Sweet Gregory: Part Three, The 59th Street Bridge – 2001

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Gregory is perplexed, and sort of chasing me up the hill. I’m not running, but it’s a steep climb and I’m race-walking. I don’t understand my powers yet -I can’t control them. In the years to come, I will learn that if emotionally triggered, or feeling slightly manic, raising my heart rate isn’t a good idea. Bad things happen when I do that.

Sweet Gregory is trailing behind me on the 59th Street Bridge. I am race-walking us to Queens. A mean plan has sprung up in my young mind.  I’m going to make him walk me all the way home, then tell him to get back on the subway. I’m not going to sleep with him tonight, or any other night. He’s changing, and I don’t recognize him at all any more.

Which is fine. I don’t recognize myself, either.

A racing heart sits inside an awful, jealous, mean, petty version of myself. The quickening pulse thrums out my eardrums. Mania starts to rise; I’m too young to realize its power. Too young to know that if I let the mania swell too fully inside me, I can unleash a terrible force, Like Father, when he built Asteroid M. But, my powers are yet undefined. It’s 2001, and I don’t even know much about myself. All I know is that I’m different than other folks, and that I have to hide it.

An arctic, icy blast lights up behind my eyes. I pick up the pace. Gregory complains.

Hey! Why are you walking so fast? It’s the middle of the night! What’s the rush?

I’m so busy these days Sweet Gregory! I have a rehearsal tomorrow and an audition!

You said you weren’t rehearsing until Friday?

It’s another project, duh! I said I was busy! Keep up!

I don’t want Sweet Gregory to keep up. I want him to lag behind me forever, but his voice has developed two decades in the last nine months. He’s coming into his full power, and I don’t even know what my power is yet! It isn’t fair. He’s a spoiled brat from a wealthy family. That’s not who the arts should be for! The arts are for real artists who had to struggle to get where they are, not for pampered babies whose families paid for their every whim.

(No, that’s not true, another voice in my head suggests. The arts are also a place the rich place their black sheep family members. Their broken. The sociopaths that don’t have a flair for business.)

I think of the improv classes I’m taking. How I had to scrape money together at the end of the month for rent, how I kept taking classes. I think of the regional and Off-Off-Broadway musicals, sometimes for little or no money at all, just to get a chance to get some free voice practice in. Ice crystals form behind my eyes. A bluish-white whisper floats from my mouth. Sweet Gregory is confused. He notices a change in me, but he can’t place it. He’s out of breath. We keep rushing. He stumbles, but I don’t pause to help him, I race out front.

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Come on! I have to get up early tomorrow, I say.

Gregory puffs and huffs behind me. Good luck with that golden voice, I think to myself. Maybe I’ll stick around and wear you out, Sweet, Sweet Gregory?  Maybe, I’ll just keep you tired your whole life, so you can’t sing…

I sense something preternatural near me. A flash in my mind – two unctuous, undulating eels, twisting in East River silt, rutting up tree roots, sliding past rusting cans.

My third eye pops open. I’m linked now, with the two gargantuan eels. This happens sometimes when my powers take over. They link to whatever animals nearby that can use their base instincts to fuel my agenda. Most of the time it’s just birds, but sometimes it’s uglier animals, depending on now insipid I feel inside when the mania triggers. The third eye swells. My skin is gooseflesh. I pause. Blue white light.

Lead him to the top of the bridge, the eels whisper, I am two places at once. I am standing on the Queensborough Bridge with Sweet Gregory, and I’m cold, submerged in the inky water of the East River, amongst flotsam and jetsam, amongst moss and fishes, and discarded needles, river rocks, and sharper stones.  Algae, particulate, brown earthy life, and two self-satisfied, overgrown, fear-driven eels.

Gregory catches up. Thank God you came to your senses!

I didn’t. And you thank God, Gregory! I don’t believe in your Catholic God who speaks an infallible voice through a man called the Pope. I don’t believe any of it!

It’s okay! It’s just religion! We don’t have to agree! Michael, what’s the matter with you tonight? You sang really well, back there! You’re funny! You know that funny people don’t have to learn to sing all that well? Think about all the character actors who make it on Broadway, just croaking out one song a night! It’s the dream job! Full salary for one fun song, and a few lines in the second act! Are you jealous?

Am I what???

Are you jealous of me?

Poison flows through my veins. Hatred pumped so quickly by my heart, fluttering and pounding away – endless pounding in my very soul – pounding deep into my core. Fuck you, Gregory – I’m not jealous. I feel sorry for you!

Michael…

I didn’t stop so you could catch up, Gregory. I stopped so you could have a fair start. We’re racing to the top of the bridge. I feel my tongue splitting in twain as I say this. My tongue silver, my words, quick.  I shift eye contact – right, left, right, left, right, left. Like a swinging pendulum on a grandfather clock. Eye to eye, I press into his mind, a bit, gently, I enter him. It’s easy. He doesn’t even know he has a third eye.

Race me up to the top!

Gregory looks uneasy, stunned, then his eyes glaze over, fuzzy, and he smirks.

Okay, he says, all Fairfield County, all bright and cheerful, but neutral underneath. It’s the tone of voice you might hear from someone who wants to talk about your problems endlessly, but offer no real solutions – it’s a classic politician’s voice – cheerful, smarmy. I’ve used my power to briefly create this moment, in order to make him chase me. It’s working. I feel in control again.

Okay? Ready, set, go!

He’s playing along now, and so am I. For a while I let us run neck and neck, but I’m a competitive swimmer, and I have been for more than a decade. Moreover, my mania will provide an adrenaline dump that usually lets me win a sprint. I’m fast. Gregory is taller than me but I pull away toward the top of the bridge. By the time I see his silhouette approaching, I’ve already climbed over the safety barrier. I’m perched at the apex of the bridge, with a slimy smile on my face. Two eels twisting inside my third eye. Two eels whisper to one another in the riverbed murk and muck, hundreds of feet below us.

Take it. Take him. We want a sacrifice. We need blood.

This takeover is unprecedented. I’ve approached animals before with my eye open, but I’ve never been hijacked like this. It terrifies me when my third eye opens on its own. I have to learn to control this. Go away! I’m shouting at the eels. Get out!

You asked us in! You can’t banish us until you grant a request. We require a sacrifice.

I don’t believe them. I think they’re lying. I clench my teeth; try to force my third eye closed. It moves a bit, then snaps back open. The eels giggle and hiss. Reflexively, I tighten my jaw again, and tear of a good sized chunk of my inner cheek.

We want blood… We need blood. We can’t get back on land unless you feed us. We’re trapped down here in the river.

Who are you?

We’re a little bit like you.

You are not like me.

No, not exactly. But we have powers like you. We could share.

I want you out.

We need blood, and we ain’t leaving.

Sweet Gregory approaches. He is red-faced and out of breath. Sweating through his Oxfords. He’s grinning.

Okay, okay, you win! Come down off there…

I’m not coming down, Sweet Gregory.

What? You’re nuts, come off it.

Come up here with me, Gregory.

Michael, I’m not coming up there. You could fall. If you fall you’ll die.

Gregory, life is about taking risks. That’s what I didn’t like about your song tonight. You sang it perfectly, but there wasn’t any risk in your voice. It sounded like you were doing something for the purpose of not being criticized, but it didn’t sound like you were pulling your own heart out. That song happens right before a character in the show leaves his home country to be with a foreign woman. You sang all the notes perfectly, but you didn’t tell the story.

Michael, I’m 22 years old. That role is written for a 40 year old man.

I want you to take a risk with me. Let’s jump into the river.

What?!?! No. Get down from there right now. This bridge is 350 feet tall, Michael. You’ll die if you jump.

I just read how someone jumped off last month and swam ashore.

Michael, did you also read that 70% of people who jump from this height, even into water, will die on impact? Because that’s an important part of the story, and I read the whole thing.

Make him join you, and push him in, the eels whisper to me, or, join him! We need blood to grow stronger – the more, the better. Both of you, strong bloods. Smells so good. Smells so powerful, crossing our river…

No.

Help us. We won’t let you die, if you deliver us Sweet Gregory’s head, like the head of John the Baptist. We can reward you! We can show you how to control your powers!

No.

You’re just like us, kiddo. Don’t you think we started off as people? Let us show you how to shape your own destiny. Let us unlock your power, and sip some for ourselves, to boot!

Brúttó. Þið tveir eruð ógeðslegir. Farðu úr huganum! Get out!

You’re the one who let us in. We require a blood sacrifice to leave. It’s simple. You can’t force us out until we get blood.

Gregory is nervous.  He can tell I’m considering jumping, now, in a real way. He can tell he has caught me on an evening where I’m so full of self-loathing, I feel like I have nothing left to lose. He can tell I’m dangerous, but he still loves me, a little, and he wants me to stop threatening to jump off the 59th Street Bridge.

Michael, please come down.

Gregory, why are you going into journalism?

Michael, I have to tell you – I’m up for a job as an editor.

You’re 22.

They really liked the articles I wrote for Show Music, and so it’s looking like I could be the editor of Next Magazine soon.

You’re an actor! You’re a great musical theater actor! That’s a local gay magazine that runs interviews with drag queens and has-been Broadway folks looking to rekindle something. Why would you leave the arts? Look – you can learn how to act better, but not everyone gets a voice like that, Gregory. Don’t waste it.

My father respects me now, Michael. It’s important to me. He doesn’t respect acting, as a career choice, but journalism! His son the editor? He respects it. What’s more, I can pay my rent doing it! I’m taking the job.

Bring him to us!

Gregory, come up here.

Yes!

No. I don’t want either of us to jump off a bridge tonight.

Just come up. I promise not to jump, or try to talk you into it. Just take the risk with me. Just hang off the side of the bridge! It’s fun.

Gregory comes up past the safety rail to sit with me on an iron girder.

Push him. Push him over, and we’ll show you how to REALLY use that third eye.

I push my tongue into the gash I bit into my cheek – a thick viscous iron taste. Blood. My third eye swells. Sing for me, I say. Sing another song for me, Sweet, Sweet Gregory. From Chess? The show you sang from at the cabaret bar?

Gregory clears his throat.

Now, sing, I say.

“What’s going on around me

Is barely making sense

I need some explanations fast

I see my present partner

In the imperfect tense”

Keep him singing!

“And I don’t see how we can last

I feel I need a change of cast

Maybe I’m on nobody’s side

And when he gives me reasons

To justify each move

They’re getting harder to believe

I know this can’t continue

I’ve still a lot to prove

There must be more I could achive

But I don’t have the nerve to leave

Everybody’s playing the game

But nobody’s rules are the same”

Push him over to us! You’ll be so powerful!

“Nobody’s on nobody’s side

Better learn to go it alone

Recognize you’re out on your own

Nobody’s on nobody’s side

The one I should not think of

Keeps rolling through my mind

And I don’t want to let that go

No lover’s ever faithful

No contract truly signed

There’s nothing certain left to know

And how the cracks begin to show”

Join us. We work for powerful gods. They will reward you for unlocking us from this watery prison.

“Never make a promise or plan

Take a little love when you can

Nobody’s on nobody’s side

Never stay too long in your bed

Never lose your heart, use your head

Nobody’s on nobody’s side

Never take a stranger’s advice

Never let a friend fool you twice

Nobody’s on nobody’s side”

I place my hand on Gregory’s back. I slide it down to the small of him.

I could push him. I could end both of us.

“Everybody’s playing the game

But nobody’s rules are the same

Nobody’s on nobody’s side

Never leave a moment too soon

Never waste a hot afternoon

Nobody’s on nobody’s side

Never stay a minute too long

Don’t forget the best will go wrong

Nobody’s on nobody’s side”

I bite open my cheek. The blood runs into my mouth. I grab Gregory’s thigh. I could easily throw us both into the river. It would be so simple.

“Never be the first to believe

Never be the last to deceive

Nobody’s on nobody’s side

Never make a promise or plan

Take a little love when you can

Nobody’s on nobody’s side”

I widen my third eye. I spit the blood down into the abyss. It falls 350 feet to the surface of the river.

NO! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? YOU FOOL!

Trance-like and slack bodied, I open a portal to Ragisland. I suck up the last notes of Gregory’s song into my Eye, immediately placing his voice inside a small, impish cherub statue a few miles south of my memory castle. I shoved the golden voice into the cracks in the little angel’s marble. The statue rests behind a waterfall, it makes a steady, constant sound vibration.

I’ve locked Gregory’s voice here, at the same moment as my blood sacrifice to those eels. Its mine now. I can always visit his voice. He won’t need it anymore, anyway.

I leave the waterfall, the statue, behind. In the cold spring, now, I thrust my fists into the water. I clench myself. My eyes turn opaque, translucent white icy blue. My jaw, slack, bluish white light from my mouth. The eels in my hands, squirming. I seize them. I’m ousting them from my memory castle. I take them to the portal, and fling them out of my mind, back into the East river to meet their oily bodies, rutting and churning up scrum.

The astral plane is closed, this portal sealed. The eels hiss and scream, and fight one another for the meager blood sacrifice I’ve offered. They wanted a five course meal, and I barely gave them a bite – but they got their blood.

This isn’t over, Michael Martin. We’re not going anywhere. We know who and what you are now. We have tasted you. We’ll never let this go.

Shut up, I hear myself say. You guys are real dicks. They slink off down the coast a bit

We climb down off the pylons. We’re back on the bridge. I tell Gregory to head back to Manhattan, but he insists on walking me to Queensborough Plaza to catch the 7 back to Manhattan. I feel affectionate toward Sweet Gregory again. I want to hold him and be naked with him again, but I can’t. Part of me doesn’t want to ruin the relationship I have right now (though it seems to be ruining itself). Part of me doesn’t want to corrupt him with my frantic, crazy, manic whatever-the-fuck is going on with me. My inner cheek is bleeding. I can’t control my third eye. I’m toxic right now. 

Gregory hugs me at the station before heading up the stairs.

I’m proud of you, I say, and I’m surprised that I mean it.

I’m more proud of you, Michael. I know you’ll eventually make a living doing theater, or at least being funny! You’re perfect for that. I just need to do this. I like the idea of making a living now, and having my Dad’s approval.

You’re a better person than I am, Sweet Gregory.

No, I’m not! I have flaws! You’re a great person!

No, I’m not, I say, and I kiss him on the cheek.

He hurries up the stairs, but then over his shoulder – Yes, Michael. You are a great person! You’re exceptional!

You are, I say! I’m not a great person! I’m barely even decent!

Gregory doesn’t hear me. He disappears into turnstiles, fluorescent lights, ancient carved up wooden benches. His silhouette is distinguishable, for a brief moment, behind the opaque, tagged-up, art-deco glass panel that NYC’s yesteryear forgot to update. Behind the glass, his shadow merges with a sea of others. I can no longer sense his strong blood.

I walk the short distance back to my place in Long Island City. I stop worrying about the eels. I grind my tongue into my cheek and taste the blood already coagulating, already knitting itself together, patching my wound. The mania subsides.

I spend the wee hours of the morning in Ragisland, admiring a statue behind a waterfall. I’m listening to the vibratory hum of Tiny Gregory the Cherub mix with the sound of water showering down all around me, creating a shimmering barrier to hide us. 

I’m practicing turning my skin to diamond.

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MonDATE: Bisexuals and the Right to Privacy, Part Two

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Him: You’re being extremely unfair!

Me: I’m sorry about that. Did you see August Osage County? What did you think?

Him: Seriously, are you Bisexual?

Me: I keep thinking if I hadn’t seen the Broadway play, I might have really liked the movie. I liked it quite a bit, actually, but I might have been blown away if I hadn’t watched the Broadway show twice.

Him: Don’t change the subject! Stop it.

Me: Julia Roberts really blew the doors off the hinges. It’s worth seeing just for that.

Him: I didn’t see it yet, okay?

Me: Okay. No spoilers, then.

Him: I’m asking you a question, and you’re avoiding it.

Me: I don’t see why I owe you the information. It’s just information, after all.

Him: I read your site for years. I’m extremely curious. What happened? It seems like you’ve made a 180, and I don’t know what to make of all of it. It seems…

Me: Don’t trail off. How does it seem?

Him: Hypocritical. It seems hypocritical. Sorry.

(There is a long pause. I sit on a bench at the bus stop.)

Him: You waiting for a bus now?

Me: Only if it’s an express bus to Canada.

Him: What does that mean?

Me: I dunno. It’s about half a joke. I’ll let you know when/if there’s a punch line.

Him: Hey. I’m sorry I called you a hypocrite – just how I see it.

Me: Ha. Then you’re not really sorry! You’re frustrated about quite a few things, and I’d suspect the root of it has very, very little to do with me.

Him: You can’t just… You can’t write about the gay community for years, and talk openly about being a poly-amorous homosexual – you can’t run some sort of online ‘brotherhood of man’ pie cult for the gays, and then just get married to a woman. Just, poof, you’re married and normal again. Just like that.

Me: Can’t I? Why can’t I? Why can’t I marry whomever I want? Isn’t that the underlined point behind the Marriage Equality movement?

Him: Don’t you feel you owe people like me an explanation?

Me: Why?

Him: Because I am one of your readers. Because I’m your audience.

(There is a long pause.)

Me: Well… thank you. I’m flattered you’re reading, that you’re still reading, and that you took the time to contact me. All of these things are incredibly flattering, and part of me agrees with you. A huge part of me thinks I owe it to you to tell you exactly how my sex life is structured, what it means to be LGBTQ in a traditional marriage structure, and send you home with a slice of pie and a warm feeling of hope for tomorrow.

Him: That’s what I’d like, yes.

Me: Then again, I’ve read quite a few books on writing, and while authors agree it is important to have an audience, they seem to also agree that catering things to your audience leads to atrophy in a major way. Bill Cosby said something like, I don’t know what the formula for success is, but I know the formula for failure is trying to please everyone.

Him: Teach me, oh wise one.

Me: I’m not getting paid to teach you, or, for that matter, to tell you how to live your life, or to tell you how I live mine.

Him: Okay, I’ll admit – it’s none of my business.

Me: Thank you.

Him: But I’m CURIOUS.

Me: Yes. You’re curious. That’s exactly right. You expect me to tell you intimate details of my personal life to you, the way I would to my therapist, because you read my site for a while and you feel somehow entitled to missing information. But you’re just an audience member. You’re just tuning in. You don’t know me and you have no real right to my inner physical, emotional, or intellectual life, beyond what I publish on my site, which by the way you read for free – so I owe you even less.

Him: People are going to want to know! You wrote about your sex life for years!

Me: No. Incorrect. I did not.

Him: Yes you DID. You’re being a hypocrite!

Me: Actually, I wrote about awkward dates, urban alienation, and my disappointment in a community full of brilliant, motivated, socially broken people. I almost never mentioned who I was having sex with.

Him: Come off it. You were sleeping with all those boys who made pie with you.

Me: Incorrect. Those were models, or friends, or people who contacted me online who wanted to help. It was very rare I slept with the people on my site.

Him: What?

Me: The “Awkward Dates” happen with people I don’t sleep with. That is the whole point: Here’s how NOT to sleep with me. The irony is, it’s pretty easy to sleep with me, if you’re cute and sweet, but most gay people have no interest in being kind, gentle, or generous of spirit – at least the ones who live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn don’t. They think they don’t have to, and in some sense, they’re correct. Someone will stomach their painfully underdeveloped, spoiled, sour personalities. But that someone isn’t me…

Him: Still seems hypocritical to me.

Me: You’ve now called me a hypocrite three times.

Him: So?

Me: So take a deep breath.

Him: Why?

Me: I’m about to tell you what I think about you.

(Pause. He looks concerned. I take a deep breath and count to ten.)

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

The Ficus is Dead – Part Three

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Me: Yeah. And the definition of a nice Thanksgiving is one where I don’t show up and ruin things. So yeah, I didn’t speak to you after that, because you proved to me that you don’t care about me anymore. I decided right then that I wasn’t going to reach out to you again, until you reached out first. Ha. I guess you called my bluff! Cause a year has gone by and you didn’t even know I was hurting over it. But it doesn’t matter anymore because the ficus is dead. It’s dead and it’s not ever, ever coming back and you don’t get to know about that!

(pause)

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Me: You run away from everything.

Him: You. Left. Me.

Me: You left me a long time before that for your drunk ass writer friends.

Him: You wanted me to be a writer!

Me: NOW YOU ARE ONE. Are you happy?

Him: Yes, Michael. I am. I’m very happy, actually.  I love my house, and I love my car and I love my boyfriend. And you’re passive aggressive, but I love you too. I just can’t be around you all the time anymore, or maybe even at all. AND I DON’T OWE IT TO YOU TO EXPLAIN WHY.

Me: That’s fine! But I don’t owe it to you to tell you when the ficus dies.

Him: That was a metaphor for us!

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Me: It still IS. Our relationship, and I mean our friendship – died. It died in the past year as you turned your back on me and slowly cut me out of our circle of friends. Have you ever seen August Osage County?

Him: No. Why?

Me: Tracy Letts writes a line for one of the characters, about how people are always complaining that America is dying, but the truth of the matter is that America died a long time ago, while Americans were focused on other things. Curling irons. New Cars. Televisions. I’m paraphrasing.

Him: So?

Me: So that’s us. We’re the ficus. It’s dead, and you didn’t even know it was dying. And because of that you don’t get to deserve to know.

Him: Do you see how passive aggressive you are?

Me: You don’t know the half of it. Talk about passive aggressive – you’re imaginary!

Him: What?

Me: I’m making you up. I’m not really saying this to you. This is just what I wish I could say to you. You’re a fantasy Carson.

Him: GOD YOU’RE SO…

Me: Passive aggressive? Maybe you’re right, but at least I’m real, and you’re not, so haha. Anyway, you got all our friends in the breakup so you can console yourself with that.

Him: Hm. Well. In that case…

Me: Yes?

Him: Since I’m a fantasy Carson, I can’t get a hangover. Should we have another beer. Talk this out some more?

Me: I go in circles with this, but I always wind up forgiving you.

Him: Aw you’re sweet. Do you forgive yourself?

Me: I’m starting to. It’s hard. That’s the hardest thing.

Him: Oh, shit, sweetie – I just realized.

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Me: What?

Him: Jason’s coming back with cigarettes.

Me: No he isn’t. This is my fantasy and he doesn’t exist.

Him: Oh no! I love him though. Plus I really wanted a cigarette.

Me: You mean like the cigarette you have in your hand right now?

Him: Oh wow. You can do that?

Me: It’s my fantasy.

Him: That’s neat. But why not just make a version of me that doesn’t crave cigarettes?

Me: Because I like your flaws sometimes.

Him: Why?

(long pause)

Me: Because I love you. What are you drinking?

Him: Stella.

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Me: I’ll go to the bar and get two Stellas then.

Him: I’ll be here when you get back.

Me: No, you won’t.

Him: What? Why?

Me: Because it’s my fantasy. And because the ficus is dead.

-1

Rice Queen

allison michael orenstein

Here’s a video of me doing stand up at UCB’s Soul Glo Project show for September.

I sing a song about dating Asian guys, and though I try to keep it PC, it spirals beyond my control. Just kidding. I’m in control of every single awful thing I say! You’re welcome.

Thanks to Anna Suzuki for taking the footage. And thanks for watching my horrible, racist song.

Jerks.

Advice

photos: kristen yoonsoo kim

Michael,

I am a 23 year old virgin… and I am madly in love with a 20 year old young man, who some have labelled as a prostitute. He is probably my best friend, and gives me everything I could want out of a relationship just being my friend. However he has never displayed any interest in me even though early in our friendship I expressed my feelings for him. I have a connection with him that I have never felt before with someone and I want him around for the rest of my life. I have known him for nearly a year now and I feel that telling him I was a virgin before I knew I liked him ruined my chances of him ever being attracted to me. I do everything for him and would do anything he asked because that is just the person I am, however I see him sell his body to men old enough to be his father and then fall in love with them. I have stood by him many times while this has happened and my heart has broken every time. Occasionally I am able to get rid of my feelings I have for him and respect our friendship, but then he will do something nice for me like wash a sweater I left at his house or cook for me and all my feelings come rushing back. He keeps a photo of one of the men who flew him out to Denmark to sleep with him next to his bed. Every time I see that picture, I fall apart.

I do everything for him, because as a person that is just the way I am with all my friends. I don’t have many so this is not a problem. I have bought most of his clothes, I buy his groceries, I cut his mother’s lawn, I drive him everywhere, I pay all expenses when we are together, and I try to look after the people important to him. He does not do anything for me, but the fact that he thinks of me wants me with him all the time means so much to me. He is the person I had saved my body and heart for, yet he is not interested. If it was because he did not find me attractive, I could handle that. However I have seen the men he sleeps with and he himself told me he finds me attractive but does not know why he does not like me. The amounts of pain I feel when I see him try and give his heart to men who only want him for sex kills me. It seems all it takes is for a relatively attractive guy to meet him and express sexual interest in him and he falls in love. I have ruined my chances at doing that, because if it goes wrong, I lose him as a friend. At one point I was going to start sleeping with some of the men who have been trying to sleep with me for years to seem more appealing. But other friends talked me out of it.

My question is…. I believe I am reading into some of his actions and it gives me hope he may one day want me. I have shared a bed with him on a few occasions, and during the night I would sleep turned away from him and in his sleep he would call my name and spoon and kiss the back of my neck. I never mentioned it to him because I thought it might make things awkward. In his relationships, he never instigates sex. Guys come to him. But on a few occasions he has oddly lit candles and snuggled up to me while watching a movie. His family members tell him he is stupid for not snatching me up. Also one night when I was driving him home, he brought up the topic of why I haven’t had sex yet and got upset when I said I would only sleep with someone I was in a relationship with. My question is; should I stay around and hope that one day he realizes that I am a good man and would do anything for him? Or should I try and come on to him sexually and hope this works for me like it has for all the other men? If I am going to cut him out of my life, I might as well go out with a bang right? I know he will never appreciate that I have saved my body just for him; the mental connection we share is far too intense to deny my attraction. I recently drove him out of town to move him into university, and now that he is far away I feel like I am dying on the inside. I am at the point where I cannot live with him, and I certainly cannot live without him.

I know this will probably read as a jumbled mess, but that is what I am at the moment…

 

Thanks for Piefolk and Best Regards,

Jeff

Jeff,

Thanks for writing. I hope the tone of my advice doesn’t seem harsh, but honestly, it seems like you need a kick in the pants even more than your friend.

Okay, firstly, let me answer your questions:

1) Should you stay around and hope he realizes you’re good and would do anything for him?

NO. He already realizes this. He is a selfish creature who’s allowed you do buy him things and provide for him. He already knows he can get you to do anything for him without even using his main bartering tool – sex. As far as him realizing you’re ‘good,’ don’t hold your breath. It sounds like he’s a sociopath. Sociopaths are frequently very charismatic and charming, but to a sociopath the word ‘good’ is synonymous with the word ‘weak.’ Just means he can take more advantage.

2) Should you try to come on to him sexually and hope it works point blank like it has with other men?

NO. You’ve already described  a situation that you don’t have any respect for, and now you want to try to add an element of sex to your one-sided relationship. You can bet as soon as you have sex with him, he’ll ask you to lend him money, or buy him something, and you, being a fantastic push-over, will give him whatever he wants. In effect, you’ll be participating in the prostitution of your friend that you’re so much in love with. Yuck. Is that how you want your virginity taken? By a blood sucking tick who sees it as a transaction? Ugh. I hope not.

There’s a larger issue here though, and it’s not with your friend, Jeff – it’s with you. You need to stop being such a door mat. Get rid of your ‘provider’ complex. Most people don’t buy groceries and clothing for their ‘friends.’ You offhandedly toss out that information like it’s normal. It isn’t.

That type of love (where you sacrifice your own happiness and well being for the sake of someone else) is called unconditional love. And it should be reserved for your children and possibly your parents. That’s it.

A prospective lover should have to prove their worth to you, because you’re worth being with. That’s called valuing yourself, and by making yourself the commodity, you’ll make a perspective partner know that pursuing you is worth something. Not just a transaction.

Honestly, Jeff, answering this letter has made me feel more than a little icky. It sounds to me like a habitual martyr has met up with a chronic taker. And the perfect storm of non-functional co-dependance has been established. I’m glad to hear he’s gone away to university. The farther the better.

You’re 23. It might be time to get laid, and get it over with. Or, it might be time to make a resolution that you’re going to wait for love. That’s up to you. But stop thinking that a relationship is you providing for someone. Start making them work for it a little. Feels good to be chased.

Get far, far away from your prostitute friend. And stay there. There’s nothing wrong with sex work, in my book, but he isn’t fucking you. Except for fucking with your head.

Chasing Waterfalls

eryc perez de tagle

Him: Hey. Come in. Sorry it’s so sparse.

Me: Wow. This apartment is amazing.

Him: It’s sparse. Furniture is coming next week.

Me: It’s still amazing. What a great place!

Him: I dunno. I liked my last apartment better. It was bigger.

Me: It’s a good size for one person – there’s a bedroom over here, right? And you have a waterfall in your lobby! That’s my measure of whether or not someone lives in a nice apartment building.

Him: What? I don’t get it?

Me: You don’t live in a nice apartment building unless you have a waterfall in your lobby.

(long pause)

Him: I’m sorry, I don’t think that’s true.

Me: It isn’t. I was just joking. Nice place.

Him: Ugh. I drank so much scotch last night.

Me: Oh no! That’s awful.

Him: It’s okay. Let’s have a drink. That will fix my hangover.

Me: I dunno – I gotta do a late night comedy set later.

Him: It’s just one drink. Don’t act like it’s the end of the world. Do you want a drink or not? Have one.

Me: I…

Him: You’re having one.

Me: I’m having one.

(long pause)

Him: Yeah so…  This is my place…

Me: It’s very nice.

Him: Yeah. My last place was bigger, but I’m only here on the weekends, so…

Me: Where are you during the week?

Him: I work in California.

Me: Really?

Him: Yeah. I usually fly out on Tuesdays and work a four day week, and fly back on Fridays.

Me: That sounds exhausting.

Him: It’s just an airplane ride. I take my laptop and get work done.

Me: What do you do? For work?

Him: I consult with hospitals on how to get their operations to run more efficiently.

Me: That sounds fascinating.

Him: It’s boring.

Me: You’re right, that sounds boring.

Him: Come lay on this rug with me.

Me: What?

Him: I don’t have a couch and I just bought this rug. Come on. Do it.

Me: Okay…

Him: Let’s make out.

Me: Okay?

(we make out. it is awkward.)

Him: Wow. You’re really making me horny. We better stop this. What are you trying to pull?

Me: Nothing. You wanted to…

Him: I should have jerked off. Should we have sex? That would solve the horny problem.

Me: It said on your profile that you wait for 6 dates or more before you have sex.

Him: Yeah, that’s why we shouldn’t be doing this. You’re making it hard for me.

Me: I’m…  sorry?

Him: What are you anyway?

Me: What?

Him: Sexually. Which position are you?

Me: Oh… Wow. I’m versatile. I do both.

Him: Okay. Good to know.

Me: What about you?

Him: What about me what?

Me: Are you a top or a bottom?

(he shoots me a disdainful look)

Him: Well if you must know… I’m a top.

Me: Haha!

Him: What’s so funny?

Me: You just asked me out of the blue if I was a top or bottom, and when I answered and then posed the same question to you, you acted like I was violating some sort of etiquette. That’s kind of funny, right?

(long pause)

Him: What else do you do. Besides comedy. What do you do for money?

Me: I do comedy gigs and teach improv classes.

Him: What do you do for a living?

Me: I do comedy gigs and teach improv classes.

Him: What about that site? I went there. I looked at the pics.

Me: Did you read it?

Him: No, why?

Me: Just curious. I do that too, but that’s not for money. That’s just for me to record awkward dates.

Him: What?

Me: I post anonymous dialogues from really awkward dates on that site.

Him: I think it’s time for you to leave.

Me: Seriously? I told you to check out my site before we met. It’s listed on my OkCupid profile.

Him: I really need to get some laundry done, and didn’t you say you have a gig to go to?

Me: In a few hours, but I can meet up with friends beforehand.

Him: Okay. I’ll walk you out. You should walk in front of me. I don’t want you walking behind me.

Me: What? Why?

Him: I don’t want you checking out my ass. It should be the other way around. I believe I told you I’m a top.

Me: Oh that’s right! I believe I DO remember you mentioning something like that.

(long pause)

Me: Well. It was lovely to meet you. You have a lovely apartment, and there’s a waterfall in your lobby.

Him: My other place was bigger. We should hang out again.

Me: What should we do, go to the park?

Him: Yeah. Or I could top you.

(long pause)

Me: You’re a very charming man. I’ll walk out in front of you, so you don’t get ass raped by my eyeballs.

Him: Okay. Let’s try and hang out again. Shoot for next week?

Me: Definitely! This was amazing and not at all horrible!

Him: I feel the same way. Text me.

Me: Count on it!

(surprise ending – i did not text him the next week)

Thanks Old Faggot – Part Two

Him: So tell me a little about yourself?

Me: What do you want to know?

Him: Well, why do you meet people online who are clearly lying about their age?

Me: Well. I write about it. I had a string of painful, awkward dates about a year and a half ago, and I started writing about it. People starting reading. Now, when I come across someone online who seems angry, self important, or blatantly deceptive -no offense…

Him: None taken…

Me: Instead of ignoring or blocking those people, I go out with them and write about my experiences with them.

Him: I’m not sure I like that.

Me: I’m not sure I asked for your approval.

Him: That’s why. That’s why I don’t like it.

Me: What do you mean?

Him: You’re being glib. Sarcastic.

Me: Do you think?

Him: I do. I think it’s a real problem with your generation. You roll your eyes at everything and you’re terrified of any sort of genuine human interaction.

Me: Doesn’t this particular interaction – me sitting with you on this park bench – prove your theory wrong? Isn’t this a genuine human interaction?

Him: Well it would be, except you have the ulterior motive of wanting material for your blog.

Me: And you have the ulterior motive of wanting to sleep with me.

Him: No I don’t.

Me: Come home with me and give me a blowjob.

Him: Okay.

Me: SEE!

Him: Okay fine, I concede that you’re right about that. But where did you meet me?

Me: On Grindr.

Him: Exactly! A site for guys to meet each other because they want to hook up…

Me: So?

Him: So – who’s worse? Me, the horny, dishonest old man?? Or you, the good-looking young liar?

Me: Jeez, Old Faggot – can’t we BOTH be awful people?

Him: HAHA. We can…

Me: And thanks for the compliments. You’re a handsome guy yourself.

Him: Thanks, can I put my hand in your lap?

Me: Twenty years ago you can.

Him: What an asshole.

(pause)

Him: So why?

Me: Why what?

Him: Why put yourself in these awful situations? What do you gain from it?

Me: I don’t know. I like writing about things that are true

Him: Don’t give me that horseshit. You’re being sarcastic.

Me: I’m not! I’m just saying it sarcastically!

(pause)

Him: So you started writing why?

Me: To process stuff. I was in a long relationship that ended. About a year went by with me being single. Then I started dating again. People were awful. Defensive. Petty. Small. I wanted to write about it. Kept me from getting depressed. After a while though, I started seeking out people because they seemed a little off. It got alienating. I don’t know exactly why I’ve kept doing it. I’m compelled to, somehow.

Him: Ugh.

Me: What?

Him: Just…  Your generation.

Me: What?

Him: You guys all feel shy, and alienated, and lonely, and yet you’re so very hyper-connected. It’s narcissistic. Everyone is squawking constantly, but nobody is listening. Nobody cares. And worse – you don’t just urgently need to communicate your awkwardness or your ironic detachment – you guys fetishize it.  

Me: I’m not sure I’d go that far.

Him: I would! What is an American Apparel ad, if not fetishizing awkwardness?

Me: Uh…  It’s…

Him: Or what about those movies by P.T. Anderson?

Me: … Boogie Nights?

Him: No, that’s a great film. I mean like Rushmore and the other one…

Me: Royal Tenenbaums?

Him: Ugh. Awful. So coy, and precious, and ironic…

Me: So you mean Wes Anderson.

Him: I guess. He’s all the things about your generation I don’t understand. He fetishizes that alienation you were talking about. He urges the rest of you to indulge in this glorification of the uncomfortable. Life doesn’t have to be so labored and ungraceful, you know. We used to just call it ‘going on a bad date,’ and it happened every once in a while, but we didn’t react by being glib or sarcastic on the next date. That was considered rude. We certainly didn’t write about it for the world to read.

Me: Okay fine. I get it. You don’t approve.

Him: I don’t.

Me: Well then don’t read.

Him: I certainly won’t.

(pause)

Me: You know. You spent a lot of time calling me indelicate. But that doesn’t explain why you think I’m interesting enough to sit here and waste the afternoon with. Stop looking at my dick. It’s nothing special.

Him: It looks pretty nice, through your pants.

Me: Thanks Old Faggot.

Him: Can I ask you one more question?

Me: Sure. But you have to wait until Part Three.

Him: Why?

Me: I rarely blog more than 800 words.

Him: Why?

Me: It’s self indulgent, Jerk.