He said that he was 28, had just come out of the closet last year, and he enjoyed pissing on guys and hate-fucking. We were at Barracuda in Chelsea, and after about 30 minutes of talking, he told me that he'd love to fuck me but he has a boyfriend but could he get my number just in case? Sure.
Riding home with a 23-year-old later, I received a text that read, "Good to meet u rich. let me piss on u sometime :) get off grindr." I told him, "You can piss on me when you love me," and also when he's single. He called me heteronormative. I don't think he got the Showgirls reference, so it probably wasn't a match anyway. Sucks, because he was cute and wore a baseball cap that made him cuter.
Funny how Pride and regret go hand-in-hand.
That's a direct quote from my friend Daniel. I texted him about the hickey I woke up with (fucking 23-year-olds) on Sunday morning during this past New York LGBT Pride weekend. I asked if the Pride/regret duality was a widely accepted fact and he told me that it was. I'm a 33-year-old who's experiencing these petty revelations a decade late.
All kinds of petty revelations. For example, I don't really want to be pissed on. It's something I've been curious about, but only because other people put it in my head. I have no sex associations with urinals or bathrooms. No seed from my past is flourishing into a pee fetish. But it seems benign enough of an activity to see for myself what it's all about. It's like, if other people are into it and you can do it, why not try it? Why not experience the wonderful range of activity that human sexuality, and specifically queerness offers?
I barely got to do that in my former relationship, which ended a little over two months ago. He didn't want to pee on me and wouldn't to appease my curiosity and now for the first time in nine and a half years, I can guiltlessly pursue that or whatever or whoever. So far, it's been fun and exhausting, life-affirming and soul-sucking.
Most consistently, it's been a source of new ways of feeling the same shame that has manifested itself throughout my sex life, from early on when I had sex with a woman and worried about getting her pregnant and the homosexuality that made my mind wander during sex and my eye wander otherwise. The shame found ways to wind itself through my former relationship, through infidelity and sexual isolation and performance anxiety. It's so trite to chalk it up to a Catholic upbringing, but I can't help wondering if I'm addicted to sin or something like that.
Intellectually, I am proud to be gay. I don't need a weekend for it, but I'll take one to be extra gay because that's how much I love it. I wonder what this persistence of shame means about me spiritually and emotionally. I experienced so much of it last weekend, between and during fantastic times, these wholly positive social interactions with one great, beautiful, friendly person after the next. My gayness is haunted.
That hickey, as burgundy as Kaposi's sarcoma, was mortifying.
I fell asleep in my contacts four times, at home and elsewhere, the most notable instance being on a couch at my friend's apartment Saturday evening, between a string of house parties and Barracuda. My body just shut down for 20 minutes, long enough to make my eyes itch and have me worry about the dwindling supply of contact lenses that was supposed to last me a year but won't get me through summer.
I ate French fries twice. I'm not a heavy dieter, but fried potatoes pop up regularly in front of me and I get mad at myself every time I give in. (I never don't give in.) Since my days were full of Pride festivities, I didn't even get the chance to work them off, either. I'm still hanging my head. Hopefully I'll get to the gym tonight.
I failed to attain my goal of rounding up an orgy at the Highline Ballroom on Friday night at Bob Mould and Richard Morel's Blowoff party. My roommate was out of town, we have two giant couches and I figured that out of the bear clientele that party has a reputation for drawing, there'd be plenty down to group fuck. But that place was blaring disappointingly Electric Daisy Carnival-esque EDM and, even worse, it was uncruisably dark. There was just no way of knowing what I was getting so I didn't even try while scolding myself for copping out.
The party seemed druggy and miserable, and I wonder if that wrapped up in darkness bespeaks another sort of shame. Being shrouded in shadows in a social setting isn't something exclusive to the gay community, but it sure feels metaphorical when it's happening within it. And then, when two or more bodies emerge to actually get a good look at themselves in adequate lighting, I wonder if that doesn't provoke a different round of shame.
After the 23-year-old left on Sunday morning, I realized I'd spent the last 36 hours socializing (or something like it) and I felt like my life was falling apart. I decided to skip the parade. I watched a couple episodes of Breaking Bad and cleaned my apartment. I didn't eat anything. On the way to the train around 2:30, I stopped at a bodega to buy some cashews. I forced them down. Hunger wasn't bothering me in the least; I just didn't want to get sorority-girl-drunk at the next party I was headed to. The hunger was just another strange feeling to add to the pile, flung near a distinct sense of absence — the perma-dread that I'd forgotten something like my keys or my identity or that I had a chore waiting for me that I really didn't feel like doing. That feeling stems from my recent breakup and all of the tiny connections I've made in its wake that I worry are still too intimate for the flakey, immature place I am in life right now, and whose intimacy makes me feel bad for every other intimate connection I make thereafter.
I arrived at the Thompson Hotel for Gumbo's party where I hung out with most of the same guys that I'd been having such a great time with all weekend. It was a pool party, but like most in attendance, there was no way I was going to take my shirt off. Before I left the house, I had discovered that my hickey was far enough down on my neck that some T-shirts would cover it. I forgot to check, though, if the T-shirt I specifically picked out to go with my black board shorts would do the job. It didn't. Many guys mocked my hickey. "That looks like a vampire bite," said one. I knew I deserved it.
After a few hours, some friends and I decided that we wanted pizza, so we prepared to leave. Before we did, this thick slab of boy — 6-foot-4, 220 pounds — who I'd been looking at the whole time came walking by and I drunkenly said to someone, anyone, "I'm just going to tell him how hot he is." And so I did. And then we talked and kissed and talked about not wanting to be the weirdos who were kissing in public. These days, I'm often that weirdo. It's one of my least favorite things about myself.
I ended back at that guy's place after pizza. I'd sucked off a communal experience for my own selfish gain. Cultural vampirism is the point, right? And then we all reconvene and fuel our culture within the culture with our reports of what happened when the rest of us weren't there.
I lit a joint for him and his friends and he sat between me and some girl whom I think announced that she was a lesbian or broadening her former homosexuality or something. My guy went back and forth between kissing me and her. I loved that almost as much as I loved hanging out with a bunch of gorgeous lesbians the day before who said implicit and explicit things about having sex with me and my male friends. That seems like the queerest thing we could possibly do and for that alone, I may pursue it.
Then all of his friends left so we could hook up, and so we did. I mumbled something about having to read my book that he ignored because I didn't explain properly that it was the book I'd actually written that had notes due on Monday, and not some reading-group shit. I dozed off in my contacts for the fourth time in three days and woke up at 3 a.m. to hook up with him some more, my deadline hanging over our head.
I left his place at 4 a.m. I read for two hours, then woke up after 8 to read for another hour and a half. And then I went back to real life and work and I felt like I was hallucinating.
Pride & Shame is a new semi-regular series exploring sex and sexuality from the perspective of a newly single, 33-year-old, gay-sex enthusiast.
Photo via Getty.