Sunday, August 29, 2010

One Year On

When I started this blog a little over one year ago, I didn’t know what lay before me. All I knew is that I had just burned out of my volunteer work (and gay life in general) at the ripe old age of 23. That’s one of the reasons why I started this blog--I wondered what lay ahead for my sexual orientation, if anything. This place has provided me with a forum where I could voice my thoughts and come to terms with an unavoidable part of my existence. One year on, a lot of wonderful observations and ideas have been expressed, many of them better in theory than in reality. I’ve made friends and lost them; I did fall hard for someone but then pulled back. All in all, another year goes by, a whirlwind of experiences. I’m perhaps just a little more bitter (if the frustrations expressed in my last posting are any indication). The good news is that I have retained my dignity: I’ve never told anyone my penis size (despite interest therein), never bothered to respond to the “top or bottom?” question that I seem to be hounded on a regular basis. And yes, perhaps correspondingly, I’ve never had any sexual relations whatsoever. I can’t complain too much, because I also know that there are many people across so much of the world that would have loved to live even my disappointing experiences. I still haven’t changed the “gay world,” and I’m not sure if I want to bother trying anymore. But that’s ok. Life has smiled fondly upon me and provided its own rewards—reasonable success at work and extensive travelling across three continents.

When I look back on my life a year ago, I realize just how much things have changed. A gentle, considerate man whom I love dearly and consider nothing less than a brother (Farid) had not yet entered my life. I also hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting all of you as well. I was just struggling, alone, forging my place in the gay world. When I finally put myself out there, I realized just how strange and foreign my perspectives of romance, monogamy and sex within the context of relationships really was to the community I was trying to assimilate into. In the end, I chose not to assimilate—my identity, my values, and my sense of self worth are more important. Like in the bar (see “First time in a Gay Bar”), I stand virtually alone in the gay world, dancing in my little corner, largely unnoticed, but proudly so. I’m happy to be here, be gay, and share what I have to share (even if there’s no reward in it). I hope I’m not being too sentimental in saying this, but at the end of the day I think I’ve found my place in the gay world, and it’s here with you.

A couple of weeks ago was the LGBT Pride Parade here in Montréal. I wrote an article about it last year, my first time at a pride parade, and shared with you the smile that came across my face when I saw a hot guy (later I learned his name is Éric) dancing joyously on top of a float. This year the blazing sun and view from the bridge was missing, but I had the pleasure to enjoy myself much more than before. Unfortunately, one family that I was supposed to meet there, the matron of which is a lovely, charming, tender bisexual girl who has been counting down the days to the parade for months, lost their cell phone and couldn’t get in touch with me. Despite this, I had what must have been the culminating experience in the history of this blog: finally meeting in person a certain fellow blogger--a bear who likes being tickled (actually, I didn’t ask him if he enjoy this kind of stimulation, although I will be sure to do that the next time I talk with him).

We had tentatively agreed to get together, after a year of virtual exchange, at the pride parade this year. Our busy schedules and my globetrotting kept us from hanging out before then, but at the last minute everything came together. I e-mailed him late in the week: hey, I just learned that the pride parade is coming up this weekend, wanna meet up? He wrote back right away, and I promised to arrive in the block he was going to be at wearing the brightest shirt I have (a red t-shirt that says “Bratislava”). This turned out to be a good thing, as it forced me to do my laundry that weekend, which I think to this date was probably the last time I did it.

By some miracle, I finally did find him after about a half-hour of searching through the crowd. I felt like such a cruiser, and people were noticing that I was staring intently at them (as if trying to derive some kind of meaning from their physical appearance). So eventually I decided to wear sunglasses (despite the dull overcast sky) so I could look around without being so obvious. Then his distinctive beard came into view, exactly like in the photos I had seen of him, except in person he seemed so much younger than he had led on in his various comments and communications. Hey Tick, enchanté! It seemed like we instantly clicked, as if we had always known each other. I learned right then and there that this guy, covered in tattoos, is as tender, fluffy, and charming as his darling kitten at heart, with a kind voice and a healthy sense of humour to boot.

The pride parade started a short time after Tickles and I met up and continued before us as a backdrop to our conversation. He’s definitely lived the pride experience before and explained the different groups that I wasn’t familiar with, while he recounted colourful stories involving some of the people marching in the parade. One example was a 40-50ish muscular man dancing in the procession, who Ticks identified as a certain Mr. Leather Montréal 1997, the very existence of which sent me into fits of laughter. What was the reward for being Mr. Leather Montréal, I asked? Apparently it means that he got to go to Chicago for a broader competition. And the reward for becoming Mr. Leather World? The grand prize, it seems, is an opportunity to play a role in porn movies. I chuckled, “that doesn’t seem like such a great reward,” and he replied, “Yeah, I know, but for some people it’s a fantasy.” On a more serious note, at one point during the parade there was a minute of silence for the victims of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Tick has known several friends who have died of AIDS (only one is still alive) and remembers the tragedy when the virus was first discovered in the 1980s—people in space suits because the disease was not well understood and the general climate of fear and uncertainty.

I stayed for the entire parade with Ticklish, a pleasure given the companionship he provides. Like the last pride parade I attended, there was certainly plenty of muscle and jiggling biceps represented at celebration this year. I think even Éric was there with his characteristic big smile as the bears strutted by. But none of them really made a lasting impression this time; I had a smile on my face before the parade even started. The physical splendour stretched out before me all seemed rather inconsequential, paling in comparison to Tick’s good company. So, looking back one year later, the adventure that this blog has provided has been worth it many times over just to have the opportunity to meet this one friend. Here’s to another year of blog entries (even if they may be infrequent at times), and as for Tick, I hope there were be many other opportunities to interact both on and off-line in the future.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

No More Mr. Nice CT!

I recently received an e-mail from a guy who contacted me online. His couple of e-mails have been rather corny and come-onish, but never in the tasteless fashion that it became tonight. Getting his latest e-mail made me physically sick, not so much because of what he said, but rather because when I first read it I was not at all disgusted. Instead I thought, having been overexposed to so much crap in the gay community for these last couple of years, that it seemed like a rather normal, friendly correspondence to receive. At least he wasn't telling me whether he was a top or bottom. Then I reacted in reading it again and wrote probably the meanest thing I've ever written in my life. But the message is clear. First, I present you with his e-mail to me (translated into English from French), then my response (in English, because I tend to resort to English when I'm pissed). For the first time in a long time, my usual politeness fails me, and ugly, raw anger comes gushing out.


Hey CT. Sorry for the delay in my response, but I have been rather busy. And no, I didn’t actually end up going Montréal to see my friend this weekend. When I do go to Montréal, I like to do it with two friends. So I will be there to see him, then to meet you. I’m hoping that you won’t wait too long in responding to me, as I’m really looking forward to seeing my other friend on the same visit, who is actually not just a friend but a fuckbuddy.

And you must think about benefiting from situations when they are offered to you. My invitation stands, but if you come here to Trois Rivières to visit the city as well as meet me, you risk seeing me in my underwear. So why have you not yet profited from a “trip” to Trois Rivières? Lol

No, it’s true that certain people lack common sense and etiquette. They think that since they are in their own home, they can remain nude, even if they have visitors. As for me, I wouldn’t act that way, simply because I would not be able to conceal my attraction for a guy, if he were to see me entirely nude. But if we can say that eyes are the windows to the soul, we could certainly say that the dick is a window to desire!

Even if I don’t engage in such behaviour, I am someone who will note the little attentions that people give me. Thus I am very touched that you have done me the honour of being in your list of invites, among those who have the power to communicate with you via your e-mail address. Thanks.

I also had a chance to go to Paris, but more within the context of a "pilgrimage." Thus I didn’t really see anything there. But I believe that we would have the advantage of meeting each other. Because like you, I love history a lot, as well as earth sciences, etc. In fact, I take a keen interest in everything, and I’m curious about everything. If it’s something that you like I would like to live it with you, to understand what makes you tick.

I am also particularly passionate in history, whether it be general history or “personal” history. Even if I don’t have an extraordinary capacity in remembering all the dates, it interests me a lot. And when I speak of “personal” history, I want to say that I would like to know where you come from, through where you have passed, your evolution… These are the things that interest me. And I don’t want you to write me about them here. I would much rather that you talk to me in person, because while you speak to me, I will love to see the expressions on your face, you regard toward me, etc….

So then, when you have the opportunity, let me know about making that meeting of ours a reality. I’m really looking forward to seeing in 3D a hot guy, who I hope, is still as handsome and bearded as in his photos.

Later,

The Dobster

My Response:

Dearest Dobster,

Thanks for writing this e-mail. It does look like you did put some time and energy into it. Unfortunately, the reason why I'm writing you in English is because it's late, I'm motivated to write you now, I type fast in English, and well, I think the reason why I'm writing in English will become clear as the e-mail devolves before you.

When I joined the website where we met, I took an "oath of humanity" in which I promised to respond, respect and be civilized to everyone who contacted me, to treat them like the real human beings that they are, no matter why they contacted me. This is because I believe that all of us do have some beauty in our souls, and that beauty deserves to be nutured, appreciated and smiled upon, even when that soul is shared online. I promised to show the people that I met the compassion and love I feel on an everyday basis (as a fundamental part of my spirituality)and be real and non-decietful with them, give them a glimpse into my everyday life, and share myself with them. I tried to do this with you, and I have to admit that you intrigued me more than most. But then this was the e-mail that I received in return. Why don't you read your e-mail to me again, really read it carefully. Does it sound like an e-mail that someone would write to another person if they took that person seriously and really respected them? Does it sound like an e-mail written between two mature adults? Would you write an e-mail like this to your boss? To your best friend? To your mother? To your grandmother? No, probably not, because these people offer you respect and love, not "desire", as you put it. It's become abundantly clear in your e-mail where I fit in this framework.

I don't really see any respect in your e-mail, nor any decency, nor any civility. What you wrote here is some of the basest content I've ever received in an internet communication, and that's saying something for someone like me who's been around the gay block. You clearly disrespect your friend, who shares with you an intimate piece of his heart, body, and soul--you hop from his bed to another friend in the same day, then to me as if I'm going to do something for you. Then you ask me to hurry up, because you're really keen on having a fuck and want to be sure to work time in for both of us. Quite frankly, at this point you wouldn't want to see the gestures and expressions on my face, as it really would be something to remember. But not a good memory, that's for sure.

If you had respected me, you would have read my profile, realized that I wasn't looking for what you are clearly expecting, and you would have left me alone. I know it's a rather novel, if not tragic, thought, and I'm a rather tiny minority in this sexually-disgusting sub-culture that gay men seem to have created for themselves, but I don't engage in sexual relations outside of a loving, stable relationship. That is to say, if I am going to engage in intimacy (sexual or otherwise) with another man, it's going to be with someone that I love. No ifs, ands, or buts. Full stop. Love takes time, it takes energy, investment, sacrifice, experience together, trust, committment, and fidelity. I'm not sure if you know much about any of these things. Quite frankly, I'm not sure if you know much about anything at all, as you seem to spend an awful lot of time talking about how intellectually curious you are, yet you clearly have nothing to say on the subjects that you are so curious about. Back to the gay issue--you might think me homophobic. That I am not--I love being gay. It's different, it's quirky, it's natural, it feels right. There's one gay man I love more than any other, and it's me. And I love myself enough not to sacrifice my love and my identity for something cheap that I can honestly (yes, it is possible!) live without. And I will wait until I find what I'm looking for. If I don't find it, I will die alone a miserable, ugly, proud man. In sending me such an inappropriate e-mail, you've violated what's best about your own humanity as well as mine, and I am now justified in breaking my own "oath of humanity."

By the way, I'm glad you didn't contact my other friend from Trois-Rivières. He may have an unhealthy attraction to the radio, but quite frankly, he deserves better. And as for me, well, I'm sorry, but you're going to have to find another beard.....

I am removing you from my list of MSN contacts. You may feel free to respond to this e-mail, but I will not under any circumstances be writing back.

CT