I’d been a resident of the city for less than an hour when Tim messaged me on Grindr.
Halfway through breaking down a column of cardboard boxes in my new apartment, I heard the telltale chirp from underneath a pile of winter coats. “You’re new,” he said. “I’m barely here,” I responded. I recognized his pic from Facebook and quickly deduced that we are already friends. “Ryan,” I said. “I know,” he said. “Tim.” I bit my bottom lip. “I know.”
I didn’t really know that much about him, other than he was dating a friend of a friend. But he was beautiful, that was for sure. “You’re close,” he said. “Just moved into The Saulet,” I responded. “Where are you?” “I’m at the corner of Baronne,” he said. “A block away.” I looked around at the apartment and saw bare walls and anthills of my crap everywhere. “I’ve got a lot of unpacking to do,” I said. “Maybe we can grab a drink later. “Sure,” he said. “Let me welcome you to the neighborhood.”
I fell asleep early that night and woke around 6AM under a steady beam of sunlight funneling in from across the Mississippi. I rode my bike to my first day of work and arrived at the office before anyone else. I settled in at my desk and tapped opened Grindr. Tim was 104 feet away and presently online. “Where are you?” I asked. He immediately responded, “At my office. Corner of Magazine and Poydras.” I looked out my window to see if he was watching me. “That’s so weird,” I said. “So am I.” He didn’t respond for a few moments and the replied, “Well I guess we’re going to run into each other sooner or later. Wanna swing by my place after work? I asked for his address and spent the rest of the day confined to my desk — terrified I’d run into him in the hallway on the one day I forgot to wear deodorant.
The trick to dressing for sex is looking relaxed, but confident. I am neither, but should appear as such. I don’t overthink it: a pair of gym shorts without underwear; the man’s lingerie. Very practical. Oh, and a T-shirt from high school to appear youthful and nostalgic. Then I slap on some deodorant and try not to sweat a lot on the walk over to his place.
He was hotter than his pictures and that made me anxious and sweaty. His modern, impeccably decorated loft didn’t make me feel any less inadequate and unsuccessful, either. Whenever I meet a guy at his place for the first time, I immediately ask for a tour. This ensures perpetual moving and talking and the last stop in his bedroom. This went the way it’s supposed to and I flopped onto his bed; kicking off my shoes and sucking in my stomach. He wordlessly scooted in next to me and I felt the weight of what was about to happen. “So,” I said. “How's work going—” and before I can ask the question, he grabbed my face with both hands and kissed me.
He rolled on top of me and pinned down my wrists with the steak-sized palms of his hands. He let one hand go free while he snapped open my fly, one button at a time. I used my free hand to pull a handful of hair — guiding my tongue around the inside of his mouth. Then, from my back, I pushed both of us onto our knees while he shimmed my shorts around my thighs.
When it was over, we made uncomfortable small talk while I washed his ass off my face in the bathroom. And here, I realized that it was my second night in a new city and I’d already had a solid hook-up with an incredibly attractive guy. There was a lot to appreciate about it: the effortless fluidity, the reciprocated climaxes, and how I’d achieved this without being under an influence. But it felt finite. I saw us passing in the halls at work or washing our hands next to one another in the bathroom and purposefully discounting what just happened. This wouldn’t turn into anything and that was okay with both of us, I’m sure. But there’s something grave about coming to a stopping place when you’ve just created a fresh start. New Orleans might be new to me, but this feeling of vacancy is like an old friend. I’m barely here.
He talked about his weekend plans while I made my way to the door. I shook his hand for calculated distance and turned my back before I could watch him close the door. Then I bounced down the front steps and called my best friend to tell him about everything I’d done and everything I was going to do next.