The Search for Love in Manhattan A gay odyssey of neurosis
Sunday, June 30, 2002
Last night I went on my second date with T.H. We went to see Lilo and Stitch, the new Disney movie, which I can't recommend highly enough.
At a particularly moving moment in the movie, I started crying. (Don't laugh. It was a terrific movie. I would quote some of it but I don't want to ruin it for those of you who haven't seen it.) Anyway, as I was weeping at the animated beauty before me, I heard a little sniff coming from next to me.
Could it possibly be that T.H. was crying too?
This was too much to hope for. No one has ever passed the does-he-cry-at-the-same-time-as-me-at-a-movie test.
So I reached over and stroked his cheek, ostensibly displaying an inappropriate level of affection in public, but secretly checking to see if his cheek was wet.
I was so happy.
"Finally," I thought, "somebody I'll be able to put on a pedestal as a model of perfection, so that the first time he shows any signs of being human or failing me in even the slightest way, I can be completely crushed and disappointed and hate him forever."
Yesterday, Time Warner Cable tried to ruin my life.
Apparently, when you are a road runner (cable modem) customer and you move, they have to close your e-mail account and open a new one. Don't ask me why; I'm not sure the guy on the other end of the phone who was trying to explain it to me was a carbon-based life form, much less proficient in the English tongue. In any case, when your account is closed, all your e-mail on the server gets deleted. Since they weren't going to be able to send a technician to my new apartment for two weeks (perhaps the technicians are all at a peace conference in Zurich), I very very very very very clearly asked "Michael" (the "person" on the phone) not to shut down my account until the technician had already come, so that for the next two weeks I would be able to use my old e-mail account, and prepare my friends, neighbors, and potential soul mates for this switch.
So of course, instead of waiting two weeks, he sent the shut-down order immediately after we hung up.
This means that I lost all the e-mail that had been sent to me over the last two days. Now, luckily for me, I had checked my e-mail right before calling him, and I remembered some of the people who'd e-mailed me. But there are other e-mails I don't remember or don't have the addresses for, including one person who e-mailed me telling me how much she liked my blog. So if you are reading this and you e-mailed me yesterday or the day before to tell me how much you liked my blog and I didn't answer you, it's not because I am a rude jerk--it's all Time Warner Cable's fault, and please e-mail me again.
Far, far, far worse, however, is the thought of what happened to any e-mails that might have been sent between 4:55 p.m. yesterday (when I last checked my e-mail) and 5:29 (when my account was shut off). Those e-mails are gone forever, and I don't even know that they were sent.
What if my soul mate read my blog and e-mailed me at 5:17? I will never get that e-mail, so I will never respond to it, and he will think I don't care about him or didn't like the font he used or something, and he will never e-mail me again, and I will never, ever meet him and it'll be just too fucking bad.
Every employee of Time Warner Cable is going to burn in the eternal fires of hell for this.
I was all prepared for it to be a horrible, hellish experience, but it was pretty painless. My friends D.R. and Y.E. came over to be with me while the movers did their thing; D. kept getting mad at Y. for asking neurotic questions about R.M., Y.'s new girlfriend and a friend of mine, but none of the questions seemed neurotic to me. I'm not sure how much comfort Y. should take from this.
Part of what made the moving experience such a relative delight was that the head mover was this really hot Russian guy who kept taking his shirt off. At some point he started talking to me, saying things like (I am translating from his bad English), "I really like your world view" and "you are a really nice guy." How my non-English-speaking mover would know anything about my world view was beyond me, but, hey, I'm never one to turn down a compliment. He kept going, though, and finally, after he had shaken my hand the third time, I started to wonder if he was trying to pick me up. It was a delicate situation: if I made no move, then I would get no action from the hot Russian mover. If I made a move and had misinterpreted his friendliness, I would get beat up by the hot Russian mover.
So after he told me he was a poet, I gave him my e-mail and phone number and told him I wanted to see some of his work. (This was, technically speaking, not a lie, though it was perhaps open to various interpretations.)
Then he said he would invite me to a Russian ex-pat party where there were lots of gorgeous Russian girls; it was where he'd met his wife.
Why is the world so unfair?
I wanted to demand my phone number back, but they hadn't finished unloading my stuff yet and I figured the humiliation was a small price to pay for a piano that was still in one piece.
I love it when people who are smart and funny and handsome online turn out to be smart and funny and handsome in person.
And sexy. When he mentioned being frustrated because he'd finished this week's New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle in a day and so wouldn't have anything to occupy his free time during the week, it was all I could do not to rip his clothes off and ravish him right there on 37th Street. I settled for grabbing him and kissing him and hoping that he could tell from my erection that he should consider it an IOU.
Of course, now I have to consider the possibility that my search for love in Manhattan will actually be successful. And then what will become of this blog?
With any luck we'll be a great disappointment to each other in a vastly amusing way. That way I'll continue to be able to write wry commentary here.
Thank God I make all my decisions based on what I think will make others happy.
Well, last night I went on my date with L.R. I don't think anyone has felt such disappointment since Madame Curie realized that radium wasn't all fun and games. He was handsome, smart, funny, charming . . .
. . . and prissy.
I can't stand prissy.
Effeminate I have no problem with--I have been called effeminate before, by persons who will sadly never be heard from again--but prissy is more of a turn-off than I can begin to describe.
And don't ask me to explain the difference between effeminate and prissy. I can't. I just know there is one.
Plus, I realized I'd dropped a stitch a few rounds back on the hat I'm knitting. Every attempt to pick it up only messed things up even more. In the end I had to rip out eight rounds (1,088 stitches total) of a very complicated pattern and start over. You can imagine the foul mood I was in by bedtime last night.
The one bright spot in the whole affair was that my disappointment in him relieved the pressure of the whole "Colors Of The Wind" in French thing. And he forgot to ask, anyway.
But tonight I am in a good mood, because I have another date, with a fellow named T.H., who got in touch with me after reading my blog. I have not mentioned him so far because I wasn't quite sure how to deal with the fact that he might read whatever I said about him. We have been IMing over the last few days and I have been so incredibly charmed and delighted that I know I am in real trouble. We discussed (over IM) the fact that we were trying to manage our expectations of each other, and failing miserably. He volunteered not to bathe for two days before our first meeting, so as to put some disappointment into the mix right from the beginning; I said in turn that I would pick my nose and be rude to the wait staff. Still, even with those controls in place, I'm not sure either of us will be able to handle realizing that the other is actually mortal.
In any event, the reason I am able to blog about him now is that he said he didn't want me to have to censor myself, and so volunteered to stop reading my blog.
Who could not love this man? I mean, to deny himself what must surely be one of the greatest joys available to humankind--reading my pathetically neurotic account of my pathetically neurotic life--so as to allow me to express myself freely--that's true kindness.
He did misspell doppelgänger twice, but the second time was clearly a typo (perfectly acceptable when you're IMing) and did not contain the mistake he'd made the first time, so it's clear that he actually knows how it's spelled.
I promise I will give more details soon about my entry into the world of pornography.
Tonight I have a date with L.R. Thank God I was up until 4:30 this morning on a caffeine high--otherwise I'd be well-rested and sparkling.
Also, I am moving in three days and need to find new movers. I was going to use Viva Moving, but they moved my friend D.R. yesterday and he was very disappointed. After quoting him three hours and $210, they took ten hours and charged him God only knows how much (he wouldn't tell me). Since they quoted me six hours, I assume this means they will actually take either thirteen hours (if the final time was arrived at by addition of 7) or 20 hours (if the final time was arrived at by multiplication by a factor of 3.33). Either way, it's unacceptable. They should be called Diva Moving. Or Evil Moving.
Possessed by the spirit of vengeance on D.R.'s behalf, I called their Manhattan number at 4:00 this morning, hoping it would be somebody's home number and I would wake him up and harrass him. Unfortunately the person who answered the phone sounded wide awake. I stuttered for a moment and told him I'd have to call him back. Evidently they have caller ID; they called me at 7:30 this morning (just when I had finally fallen asleep--interrupting, in fact, a particularly vivid and interesting dream I was having about Ricky Martin and me and a vacuum pump) and asked my machine if they could help me.
I feel robbed. I mean, did the Furies have to deal with caller ID?
I hate everyone.
Except possibly L.R., whom I hope to love once I meet him. With any luck he will really go for the cranky, washed-out, panicked look.
I'm still dwelling on yesterday's venture into pornography.
There were four of us all told--me, the gentleman who hailed from Laurel, and two others: one named D., who turned out to be the personal assistant to a major Broadway composer, and one named Y., who was from Australia.
The gentleman who hailed from Laurel finished early and was on his way. The three of us who remained stood around (naked) chatting with the director/cameraman for a while. It seemed to me that Y. and I were making some sort of connection, which I enjoyed especially because Australian men drive me wild. I was going to give him my phone number, but then D. hatefully gave him his phone number first. So instead of validating our unique connection, giving him my phone number would have proven that he was the special one and I was just part of the crowd, which would have been completely ego-crushing and therefore unacceptable. And yet I still felt we had something special. So as the three of us walked to the subway, chatting about inanities, I was silently racking my brain, trying to come up with some way out of my dilemma. Finally I hit upon a brilliant solution, and gave them both my phone number. That way I seemed like a generous, friendly person rather than just part of an adoring but pathetic mob.
So why hasn't he called?
I am trying to figure out which is the proper lesson I should take from this experience:
a) a porn shoot is not an appropriate place to search for true love; or
b) next time as we walk to the subway I should push the third wheel into oncoming traffic, killing him and leaving the Australian and me free to help each other recover from the trauma we will have just witnessed and, in the course of that recovery, discover that we are soul mates.
Today I was filmed in my first pornographic movie.
I was wrong when I thought my morals would come to rest 20,000 leagues under the sea.
They are clearly on a journey to the center of the earth.
While the cameraman was setting things up, I was lying in bed (naked), chatting with one of the other actors involved. He told me he was from Mississippi.
"Where in Mississippi?" I asked.
"A small town--you'd never have heard of it."
"Try me," I said. He refused to tell me.
"I promise you won't know it," he said. I insisted.
My mouth dropped in awe. "You're from Laurel, Mississippi? Birthplace of Leontyne Price?"
Leontyne Price, for those of you who might not know, is in many people's minds (mine among them) the greatest operatic soprano in living memory. When she débuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1961, her standing ovation lasted for 42 minutes. When I heard her live for the first time, her singing was so powerful (emotionally, spiritually, physically) that at one point I fell out of my chair and started hyperventilating--even though I was seated a football field's length away from her. She had just turned 70.
You can imagine what finding this out about my scene partner (well, one of them, in any case) did for my subsequent performance.
I kind of gave new meaning to the phrase, "Look, ma, no hands!"
I wrote a charming e-mail in response to the planet out ad of a guy named L.R.; shockingly, I found myself able to forgive his not-quite-perfect grammar and spacing because of his favorable reference to TV psychic Miss Cleo and his use of the word "trend-mongering." He wrote a charming e-mail in response to my charming e-mail mentioning, among other things, that if we met he would regale me with stories of a night of debauchery with the Go-Gos. I responded by saying that, though I had nothing nearly as glamorous as the Go-Gos to share, I could sing "Colors Of The Wind" from Pocahontas in French.
The problem is that he took me seriously and will expect me to do so.
Of course I can sing "Colors Of The Wind" in French; that's not the issue. The issue is that the French version sucks. I mean, the French itself is fine, but the text-setting is terrible--the rhymes all fall in the wrong places and the stresses are all on the wrong syllables.
So what if he thinks I think it's good? Then he will believe I'm a loser who doesn't even know proper French pronunciation. Do I give a disclaimer before I start? Do I just go really fast and hope he doesn't notice?
I'm at a loss here.
I would greatly appreciate any advice you might be able to give me.
A close call this weekend. Sunday morning I foolishly said to E.S., "Hmm. My [insert body part of your choice] are a little sore." He looked and said, "Well, you have a little bruise here and another little bruise here. Where'd you get those?"
I panicked. I could hardly say, "Oh, those are left over from when a stranger bit me at the orgy I went to on Thursday."
Luckily I was able to divert his attention with pie (strawberry-rhubarb again), and by the time we were done eating it, I had managed to get dressed, thereby removing the bruises from sight and mind. Whew.
Mild-mannered neurotic by day, Slut Boy by night. It's just all too exhausting.
Clearly what's called for is a Golden Girls marathon.
My morals waved to the Whatchamacallit and Hands Across America as they passed them on the way down.
As soon as we started, I realized I had made a terrible, terrible mistake in deciding to attend. I am always miserable at any kind of party, because I am torn between interacting with the uncool people (on the one hand) to make sure they feel included and have a good time and interacting with the cool people (on the other hand) so I can pretend I’m not a huge loser dork. The end result is that my efforts to include the uncool people fail, because my heart really wants to be with the cool people, who ignore me, both because they see me hanging out with the uncool people and because they can tell in any case that I am a huge loser dork.
So imagine me in this situation with a bunch of naked men having sex.
It was just the worst thing ever.
Until the unthinkable happened—somehow I became one of the cool people. I’m not quite sure what I did to make this happen. (Well, actually, I have a pretty good idea what I did, but some veils are better left unlifted.) So I was able to include the uncool people in an actually meaningful way, since it wasn’t a huge loser dork who was trying to include them—this made me feel very virtuous, which was strange, given the circumstances—and yet I still got to luxuriate in the attention I got as one of the cool people. I feel loved. I can’t wait to start snubbing the uncool people because they wear the wrong clothes.
Though of course that wasn't really an issue in this particular situation.
So after we had tried various things for about an hour and a half, we took a break for munchies. We talked about the following things: real estate, Buffy, and Disney. Gay, gay, gay.
Then we went and had more sex.
Except there was also drama. One of the guests, who arrived late, had gotten himself invited by pretending he wanted to come to the orgy, but when he got there it turned out that he was actually tracking his boyfriend to find out if he was being cheated on (which of course he was). They had a big fight and then made up and went home.
Also I have started knitting a hat, which is much more challenging than a scarf.
Today in McDonald's I saw the following sign hanging below the menu:
If we do not SMILE before you pay, you get a FREE
Small French Fry or Hash Brown.
PLEASE PLAY! .............. TRY TO CATCH US!
This is a direct quote (I wrote it down) except that I'm actually not positive about the number of periods in between PLEASE PAY! and TRY TO CATCH US! I kept trying to count them--the woman at the register clearly thought I was a dangerous lunatic--but there was something sinister and mesmerizing about the periods that caused me to lose count every time I got past three.
Now I can never go to McDonald's again, for fear that an employee subjected to such degredation will have brought a gun to work and will start shooting while I am there.
In perhaps less terrifying news, I have been reviewed! Wendy, thank you, whoever you are. Would that you were a gay man so that I could obsess neurotically about you and fall in love with you and then meet you and be completely disappointed and disillusioned.
This afternoon I went on a date with a guy I met through planet out. He sent me a very funny e-mail that contained no grammatical errors, so I had high hopes. The first several minutes went well--he was cute and smart and possibly funny (I couldn't quite tell but there were promising glimmers). Then he mispronounced the word "cache".
I wish I could let it not matter, but it ruined everything.
Then I went with some friends to see Unfaithful, which made me so tense and unhappy that about halfway through I started knitting. Then I dropped a stitch and couldn't see to pick it up, so I had to stop; having nothing else to pay attention to, I was forced, cringing in discomfort and terror, to watch the movie. If only I had thought to put my eyes out with my knitting needles. And my eardrums.
Tonight I had my first three-way. I predict that my ever-sinking morals will eventually come to rest 20,000 leagues under the sea, where they will be lost forever, along with the Whatchamacallit candy bar and the reason we ever thought Hands Across America was a good idea.
And, to make matters worse, the loss preventionist from the subway called me. Instead of getting his phone number and deceitfully saying I'd call him back, never intending to do so, I deceitfully told him I was on my way out the door and that he should call me tomorrow.
This means that I now can't pick up my phone for at least a week.
Luckily, though, I'm moving at the end of the month, at which point he can call my phone number all he wants, and it won't do him any good, because I won't be there anymore.
On the plus side of things, I am making a strawberry-rhubarb pie.
For those of you who are wondering (I am perhaps being optimistic in thinking that anybody cares) about where the eponymous search for love is in the midst of all this depraved sex, let me assure you that it is still going strong. The sex, like all the pies, is just a way to while away the time. (What I really mean: if you are reading this and thinking that you would date me if I weren't such a slut, please know that when I'm in a relationship, I am totally monogamous.)
(Forgive me for being unamusing, but in the battle between pride and neurosis, neurosis wins hands down every time.)
The other day I was on the subway, reading The Gay and Lesbian Book of Horror Stories (when I bought it, I hoped it would be things like boys waking up and finding everything in their wardrobe had turned to plaid, but, alas, no such luck--it was stupid stories about double bass-playing lesbians and ghosts of concentration camp survivors) and a guy sitting across from me tried to pick me up. I tried to ignore him, because he was SO not my type (though from reading the entries I've written in this blog so far, one could understandably think that my type is "breathing"), but he foiled my attempts by sitting down next to me and forcing me to have a conversation with him. He said he worked at Talbot's in loss prevention. Unfortunately he seems to have interpreted my speechlessness at the existence of this euphemism as encouragement to continue hitting on me.
I thought I would be able to lose him when I transferred to the 1/9 at 42nd Street, but my hopes were dashed when he got out there too. I stood there in mortal agony, trying to end our conversation. Finally I saw an opportunity to extricate myself, make good my escape, and never see him again.
So, naturally, I gave him my phone number instead.
Thursday I went on a date with a guy named R.D. He was cute AND smart AND funny. So of course he didn't like me. I would quote my friendly e-mail to him and his distant response here, but it would just be too boring and depressing.
Maybe I shouldn't have talked for quite so long about my fantasies of coating my enemies' paperwork with anthrax.
When I was six, I picketed my house, hoping to be allowed to eat breakfast before getting dressed rather than after.
I marched back and forth in front of our front door, carrying a sign that said "BREKFAST FIRST DRESSED LATER."
My parents, being civil rights workers, didn't cross picket lines, and that was the only way into or out of our house,
so they were trapped there until they acceded to my demand.