Loving Men-Ghosts

In my sleep, I’m haunted by ghosts.

Sometimes it’s Luciano; he’s come home late after an evening with friends. I hear the IMG_0358door close and I can hear the clang of his belt as the weight of his pockets draws his jeans to the floor; I can feel his shirt being stripped from his torso like cellophane; then our bed tilts like a little rowboat as he lifts the comforter and slides in behind me. “Hijo,” I whisper, “did you have fun with your friends?”

“Si,” Luciano whispers between light kisses on my throat and shoulder, “Si, Papi, but I missed you,” he continues, his kissing becoming more determined.

“I’m asleep,” I whisper while rolling onto my back, feeling his weight rise, then fall atop me. In the darkness, I can feel his humidity, I can feel his breathy stare. “I’m not IMG_0345handsome now,” I whisper. “Jajaja, Papi,” he whispers into my ear, softly purring, “You’re always handsome.”

My hands drift to his strong flanks which remain bathed in cotton, my fingers delve into the fabric, beneath it, finding his strong buttocks. I pull him closer, wanting IMG_0367his entire weight atop me, pushing my breath from my lungs. He lifts himself up from me, then lowers himself into a comfortable position, moving his hips delicately.

We’ve ridden on this train before. It always takes us to some far-flung destination; across valleys and up across mountains; through treacherous, snow drifted passes; then down deep into pastoral valleys.

But this night, this ghostly night, no trip will be taken.

This night, like so many aching nights, my Luciano is only a mirage.

Loving Men-Validation

Every creature seeks approval from its own kind.

And gay men are no different.

Actually, gay men are probably worse. Gay men seek validation across a wide swath of “kinds”. Men, women, brothers, sisters, dogs, cats, etc.

There are so many different platforms on which gay men can seek validation.

I’m currently experimenting with Grindr, Scruff, and Daddy Hunt.

Many friends keep asking the same question: If you’ve already discovered Jean-Baptiste and Luciano, why do you keep trolling the internet?

The answer is easy: Validation.

Scouring the internet for men is akin to window shopping. I’m browsing. I’m sitting on a pier and lazily casting my bobber into the water to see if anything bites. And if bobbersomething does take the bait, I’m not going to yank the line and hope that I’ll hook the guy. I’m not interested in a catch. I’m really interested in the nibble, the interest, the wink, the nod, the text, the call, the voice, the hello; the validation that I exist somewhere else than in this hotel room. That I’m recognized.

That I’m not one man in a one-man boat, adrift in an endless sea.

Jean-Baptiste reminds me that I’ll never be lonely because I have him; Luciano reminds me that I’ll always be his future.

Then why are two men like Jean-Baptiste and Luciano, not enough?

In love, in friendship, they are. Really, they are.

But I’m looking for flesh and bone. For physical validation. Not of my beauty, not of my charm or wit or humor. But of me. As a man, in flesh and bone.

 

Loving Men-Icon

If you’re going to dream, dream big.

Yesterday, when I finally decided on the trajectory of my future, I also promised myself that anything less than an enormous future just wouldn’t do!

I decided that my apartment in Chicago would be envious. To me. I wanted to envy hancockwhere I lived. I wanted to live in an icon. And in Chicago, there’s no greater icon than the Hancock Tower. I mean, you don’t even need to give anyone, and I mean anyone, the address. All you need to say is the Hancock Tower.

It shares the skyline with it’s older brother, the Sears Tower, and it’s evil step-brother, IMG_0835Trump Tower. All three were born to the same design firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, and for which I worked for eleven years.

Today, I instructed my broker to negotiate my lease for my apartment on the fiftieth floor overlooking Lake Michigan and Navy Pier. I will have unfettered eastern views from my furnished apartment. It’s absolutely breathtaking. Both my living room and bedroom face east so the sun will shine each day on my 1,000 square foot birdhouse.

Only birds and angels will see what I will see.

Heavenly.

Becoming not Became

The future is just a step away.

In 2008 I experienced a total mental breakdown. It was devastating. It was as if someone tripped on the electrical cord connecting my brain to power and yanked it from the wall. Everything shut down. Unsaved. Blackout. No surge protector.

Long-term memory was lost. Short term memory resembled swiss cheese. My brain was breakdownlittered with divots like a county golf course frequented by 9-iron heavy amateurs. My vocabulary was blurry like a windshield streaked by aging wiper blades. My thoughts scattered like hooligans running from sirens.

My psychiatrist cautioned me: “The more you think, the more frequently you’ll reboot. Your brain is exhausted. It’s spending a great deal of energy defragmenting your life, trying to bring disparate pieces together for cohesion. Let it be. Stop trying so hard. Stop pushing it. You’ve been given a tremendous gift; a do-over; a mulligan.”

This post, Becoming not Became is my title post. A title post has a high degree of significance. It’s that post which marks a clean break from one way of being in life tocropped-img_00071-e1415122512750 another. And today, thanks wholly to close friends and their brutal honesty, I can confidently say that I have stepped into my own future.

My past is in my past. I don’t bring my past with me into my present. I used to, I used to carry the disappointments and frustrations of my “yesterdays” into my “today’s.” Not any longer. Ever since my spiritual transformation, it is virtually impossible for me to even remember yesterday. I don’t remember conversations, or arguments, or bedspeak. I don’t bring forward heartache. And, I suppose, I don’t allow joy or happiness or laughter to tag along either.

Each day that I awaken is a new day, unmoored from the dock of the past. It’s only anger or sadness that burdens me. Their expression is seen by tears. Remember, we only cry for the past, never for the future.

futureI decided today that I would get my shit together. I would return to Chicago, rent a great apartment, furnish it the way I want, get my knee replaced, get my affairs in order, and then, and only then, maybe I’ll fly to Buenos Aires for the winter (it’s summer then).

I’ve also decided to stop pursuing men in some desperate hope that they fill the voidno men created when Nick I split up. It’s simply not fair to either of us. My Parisian pointed that out to me today.

So, today is my becoming, not became day.

I can either mourn what I Became or celebrate what I’m Becoming!

Let the party begin!

Loving Men-Boomeranged

I’ve never thrown a boomerang.

I have, however, been boomeranged.

Boomerangs are like dirty pennies: They keep showing up.

Or mysterious stains on your favorite shirt that, even when laundered, keep popping up. stainNo, not when you pick them up at the cleaners. But when you pluck them from the closet as you’re running late to a date.

Artem is my boomerang. Artem was the international male model that I fell madly in love with two months ago. And like Carrie Bradshaw, both Mr. Big and Artem left us abandoned at the altar.carrie For Carrie, it was literally an altar. For me, it was a five-star hotel in a chic part of Paris.

Abandoned. Desserted. Left for dead. Missing in action. Prisoner of love war. Holding the bag. Eggs in one basket. Left me in the lurch. Leftovers. Left out in the cold.

Boomeranged.

That’s when someone you’ve let go, like a lover that abandoned you at the altar or a hotel room in Paris, reappears in your present life dredging up all the shit that has finally settled at the bottom.

Boomeranged.

I enlist a gay dating site, Daddy Hunt, to browse men interested in meeting. I met daddyLuciano, Jean-Baptiste, Jason, Peter, and David on the site. That’s also where I met Artem the first time, and precisely where I met Artem today, the second time.

Boomeranged.

There he was, on the same site that we met, with a different profile name, an unflattering photograph (for a model), and very, very cryptic personal information. I was mortified. I froze. I couldn’t decide whether I should ignore him, reply to him, or report him to the site as a scammer?

There’s something agonizing when you witness a former lover back on the prowl. And in Artem’s case, that’s precisely what he’s doing. Or rather, he’s pitching chum over the side of his boat in a sea of men, teasing the hungry to the surface to get lampooned.

boomerangOr worse, Boomeranged.

Loving Men-Running

I’m scared.

Scared of being alone. Scared of making decisions because I’m scared of wrong turns. Scared of my age and my disabilities. Scared of looking for an apartment. Scared of buying furniture. Scared of buying linens. Scared of buying dishes.

Scared of being alone.

I’ve been in a relationship for the better part of my lifetime. I always saw the world through two sets of eyes. I always made decisions based on two sets of ears. I always kissed on two sets of lips. Always laughed with two voices. Always smiled with two grins. Always held hands with ten fingers. Always loved with two hearts.

But today I find myself alone. Alone in a hotel room in Charlotte and wonder what I’m doing? I’ve tried to convince myself that I’m living my life. But am I?

Or am I running? Running away.

Running scared.

I don’t know where I’m going; and if I don’t know where I’m going, how will I ever know when I get there?

I have loved in my life, but what I lack, sorely, is that person waiting for me at theairport airport; that sleepy voice on the other end of the line taking my early call; that eager response to a text; that surprise visit; that one last, long last embrace before I wander through security.

If anyone has ever been on the same boulevard of running scared, please tell me that uncertainthere’s a true destination. I know I’m running from my past, from the unrelenting disappointments and failures, from my crushed relationship with Nick, from my lies and my fantasies, but I’m running into the fog of my unknown future.

I’m running scared, but alas, I’m still running.

And that is better than stopping, isn’t it?

Loving Men-TwoWho’s

There are TwoWho’s in my life.

Jean-Baptiste, and Luciano.

Jean-Baptiste lives in Paris. He’s lithe and finely-drawn; as my fingers trail down his back beardedI can feel the knobs of his vertebrae; as my hands work their way between his skin and his shirt I feel the slightest rise of muscle from his waist to his shoulders; a long neck supports a bearded face which smiles down at me from above; he is 31 years.

 

Luciano lives in Buenos Aires. He’s a smoky Argentinian, short but powerful; well-built IMG_0351with an incredibly strong spiritual core; powerful thighs which springboard his body from floor to bed to shower to work to a restaurant to bed to sleep. Atop him, I slide my hands under his buttocks, raise his jeaned legs above my waist, and let my hands continue under his back where my hands follow the cool caps of his shoulders to the tiny peaks of his nipples. He kisses me with the passion of the tango; he is 27.

They both know about the other; I’ve known Luciano longer than Jean-Baptiste. I left Jean-Baptiste four days ago in Paris and I’m planning to visit Luciano in Buenos Aires within the month.

I spent the better part of every morning texting, calling, laughing, arguing with both of them.

I’m very close to each of them. None of us like labels. So we’re not “lovers”. And no, I’ve never imagined bringing the three of us together for a menage a trois.

The three of us don’t have a relationship. I have a deep friendship with Jean-Baptiste and I have a deep friendship with Luciano.

The question people always seem to ask is, are you faithful?

This is how I try to answer: By faithful, do you mean honest? Because I’m honest, we’re honest. By faithful, do you mean jealous? I’m not jealous of them, and they’re not jealous of each other. By faithful, do you mean monogamous? No, I’m not monogamous.

But I’m not, nor are either Jean-Baptiste or Luciano married.

They’re simply my TwoWho’s.