Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chapter 19, 15lb later

 These days I’m going out pretty often.  I've been seen out at gay bars more often than Margaret Cho.  If I’m not in school pretending to get educated, I am at work. If I’m not at either of those, I am generally out and about meeting people.  I seem to be making up for lost time.  I was never a social butterfly growing up.  I was more of a caterpillar that loved staying home and eating hot pockets, while watching crap TV and living vicariously through various sitcoms and after-school specials.  My true entrance into adult-hood, bars, really the essence of growing up, has been much different than others I know.  Instead of putting a toe in the water, I dived straight into this social pool. A word of advice to those in my place: when jumping into a gay pool, bring lots of hand sanitizer.  This may come in handy later.   Also, word to the wise, wait 30 minutes after eating before diving into any gay social circles, you’ll look leaner.  Actually, my action here can best be described as a belly flop, one of those ones that while funny to watch, but sounds painful and makes all the water jump out of the pool and soak all around. Most people seem to get inducted into this scene slowly, via a fake ID and years of fermenting one’s young liver in cheap rubbing alcohol. For me, being the late bloomer that I am, I have developed that nurturing relationship with the scene a little later and much faster. I have this odd feeling like I have a lot of catching up to do.

I feel like the kid that got Mono in high school and missed a semester as a result and stayed out of the loop until graduation, but I was just a loner instead. One day, out of nowhere I am just there working right in the middle of a huge gay bar, in the middle of everything. While my post-teen counterparts get their pick of nights to go out Thursday-Sunday, these are when I generally have to work. I have never done the whole lets meet up and go out every Saturday night thing. My times to go out are the opposite of the norm for kids my age. Every week I do though end up going out, just not on that particular schedule. Actually, I go out pretty much any time I am not at work, school or sleeping. My days off are different every single week. My nights out are always different. Now when I do have a weekend night off, I have no idea what to do because I am so out of touch with the land of the living.

The Leo in me loves the attention that I get when going out and being seen. It makes me feel like a star, when I have lived my life as a shadow. Being noticed is so surreal that it makes me feel not necessarily attractive, but more so that it makes me feel like a different person, a character much cooler than the guy I am. I have never been known for being the attractive guy.  I have never felt like him although I have imagined feeling him, but that’s for another book.  I am also comfortable with the reality that I don’t have to be that guy.  People that rely too much on their looks seem to be crazy as old people and not in the fun-fart all the time and telling pull my finger jokes way.  They seem to have a tough time learning how everyone else does things, working, using our brains and not getting free drinks for being beautiful.  In life there are often two types of people, we all have met them, the pretty peeps who rely on their looks to get by and the brains.  Sometimes, a brains type can become the pretty type, but they work for it hard, they work to get noticed and acknowledged. The strategy as to how they live their lives is much different. People admire the brains for their character, their charisma and more so their words are taken more seriously because we all understand their struggle.

Now, when I go out for some reason I am getting noticed for working at the bars. I assume it’s because I have no shame, I will talk to anyone and not censor what I am thinking. I can pretend that I get noticed for me, but it’s more because they recognize me from the bar. There are complete strangers who treat me as though they know me and it’s odd. It’s a mixed bag of feeling adored and being skeptical of these stranger’s motives. The question remains, is it me or something else they are looking for? It’s like all of a sudden this all is happening and I don’t get what’s changed. My character hasn’t changed, just my outside has and my confidence level is higher.

      I am not someone who ever did the spin the bottle or the experimental teen phase.  At least not with anyone else. While many other kids were learning social and sexual education during teen years, I just sat and seemed to let that phase pass me by. I watched a lot of TV. By a lot, I mean that I know way too much about television from 1986-1997 than one should. This in part lead to my obsession with Rider Strong and his floppy hair. I loved him and wanted to have long, grungy hair that flopped all over like his. My jewfro just bounces....

       TV was my date often and depression was my friend. At one point in my teenhood I defected to be and just hide amongst theater loving, “Rent” mimicking, school paper, down low nerds. While I had a long-term girlfriend in high school, the relationship was that of a different nature. It was that of a high school “Will and Grace” type. We connected on every level, she was even a Jewish girl that made the family happy. The only difference with us was, that we had no sex. When I say no sex, I mean NONE. It may have been because at that time, I didn’t understand things.  I thought that boobs were the sexual equivalent to slinkies, fun to play with, but after a while I would wonder what else there was to do with them.  At best, I could use them as pillows. They are called “fun bags” for a reason aren’t they? Then, when heading south of the Rockies I would realize that I barely liked oysters, let alone anything vaginas had to offer me. The smell alone made me wonder how babies could make it in there for so long. The only taco I wanted then were ones that came from a taco shop, covered in sour cream and not hair of any kind. I even went through a period of time from 17-20 years old, before I knew I was a gay. During this period I was pretty much A-sexual. No sex, no guys, girls or even potential anything. At the time, I had forgotten that I was intended to be a sexual being like everyone else. It would take me years to remember that I too was born human.

      When go out to bars, I feel this a wave of liberation coming over me. It’s as though I am one of those kids who had never was allowed candy as a kid. Then, the one day, they try that first piece of chocolate or other gem of goodness, they then proceed to go ape shit. I am metaphorically that kid. I am ready to go nuts in a candy store, with pent up energy from years of all sorts of frustrations, mentally and sexually. It is now, at this point and for this reason the art of flirting comes in. This is where the bar comes in handy. All night I watch people flirt, some do it well and some strike out every time. This is my place to learn how to play this game. My coworkers, the bartenders are masters at this and truly prove that there is an art to flirting. I am coming to figure out that it really isn’t as much of a game, but at least for me, it’s a venue to show just how clever I am and that I am not an idiot.

     I start going out alone. Oddly, being the lone man out is working to my favor. If I’m not alone, I go out with Michael, or other friends of the scene. Other times I can be found out at lesbian events with Gina or I would settle for guys I meet while at the bars over time. Most of the guys I meet at bars don’t even end up in as a hook up, generally it’s more of just playing the game of seeing how interested we can get the other into us. Since much of my income is cash, it seems perfectly logical that I spend it freely on the alcohol I consume, often of the people I meet throughout these nights and other miscellaneous crap. I always meet an interesting mix of the most interesting and strange people on these nights. The question I always ask myself when out is, what are these people doing out during the week? Don’t any of them work? My mother, being the voice of reason, tells me that the people I will meet while out during the week are just losers. She claims that they are not worth my time because they don’t have conventional jobs, which they hate to get up early for. From my point of view this is only half true. Some gay men simply enjoy going out, the booze, getting up early isn’t an issue for them or they just rely on the energizing help of a powdery friend.

       Because I know every bartender in the area, often the night is met by drinks compliments of the bar or restaurant we are drinking. This also leads to an inflated ego. Coincidentally sex does become easier to find and get. It’s the admiration more than the sex it self that I got off on since sex with me is still too tangled in trust issues. To go out and be admired by an attractive man makes me feel special. While everywhere I go, I am either out with friends or in a crowd of sutto-friends, I should have feel so loved. I should feel amazing. In that crowd all I feel is numb and oddly alone as the nights soon start to get blended together and crushes become conquests that leads to disappointments. Like every gay boy that comes to San Francisco, I am looking for a love, but end up settling for trick treat or 3 to pass the time. I don’t fear being alone though, I fear turning into a drunken lurker day in and out.

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