Monday, December 31, 2012

looking back, looking forward

In a little less than ten hours, this year, 2012, will segue into 2013. Now, whether that actually means anything, whether there is such thing as units of time distinct from one another with qualities their own is another thing, a debatable thing, that there probably is just life, this life, that we are temporarily enjoying, and it's just one big chunk of time. But because I am human, because I am living on this calendar system, I do put stock in years, in looking back on them, trying to take them as a whole, learn some lessons from them, and with those lessons live better in new years, in this approaching one.

Looking back on this past year, there was an event that overshadows the rest of the year, that makes everything else fade into the background. It was just past the mid-point of this year, in late-June, when Jacob, my boyfriend of two plus years, broke up with me. It is now nearly half a year past that point and, still, I find myself strongly affected by it from time to time. There are still nights when in bed alone, thinking about being in my bed alone, I shed a few tears thinking back to my time with him, lamenting that those times are over. I lost a lover, a companion, a best friend. Last night, when my eyes started to water, I let myself cry. I told myself to enjoy it for one more time, the picking over this wound, because there would be no more tears shed about this in 2013, that this was it, that we have lamented this for too long, that we are putting this in the 2012 scrapbook and sticking it on a high shelf, out of reach.

This past year started out with me leaving my past job of three years, a job in hospitality, for another job in hospitality. I am making less money and there are times when I think that it was a mistake to switch jobs, but 99% of the time, I am really happy that I made this change. In this upcoming year, I want to get out of hospitality, or at least out of the frontlines of it and its shitty hours. And, yes, I am in the midst of interviewing for a concierge job at another hotel, and, yes, I really do want this job since it pays nearly twice what I make now, but by the time the year 2013 ends, I would really like to find myself not working in hospitality. I might find myself living in Los Angeles.

I quit Facebook this morning. I have done this before and am not sure how long it will last this time, that it often does seem necessary to be on it to keep in the loop about certain things sadly, but I am going to do my best to not look back. If I could add up all of the hours of this past year that I have spent on Facebook, I would probably cut that number down to a third of what it actually was before telling you, and yet I would still be embarrassed. It is a vicious circular loop that I get trapped into and I have wasted so, so much time on the site. No more. 2013 is going to be a productive year for me.

I was not very productive in 2012, despite finally getting out of my comfort zone and leaving a job I had become stuck in. I ate a lot of great food and saw some amazing concerts and had some amazing moments with friends. I didn't love enough though. I certainly did not write enough.

I have been trying to find a section that I read in The Brothers Karamazov that really inspired me. I may have imagined this section since I have been having great difficulty in finding it today. It had to do with love, love for other humans and for the planet, for everything in this world, that it was only through this act of loving, of universal love, that the world takes on any meaning, that this is what living is, what life is, that without this life is absolutely meaningless. I may have actually conflated some sections of "The Mysterious Visitor" from the novel with themes from Love Actually.

There are lots of things that I am unsure of, but there are many things that I am sure of, and I am getting a lot better about drawing lines when things contradict the things I am sure of.

I am going to minimize my dairy intake in 2013. I am going to try to avoid most sugars and sweets. I am going to try not to smoke. I am going to work out more. I am going to write. I am going to love and live.

five songs that I listened to over and over again in 2012

Yes, only two of these came out this year, but these are the five songs that I listened to over and over again throughout the year, that really helped me through certain moments. The album of the year for me would certainly be Twin Shadow's Confess - no album was more played or more enjoyed this year. I could have easily put all 11 tracks from it up here as the most listened to tracks of this past year, but I chose only one so that I could put into this little time capsule other songs that meant a lot to me during this past year.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Let us be lovers - we'll marry our fortunes together."

Last night, I found myself listening to various covers of Simon and Garfunkel's "America." There is a version by Yes, that, even despite being stoned last night, I had a hard time getting into. And then there is this version at the opposite end of the spectrum by David Bowie, a cover version I had never heard before - totally stripped down and absolutely perfect. Chills up and down my spine when he sings: Michigan seems like a dream to me now. He drags out that now just long enough for you to hear the power of his voice, before he pinches his mouth down, the memory, the line, the recollections conjured, the feeling of being young and in search of something - all of this a bit too much and look at his pained grimace as he ends that line. Bowie really feels these lines and he sings them in his perfect voice, the only accompaniment being what sounds like the slowed down waltz of a circus's music. What is conjured for me are images of tired and weary circus performers on the march across the countryside, elephants reluctantly moving forward.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Simon and Garfunkel - "America"

Wah Wah Wah, said the guy next to me on the subway this morning. I had headphones in, was listening to Simon and Garfunkel's "America," a song that I have fallen really in love with over the past few days and that I have been starting my morning commutes to work with.

I took out my headphones so that I could hear what he was saying.

"Are you a Blood?" I thought he was joking. He didn't immediately scream Crazy Person when I sat down next to him. He looked like a normal enough guy, a sane enough person, an Asian guy in his twenties. Again, he asked me if I was a Blood. I told him that, no, I was not a Blood.

"Are you sure? Because someone told me that the guy who gets on the train at DeKalb with a red hat is a Blood. You look like him. I am sure it's you. Are you sure you're not a Blood? My friend told me had a red hat like you. It's you, I know. I'm sure of it."

I kept nodding my head No as he continued with his monologue, asking the same question over and over again. I put on my headphones and tried my best to ignore him, to tune him out, to tune out my own fears that this man might stab me, that he might pull a knife out of the bag sitting on his lap that he keeps reaching into and cut me in front of all these morning commuters doing their best to ignore this man.

Paul Simon sang in my ears: "Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping.

I have lived in this city long enough now that I can sit on the train next to a crazy man asking me if I am a Blood and still manage to halfway enjoy my ride to work. Turn up the volume on your headphones loud enough so that other noises, crazy people talking at you for instance, take on the sound of a murmur underneath it all, a Wah Wah Wah trying to get your attention, trying to waste your time, trying to engage you in nonsense. Make the world you want to inhabit loud enough to silence any other worlds.

Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They've all gone to look for America

This year, 2012, is ending in just a couple of days. There is a forecast of snow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I woke up yesterday morning in Delaware on my mom's couch. We had opened presents the night before since both my sister and I had a train leaving early on Christmas morning to take us back to New  York. I got a window seat and looked out over the landscape of the Northeast, of cities in decline, of centers of manufacturing long abandoned, of rivers, shopping centers, subdivisions, of marshlands and trees without many leaves. There were quite a few cemeteries that our train rode past, cars parked throughout them, visitors leaving flowers at numerous graves, a lot of people out on Christmas morning remembering their loved ones no longer of this earthly world. I remembered a loved one still of this earthly world as my train breezed passed all of these scenes. I thought about Jacob a lot over the Christmas holidays. It probably didn't help that my mom made us watch Love Actually, which inspired all sorts of sentimental longing, nostalgic wandering, and romantic feeling in me.

The train pulled into Penn Station and I took the subway home, unloaded my luggage, my presents, showered, and then headed back on the subway, into work. 

Because I was working Christmas, because I was sad, because I was back in the city after spending two days in the suburbs, I wanted to rage. And, so, rage I did. C and I started inhaling dust-off in the bell closet fairly early into our shift. We started chugging red wine as well. We did poppers. We were on a mission to get as wildly fucked up at work as possible without getting fired. We bought some Lime A Ritas, a weird new canned concoction from Budweiser. We drank those and then with some other co-workers downed two bottles of cava, all the while hiding out of sight to inhale more dust-off. 

From work, already wasted, we hopped into a cab, headed toward Brooklyn to rage. I played Kendrick Lamar loudly from my phone and we passed the bottle of dust-off back and forth, getting more and more fucked up, killing more and more brain cells. 

I remember that Metropolitan was surprisingly crowded for Christmas. I remember that C and I did dust-off throughout the night right in the middle of the bar. I remember at some point doing a terrible karaoke version of Whitney Houston's "So Emotional." I left with C. We stumbled home toward Bushwick, walking down Grand Street. We parted ways at Manhattan Avenue, but not before I pointed out the location of my first apartment in New York, and also the location of my first New York boyfriend's then apartment, the two directly across the street from each other. It's a very sentimental conversation that these two buildings have with each other all of the time. 

I let these buildings continue their talk and headed home. I stumbled into the Dunkin Donuts by my house and had a conversation with a sausage and egg sandwich.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Two Chihuahuas, Two Yorkshire Terriers

It's only 6:30 in the morning, I thought to myself as I walked faster to the subway, ignoring the yelling and cursing behind me, way too early for any of this and also this being no way to start the day.

I have what might potentially be the worst neighbor ever. To rewind a little, when I was moving into this apartment a few months ago, lifting heavy boxes up flights of stairs, unloading furniture into a still empty apartment, this lady from across the hall watched the proceedings from her doorway without an introduction or even a simple hello. She just glared at us as we made a couple trips up and down the stairs. After a bit of this, she peeked her head in and asked if we were the people moving in. I said that I was. She said that she only has one rule. She doesn't say her name, doesn't ask ours, just starts right off the bat laying down the law. She tells us that she has grandkids and is trying to protect them so when we smoke weed, we need to light incense in the hall so she doesn't smell it. I think it is also worth pointing out that my friend and I were not carting in massive bongs, blacklights, vacuum-sealed bags of weed, or pints of Ben and Jerry's - nothing that should immediately give away the fact that we smoke weed.

At that point, I actually hadn't been smoking weed for a couple months and didn't for the first month or so I lived here, though now I have started smoking just about every night. Last night, I incurred her wrath - this mean Puerto Rican grandmother. I don't know why this woman is so loud. I don't know why Puerto Rican grandmas tend to be. This woman reminds me of the landlord of my first apartment in New York that I lived in for four years - another insanely loud Puerto Rican grandma that I also got into massive battles with.

Anyways, around 10 pm last evening, this lady from across hall comes BANG BANG BANGing on my door, the type of knock that announces one is really, really, really mad. I open up the door and she starts screaming at me about the smell of weed in her apartment. Also worth noting is that the people who live downstairs blaze out all day long and the entire building has always and will forever smell like weed because of them. Also worth noting is that I hadn't even smoked weed yesterday when the BANG BANG BANGing on the door came. We yelled a bit and I closed my door and she stormed back over to her apartment.

At that point, it was definitely time to smoke some weed.

This morning, I am leaving for work at around 6:30 and I hear her yelling to her grandson about the motherfucker across the way. I hear her yelling all the time - every moment of the day she is home she is yelling, either at someone on the phone, at her grandkids, or at her equally loud chihuahuas. She disturbs me more than I thought possible and yet I do not go BANG BANG BANGing on her door to tell her that her constant aggressive shouting all day long is really ruining my vibe.

So I was particularly upset when I was about to leave the building this morning, down at the bottom of the flight of stairs, when I heard her again mumble about the motherfucker to her grandson, referencing me. I yell to the top of the stairs, "Excuse me? Are you talking about me? Do you have something you actually want to say to me?" And neighbors on the first floor, I do apologize about so early going to battle this morning right outside your doors, but I did it for you too, for the good of anyone that lives with this insane gremlin.

She was walking her grandson to school, giving him fine education in the choicer words from the English language, particularly the word "motherfucker." Every third or fourth word out of her was "motherfucker." Our fight spilled out on to the porch, on to the sidewalk, and continued as we both walked toward the subway together, me and her and her grandson, waking up all the fine residents on Dekalb Avenue at such an early hour this morning with our profanity punctuated screams at each other. I told her that if she ever knocked on my door again I was going to call the police and file harassment charges. She told me that the next time she smells weed, she is going to call the police and report me. Threats back and forth. I complained about her dogs. She told me to move out. I told her to go fuck herself. A beautiful start to the day.

Since I was already running late for work even before this fight started, I walked quicker, leaving this lady behind as I hurried to the subway. I could hear her still from a block away screaming obscenities and threats in my general direction.

I called my landlord and explained the actions of this little domestic terrorist living next door and he totally took my side, told me how much he hates that fucking bitch, and told me she needs to mind her fucking business. Apparently my landlord is also a big fan of f-bombs - from him, I really enjoy them though, probably cause they are directed at her, my nemesis, and not me. He told me that she has also harassed both of the downstairs tenants as well, yelling at them about weed smells too. He told me that she calls him everyday to scream at him about something. He told me he is going to file a police report about her and asked if I would give a statement. I told him that of course I would, that this woman is a terrible human being and a menace to my happiness and well-being.

That taken care of, after work today, I went to Greenwich, Connecticut to see a gentleman. It was weird. I just wanted to be drinking or having sex. Instead we watched Newshour and he cooked me a burger and told me that he is taking painting classes. He showed me paintings he is working on. He was nervous and clearly lonely. He was 70 and looked much younger. He wore a wig. He was nice but his loneliness was really making me sad. He remarked a couple of times on how he was sad he never settled down with anyone, how it's too late for him now. He told me that he thinks he would have been much happier if he had stayed in Cincinnati, that his life would have turned out better, and he would have fallen in love with someone there, how smaller cities are actually easier for gays than large cities like New York. He was sweet and he told me he didn't want to have sex this first time, that he needs to feel like he knows someone first. And I am so bored in these situations, so uncomfortable. I don't know how to fill these emotional needs, how to fill their loneliness. I know so much better how to fill particular sexual needs. I am not necessarily comfortable trying to fill these emotional needs; too often tonight they reminded me of my own unfulfilled emotional needs.

I knew I didn't want to end up as this guy, that more than anything I did not want to end up as him - rich in a big house all by one's self in the suburbs, lamenting that one missed out on something. I slept on the Metro North ride home. Around me as I slept, rich girls from Connecticut in heels and really nice winter jackets drank beers and whole bottles of wine as they rode into the city for their Friday night.

I thought back to this guy who I had just seen and something he mentioned. He was really into the concept of vanishing points in visual art. He had a bit of an art collection and pointed out the vanishing points used to give these paintings depth and a sense of field. A road narrowing down in the distance, objects either painted smaller or the colors more muted, sometimes both, or maybe a river winding through the background of the image. He told me that he was really intrigued by the prevalence of vanishing points in images, that he had been thinking a lot about them lately, trying to understand them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Last night, our job threw us a holiday party at a trendy downtown restaurant. The party lasted from 7pm-2am and had an open bar. That is a five hour open bar. That is alternately great news and terrible news. I danced a lot and talked to various friends and got absolutely wasted.

When the party ended there, a group of us decided to move the party to the Cock. I did ask a co-worker to go home with me and thankfully he went home with someone else - thankfully because this is the ex of a good friend of mine and it would have been a terrible idea that I would have regretted so much today. I found my way to the back corner of the bar and watched this guy suck this one guy's dick. I started to jerk off watching this. Pull out your dick at the Cock and soon you will have a mouth on it. Despite straight co-workers being somewhere in near vicinity at this bar, desperation outweighed any sense of propriety, any awareness of the shame I might feel the next day thinking back to these actions.

The guy was not at all attractive that was sucking my dick but I didn't really care. I just wanted this, wanted something. I don't think he cared either, that he even really desired this. It was mechanical, a thought that we had this need and were fulfilling it because we thought it was what we wanted. Everyone there wants something but not with anyone there and we all make do.

He stood up and pulled his pants down and bent his fat ass in the direction of my cock. This is when some awareness took over. I saw this guy's ass, saw its unattractiveness, saw the unattractiveness of this situation, saw my desperation staring me in the face, its ugliness. I zipped up and walked away. I found my co-workers who were all leaving. I have no idea if any of them witnessed the peak of my night's desperation.

Out front, everyone got in cabs and left. I walked uptown in the light rain to catch the L train. It was four in the morning and I was alone in this city and it felt terrible and it felt great.

Monday, December 17, 2012

the only one thing we can be sure of

I have re-listened to this one section of President Obama's speech last night in Newtown several times last evening and again this morning when I woke up. The entire speech is great and worth listening to, but this one section of the speech last night really got to me, had me running for pen and paper to try to write down some of it. We have a president that sincerely seems engaged with questions about what it means to live here for a time on this planet. There is so much beauty in this passage, it really makes me take pause, and for stuff this eloquent and true to come out of the mouth of a president really fills me with hope and happiness. It is really, really well-written, honest about how we as human beings will always fall short of our aspirations, honest about how life is a mystery, that we will grope "through the darkness, so often unable to discern God's heavenly plans." To hear this part in the speech, skip to around the 13:30 mark:

"All the world's religions - so many of them represented here today - start with a simple question: Why are we here? What gives life meaning? What gives our acts purpose? We know our time on this Earth is fleeting. We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain; that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it's wealth or power or fame, or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. We know that no matter how good our intentions, we will all stumble sometimes, in some way. We will make mistakes; we will experience hardships. And even when we're trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God's heavenly plans. There's only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have - for our children, for our families, for each other."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Faces - Ooh La La

I drank cheap canned beer at a house party a couple blocks away. I talked to Carlos about various things, talked about a gay house party I didn't go to, talked about the desire to rage, talked about strawberry-flavored Andre, talked about work, talked about going elsewhere. We went elsewhere. We went to Tandem.

At Tandem, we drank beer and shots and talked about Prince and about romance. I have a crush on this boy but also don't. He's straight and I have been having a lot of fun hanging out with him lately. I haven't had a straight guy friend in a long time. This is good for me because oftentimes I don't know how to relate to men, gay or straight, unless it's through some either subtle or explicit form of flirtation. Also, he loves to drink and talk about his failed attempts at romance, so he's kind of the dream person to hang out with.

I just got a text from a waiter at a new French restaurant in Bushwick, asking what my name was, referencing a lipstick note. A couple nights ago, Erica, Adam, and I were on a note-writing rage. We thought this waiter was insanely sexy and so Erica wrote him a note on a bar napkin in her lipstick telling him so and leaving my number for some reason. I am pretty sure he thought he was texting Erica. I just let him know. We'll see if he texts back.

Another note was written at Tandem for a boy in a red beanie, given to him as we were leaving the bar to rage at Erica's house, inviting him to come over and rage as well.

The weather outside is gray. I woke up in my bed alone and miserably hungover. The good news is that I am drinking coffee, that I am alive, and that I am feeling really good about things lately. Also I am listening to the Faces' Ooh La La, which is such an amazing and beautiful album full of life and with a real rock and roll appreciation for its beauty, and which I have been listening to over and over again these past few days. I have a job interview on Thursday for a job I am excited about. I am finally getting back my deposit on my old apartment tomorrow. I am going to Italy in a month. I have a week full of exciting things ahead before heading home to see my family. And, really high on this list of signs that my life is regaining its sense of fun, of steam, is that in the coming days I am going to Spandex World to buy some animal print fabric, make some curtains, and finally have some privacy in my apartment, be able to walk around naked or dance stoned to Janet Jackson and to not be ashamed about all the people across the way able to see me. Unfortunately, Spandex World is closed on Sundays.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

stoned poems december 11th 2012

Matt's eyes, dark and
hooded, echoing in the dark black
years down the line
as I, stoned, watch an episode of
It's Always Sunny

I shiver looking at the eyes of
this nameless character
in a hospital bed
full body cast
black eyes

and all of a sudden I remember
how weak he
used to
make me

sense and reason entirely gone
when I used to look into his eyes

he never saw, looked back

I had forgotten that people
could feel that way, that
another person
could make one feel that way

and for a moment

I remembered and forgot

lost in the overhead bathroom fan,
its noise,
the fan that comes on if the bathroom
light is

loud, drowning out any other sounds,
allowing you to forget the
immediately outside the
bathroom and get

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"I'd rather buy 80 gold chains"

I should be reading The Brothers Karamazov but instead I have spent most of the afternoon doing what I do on just about all of my afternoons, doing what I do with just about all the free time I have when I am home, which is all of the time that I am home, and that is looking at porn and masturbating. It always starts off with other things, reading the news, reading blogs, but sooner or later somehow my fingers redirect my computer's attention, and thus mine as well, to images of naked men. Hours later I will finally come and feel so guilty about the hours of time that I have wasted, literally just tugging on my penis in some zombie state, scrolling through pages and pages of naked men.

And I could start reading the book right now, but really I would much rather smoke some weed and watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which I started watching last night and which I am really, really into. I don't know what it says about me, or about the world in general, that myself along with seemingly bigger and bigger audiences are drawn to misanthropic humor. But I plowed through the first season in one sitting yesterday and totally fell in love with this show. I am excited to start the second season and to see where this show goes, whether I still find it so funny.

I wrote a note to myself last night, or my phone did dictated by my voice. I was stoned and lying in bed trying to sleep and I wanted to write down a thought I had. I didn't want to go in search of paper and pen and knew my fingers would mangle trying to type anything coherent on the keyboard of my phone, so I talked and had my phone dictate this:

"Powers of description being lost because no one has to describe anything anymore. You can just show the screen, pull up the video, play the song you're talking about, that there's no need to describe anything, to use words, language to approximate the thing. Instead you can just present the thing and then Chavet [no idea what I actually said here] it sounds that song etc."

I followed this with another dictated note to myself:

"Get notebooks and pens and leave one by your bed and one in the kitchen and one in the living room."

I did not buy notebooks or pens today. I did buy protein powder.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Empire State Building, hidden in fog

There was an old paperback copy of Lars Eighner's Bayou Boy on his bedside table. It was a weathered book showing its age, having that look of vintage gay erotica. He recommended that I find a copy on eBay. He said that it's actually really good writing and not as porny as it might look. I wrote the title and author in my phone in the hopes that I would remember to find a copy of this book somewhere. It was a couple minutes before one o'clock this afternoon. Most of his belongings were in trash bags and an exterminator was due later that afternoon in an attempt to kill bedbugs, a problem he seems to have been fighting for months now. I am always a little nervous when I undress at his house, set my clothes down gently on a surface that for whatever reasons I assume to be less hospitable to bedbugs. I pissed in his mouth. I twisted his nipples. He gave me a blowjob and it brought me somewhat out of the massive hangover I have been under for the last two days.

I rode the train back downtown. I went to the gym. I walked around this city full of mist and light rain, the gray seemingly particularly onerous today. I thought about what lay beyond this gray. I thought about what it might do to my mood, to my life, to my time on this planet, if I were to live somewhere sunnier, if I were to live in Los Angeles for example, and which I am very strongly considering doing since one of my best friends is going to be moving there in May. I am thinking about home and belonging and also wandering, about what any of it means.

In the tunnel that runs underneath 14th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, connecting the L train to the 1,2,3 trains, there is the homeless man who has his signs announcing that he is a New York Times published poet. He sells poems I believe. Since I have never seen poetry specifically featured  in Times, I have always wondered about his claims. This man has been here seemingly as long as I have. I have seen him camped out in this tunnel for years. At the other end of the tunnel, closer to 7th Avenue, there is the guitar player who sings nothing but Beatles songs. He has pamphlets set up in his guitar case with ankhs on them and they seem to be tracts promoting some sort of spirituality. This man always has a smile on. His voice isn't as good as it used to be. His smile isn't as big and he seems noticeably older than when I first moved to New York. This man as well has been working this tunnel since I moved to New York nearly a decade ago.

These people present themselves on both the stay column and the go column as I contemplate what this city means to me.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ducktails' "The Mall"

I was walking to the grocery store this evening. It was dark and there was a light rain. It was five pm. It felt much later, as it tends to on these dark winter afternoons

There was twenty-something dollars in my wallet, enough to get my hair cut. I wanted to trim my hair, to make it shorter, sharper, to hopefully as a result feel a bit better about myself and my appearance. I have been feeling very ho-hom lately. I wear the same pair of jeans and one of two flannels just about every day. There are days when it seems to me that I have given up. Things I used to care about, scouring thrift stores for new looks, putting these various items of clothing on each day, getting dressed with intention and effort - that these are no longer a concern, a priority, a thing done.

I bought a new pair of jeans today and a new pair of boots, bought these at the Cheap Monday sample sale, where I ran into Jacob. We hugged. Leaving, I crossed traffic on Broadway in the middle of the street and thought of him as I hurried before the traffic reached me.

Food could wait. I needed a haircut, suddenly became pulled in the direction of the barber I have been going to for the last couple of months.

As I was walking up to the entrance, the guy that cut my hair the last couple times was walking out the door. His eyes lit up and he led me to his chair. I am bit confused if this guy likes me or just likes my business, likes that I probably tip too much money on what is a really cheap haircut. The skill of the Latin barbershops in Bushwick and East Williamsburg is entirely unmatched by any barber I have been to in Manhattan. You get a really nice fade, your edges shaped with a straight razor, and all of this for eleven or twelve dollars.

This barber mentioned to me probably two or three times that I was his favorite customer. He told me I was so young and good-looking. When he would take pauses to let me inspect how the haircut was going, his eyes looked at my eyes with something a little more intense than the desire for approval. I wasn't really attracted to him and also was so confused by what was happening, whether I was reading too much into things, whether this guy was just being nice, or alternately whether he was doing this confusing/kind-of-hitting-on-me thing as theater, as some way of making me, clearly a gay boy, perhaps like him and want to tip him more, or to come back and see him more often. I don't know. I kept on wavering between feeling hustled and feeling hit on. I was tired enough and had enough trouble understanding his accent that it didn't really matter. I left with the haircut I wanted.

I did indeed feel better, new.

I bought some groceries at Associated. Most of the beer didn't have prices, there were hardly any frozen pizzas, and I resisted buying Ben & Jerry's even though it was on sale. I walked home with these bags of food and I then took a shower. I washed off the bits of hair all over me and stood underneath the hot water, letting it warm me up, letting my body relax, standing there for an extended period of time, letting this warm sensation wash over me again and again and again.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bozo and His Shirley Temple

With Grindr, things often seem better than they actually are. The person is cuter in their pictures, is cooler in their pictures. The dirty talk you had engaged with them in turns out to be better than the actual sex you have. There is that awkward stretch of time in which you are waiting for them to come over, in which something like regret starts to overtake you, in which your horniness subsides during the wait and you question whether this is really what you want, whether you wouldn't rather be getting stoned and watching more episodes of Battlestar Galactica. There is the moment when you let them into your apartment and you already want it to be over, when you can tell this isn't going to be what you had thought it would be, and there is your own sense of politeness telling you that it's too late at this point, that it would be really rude to send them home once you got a real look at this person, and so there are the awkward attempts at conversation on your couch until you begin to make out.

He is a contortionist, a circus performer. He sent me photos of himself doing splits, balancing on his hands. He is kind of cute. But there was a weirdness about him that turned me off a lot. When I mentioned that I had been watching Galactica, he mentioned how he could never watch that, how he is too loyal to Star Wars, how he is a huge Star Wars fan. What that had anything to do with this show, other than they are both in the sci-fi genre, I didn't know. What I did know was that this person displayed a really sincere love of Star Wars, and already I was wondering what the fuck I was doing, why this person was in my apartment. He was wide-eyed in enthusiasm about everything, seemed a little bugged out, and had this little elf voice that came out of him whenever he spoke that made me wish for him to stop talking, please, stop. 

I was determined to get this over with quick. I had been chatting with Erica online during the long wait for him to come over, and she kept telling me to ditch Bozo, a nickname she had coined for the boy once I mentioned he was a circus performer, and to meet up with her for drinks. As we started fooling around in my bed, I was wishing I had taken her advice. I was thinking about how much more fun I would be having with Erica, sharing drinks and conversation. But instead I gave into my base desires, pursued my own desire to get off down dark alleys, down wireless signals letting me know how many feet away certain men were from me who were seeking something similar - a boost to their own ego, confirmation either by someone talking to you or someone sleeping with you, that you are attractive, that you are a person that other human beings do in fact desire, that you are not as alone as you think you are. Though often, the experience, the hookup, makes you more aware of how alone you actually are. Sometimes it makes you happy with this knowledge, other times not so.

Last night, when this boy was over, the circus performer, I was so happy to be alone in my life right now and could not wait to resume that aloneness. We had little sexual chemistry. The circus performer had untrimmed finger nails. I was not into the sex at all and I wanted it to be over already. I was leaning against my headboard as he was sucking my dick. He was holding my cock in his hand. I looked at his nails and then tried not to. I looked up at my bookshelf and my eyes focused on Philip Roth's name on the spine of one of his books on my shelf, the Zuckerman Bound trilogy. I thought about how I would like to reread that, about what a shame it was that Roth wouldn't be writing any more books, about how should I really take writing more seriously, about how I wasted so much fucking time today for this, the endless back and forth on Grindr, the waiting around for this boy to shower and walk over here, and now him here in my bed and me bored and wishing it was over so I could get back to me. I told him I wanted him to come.

He was a bit surprised, seemed happy to prolong this sex forever. I apologized and said I was supposed to meet up with my friend Erica later that evening. Then there was this long period of him jerking off before he came.

As he was taking his sweet time getting dressed, I told him I had to meet my friend Erica because we had a book club to discuss The Brothers Karamazov, which wasn't happening until the next day, but I wanted a nice excuse to not hurt his feelings and also for him to hurry up and get dressed. He asked what that was, seemingly never having heard of the book at all. I was so ready for this person to go but he kept up with the questions while slowly getting dressed. He was sweet, innocent, clearly wanted something more than sex. And maybe I did too, but not with this person, not with someone that is a Star Wars fanboy and has never heard of The Brothers Karamazov. He seemed much younger than his age of 24. I just wanted him to leave my apartment and he wanted to talk to me about what I did. I was brief. He asked me what I like to do. I told him I liked to drink. He told me he had never drank alcohol in his life, that he accidentally had it once because a bartender served him a non-virgin Shirley Temple but he spit it out as soon as he tasted it, the alcohol burned his throat so much, was so gross. It was really time for this person to go. Leave now, I was thinking. This was another level of weirdness that I could not deal with. I find people that don't drink to be the weirdest type of people. I don't trust them. I don't think they know what life is about. He still hadn't even put on his boots and I could not wait for him to leave. This was not a real person. This was some elf that had wondered in from the forest and ended up in my apartment. 

Nice meeting you, I said, once he had his shoes on, opening the door, ending the conversation.