Loving Men-Calhoun (Repartee)

Teasing is equal parts humor and affection.

Do you remember that game you played with your dog? That one that began as a simple game of fetch, then morphed into “chase the one with the toy”, and ended in that fated game: Tug of War. You find yourself growling while you’re tugging on the toy. You’re no longer a person, but one in a pack of wild dogs, doing your absolute best to pull that “food” from the other dog’s mouth.

Calhoun and I share repartee: a verbal game of fetch, followed by chase the guy with the ball(s), finally the tug of war.

Verbal teasing, like tickling, plays on our honesty about our weaknesses.

Calhoun and I like our dog games. We slide easily into them. But like the dog pack, when it’s time to sleep together. At some point in our repartee we decide that we’ve tired of these games, and then offer up quiet questions or affirmations.

Teasing is intimacy.

Loving Men-Calhoun

Meeting men can happen millions of ways.

I discovered Calhoun across the internet recently. He sauntered over to me by lobbing a quiet “hello”.calhoun

“Hey,” I replied, “How’re you?”

“Great,” Calhoun said.

Seeing my photograph he said, “Handsome.”

cropped-img_00071-e1415122512750“Really,” I asked in disbelief.

“Yes sir,” Calhoun confirmed.

“I’m Harlan btw,” I added.

“I’m Calhoun,” he replied.

And so it went, lob after lob after lob of Q & A’s; comments on what was said; terse responses to pointed responses.

Calhoun stands 5’10”, weighs in at 150 pounds, and has eyes the color of a fresh parsley; he has a chiseled face, a strong jaw, and an enchanting smile which looks as though it stretches from ear to ear. In a word, Calhoun is handsome.

We never know who or what or when we might stumble upon in life; but if I can intersect with men like Calhoun, my life will be better for it.

Loving Men-Vincent (Reality)

News, rather good or bad, shapes a relationship.

Vincent and I have been silent for the past week. We had been burning bright like a well ignited fireplace, and then someone doused us with water.

A week ago we sat in the back seat of a friends car and went to McFaddenville, NC to spy Christmas lights. We were affectionate, pancaking or waffling hands, placing my head in his lap.

And two days later, the affection waned, like a cold front moved through and dampened our heat wave. I assumed it was me: That I’d said something wrong or pushed to hard or was too affectionate or told him I loved him too soon or that I wanted to sleep together too often: something dramatically changed.

Vincent stopped calling; stopped texting; stopped dating. We were stopped like rush hour: bumper to bumper but no advancement; anger, rage, and frustration.

And then the reason came late last night by way of a telephone call: It wasn’t me, it wasn’t Vincent, it wasn’t someone else; it was a thing.

Readers, keep Vincent in your prayers today and every day.

Loving Men-Jeffrey

Life has a way of taking its time.

I first set eyes upon Jeffrey about a month ago at a familiar restaurant here in Charlotte. He was the bartender. I bellied up to the bar and he walked confidently over to me.

“Hey, bud,” Jeffrey said.

“Hello,” I replied.

“I’m Jeff,” Jeffrey added.

“Is that Jeff, or Jeffrey,” I asked.

“It’s officially Jeffrey,” he said, “but I like Jeff.”

”I like Jeff too, I replied.

“I bet you do,” he said with a wink.

Jeffrey is 27, a handsome buck, standing tall at 6’1”, 180 pounds, with chameleon eyes that change like mood rings. He sports a wonderfully thick pelt of a brown beard.

Even though we’ve known of each other for over a month, yesterday was our first lunch date. While only 30 minutes, we ate sloppy cheeseburgers and fried pickles. We sat side by side without a bar separating us. And we talked and laughed and shared stories and common interests.

Last night on his way to work he called me; this morning when he awoke he called me, and tonight he’ll call me.

While Jeffrey is one of my favorite names for a man, I like Jeff too.


Loving Men-Jacob

Meeting people is akin to receiving a gift.

I met Jacob a few days ago at a restaurant. He was playing in a jazz band, and watched as my date and I were seated at our table. I didn’t really see him until I passed him on the way to the restroom between the second and third course.

A lanky six foot tall, dishwater blond with an infectious smile and beguiling semi-sweet brown eyes, our gaze locked on each other, almost causing me to run into a busboy.

When I came out of the restroom I flagged my server and asked her to request I Left My Heart in San Francisco from the band and handed her a twenty.

The band played the song, and when on break, Jacob swaggered over to my table.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hello,” I replied.

“I appreciated the tip, but you didn’t have to,” he added.

“Thanks for the song, but you didn’t have to,” I replied.

Sometimes, in the most unlikely of places or circumstances, you meet a person that speaks your language.

And you stumble upon a new friend!


Loving Men-Vincent (Distance)

When you grab, men usually retreat.

Vincent and I saw the touring production of Les Miserables last night. We had phenomenal seats: Orchestra Center, eleven rows from the stage, and smack dab in the middle of the row.

During the show we pancaked hands; I confidently placed my hand, palm turned upwards, and patiently waited for Vincent to place his warm hand atop mine. In the darkness of the theatre, I leaned over and placed two graceful kisses on his cheek.

After the show I asked, “Can I come over tonight?”

“Harlan,” Vincent started, “You know I have to go to a holiday party.”

“Jesus Vincent,” I replied, “I just want to spend time with you. Is that a crime?”

“Harlan,” Vincent said, “I’m busy.”

“Not with me, Vincent!”

Definsively, Vincent countered, “Weve spent three nights together this week! And that’s not enough?”

“I want to spend all my time with you!” I quiped.

“I have other committments, Harlan.”

“I told you that I’m either the best news or the worst news,” I added sheepishly.

“What does that mean,” Vincent asked.

“It means that my presence in your life is going to dovetail, like shuffled cards,” I answered and continued, “Or my presence is going to make you reevaluate your life, because you now have someone that you want to spend time with,” I answered.

“Christ,” Vincent said quietly, “Must you be so selfish?”

“Fuck it, Vincent!” I replied, then continued, “You figure out when you want to see me again! By the way, are we exclusive?”

“Exclusive,” he asked.

“Exclusively dating” I said, “Because I have men that want to sleep with me!”

“How can we be exclusive,” he answered quietly, “When you say the things you’ve just said?”

“I apologize, Vincent,” I answered, “I’m just afraid.”

“Of what?” he asked.

“Of you. Of this,” I admitted chagrined.

“You should never be afraid of me, Harlan,” Vincent confessed quietly.



Loving Men-Vincent (Pond)

On most date nights, Vincent and I return to the estate where I’m staying, and sit in front of the fire pit which overlooks an enormous, koi filled, pond.

Leggy and graceful, dusty Blue Egrets often haunt the pond in the cold winter months. They’re all too aware of the inhabitants: koi, turtles, and, lily pads. For an Egret, the pond is a smorgasbord.

Heidi, the head gardener, doesn’t shoo the Egrets away. She heralds their presence. She said one day, “It’s part of Life’s equation: Koi give Life to Egrets. As humans we shouldn’t impose our morality on nature.”

Vincent and I have spent many nights huddling in front of the fire and alongside the pond. In the fire we find heat; in the pond we find Life and beauty.

The pond is our little piece of heaven.