Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Douchebaggery is Selfless, Really

My list of blocked users on Facebook contain the following 8 individuals:

1. Wit’s End
2. McBougie
3. McBougie’s cousin
4. This asshole who told my boyfriend that I was messaging him and trying to hook-up (which I seriously wasn’t)
5. A random Baton Rouge trick that my best friend (not me) slept with
6. McBougie’s new boyfriend (who I caught sneaking out of the apartment behind my office a few days ago)
7. Wit’s End’s “straight” profile
And 8. Some guy that called me faggot on my wall after I expressed my feelings about the Project Runway season 3 finally.

This is the list in its entirety. Two exes (well, three if you count both of Wit’s End’s accounts) and a bunch of haphazard dipshits who annoyed me at some point. All the other exes and random guys I’ve hooked up with are still friends with unlimited access to my profile info. Even if I don’t particularly care for the guy, I don’t see the point in keeping a mile-long, documented shit list. That having been said, I don’t really do a good job of ending things on what’s called “good terms.” I tend to set fire to the bridge and walk away in slow motion. I’m not one of those people who can be friends with their ex. Mostly because I piss them off by doing something dumb like prancing into the bar with some other random guy the day after the break-up. I also have a really bad habit of getting busted being places where I’m not supposed to be. I’ll be dancing with some girl at City Bar and I’ll feel a tap on my shoulder. And it’s always the guy I’m currently talking to. And he always looks at me with a confused/irritated gaze and says, “I thought you said you were going to your grandma’s house in Breaux Bridge?”

Okay, first of all, although both of my grandmothers are still alive, they both live in New Orleans with every other member of my family. Secondly, I’m not sure why, but most of the lies I tell take place in one of two places: Gramercy or Breaux Bridge. I’ve never once been to Gramercy, and I’ve only been to Breaux Bridge to have lunch or shop for a Mother’s Day gift. But it’s just been my experience that no one will ever question your business in either of these places. No matter how dumb the lie is.
I’m not a bad person, though. Part of me feels like I’m such a fantastic Christian boy deep down that I’d rather the other guy feel like the hero instead of moping around, feeling like the victim and blaming themselves. My douchebaggery is selfless, really. I’ll be the villain as long as you can sleep at night.

My ratio of friends to blocked users is 1581 to 8. I like that. It tells me that I tolerate more people than I detest. I might fuck up our post-relationship friendship, but I’ll see you from across the room, quietly smile to myself, and wish you luck with the new guy.

That’s just the kind of badass I am.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'm Gay! I Need To Talk About Myself Too!

Do you know how hard it is to be gay and not be able to talk about yourself all the time? Gays need two things to survive: tanning salons and attention. And since I’m pastier than Casper the Friendly Homo, I require twice the attention. So when I’m robbed of my need to tell my friends about what I ate for lunch or walk them through my experience at AutoZone where the cute greasemonkey mechanic turned out to be a big fruit who gave me his number, I wilt a little bit inside.

Such is the case with this guy I was talking to. Besides every gay male I’ve ever met, this guy talked about himself more than anyone. And he didn’t just recount his day or tell me about his interests. This guy was a one-upper to the max. Even worse, he consistently felt the need to work a comment about some random achievement that happened four years ago into every conversation. Example: “I made a C on my biochem test today, but that’s okay. I was the youngest person ever to work for the number one research lab in all of Tennessee. When I was eleven! I pretty much ran the place. They gave me my own ID badge and when I went down to Human Resources, they guy was like ‘Oh, so you’re the kid everyone’s been talking about.’ That’s just how I’ve always been.” — pause for bong hit — “I’ve just really been into setting goals for myself and then achieving them blah blah blah herpa derp derp.”

And the worst part: It was NEVER about me. One time I asked him his middle name, he said Thomas or whatever and then started telling me about some dumb story that I didn’t hear because I was too busy inside my head screaming, “I HAVE A MIDDLE NAME, TOO, DOUCHEBAG! IT’S ANTHONY! YOU WOULD KNOW THAT IF YOU WOULD’VE JUST RESPONDED WITH, ‘MY MIDDLE NAME’S THOMAS. WHAT’S YOURS?’ BUT NO. THIS STORY ABOUT YOUR CAT OR WHATEVER IS MUCH MORE INTERESTING THEN WHAT MY PARENTS CHOSE TO CALL ME AT BIRTH! GOD, YOU SUCK!”

I called to let him know how my meeting went this morning and he immediately launched into a real-time narration of his walk to class. He actually stopped and talked to people along the way while I sat on the other end, wondering when he was going to take a breath. He was in mid-sentence about his plan to rearrange his bedroom when I hung up. It took him over 50 seconds to realize that I was on the other end and call me back. And I let it ring. And after I’d started writing the first paragraph, he called a second time. And I let it ring again.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy learning about him. I’ve just been in enough relationships to know that sharing who you are with someone is just as important as figuring them out. It’s a two-way street in every way.

Until they annoy you to death. And then it's on to the next one.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Burn Victims

Wit’s End was at work the day that I decided to burn McBougie’s break-up box. He’d been gone a few hours and I knew I’d have some time to myself before he pulled back into the driveway. I reached under my bed and drew out the red and white heart-shaped package with both hands. It was about the size of a donut box and as heavy as a case of Coca-cola. After I slid the box into in the middle of the bedroom, I reached back under my bed to pull out several large sheets of paper and a few oversized objects that were too big for the box. I gathered the heap into my arms and carried it out the screen door. In the back yard, I let the pile fall to the ground and began searching for the gas can. I found it inside the door of the shed and shook it to make sure it was full. Then I checked the ashes of the fire pit to make sure there wasn’t any strange debris and began to unpack everything.

I’m not sure where McBougie found this box, but I remember how he'd given it to me. It was my Valentine’s Day gift the year before. McBougie had baked sugar cookies, each one with a different compliment written in runny icing on top. Thing’s like “You’re cute,” “You’re a good cuddlier,” etc. And on the outside of the box He’d written in red sharpie “I Love You Because…” He’d painted the box in red and white acrylic and left it on my bed for me to find on the evening of February fourteenth. The cookies were nibbled on over the next few days, with the box itself becoming the most significant gift. I knew the second I saw in sitting atop my camouflage comforter that McBougie had just given me his own break-up box. It was pure poetry.

Throughout the following year, everything material position that concerned our union went into the box. Photographs, ticket stubs, receipts, Christmas cards, dried flowers, a souvenir foam clown nose from a Cirque du Soleil performance, and countless notes written on post-its, loose-leaf, and bar napkins. I kept the giant heart under my bed with a small stack of t-shirts and three or four prints by textbook artists that he’d given me. All waiting for the day that one of us would leave the other one and I would have to torch them. I’ve accepted that the practice of keeping a break-up box is the definition of pessimistic, but I’d rather think of it as organized sensibility. I mean, who wants to find an old ticket stub to Wall-E in the cargo pocket of your shorts three months after the break-up? Not me. And not in cargo shorts, for that matter.

I was halfway through stoking a Georgia O’Keefe print and smother the matching t-shirts that we’d worn to a Harry Potter midnight premier when Wit’s End drove up. “You’re not supposed to be home, yet” I said without lifting my eyes from the fire. He stumbled over to me with a stupid grin and asked if he could help. I told him it wouldn’t feel right if he did. He’d seen the box before and often wondered why it was taking me so long to burn it. And I’d always turn red and dodge the question. He took out his iPhone and snapped a picture of the smoldering chaos. The face of a large white heart with flames licking the edges of it. “I’m making this my background. Just letting you know,” he stuttered with his Texan twang as he fiddled with his phone, adjusting the picture to the right size. “Oh, here and I got this for you.” He said and handed me a sky blue envelope. The card pictured two orange cats sitting at a candle-lit table and staring lovingly at one another. Inside it read, “Happy Three Months, Squirrel. I love you lots and lots. Xoxo.” I kissed him on the cheek and waited for the last of my history with McBougie to stop smoking before grabbing his hand and leading him back inside.

Wit’s End crept into the bathroom for a quick shower and change, and I was left alone on my bed. There, I listened for the water to start running before I opened my closet door, pulled down a TOMS shoe box from the top shelf, and slipped the sky blue envelope inside of it. I yanked a bulky hoodie over the box and returned to my bed where I stared blankly at the ceiling and wondered if the can of gas in the backyard would still have enough fuel in it to burn Wit’s End’s box by the time that he was no longer sleeping next to me and using up all the hot water.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I Might Have Said Something Dumb...

One time I went on a date with this guy, got hammered, and then after we hooked up I told him that I wasn’t interested. Then the next morning I’d forgotten all about it and asked him if he wanted to go get food and he was all like, “I don’t think so.” So I spent the whole day trash-talking him to my friends for being such a douche. And then I talked to him and he told me about what a belligerent drunk I’d been and how I told him that “this wasn’t going to work” right before passing out on the floor. So I turned bright red, told him that my mom was beeping in, and hung up forever.

To this day, I’m not really sure why I told him that I wasn’t interested to his face like that. I mean, it wasn’t the worst date ever. I actually had a lot of fun. Part of me believes that the drunk me was looking out for sober me’s best interests. Maybe I’d already made up my mind somewhere that I’d never be able to date this guy, so I cut the cord with booze-soaked scissors. Another part of me thinks it was a bluff to see what his reaction would be. After being so passive and lame all night, maybe I wanted to see a little fire in him. Most realistically, I was a drunken mess and I said something dumb.

He studied architecture at Loyola and the only thing we had in common was the same first name.

Like many gay relationships, our motions were in reverse. We’d met on Facebook, then began texting, then came the phone calls, and eventually the meet-up and pre-determined physical activity. This is Blueprint #1 for finding a boyfriend in Britneyland. Blueprint #2 begins with the meeting first, then sex, and then actually learning about one another. The architect and I were following the first pattern, which is easily the road less traveled.

Our story ends with him going to the bathroom the next morning after shooting my lunch invitation down. As soon as the door closed behind him, I began digging through a pile of his clothes. I have a really bad habit of keeping the t-shirts and gym shorts that are left at my place. Even if they don’t really fit, I like the keepsake itself. Not for any bizarre reason; I just like trophies. But since this was an away game, I made an executive decision to look for a souvenir. The architect was 1.) a student of Loyola University and 2.) in a fraternity at said University. So I had my heart set on a Loyola t-shirt or gym shorts with his fraternity letters. I threw things around and lifted up garments for inspection. I was almost breaking into a sweat when I heard his footsteps coming back down the hallway. I jump back into bed before the door opened and pretended to be just waking up.

Trophy-less, half naked, and still slightly hammered, I made my way out of the house and into the 8:00AM morning. It wouldn’t be until later that day when the architect and I would speak and he would tell me about the mess I’d created the night before. And this is the part where I turn bright red, tell him that my mom is beeping in, and hang up forever.

After New Year’s Day, I began packing my things in preparation for my return home. I dumped out the contents of my duffle bag and began cramming my new Christmas gifts into it. That’s when I noticed something alien. There, atop my massive heap of clothes sat a small, balled-up piece of maroon mesh. Apparently I’d slept in his Loyola gym shorts the night before and hadn’t noticed wearing them home or taking them off when I got to my room. At the sight of them, I felt immediately sad that the architect and I never really had a chance. I’d effed it up, and there was no going back.

But I had new gym shorts to remember him by. And they fit perfectly.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

You're Questionable. Let's Date!

Since I was old enough to understand exactly what I was doing, I’ve been faking asthma attacks to get out of doing things that I didn’t want to do. I can recall three times in recent memory where I was pulled over for speeding and subsequently feigned respiratory distress. You’d be surprised how panicked an officer of the law will get when a 22-year-old gay male turns blue and starts freaking out. “Ineed my—inhaler—and Ijustneed to get to myhouse, [big inhale this time] officer.”

In addition to speeding tickets, I’ve used asthma attacks to get out of wrestling practice, school projects, sexual intercourse, and this one time where I really didn’t want to cut the grass.

The only thing that I’ve done that’s more reckless than faking an asthma attack to avoid buying my grandmother a birthday present is my perpetual disregard for red flags. If I think a guy is attractive and/or the least bit into me, I’m pretty much oblivious to his flaws from jump. Don’t try to tell me that he stabbed his father with a box cutter or that he’s actually two midgets stacked on top of one another, because I won’t hear you. And the cuter the guy is, the less I’ll care or notice. 

Sometimes I’ll write a little memo to myself if the guy takes a call at the dinner table or doesn’t open the door for me, but otherwise, I let the hot guy slide. It isn’t until things really start to go awry that I notice the bouquet of red flags he’s been holding behind his back the whole time.

Muffin’s red flag was her disability. She was female. McBougie’s red flags were all over the place: violent outbursts, eating candy on the toilet, chatting with other guys on Yahoo! Messenger like it’s 2002. But, being the upstanding citizen that he wasn't, Wit’s End’s red flags were probably the most disturbing.

He told me over lunch one day that he used to be engaged to this girl named Ashely. And in my head, a small little red flag popped up. Still trying to wrap my mind around this homosexual’s engagement to a woman, I asked why they’d split up. He told me that he’d cheated on her and that she’d done some snooping and found out about it. And then a second little red flag popped up. When I asked him to explain the cheating, he told me that when he worked for the airport, he’d taken a flight to Dallas one weekend to stay with a “friend.” According to Wit’s End, this friend of his had a boyfriend, and over the course of 3 days, Wit’s End had slept with both of them, together and separately, multiple times. And then my head exploded and tiny red flags flew out and landed in sushi rolls and glasses of iced tea.

The worst part: He narrated the story without any remorse or shame. It was all very matter-of-fact. “Oh, yeah, my female fiancĂ© found out that I was having gay threesomes out of town, and dumped my ass. Can you pass the soy sauce?”

Even worse than that: I continued to date this guy! What a catch, right? I bought his “I’m glad it happened, because now I know how damaging infidelity can be” mumbo jumbo. Because he had a cute face, I looked past the flashing red siren on top of his head that said “DON’T DATE ME! I LIKE NASCAR AND I’LL SLEEP WITH ANYTHING THAT RESPONDS TO MY AD ON CRAIGSLIST!”

And alas, the joke was on me.

But having dealt with boyfriends with mental illness, sexual dysfunction, and an alarming amount of daddy issues, I’ve learned to spot red flags from a mile away. The cute guy with the Twilight quote on his profile page won’t get past security anymore! 

And if one more douchebag pulls out his phone during the first date or tries to tell me about how much his ex-boyfriend makes him want to “kill himself,” I’m faking the most dramatic asthma attack possible and sprinting out the front door. Deuces. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wit's End's Epilogue

There were two good things to come out of my 9 month, on-again, off-again relationship with Wit's End. The first was my James Avery engagement ring. The second was my Banana Republic Spouse Discount Card.

He'd bought the ring after the first three months of our relationship, but it wasn't given to me until six months after that. We'd broken up after his impromptu move to Houston, but then tried to work it out over the course of several weeks. He is the first and only person with whom I've entertained the thought of marriage. And he felt the same way about me. Wit's End told me when he bought the ring, but he never let me see it. He would keep it in his pocket most of the time, knowing that I'd go snooping around if he wasn't guarding it on his person.

After a draining, disorienting few months of  struggling with the five hours of distance between us, things began to fall apart. And then he made a choice that would brake me.

Wit's End moved from Houston to Portland in November of last year. With three time zones between us, we could no longer function as boyfriends. I broke up with him over the phone so I didn't have to look at his face via Skype, and prepared myself  to never look back. During our break-up compromise, (you don't call me and I won't hate you) he told me through tears that he'd put something in the mail that morning and that it was going to break my heart. He wasn't the smartest or most creative hillbilly, so I figured that his present would be a torn-out coloring book page at best. And when I hung up the phone that night, I began the process of falling out of love with Wit's End.

I was at work when the envelope arrived at my apartment. My roommate had taken in the mail and sent me a picture message of the parcel when he noticed Wit's End's name and return address. I asked a co-worker to cover my tables and sprinted out the door of the restaurant without even asking my manager if it was okay for me to leave. When I walked in the door, I saw the envelope sitting on the dining room table. And I knew what was in it before I reached for it.

I slipped the ring onto my finger and kept it there for the next few days. After that, I hid it in the bottom of my my toiletry bag and haven't seen it since. Wit's End's break-up box was ritualistically burned months ago, but the ring wasn't inside it when I soaked the box in gasoline and sparked the lighter. I'm still not really sure what to do with the little fucker. I tried sending it into, but it was deemed "inappropriate" break-up jewelry. So I'll keep it for now, and maybe sporadically take it out to admire the shiny silver exterior and the engraving of Wit's End's last message to his first boyfriend and future fiance, "THE FIRST. THE LAST."

During the short amount of time that we lived in the same city, Wit's End worked at the Banana Republic in our local mall. The job granted him dual discount cards; one for himself and the other for his domestic partner. I rarely ever use my card, but I had a party to go to last weekend and I desperately needed a new outfit. Knowing that it had probably been long-canceled, I decided to try my luck. You can imagine my amusement when the sales girl looked up from her computer with and gave me the expression of someone who was about to deliver devastating news. "Your Spouse Card has been canceled, sir," she stammered. I smiled and told her that it was fine and she could dispose of the card in the trash can behind the counter. And for the first time since our break-up, I felt like Wit's End's ex-boyfriend. His chapter in my book had ended, and this scene was the epilogue.

I could see it playing out in my head as I walked out of the front room at Banana Republic and into the crowded, uncomfortable walkway of the Dillard's wing of the mall. In Wit's End's epilogue, this would be the part that wraps everything up, mentions the ring and the sales girl one more time for the reader to relate everything back to the main point, and then finally comes to a close with two words that let you know that the story is really over. THE END.