Friday, February 28, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 6

Well, actually, I smoked four earlier tonight, but until then, I hadn't smoked for six days, which is pretty good.

I know many of you, faithful readers, may have feared I dropped off the face of the earth this past week and a half (not that I got any concerned e-mails or anything), but the truth of the matter is that my landline phone service was temporarily restricted because I hadn't paid my bill for several weeks, so I couldn't connect to the Internet. I could at work, of course, but I don't like to update my blog where people can see me, so I refrained from doing so. Know that you were all on my mind, though. I missed you terribly. And now that I've finally been getting regular paychecks at work--not to mention the fact that I'm going to be hired officially in a matter of days (I've been freelancing, remember)--Verizon should never be able to interrupt me from my blogging again.

Anyway, I'm a bit drunk (from happy hour at Barrage with Edster earlier), a bit sick, and a bit tired, so I'm going to sign off. More news tomorrow, for sure.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 3

Nothing stellar to report today. Work went fine, much better than expected actually. Group therapy was fine too, though I noticed again that I've been feeling disengaged with the whole thing lately. I almost voiced my discontent but then decided not to. I think I might bring it up during my solo session next week. Notably, I realized again that I'm just not that interested in what the fortysomething gay dad has to say anymore. He's always talking about the same issues, and though he's making progress in resolving them, I'm kind of sick of hearing about them. My shrink always asks us for our reactions to things group members say, and I just don't have any new reactions. Plus, when the father talks about things not directly related to his issues or our group--things like his self-described arduous commute home last Friday--I'm bored to tears. Of course, I'm sure he sometimes, or frequently, feels the same way about me, so whatever.

I also got into a bit of a friendly tiff with my shrink towards the end of the session about the difference between our worldviews and our perspective on things. He actually praised me for confronting him, which is one of the things that therapists do that I find so amusing. I told him essentially that we were of different generations (he's in his late 50s) and had different senses of the politics that frame gay culture, and that in general I thought he was more conservative than me, which often colored his assessment of my opinions or predicaments. The situation was provoked by a discussion of commitment and its definitions--I basically said that I didn't see myself ever being with the same person for my whole entire life, that I was more of a serial monogamist at heart and that I expected to have several meaningful long-term relationships over the long haul. In his response to that comment, I thought I detected a bit of criticism, that what I had just said somehow opposed commitment. Anyway, we hashed it out in the few minutes we had left, we reached a kind of middleground, and everything was fine.

And the fortysomething father? He didn't seem to get what I was talking about at all and proposed that when I was older, I would want to live together with someone for the rest of the time I was alive, which was his ideal kind of relationship. He's definitely not the brightest bulb I've ever met.

Monday, February 17, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 2

If we're having a whiteout, how come I'm not getting high off the fumes?

As much as I'm sick of all the snow we've had this winter, I managed to enjoy this blizzard, at least today. Yesterday, when I woke up in D.C. to a foot of snow, all my social engagements for the day obviously cancelled, not having a hat or a sensible pair of shoes with me, I was less than thrilled. I was staying at the apartment of my ex-boyfriend (of four years ago) on Capitol Hill, and we trudged our way to one of the main drags there to have brunch, then trudged back to his place, where I quickly packed my shit. Then we left again and walked 30 minutes to Union Station in Antarctica-like conditions so that I could catch a train back here. It was total chaos, but I ended up on a train 10 minutes after arriving. Nearly seven hours later, after sitting for almost an hour in pitch blackness at the Philly station (chief among several interruptions) and having to weather the inane, boring chatter of my fellow passengers, who were more than a little stir crazy, I disembarked at Penn Station. Usually the trip takes three hours. It was just starting to snow hard in the city, and as the cab inched its way down to my apartment, I couldn't help but smile at the true winter wonderland beginning to take shape before my eyes.

I was in D.C. for my friends A. and A.'s wedding on Saturday, my foremost social obligation of the weekend, but I was also planning on seeing three old friends of mine during the day on Sunday before leaving. Ashes and J-bird and I roadtripped down Friday night in Ashes's sporty red car, getting to J-bird's 'rents place in the Virginia 'burbs around 1 a.m. (We'd left the city late, and had to drop one of Ashes's friends off in D.C. on the way.) We had a lot of fun chilling on the massive leather sectional in the basement (J-bird's dad is a heart surgeon, so the house was appropriately grand as well as luxuriously outfitted), watching cable and devouring food and wine. We got totally smashed and fell asleep.

In the morning, we took our sweet little time getting ready for the wedding and watched the middle portion of the movie crazy/beautiful, which was surprisingly good. It was nice to check out Jay Hernandez in action, an actor I'd pitched several times at a former job to no avail until a top talent agent told my editors' that he was the shit. Total hotness. Eventually we made it to the ceremony, which was minimalist, unorthodox, and completely contemporary. It took place in a Quaker meeting house in Dupont Circle, and I was blown away by the beauty of it all. Perfect flakes of snow fell in the giant square windows while A. and A. exchanged vows, and I couldn't keep my eyes from welling up. Ashes was so overcome that she practically choked at one point and accidentally blew snot rockets into the pew in front of her. Luckily no one was hurt.

The reception afterwards was equally unadorned, and I continued to be touched, especially when A. asked me to dance, making me one of the few guys other than A. or her relatives to be so honored. The whole experience was truly moving. I hadn't been to a wedding since the '80s, when my aunt and uncle were hitched, so the event was a major eye-opener for me. I feel like I finally got the significance of marriage--why it occupies such an important place in our culture, and why the various battles over it are so heated. The combination of love, hope, family, and community was intoxicating. It made me want to get married, even though I oppose the institution of marriage on principle. I found myself visualizing my own union to someone, and I decided that Central Park would be a good location for the ceremony. But considering that I think I'm more of a serial monogamist, I might have several such ceremonies. The more the better, right?

After the reception ended, I headed over to my ex's place, and we promptly went to Remington's, this gay country-western bar on Capitol Hill. The experience was just as moving as the one I had at the wedding. In fact, I think I may have found my calling. Watching all these guys--some buff and beautiful, others just earnest and ordinary, all wearing cool-looking cowboy boots--two-stepping and line dancing with each other was amazing. It reminded me of an earlier, less pressured time in the history of dating, one where codes of chivalry and courtship, which I'm trying to revive, were practiced too. It also reminded me of the Marlboro Man, and I realized that he's my ideal boyfriend.

Anyway, I've decided to pursue this new-found vocation here in the city via Big Apple Ranch, which sponsors dancing, including lessons, every Saturday night at a studio in the Flatiron district. I wish we had a full-fledged bar where I could hone my skills, but this will have to do for now. The only thing is that I'd prefer to have a partner in crime, and I highly doubt I can persuade any of my boys to check this scene out with me. Are there any game readers out there who'd like to accompany me? I think it's going to be so much fun...

Thursday, February 13, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 4

Apologies to my regular readers--whose support is much appreciated--for not posting over the past few days, but I've been insanely busy with work and with writing my latest article. I basically spent all night Monday and Tuesday working on it, and I e-mailed it to my editor this afternoon after covertly tweaking it during my mini-lunch break. It's decent, but could use a little tightening. Hopefully my editor will even send it back to me for a revise, but he doesn't seem to do that. I could use a little longer to work on it.

Either way, though, it'll be fine. I finally heard back from the new editor at another mag that I've written for in the past and she told me she doesn't have a budget to assign me anything. I was disappointed at first, but then realized the mag I'm working at now covers the same beat, pays more money, and is ultimately more reputable, so I'm not sweating it. I wish I could write for the Times.

Anyway, this is all boring careerist bullshit. M-dash's party last Saturday was fun, even if most of the crowd was a little on the young side for me. (She's taking courses at a local art school, so she's been hanging out with a lot of undergrads.) In fact, Nico's out-of-town friends were on the young side too--they were undergrads. So of course I wasn't in the slightest interested in them. We ended up drinking tons of cans of Tecate, taking bong hits (the holder to the glass catch was missing, which meant I burned my finger), watching Desperately Seeking Susan (which I'd never seen before if you can believe it), and flipping through an old Kate Moss book. I called the car service around 5 a.m. (she lives in Williamsburg) and arrived home shortly thereafter. Oh yeah, her new pad is much cooler than her old one.

Saw M-dash again on Sunday 'cause she needed to do some research on the Web and wanted to use my computer; then we went to dinner at the Hat, around the corner on Ludlow. Since then I haven't done anything but work.

I think one of the fashion assistants at work has a crush on me--every time we pass in the hall, he smiles at me so intently, it's obvious. I have to admit, it turns me on. He's actually cute, and tall, and a bit bulky, which is sometimes just the way I like it. Maybe he'll be the paramour my horoscope keeps threatening I'll meet on the job.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 3

I interviewed that photographer today, and we had a nice conversation, if not a scintillating one. He's one of those artists who isn't particularly articulate about his own work, which makes it tough for me as a writer to write about it. But I like a challenge. His new show's going to be dope--I saw the photos, which he jut finished printing, and they're great. M-dash and I are already planning the outfits we're going to wear to the opening.

Anyway, nothing else of note has happened today, though I'm going to be heading out to M-dash's housewarming party in a little bit, so maybe something will go down there. Nico's coming, along with two out-of-town friends, one of whom is an ex-boyfriend of his, whom I've been forbidden to hook up with. Seems a little extreme to me, but whatever. Bros before hos, right?

Friday, February 07, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 2

So the fallout from calling in sick yesterday was non-existent. My boss didn't even care; in fact, she said it would've been "stupid" for me to have come in. Score one for me! But I paid for my absence by working my ass off today, even though all I wanted to do was chill. At least I got to leave around 5:30, as always on Fridays, contrary to my gig at the law firm and to my past magazine job, both of which often required me to stay way late on Fridays.

Not that I had any plans to get ready for--I've realized that my social life is completely in shambles. Last Sunday I went out with Marvelous and Edster to the Dugout, that bear bar (well, on Fridays and Sundays) all the way down Christopher by the West Side Highway, and then, finally, to the Rambles at the Park (which was fun if not blazin'). Since then, the only item on my social agenda was my birthday, which turned out to be a major event (especially considering I'm still a bit congested from the coke binge), but still, that's pretty shabby compared to past schedules of exploits. Thank God M-dash is having a housewarming party for her new pad, which is right over her old pad, where her roomies where wacko, tomorrow night. I should be able to kick it there, and at Metropolitan, the (relatively) new Williamsburg gay bar, afterwards.

Theoretically I stayed in tonight to prep for an interview I'm expecting to have this weekend with this downtown photographer for an article I'm writing on him for that weekly gay rag--but he hasn't yet responded to the two messages I left on his answering machine today (his mobile was out of service). Which means, of course, why bother preparing if I don't know when I'm doing it? I spoke to him on Wednesday, so he knows all about the article, but he doesn't seem that on top of things. Not that I am, or that many people are, but you'd think he'd be a little more disciplined about the free publicity I'm offering him here. (Speaking of free publicity, that performer boy I was trying to court a few weeks ago hasn't called since our last phone convo, so that's unfortunately dead in the water.)

Just now I heard one of the gay boys in my building walking up the stairs. I think there are two gay male residents, but their voices sound similar enough that I can never tell who's who when they're chatting it up on there cell phones while ascending the stairs, as they invariably do. I've caught glimpses of them in the stairwell before, and they're cute, but I've never had a full-on encounter. I'm curious to know what would happen if we did--would we try to cruise one another?

Anyway, I'm totally babbling here, and I'm suddenly distracted by ice cream. Mmm. I'm weighing the merits of venturing outside onto the slushy sidewalk to pick up a pint of Ben and Jerry's Concession Obsession or the new limited edition Bananas Foster flavor from Haagen-Dazs against the decided demerits of freezing to death and then tracking melting snow back into the house... At the rate I'm going, between ice cream and McDonald's and greasy ordered-in lo mein, even if it is vegetable, I might never leave my apartment again. How can you when you weigh 600 pounds?

Thursday, February 06, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 1

So I survived another birthday yesterday--in fact, I would say I rocked it. One of my colleagues baked me the most delicious gourmet chocolate cake, even though she was sick (which made me a bit squeamish about eating it), and the rest of the factcheckers took a break from work to gather together and wish me a happy birthday while we all ate. I think that means they like me, they really do! Especially considering I'm only freelancing, and I've only been there for three weeks. I was touched.

I wasn't so touched that we had an early deadline this week and I was at the office until 9:30 waiting for the article I'd checked to close. I was on the verge of having a coronary because people had been showing up at Bouche Bar, the site of my birthday celebration, since 9, but then my supervisor graciously let me go even though the editor in chief was still tinkering with the article. (Factually it was all correct at that point, so I wasn't particularly worried.) So I hopped in a cab and arrived at the bar 10 minutes later, where I found a bunch of my friends organized into a rough circle, charmingly chatting with each other, with more people on the way. Ultimately everyone was there: M-dash, L.Ho, J-bird, Court, Nicodemus, Marvelous, Edster, A. and A. (who are getting married next week), G-spot, T. and her latest boyfriend, S. and a friend of hers, and one or two others. It was exactly the way I wanted it to be. By the time J-bird, Court, and I called it a night around 2, we were doing tequila shots with the bartender and shouting boozily to each other "I love you." It was great.

Of course, J-bird wanted to hang out more, and so did I, so she came back to my pad, even though we both had to go to work in a few hours, and proceeded to burn through a bag of coke, which we had started back in the bathroom at the bar. I don't know what we were thinking, because we were already wasted, but we ended up doing lines, smoking cigarette after cigarette, and talking until 6, at which point I was really wasted. When the alarm went off at 9, I felt sick to my stomach and still fucked up (J-bird apparently only felt tired), and I realized I was in no condition to go to work. So I called in sick--not exactly the best thing to do when you've just started working somewhere. But I knew today would be really slow, and I thought it'd be better to stay home than to go in and risk puking on the subway or, worse, in the office. Then there were my totally blood-shot eyes, which would've looked suspicious.

Anyway, I feel better now, but leave it to me to potentially fuck up my new job situation by partying too hard. I've been praying all day long that the fallout will be minimal.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 5

I'm afraid that the 21-year-old intern I work with, who happens to be a cute little gay boy, thinks I'm cool. Today he not only told me, from behind I might add as he followed me up a flight of stairs, that he liked my jeans (a yellowish/greenish grafittied pair by Diesel that I love), and later, as he waited for me to don my black leather faux-motorcycle jacket so we could leave the building together at the end of the day, he said I looked "bad-ass" and jokingly asked if I had a motorcycle parked on the street. Isn't that cute? I always aspired to a rebel biker aesthetic with that particular jacket, but no one ever said as much to me. Leave it to the intern to do it.

Anyway, my birthday begins in less than five minutes. I have to sign off so I can cry.

Monday, February 03, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 4

I wore my new refurbished brown boots to work today after not wearing them for several months because the soles were coming loose and not a single person commented on them. I was slightly disappointed, but every time I glanced down at the shiny burnt siena leather, I felt much better. They cost me $250 at Omari over two years ago, plus $28 to be repaired last week, so they're an investment at this point, but I love them so much--and they look so cool--that they're worth it. The cobbler, a sweet man with a no-frills storefront all the way down Delancey towards the bridge, added thin new rubber soles onto the decaying wooden ones, so they no longer make their satisying thumpity-thump as I walk, but I'll happily trade any ancillary noise delights for longer wearability.

Anyway, work was good--I chatted briefly with the cute, slightly puffy-faced editor in the elevator--though I think I probably should have stayed a tad longer tonight, because everyone else, including the intern, did, but it was impossible for me to make any more progress on my assignments, so why bother? All I wanted to do was go home...and go to McDonald's! I've been totally binging lately on Big and Tastees with cheese, fries, and vanilla milk shakes. Okay, just tonight and once last week, but for me, someone who rarely eats fast food, that constitutes a major binge. But I can't help myself: it just tastes so good. Mmm, grease and fat and sugar.

In other news, Long Island Boy replied sanely to the e-mail I sent him yesterday breaking off our tete-a-tete and said he agreed, that it didn't seem like we had a lot to talk about. He still wanted to stay in touch, though, which of course begs the question of why?

Sunday, February 02, 2003

NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE SMOKING A CIGARETTE: 3

L.Ho just came and went--she was down in Chinatown, catching the dregs of the New Year celebration, then swung by my place and we went around the corner to Fried Dumpling to get some of their scrumptiously delicious dumplings (Ruth Reichl of Gourmet once listed them among her top five New York food faves), which she's been dying to try. Of course, I totally forgot they only have pork dumplings, and L.Ho's a vegetarian, so she had to settle for some veggie spring rolls, but we were happy nevertheless. It was good to see her, considering I haven't seen anyone in almost 48 hours. For the most part, the virtual isolation was due to my desire to chill, but I think it also had something to do with my troubling "date" with Long Island Boy Friday night, which just bummed me out and put me in a borderline bad mood.

Not that he was mean or nasty or anything--it's just that I realized that we so totally didn't click. It was almost laughable. Instinctively I knew that we weren't a match made in heaven, but he was so sweet and gentlemanly, and so different from the other guys I usually date, that I thought it might be good for me to see him again, that maybe we could make something happen.

But right from the get-go I knew it wasn't to be. We were supposed to see Confessions of Dangerous Mind at the Union Square monstrosity, which I was all pumped about, but we hadn't bothered to get tickets earlier in the day, so the 8:00 show we were planning on seeing was sold out. I was crushed--there's nothing worse than finding out at the last minute that you can't see the very movie you've been psyching yourself up all week to see. Of course, there were several other flicks playing there I would've happily forked over ten bucks for--Chicago, About Schmidt, Antwone Fisher--but my date didn't want to see any of them. Then we checked out the Loews theater on 3rd Avenue and 12th Street, where The Pianist and The Quiet American were playing, both of which I want to see, but, again, he didn't want to see them. Final Destination 2 was playing, which he wanted to see, and although I wouldn't have minded seeing it, considering there were a ton of other movies I actually wanted to see, it would've been a grave injustice, for me and said movies, if I had. So we ended up scratching the whole movie thing, which was the first sign of impending disaster. I mean, if you can't go to the movies with someone, can you really date him?

Instead, we shifted to our post-movie plan of going porn shopping, which he was really keen to do. Of course, he wanted to go to a primarily straight porn shop a few blocks away on 14th Street, which had a minuscule queer section (and which, conveniently, was that much closer to his Grammercy Park pad), but I was so aghast at the idea that he agreed to go down to Harmony, that bi-level porn shop on Christopher Street. Not particularly scintillating conversation ensued as we walked there. We kept passing all these cute gay male couples who looked very sophisticated and probably had a lot in common, and I rued the fact that I wasn't with them. I even contemplated ending the date right then.

At Harmony, after dissing Asian boys and turning his nose up at the men-of-color videos that I was perusing, he purchased a cheesy European DVD. Then we went by Magnolia, at his suggestion, to get cupcakes, which slightly redeemed him in my eyes. Then we caught a cab and went back to his place, where, almost immediately, he inserted the porn, turned off the lights, and sat down on the bed next to me. A few minutes later, he started to stroke my back, then my crotch; pretty soon, he had my dick out and was busy slurping at it, just as he had asked me if he could do earlier in the week. It wasn't sexy at all. He jacked himself off as I came in his mouth, then went to the bathroom, spit my cum out, presumably cleaned himself, then came back out to the living area, pants buttoned up. Everything happened so clinically, and quickly, that I felt as if I was in a porno. I didn't like it.

Anyway, he turned off the porn, turned on HBO, which was showing the last 30 minutes of the dumb, early '90s Eddie Murphy movie The Distinguished Gentleman, and we just sat there, watching it. As soon as it was over, I got up and left. He didn't even try to kiss me. Still, by the time I got home an hour or so later (I'd stopped by the Virgin Megastore to listen to some CDs and try to exorcise the negative feelings leftover from the date), there was an e-mail from him saying how much he enjoyed hanging out. The next day, Saturday, when I still hadn't replied, there was another e-mail, asking if he was going to hear from me again, and hoping that the whole "sucking your dick thing" didn't make things awkward.

I replied, finally, today and said that although I thought he was a sweet guy, I just didn't think we had enough in common to continue seeing each other. Another one bites the dust, and I'm depressed as hell over it.