Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Yesterday, I woke up at some point in the afternoon, delirious from either a cold or its treatments, various cold medicines, one of the two, or the two in combination, making me feel totally off-kilter. I have missed school and work the last two days, this cold and fever coming out of the blue and taking me down. I noticed a business card slid between my door. A note written on the back of the card saying "PLIZE COL MY - SPIRO."

I called him, worried what he might say. I for some reason was imagining he was going to say my neighbors behind me are complaining about me masturbating. Again, might I mention that I was on various cold medicines and not thinking very coherently. What he actually called to say was that he wanted to sell the apartment building and that it would sell better if he cleared it of the tenants. He offered me two months to move out, $2000, and my security deposit back. I asked him if I could think about it before accepting and call him back today.

My lease actually expired back in October and I have just been continuing to mail my monthly checks. This offer that he gave me, from what I understand via looking at various sites, is actually better than he needed to. As a month-to-month tenant, he legally only needs to give 30 days notice. I think that he believes I am still on a lease with time on it which is why he made this offer. Last week, he asked me if I could fax his lawyer a copy of my lease. I told him I would as soon as I found it. I was never able to find it, but this must have been why he was asking. Luckily, it seems he had no record of my lease either and didn't know that it had actually ended, otherwise I doubt I would have been getting this offer of money to move out.

And so, knowing that this was probably the best deal I could hope for under these circumstances, I accepted his offer today and am just not going to pay rent these last two months here. Now, though, I have to find a new place to live. Lately, I have been thinking about how much I like my apartment and like my neighborhood. Both have grown on me so much in the last few months. I might not be able to live alone anymore though. My rent in this apartment is really cheap considering what other 1 bedrooms and studios are going for in this neighborhood. I had planned on staying here for quite a while, knowing that given my current level of income, I would not be able to find any studios or 1 bedrooms in Bushwick that I could afford. This neighborhood, even in the year and a half that I have lived here, has jumped up in rental prices so much. The New York real estate market is insane. I don't understand how everyone affords these prices. And so it looks like I am presented with the option of moving really far out in Brooklyn, to far areas of Crown Heights, to Rockaway, or to areas of New Jersey (which is not really an option I am considering) if I wanted to continue to live alone, which I do. The alternative, which may likely happen, is to find a roommate situation, so I can live in a neighborhood that I would actually enjoy living in.

New York is rough, will knee you in the crotch just as you are feeling really confident and skipping down the street. It's always a challenge, which is part of the appeal. It's a hard game that I am determined to beat. Bowser keeps stomping up and down, not wanting to let me pass, steam blowing out of his nostrils, ominous music playing. There is some combination of buttons I need to hit on the keypad to beat him. I am going to. I am going to win this game.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

notions of coldness, notions of warmness

The weather is below freezing, has been for days now. I am really enjoying it. I live in the Twin Cities. I live in Montreal. I live in some frigid, cold city and I am loving it. You just have to dress properly. Lots of layers. It's such a beautiful city that we live in. I am in love with New York right now.

I went out to a fun basement club on Friday night. It was smokey, a small hidden room where the dance floor was. A lot of people seemed to be on drugs. There were a lot of sexy men everywhere, guys I have never seen, people pressed against each other, people actually cruising and approaching guys to hit on them in a way I haven't seen in a while.  It was beautiful, Everyone seemed to be living, having fun. This was the New York I fell in love with, that I am still in love with, that still on some nights will keep me out at a bar til past closing time, til four something collecting my coat, talking to other people, no one wanting the night to end.

I rode in a taxi back home to this guy's house, this incredibly sexy guy that I have been flirting with via the Internet and via this thing called "real life" for a few months. I had been to his building before, know the people that live directly above him. Small world as they say. We fucked and fucked, did poppers, smoked cigarettes. I kept on pausing to admire his body, sexy object that I had been admiring images of on various social networks, now seeing in the flesh. Just as beautiful, more so.

Around six in the morning, some of his friends were going to come over, everyone still going, to head to some other party. This was the moment when I took my leave. I don't have the same party stamina to go well into the next day. I walked home, the sun still not up, hints of it somewhere behind Bushwick row houses, otherwise the sky very dark still, streets empty except for a couple of drunk people in front of bodegas.

I bought some nice boots yesterday once I woke up. I saw the guy on 96th Street in the afternoon. I saw the superhero fetish guy at night. I drank a vodka-tonic afterwards and argued for Louis C.K's place within the Jewish comedic tradition despite his not being Jewish. I was tipsy already, fevered talk coming easily, hands gesticulating. I went to a house party in the East Village. There were cute men there, the city full of them these days. Maybe people seem sexier in the cold. Everyone's sex drive is still having lingering effects of the frenzy the Beyonce album brought them to. We are all incredibly hungry.

I ate some hot dogs on my way to the L Train. That is a metaphor for nothing. I had some hot dogs, mustard and ketchup on them, two for three dollars.

Friday, January 24, 2014

"We just try to get our paragraph right."

"I think we are born into this world and inherit all the grudges and rivalries and hatreds and sins of the past. But we also inherit the beauty and the joy and goodness of our forebears. And we're on this planet a pretty short time, so that we cannot remake the world entirely during this little stretch that we have. But I think our decisions matter…[A]t the end of the day we're part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right."

-our intelligent and poetic President, Barack Obama, from David Remnick's piece on him in this week's New Yorker

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

snow accumulation vs. your dick size

I would really miss this if I were to ever move to LA as I sometimes dream about doing. Today, that was very clear. I was walking down white streets home from the grocery store, temperatures well below freezing, snow falling. This same land that is now covered in snow, cold, and quieted for a brief moment is the same land that come summertime will be full of barely dressed people riding bikes down streets, full of people sitting on stoops fanning themselves, full of the competing sounds of Escalade soundsystems, car alarms, and Mister Softee trucks. This place, this city, contains all of that. It contains everything. We have these brutal, beautiful winters with a couple of these moments a year in which snow throws down a timeout card on the scene. Roads mostly empty of cars, visibility shortened to just several yards. These moments are caresses from your mom, calming strokes, quieting you, telling you: Don't cry, don't cry. See. Shh. It's okay.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Edie Brickell - "What I Am"

"I'm sorry, I don't think I want to be friends with you. I just don't. I don't want to be polite with you. I don't want to have small talk with you. Anyway, enjoy your evening. Enjoy your life. Cool cigarette."

Last night's episode of Girls was so perfect. When Ray says these lines to Shosanna, it was a punch in the gut because I know what it is to say those lines, what it is to be in that place where you have to make friendly small-talk with someone you used to date, where things are not what they used to be anymore, and how painful that is. I am pretty certain I have also said nearly verbatim those exact same lines on at least a couple of occasions. When, later in the episode, he is listening to Smashing Pumpkins in his miserable state, it all is a little too much for me. Mellon Collie has gotten me through so many rough periods of my life over the last twenty years.

Another perfect moment in this episode which contains quite a few of them is when Marnie, another character I am identifying with more and more, exclaims about how excited she is to have a bunch of party pictures to post to Instagram because she knows, just knows, her ex still checks it. Perfection. The writing in this episode is so great and really captures the details of life in 2014 so well.

I watched a lot of stuff this past weekend - Looking, The Act of Killing, and The Square. It was really nice to sit on my couch and eat food and sleep in and relax. School started again for me a couple weeks ago and my body is so exhausted by the time the weekend finally comes around that even watching a film all the way through is a bit of an accomplishment for me.

There was also a moment this weekend in which I was making out with this very attractive man at Metropolitan. He asked me old I was. I told him. I asked him old he was. He was 23. Beards are deceiving. We chatted, made out, and he then told me I was too drunk. A 23 year old at a gay bar told me I was too drunk. Okay. I don't know what that means other than that I might have been too drunk, but it certainly could mean, signify, other things in addition. I danced to various songs, cruised boys, and then decided all I really wanted to take home with me was a sandwich.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Red Beanie

This past weekend, I lost a red winter cap. I have had this red winter cap for a couple of years. When that boy and I had a sleepover at my hotel a week or so ago, I accidentally grabbed his winter cap in the morning on my way out instead of mine. I was wearing this cap, this one belonging to someone else, on Friday night. I met a guy, an Elias. We started dancing to Beyonce’s “Flawless.” Soon thereafter we were making out. At some point, he decided he was going to wear my hat.

I did not go home with him because my landlord was supposedly coming at ten in the morning to switch out my fridge. As such, I never got my hat back. Perhaps this red beanie will continue on its journey of gay men in New York City, a gayer, post-millenial version of The Red Balloon.

The landlord did not come at ten in the morning to fix the fridge. He did not come at any time that day. This was his second time flaking on an appointment we had set up. The fridge has not worked for the past couple of weeks. It has been an excuse, an excuse I hardly needed, to order a ton of burritos.

Today, after numerous calls to my landlord, after him failing to show up for many of the times he told me would show up, a pair of men pulled up in a beat up van covered in graffiti and unloaded an ugly old fridge. When my landlord told me he was going to bring by a new fridge, this is not what I had in mind. Not at all. The men unloaded this clunky fridge. I told them I didn’t think it would fit underneath the cabinets on the wall. They told me not to worry, that it would. It did not. It was basically sitting in the middle of my kitchen.

It was also incredibly loud. I called my landlord to tell him it was very loud. He told me to call the guys who dropped it off. They came back upstairs, moved it a couple feet, and it stopped making noise. I told them that it was going to keep making noise in a minute. They said it was just cause I had it too close to something. They left and soon after it was making an unbearable noise again. I sawed down the cabinets and now at least this fridge, noisy at it is, is no longer sitting in the middle of my kitchen.

I bought a new winter cap yesterday, fluorescent orange, the color hunters wear.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Barnes and Noble, 105 Fifth Avenue

Yesterday, the Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue closed. I don't think there are going to be many loved ones at the funeral saying goodbye. This is the physical store from which the chain multiplied and grew into the thing it was at one point, a mammoth bookseller that with its steep discounting enabled by its bulk purchasing power and its logistics was able to kill of countless bookstores.

It also killed off a certain culture. There would be fewer organic bestsellers. Smaller titles that a particular bookstore, its managers, may have really fallen in love with and decided to promote with prominent space on a table up front - that that would not exist at Barnes and Noble where these decisions were made my corporate offices making the same decisions for every bookstore in the chain.

I don't think its possible to overstate what an impact that has on writers, publishers, and readers, that someone at B&N better like what it is you're selling and yet even more so they better like the terms you are selling it for, otherwise good luck even getting heard. A tree falling in the forest, no one around.

But, now, sometime after we have seen Borders disappear, which once seemed just as unstoppable, and after we have seen Gotham Book Mart, Coliseum Books, and numerous other bookstores disappear from the physical landscape of this city, washed away by the tide of rising real estate costs, Amazon, e-books, and various cultural trends that make reading fiction less and less that something does when one has a smartphone to stare at night and day, Barnes and Noble too seems on its last legs, a fighter still throwing punches, but which we all know is not going to win the match.

We have seen the disappearance of so many physical media forms as well as the outlets that sold these physical media forms over the past couple decades. I rode the train home today reading from my copy of the New Yorker and looked at the people across from me and next to me, everyone's face looking at a screen of some sort - an iPhone, a Kindle, an iPad, a Droid. I don't know where we are going. It could be a nice place. But I know there is something sad that the number of places is now smaller in which I can physically enter a building and spend hours looking at various books, coming across writers I have never heard of, ideas I never have, artists I never have, that this is a real loss, something that the Internet, for all its benefits, is not capable of replicating. I won't ever have a moment on Amazon where I see a cute guy looking at a book for a while on a shelf and then once he moves on go over to see what book it was this cute guy was looking at, what book it was he contemplated buying. On Amazon, I will never be able to buy that book.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

"You own everything - everything is yours!"

I met this guy last night, incredibly sexy guy. He was talking to his friend at Wreck Room. I was talking to my friend. Both of us were looking at each other, past our respective friends. I went over and said hi. He was really sexy, really flirty. He was also, I would soon learn, only twenty years old.

My friend and I went back to the Black Opulence party we had left earlier. The party had cleared out. We were the only other people at this divey Puerto Rican biker bar. We had a couple beers. I smoked a cigarette just because you could. The bartender asked if she should turn up the radio. I said she should.

I fell on a patch of ice on my walk home.

I woke up this morning fairly late, fairly hungover. I rode the train into the city to go the gym. I was in a daze, had Beyonce playing in my ears, and was reading a sentimental short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez about a woman who couldn't go to the First Friday mass because her blind grandmother (I believe) had just washed her dress sleeves the night before, they weren't dry, and there was no way the priest would administer the sacrament to someone with exposed shoulders. I don't really know what the significance of this was. I didn't finish the story.

At some point on my train ride, a guy got on and stood in front of me on this crowded train. I looked up and saw who it was and got instantly giddy, kept on pretending like I was reading but was totally unable to do so any longer. My eyes glazed over words on a page, something about sleeves and mass and fake flowers. There was this beautiful man that I have been hoping to see again right in front of me. I just kept thinking of how I was going to say hello to this person, how I was going to tell him how handsome he is. We had chatted on Scruff a couple months ago and he said he was going to come over. Something stupid came up and I had to cancel. And I was so, so bummed because I had seen this guy around my neighborhood before, had seem him make appearances in the Instagram and Facebook photos of my friends, and had always thought him to be breathtakingly sexy.

I have never seen him on Scruff since to try to flirt with him. Every time I have gone on, even earlier this morning, there is a not small amount of hope on my part that I will see him again. And now here he was standing right in front of me. This must mean something, I thought. This is my opportunity to say hello and be charming, that we have already exchanged dick pictures with each other, so surely a hello could not be a problem.

But I didn't.

Instead I thought about how the guys on both sides of me would have to potentially witness me crash and burn by trying to hit on someone on the subway. I always feel vaguely uncomfortable when I watch a guy hitting on a lady on the subway and I didn't want to be that person that makes other commuters squirm with second-hand awkwardness. Instead, I was hoping he would get off at Union Square where I was getting off. I could at that point say hello in that louder space and there would also be the benefit of quick exits available to either one of us should he have no interest.

He didn't get off at Union Square. The train doors closed and he kept heading further west. I was immediately disappointed in myself with how I had been too timid to express something I have been wanting to express, how I passed up an opportunity. It's 2014, I am 32 years old, and I can't let any moment pass, not one, especially not for reasons of fear. I am too old for that. We have always been too old for that. We were born to old for that. It is such a short time we have here. There can be no not reaching for the things we want. It is not how I intend to live my life anymore.

When I got home from the gym, I found him on Facebook. I wrote him a note apologizing for being a wimp on the subway. I said hello. I said that he is really handsome. And I said that I would love to hang out with him. He messaged me back his cell phone number and told me he wants to hang out.

There is nothing to lose, folks. Come on, 2014, bring it - I am not running away anymore.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"The judges give champions, Skeleton Crew, 4 stars - a perfect score."

Window open a crack despite the sub-freezing temperatures outside. An overheated Brooklyn apartment, pipes hissing and cooing. It could be the cold. It could be the new year. It could be some burst of confidence. It could be a particular cycle of the moon or the earth's position in the sky. It could be none of these things.

I am reaching out to guys, telling them I want to hang out with them. I am hanging out with them. It's nice to have a body next to me in bed, a person to kiss, to touch, to hold.

The night before last, a blizzard, something close to one, hit this city. I stayed at the hotel I work at, being offered a room for the night so I wouldn't have to commute in the storm. I invited over the boy from New Year's, Fire in German. We watched Bravo and drank wine and had sex in a nice bed. "This is why people want to be rich," he said, "so they can sleep on beds like this."

He's a really funny guy. I don't remember half of the things he said or why they were so funny, but I do know that I laughed and laughed into the night as we lay in bed together, and it was such a nice feeling. I also became more and more aware that though this person is sweet and nice and cute, he's also too young and I also feel like a giant when I am standing next to him.

Last night, snow on the ground, temperatures in the single digits, I wanted someone in my arms, in my bed. The coldness outside inspires me to create other forms of warmness, of heat. I invited this other guy to hang out with that I have been texting back and forth with. We drank wine, smoked weed, and watched Beyonce videos because apparently that's my move with guys now. He was awkward and not what I had imagined. He was also a really nice guy. After awkwardly hanging out in my bedroom for a while, I said, "Let's make this less awkward," and just started to make out with him. We had sex, which was really fun, and better than I had expected from our awkward interactions prior to.

However, there was a slip up, a stupid move, something foolish and reckless. I had started to fuck him at one point, it very clear that that was what he wanted. I put on a condom and lubed up before doing so. I started very slowly, but after a short while we stopped because he was uncomfortable. So we messed around a bunch more and then were dry humping, him sitting on top of me, playing with the tip of my cock against his ass. It felt great, felt too good. I didn't even realize that I was inside of him until I reached for my penis to feel it and felt the base of it against his ass. I immediately pulled out and said I wanted to wear a condom. We continued from there, having really great sex. It was maybe ten seconds of unprotected sex, but I kept thinking about it. I thought about it more and more, it soon distracting me from this sex I was engaged in. I was dreading having to go to Callen Lorde in the morning, again going to my doctor, again taking PEP for what would be the fourth time in my life. I was dreading the concerned look from the doctor, the questions about my drinking habits, the questions about my sexual habits. I didn't know if I even needed to, wanted to know if I needed to, wanted to know how much risk I exposed myself to. And I don't know how one talks about these things after the fact, does so in a way that creates a safe space for someone not to feel ambushed or judged or shamed.

We had stopped fucking and were just jerking each other off. I paused for a moment and asked if he had HIV. He seemed weirded out by the question and said no. I was stoned and not doing the best job of being delicate - in fact, was being insanely awkward about the situation. I tried to explain how I didn't care either way, but I just wanted to know if I had any reason for concern, if I should take PEP treatment. I asked if he often had unprotected sex and he seemed a little scandalized by the question as if we just hadn't engaged in it earlier in the evening. Anyways, leave it to me to kill the mood. Things were very awkward at this point, it surely not being helped that both of us were stoned silly. I told him that I just wanted to sleep by myself and think about things if that was okay. He got dressed. These awkward situations suck so much more in weather like this. He had layers upon layers upon layers that he had to put back on. There were long stretches of silence as he got bundled back up again to head out into the cold, two layers of pants, shirts, sweaters, jackets, scarves. I apologized if I seemed like an asshole. He told me I made him feel terrible.

The good news here is that school again starts for me on Monday and this failed experiment of Charlie being released into the dating public will soon come to end, me not having time any longer to make myself or others feel terrible.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Fire, in German

I woke up this morning in 2014, quite hungover, head throbbing. I remembered having a bottle of champagne still in my fridge, hoped to God it was still there. I asked the guy next to me in bed if he wanted to drink some champagne.

We sat in my kitchen in our underwear smoking cigarettes by my window, drinking champagne, and listening to the Beyonce album. He was beautiful. I kept smiling and looking at his cute little face.

I rang in the New Year's at a house party with some friends and from there went to Metropolitan. I tried to convince my friends that we should go to Sugarland since it was the rumored last night of the place. As I was doing this, I ran into this guy, the guy that I ended up spending today in bed with drinking champagne. I had met him earlier, a couple months ago. He had been sitting on a stoop outside Eastern Bloc and I thought he was beautiful and so I went and sat next to him and started flirting with him. My friend came and cockblocked the situation, sat with us and started flirting with the guy as well. I went inside to the bar, not having any interest in whatever sort of competitive games were going on. The two of them went home together. I didn't even remember who this guy was when I ran into him last night - he had to remind me of this situation to let me know how we knew each other. He asked if we could talk. I said sure, but that I didn't want to do anything with him, that I don't really have much interest in hooking up with people my friends have. He said, fine, let's just talk. We smoked cigarettes outside. I told him I was going to Sugarland. I asked him if he wanted to join us. The two of us started walking there while everyone else was trying to figure out about getting a car there for some reason. As we walked under the BQE, he told me that he wanted me to take him back to my house. He was sassy, forward, and really fucking sexy.

So, of course, we did not go to Sugarland.

We lay in my bed all day, leaving the house to eat some brunch at Tandem and pick up some more Andre from the liquor store. He said his name meant fire in German. I started googling what that was, having forgotten again his name. We slept and cuddled and enjoyed each other's bodies all day. There was no more daylight when he finally left. I walked him to the train, cute, little guy, kissed him goodbye, and walked back to my house, alive, ready for what this year will bring.