Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Embarrassed to be there, and ready to take advantage

I end up making it to the backroom, arriving there just before 2 a.m. after taking a shower and doing my hair I'm struck by the absurdity of my own gestures -- I mean, I don't go out at all, but here I am showing up at clubs two nights in a row like I'm some late-night ingénue. Jacob’s at the door, he gives me a really sweet hug, says you smell so good -- what is it? Oh, it's something I put on for pain -- it smells minty, right? Jacob says it's helping my pain already.

I stash all my layers in the corner by the door, then go downstairs -- they've put up a beaded curtain at the top of the staircase, I don't remember that from before. Not much is going on, though -- a few guys crouching in the dark waiting to grab it like they want it. I go back upstairs, figure I’ll cruise the bar area or dance for a few minutes but as soon as I get to the dance floor I identify an unforeseen hazard -- this huge cloud of chemical dry ice, that shit will flatten my experience for days. I practically run to the back, then back downstairs where three guys are sitting on the bench together, drinking and sort of making out while talking and at first I think it's refreshing but then I realize they're just talking to assert the fact that no one else belongs in their circle. Some guy’s following me around but I'm not really attracted to him -- sometimes what's the difference if the touch feels good, I mean I have the skills to go with the feeling -- that's what I learned from being a whore, but I don't want to always feel like I'm working.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not looking for the illusion of attraction without gaps. I know that all sex is work, I mean all sex involves work but it's tricky for me when it shifts too far in that direction if I'm not totally attracted to the guy in the first place. Maybe sometime I'll be able to use that particular skill of channeling attraction regardless of initial drive, to use that skill in my non-working sex life, but I think I need a few more years away from turning tricks. Right now I'm trying to perfect the skill of going up to the people I’m most attracted to.

So the same guys are still crouching in the shadows, plus there are three different couples hiding in corners -- I hate couples in backrooms, what I'm looking for is the charge of communal desire but here everyone's too jittery. By the stairwell is someone who looks like Jeremy, jerking some other guy off really fast. In the corner is a short guy with one of those emo caps -- the ones that are kind of like baseball caps and kind of like something from the military, I'm not sure what -- anyway, they’re the kind of sub-trend accoutrement that can suddenly get me hot, this is the guy for sure – someone’s sucking his cock, I go to the corner and the guy sucking says no thanks, we’re not looking for company. I say I'm just watching, look at the guy with the cap and he is looking back at me with a nod, damn I'm ready to grab him except I don't want to cause a scene with Ms. Possessive.

I step back and there's Jeremy, I say it's kind of quiet here tonight, and everyone's coupled off -- was that you jerking that guy off a few minutes ago? Jeremy says yeah, there's come on my hand. I think about whether I should offer to lick it off. I say you were jerking really fast. Jeremy says it's late, I should go home soon -- I have to be up at eight in the morning. This is familiar -- Jeremy always used to stay out too late and talk about getting up in the morning. I say on a Saturday? He says yeah, I'm going to a conference. What kind of conference? Teachers for Social Change. I say well at least it's something important.

I actually didn't know that Jeremy was teaching, I mean I remember that's what he wanted to do but we haven't talked in a these two years I say where are you teaching? In the South Bay. What are you teaching? High school. How is it -- do the kids listen to you? Last year I was having trouble, but this year's better -- we're reading Catcher in the Rye. I say well now you have all this, and I rub his facial hair. I'm not a big fan of facial hair, but it actually looks kind of hot on Jeremy.

He says I didn't shave all summer, drove out to Minnesota and back -- 7500 miles of driving. I say I was in Minnesota on my book tour, I took the train in the snow it was beautiful. He says I went with Greg, my new boyfriend -- I took him to meet my parents. I say how was that? He says it was great. I'm wondering if he remembers that when we were going out he once said that I wasn't the kind of boyfriend who you’d take to meet your parents. I'm nervous too, but I do want to have sex with Jeremy -- I've already thought about it. I say but you're not married, right? Right after Jeremy and I broke up, Jeremy found another boyfriend and they got married with Gavin Newsom at City Hall. No, Jeremy says -- I'm divorced.

But wait -- I'm portraying this conversation as way more straightforward than it is -- what about when I'm leaning into Jeremy's ear and pointing out the guy I'm hot for, how now he's got his clothes off, that cute little body reflecting the light in the room. Later Jeremy's pointing out the way the guy is angling backwards, I say we should go over to him. Jeremy's right, the guy’s displaying himself so we can get a view -- did he hear what I said? I can imagine his thick dick curving upwards into my throat, I mean I'm tempted to go over there and at least hug him from behind and kiss his neck, but I don't want to get in some silly fight with the other queen.

Jeremy and I move into the official backroom area -- where we were before was just the fringes. This queen grabs my dick but I'm not interested -- too fast like she's stumbling into me -- then she goes for Jeremy and he's pulling it out in seconds, so fast it might be all one movement the queen and Jeremy together. I'm watching Jeremy moan and grab the guy's head, then lean back and strike some strange pose that looks like calculated masculine indifference I don't remember that one. I lean over and say I've seen this before, then realize maybe that sounds shady so I say not that it isn't hot, and I kiss Jeremy on the neck, walk around to someone who's rubbing my dick but I'm not really attracted to him, just seeing if I can get hard I mean I think I'm having trouble because I'm already too hypoglycemic or exhausted, then this cute short guy with curly hair walks up I start kissing him then there's a tall preppy guy with facial hair walking through, I say we should make out with him. The tall guy says I think I'm in the wrong room. I say what are you looking for. He says the smoking room -- I say that's outside, and I go back to making out with the short guy, who grabs my ass and grinds against me for a moment then says you're crazy, then he turns and stumbles upstairs.

I go back to Jeremy, I say the other guy said I'm crazy, and I kiss Jeremy's neck then grab his face and we’re making out I'm feeling it, this is what I want I could do this for a while. It's charged and exciting and I whisper in Jeremy's ear: I want to suck your dick. But there's no chance, with this queen sucking so frantically there's no down time. Then the queen backs away for a second and I'm down on my knees, Jeremy's not very hard although he looks like he's enjoying it, moaning again I put his hand on the back of my neck -- the queen’s got my dick out, at least she's got talent, no teeth or anything. But then I pull away because maybe Jeremy already came, stand up and hug him, put his hand on my dick he’s jerking really fast like with that other guy now I'm finally craving something I push his head down and then he’s sucking my dick, hand under my balls I like it that his gestures hold a certain familiarity. He’s jerking then sucking then I guess I'm already ready to come even though I'm not quite hard this means it won't be totally satisfying, I mean not high-to-the-sky but also I can't help thinking about the performative aspects, I haven't come in two weeks -- I pull away and shoot for the crowd, I mean if there was a crowd but there's actually not as much come as I expected or maybe it's just dark -- the queen’s gone and Jeremy's zipping up. I say that was hot, I'm hugging Jeremy and we're making out again. He says mmm, hmmm! I say we should have sex again sometime, he says I'd be into that, then I grab his head again and we kiss goodbye.

I sit down on the bench, there's the queen with her dick out, thick and hard I say I have to rest but I can't help sucking your dick for a minute. Then I sit back on the bench, I say that was funny, I just had sex with my ex-boyfriend. The queen says Jeremy's your ex-boyfriend? Oh -- she knows Jeremy. Or maybe I heard her wrong.

At the moment it feels like it was a good idea to have sex with Jeremy, no tension it was fun I mean I actually want more. Then some guy comes over and sits between me and the queen, the queen’s got the guy’s dick out in seconds she's fast -- I put my arm around the guy and kiss him but his tongue tastes rotten, what is this rotten taste? I pull away, but then try again anyway -- he's cute, actually he looks a little bit like the guy in the corner from earlier, the one with the emo cap but this guy has the suburban curly-haired mohawk -- sometimes I'm feeling that look too but this guy's hair is gooey I like it dry better. His breath still tastes rotten.

I get up and run right into the guy who was looking for the smoking area earlier, he's still pretending that's what he’s looking for. He takes a swig out of a bottle of liquor he's got in his jacket, I say do want to make out? Then we're making out, over to the bench and it's fun -- not so charged as with Tony I mean I'm not grabbing his whole head but still we’re engaged I slide on my knees pressing up against his dick pressing against my chest but he doesn't want me to take it out, he says what's your name? Mattilda. What kind of name is that?

Oh, great -- this is when I should leave -- I already came, it's almost 3 a.m. anyway, I'm not interested in explaining my name to some drunk moron. He is cute, though -- he says the only question is my place or yours? I say where do you live? Noe Valley. Oh, that's far, I need to go to bed -- I won't sleep if I go home with you. He says that's for sure. I guess that's supposed to sound hot, but it sounds horrifying. I say why don't we exchange numbers -- I'd love to come over some other time -- but he shakes his head like that's not going to happen, some kind of rule in his head I guess. I kiss him again, the queen's back, starting to unzip this guy's pants. The guy pushes his hand away -- he seems kind of disgusted, but not in a dramatic way. But get what the queen says:

DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM -- I see you at my parties all the time, you're not coming to any of my parties anymore, I'll have you thrown out.

And then the guy looks confused, oh do I know you? His head sort of flopping over in drunken stuporland -- parties, have I been to your parties -- I can't come to any of your parties?

It's so gross -- both of them. Because now the guy looks like he's worried about offending the queen because he wants to go to the parties, but also there are racial undertones that I think the queen is working -- like she's accusing the guy, who's white, of not wanting her lips around his cock because she's black. Not that, in the segregation of gay desires, there may not be an element of truth to this, just that this queen is willing to try any tactic to shame or embarrass or coerce him to give up his meat. And there the guy is, pondering it all with a sway of his head, where am I while all of this is happening, as the queen unzips this guy’s pants and goes for the gold, the guy closes his eyes with a twisted expression on his face like a bird chirping, then he looks down with confusion or feigned confusion, I can't tell. I'm hard, he says, like a kid for the first time while someone's taking advantage.

Why am I still here -- that's what I'm thinking. I'm still here, kissing the guy on the neck until the queen takes out his dick, even in my disgust I still rub the queen's head, I ask the guy for his number. He says 911. I say I'm not calling that, walk upstairs and someone's holding an after-hours beer, she says I thought it was $5,000 but it's just a beer.

Walking home, I don't feel so good anymore. Wondering if, when the guy said 911 he was asking for help not just throwing shade. I can't help some drunk guy who can’t even deal with my name, who can’t even deal that he’s in the backroom to have sex, who's having sex with someone so he can go to her parties. That's who the backroom was filled with tonight -- guys embarrassed to be there and guys ready to take advantage. It makes sex with Jeremy seem all the more appealing, and I wonder what that means.


Panic said...

I know that all sex is work, I mean all sex involves work but it's tricky for me when it shifts too far in that direction if I'm not totally attracted to the guy in the first place.
It's something I still have to figure out... sex is so commodified, even when it's not a "real" transaction. As a cisgendered, hetero woman, it can feel an awful lot like you're always trading sex for something. Not the undervalue your experiences at all, you understand. This just kind of twigged something in my head and I went off on a tangent.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

I think you make a great point about how sex is so commodified, how you're always trading sex for something and absolutely this is so prevalent in hetero relations -- one of the things I want to do with my new anthology, Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?, is to show the ways how, in gay/queer/male/fag sexual cultures there is often such an unquestioning acceptance of hyper-objectification at all costs, and how this is not even contested by the politics of feminism that have at least made some inroads in hetero relations (even though these gay/male sexual cultures exists in many ways because of feminism). Okay, I'm blabbing -- time to write some more -- thanks for commenting!

Love --

grantatee said...

the guy closes his eyes with a twisted expression on his face like a bird chirping, then he looks down with confusion or feigned confusion, I can't tell. I'm hard, he says, like a kid for the first time while someone's taking advantage.

i read this entry earlier this morning and it's been with me through out the day.. especially this image. everything.. the emotions and complications of this sexual interaction. these people and your participation and observation.

anyway... i guess i mean to say thank you for writing.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Grant, that's so great to hear -- I was trying especially hard to convey the complications/complicated-ness of that particular interaction -- I like the way you say "these people and your participation and observation"