lonely lovely city

lonely lovely city

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.