The Search for Love in Manhattan A gay odyssey of neurosis
Monday, September 30, 2002
I'm not quite sure how to tell the story I'm about to tell. In fact, I'm not at all sure I should be telling it in the first place. In any case, please forgive its length.
In an attempt to drown my sorrows (W.F., for example, has failed to call me this week as he promised), I decided to throw myself back into the life of the mind. I briefly considered becoming a monk and moving to a medieval castle to illustrate manuscripts, but then it occurred to me that the whole Jewish thing would probably get in the way.
Plus, there's an orgy scheduled for Thursday night, and I don't want to miss it.
So I did the next best thing, which in this case was to go out and buy a textbook on Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Put this part of the story on hold for a moment and move with me and my friend D.R. to this evening at Drip. (For those of you who don't know, Drip is a coffee place on 84th and Amsterdam that sells delicious Oreo milkshakes and has books full of personal ads.) There are four books of Men 4 Men ads, in which I have found exactly one ad to which I want to reply. But in order to reply to an ad, you have to leave one yourself. So D.R. and I sat there, trying to write an ad for me based on what we thought this one guy (about whom we knew nothing except what he put in his ad) would like.
The thing is, his ad is extraordinary. It has taken D.R. and me three visits to Drip to write an ad for me that's at the level of this guy's.
By the end of this go-round, we'd come up with answers to all the questions except "looking for." Everything we thought of was either inferior to his answer or already in my ad somewhere else.
So we decided to go with hieroglyphs.
I have spent the last two hours in my kitchen (the only room in my apartment with decent light) poring over An Egyptian Grammar trying to figure out how to say "somebody who's cute, smart, funny, compassionate, stimulating, and a top" in Middle Egyptian.
I think I have finally figured it out.
Now I just have to practice drawing the damn things so it doesn't look as if they were done by a developmentally disabled child.
The Middle Egyptian is, as far as I can tell, grammatically correct, though probably stylistically and idiomatically atrocious. A literal translation would read "man beautiful clever, he brings to me amusement, he cries out for justice, he causes to rejoice my spirit."
"And a top" will have to be in English. I'm sure the Egyptians did that sort of thing, but they don't seem to have carved it on their funerary architecture.
Today's orgy has, alas, been called off due to scheduling conflicts.
My problem is that, since I was the only one with no scheduling conflicts, the hosts have invited me to have a 3-way with them, and I do not wish to do so.
I have no idea how to get out of this gracefully.
"I was fine using you to have a sordid experience such as fantasies and porn movies are made of, but when it comes to spending an afternoon in your company being friendly and affectionate, no thanks, you're too old" seems a little de trop.
There's also the unforgivable rudeness of reneging on an invitation already accepted.
And yet having group sex simply to be polite seems somehow a little excessive.
I got an e-mail from E.S. with the subject heading "I want my sock!" It was an extraordinary piece of writing, full of forgiveness and warmth and wit. If anything could make me fall in love with him, it would be this e-mail.
Unfortunately, it couldn't.
My friend L.N. pointed out that if this were a novel, I would end up marrying him.
I was so full of anxiety and indecision about the lone sock that I just kept knitting, failing to notice (until it was too late) that it had gotten so big it could only fit E.S.
Now I have to figure out how to get it to him. I don't have his address in Boston. I could send it to his sister, who lives in the same building he lived in here, but that would mean I'd have to send a note along with it; a single sock showing up in the mail with no explanation would be too sinister for words. And what could a note possibly say? "Sorry I dumped your brother, this is his if he wants it."
Today, due to inexplicable technical quirks in the Blogger system, I faced the possibility that I would never again be able to blog again. The blog stayed stuck at yesterday's post and no matter what or how I posted or published, nothing else would show up. I couldn't even plan a move to a new server or domain name, because how would I let readers with whom I wasn't in direct contact know? They would think I had given up on the whole thing, and with an incomplete audience I would also have an incomplete voice. I had visions of my blog floating through the internet like a ghost ship, seemingly seaworthy but in fact abandoned, its captain and crew vanished into silent nothingness.
I wish there were some way for me to communicate to you the panic and despair into which this plunged me.
I wish there were something more valuable than my sexual favors with which to repay them, like, say, my chastity, but that, alas, is long gone, vanished into the silent nothingness that almost swallowed me too.
Well, he did gain 20 pounds over the summer, and was not dressed to hide it, either. Nonetheless, after being initially taken aback by his new girth, I eventually started having a really nice time with W.F.
Then he revealed that he was planning to attend his first Sexual Compulsives Anonymous meeting on Monday.
I'm not quite sure what to do with this information.
On the one hand, his talk about feeling empty and deadened by casual sex could indicate that the reason we haven't slept together yet is that he actually likes me and wants sex with me to be a wonderful, joyful experience when it finally does happen. That's why he arranged to have to go to a birthday party: he didn't want to be tempted into having sex with me and risking turning a potentially wonderful relationship into something he would feel empty and deadened by.
On the other hand, do I really want a sexual compulsive for a boyfriend?
What kind of cad agrees to go on a date with you and then, the day before the date, casually lets slip that he has a birthday party to go to at 10:00, meaning that your date will have to be over by then?
He sent me an e-mail that contained an ellipsis with the incorrect number of periods, and he claims to have gained 20 pounds over the summer. Maybe I'll just cancel and spare myself the inevitable heartbreak.
The day I spare myself the inevitable heartbreak is the day I . . . the day I . . . well, damn it, I can't come up with anything.
This is my dilemma: I knitted E.S. a sock before I broke up with him.
Two weeks ago he moved to Boston, where I used to live, so I know how cold it is. I decided to knit him a pair of socks to keep his feet warm (because, after all, even though he is not my true love, I feel warmly towards him). However, knitting a pair of socks turned out to take a lot longer than I expected it to, and I was only able to finish one before he left. So I gave him a sock and an IOU.
My plan was to finish the companion sock, send it to him, and then break up with him. He pressed the issue, however, forcing me to break up with him before I finished the sock.
I figure these are my options:
1) finish the sock and send it to him--he is, after all, the intended recipient, and the fact that I broke up with him doesn't change that;
2) finish the sock, get the yarn to make another, matching sock, and keep the pair for myself, since, after all, it's a pretty groovy pattern; or
3) finish the sock and get the yarn to make another, matching pair for my soul mate, whoever he is.
The problem, of course, is sizing. E.S. wears a size 11 shoe. I wear a size 7.5. I have no idea what size my soul mate wears. If I finish the sock now, it'll fit me; if I keep going, it'll fit E.S.
If I leave it unfinished, perhaps it will act as a beacon to my soul mate, calling him to me as surely as a siren on the shore.
Of course, it's entirely possible that by the time he reaches me I will have lost the pattern or forgotten how to knit entirely.
I just took T.H. off my buddy list for IMing. Not that we were IMing each other. But renouncing that sick, painful thrill I got every time I saw him online just seemed so healthy I couldn't quite bring myself to do it.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast, but maybe if I dam it up I can laugh bitterly while it evaporates into nothingness.
It helps to remember that, in the breakup e-mail he sent me, he misspelled "consistent" and "reunited."
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.