Rocks in your shoe.

At 2:00 am this morning I woke up and thought about disappointments. How a boy hadn’t called, how I held on to bitterness, how sometimes you want an easy-peasy communique and it never comes. All the things that you become overly distracted by.

These disappointments, I thought, are like rocks in your shoes. You feel them immediately as soon as you do, the right thing to do is stop, address the problem and sling that rock out of your shoe.

Or if you’re like me…you sometimes think that the rock will work itself out and you can keep walking.

And that’s the issue. And that’s the problem.

Trying to pretend that you can walk with a rock in your shoe. It’s not possible. I don’t care if you’ve got Crocks on or not. These things, on most occasions, do not work themselves out on their own. You must stop, take the shoe off and find that fucking rock and throw it as if you’re delivering the opening pitch at the first game of the season.

Disappointments becomes the proverbial rocks in shoes. When you are faced with one, you tend to say, “Oh well” and attempt to move on. But you do need to deal with the aftermath and fallout.

The boy didn’t return my call. I sat in silence. Sad, angry, somewhat disappointed and shamed. Sad because I liked him. Angry because I didn’t expect to be blown off with such apathy. Disappointed because I think I was openly communicative about my interest as he was with me. Shamed because maybe I turned into a crazy person, which is oft the case when people start to disappear. The irony being that I, myself, tend to disappear. Then the realization of that mirror image being served up to me was also a disappointment. Because that image hadn’t changed in a while and it’s time I start busting my own chops to deliver upon the same expectations I lay out for another, right? Right.

That was a huge fucking rock. It was a blood diamond in my boot.

And I’ve come to see that being bitter is the state of walking around with gravel  glued to your feet. For this, take a seat on the stoop and pull off the boots (you may need a friend to help) and dump all the pain on the ground. Sift through it. It can sometimes be helpful to see where you’ve been and where you accumulated these pain points. I mean, if you’re in Nashville and you’ve got a seashell…you’ve been carrying more baggage with you in your travels than you’ve imagined.

And then it’s time to take a look at your shoes, so to speak. If they are letting every single little thing in, you’re living in quicksand. It’s time to find a pair of Wellies.

People throughout your life will disappoint. And you’ll disappoint yourself ad nauseum through the looking glass when all is said and done. Sure, choices seem impulsive and ‘living in the moment’ when off the cuff, but remember that if your’e not prepared to fully process and absorb the wisdom from the aftermath, you will because a beast of burdens.

But you have to find out what’s worth falling down about. With rocks in your shoes, you become myopic in focusing on the pain and instead of addressing the pain immediately, you pretend to ignore it and become blinded to the rest of the scene as it plays out around you, 360 degrees. The obsession with the pain overtakes the mind; you negate the purpose of your journey by fixating on the tiny prick.

Well, sometimes he or she can be a huge fucking prick. Again, don’t let this sidetrack your entire life’s journey.

Thankfully as I get older, I’ve been able to better index the toxicity of disappointments in my life.

Sometimes the haz mat team needs to be called in to clean up the meltdown of the core. Other times, a change in polish color solves everything.

I immediately cast the shoes off and give them a shake to make sure all the shit is out on the ground before me to look at so I’m able to see whether I’m walking on rocks, glass, pennies, spider exoskeletons or whatever else. You do this long enough, you can even learn how to walk barefoot.

But that’s another story for another time.

Noodles.

noodle dish boys i've liked

Sometimes you get brave and in the tiny little manila key-sized envelope you’re supposed to leave your tip in, you leave your phone number. That’s what I did.

Without much hesitation or expectation that such a seemingly silly gimmick would work.

But it did. So after having randomly called the salon to make an appointment and meeting him for the first time, I was sitting across from him eating noodles 45 minutes after giving him my number. Yes, our first ‘date’ was his lunch break.

Our tryst went on for only a short time. You see, the more distance you live from someone within a city, the higher the percentage of inconvenience. On top of that, his admission that he was SHARING his apartment with his on-again, off-again boyfriend left me with a sour taste in my mouth.

I didn’t want to be ‘the other man.’ I didn’t want to be the extra-marital affair, if you will. At least, not to someone younger than me who wasn’t going to at least shower me in luxury dinners, trips to the Bahamas, etc. I was raised right and if I’m going to be someone’s squeeze on the side, that shit has to pay off.

It wasn’t so much of an end as it was that malaise came over us both. To be fair, we were both dipping out at times when neither of us had any business doing so. But these things happen. And for me, I learned that once I was in the position to do it, I needed to get out of the safety net I was in.

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3Dy4Noo5tA

Cut to years later when I am sitting again with sheers pressed against my head. Looming in the mirror that I’m facing, he’s standing there doing someone else’s hair and he says my name. An exchange of pleasantries and the commonplace agreement that we SHOULD go get drinks, yes, of course.

First thing’s first, “So are you single?”

“Yes, unfortunately.”

Telling. While our mutual single-dom was aligned this time, it wasn’t enough to make mutual interest bear fruit. For me, I can be truly timid in relationships and need someone to be more of an ass-kicker at first until I find my comfort level.

There was a spark, but there was no kindling to make a fire last. Our second attempt at a fling also fizzled out. I was not his cup of tea and he was not my slice of pie. Neither of us were willing to hit the gas pedal. Maybe it paid off. Another stepping stone on the path of finding the right pie.

I’ve learned that connections can vary in strength and in scope. It’s like speaking on a wavelength and others are receiving the signal in kind, but the bandwidth is so narrow that we are unable to make sense of one another outside of this small space.

Meeting and attempting to connect with men at the younger end of their 20s is a challenge. I have less interest in being trendy, staying out ‘til all hours of the morning, filling my time with people for the sake of killing time. I’m no longer that kid of cute, I’m not that kind of piece.

I’ve relinquished competing on those kinds of levels because I’ve been there and done it, tasted it and lost my taste for it. That’s the beauty of getting older and getting more into what you want for your life and what you want out of a companion.

There are much deeper and subtler shades of passion that I’ve begun to discover and crave. And there are people out there who are looking for the same.

Just as with noodles, you get to be a connoisseur and your palate becomes more discerning and finds flavors later in life that you couldn’t stomach before. And the ones that used to be what you craved now seem bland, common and mass-produced.

I like my taste. And when you find a noodle you love, you forget the rest.

Read the rest of the Boys I’ve Liked? series now.

Texas.

“Do you mind if I crash with you while I’m in town?”

It seemed like a simple enough question. I knew what I was doing. He knew what I was asking. There was plenty of dialogue to setup expectations that it didn’t necessarily equate sex and it was more of a chance to finally meet face to face. In fact, it was an explicit conversation we had.

Leave it to single people (or boys) to transform any social network as a means to an end for dating. And in the short-term, for sex.

I am as guilty as the next person for having what is commonly referred to as a Twitcrush. Modest interaction that turns into this grey world of flirtation, as is what happens among two witty and intelligent people. But of course with that banter is this weird, “Oh, do I have a crush on someone on the internet who lives thousands of miles away?” The logical part of you realizes that what people portray is only a sliver of their real existence. What you actively push out to the public is merely a part of yourself – and cannot be representative of the whole. I know that. Because this blog is also a fine example of that. Despite the volume published here – you see only a sliver. A calculated, edited, thought-out, composed version of myself at times; others, a manic and indigo boy.

“Yeah! You can totally stay at my place.”

Well, that’s settled.

With social media infatuations (Social Media Infatuation Junkies, if you will – and if you won’t, fuck you), there’s a good probability you’ll never meet the person you privately flutter over. But me, well…when did I ever leave well enough alone?

I’ve actually met and dated a couple as a result of connecting on social media. It’s not a bad thing – in fact, a girl I work with just married a guy that she met by interacting with on Twitter. So you just never know what happens when two people come together, textually.

One has to be resourceful in this modern day of dating. When you find yourself tapped out for intelligence – you claw and cling to any inkling of wit, charm and personality – even if it’s through 1s and 0s.

With his invitation, I knew that my trip to NYC was going to be interesting, adventurous and probably a total shit-show.

I’m typically always right. At least about predicting a shit-show.

Sitting outside of Dave Letterman’s studio and waiting with a leg-hiked up on a suitcase, I felt like my life was absurd and yet utterly free. He struts up and we smile and say our hellos.

Attractive, a great smile. Beautiful eyes. Smart. Funny. Just cool. Everything I had expected. I felt a sense of relief. God only knows what he thought, but that’s none of my business nor is this a story about my own self-doubt or egotism.

——

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnNDXjSxr4M

A movie, a meal and several shots later we are heading into the city to meet a friend at a club. He and I pile into the back of a cab when he grabs me with a break-neck urgency to put his lips on mine. I don’t resist and return with the same force.

Hello, New York.

[Side note: These things happen in your life. And if they don’t – I’m sorry. Even if you’re married, give in to a bit of sensuality and allow yourself to be consumed with passion enough to step outside the bounds of your marriage and feast on your partner. It’s worth it. It breaks your own inhibitions down. Let yourself go toward the whore for a moment.]

Cut to me at the bar and him busting open the buttons of my shirt on the dancefloor. Now, I’m thin – but I ain’t built to be showing off my body. At least not in some NYC club – those queens are a different breed: thoroughbred. This led to more kissing in front of his friend, who stood by just sipping on a drink. (Can I apologize for that now?)

Some drinks later, I cut myself off and started on water. They kept going – and good for them. I’m old. I can’t party like I used to. And the last thing I need to do is get sloppy in some lower East side bar in Manhattan.

[Side note 2: Although, it wouldn’t be the lowest moment in my gay life to that point – that happened earlier the same day when I had to go stand in line at 8 am in a Chelsea free clinic for an STD test, after having a truly dramatic panic attack about having gonorrhea, which in my mind also meant I probably had HIV (yes, I’m that paranoid and neurotic). As it turns out, I had neither. But I couldn’t even wait for the clinic results to come in, because as soon as I got home I went to my doctor and had ANOTHER blood panel taken, with my results turned around in a few days. Both came back completely negative for everything. Meaning I had a UTI. God, why did I ever go off Xanax?]

We make it home, and I crawl into bed with him. Nothing happened – I promise you. He blacked out on the cab ride home, so I was relieved that there wouldn’t be any pressure to escalate our making out to the next base, whichever base that may be.

And you know what – I’m happy nothing happened.

The next day, we went to brunch and I parted ways to meet up with another friend and former lover. Yes. You heard right. Let me introduce myself:

I continued my trip and had a blast but didn’t really hear much from him since then. While I’m fine with that, it was a little disappointing.

Why?

I think because he was totally refreshing. And I rarely meet people I find refreshing or unique or want to commit to getting to know. Do I think we were a match or compatible or anything? No, not really. But he was the type worth investigating.

However, I also saw the pattern of my own behavior. I get drawn into the curiosity and the exploration of new relationships and my attraction is more in the anonymity and the spark. As I’ve alluded to before, and with some amount of head shaking, I’m a junkie for the high. I’m always chasing the high of meeting someone new and having that mutual rush of unknown attraction. I’m looking for a hit of newness.

But like any addiction, it becomes detrimental and harmful. My own addictions are ready to be broken. I’m leaning into the slowness of relationship growth and development and learning how to extend and draw out the sensuality instead of giving into the lust of a moment. Do I think the latter has its place? Of course. You must be human and representative of the whole. But now I’m ready to stretch the muscle of long-term attraction. And maybe I met someone who may be willing to teach me how to go slow.

Dedicate myself to the molasses speed of love, because it may be sweeter for longer. But I could never wait for the drip to drop.

I had to die in Texas to get there.

Read the rest of the Boys I’ve Liked series.

’til you.

This may be my anthem.

I’ve realized I’ve been spinning my own wheels, filling the time with people and things that are merely illusory and filler. I can’t deny the desire for something deeper. I am holding out for the man that delivers it.

I do believe that my timeline is completely out of my hands and when I least suspect love, it will smack me in the face and wake me up from this slumber.

In the meantime, I challenge myself to make space for love within myself. Within my life. Within my own mind and heart.

There’s a part of me that feels ready and yet unprepared for Him. And I’m not talking about God, as in the religious usage of capitalizing Him. Him is this amorphous, undefined man who I will be with.

There were too many times where I said, “Ohh…Alright…” and felt nothingness. I felt empty. I was quite literally going through motions. And feeling nothing.

As I knew I would, I hit that wall and realized that I can’t just be with people for the sake of being with people so I’m not alone. I felt like I was not only forcing people into a bad situation where I expected too much, I was forcing myself to move on and be in a constant state of perpetual motion when it came to men.

I’m ready to slow down. I’m ready to get back to that place of being happy with or without. And while I haven’t really left that space, it’s been more backburner as of late. I’ve been spinning plates in the air again.

It’s time for a bit of a break. And this time my actions need to reflect that intent. I need to just stand still. And soak in the goodness of everything and everyone else without trying.

This song resonates because it came at a point where I had started to believe that meeting a man and settling into a long-term relationship was never going to happen. Perhaps I was just going to be single and have a career that I enjoyed, rather than a satisfying relationship. And it’s not terrible if that’s how my life plays out.

But I obviously want Him in my life.

And the song gives me hope. That I will be spinning my wheels. That I will kiss a lot of frogs before I find my prince. That patience is everything. That focusing less on today and just being aware of myself in the grander scheme will give me a better perspective of how receptive I am to someone walking into my life. I acknowledge how distant I can be and that’s my lesson for today. Stop staring at the ground, stop putting a scowl on my face. Take my headphones out more often. Be open. Be present. Listen and observe. Don’t go into isolation mode. Dwell in the communal.

And to know that I never know when He’s going to enter from stage right (or stage left).

There’s a certain magic to that uknowingness too.