Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wrap Up: Tim (#15)

It’s been a month and a half since I ended things with Tim and I’ve spent a lot of time considering whether or not I would write about why I broke everything off. Obviously, since I’m writing this entry, I’ve made up my mind.

We all have our fantasies. Our dream romances. Our Disney love stories. Tim was mine. I was Tim’s. Everything about our relationship seemed so surreal and too good to be true. We had met on vacation in a romantic tropical location. Our nights were spent dancing and drinking and kissing. We had fun. We were in the moment! There was passion! It was crazy and absurd. And then we were apart. And I missed what I felt while he was in Mexico with me. As time went on we used Skype and phone calls and texting to continue to indulge in our fairy tale. We sent each other care packages of gifts. We made playlists on iTunes and emailed them to one another. We quoted poets and sent links to YouTube music videos that expressed our longing for one another. We acted like long distance boyfriends, even though we had never been boyfriends in reality.

And it was fun. It was fulfilling and satisfying. I went to bed at night knowing that across the country there was a cute guy thinking about me. And that I would see him soon enough. And live near him within three months. It seemed so perfect. It was our own little RomCom.

We were both dreaming a future together and then trying our best to turn that dream into a reality, instead of living in the moment and feeling what we felt. In the physical absence each other’s presence all we could do was plan for what we wanted our relationship to be one day; and in doing so, we blinded ourselves to some screaming incongruities in our lives.

Tim and I have little in common beyond superficial subjects like TV, film, and music preferences, and the fact that we were in a long distance relationship with one another. The things that are important to me don’t mean much to Tim, and vice versa. There would be times when I would pour my soul out to him and discuss my dreams and plans and ambitions, and after doing so all he would be able to say is, “That’s good.” It wasn’t a false statement though. He really thought everything I was saying was good. He simply didn’t have a way to connect to what I was saying. Our priorities didn’t align. Our passions pointed in different directions. But we clung to the fact that we had decided that we wanted a future together, even if it meant forcing it to happen.

When the time came for him to fly out to Portland and visit me (as well as his aunt and uncle who live in the area) everything that I just described started to come to the surface for me. I began to disconnect from him and avoid him, because I didn’t want to hurt him. I had not been led into a blind relationship. We had blinded ourselves together in our pursuit for a perfect prince meets prince love story. But the day before his flight I decided I couldn’t lead him on any while. I had promised to always be honest with him and I had to tell him what I was feeling.

I described what I felt about blinding ourselves and creating a relationship out of nothing substantial. I expressed my frustration with our lack of connection on any sort of deep level. I told him I was sad to hurt him. In the end I asked him that we take away the title of boyfriend that we had been applying to ourselves for two months, because I worried it was influencing our behavior too much. Instead I wanted us to acknowledge that we had a great time together in Mexico and that we should explore what it was like to date while he was there in Portland. If we called ourselves boyfriends it would dictate our behavioral choices. For example, if we were boyfriends, when we saw each other for the first time in three months it would be expected that kiss one another. But what if we didn’t have the desire to kiss? Or if we were boyfriends and he stayed the night at my house, shouldn’t he sleep in my bed with me? And if he slept in my bed with me and we’re boyfriends, then shouldn’t we sleep together? Instead of behaving how we thought we should act, I asked that we behaved how we felt in the moment, the way we had in Mexico. It hurt him to hear me ask that of him. But I don’t believe it hurt because he was losing me as his boyfriend, but more because his fairy tale was being shattered.

In the end, he came to Portland and as I spent time with him I realized that my concerns had substance behind them. He was indeed the same sweet person that I had met in Mexico, and we didn’t connect on a very deep level at all. Our relationship was over before it really became.

I want to acknowledge that there is no one to blame in our situation. We both were trying to make our fantasies come true. We were both living in a dream. It took longer for him at the beginning to allow himself to live in the dream, and it was easier for me to wake up from it. But Tim is not a bad guy at all. He’s a sweetheart. And one day he’ll make someone a really happy husband. Just not me.

We’re still friends and trying to really navigate what that means. He’s actually picking me up from the airport this morning in NYC and driving me into the city. And at the end of the month we’re going on our planned trip to Disney World in Orlando. As friends. And nothing more than friends. It may be awkward but I figure it can’t be too bad in the happiest place on earth. Right?

100GD v2.0

Well hello. It’s been quite a while since you’ve all heard from me. And what a while it has been. I’m writing on a red eye flight to JFK Airport in New York City, as I prepare to start an entirely new chapter of my life. In the morning I’ll move into my apartment with my lovely roommate Talia and, after nearly a six-year absence, I’ll be living again the Manhattan. I’ve been on quite a journey to get to this point! Everything that’s happened in my life has served a purpose, however, and even though it took me a long time to return, THIS is the moment to return to the city. I feel like I’m standing at the doorway of the beginning of my life. Everything else was the prologue to this moment when it all begins.

Saying goodbye to my family and friends wasn’t nearly as difficult as the other times I have left them. When I moved to NYC for the first time as an 18-year-old freshman I remember there were tears caused by being on my own for the first time and so far removed from my parents and siblings. At the airport when I left for my two years in Paraguay we wept for the separation, uncertainty, and lengthiness of my mission. But today at the airport there were only tears of gratitude: for having the most supportive parents, siblings, family members and friends imaginable, for the past seven months that I was blessed to spend with them, and for the capability to follow my dreams back to the city. Aside from those tears, there is no sadness. No trepidation or apprehension about moving away. New York City truly feels like the only place in the world I’m supposed to be at this moment in my life.

Not only am I excited for the professional opportunities that are at my fingertips, but I’m also excited to announce that I have decided to begin writing again about my dating life. Friends, acquaintances, and strangers have expressed how much they’ve missed the blog and reading about my journey through the dating world of a gay 20-something. I have to admit that I’ve missed it as well. I’ve missed meeting new people and reflecting and sharing and learning. The three and a half months I spent writing 100 Gay Dates was fulfilling in so many ways, and the city is a perfect place for me to pick up where I left off and continue down the road of self-discovery.

As I begin the journey again I’ve decided to change the “rules” of the experiment a bit. It’s a fairly simple change, and one that will allow me to have an even more enriching experience I believe. There are no more “rules”. I’ll go on a date with any person who asks me out or with whomever I feel inclined to ask out. I’ll allow myself to feel and reflect. I’ll plan less and live more. In loosening the structure of the original rules I believe I’ll be able to open my mind even more and have a wider range of experiences. I may or may not reach 100 dates by the end of the year, and that too is ok. It’s still my goal, but with a four-month hiatus from dating in the middle of the experiment, it will likely be difficult to reach 100 by the end of the year. That’s cool. I’ll get wherever I get.

I expect myself to love equally and openly, not only others but also myself. I expect myself to shed insecurities. To maintain an open mind. To listen. To be willing to have a paradigm shift. To be more grateful. To smile. To give. To respect. I expect myself to have fun!

Let’s begin.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Where we go from here...

This wasn't supposed to happen. I wasn't supposed to fall for someone and they weren't supposed to fall for me in return. But it has and I'm embracing it and loving it and enjoying every second of it. It's hard for me to even describe in words what I'm feeling but I'm working on being able to do so, and when I can describe it I'll be sure to tell you all about it.

I have to honor what my heart is telling me and that is that I should stop going on dates with other people and focus on just one. I've been doing that now for three weeks (thank goodness for Skype dates) and I'm happier than I've ever been.

This isn't the end of the's just its evolution into something new. Hopefully you all still enjoy following it as much as before.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

#15- We Only Have Now

Mexico has always been a place for me to escape. Since the age of 16 I have been traveling with my family to the city of Mazatlan, Mexico, an old fishing port turned resort town on the Pacific shoreline for two to three weeks. It’s a chance to escape the March rain showers that bombard the Northwest and soak in the eighty-degree Mexican sun. Most years when I’ve gone to Mexico I’ve had to bring with me an abundance of homework, as I was always in the middle of the school year, and usually missing a week of classes to escape. This year, however, was my first year without any obligations to work or school, and I planned to spend a majority of my time laying out, meditating, doing yoga, and setting some goals for the future.

Part of the yearly vacation ritual of my family is to go out dancing at Joe’s Oyster Bar, a popular locals bar here in Mazatlan. “Going out dancing” is a bit of an understatement for what happens when we arrive at Joe’s. My sister literally takes over the bar and creates a party every time we walk into the place, which has open-air seating overlooking the ocean. From the moment my sister walks through the entrance she has her hands in the air, shouting “Ey! Ey! Ey!” to the workers, high fiving every person she walks past, and slithering her way through the crowds to the dance floor. (She even shouts, “Slither! Slither!” as she meanders through the crowd). Because of my sister we no longer pay the cover to get into the bar and they let us get away with pretty much whatever we want. Two nights ago my sister got behind the bar and was bartending just because she asked. Like I said, we pretty much own the place.

And that’s how it was last Thursday night as I walked into Joe’s. My sister and cousin Larry had left at 8pm to get to the bar, and I had held back in the hotel to spend some time talking with my other cousin Brandon and his girlfriend. By the time we had finished our conversation it was past 11pm and I seriously considered staying in that night and going to bed. But, as Brandon pointed out to me, “Thursday is the new Friday”, so we hopped into a cab and headed downtown to Joe’s.

We passed the security guards and headed toward the dance floor, sure to find Brittany inside. Before we had even walked 10 steps my sister came running up to me. “MICHAEL! I have found a cute gay boy for you! You have to come with me and meet him!”

I was skeptical right away. So far this trip we had gone out two nights and I had had no luck in finding anyone interesting. Our first night my sister and I met a bisexual guy who was more into my sister than me, which he clearly stated to me from the beginning. However, this didn’t stop him from trying to kiss me whenever my sister went into the bathroom. The second night an older man named Paco asked me to go home to his apartment with him where we could do, “todo lo que tu quieres hacer.” I quickly passed, first because his name rhymed with taco and second, because I was not interested in becoming the next Natalee Holloway.

“Are you sure he’s even gay Brittany?” I asked, unable to trust that anything good was about to happen.

“Michael, he’s wearing a scarf! Of course he’s gay!”

I still had my reservations as she pulled me to the dance floor. “He’s very cute and is here with his family and they love me Michael! They’re going to like you too! Don’t worry!” We reached the side of the bar where he was dancing with his family and I saw him. He indeed was wearing a scarf (a green, striped, summer eternity scarf to be exact), as well as a white v-neck shirt and a pair of short(ish) tan shorts that had little pairs of red sunglasses printed all over them (I had seen the shorts at Urban Outfitters last summer and knew immediately that he had to have purchased them from there. One point.). Other than his wonderfully put together outfit I noticed his beautifully tan skin, perfectly cut hair, and beaming smile. He seemed to be radiating happiness and fun.

My sister pulled him down from the table he was dancing on and brought him over to the bar stools where I was waiting. I stood up and we hugged. “Hi, I’m Michael. I’m so embarrassed my sister is making us meet just because we’re both gay,” I said, partially lying. While I was definitely a bit embarrassed, I was mostly grateful that my sister had the guts to talk to him when she saw him, something I would have never done. He was by far the cutest guy in the bar that night.

“Oh please, I love her!” He replied, also introducing himself. He excused himself and said he was going to grab his drink and come back to talk with me.

He came back a few minutes later and we sat down at the bar to get to know one another. I told him about Portland, getting into grad school, moving to New York, theater history…the usual. He told me he was from Connecticut in a city about two hours from Manhattan. I had figured he was from some place on the east coast from the slight accent with which he spoke. He works as the general manager and part owner of a bridal shop, where he has worked since he was 15 years old. This impressed me since he is only 21 years old and anyone who can claim ownership in a business automatically impresses me. He seemed passionate as he spoke about the bridal shop and I quickly forgave the fact that he hadn’t attended college. As he pointed out, it just didn’t make sense for him to go because of what he already had ready for him at the bridal shop.

The more we talked at the bar, the more we discovered we had in common. It was amusing when one of us would mention a group or movie or band and the other would shout, “I love them!” I was surprised how much we had in common and how comfortable I felt with him. The more we discussed, the closer our bodies got to one another, until eventually our bare knees were brushing each other. After a while more our knees were in between the others’ legs and our hands interlaced. It felt fast to me, but also great.

My sister approached us and asked us to dance with her, so we hopped out onto the dance floor. I was pleasantly surprised that #15 was just as crazy as my sister on the dance floor. He’d drop to the ground, contort his body to different poses, and shake his ass like it was his last chance in his life to ever dance again. I couldn’t stop smiling as we all tried to make one another laugh with our dance moves and poses. It was pure fun.

All of a sudden the lights in the club went out, but the music kept playing. Without thinking I leaned in towards him and we kissed. It was open mouthed and passionate, but not sloppy. There was a bit of fear and anxiety that could be felt, at least on my part, because I had no idea how PDA by gays would be accepted in a straight bar in Mazatlan. Luckily the lights stayed out for a good thirty seconds or so, and we were able to kiss without being afraid that our asses would be kicked. When the lights came back on we both looked at each other and smiled. I could tell I was beaming.

We went back to the bar stools to catch our breath and grab a drink when his aunt and uncle approached us to tell us that they were leaving and asked if he was ok to stay out alone. He assured them he would be fine and gave them hugs. His aunt leaned into me and said, “If anything happens to my nephew I will fucking kill you, ok?” She smiled graciously and I could tell that she was joking. But it was apparent that she loved him deeply. I reassured them that I knew my way around the city pretty well and that we were staying at the resort next to theirs so we would just share a cab home together.

The rest of the night was spent dancing and getting to know each other more. Our conversations seemed to go on without end. We could connect about anything it seemed. The whole group was having a good time, and my sister and cousins all came up separately throughout the night to tell me how much they liked him. At the end of the night my cousin Brandon and his girlfriend, and #15 and I all shared a taxi back to our resorts. #15 would be in town for 5 more days and we decided to get together at some point the next day to hang out and then go out dancing with my family later that night. Since I’m not using my cell phone while in Mexico I told him I’d add him on Facebook and we could communicate through messages, since those would go to his phone. I kissed him on the cheek when the cab pulled up to his entrance and we said goodnight.

Our cab dropped me off a few minutes later and I climbed up to our condo, grabbing my phone from the kitchen counter as I headed towards my bedroom. I looked up #15 on Facebook but was met by over 100 results. Without any mutual friends to push him to the top of the search results I had to go one by one and check out each person’s picture to try to find a match. After about 30 people I finally added him and sent him a message.

“Hey! I had a really fun time tonight and am really glad my drunk ass sister pulled you off that table to introduce us. Lol. Let’s try to hang out some time tomorrow. Maybe lay out by the pool or swim? Let me know. Sleep well ☺”

I pressed send and promptly passed out, sinking into the mattress and pillow.

The next morning I woke up at about 10am and made breakfast. I didn’t want to check my phone right away, in case he hadn’t written back. This was my vacation and I wasn’t going to let myself over think anything while I was on it. “Whatever happens, happens,” I told myself. I logged onto Facebook after breakfast and he hadn’t written me back. Instead of sending a second message (which I’ve done in the past) or feeling hurt, I just went out to the pool and laid out, reading “The Art of Happiness” and sipping on a Diet Coke for the next two hours.

I went back to the room to check in with my family and get the schedule for the day. My father and the rest of my siblings were arriving that day at around 2pm and I knew that I’d need to be around to greet them and help them get setup in their room. I decided to check Facebook again and was greeted by an empty inbox. I was at little disappointed at first but again just shrugged it off. One of the benefits of a vacation romance is that there’s nothing permanent about it. You’re both two wanderers; detached from the real world, completely living in the moment, free to be yourself without any expectations. If the chemistry is there then it’s easy to explore it. And if not, you never see one another again.

I was about to log off when I received an instant message from #15.

“Hey! My phone has been acting weird all day and not sending me messages! I thought you had decided against sending me a message so I had to find a cyber cafĂ© to make sure you actually hadn’t written me. I’m glad you did though! I was worried!”

Even though it wouldn’t have hurt had I never heard from again, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved to hear from him.

“I’m glad you logged on! I was worried you had ignored my message!” I replied.

We chatted back and forth for a while and decided that he would join my family for dinner at a restaurant that has karaoke once a week. It was a family tradition to visit the restaurant and since #15 had told me he loved karaoke, I thought it’d be a fun way to have him join my family. He sounded enthusiastic about coming and said he’d come by our resort around 7 to go.

The rest of the afternoon was spent welcoming my family members, getting them set up in their condo, and relaxing with them by the pool. I was apprehensive about introducing #15 to the chaos that is my family. I love my family with all my heart and am probably one of the luckiest people in the world to be surrounded by some of the most loving and supportive human beings on earth. But when you put my entire family in one room, chaos is the only word that adequately describes us. If there were ever a “National Lampoon’s Mexican Vacation”, we would star in it. With the arrival of my father and siblings (plus a few other aunts and cousins) the size of our party had jumped from 6 to 18, or two baseball teams. I warned #15 that he probably didn’t know what he was getting into, but he said that he was sure he would love them if they were anything like the family members he had met the night before.

#15’s arrival was announced by my entire family after he knocked on the door. “Michael’s friend is here! Michael! Your friend is here!” The whole platoon of brothers, sister, cousins, parents, and aunts came into the room to introduce themselves to #15 and meet the guy that I had said would be joining us for dinner. Although he seemed overwhelmed by the number of people whose names he had to remember, as well as the detailed explanation of who was related to who and how, he kept a smile on his face and made himself comfortable in the living room of the condo while I finished getting ready.

My family liked #15 immediately, especially my younger brother Chandler and my cousin’s girlfriend Kenzie. He was talkative at dinner with the section of the table where we were sitting and kept up with the fast pace at which my family jumps from topic to topic. After dinner he got to witness the Holt family overtake the karaoke machine with rousing renditions of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Summer Love”, “We Will Rock You”, “I Will Survive”, and “Livin’ on a Prayer”, sung in that order, one right after the other. I had been looking forward to hearing #15 sing something since he had mentioned his love of karaoke, but he told me he had been intimidated by our family’s singing and would sit that one out. I was disappointed but understanding. I mean, we had just torn the house down. Or at least we thought so.

The older adults left towards the resort with the children and my cousins, sister, #15 and I headed towards “Joe’s”, determined to have another adventurous evening of dancing and tearing up the bar. And that’s exactly what we did. Brittany led us through the crowd to our usual spot, the workers bringing us all Malibu and Diet Coke without having to be asked, and we started to tear it up. The night before #15 and I had been cautious about showing affection and dancing with each other, but on our second night we started throwing caution to the wind. And when the DJ would turn the lights off we would go right to each other, kissing passionately. We were having fun and didn’t really care what others thought of it.

I had promised my cousin Brandon and his girlfriend Kenzie that I would take them out to a gay club so that they could see what it was like before they left for home that Sunday, so after an hour or so of dancing at Joe’s #15 and I left with them to take them to the only gay club I knew of in town, called Passion. We walked a few blocks from Joe’s and reached a black spiral staircase that led to an upstairs club. After paying the cover we walked in and discovered a very dead gay bar. That didn’t stop #15 from trying to start a party. He jumped up on a circular platform in the middle of the room and started pulling out his best dance moves. I joined him on the platform and we began dancing together. Without any fear whatsoever of getting our asses kicked we danced freely and crazily, jumping from the platform to the main stage together, garnishing whoops and applause from Brandon and Kenzie. I started to get sweaty and hot from the dancing so I let #15 continue to dance while I took a break to get a drink.

“You guys are so cute together,” Kenzie commented. “He really likes you.”

I looked up at him dancing alone on the stage and smiled. I was having the most fun I had had in a long time. There was no second guessing, or over thinking; just joy, happiness, and fun. I felt content and happy.

It was a little before midnight at that point and the club was still dead so we decided to walk back to Joe’s to dance some more. We got our hands stamped at the door so we could return to the gay club later, since our waiter had told us that things don’t really pick up until 1am there. Brandon and Kenzie decided to head back to the resort, so #15 and I headed back to Joe’s alone and found Brittany inside, dancing with one of the Joe’s waiters. After an hour or so of dancing at Joe’s we told Brittany that we were going to go back to the gay club to check it out again and then head to the downtown resort where we had rented out a week. I made sure she had money to get home and told our cousin Larry where we were headed and to stay with Brittany, to which he agreed. #15 and I left Joe’s and walked hand-in-hand back to Passion.

It was as dead at 1am as it had been at 11pm so after being the only two people dancing for 15 minutes or so I suggested that we head home. I was tired from all of the dancing and sweaty from the mugginess of the club (maybe better ventilation would increase patronage?), so we grabbed a cab and headed to the downtown resort where our extra room was.

We couldn’t keep our hands off of each other after we entered the room and pretty soon we were making out on the bed. The passion I had felt on the dance floor with #15 transferred to the bedroom and we spent the evening kissing and touching and feeling (and even biting a little!). We passed out in each other’s arms after ward and slept through the night.

In the morning there were kisses and snuggling, and absolutely no awkwardness. It didn’t feel like a hookup or something regrettable at all. It just felt right. We took a cab back to the resorts where our families were and said we’d keep in touch for plans for that night.

I was confused by what I was feeling at this point. I’m an introspective person (this blog is complete evidence to this) and I usually find myself bombarded by thoughts when I like someone, and especially when I’m intimate with someone. But as I arrived at my resort and changed into my swimsuit to lay out I found that there was only one thought in my mind, which was: “This is good.” There was nothing more and nothing less going on in my brain. Where were all the questions about what he thought about me in bed? And the insecurities of my body? Or my morning breath? Or my crazy family? Why wasn’t my brain going a mile a minute, like it normally does? Instead of its normal state of obsessively introspective, my brain was passively peaceful. Although confused by this newfound calmness, I decided to be grateful and went out by the pool to lay out.

#15 came by around noon and found me sleeping at the pool. He had showered and eaten breakfast with his family and come back to spend the afternoon with me. We hung out at the pool for a while, played Liverpool (a rummy card game) with my cousins, and took a nap together before he headed back to his resort to have dinner with his aunt and uncle. My family stayed in for dinner and then headed to Senor Frogs, another yearly tradition, to dance and make genuine fools of ourselves. #15 met us with his aunt and uncle and Senor Frogs and I finally had the chance to talk to his aunt about him and get her opinion of what was happening. I also wanted to gain her trust that night, since I had been taking up a large majority of #15’s vacation time with his family.

My initial observation that she loved him deeply was a gross understatement. She couldn’t speak about him without beaming. She told me about how good of a person he was, and how kind and gentle he had always been. She told me about their family and the intricacies of the relationships between her and his other aunts, and how despite drama he had always maintained a close relationship to her. She couldn’t say a negative thing about him, which made me like him even more. We talked about how she and her husband and children lived in the Portland area and that #15 visited them twice a year, and how we would have to make sure to stay in touch upon returning. I asked her what #15 thought of me and she said, “You’ll have to ask him yourself.” At that point #15 came up to me from the dance floor and pulled me out to dance with him and the rest of my family (who had completely made him part of the family at the point. My younger brothers were talking with him as if they had known him for years. Which is why I love my family).

After Senor Frogs we headed (once again) to Joe’s where #15 and my sister Brittany took over the dance floor while I helped my cousin Brandon deal with drama with his girlfriend, and my other cousin Larry deal with the fallout that resulted from Brandon’s girlfriend threatening the girl that Larry had met a few nights before. Two hours after arriving at Joe’s I finally had Brandon and Kenzie made up and on their way home together in a cab (apparently all Kenzie needed to hear was #15 tell her how we had overheard them messing around in the bathroom while we took a nap earlier that day to make her remember how much she loved my cousin Brandon). Brittany, #15 and I headed on the dance floor (“Slither! Slither!”) and started dancing away. I was trying to shake off the nearly two hours of drama that I had to deal with and enjoy myself dancing, but it was difficult. Going from Dr. Phil with my cousins to Jersey Shore partying with my sister and #15 was a complete 180. But I did my best. I was starting to loosen up and have a good time when I was approached by two local girls I had met earlier in the week.

“Hola Michael! Como estas?” They asked me. I pointed out #15 to them and said I was out with him and my sister. They congratulated me for finding a cute guy and said they were out with their grumpy friend who had earlier in the week told me he disliked “gay guys like you”. I turned around to where they pointed and found myself face to face with Mr. Grumpy.

“You’re here again?” He asked me before winding back his arm and punching me in the shoulder as hard as he could. I looked at him in shock and then back to the girls and quickly left. “Did I really just get hit because I’m gay and talking to some Mexican girls?” I thought to myself. I went downstairs to the men’s bathroom and found myself shaking. The closest thing to a fight I had ever been in was in the 4th grade when a girl slapped me in the face after I called her a butthole (or some other moronic insult) and I think my body was overwhelmed by the adrenaline that was rushing through me from being hit. I used the bathroom and then headed upstairs to the dance floor to find my date and my sister. They were already waiting for me at the top of the stairs.

“I need to get out of here. I just got punched by that guy from the other night.” I told them.

They both looked confused but I wasn’t in the mood to really explain anything. I hated that #15 was seeing me like this. I had already blown him off for the first two hours at Joe’s dealing with family drama, and right as I started to have fun with him I was asking to leave because I had been hit by some homophobe. I just wanted to be home and asleep. #15 and I decided to go back to the resort to sleep and my sister and cousin Larry stayed out for a bit longer. I apologized to #15 for all the various buzzkills of the evening and said I really had been enjoying our time together. He told me I was fine and not to worry about it. We got to the downtown resort and headed up to our room, where we both quickly fell asleep.

The next day was spent mostly with our own families. He and his family were moving to a new resort for their last two days in town and my family had to check in at a new one on the outskirts of town, so there was really a lot of time to hang out during the day. We did, however, communicate on Facebook for a while in the afternoon, which is when he brought up a question I had been dreading.

“So, which number am I?” He asked.

I hadn’t wanted to bring up the blog while on vacation, especially with him. Although I knew that I would write about him eventually, I think it was the lack of writing that really allowed me to be in the moment and just enjoy my time with him. There were no expectations or pretenses…we were just two guys who had met on vacation and were having a wonderful time together. Why ruin it by bringing up the fact that I planned to go on 100 dates this year? As I’ve written before, I think most people change their perceptions and actions immediately when they think that they are “just one of 100 guys”, no matter how hard I try to convince them that I don’t view them that way. So I avoided bringing up the blog with him for as long as I could, while at the same time trying my best to forget the fact that I would have to write about what was happening between us.

“You’re #15” I said. “But can we talk about this tonight when we hang out? I think it’ll be a much better conversation in person, rather than over the Internet.”

He agreed and we made plans to head out to my family’s new resort to swim and watch movies. It’d be our first night in together since we had met (and since I had arrived in Mazatlan) and I was looking forward to spending time in the pool and just getting to know one another. We got to the resort around 9pm, leaving behind my family members, the majority of who were passed out from a long day in the sun. We quickly changed into our swimming suits and headed out to the pool so we could make the most of the last hour that the pool was open.

Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay, the resort where we were staying that night, is one of the most beautiful resorts I have ever been to. And we had the swimming pool, which looks like this:

all to ourselves. We swam the entire length, talking about our future goals and plans, and diving deeper into our family and personal histories. Nothing had changed from the first night and we were able to talk about any topic without end. We wandered over to one of the hot tubs in the pool and were relaxing in there when he finally said, “So tell me about this blog of yours.”

I told him about the purpose of the blog (to avoid jumping into a relationship, figure out what I look for in a partner, meet new people, etc.) and what had happened so far in the experiment. I explained how the idea came to me, and the reception it had received thus far. And finally I told him what I had been feeling over the course of our time together, that is, that he was the first person that had got me to stop thinking about relationships and really just experience the relationship. For the first time since I had started the experiment I felt like I was actually living in the moment instead of trying to cause a moment to happen. I wasn’t thinking and analyzing and trying to use logic to figure out what “should” happen. Instead I was simply listening to my heart. And that hadn’t happened before.

I assured him I wasn’t asking for his hand in marriage, or any type of commitment. But I wanted him to know that he was different and that I wanted us to see what happened in the future. We had already discussed how he was planning a trip to visit his aunt and uncle in Portland in June, so we could potentially see each other then. And I, of course, will be moving to within a train ride from his home when I go to school in August, so seeing each other in the future was not out of the question. He told me he didn’t want to keep me from reaching my goal and finishing my blog and I assured him he wouldn’t. I just wanted us to stay in touch and feel it out and see how things could be once we were outside of Mazatlan and in the real world again.

We got out of the hot tub and headed back to the room when my sister, brother, and cousin called and asked if they could come out and play cards with us. They had just woken up from their naps and weren’t going to be tired again for a while. I asked #15 if he thought that was ok and he excitedly said yes. I was beginning to think that he enjoyed spending time with my sister more than me, which he would tease me about for the next two days. My family members arrived a short time later and we spent the night in at Emerald Bay playing Liverpool and watching movies.

The next night was #15’s last night in Mexico and even though it was a Monday night, he wanted us to go out to Joe’s to go dancing one last time. He came to our resort at about 8pm and played “King’s Cup” with my grandma, aunt, cousin Larry, Brittany and me until we were ready to go out dancing. At that point we were definitely feeling the effects of “King’s Cup” and headed out to Joe’s for one last hurrah.

As expected Joe’s was completely dead, but this didn’t stop us from having a good time. Brittany and #15 danced from table to table, dancing with locals and tourists alike, and taking over the club. I was having just as much fun, dancing with #15 and soaking up our last night together. After being at the club for a while #15 came up to me and asked if we could to a quieter part of the bar on the beach and talk for a second. I, of course, obliged and we headed to a table away from the music and dancing. When sat down and I looked into his eyes and noticed that he was crying.

“What’s wrong?” I asked him concerned something had happened.

“Nothing…it’s just…I’m really going to miss you and your sister and I don’t want to leave Mexico tomorrow.” He cried a little bit more and I pulled him closer to me. “This is so embarrassing to be crying about!”

I told him I thought it was cute and that there was nothing wrong with crying. I kissed him on the cheek and reminded him that we would see each other within two months and that I would be moving to Manhattan in August and that we would definitely keep in touch. After a minute or so he said he just wanted to be alone for a while to stop crying and compose himself. He went to a bench that overlooked the ocean and sat alone, while my sister found me to ask what was wrong. I explained what had happened and after a few minutes we went over to him and took him out to the dance floor one last time. We danced for a while and decided to grab some food before heading home. We left Joe’s and grabbed a cab, asking the driver to stop at Burger King (it’s every where) before driving us to our resort. After gorging ourselves unnecessarily on greasy cheesy tots (Brittany’s favorite) and chicken tenders (my favorite) we got back in the cab and drove home. #15 and I passed out in bed immediately and woke up the next morning entirely too early to make sure that he had enough time to get to the airport for his flight.

Our goodbye was rushed and less than ideal. We had shared a cab from the downtown resort to where he was staying and I was supposed to continue in the cab to my own resort. When we got to his resort we hugged quickly so we didn’t have to keep the driver waiting and said that we’d talk soon. Looking back I should have paid the driver to wait and walked him to his room so I could say goodbye with a kiss, as well as say goodbye to his family that I had met. But it happened as it did and I can’t change it now. C’est la vie.

The days since he has gone have been eye opening. I’ve avoided writing this blog entry for days now, mostly because I didn’t want to have to think about everything that had happened because it had been so good and so natural. He and I have talked every day since he’s left on Facebook or Skype and every time I talk to him I realize how much I miss him. It’s not like my vacation has been hell since he left. I mean, I’m in paradise with my family; it can’t be too bad here. But it was definitely different when he was here. There was more joy and happiness. More fun. I feel like I’m just counting down until we get to see each other again.

Now, there are many people (including myself) who are probably thinking to themselves, “There Michael goes again…falling for a guy he barely met.” But there’s something different about #15…I have no desire to meet anyone else. I don’t even want to go out dancing here in Mazatlan because he’s not here to go out with me. Do I want to finish my experiment? Absolutely. I hate the idea of not finishing the goal I had set. And I plan on going out and meeting people and making new friends and learning about them. But, why give up on something that feels so good for the sake of completing a goal? In my quest to live more in the moment I have to respect what I’m feeling and say that this is something I want. If it seems fickle, so be it. It’s one of the most genuine feelings I’ve had since I started this back in January.

So, I’m not announcing the end of my blog. I’m not going to stop going out and meeting new guys. But #15 and I have something special and I know it. And so does he. I don’t know what our future looks like or what will happen. Hell, a tsunami could sweep me out to sea before I even post this tonight. But I like where things are headed. I like that I’m living in the moment and not thinking. I’m finally starting to feel again, which is the newest, freshest, sensation I’ve had in a long, long time. We only have now.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hola from Mexico!

That's what I do yoga in front of every day at sun down. It's amazing.

I went on a date last night, so you can all expect to hear about it soon. Don't think I've forgotten about you all.

In other news, I just found out that I got into here:

So I'll be moving to Manhattan to begin studying Performing Arts Administration at NYU Steinhardt. 100gaydates will continue in the big city!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dry Spell

Tonight marks two weeks since my last date with a new guy. Two weeks! By this point I should have gone on a total of 20 dates, and I've been on 14. These past two weeks alone I should have gone on 4 dates, but they haven't happened. It's not that I've become some sort of recluse, hiding myself away in my bedroom watching reruns of Jersey Shore all day long (although I've seriously considered it). I've actually spent a lot of the past two weeks going out with some of the guys I've already gone on dates with and trying to figure out where I am with them. It's also been a busy past two weeks trying to plan out my life for the next 6-18 months, as I wait to hear back from grad schools, as well as some potential employers. 

But enough excuses already. Let's just be honest...I'm having troubles meeting people. Now, for most singles, going two weeks without a date wouldn't be considered a dry spell. Hell, there have been times where I've gone 6 months without a date. But I've spent the past two weeks trying to get a date and have been unable to do so. I have a few theories as to why: 

1) I gave up Internet dating. As explained here, I decided two week ago to stop using the Internet as a source to find dates. Although it wasn't my sole source previously, it was always a handy resource to meet a guy and find a quick date. In all honesty, I can easily jump online and find someone for coffee or dinner within an hour or so. (Sadly enough I could find a hookup even faster than that if I wanted. One time my friends and I logged on an application called grindr and raced to see who could get someone's address for a hookup the fastest. I found someone within 3 minutes.) So by taking away this large pool of men online, I've effectively made finding a date a much more involved process. Hopefully it will yield better quality dates. But so far it's yielded zero dates, which begs the question: is no date better than a crappy date? 

2) Most guys within my social circle that I could date have either already done so, or are completely uninterested in doing so. My blog is a somewhat polarizing topic when it comes to someone being interested in me. While most people compliment me for the endeavor, they also fall into two camps generally: intrigued or cautious. Those who are intrigued are willing to go out, comfortable with the fact that they are one of 100 guys that I'm going to date this year, and glad to be a part of it. The cautious group usually asks themselves why they would want to take time to go on a date with me if they're just going to be one of 100 dates. It's a legitimate question to ask oneself. In fact, I'm not sure that I would want to go out with a guy who is doing what I'm doing because when I go on a date with someone I really try to open up to them and be genuine. It'd be easy to see a date with me as futile. The only answer I can really give to those who are cautious is to repeat what I said at the beginning:

"I’m not looking for love…[but] if I find love in the process, then so be it."

For me, a date is a harmless chance to get to know someone new. If you're cautious about going on a date with me because you think it won't go anywhere, then you're missing out on an opportunity to (at a bare minimum) get to know someone new, and at most, to
find love (no guarantees). 

3) Lastly, I attribute the "dry spell" of dates to the natural ebb and flow of life. I don't want to get caught up in a strict adherence to a quota of two dates a week. Yes, that's the goal. And yes, I'm trying to fulfill it. But I think I might lose sight of the purpose of the whole experiment if all I'm focusing on is making sure that I'm hitting two dates a week or if I'm worried I won't have enough content for the blog. We all go through dry spells, and I have to just accept that I'm going through one right now. 

Whatever the reason is for the dry spell doesn't solve the problem I'm having with meeting people. And I think what I'm facing is something confronted by a lot of people, especially in the gay community. 

Now I don't want people inferring that I'm saying that being a single heterosexual is easier than being a single homosexual. When I was dating woman it was also difficult at times to find people to go on dates with. The difference is this: as a heterosexual man it's pretty easy to know who is available or not in your everyday life. That is, you can go to work or school or the gym or a bar and be fairly confident that most of the ladies (minus any lesbians) are available for you to meet and mingle with. Yes, you will run into those who already have boyfriends or husbands or who just aren't into you, but you can plainly see what is available for you. 

As a gay man your options are fairly reduced. People don't wear signs that say "I'm gay!" Well, some do and that's actually really helpful at times. For the most part, however, I have a hard time meeting people during my every day routine and knowing first of all, if they're gay or not, and second of all, if they're even interested in me. The added layer of uncertainty when it comes to figuring out the sexuality of those surrounding you complicates the process of meeting new people to potentially date.

It's for this reason that the queer community creates environments and situations to allow people to meet. Gay bars (or gay nights at a bar), queer networking events, gay skate, and gay outdoor groups all do one thing: they take the guessing out of the question of sexuality. When you go to a gay bar you can be pretty sure that the guys there are gonna be gay. And this is great! It's wonderful to not have to wonder if the person you're talking to is gay or not. It's the same reason that gay dating sites are so great. There's no guessing that the people you're meeting are gay or not. There's also no guessing as to their penis size, sexual position preference, height, weight, or circumcision status. Yes, Internet dating takes almost too much guessing away. 

But in my personal experience I've found that at a lot of these gay events I meet a lot of superficial people. I feel judged so quickly for outward appearances, rather than my personality. And while I am 97% confident in the way I look on the outside, I'm 100% confident that I'm a good-hearted, kind and caring individual. I'm sure the majority of the guys that are the clubs and bars and networking events and online are also kind and good men. It's just hard to figure that out in those settings.

Quite frankly, when I go out to a bar or club with friends, I'm not interested in meeting new people. I'm there to have a drink or two, dance, laugh, and have fun with my friends. Adding the task of finding people to date makes it almost feel like a job, especially since a large amount of guys are just at the bar or club looking to "put it in." (Thanks, Jersey Shore for yet another descriptive idiom) 

These past two weeks I've tried to meet people in the most genuine of ways. I started developing a bit of a crush on my yoga teachers so I tried getting to know them (until I found out they were both together. And expecting twins via a surrogate in June! Isn't that the best? Now I just want to be their friends because I think they're so cool!). Then I saw a guy in dance class that I thought was cute, until I noticed the ring on his finger. I contacted guys who I had met in the past through school and mutual friends, but there was nothing. As I head to Mexico for a 2.5 week trip starting Tuesday morning I wonder, "Will I go a month without a date?" I'm hoping not.  

So, here are my questions for you all...How did you meet your significant other? In what situation or environment? Was it a bar or club? Who approached who? What was the first conversation like? What do you think of online dating? What's the best way to meet someone? Do you want to set me up? (I have to ask.)

Like I said above, I'll be in Mexico for 2.5 weeks, through April 8th, so my Internet service will be a little less consistent. I'm hoping to meet people while I'm there, and if I do then I'll be sure to write about it and post as soon as I can. Until then, comment with answers to my questions! I'm excited to read some responses. 

¡Chau amigos! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Soul Food

The picture above is lululemon's company manifesto; basically it's a list of things that they believe. And I love it. lululemon, if you didn't know, is a yoga attire company based out of Vancouver, B.C. (the other Vancouver) and simply makes the best stuff for yoga. I spent some time browsing their website the other night when I stumbled across the manifesto. If you want to read it in list format then click here.

It's Friday people! So go do something with your weekend! Do some yoga! Read a book! Connect with an old friend! Do something you're afraid of! But make the most of it!