Friday, February 22, 2013

The Answer Is Yes

I lean out the driver's side window and scream loud enough for the black guys on the corner to hear me, "You could easily pass for 22!"

Maggie stumbles over her own feet and turns towards me, brushing the curly red hair out of her eyes. I might have oversold the compliment, but in this moment, she really could pass for 22. She looks like someone I went to college with, a Tri Sigma from my British Literature class. She’s standing in front of a backdrop of banana leaves and backlit with porch lights, holding her shoes in her hand and panting from the jog from my car to her front door. Maggie is pretty, and youthful, and drunk, and she wants to go to bed, but she's sincere when she asks me if l really want to fuck what I can pass for.

I don’t understand what the fuck she means, but I yell back to her before she reaches the door handle. “I guess not! Fine, you look your age! You look 30! Would you fuck yourself now!?” She’s almost inside, and she calls back without looking, “I’d fuck the best version of myself, but I don’t know her yet! Night!”

I light a cigarette and pull the smoke to the back of my throat, exhaling through my nostrils before letting it go any further. I’ve been smoking like this since I was 13 years old, never letting the smoke into my lungs and mostly just cycling it from my mouth to my nose and into the air. Because I am both an asthmatic and a pussy. It should be noted that the person who gave me my first cigarette is dead now. He was my childhood best friend and the first guy I ever experimented with. The last time I saw him, we were in the living room of his mom’s house trading oral for oral and watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with the sound off — it was 2010. Then, last summer, he overdosed on Oxy and never made it to the hospital. Max wasn’t gay, but he took general thrill in “deviant” behavior like male/male sex and shooting up heroin — anything to put him on the fringe. We lived around the corner from each other in a tree-littered subdivision on the Westbank of New Orleans, and went to the same boys Catholic school across the river. We were painfully average, and Max resented that. He died the way he lived. Looking for a way out.

I pull into my driveway and notice that Maggie texted me to make sure I made it home. I tell her I have, and I let myself in the side door. On the kitchen table, there’s a red, heart-shaped box with a Great American Cookie Company logo on the side of it. I eat the clumps of red and brown icing and take my shirt off on the way to my room. I flop onto my bed and scroll through the night’s texts:
There’s Maggie.
Then John.
Then the gymnastics coach from Ruston.
Then the guy who lives with his boyfriend in Monroe, who I think I love. 
Then my recently exed boyfriend, Heath.
Then Wesley, who I used to date and still text.
And finally, Dixon. 

I see smiley faces, and dick pics, and lies, and I wonder if I would really fuck who I'm passing for. I wonder about all of us. Is Maggie passing for 22? Is Max passing for an escape artist? Am I passing for genuine? Would any of us fuck (or even like) the people we're projecting?

Whoever I'm passing for is disembarking this train of thought. Dixon's dick pic got me semi, and now I won't be able to sleep without taking care of it, first. I send him a text that says, "Goodnight, stud," and then I send the same text to the gymnastics coach, the guy in Monroe, Heath, and Wesley. 

I put down my phone and stagger to the kitchen wearing Heath's cobalt blue trunks and a half-boner, compliments of Dixon. I finish the remaining icing clumps and wonder if jacking-off after all my introspect is the same as fucking the person I'm passing for.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Just The Three Of Us

I couldn’t find a single pair of clean underwear, so I popped the tag off the jock strap, slipped it around my hips, and finished getting ready for work.

Around 3PM, I got a text from Dixon, the guy from Baton Rouge with the demon beagle that tried to chew my face.

Dixon: Wanna come to BR tn?

Me: Drive an hour to screw between dog attacks? I’m good.

Dixon: Locke is coming into town. We could all play. Don’t know if that’s ur thing lol.

Me: Who’s Locke?

Dixon: My boyfriend. Thought u knew.

Me: I didn’t. My thing? Threesomes give me anxiety. I’m losing enough hair as it is.

Dixon: How bout dinner and cocktails and if it happens, it happens.

Me: I HATE THAT WORD! JUST SAY ‘DRINKS’ LIKE A MAN! Ugh. Idk. Suggest a fancy restaurant and offer to pay, and I’ll consider dinner. Just dinner.

Dixon: P.F. Chang’s?

Me: …Goddammit. When?

In the time between Dixon’s invitation and the drive to Baton Rouge, I changed my mind every ten minutes. I also smoked half a pack of cigarettes, smacked gum, and flicked through my “Chingy and Friends” Spotify playlist without really listening to anything. I felt hornets in my belly and I couldn’t stop cracking my knuckles against the steering wheel. What the fuck was I doing? Was I seriously driving to a potential threesome with some guy I’ve met once and his stranger boyfriend? No. It’s just dinner, right? And if dinner goes awry, I’ll just say I have to piss, then run outside and drive away. I secured back-up plans just in case things got weird. Juneau and his friends were going to Radio Bar, and he said I could meet them after “dinner with my pals from art school.” But for now, my plan is to eat lettuce wraps, get to know some new people, and drink myself into a nice, warm blackout.

The hostess showed me to the table where Dixon and Locke were already sitting across from bubbly, amber highball glasses. They both stood when I walked up and smiled at me when I extended my hand to introduce and re-introduce myself. At the age of 32, Dixon could pass for a 22-year-old Abercrombie model, but Locke was so attractive that I almost forgot my name when he took my hand. And I knew in my heart that without the persuasion of his boyfriend, he would probably never have sex with me in the real world. So I cranked up the funny, turned down the lisp, and tried really hard keep my farts to myself.

I could tell they genuinely liked me, and I liked them too. They were smart, clean, and non-threatening — like dolphins with really sexy forearms. I felt comfortable and probably didn't have to get shattered to deal with the thinly veiled intensity, but I did anyway. Locke picked up the check, and we got up to leave. In that moment, I wondered what everyone else in the restaurant thought about us. Three clearly gay men eating dinner and coyly eye-fucking each other. Where we that obvious? Or were we getting away with something? If I saw myself in the wild, I wouldn't peg me for someone that has group sex — irritable bowel syndrome, maybe, but definitely not group sex. Suddenly, I wanted to tell everyone to fuck off for misjudging me. Because tonight I'm drunk, I'm full of Singapore Street Noodles, and I'm going home and have sex with two dolphins.

Taken in the bar bathroom. Total foreshadowing.

By the time we made it to Dixon’s apartment, it was after 2AM, and I was swaying. We stood around the living room while Dixon flipped through the On-demand movie channel and landed on Super 8. “I’m done, guys,” I said, adjusting the strap of my backpack and yawning. Locke put his arm around me and said, “Alright. Let’s go to bed.” Dixon turned off the TV and I followed them up the stairs. I set down my bag, kicked off my shoes, and turned to see Locke wearing green boxer briefs and spread facedown across the bed. Fuck, this was really happening. My back to them, I unbuckled my belt and dropped my pants. "Wow, someone came prepared for 'just dinner,'" said Dixon, amused. I looked down and noticed I was still wearing the jock strap. If this didn't sell the message that I was clearly DTF, then I don't know what would. I spun around so my fully-exposed ass faced the wall, but then realized how little I was filling out the front, so I covered my junk with both hands, crab-walked over to the bed, and slipped under the sheets.

I'd like to say what followed was awkward, silly fumbling, but it wasn't. It was actually kind of awesome and fluid and more Vicki Christina Barcelona than Sean Cody. The demon beagle crashed into the bedroom three times and we paused while Dixon removed it. Finally, we wound down and I crashed under my own exhaustion.

I woke up in a pane of pale, morning light with Dixon on my left, Locke on my right, and the demon beagle at my feet. It was difficult for me to breathe, so I crawled over Locke and fished my inhaler out of my toiletry bag. In the bathroom, my face was red and splotchy, and my top lip swollen. My dog dander allergy was maxed out, and I realized that these people nightly slept with their animal in the bed. I'd probably spent the night sucking in a smattering of dog hair. I felt a little better after a shot of Albuterol to my system, but I needed to breathe some fresh air. So I quietly grabbed my shit and tiptoed to Dixon's side of the bed. "I'm out," I whispered. "Thank you. This was..." I trailed off and smirked, looking for the right words. He smiled at me, rubbed his eyes, and said, "A lot to take in?" He rose up and kissed me on the cheek. "I'll see you soon," I stuttered. "Tell Locke I said goodbye." He said he would and I bounced down the stairs, out the door, and into the daylight.

I embarrass myself on a daily basis. I fall in love, and say too much, and test my relationship with God, and find new avenues on which to lose my way. But on the drive back home to Lafayette, I didn’t feel like I’d done anything to fray my moral fiber. I felt confident, and grounded, and empowered, and strangely enough — fearless. Then, I imagined what it would be like to be in a three-way/long-distance relationship with Dixon and Locke, and I’m back to popping knuckles and smacking gum. I’m not cut-out for that kind of lifestyle.

It’s just a fantasy.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Collaboration Crush

Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday behind my birthday, Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco De Mayo, Jazz Fest Weekend, April Fool's Day, Voodoo Fest, Winehouse Wednesday, $2 Fish Taco Day, Brunch, Sleigh Bells Concert, Boudin Eating Contest, and my 2PM dumpout.

But seriously, it's up there. When I was waiting tables at Johnny Carino's, I would actually request to work doubles on Valentine's Day so that I could be around happy couples all day. Single or taken, I find a way to celebrate it. Because love is the most important resource we — *DRY HEAVE*

This year, with the help of my friend, Blake Lagneaux, and Black Sheep Illustration, I created Valentine's Day cards for my closest friends and fans of the blog. I also sent some to my exboyfriends, because opening old wounds is fun on a bun.

Happy Vag Day, fucksticks.

Down Boy/Boy Down

This motherfucker’s dog won’t stop jumping on me, and I’m trying not to kick it in the balls.

Dixon walks out of the kitchen with a glass of something red and offers me a cocktail. It’s ten in the morning. On a normal Sunday around this time, I’d be choking down chicken and waffles with cheap champaign, but John’s still asleep at home, and I’m too hungover and insecure to eat brunch by myself. I wouldn’t really know where to go, anyway. Baton Rouge isn’t exactly foreign, but I’m still kind of foggy and I’m not in the mood to fuck with UrbanSpoon. Plus, I’m wearing black, mesh micro-shorts and I’m carrying a half-pound of pink glitter in my hair. I’m ripe for the fagbashing. I wince when he says cocktail because I hate it when grown men: A.) Drink colorful mixed drinks and B.) Refer to them as “cocktails.” It just sounds fruity. Well, it probably is fruity, but there’s no sense in making your Sea Breeze feel more feminine than it already is. I’m craving Absolut, but I don’t want to scare him with my shotgun from the bottle, so I decline and sit on the arm of the sofa. The dog is still mauling me.

He (the guy, not the dog) is wearing black-rimmed glasses, knee-length, drawstring shorts with a blue stamp of a bird across the upper calf, and no shirt. His Grindr said his name was Dixon and he was 32, and since I was already his Facebook friend, I knew it was true. He’s shorter than me by about three inches, making him around 5’5, but he’s perfectly proportioned and free of those tiny, empanada hands that short guys have and that I hate more than the word “cocktail.” Looking at him, he doesn’t appear old enough to rent a car. He’s not really my type, but he’s very handsome. He sits across from me on the love seat and takes an easy sip of his ladydrink.

“So. Did you go to the parade yesterday?” he asks me with a wide smile, ignoring the beagle who’s eating my face.

“Yeah, it was bananas,” I say. “My first Spanish Town. I’m still feelings like crap. My best friend’s still shattered at home in bed and I was just bored I guess. I think you and I are friends on Facebook.”

“Sofia, down!” he screams and claps his hands at the dog. “Yeah, I noticed. Lafayette, right? You write a blog. It’s funny. SOFIA, LEAVE HIM ALONE! I’m sorry, she’s four months old — still a baby.”

I try to nod so he understands I’m paying attention, but all my energy is spent keeping this animal close to the floor. I never know how to handle other people’s pets. I just as soon let a dog, or cat, or goldfish molest me in front of my host before kicking it away or screaming in its face. How to deal with an ineffective disciplinarian’s hyperactive dog in their home should be taught in grammar schools.

"You read my blog?! Seriously? You read my blog and you still invited me over to your house to do stuff? JESUSGIVEMEAFUCKINGBREAK!" The dog writhes for a second and Dixon looks at me over his glass of cranberry diarrhetic. "Let's go upstairs," he says.

"That would be great."

His bedroom is spartan with no art on the walls or piles of laundry on the floor. I sit on the nondescript, white bedspread and kick off my shoes. He joins me from the other side and rolls onto his back. I don't think we've engaged in enough small talk to make ourselves feel better about what's about to happen, so I ask a few more questions and he volleys them right back. Eventually, I kiss him and it begins and ends as effortlessly as kicking off my shoes. Nothing special — plain white rice. He had one of those sliding mirror closets, which I definitely watched more than him. When it was over, I excused myself to the bathroom where I redressed and splashed cold water on my face. In the mirror, my eyes are bloodshot (probably from the dog dander), and pink glitter is visible down to my scalp. "Happy Mardi Gras," I tell myself. We smile at each other when I return and I tell him that I'm going back to sleep. I'm not, but I want to leave and I don't know what else to say. He walks me to the door and I side-hug him while glaring across the room at the mutt trotting towards us. "See you soon," I mutter.

Outside, it's colder than I remember. John will probably sleep until 2PM, so I guess I'll eat something on my own. I think I saw some French Onion Dip in his parents' fridge. Maybe there are chips, too. I should probably text that guy from last night or at least respond to his friend request. He was nice. Much more interesting than Dixon. He was a good kisser. I think I like him. I think about Heath. I wonder if he's okay. Valentine's Day is coming up and I hope he's not taking our break-up as hard as me. I hope he's not leaving a stranger's apartment right now. He's better than that. I'm better than that, too. But for now, I need this. I need time to scab over, and I need to distract myself until something shakes me up again.

Maybe I'll get a puppy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rick Ross

I lean across the table and stage-whisper to John, “I think he’s looking back at me!” John pulls his eyebrows together and purses his lips into a duckbill. “Jean jacket and jeans?” He shakes his head and rolls his eyes in tandem. “No. He's not.” “He’s stupid hot. And so tall! What do you think, six-three?” I crane my neck and look at no one in particular behind him. “I think you just want him to look back at you. And uncross your legs. You’re scaring all the dicks away.” Now John’s stage-whispering too.

I uncross my legs, but continue to stare. He may have stolen that outfit from the Brokeback Mountain wardrobe trailer, but he is one of the sexiest men I’ve seen in the wild. I reach for my tie’s knot and loosen it with two yanks, rolling my neck and closing my eyes toward the night sky. “I’m fucking choking. We could’ve gotten away with wearing tank tops to that goat ranch wedding,” I whine. Between the “V” of his fingers, John flips his cigarette and blows a steady stream of smoke between us. “Wanna go to Marley’s? No one’s here.”

“He’s here.” I flick my ash and raise the joe to my lips, nodding to the cowboy on the other side of the patio. He’s standing at a round, high-top table across from two microgays who are visibly drooling while little red hearts pop above their empty, flat-ironed heads. I can’t really make out what he’s saying, but I can hear the sound of his voice. It’s deep and clunky with no hint of a lisp or inflection. His words seem to land on the tabletop with matter-of-fact thuds. I caught full sight of his face on my walk to our table, but now, I’ve only got his profile. Still, his features are soft and deliberate. He could easily pass for an actor on The CW network — maybe for a teen soap called something like Goodbye, Beaverton or Cow Pies for Sutton. He would be the dangerous, older ranch hand who woos Miranda Cosgrove’s city girl-turned-champion-bull-rider. I wouldn’t watch it, but I’d probably see him on Tom & Lorenzo standing before a step-and-repeat and think, “I don’t know who he is, but I’d totally let him in. What the fuck is Cow Pies for Sutton?”

“C’mon. Let’s take a walk,” says John, rising to his feet and flicking the smoldering butt over the balcony. I follow him through the glass doors and across the empty dance floor. “I need to close out,” he barks to the strikingly beautiful transgender woman behind the bar. I lean against John and stick my hands into the pockets of my jacket, resting my head against his shoulder. “I’m ready when you are,” I yell over the assaulting house music. “Aw, don’t go yet!” booms a stony, drum of a voice behind me. I bite my bottom lip and slowly turn to face him. “Hey man,” he says. “You leavin?”

At point blank range, the cowboy is textbook-handsome. And seeing his face makes me instantly aware of how fat and hammered I am. But I have to focus. Charming strange men is one of the few things I can do with my eyes closed besides jacking-off and listening to girls. So I shift my weight to my hip and flip my invisible bangs. “Yeah we’re already late. We were supposed to meet some friends for Boys Night twenty minutes ago.” I never break eye contact. Neither does he. He cocks his head, half-grins, and takes a gulp of his Budweiser. I can tell he's the type of guy who has never taken a sip of anything in his life. He's never sipped, or primped, or groomed, or swished, or brunched. He's never said "breeder," or "gayby," or "Miss Thing," or "fierce," or "disco nap." He's never expressed the need to "have a kiki." Oh, of this I'm sure. But this doesn't scare me. I know his type well. And since he's still staring at me after hearing my shrill, lispy voice, I know there won't be any heavy lifting. He likes guys like me, so that's all I have to be. This might even be easy.

The cowboy drives an F-250, like he would. He says his name is Rick Ross and that he's in town for two weeks for training — something having to do with measuring shale or teaching third grade or Mutton Bustin'. "Is your name really Rick Ross? Do people give you shit for that?" I ask with my head hanging out the window, trying desperately not to womit in front of this man. "You can see my ID if you want," he offers, reaching for his back pocket. "Nah, I believe you. Make a left up here. It's the blue house with the tin roof." We park and he follows me into the house. I stumble into my room and flick the lights on. I was drunk two hours ago. Now I'm just woozy and drenched. I wrestle off my shirt and twist to crack my back. I catch my reflection in the mirror and think, "Bruh. You look like Prince Harry on K right now, but this beautiful ranch hand from Nebraska is in your room. You can either screw him or pass out. Either way, you've already won, stud." Rick Ross smiles at me in the mirror and then asks where the bathroom is. It's the next door on the left. Alone now, I lift my leg and release the fart I've been holding since closing my tab, then I slip into gym shorts, and wipe the fronts of my teeth with a towel I find on the floor.

Everything I've learned from my decade of dating has taught me to never dig through someone's  personal affects. From inboxes to search histories, you're guaranteed to discover something scary every time — even if it's just your own insecurity. I know this, but I still grab his circa 1776 LG Scoop and scan the outgoing messages. This is a picture of the last message he sent to a name I didn't recognize:

When he finally returns from the bathroom, I'm wrapped in covers and facing the wall. He curls up behind me and he nuzzles my neck. I know I smell like a biker bar, but he still tells me I smell nice. He grinds and pokes me for a good ten minutes before he starts snoring. I carefully look over my shoulder to check the time, but the glowing, green numbers are obscured by a tiny bottle on my nightstand. I squint and quickly recognize the label. It's lube. But how'd it get there? Did he transport it from his truck or was he carrying it in his jean jacket pocket all night? The thought of a person casually walking around in public with a travel-size bottle of lube in his pocket gives me the willies. But I strangely find comfort in the idea that, technically, anyone could be carrying lube on his or her person at any time. It's like the idea that any abandoned trash bag on the side of the road can have a baby in it, or any closed box can be filled with dildos.

Although he might have appeared to stand out from the herd, Rick Ross The Cowboy was nothing special. He might not have ever worn an infinity scarf or cried at a BeyoncĂ© concert, but he was a lot like me — an aimless fag who's still looking for something exciting or someone to impress.

And while his sex appeal might make him a heartthrob on The CW, I sleep easier knowing that my unique look might qualify me for casting on a network with better quality of viewership. I remind myself to email Ryan Murphy my headshot  before slipping into a dream about gay zombies in the old west.