286. oppugn

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Are you the new person drawn toward me? To begin with, take warning, I am surely far different from what you suppose; Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal? Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover? Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy’d satisfaction? Do you think I am trusty and faithful? Do you see no further than this façade, this smooth and tolerant manner of me? Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man? Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion? Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass, Book 5, Number 11

Holy ****, kids, how did it already get to be September 1?

Recently, I have been getting a number of singles ads geared towards… mature adults, which is a special feeling. I’m not sure whether this is due to fact that my internet search history reads like a Stephen Ambrose text, or the fact that I am in my mid-30s.

Do all librarians experience this type of thing? Is Google trying to tell me I ought to be dating older guys?

… on the subject of dating older guys…

Yesterday I learned that one of my ex-boyfriends is now dating a guy I went on a date with several years ago, which is a weird feeling. It’s weird because virtually everyone I used to date is now with a long-term partner of some sort, and I’m the only single denominator left.

As of today, September 1:

  • I came out 9 years and 8 days ago.
  • My longest serious relationship to date is roughly 8 months and 20 days.
  • I have now been single for 4 years, 5 months, and 8 days.
  • It has been 3 years, 2 months, and 17 days since I last went on a formal date.
  • The last time I had sex was 1 year, 10 months, and 16 days ago.

There’s a lot of emotional baggage wrapped up in those abstract dates. They’re like mini tombstones, with start and end dates neatly defined for each instance.

Possibly the most sobering is that, as of next year, I will have been out as gay for ten years.

That’s a huge fucking milestone.

I’ll also be turning 35 years old.

company_opening

It means something to be months away from having a master’s degree, having finished my undergraduate degree roughly thirteen years ago, yet having not held a significant job, not having formally entered a career, or not having had a significant romantic relationship that lasted longer than nine months.

I have my theories as to why I still place so much stock in the institution of the traditional, committed, long-term dyad relationship. Perhaps it’s just the longing for a family unit of my own, something I have never really known or felt safe around.

Yet most of my attempts at finding a partner have either been abortive or disastrous. My relationship with Jay lasted a mere eight months and 20 days. Since then I haven’t met anyone who I was remotely interested in who was even remotely interested in me.

(Alas, note the careful wording in the last sentence.)


A few weeks ago, I went to see one of my favorite musicals, Sondheim’s Pulitzer award-winning Sunday in the Park with George.

There are a several reasons why it’s my favorite.

As Joss Whedon once observed, the first half is about the struggle of living with the weight of genius; the second is about living in the shadow of it. Through most of my life, I have lived in fear of the shadow of expectation, whether of greatness or genius I’m not sure.

There’s another reason, though.

The Georges of both acts struggle to connect with people around them, and that is something I have never been fully able to do thus far. To an extent, I have been able to connect with people through my writing, to affect them and effect some small changes.

“Connect, George, connect!”

While I am good at a number of things, I have always felt acutely separated from those around me. While other children began learning how to negotiate social relationships in kindergarten and preschool, my formative years were spent at home, largely alone.

Because of the repressive, restrictive religious nature of my upbringing, I learned to censor myself, what not to say, who not to be. To protect myself from judgment and censure, my formative years were spent perfecting the art of keeping people away.

While other children had to learn to externalize their thoughts and organize them for an audience, my formative years were spent in my head, with my own thoughts.

In my silences, it’s not that I don’t have anything to say. It’s that I don’t know how to contextualize for others the long, ongoing conversation I’ve been having with myself for those on the outside. I don’t know if this is a skill one can learn at my age.

When I write about the improbability of finding a romantic partner “at my age,” what I mean is that I am terrified it will never happen—that in spite of my desire to connect and to belong, I lack the requisite social and emotional skills to sustain a relationship.

When I worry about seeing an increasing number of grey hairs in my beard, I think of how long I’ve been working at all this, and being nearly 35 and finishing grad school, and still feeling hopelessly behind.

When I think about dating older guys, I worry about being 35 and how much less time I’m going to have with them before they inevitably die, or before I die prematurely due to stress or the effects of my lifestyle of drinking and, frankly, lack of nutrition.

I think about how I never got to experience the insouciance of dating as a young gay man, and the joys and sorrows that go along with that.


I’ve also been asking myself recently  what I really need in a relationship. Do I need monogamy, or will emotional fidelity be sufficient? In the land of gay men, where kink and open relationships are widely the norm, can I afford to be picky? If he’s into leather, am I okay with being the vanilla partner?

Frankly, forming one stable intimate relationship sounds exhausting by itself. I can’t fathom the emotional energy required to establish a constellation of trusted relationships to meet my needs.

These are still uncharted waters, and we’re writing the rules for same-sex relationships as we go along.

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38. creeper

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This picture accompanied the last comment from as13579@hotmail.com (this is your reminder to spam the shit out whoever this is).

Thoughts? White Witch porn? Girl unhealthily obsessed with me? Gay man with tiger fetish? Extremely juvenile straight boy who likes to run comments through Google Translator and then back into English in order to protect his identity (kind of like that episode of News Radio where the dude’s book is translated into Japanese: “Jimmy James, Macho Business Donkey Wrestler”)?

  • “Mr. James, what did you mean when you wrote bad clown making like super American car racers, I would make them sweat, War War?”
  • “Soon the super karate monkey death car would park in my space. But Jimmy has fancy plans… and pants to match.”

Here he/she is!

That’s hot stuff. Mrrrrauw.

~ Muirnin

37. spam 2

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Here’s another comment from the “spammer”:

Darling boy,

We are a vast many. Quite the fine eclectic group of poofs, breeders, fairies, dykes and the like. Against such ace you are found witless. We love how fast you posted a reply. It’s made for quite a great number of smiles!

Your profiling skills are quite the sorry rubbish. But then with actual profilers amongst us you haven’t quite got a prayer. We’re no vigilantes and we haven’t hacked a simple thing. Maybe you have friends or enemies that you are not aware of? That said your apparent paranoid was icing on a rather scrumptious cake. Alas it is time to depart as I must go forth and buy the next round! Be a good little nancy boy, belt up and bugger off.

Thank you for entertaining! Ciao bella!

~* Häikäistä Kynttilä *~

P.S. Cortege or cortège (kôr-tzh) – A: a funeral march  B. a funeral procession

I was just informed a little while ago that “Häikäistä Kynttilä” is the name of an art work, and that “Emma Frost” is a comic book character, so whoever this spammer is, they’re also not original. (However, this reinforces the idea that this person is a juvenile male.)

I could be intimidated by these grandiose, faux-foreign jokers, but no. I don’t know what their game is, but I’ve seen things like this before. I’m not wasting another minute of my valuable time on this waste of skin and breath that tried to threaten me.

36. spam

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This afternoon a comment was posted on one of my previous entries in which I chronicled how I hurt my ex. I have no idea who this asshole is, but he has officially earned my ire, and if what he says is true, he’s the one who outed me to my parents, which means that he’s also officially road kill. Here what “Abdullah” (a.k.a., Cortége) sent:

Evil men whisper tales of lies. You brought the lies into flesh even after you knew it would go nowhere. Manipulated the flesh of another living being and then sent it roaring into fire. I would scratch your face to scar it but I would worry of the decay I would get under my nails.

One must wonder, how many others you have left spiritual and emotional scar tissue on? Perhaps I shouldn’t have sent an e-mail to try and sort out your parents thoughts with Biblical references. You should have been made to suffer as you made him suffer.

I raise my glass and toast to your karma which certainly will go for the jugular!

From here I can make a few assumptions about this guy:

  1. He is either foreign (since the English is terrible—German or Indian?), or he ran the comment through a web translator and then back again to make it sound as though he’s foreign.
  2. He either knows my parents, or hacked an email account to get their address,
  3. He was able to find my online personals page and send it to my parents, and is probably technologically savvy.
  4. He is a vigilante-type individual who thinks he’s doing everyone a favour by outing me (possibly as a punishment—God complex?)—possibly gay himself, and dangerous religious fanatic.
  5. He experiences a sense of grand self-importance by involving himself in the personal affairs of others.
  6. Mentally unstable, with nothing going for him in his personal life, and possibly abused as a child.

Here’s his email address in case anyone knows how to use it to find a location:

as13579@hotmail.com

At the very least you can spam the bitch if you like.

~ muirnin

030. derivatives

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Quick update.

Tonight, Aaron and I had a chat on Messenger that at first was a catastrophic blow-up and nearly ended in us never talking again. Basically, we both felt hurt and were trying to leave the other feeling more hurt.

But then we both softened a little and were able to talk rationally, and we were both able to admit that we missed each other, and that we don’t want to lose contact. So in the end it was a good conversation; he didn’t mean the things he said in the letter; and I didn’t mean any of the nasty things I replied with either.

So while we’re not lovers (eros), we are at least on the track to being friends again (philia).

And his “date” turns out to be this queeny guy who he’s using for dinner and movie tickets because he’s broke. The guy has tried putting the moves on him a couple of times, and Aaron’s just not interested in that.

029. long division

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My hand won’t hold you down no more
The path is clear to follow through
I stood too long in the way of the door
And now I’m giving up on you
No, not “baby” anymore – if I need you
I’ll just use your simple name
Only kisses on the cheek from now on
And in a little while, we’ll only have to wave.
1


This will most likely be the last post about Aaron.

We started talking again. He emailed a few days ago, and I was glad to hear from him because I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to even contact him. It’s obvious from the tone of our emails that we’re in a very different place now. Apparently he’s “moved on” and is even seeing someone, some guy who was married for fifteen years and finally decided he couldn’t live a lie anymore. Apparently it didn’t take Aaron very long to get over me.

That feels great.

He sent me a letter on Saturday that arrived today. Four pages of angry ranting. Sure, he was angry, and he has a right to feel hurt. I can’t deny him that. But he included lovely passages like, “you really played this well,” or “as far as your virginity goes, I wouldn’t worry too much,” or “you’re just one more notch on my bedpost,” or “I knew better than to put any trust in a Christian who also thinks he can combine [his faith] with his very unbiblical sexuality,” or “Christianity has given me a lifetime of empty promises, and I should expect the same from those who claim to be its followers—including you.”

Again, feels great.

He did email to tell me that he was angry when he wrote that letter, but that doesn’t help at all. In hindsight I should have just thrown the letter away, but I needed some sort of closure. This was it, I guess. My first relationship gone in a cloud of very angry smoke. Everyone told me it probably wouldn’t last, but I didn’t want to believe that—partly the idea that it could be just another statistic, but more that I could be just like everyone else.

There’s a part of me that thinks I’m somehow different from “everyone else,” and in some ways I am—just not an exception apparently, or just not that lucky. My sister found her husband on the first try, and they’re very happy together. My friends Tim and Sarah had never dated prior to getting together, and are also blissfully married now. Nothing ever seems to come easily to me, and just I’m sick of it.

What hurts most was that “one more notch on my bedpost” remark. Sure, it was said in anger and out of hurt, but that was pretty low thing to say, especially considering that I’d never even kissed someone before having sex with him.

You know—he was drunk my first time, and apparently doesn’t even remember it. That’s a great start to my love life. I’m tempted to call it quits right now and follow my original course of becoming successful in my artistic career, but I know I’m more rational than that. I’m angry, and I never make good decisions when angry. At least I’m aware of that.

So what have I learned?

And when the day is done, and I look back
And the fact is I had fun, fumbling around
All the advice I shunned, and I ran
Where they told me not to run, but I sure
Had fun, so
I’m gonna fuck it up again
I’m gonna do another detour
Unpave my path
2

From the very beginning, in April, after my first phone call with Aaron, a voice in my head was saying “Wait.” Looking back now, it was probably God but at the very least my common sense that is rarely wrong (which in that case has Divine written all over it); but I stumbled blindly on, determined to get what it was that I wanted, which was a guy to be with, regardless of whether he was the right one or not.

(Did I mention he was stoned the first time he talked to me? Isn’t that nice?)

I was just so afraid of being alone, and he seemed like such a great guy. He is, but by the time I actually got close to him my desideratum disappeared. He’ll be perfect for someone else, but in the meantime am starting to lose hope for myself. My parents were close to thirty when they got married, and I swore I wouldn’t be that old.

Looks like it might be even later.

I never good at being on time.

My standards are pretty high, which worries me. Does a Christian gay man exist who is masculine, isn’t into “the scene,” shares my conservative political and theological (though not fundamentalist) values, is well read, appreciates art and is maybe even musical, and can hold up his end of a conversation? Aren’t unicorns mythical creatures?

Do I wanna do right, of course but
Do I really wanna feel I’m forced to
Answer you, hell no.
2

It’s great when music I used to love for entirely different reasons suddenly becomes true and relevant. There are tons of love songs and just as many breakup songs (my current favourite being Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”). I relate so strongly now to what Fiona writes in “Paper Bag”:

I was having a sweet fix of a daydream of a boy
Whose reality I knew, was a hopeless to be had
But then the dove of hope began its downward slope
And I believed for a moment that my chances
Were approaching to be grabbed
But as it came down near, so did a weary tear
– I thought it was a bird, but it was just a paper bag

I’m glad we had this little chat.

~ Muirnin


1 Fiona Apple. “Love Ridden” from “When the Pawn” (1999)
2 Fiona Apple. “Mistake” from “When the Pawn”

028. wasted unconditional love

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Despite my best intentions, this blog has rather languished due to my hectic schedule, but sometimes I wonder if anyone actually reads this besides a select few. It feels a bit like talking in the middle of the woods to no one in particular.

I’m feeling pretty silly right now, with my glass of wine, listening to Erin McCarley and Regina Spektor, Hem, with some O Fortuna to liven things up.

(God, I love me some mediæval defrocked monk lyrics.)

Saturday morning I got an email from Aaron saying that he had changed his plane ticket in December and wasn’t going to be seeing me. Long story short, we aren’t together anymore. It started so fast, and ended so suddenly that there’s barely time to make sense of what’s really happened. A breakup song is on the way.

Listening now, ironically, to “We Do Not Belong Together” from Sunday in the Park With George. Apparently iTunes thinks it’s screamingly funny tonight, playing me all these sad breakup-themed songs.

Shortly after his second visit it became clear to me that I didn’t have strong enough feelings to stay in a relationship with him, but didn’t know how to break that to him. So I did the thing I typically did, which is to pretend that it wasn’t there. Everyone liked him so much, and it didn’t make sense that I didn’t feel the same way about him. I’d wanted this to work so badly that I’d started believing that I was in love with him—and it was only when the feelings weren’t consistently there that the reality that we probably dind’t belong together came crashing in.

Hmmm. Okkervil River is on now. Love this song…

Breaking the news to him was pretty catastrophic. He understandably freaked out,  and there was a period of a couple of days when things between us were pretty strained. It’s clear that he still has very strong feelings for me, which is awful because I see that and can’t reciprocate, and even more awful because I’m to blame. I let things go on too long, even leading him on a little, and him get more and more attached to me.

It’s no excuse that it wasn’t on purpose, but I did try to do the right thing by letting him know the truth. And I was looking forward to seeing him again; but now that isn’t going to happen, and I’m abruptly and gradually single again.

Ahh, Rufus. The Tower of Learning.

The feelings are a bit conflicted. There is now a piece of myself that I will never get back, and can’t go back to where I used to be. I always thought that I knew better, that I would be smart and careful, and that I wouldn’t do anything that would leave me with regret. Except now I’m not sure which I regret more—that I did this to him, or that I was so careless with myself.

So there it is.

Se’l cielo non ti possa consolare per la reale.

Oh well.