheeks. I thought about all the times I said,"I can't" in 2010.

I can't have a boyfriend because...
I can't have love because...
I can't move to Paris because...
I can't launch a writing career because...
I can't do school anymore because...

Get the picture?

In the entire year this blog has been up and running, I never dropped the F-Bomb. Ever.

But now...Fuck that.

Fuck all the times I said I can't. I think I found my New Year's resolution. Let's hope it sticks.

Friday, December 17, 2010

What I know...

Just when you think that life is moving along for you, something happens and shifts the way you thought yourself to be.

Fall 2010 has been a vigorous semester. I learned a lot.

1. Fiction writing: I studied with one of the best Fiction Writers to date. This man truly cares about what he teaches. Seeing as he has been doing it for decades, his passion for the subject is obvious. Not only did I learn how to craft more compelling short stories, I acquired the skill of criticism and positive feedback.

2. Freelance Journalism: Not only was this a class of workshopping and criticism, it was a period of experimenting. I pushed myself harder than I did in my last journalism class. I conducted numerous interviews and took chances with the subjects I was writing. The bike lanes in the East Village and the closure of the GMHC were just a few. I had the opportunity to work again with an amazing teacher that I respect and admire. Now only, if I could actually sell some of those pieces.

3. 19 Century Art: What a class. I have never deconstructed Art like that before. It sensitized my perceptions about how Art is formed and what it can mean to the voyeur. This was one of the most challenging classes I have enrolled in at The New School. The dynamic of the class, the instructor and the classmates themselves all have an impact on how you engage with the text. I have a few gripes, but I will keep them silent for now, at least until my grades are posted.

4. Playwriting: While I am grateful for the opportunity to strengthen my chops as a writer, I am relieved this class is history. One of the painful, but necessary elements of a workshop is the feedback process. Sometimes, it is downright daunting to listen to others who deem your work as questionable and disorganized. On that note, I had to grow a thicker skin. Not that I didn't have one before, but it just goes to show you that others hold a different view of your capabilities. My final conclusion: not for me. Moving on.

What I have learned about myself is the art of criticism. For some reason, out of all the semesters thus far, this was the most painful and perhaps the most rewarding. I am learning more about what I don't want and who I don't want to be. Various students who are in school are probably pondering what they took from their classes. I did. While at times, I harbor a defeatist attitude, I carry a warrior like mentality. Everyday as I marched to work and school, I thought about what I had to do for the day and what had to be accomplished for the next day and the next. You get the picture.

School isn't just about the text in which you are studying or the discipline you apply when committing to inane amounts of homework. It is about the process of discovering your strengths and attributes. If you take the time, you will be surprised just what you learn. It can be scary and liberating. My point? Don't give up and please follow what your heart wants. I am still doing that and refuse to accept what others think. Pursue your interests and don't allow anyone to dissuade you from being you and what you are: unique and fabulous! Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 13, 2010

You could be happy...

It is the middle of night and I am fast away on the computer. I am working on last minute projects for school. As I am doing this, I just listened to a song from Snow Patrol, "You could be happy."

It is truly, one of the most beautiful ballads I have heard in a long time. I liked it so much that I purchased it on iTunes. One of things I am thinking about is the notion of happiness. While I am fast away working on all of the things I am supposed to do-school, work, working out, writing, and so on, I am lost in an abyss. Perhaps it is the holidays? The very thought of it is jarring.

Happiness is indeed a struggle. I am not sure it's a choice, but an indelible imprint in our rhythmic pulse, waiting to be fully utilized and cherished. Happiness is somewhere in the back of my mind. Sometimes, I play back with it. And others, I push it away because living in pain is so much easier.

If I put away all of my expectations of others and what they weren't able to provide, could I still be happy? Where does this come from and how can I sustain it in my life? For a very long time, I thought I was happy if others I cared about were happy too. I used to feel guilt or regret when they weren't happy for me for partaking in joy over something good that happened.

I still do this at times. I even tell myself that I can't be happy unless I have a successful, lucrative career or a boyfriend. And, here I am-wasting away valuable and precious moments, over analyzing the pitfalls of life when I should be with the ones I care about. Should of. Could of. Would of. Right?

My inner madness is like an old friend in that I know it so well. Being happy should come from within as a glow from your soul. What does it take to make you happy? Is it a choice? I think that letting go of the things you think you need to have is a start. At the end of the day, it is about connections and feeling loved and cared about. At least, that is what I am telling myself.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Meanings....

What I enjoy most about Thanksgiving is that it doesn't pertain to gift giving-the exaggerated sense of commercialism that drains the joy out of Christmas.

Thanksgiving is actually a non-traditional holiday in that it can be celebrated however you wish. One can visit their family and reflect on the ties that bind them together. For some, including myself, it is a day about being with friends at home in New York City.

I comprised a list of five things I am thankful for in 2010.

1. My new apartment in the East Village . I moved into this place during the spring. Not only has this saved me over forty plus hours a week in commuting from Brooklyn and over $1200.00 a year in transportation, but it has given me stronger calves. I walk everywhere and haven't rode the subway since May. I love that it barely takes twenty minutes to walk home and how my surroundings are decorated with fresh, clean lines. My thanks to the broker, Nick, who showed me an awesome pad.

2. Friendships. I feel grateful for knowing these cherished individuals and how they've improved the quality of my existence. If you are reading, thank you.

3. More self-confidence. I feel that in order to get closer to another person, I have to take stock of where I am going. Sometimes it can be challenging figuring out who you are. But, I feel wiser and appreciate the strength my obstacles have provided. I am thankful for this clarity.

4. Being alive. I am fortunate to be able to rise each morning and stretch. To get out of bed and brush my teeth and run down the stairs and head to the gym is quite simply, euphoric, if not a gift. I came across a book about an Australian man and motivational speaker, Nick Vujicic, who was born with no limbs. I am even more aware of the little things that too many take for granted and how being happy is truly a choice. My constant thanks to him for his inspiration.

5. My job. While at times, I mismanage stress, I am grateful to generate an income in this uncertain, financial climate. Thank you to my employer who has tolerated my wavering moods and attitudes with loyalty.

These are just some of the many things I am thankful for. Silly to some, but certainly, not lacking in it's validity.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A forbidden, foreign land...



My good friend, Lory, is from Sydney, Australia. She lives here in Manhattan, but often misses her city a lot. I am in love with their accents and branded casualness of life. They just seem so relaxed and all too approachable. Many of us New Yorkers can learn something from the folks down under. I am thinking how we as americans could mitigate stress and appreciate the finer things-maybe just a glorious sunset and grilled shrimp on the barbie?

Every night as I walk home, there's this tiny place on St.Marks and Ave A. It is an Australian restaurant and bar. There are Tim Tams(native cookies), Vegemite (their rendition of Nutella-a sour like anchovy based paste) with Foster's beers lining up against the glass window from below which faces the crowded one way street.

Aussies from all over the city, gather outside near the entrance as if there is this secret underground club. They smoke, laugh and seemingly have a blast. There are novelties everywhere inside. Flags and photographs adorn the walls. Even all of employees hail from the beloved country. They carry themselves with this innate pride that is infectious. Wouldn't it be cool if I just got on a plane and went?

Perhaps this isn't in conjunction with my theme, but I couldn't resist. I love this commercial. Better yet, I adore this animal. So cute and funny. I wish I could snag him out of the television and play. Go Australia!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Finally...

I just read a probing piece from CNN. It was about a pastor from Georgia who just came out of the closet. He had been married for over twenty years and produced four children. The catalyst that took him out of silence was the September suicide of a student from Rutger's University. Apparently, he felt that he could no longer surrender to silence.

I am proud of his decision, even if I don't know him. It must be incredibly difficult to ration with one's homosexuality under a veiled, secretive existence, especially, if one has a family to raise and a church to operate. I am not a religious person by any means. But, what struck me about this is the power of change through the medium of religion. If anything conceivably can come good out of a terrible, unfortunate situation such as that kid jumping off the George Washington Bridge, it is a man of the cloth who can confront the world with it's hatred and ignorant views.

Growing up as a Catholic in rural Nevada wasn't easy. O.K. Basically, it sucked. I knew I was gay since I could remember, yet I chose to nurture my encompassing guilt. I wish I had positive role models at that time who I could have trusted. What this guy has done is open up the discussion for acceptance in the church. As a pastor, I am sure people look up to him as role model.

When a person is grappling with their sexuality, it feels comforting to know that there are other people in the world who are just like you. It isn't out of character to be a openly gay anymore. Now, coming out is the status quo. What it isn't the norm is committing suicide-especially if you know you're gay. Suicide is never the answer, no matter how painful something is.

As a gay man, I feel confident for the most part. It took awhile. I just had to move to the other side of the country, free myself from Catholicism, most of my relatives and organized religion all together. While my family rejected me as I was coming out, I did my best to surround myself with people who were receptive and kind.

I didn't feel comfortable in the Catholic Church. Truly, it was a confining,hypocritical experience and I don't regret putting it behind me. When I think of religion, I carry the notion that it is supposed to be universal in acceptance and unconditional love. If that is what "God" is all about, the entity that is supposed to be loving and accepting of all of his (or her for that matter)children, what is going on? Why are people so quick to judge and condemn?

A lot of people are afraid. Some are weak. And, others are selfish in their beliefs, thinking that God will love them, just not the gay kid down the street. Deplorable.

One of the things I thought was that this man can offer affirming change to those that are in fact gay and don't want to relinquish their religious infrastructure. If anything good can come out of mass suicides around the world from gay teens, it is the idea that out and proud pillars of religion will make acceptance readily available.

I hope he can expedite the process of education and show others that you can be religious, respectfully if that's your thing, and be gay too. If religious leaders could be more like him, wouldn't the world would be a better place?

Friday, November 5, 2010

The first ten

It is official. I am a New Yorker. On November 1st, 2000, I moved to New York City. It is common knowledge that after ten years in New York, one can refer to one's self as a New Yorker. At least that is what Carrie Bradshaw claimed on Sex and the City in Season three.

It's hard to believe that a decade has been swept away. It was a lifetime ago really. At twenty-five, I thought I could change the world. Perhaps I am outdating myself, but I feel more confident at thirty-five, than I ever did in my twenties. Life has changed. I have grown up and become a man.

One of the first things I remember about my foray into the city was a room I rented in Staten Island. GASP. Yes, it is still technically part of New York City. Until I moved into Manhattan, I rented out a cheap room in a B&B for nine months until after the week of 9/11. It was on the third floor in the attic. There was one window and a shared bathroom. The view from the window was the WTC. I loved it. It was large, bright and luminous. Every day as I took the ferry into the city, I fell in love with the skyline.

I would always think of the film, Working Girl, where the WTC was one of the beloved characters. I thought it was the coolest thing and whenever I was lost in the West Village, I would refer to the towering stature. It reassured my disorientation as a city virgin- a beacon of strength and wonderment.

I wish I could revert to that time when just hanging out downtown with a few dollars in my pocket, eating a slice of cheap pizza with a friend and getting lost was pleasurable. Before myspace, facebook, twitter, reality shows, iphones, and a bevy of other things took over the word, there was a different feeling in this town. I felt that anything was possible and that I would be young forever. I still think that anything is possible. I still want the things I have always yearned for.

Weirdly, I also remember when an unlimited monthly metrocard was just $63.00 and a ticket at the movies was under $9.00. I didn't feel as hurried or pressured to be something or someone.

Life is vaster now. Many of the friends I met when I arrived are no longer a part of my world. They have either dissipated into thin air, moved out of the city to live in normalcy as married couple with children, or they simply moved back home because they couldn't hack it. I miss them. But, others do enter into your circle for a reason and exit it-sometimes unexpectedly or unabashedly.

Regardless of the progress I have made or lack there of, I am proud to be a New Yorker. Amidst the goals I have yet to achieve, NYC is home. It knows me. It embodies my secrets. It reassures me. It has remained when everyone else couldn't. It's the only dwelling where I truly belong to. From time to time, I feel caved in and want to flee the routine and pace of this condense, urban sensory overload. I always do, but can't wait to get back when I descend on the tar pit of JFK after a long vacation. I feel comfortable here and love to walk and explore and interact with strangers and friends that share the similar views as me. New York City is indeed a rough town with a lot of bumps. However, if you can manage ten years in this jungle, come out to the other side like I did and still want to be here, anything can happen.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A random act of kindness

After my journalism class, I walked past this cozy, tiny dessert shop on 10th and second avenue. There are probably four tables at best. I was craving something scrumptious. After having been there for their red velvet cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies, I had to try the warm apple crisp and iced mint tea. I was excited.

I got the last table. And, elected to take out my art book and study nineteenth century interiors. Just when I was settling in, a group of four men came by to the other table which just became available right next to mine. The thing is that these tables are barely designed for two, let alone four burly men. I didn't want to feel cramped. I could see they were from out of town with suitcases and briefcases in tow. So, I simply got up and offered my table. There was already a line forming outside and I decided that I would stand up near the wall-eating my treat there.

The man, who was in his early forties was taken aback by my gesture. I felt it was nothing and shrugged it off. When my dessert was called out, I was about to pay when the man insisted on paying for my tab. I kindly rejected his offer, but he was insistent. He made it his mission. "Look, man. I am paying for it. It's on me. And, thank you. That was very nice for you to do that for my friends. Thanks again."

As I inhaled the remarkable tart, I was shocked. No one has ever done that to me. It was so kind and random and unexpected. I didn't know what to do or say other than to shake his hand and wish them well. I felt so good. It didn't occur to me that a stranger could be so reciprocal in his generosity. That has never happened to me in my ten years of living here in New York City. Chivalry is alive and well in Gotham.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

An education...

I came across this piece about the rising costs of a college education. I found it jarring. It states the most graduates are unable to locate work. What a shocker. Ironically, it also stated that the area with the most indebted students are in the northeast. The west- my original home of origin-was the least affected region. No matter where I turn, remnants of the recession keep creeping in.

What I can't stand about going online is reading pessimistic dribble. I am not sure if it is meant to intimidate the average person or pressure one to not pursue an education. I am simply irritated about the misconceptions.

The price of my education at The New School is staggering. At the end of my tenure, I will probably be over $40,000 in debt. Whatever. I am honored to be a part of such an institution. It is an amazing place. I have formed good friendships there and have gained a newfound knowledge about the world.

I elected to go back to school in my thirties because I craved more. I struggled a long time and wanted something different. I am not sure what it is, but the idea of having an education is something that's crucial-no matter where you attend or what you study. It just feels necessary to me. When I was younger, I lacked maturity and discipline. My first year of college at the University of Nevada was dreadful. I wanted to be independent and see the world. That is why I chose my school. It caters to a progressive mindset and affords the freedom to be creative and original, while being rooted in an academically rigorous environment.

Whatever the costs will be, I am half way done. Only 46 credits to go till my BA is completed. I think that if one wants to have an education, it should be extended to them.

In the end, I will probably have issues finding a career that I want in a shitty economy that seems to be standing still. The conundrum is that you are screwed if you don't have an education, but screwed if you do. No matter where you are, it is all about what you want out of life and what you are willing to do to go after it-despite negativity from others.

In choosing to march ahead, I hope that the recession will cease and the optimism can triumph. Sounds a bit zealous, but oh well...I am an aquarian-I am an independent thinker and dreamer-it's part of my DNA.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall is awesome...

I am starting to ponder about new beginnings. New beginnings in the way I chose to live my life. One of the many reasons I love Fall is the changing of colors and the crisp, autumn air. I love everything about it: Pumpkins, Candy, Halloween, Warm Apple Cider, and Thanksgiving. Fall signifies contemplation-what to do next. It illustrates how things do change and how beautiful it can be if you stop and look. Without sounding trite, I am embarking on a different way I conduct my personal relationships.

Lately, my attitude has squandered. Sometimes it's upbeat, and others, it's downright petulant. The secret I am learning is balance. Whether or not I connect with a loved one it is my responsibility to bring new people into my life that are worth having around. It is my obligation to make life what it is. I am in the driver's seat.

Many light bulbs are clicking. In order to mitigate loneliness here in Gotham, I must surrender the remnants of the past and the people that were in it. I always think those people that were in my life would stick around and remain hinged. Wrong answer. People move on and often surrender ties. Part of my transformation in moving into another apartment in Manhattan was to expand a social circle. While full-time work and school schedules have been relentless, it's no excuse. I have to take the time to let others in.

I was going to use the word hate to describe something just now, but chose against it. Hate is too strong of a word. I dislike when people I truly care about and love don't reciprocate. Basically it sucks. But stewing in a web of harmful emotions is futile.

Fall is truly grand in New York. It provides such solace. I love walking past Tompkins Park near my apartment and seeing the bright yellows and subtle reds. I love to hear the silence of the wind. It takes me back to a simpler time when I was a kid, growing up in Carson City, Nevada and how the fall there was so memorable and idealistic. While I consider a majority of my childhood to be gut-wrenching, I will always remember the time of year when school resumed and I would pick out Halloween costumes with my mother and brother at the local drugstore. It was one the periods of my childhood where I would feel connected to them. She took great pride in that Holiday and made everything so special. We would decorate the porch with pumpkins and witches. We would watch scary movies and eat gobs of Twizlers, Hot Tamales and Kit Kats. I miss that. And, I miss them.

I do believe that the seasons and climate have an impact on your lifestyle. Since I live in one of the greatest cities on earth (next to Paris of course), I am adopting a new mentality in the way I meet others. It's nothing concrete, but it's a start. This is my favorite time of year and I am not wasting a single moment. Who knows? Perhaps a boyfriend might just be around in the immanent future.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Moving on...

I took a break from this blog for clarity. After I arrived back home in New York from Lisbon, I changed. I am not sure what it was or what this means. International travel has always brought out my inner recluse. There is always that bounty of untapped emotions that spring out of nowhere.

After an intensive therapy session with my therapist two weeks ago, I terminated treatment. We had fought during the session about my attitude. I was torn with anxiety and riddled with guilt. The next day, I sent an email and notified her of my choice. While at times it feels like change is mounting, it seemed that time was incapsulated and that I was reverberating the same things three and half years ago when we first began the patient/therapist relationship. She eventually returned my email and extended an olive branch. She was sad of my decision, yet respected it. And, that I was welcome to return whenever and if ever I chose.

Perhaps it sounds cheesy, but I said goodbye to my favorite show, As The World Turns, on last friday. It was canceled on CBS after fifty-four years. This show was a integral part of my life since childhood. I loved most of the characters on canvas (Katie, Rosanna and Carly especially) and will miss the pacing, the intimacy of the story lines. Just another example of how something just ends.

Actress, Terri Colombino who played Katie on ATWT, gave an insightful interview regarding the exit of the show. She said that if you don't move with the times, you get left behind. That stopped me. As an writer, I can think and observe, but how much?

Sometimes, I wish life were easier for all of us. I would like to reckon with the past, learn and revel in the present. I want to love and laugh and live to my full potential.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Walking and Browsing



This has been a good week. I did some more shopping for my apartment with a decorative pillow I inadvertently stumbled upon on 11th and University. It is the perfect compliment to the modern motif of my apartment. I then discovered a cafe that was once inhabited by Dean and Duluca. It is now this fabulous, sleek tea house with every possible tea nuance you can imagine. Think lime infused ice tea with sprigs of mint or my favorite: coconut bubble tea. The fresh scent that lingered reminded me of stepping into a clean, new vehicle.

On my way home to meet up with a close friend, I finally stopped by a shop that houses some of the most stunning, sought after dresses I have ever seen. Usually at night when I walk home from work, I admire the beauty in the store window. Simple and elegant. As someone who will never fit into or even purchase a wedding dress, I can appreciate the sheer beauty that it offers. I had to stand there and take a picture. Just being there in the moment made me realize how truly lucky I am. While I rant and complain on this blog about the things I don't have or the complexities of human nature, I am fortunate.

While it is a warm and muggy August day, I have the fortune to buy myself little things that make me happy. Items like the pillow or my expensive to go cup of tea brought me such joy. Just having the time on my day off to squander around Manhattan after a workout and just be and rediscover gave me a sense of peace. I even took another photo of this Church on Broadway and Tenth. It is so reminiscent of France and Germany. I always have a bit of nostalgia when I see it.

As next week evolves, I am going to Portugal for a much needed eight day vacation. I feel grateful, yet I feel exhausted for all the things I have to take care of when I return. I will have to resume my full-time job, full-time career as a student, find a way to pay for my tuition and return to my therapist for our weekly sessions. Even though I have a lot on my plate, I am trying to enjoy all of it. I am alive and I am here-breathing and thinking.

While I wait for love to plot it's head into my lap or wait to see if the book I am writing will find it's voice, I don't want to think too much. Just a mere walk around my neighborhood, time with friends, air to breathe and goals that I know will be accomplished are indications that I am locating content in the harbor of a perplexing and unfinished life.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I dream of...

I dream of a guy who loves to hold hands while we stroll the streets, talking about our days.

I dream of a guy who accepts everything about me, including my childhood, medical condition and social anxieties.

This guy doesn't have to be perfect or constructed to fit the societal mold of the gay community. He just has to have a heart, a mind, hopefully a good palate, and can respect my need for cleanliness. If he smells great, even better.

I have to believe he is out there. If only I try and make an effort, it can happen. Our lives can be forged together.

I know it will get messy and vastly uncomfortable. I don't care. I want to experience the joy of knowing another man intimately.

I know he is out there in this lonely, lovely city called Manhattan. Why I chose to stay here beats the shit out of me.

Something, some shred of hope, prompts me to get out of bed and face my fears. This summer is about change.

I dream that some of these changes will take shape and make some sort of sense. Mostly, I just dream of a day where I can accept who I am without having to feel like I need to change, or that I need to be better.

I just want to be in the moment and stop thinking so much.

My heart needs to be opened again. The possibilities. The potential. And, the tangible effect of touching another life are what make this struggle worth pursuing.

I dream that I won't feel as much pain. I dream of a place where things aren't so just complicated. I have to believe.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A hug is a hug

Last night at the restaurant, I waited on a cool group of five people. They dressed well, were somewhere in their thirties and laughed a lot. Classy and approachable. A lot of fun really. One of the guys in the group, is a regular. He is handsome with brown hair and eyes, just the right bit of stubble with a smile that is irrefutable. However, he is straight and seemingly taken. His lady love was near his side the entire evening where they held hands and kissed periodically.

Danny was the nexus of the table. As he asked about a certain bottle of wine, I couldn't help but notice his appeal. It wasn't just his preppy, toned appearance (usually not my type, incidentally) but his humorous, warm presence. A total keeper.

When I opened the first bottle of white, he began making remarks toward me about something I barely remember now. I rebuffed with a tad of sarcasm. "You're an aquarius, aren't you?", I said. "Mark, my man, how did you know? I can't fucking believe it. You get me." He gave me a high five and laughed out loud. I discovered that our birthdays were only two days apart. As a fellow Aquarian myself, I can spot most of us a mile away. Aquarians, are after all, eccentric, quirky and distinctive. He was everything and more. Sadly, it was a verbal connection I haven't made with another man in awhile.

Through the night, I catered to every wish of the group. An extra side of cheese here and another glass of wine there. They all said please and thank you profusely. Their good manners didn't go unappreciated.

Aside from the witty banter exchanged with Danny revolving the logistics of astrology and the emotional angst of being misunderstood, I noticed there was someone in this city who got me. Any hangups about being different were validated through his speech and unfettered enthusiasm.

When they were all finished, we spoke on how Danny always felt he was picked on as a child and how standing out can be a good thing. I thought he was more interesting than the last time he visited. When he asked for the check, he got up and hugged me tightly and didn't let go. I was taken aback. Was affection naturally a part of his personality? Would his girlfriend become jealous? Did she even notice? For a moment, I didn't care. It felt mighty good, if not awkward when he mentioned that he loved me. I knew it was playful and meaningless, because of his drunkenness. But, I still enjoyed it. Every second.

When he and his friend split the $230 check, they left a $60 tip. Well above 30%. I was impressed. After I extended my gratitude with a complimentary plate of biscotti, he got up and hugged me once again. It felt even better the second time around when his stubble touched my cheeks or when I could feel his rib cage against mine.

Then, I realized how I am in need of a human connection-any type of affection from another man. Whether it is feeling scorned or rejected by the gay community, I can't surrender hope in a town where connections are harder to come by than finding a Manhattan studio under $1400.00. There has to be another Danny out there who will accept and love me with his, strong open arms.

It was the first time in a long time that any guy has said he loved me. I wanted it, but held back and retained my last shred of professionalism. Five minutes later, he returned to the restaurant after a smoke to use the bathroom. When he finished, Danny hugged me... again. Now, I was confused. I didn't want to let go. Why are all the good ones straight and taken? Life just isn't fair.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An insufferable date with a loser!

There is a reason why I don't date much. It's painful and mind numbing.

Finally after a month of infrequent chats and text messaging, I agreed to meet Jack-a 52 year old psychotherapist. To my surprise, he was 56.

We met online. Besides that he owned a home in East Hampton, was born in Queens and hated the taste of cheese, I didn't know much about him. His profile seemed similar to mine as we enjoyed the same things: sushi, dark chocolate, non-fiction, and horror films. The allure of the age difference didn't detract me that much as I have dated older, distinguished men before. But, nothing prepared me for this.

A few days ago, when we made plans for the evening, I was already turned off when we spoke on the phone. In telling me about his recent bout with a newly discovered illness, he mentioned developing a taste for yogurt and how the benefits of consuming it helped his condition." I am not sure if I told you this, but I have intestinal issues. I get diarrhea a lot. And, now that I have taken up dairy, well-my stools aren't as loose." I closed my eyes and thought of heaving. While I understand all of us have been there, it was just too much information.

So, last night at around 7:30 p.m, standing in front of a Mexican restaurant on Avenue B, I realized it was a grave mistake when this man approached me. He was nothing like he described. Handsome and dashing? Paunchy and bland was more like it.

When we sat down, he reminded me for the third time that he can't drink because of his medication, but that I was permitted to order a drink if I so wished. As we ordered the guacamole, Jack began talking about three of his former boyfriends-all of whom were drunks, mentally challenged or drug addicts. He told me he still carried a torch for his last boyfriend who was unable to process monogamy-incapable as he puts it-of keeping in in his pants. He talked incessantly about his life, his past, all of his lovers, his career, his friends, and his good deeds towards others.

Towards forty minutes, he let me have a word in edgewise. I told him that I originally hailed from the west coast and held Hungarian/Slavic descent. Jack then spewed out "Well, I would never thought you were from here. You look like you are from... Ohio. Definitely not New York." I wasn't sure if it was the words he used or that he laughed when he said it, but I wanted to punch him. I sipped on a perfectly salted, lime Margarita instead.

While listening to his continual banter, I ate soft chicken tacos and tuned his voice out. I noticed there were jovial, attractive, shall I dare say-younger couples in the dining room enjoying themselves. Throughout the meal, it was difficult not to notice the lack of respect and eye contact he made with the waitstaff. When our waiter approached us to see if the check was ready, he angrily repied," No! Were not ready yet. OK!"

As he reiterated another story about how his last "drop-dead gorgeous" lover washed his hair, massaging his scalp and made love to him on a four day sex marathon, I realized how discussions about exes and rudeness towards waitstaff are absolute deal breakers. It was official: Jack was an insufferable loser. He grabbed the tab and asked how I wanted to pay. We spilt the bill and departed our cramped, loud table. I sprinted out of the door and headed into the thick summer night where he coyly implied if we could see one another again. I nodded my head, shook his hand and said a simple, "take care."

As I walked past Tomkins Park, I immediately deleted his contact information from my Blackberry and felt ten pounds lighter. I walked home and made my way towards the bathroom to ward off his audacity, indulging in a long, hot shower. Yogurt will never be the same.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sushi and Dishing

Today, I had lunch with my good friend, Lory. We managed to overcome the heat and walk over to this tiny Sushi house on Avenue A. We were the only two in the entire restaurant. Not sure if that is a good or bad sign, but the atmosphere and peace were pleasant.

While sharing a scrumptious Seaweed Salad and Tuna Tartar, we were immersed in conversation about the lifeline and subsequent impact of friendships. "Sometimes, friendships end-just like a natural death," said Lory. She mentioned how some of her friends back home in Australia, no longer talk to her because they are married with children; they can't relate to her situation of being an American transplant or a full-time student anymore.

Lory is 29, witty, brutally frank, kind, and genuine. She is my go to person for tell it like it is realism, yet doused with the right amount of gentility. I can't help feel that some people, even the closet of close, grow apart even in the best of circumstances. Whether it was the extreme humidity that was still felt outside or the ridiculously loud pop music blasting in the background, I realized something.

A couple of my present friendships are fading. I feel that while I am growing, my outside environment is transforming. To this day, change is terrifying. It isn't that I can't overcome it. What is most scary is looking back and letting go of that one person who you deeply cared for. I've done it, but it hurts. Sometimes, I think the pain never goes away.

When our crunchy Yellowtail and Jalapeno rolls with Shrimp Tempera arrived, I listened to invaluable advice about how one knows when it is alright to let go of certain people and situations. She assured me that there is much more, waiting patiently in the beyond. I know she is right. I just want to believe it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A much needed break

Hello all,

I apologize for not writing any submissions in the past month. Honestly, I am basking in the laziness that has become summer. After I moved into my place, I went on a shopping spree. It was a personal mission to spruce and decorate with simplistic, yet defined pieces from Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate and Barel, and Dwell Studios. A fresh start. Not to mention everywhere in between-the little boutique stores that adorn the ornate streets in the East Village. I am such the proverbial nester. Aside from work at the restaurant and the occasional catch-up gab lunches with seldom seen friends, I am taking it easy. It feels quite good, yet so guilty.

I am always on the go with somewhere to be or someone to meet. But now, things are a bit slower. And I am not certain what to do. I even quit my gym of ten years. On and off, I was tired of the monotony of the space itself and seeing the same faces each day commit to the constant, vigorous exercises that I gave up on awhile ago. Don't even get me started on the smelly locker rooms.

Yesterday as the two month anniversary of my acclimation back into Manhattan arrived, I realized how lovely July 4th can be without people. It is like the quiet of the sidewalks are roaring for undivided attention. I make it a responsibility now since I am two blocks from Tomkins Park, to visit consistently and bring a good book. I love the calm and adjoining chaos of it. Small and charming. Just like the quaint, hidden parks in Germany and France that I saw last year. The visitors that frequent the park are quirky-some even seedy with their hardly bathed bodies sporting hidden beer cans concealed in brown, paper lunch bags. But, I couldn't help think something is missing from my life when I was reading, Philip Roth's-American Pastorial. Just like in the book, not everything is what it seems.

Everything is in place for the most part. I have a good job in this broken economy. I have a reasonably-priced, hip pied-a-terre in the middle of an awesome neighborhood. School is on break. Medical and Dental appointments are in check. Bills are paid. I even managed to book an eight day vacation to Portugal next month. Thankfully, the writing is even coming back to me too. So, what's wrong?

The reason I am questioning things is the lack of being in the moment with spontaneity. I am too wound up without even realizing it. Where are all the cool people I thought I would meet? The guys are there and here, but that is another arc. How do I put myself out there in this new life I created? NYC is still my favorite sanctuary, but it is perplexing in terms of making new connections.

I was thinking of joining a new, high caliber gym with beautiful surroundings. And, I just joined a new (hopefully my last) dating website. Can change come of this? Stay tuned kids.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Why is goodbye so hard?

I hate goodbyes. It is like a punch in the stomach-an end of a memory.

I have said goodbye three times in the past two weeks. The first farewell was my apartment in Brooklyn. At first, I was nervous because I was leaving my comfort zone. I thought for sure I would miss it. I don't. Now that I have moved to the East Village, my new place is starting to feel like home with freshly painted blue and sandlewood walls, new furniture slated to arrive any day with the scent of a new car exuded everywhere.

But, as I settle in, I had to say goodbye to two people. Well, sort of. My therapist that I have seen for that last three years went officially on maternity leave as of Tuesday. For months I had expected it. In fact, I was kind of looking forward to the interim of not talking about my feelings or woes. A break sounded great. I just didn't expect that I would feel ambivalent about it. Luckily, she will return to her practice in the fall, where I can resume this complex relationship. In the meantime, what happens now while I wait?

The next day, I went to visit my doctor at the hospital where I have been going since 2000. In ten years, this man has helped by listening to my problems by offering sound solutions. His mantra-never confront someone when you are beyond angry. Do it when you are calm and collected. Just a thought, right?

On Wednesday when I visited him for my thrice annual visit, he mentioned he was leaving the clinic to focus on teaching. He felt it was time to move on and try something different. When he told me, I felt nothing.

Since I was a child, I avoided goodbyes. When relatives would come and visit, everything seemed to focus on me and my little brother. The attention was fabulous. It was like I was on vacation because my parents pretended to get along with no brewing fights on the horizon. As the relatives left, I would peer out the window when they packed the car and drove away. Then, I would cry. My life had to return to the way it was-uncertain with a temperamental father who yelled and a mother who was manipulative and cunning in getting you to take her side.

A few years later when my parents left my life by choice, I felt de-sensitized which probably explains this reaction to the doctor and the therapist. As I get close to somebody, I want to hold on. But, in most cases I never do. A part of me holds back because it is too painful. I despise getting close and then pulling away. My heart can't take it. When I said goodbye to my doctor, I gave him a big hug and wished him well. I kept thinking how he knows intimate things that most don't. And, how he has seen me at my worst-never judging with a smile and an open mind. I miss his wisdom already.

As summer opens up, I have a new home and place of mind. No doctor or therapist. It seems like I am really on my own now. What I learned over the last few weeks is that nothing is permanent. Things change and people fade away. Sometimes, people re-enter life and others you will probably never see again. Saying goodbye is hard whether it is an apartment, a relationship, a job, or even a doctor.

It is my hope I learn more about why it is so painful to let go and what I can do to continue getting close to someone else, even when there is no promise they will stay. Perhaps a goodbye is just temporary.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Love is a stranger

Several years ago in 2002, Elton John released a song: I want love. The lyrics are beautiful and simple. And, the beat is deniable with its easy flow. I listened to it the other day and thought how I want love. When I begun writing this blog, I wanted to convey how to obtain it and what it really means.

So far, I haven't reached the answer-yet that is. But, what I do know is that I still want it. I am just not sure how it will happen.

I have felt and continue to feel like a dork in documenting a claim for the euphoria surrounding love. While it might come easy to some, it seems nearly impossible for me.

When I was a kid, I was diagnosed with an illness that led to twenty operations. I don't talk much about this because I am ashamed about all of the scars I carry. I have incisions all over my body with a slight deformity in my spine. My right leg is shorter than my left leg. And, my back looks like a train ran over me. Luckily, I am still here.

I tell myself that I am ugly and unlovable at times. This is the self-hatred I refer to in previous posts. Some of my friends who are willing to listen to temporary rants, understand by saying that I least I am not in a wheelchair or have inoperable cancer. I agree. I also realize the impact of my situation doesn't negate the value of my experiences.

What I want is to be able to look in the mirror and say I love you, Mark. Sounds cheesy, right?

Before I can have love, I need to do this. I have to be able to accept my scars and detriments. As you read another sentence with the the letter I, remember we all have a story. Mine is to just not be held up in the past and what it has done to me. Perhaps I listened to much to my controlling, spiteful mother. Or perhaps it is my inability to not overlook the cruel, superficial remarks from ignorant assholes. Somehow, I believed my mother and other people who passed through my life that told me I was deficient because of an illness.

I want to look in my mirror and be proud. I am not sure if the illness speaks, but I know it stands in the way. My therapist said today that there is a guy out there that will love me for me, regardless of an illness or emotional baggage. I am scared of taking a leap with another person. I am petrified in fact because we live in complicated world barred by physical barriers. But, I am going to believe in her healing words. Loneliness still sucks, but its not that bad.

I have a good therapist, loving supportive friends, two adorable nephews, a fabulous apartment in alphabet city, and a job. I think that is a good start. In the interim of the habitual search, I am going to just be and bask in the laziness of summer.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Missing you




On Thursday at 9:00 a.m, I am making the trek of being a Manhattan resident again-this time in the East Village; a small, renovated 450 square foot studio in a three floor walkup . While I am excited, I am nervous. Binding knots are afloat.

The last five years in Brooklyn have been reflective with growing pains, entangled with misery in isolation. As I pack, I am making a startling revelation: I will miss all of it. The forever tanned Italian Guidos manning the streets, the straphangers catching the first seat on the R train with Dunkin Dounut's coffee and NY Post in hand, the pizzerias with the best thin crust margarita slices, and the large cruise ships that announce their descent on the bay with massive horns.

One primary reason in leaving is distance. Bay Ridge, Brooklyn is in a league of its own. For so long, I have been emotionally disconnected to what seems like the world. This apartment houses secrets-it knows too much!

From the outside, it is a six-story brick condominium building contained with a well-manicured lawn, flowers surrounding antique light posts and an art-deco lobby with an elevator. On the inside, it was shaped like a magic, hidden box with four large walls-bone white and ocean blue. The shiny, yet weathered hardwood floors and high ceilings made life cozier. Views of the Atlantic and the Verrzanno Narrows Bridge greeted me each day-rain or shine. This enclave gave new meaning to the word quiet.

It has witnessed the vulnerable side-watching me climb out of bed and stagger to the bathroom daily. It saw me cry when two boyfriends consecutively dumped me and when things didn't mend with my estranged father. It held my hand for fear of possible eviction when I almost drowned the tenant down below by forgetting to shut off the faucet in the bathtub. It reassured my checkbook when I was behind on the rent for severing my hand at work and couldn’t earn income for months-a true best mate.

I understand why I chose to stay. It was safety and protection. The first five years in Manhattan were exhaustive with rotating jobs, friends and living situations. When I chose Brooklyn at 30, I needed to recharge. I had to grow up.

Yet, another five years have passed-long commutes complimented by obnoxious neighbors with their incessant screaming finally drove me over an edge. The latter was just a mere culmination of reasons I craved change. Stagnancy and complacency were among them.

It might seem irrational for some to actually love an apartment. But, in the end, this forgotten neighborhood was conservative and too straight laced for personal taste. In making this transition, I hope to embark on a prosperous journey open with new experiences and people. I am sensitive and usually not emotional. Although, I am sure I will have a good cry and say farewell to my former, somewhat sheltered being.

Dear Brooklyn Apartment:

I will miss you. Please remember that I am grateful for your companionship. Thanks for the safety of your harbor and the compass of your trusting guide. Most of all, just know that I send the best and will always love you.

Goodbye

XOXO

Mark

(P.S I am officially insane)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Straight up

Last week my hopes diminished when I discovered a guy at my school was straight. Throughout the entire semester, I naturally assumed he was just gay. Perhaps it was the way he flamboyantly moved his hands when talking, or how he spoke with a lisp. I will call him, "Roman." Roman is one these men who are in fact flamboyant, passionate, sensitive, yet sleeps with women. The reason I know this is the way he teaches. Yes, he is one of my teachers. Enough said.

When he dropped the M bomb during the last class, I felt like an idiot. He announced to everyone that he was off to get married-to a woman. It wasn't that I was especially attracted to him, but there was potential. He seemed to smile a lot at me. So many times, there are men who are intelligent and sensitive and give off this incredible vibe or as some call it-gaydar.

Unfortunately, my gaydar is off as of late. Way off-as far as New Jersey-that's how off it is. Lately, I can't tell anymore. And, it scares me. Another man I met at a restaurant was great. He was educated, soft-spoken, stylish and funny. I liked how he made fun of the real housewives on Bravo. Most certainly, I thought he had to be gay. About twenty minutes into our conversation, a lady walks by the chair at the table. She sits very close to him. I think how odd this is when she turns around and plants a long, deep one his lips. "This is my fiance, Allision. Allison-this? What was your name, sorry?" I told him it was Mark and wished him a good night.

I didn't think I would score with him at all, but I realize the men I am attracted to are unavailable and gay or just straight as an arrow. This is an unhealthy, disconcerting pattern. The idea of a man is what appeals to me most. Look, when they smell good and dress well and can talk about almost everything-I am there.

My latest undertaking is to go nowhere near them-straight guys that is. I have been with bi-curious men and they usually return to the ladies. How do you know when a person is gay even if they are ambiguous?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Who knows?

Today, I interfaced with a beautiful man on the R train-somewhere in his late thirties or early forties with a few, dramatic wrinkles on his forehead near a receding harline. Towards the Manhattan bridge, he looked up at me and stared, only briefly though. His yummy, dark brown eyes felt penetrating. Whether he was looking out into the east river or day dreaming, I wanted him to see me.

One of the first things I notice about others on the commute is the reading material. This stud didn't disappoint. The latest cover of The New Yorker was being read while listening to his ipod. I found it strange and appealing that a total stranger could evoke feelings of hope. For a quick moment, I just wondered what it would be like if we were lovers. How does his mind work? Does he sleep on the right or left side of the bed? Is cuddling crucial? Most importantly, can he kiss? Of course I am a hapless romantic who gives into fantasy. Yes, I am one that watches chick flicks with friends, fooling myself that this kind of love is plausible.

I admired his hands. They were big and strong with long, thick fingers. My illusion allowed me to think he was a skilled craftsman who was working on a novel. Approaching Grand Street, he placed the magazine in a Jack Spade messenger bag. He tapped his foot, grooving to sounds while shaking his head with a certain finesse unseen by most of us.

Now, I am not the type to obsess or make others uncomfortable with a stare. Over the years, I have perfected a discrete way of not showing any interest in a man, but thinking the opposite: "what a cutie-please, say something." With unsuccessful attempts, I want to meet a guy just like this in the most unexpected, genuine manner. Instances such as riding the train or literally running into another person are what I imagine could happen in the personal boyfriend search. As I did nothing to garner his attention, I craved gumption in approaching him and just taking.

Let's face it. We all omit vibes, internal feelings and odors. (He probably smelled of vanilla and pine). Mine could be off at the moment. Nothing is happening. So many times I have come across that guy that got away. The worst he could do is turn away if I approach him. No big deal, right. Who knows? It might be the start of a beautiful relationship.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Coffee and a date-YAY!




Most recently, I discovered an article in the NY Times about the McCafe in Berlin, Germany. Apparently, McDonald's, has hit the streets of Australia, New Zealand, and now Europe with a wave of uber-hip coffee houses. Much like it's predecessor, shall I dare say the dreaded Starbucks; the McCafe is a haven for meeting single people in a polished setting. I couldn't help but recall my trip to Berlin last summer.

If it were feasible, I would move there in a heartbeat. I stayed for six blissful days in Charlottenburg, which is located in the western sphere of the city. Upon my first foray into this European heaven, the ornate restaurants and cafes that line the cobble stoned streets were breeding grounds for meeting cute, intelligent men. They are everywhere in the public parks, reading their books in the buff and riding the U-Bahn with an open gaze.

A majority of the Germans I met were surprisingly laid back. They were friendly, humorous and spoke fluent English and had no problems discussing Barack Obama, Paris Hilton or even the recession. Words of advice- just be prepared if you're dining al fresco for fear of the ubiquitous swarms of bees flying over that scrumptious omelette, buttery pastry and berry preserves.

Back home in NYC, I am the impatient one in line that orders a mocha so sweet and thick, one wouldn't know it came from a coffee bean. I avoid the commercial venues by getting in and speeding out, because they are usually too loud with impinging patrons. But this is a personal period of change. I am over being lonely. I am devising a project: find cool cafes downtown like the examples set in my Beloved Berlin.

I already found a cozy place off of East 7th that I am checking out on Wednesday. I just know my inner coffee geek is somewhere inside, clamoring to branch its voice amongst the heard of available, gay, single, and approachable men. I imagine them sitting in their chairs, willing to exchange a chat, a yummy delicious coffee drink, and the best thing of all: a connection. Let the games begin.

(F.Y.I-the newest McCafe is slated to arrive sometime here in the big apple during the fall in SoHo)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Is it too little or too late?

No dates. No men. At first, I thought it was kind of fun signing up for an account on okcupid.com. I loved logging to see if there were winks aimed towards my direction or even a cute message. Not. It is drudgery, because I resent being stuck. While I wait for the subsequent responses that will probably never come in, I am adopting a new philosophy: not trying so much!

Looking for love hasn't been easy. I spend a lot of time-trapped and afraid- that anyone could see past my physical and emotional scars and just love me. When I look in the mirror, I hate what I see. Last week my patient, very pregnant therapist, calmly said in her leather chair, that I am a hard shell and need softness in my heart-if I ever want a boyfriend that is. Ouch. I wanted this woman to hold my hand; not tell the ugly truth. Every other week, I profess a certain loneliness. I am tired, if not slightly bored.

I am not sure what or who I need to be anymore. When meeting others in social situations, I attempt not to reveal any insecurity by asking them questions about their lives and interests. Perhaps it deflects the reality of being seen. Aside from watching adoring couples kissing and holding hands under the magnolia trees on our city streets this weekend, I felt a slight optimism as I strolled to work.

Whether I attend more social meeting events or join another sappy, if not useless dating website, I don't want to be bummed. I know a opportunity will arrive-eventually. But, for now, I am taking her invaluable advice in having more compassion for being single and lost. Before I can allow anyone into this hardened heart, it must be open. And hopefully, softened.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The power of friendships

As a gay man, the dating rules are different. Consciousness of one's self-image is huge. On Avenue A and East 9th, I ran into a guy I dated for about a second, one that I secretly fancied. Calmly he said, "You know the reason why we never hooked up? Insecurity. You just didn't seem like you knew yourself very well. No offense."

He's right. I still don't.

One of the key aspects in cultivating a sucessful relationship with a potential suitor is friendship. I came across a website: http://thegaylovecoach.com/blog/ specifically slated for successful gay partnerships. It offers compelling advice and states friendship as the number one component before something substantial can develop. This is important as I lack strong gay friendships in my own life. If I were able to overcome the superficial boundaries that we as a community place on ourselves, then my perspective would be different.

While I continue with the angst of looking for love, my focus will shift gears. All this time I have been roaming and idealizing and hoping that I will open the channels of romance as I log on to my dating profile. But, what I forgot to focus on was the building of connections with other like minded gay men-friends with commonality personified. I just joined a social networking group of professional New Yorkers that wish to foster friendships. Will this work? At least it could be a step ahead from the insulated and disingenuous world of online dating. Who knows, perhaps a needle in a haystack could be found.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Freeze Frame

The guy I mentioned-the photographer in Chelsea, finally contacted me over the weekend. "Sorry, so not my type. Best of Luck. P.S. You might want to rethink the photo." I had a difficult time finding a decent picture I preferred. Let's admit it, probably most of us don't like our pictures. During my sophomore year at high school back in Northern Nevada, there was this awkward phase where I thought I looked nerdy. I still do.
Immediately, I went through the iphoto folder and tried to locate one that would deem me more desirable. Nothing. Most of them date back to almost two years ago when my hair was much longer. So, in order to appease the masses, I am on a journey of creating a feasible album which showcases my best features. Brown tresses(hence the subtle gray popping in), a clear complexion and bleached teeth are what I am focusing on.
One of the other issues I am facing is self-esteem and confidence. When I do date, I always think I have to be hyper-masculine, elusive and cool. Call me quirky, but ambivalence plays a role in how I present myself to others.
About an hour ago, I received an interest from Kevin who is a year younger than me. In accordance with ok cupid, we are a 74% match. He is from Kansas and has been here less than a year. Hopefully, his naive nature will remain intact when assessing me without the NY attitude. His profile is so sweet. Oh, how I love those midwestern- boys.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A wink and a smile...

In joining okcupid.com , I have learned something. ALL ONLINE DATING SITES ARE THE SAME! Granted, this is an inner cynic speaking. When signing up for an account, you are prompted to a series of inane questions that provide compatibility with potential suitors -a lot have answered as many 1000 questions. "If someone stole something at work, would you report them" or, "Which is more important-love or passion?" I have only climbed to #49.
I have managed to garner a couple of winks. A smiling face emerges and implies there is an interest from another party. Also, if luck arrives, there is an award for honesty in depicting an accurate profile. Whatever. I already have one, although, I am officially bored after nine days. With the exception of exchanging chat sessions with two men-one in his late forties and the other living in White Plains (too far away), I am leaning towards being discontent, rather than feeling hopeful.
I sent a few messages to a writer in the east village and a photographer in Chelsea. The photo and witty self-description of the latter lured me in. We are both the same age and from the west coast. As I log in semi-daily, I interface with the similar type of seemingly desperate men who are eager to date, but exhibit no action beyond vapid discussions. Perhaps, I need to invest in social networking skills and leave the internet dating concept in the dust.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Online dating: a brave, scary world.

CNN just ran this piece in reference to the perils of online dating. Is this interesting or redundant?



www.okcupid.com...YAY!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stood up!

Being stood up isn’t that bad. O.K. It’s awful. Granted, this is not my first.

I waited over thirty minutes for Ben-a nobody I met online. Seeing as I am not one to show up late for anything, I arrived ten minutes early to scout out digs of the super sexy bar a few blocks from his apartment in the east village. The place sprouted dim lighting, chilled tunes and long, crème velvet drapes. As a design geek, I was right at home. About twenty minutes into the wait, I sipped a twelve-dollar martini while strolling my cellular phone to ensure I had the correct address.

Every time a cutie walked through the door, my stomach sank. Could this be him? Will he take well to me? I didn’t like being nervous or desperate for a man I hardly knew. From our phone discussion on how New York queens are fickle, just a couple of days earlier; I believed this forty-four year old, managing consultant was like me: genuine and looking for love. About half past the hour, I grew worried. After all, it was snowing outside. But, after a long day of work, if I could make it, why wouldn’t he?

I sent him a text around 9:30 p.m. No response for ten minutes. I was prepared to leave when he replied. “Yeah?” Quickly, I sounded off. Um, this is Mark-we made plans for a drink tonight. Nine o’clock. I am here. Where are you? “Oh, right. Mark. Un- uh. What’s up? (Long pause) Yeah, I can’t make it tonight. Sorry man. Reschedule, maybe?” I was fascinated by his callousness and humiliated for feeling like an insecure loser.

A few couples were canoodling in some of the booths when I emerged from my stool. My obsession on how they successfully made it past the first date stopped me. What does a smart, sensitive thirty-five year old have to do in a situation like this? Drink more. Upon the second round, I felt a sense of calm when I replied through an elusive text regarding the tentative rescheduling. “No, thanks. Don’t Bother.”

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love is the drug...

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/02/12/love.heart.brain/index.html?hpt=

     Above, is the link to a related article why love can impact the entire body: heart, mind and other nameless body parts.  It can move beyond the physical and into actual physiology.  Evidently, love, is beyond our control.  Can I debunk this claim or choose to accept it?


     "Love is an oxymoron.  It isn't supposed to make sense." quipped Tony, a sixty-something West Villager and loyal patron I frequently wait on at my restaurant. "Forget all of the superficial bullshit with having to look a certain way or having material possessions.  Its about being real, not giving a flying fuck what anyone else thinks." Offering the dessert menu, we discussed how dating in NYC is so difficult. And, here on Valentines Day 2010, I was alone and working.  I am embarrassed to admit it has been a year since my last date.
     Andrew, a NYU Psychology professor was twenty-one years my senior who lived in Carol Gardens.  We met online through Manhunt- the go to site for gay hook-ups.  Our pairing was brief, lasting less than a month.  His wisdom mitigated my insecurities.  His broad rugby player stature protected me while cuddling.  I was getting used to the idea of seeing an older, intelligent man when he began to act aloof over French Toast and Bacon at a local diner.
      Andrew barely uttered a sentence beyond "pass the maple syrup." As we hugged another near the F train stop on Smith Street, he seemed disengaged, kissing me on the cheek.  He never replied to my two embarrassing, rather desperate voicemail messages, demanding an explanation.  Since then, an inner hermit has taken my confidence hostage, acclimating to the sour taste of rejection.  Not anymore.
      During my birthday lunch last week at Gotham Bar and Grill, I promised my good friend, Lory, that I would resume dating by spring.  In order to access this potency with finding a partner, I am signing up for a legitimate online site where men(hopefully within my own age group) will respond, looking for the same addictive comfort: reciprocal love.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rebirth

">     Tomorrow, I am grabbing 35 by the balls. I am grateful for making it this far, in spite of being hospitalized during the majority of a painful childhood. I am honored to finally feel like a grown up. I am also scared shitless, unable to control the aging process and uncertain of what lurks around the corner. For a long time, I have yearned for a real love-the type you witness with your good friends, fortifing hope. Until Mr. Whomever appears, I am going to locate a style of being fine just the way I am: single and fabulous.
     A Union Square restaurant I wait tables at, ties in beautifully. Frequently, I see confident single men and women walk through the door, looking for a cozy table. Often, in the middle of busy service, he or she will sit and just be. A few play with the stems of their wine glass while strolling on their blackberries. Some remain without any distractions, alone in a crowded room. What I admire most is their sense of self, appearing not to care what others think and unafraid to been viewed as a solo player.
     Letting my guard down and trusting instincts towards meeting new people is the first step to accessing inner confidence.  Does having yet another birthday imply that we are more rigid and unreceptive of change?   How can I love myself enough not to care what others see and just be in the moment?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is he there yet?

Hello to all-

As a west coast transplant, I have been in New York City for ten years. In that time, I have met endless people, many of whom touched me with their emotions and lack of reactions- who entered and exited my life in various fashions. What always intrigues me is the connection that we form as humans. In a vast city so large where several don't even know the name of their neighbors, its difficult to feel connected and close. I want to change that. Officially, I have declared this a year of paramount transformation.

I am a 34 gay white male living in Brooklyn. In about one week, I am turning 35. And, within a few months, I am breaking my lease to move back to Manhattan, revitalizing social and romantic prospects without compromising values. I wait tables full-time at a restaurant as a waiter in the west village, in addition to attending school full-time at The New School in Manhattan. Additionally, I am also a writer, searching for a platform in the professional world. Surely, in between commitments, there has to be something or someone out there that can open the channels.

Call me jaded, but after faceless rejections and self-hatred dating back to adolescence, I resigned to the looming possibility of sustaining a real relationship in New York. I used to believe that moving to Connecticut could resolve the matter. But, I realized love is everywhere. The over-priced East Village, muscle ridden Chelsea, ambitious driven Midtown, hipster Brooklyn, and lastly, Staten Island.

My mission is how to access it and learn from the examples of friends who claim that it does exist; that I should stop analyzing and looking and just live. I want to explore if we are seeing the real thing right in front of us? Or is it just a facade to enliven one's own insecurities? My project will include these factors and the judgements we make of others.

More importantly, I will be taking steps to leave my comfort zone of self-proclaimed singledom and ask men on dates. I am not sure when or how, but it will happen. This is going to be an adventure into the unknown. Now that my mid thirties are here, there is no time like the present. To be continued...