Saturday, March 29, 2008

Don't confuse passion with pathology

I have a lot of weird patterns, but one of the weirdest is probably when someone is cruising me really hard, and I decide he must be straight. To give an example, when I first moved back to San Francisco at the end of 2000 and was still in New York mode, I ran into an acquaintance in the Castro after a trick and he took me to Badlands of all the horrible places in the world, for a cocktail, but after one drink I said we need to get food! He wanted somewhere with cocktails, so we ended up at Nirvana, one of the few places in the Castro with food that’s kind of edible, and the bartender kept coming over to chat, and he was feeding us drinks, and the friend I was with said: he's really into you. What, I said -- I think he's straight. But then I realized wait, he just asked us what we’re doing afterwards, oh.

This was in a gay restaurant, in a gay neighborhood, where you can pretty much be assured that everyone in sight is more or less -- well, gay. Part of it might have been that he had kind of a punkish look, and you know how subcultural faggots are so rare these days I start thinking anyone doing something indie must be checking out my fashion. I mean my fashion, but not the rest. But really it's something deeper, this way I convince myself that someone cruising me, outside of a conventional sex space, in all my glamour and flair, can't really be cruising me, because -- you know -- so many faggots just can't deal. Including me, I guess -- I mean that's how I deal, in this certain kind of situation, I decide that what's obviously happening isn't happening.

Anyway, so then I’m at the Nob Hill Theatre and when I step in the door there's this hot guy working who I haven't seen before, dark hair with sideburns and maybe a mod-ish look -- it's hard to tell because everyone there wear a uniform -- but what I do notice is that he's staring right at me with that look like everything has stopped and there's just me. So I get friendlier, but then he's a little bit standoffish so I decide oh, he's one of those straight indie boys who works in the gay porn theater. That's the time when there's no one downstairs, except someone locked in a booth, so I walk in circles, or squares really since that's the shape of the tour of duty, yes duty in all of its terrible meanings, and then I'm on my way out and there's the guy again but yes, distant, probably straight.

A week or two goes by and then I'm back at the theater getting ones to put in the machines from that same guy, he says to me: there's been a lot of drama tonight. I say what kind of drama? He says well one of the dancers got 86’d, and now he keeps calling to say he’ll be waiting outside when the place closes, and then some of the other dancers started acting up, getting in the way of one another and the international ones were pretending they didn't understand when I told them they were cockblocking. I say that's your job? He says yeah, then he turns to go to the back so I go downstairs.

Drama. Cockblocking. Okay -- so he's not straight. In the bathroom, they've moved the informational poster about the drug-resistant staph infection to the very top corner of the wall, right by the ceiling, with no more postcards. I guess it was probably getting in the way of business, I know the first time I saw it I got a paranoid, ended up sucking someone's dick through a glory hole anyway but it wasn't hot, I was worried about my lips touching the wall and what if that wall was a carrier for the drug-resistant staph infection? And I'm not usually that paranoid about these kinds of things, I mean not once I'm sucking cock. Although I do hate those glory holes, I mean not enough to stop me from utilizing them when necessary, but really I want the guys hands on my head, okay? I want to hold his balls and rub his chest and stand up to spit his come into his mouth or at least make out all wild afterwards and get silly. Which doesn't happen much at the Nob Hill Theatre.

I get lucky this time around, this guy says you suck great cock, do you go to Blow Buddies? I say yeah. He says I think you sucked my cock there. It's like that scene from Cats where the cats start singing "Memories..." Just kidding -- I've never seen Cats.

Anyway, then I'm walking around and around -- traffic control, or just traffic I guess. Upstairs the guy’s really flirty this time, or maybe it's me who's flirty, now that I've heard him say drama. Cockblocking. Drama. I'm ready.

He’s looking at the Pride guide, or maybe not guide it's a list of businesses I say let's play a game where you close the book and then open it up to a random page and find something. The first thing I find is Ball Wealth Management. I'm serious. So then this guy is leaning over the counter so he's really close to me, especially since I'm leaning forward and I even touch his finger it stays there. Okay, so I'm not even going to attempt to retell this crazy road trip story he tells, the one that starts after his friend comes to visit him in New York and says: you can't live like this. The coke, the ex-boyfriend writing on the walls with blood, things like that. Buys him a plane ticket to Minneapolis and they're planning to drive cross-country to San Francisco in a U-Haul but they get stuck in a snowstorm and all the roads are closed and they’re in some small town in Wyoming the good news is when they get to Laramie, that's the good news because one of the friends sends a text to her brother-in-law or something like that who turns out to have a ranch in Wyoming and then they end up shipping their stuff and taking a bus to Denver, but of course the story is all about the details he's good at the details like the car accident that started before the road trip and it was like -10 out and they had to count before rushing out to the car to tape up the windows, trying not to touch the shattered glass. Staring me right in the eyes I'm trying to figure out whether he's coked out but maybe in the hot way, if there’s a hot way it's the way this guy is staring at me and I touch his hand again, brushing one of his fingers he’s still looking at me, I mean he's casual about it too but he's still looking.

I don't usually flirt with people who I don't know when I'm at their work, I get all self-conscious about whether I'm invading their space and part of that is from being an incest survivor so as a kid there was no way to have boundaries that weren't crossed. I'm always worried about anything that isn’t 100% consensual, but then I get stuck in places where I'm assuming some guy who's flirting with me is straight, maybe part of that is so I don't have to make a move. But I'm getting better, better at making the move and then if it's the wrong one I can just move back.

The funny thing is that he doesn't really ask me any questions, but there’s this great dynamic between us where he'll say something and then I'll say something back that shows him I know exactly where he's coming from, and he totally takes it, nothing seems to make him uncomfortable I can tell he's a player but I like to play. As long as I'm not getting played.

He just moved here from New York, lost his job because he got too strung out, I say you got so strung out they noticed? He said well, sometimes I just wouldn't show up. I say coke or crystal? He says both, but mostly coke. I say that's New York. I say did you like New York? He says I loved it, I mean I worked until 1 a.m. at a wine bar and then afterwards I just wanted to go to sleep but I had to go out because otherwise I might not get seen by the right people I was totally addicted to that energy that scene. I say that's the coke. He says at least I got that out of my system. I say well if there’s a place to be a cokehead, it's definitely New York.

My favorite part is when he busts out snappy queeny ready lines all the sudden, which doesn't happen all that much here in San Francisco unless it starts that way -- it's this certain kind of New York club demeanor and even though I don't miss the clubs or those people I do miss the language, I mean it's kind of my language or part of it anyway. Part of my history, the way I experience things and I miss it. That's what I'm thinking about, maybe an hour into our conversation and I say what are you looking for? He says love, but it's a joke, and then he says a sugar daddy. I say that's too much work, why don’t you just turn tricks? He says how do you know I'm not turning tricks?

Brilliant. But it turns out he's already found love, a boyfriend it's just become official. I ask him if it's monogamous, he says well we haven't really talked about it, the relationship in New York was nonmonogamous but then anytime someone would flirt with him the boyfriend would start cockblocking. There's that word again. Acted like he wasn't sleeping with anyone else, but it was such a lie. I say that's New York nonmonogamy. This coworker of his said don't confuse passion with pathology. I say wait, you mean the other way around, right? Oh, yeah -- that's right, he says: don't confuse pathology with passion. Sounds like good advice.

I've already given him my number, but he didn't want to give me his -- work, I say, or the boyfriend? But then I say wait, let me write down my website too, he says what's your website? I say I'm a writer, it’s for my books. And then he gets all excited, what are your books? I say well the most recent one is called Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity. He says wait a minute, are you working on a new one? I say yeah, Why Are Faggots so Afraid of Faggots? He says my roommate forwarded me the call for submissions, we're all writers that's what we do.

So then he gives me his number, at this point it’s 2:10 a.m. already and he gets off at 2:30. I say well, if you want to stop by my apartment after you get off, just to chat a little more -- and I write down my address. Wait a minute, I say -- maybe I'm too exhausted. He says well the boy’s coming to pick me up. I say well you both can come over, he says maybe we’ll give you a call. I say well give me a hug, and he steps down from the counter and really does hug me, strong and warm and then I'm on my way home.

At home I'm so so hypoglycemic and my body hurts, shoulders all tense what the fuck why the fuck was I standing for so long -- first walking around for an hour then talking to this guy for another hour, I hate it when I get angry at myself for the way my body is so fragile. I mean, I was having fun talking to that guy, it was really fun it got me all wired but now I'm crashing. I heat up some food but it doesn't taste as good as I was hoping, then Michael actually calls -- that's his name -- he's at his boyfriend’s, which is only a few blocks away, he says are you still into hanging out? I say I think I'm too exhausted, now that I'm home I'm exhausted, but let me talk to your boyfriend.

I want the boyfriend to know that I'm not being shady, but first thing he says is: you didn't like my picture? I say I haven't seen your picture, he says I have a really big dick. He sounds kind of drunk, I guess it is 3 a.m.. Oh, I say -- maybe I should watch you two having sex. He says I really like fucking face. I say well then maybe you should come over -- no, I'm too exhausted.

Back to Michael, I say well I just suggested that I watch you two having sex some time. Michael says definitely, we're probably just going to go to bed right now. I say sure, have fun -- and let's get together soon!

When I get off the phone I'm angry at myself again, this time I'm angry that maybe I've missed out on an opportunity -- maybe it sounds strange, since I was at the Nob Hill Theatre at 2 a.m. talking to this guy about coming over my house later with his boyfriend, but I wasn't actually thinking about sex, I mean I wasn't thinking of having sex right then. I just wanted to chat for a few minutes, but now that sex is on the table again I'm worried that I should have said come right over, even though I'm completely exhausted I would've gotten wired right away but then that would’ve been a disaster, I mean a disaster afterwards when I would've crashed even harder, harder and later my sleep would’ve been even more of a mess, yes that's always possible.

2 comments:

grantatee said...

that connection sounds exciting. :)

i often think in terms of scarcity, like 'i missed my only opportunity ever to hang out with this person.' or 'i will never have a sexual experience like that ever again.'

and i'm usually wrong!

xo,
grant

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Darling, I know what you mean, but I *also* want to know about the experience that made you think, "i will never have a sexual experience like that ever again." Details, details...

Love --
mattilda