Monday, May 23, 2011

Sincerely Over It

Every morning I leave my apartment, lock the door behind me, and trot down the stairs until I land on a concrete slab. I round my building, and depending on the shoes I’m wearing, I either take the sidewalk or cut through the grass. My Jeep is on the opposite side of my building and I usually have to walk about thirty steps from my front door to reach the driver’s side handle. On my stroll through grass or sidewalk, my eyes look for the windshield of my car. And I don’t break my stare until I can establish whether or not there’s a piece of paper under the windshield wiper. Once I know that there isn’t a note, I’m free to look anywhere and my mind to return to un-paranoia.

One of my exboyfriends has a habit of leaving notes on my car. It started when we were dating. I would be in a University Program Council meeting and unable to accept his calls for several hours, and when I’d return to my car in the evening, there’d be a note. The messages were always sugary and never consisted of more than five or so words. A year has passed since our break-up and he still leaves little reminders that he’s alive. The last note said “Cross your heart. Cross it!” and ended with a heart and his signature. He wrote this message on back of a Gulf Coast Bank statement, and on the reverse, he’d scratched out his account information with a ballpoint pen. Which was really charming.

I wish I’d saved some of his notes from break-up box hell. I’d make a collage of his sweet poetry and mail it back to him with my own love letter. I’d write the words in black ink on simple, wide ruled paper and each letter would be as big as my middle finger. And then when he’d open the FedEx box and sift through the styrofoam packaging peanuts, and he’d find my note taped to a framed mosaic of paper-mache heartbeats. And the note would read,

“Write me off. Sincerely over it.”

And then the camera would cut to me walking in slow motion down a busy Manhattan sidewalk while my boobs and hair leisurely bounce and “The Blower’s Daughter” plays in the background. And I wouldn’t look behind me. Just right into the camera. Fade to black. Roll credits.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Look Dad, No Shame!

Growing up in New Orleans, my dad dragged me red afro-first into every organized sport that Terrytown Playground offered. Between the ages of five and thirteen, I alternated seasons between baseball, soccer, basketball, and football. Once high school began, I used my conditioning skills and knowledge of sportsman-like conduct to take up wrestling. I wasn’t any good, but I was a part of a state-winning team two years in a row and earned my varsity letterman jacket after three years. In college I swam, ran, and practiced yoga. This discipline to always be engaged in some sort of physical activity is attributed one hundred percent to my father.

My dad coached me in every sport. Even when I was wrestling, he could coach me from our living room on my form and technique, even though he’d never set foot on a mat. My dad is the absolute definition of athleticism. Even today at 56, he can outrun, outswim, and outperform me or my little brother without even taking off his Brass Boot loafers. He is what most men would call “a badass.”

Dad taught me many things about the relationship between becoming a man and athletics, but the most important (and probably misguided) lesson that I live by is this:

You either win or you don’t win.

Let me clarify: Not winning doesn’t equal losing. It just means that you didn’t win. Which is worse.

I was at a party the other night and around the part when everyone was gathering their escalating hammered-ness and heading downtown, the drunkest girl in the room got a text from her exboyfriend. She began screaming and fist-pumping her phone in exaltation, while all of us looked on with confusion and annoyance. She twirled in a circle and yelled “I won! I won!” until finally someone asked her what was going on. Apparently she and her boyfriend had broken up several months before, and he’d just texted her to see how things were going. She said that they hadn’t spoken since Christmas and that this was the first contact that either one of them had attempted. This, she equated with “winning.”

Drunk Girl’s exhibition may have appeared bananas to some of the party guests, but I knew where she was coming from. You see, Drunk Girl and I both come from a background in athletics where you either win or you don’t win. After a nearly four-month Mexican stand-off, her exboyfriend contacted her, and in accordance with the laws of dating, she won the break-up. After watching Drunk Girl gleefully bounce around the room and chug her White Zinfandel from a plastic cup, I gave her a hug and congratulated her on the victory. I’d been in her shoes many times before, and I wanted her to know that her patience had paid off and she deserved to celebrate.

I’ve won more break-ups than I’ve not won, and I feel like a few are still in play. But winning doesn’t just mean that you hold out until they text you. After a certain point, if neither party contacts the other, other factors need to be considered in determining a winner. For me, I consider the following: changes in appearances since break-up, current relationship status, quality of new relationship versus old relationship, progression of self, and finally, happiness. If they outscore me on their evaluation, then I concede defeat and congratulate them quietly on a good game. Not really. I jog around the block until I dry heave, and then I feel too skinny to cry about it.

I’m sure my father would feel less than excited to see how his first born son has unraveled the wisdom he’s tried so desperately to instill in him. Other lessons that I’ve completely misinterpreted:

Date around a little before you decide to settle down. Cut to me with three boyfriends in the same city.

Grey Goose is the standard of vodka. Drink it on ice with two olives. Cut to me waking up in my car on a weekday with a puddle of urine at my feet.

Fuck what people think when you’re on vacation. You’ll never have to see them again. Cut to me on a bar in Playa del Carmen without pants.

I love my dad and I love our system of win/no win. It works for us, and most importantly, it helps cut out the gray area that that tends to bog most people down. And in the cloudy, hemorrhoid-inducing world of boy-on-boy dating, it helps to have a system that works.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Welcome to Ferriday

I met my first boyfriend at a gay bar on Bourbon Street. What do you want from me? I'm not running for Jesus, here.

Like most of life's milestones, it was a complete chance encounter that happened as a series of events unexpectedly came together. I wasn't even supposed to go out that night.

I was on my way home from a long night of waiting tables when my friend Lesly called me to meet her at Oz. I told her probably not, but then reconsidered when I came home to an empty house. I was under the strobe lights within twenty minutes.

We were sitting at a two-person table near an opening in the wall that overlooked the dancefloor when I saw him.

I remember saying something like, "Jesus, the dude looks shitfaced." He was the only guy in sea of shirtless men who 1.) was younger than 30 and 2.) had all of his clothes on. He was also the cutest guy I'd seen in real life. His little blonde mop top was shooting around like a pinball from shirtless bearded man to shirtless bearded man. The look on his face said "I've had multiple handgrenades and I'm having trouble living right now."

By the time I was trashed enough to start dancing, I'd stopped keeping tabs on his whereabouts. And then he bumped into me.

He looked me dead in the eyes and said, " Can you please pretend to be my boyfriend so this fucking weirdo will stop grabbing on me?" He motioned to the six foot tall bear behind him and grabbed my hand with his. I pulled him close to me, smiled, and started grinding until Fuzzy McGee got the hint and pranced away.

He asked me to be his real-life boyfriend a week later.

I started calling him Ferriday, his hometown and source of his thick, Central Louisiana twang. Our relationship only lasted a few months, but it stressed me out more than the time I thought Wit's End gave me gonorrhea. It also taught me everything I'd ever need to know about my boundaries and my threshold for patience.

Our relationship may or may not have completely wasted me for all the men that followed, but he helped me become the lovable chauvinist with a heart of gold that writes a blog about being a shitty boyfriend.

...and now he's the fiancé of a 49 year-old lawyer in Lake Charles. Everyone wins.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why I'm Awesome/An Asshole

I was seeing this guy for a few weeks before he left the country for spring break with some friends. His plane hadn’t even touched down in Mexico before I was in Andy’s bed.

Andrew Oppenheimer stood about 5 feet 4 inches and looked like a miniature version of the guy I was currently dating. I saw him dancing wildly like one of those hippies at Jazzfest under the flashing lights of the bar. I immediately glanced at my group of friends, pointed with two fingers at the crazy little man with the white mohawk, and screamed “DIBS!”

I asked a mutual friend to introduce us, and he did. I was dressed in my standard going-out/living uniform: Ralph Lauren button down, backwards camouflage Texas A&M hat, colored J.Crew chino shorts, and auburn loafers. Some queers would call it “straightboy drag,” but I’ve been dressing like some sloppy fratboy since I was old enough pair khaki with seafoam. I blame my father. It’s not really a “look” so much as it is “laziness.” Fratboy chic is like the tofu of guy fashion. I can wear this shit to a bar, or church, or work. Sometimes in that order without washing anything.

Meanwhile, I was certain that I was going to screw Andy within the first few minutes of meeting him. But for the sake of making this as “organic” as possible, I flirted and made him laugh as much as I could. I was committed to making this happen whether he liked it or not. And I’m pretty sure he did. Because we were making out on wall near the door before I had time to shake his and had and say “Nice to meet you. My name [sloppy kissing noises].”

I scammed him into letting me and six friends stay at his apartment so that we didn’t have to drive back home hammered. I wore his San Antonio High School gym shorts without a shirt, and he wore a matching set of UT Austin pajamas. Remember that time I said I tend to ignore big red flags? Case in point: matching set of UT Austin pajamas. Before we slept together the first time, I told him that I was sort-of talking to someone. He said that it was ultimately my decision that I would have to live with. So I put on some clothes, rustled up my friends (most of which had brought other strange men to Andy’s apartment), and drove back home smiling with my head held high. And that’s how I began my life of in the clergy.

After me and my clan of horny misfits left in the morning, I gave Andy my number and we continued to talk and meet up at my place or his for the next few weeks. Then one Saturday while I was in New Orleans, I got trashed and tried calling and texting him to let me come over. He didn’t respond, so I did the logical thing — barge in on him. Unfortunately, the front gate at his complex was locked, so I hopped the iron fence and landed on my ass in a mud puddle. I picked myself up, mounted the stairs to his apartment, and began to pound (not knock) on the door. After standing there covered in mud-sweat and swaying with extreme obliteration for a solid five minutes, I got tired and drove home. 

Andy texted me the next night to chastise me for showing up unannounced. And when I told him that a simple response to my texts would have prevented me from showing up, he told me that he couldn’t text me when he was his boyfriend. I stood in my living room with the phone next to my ear for several seconds before hanging up.

“Cheating asshole,” I thought as I tossed my phone onto my bed and walked into the other room where my boyfriend was watching TV.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's cool. We go way back.

The Lord works in tragic, effed-up ways. I feel like he’s a big ‘ol drag queen with a pension for being a big messy spectacle. But like a drag queen with a mean streak, God has sense of humor. How else could you explain YouTube videos of monkeys riding miniature horses or Ke$ha? Fortunately for God, I have a sense of humor, too. Especially when the joke is on me. Prime example: within the last 24 hours, I've talked to McBougie, Wit's End, and The Dean. Didn't think I knew when the joke was on me? Do better next time.

First off, my encounter with McBougie is so beyond fucked up that I'm currently unable to recount the story because of it's too-soon-ness. I promise to come back to it one day, but it's so disturbing that I'm uncomfortable even mentioning that anything happened. I blame all the wonderfully shameless canned margaritas that I perpetually shotgunned over the weekend. Damn you Festival! Any event that causes your exboyfriend to dunk text you about how much he loves/misses you & your family is a product of terrorism. You beat me again, Festival. And worst of all, you made me hook up with my least favorite ex. Frowny face with a greater than symbol before the colon for angry eyebrows.

Now that you're both bewildered and desperate for details, I'll move on and pretend that the proceeding paragraph never happened. Winky face.

I spontaneously decided to do some apartment purging when I got home from work yesterday. My parents spent Saturday night at my apartment, and in preparation for their arrival, I had to hide everything incriminating. Which meant the only things mom and dad saw when they walked into my bedroom were a mattress and some exposed wires hanging out of a hole in the ceiling. After they left the next day, I realized that some of this shit had to go. Now.

While cleaning out my side table, I came across old undergraduate papers, unused scantrons, and some things that caused me stop what I was doing and take a seat on the couch. On the coffee table before me were laid out the follow three items:

1.) A large white binder that The Dean had passed down to me when I inherited his position as a student activities chair at UL.
2.) A collection of poetry that McBougie had given me for our first Christmas together.
3.) A homemade book made from construction paper, tape, photos printed at Walgreen’s, and words that were clipped from magazines.

The childish, homemade construction paper book was a gift from Wit's End. He made it for me the day after he told me he was moving back to Houston. My consolation prize.

I immediately called The Dean to ask if he wanted his binder back (for sentimental reasons). He sounded annoyed and told me chuck it. Fantastic, I thought. I congratulated myself for bring such a considerate exboyfriend and shoved that bastard into the trash bag.

Being that I'd just had such a stimulating conversation with The Dean, and an empowering, magical "get together" with McBougie the day before, I decided to go for the hat trick and give Wit's End a call.

Oh, by the way, yesterday was May 2, 2011 — the one-year anniversary of my break-up with McBougie...and the day I met Wit's End. No joke. Same day, 4 hours apart. Sorry to bury the lead like this.

Considering this special date and the unusual circumstances, (just finding 3 books in my nightstand that seemed to be perfect metaphors for the men that had gifted them to me) I knew this had to be a sign from Gaga.

Wit's End and I talked for about fifteen minutes. And after we hung up, I felt like things were suddenly a lot less fuzzy. Wit's End wasn't poisonous like McBougie or complacent like The Dean. He's slutty, simple, sketchy, and a bad liar. But he is arguably my favorite. And he is still mine in some alternate universe. And I bet we're happy there.

I decided to keep the other two books after tossing The Dean's away as per his request. They'd escaped break-up box inferno and they would live another day.

I moved my copy of Tina Fey's Bossypants from on top of my comforter before flopping onto my bed and putting in my earbuds. I listened to some Rilo Kiley and Matt & Kim, and quietly wondered if Wit's End had made it home from the tanning salon yet.

And then my phone buzzed twice and lit up.