Crossing Paths

I saw Phillip walking towards me from across the courtyard. He wore a grey shirt with matching slacks that made me envious. The clean-cut style never suited my scrappy nature. Frayed jean shorts and midriff shirts mesh well with the hipster places I like to visit off campus.

“I like your outfit,” I said to him. He thanked me before inquiring about my day. I told him about the hours spent prepping for a presentation. He told me about a job interview that would take place the following day. We continued this banter until the subject of love popped up.

“I met someone,” He said. cc9e8c9cc85ef28eb6d06bd717a43e2as

“On Grindr,” I said and nodded.

“No, in real life. Not everyone meets on Grindr,” He said and laughed. I felt a hard lump in my throat. Of course people met in real life because only shut-ins, like myself, rely on technology for romance. This might sound sarcastic but I assure you that my love life depended on both OkCupid and Grindr in the past.

In fact, my first boyfriend and I met in a chatroom. We exchanged flirty texts before exchanging emails. The fifty-miles between us seemed the length of a shoelace with modern technology. I spoke to him every day until the breakup happened. Then I switched to Facebook and found someone new to write to.

Fast forward to present day and I still rely on text-message-introductions with men. Meanwhile, Phillip told me about meeting this guy in a club via eye contact. The idea of two people meeting because of an energy exchange confused me.

“He saw me and we started talking,” Phillip said. The simplicity of this sentence made me feel envious. I swallowed the lump and curled my fists. We soon parted but I carried the feeling with me to work later that same day.

I served couples their food with a firm hand. Glass plates clacked against the tape tops. Silverware pelted against the wall above the dishwasher. The shift ended with me slamming chairs on top of one another outside the restaurant.

“Excuse me, is this place any good?” a square faced man said to me. He stood a foot away with another man behind him. I nodded and continued stacking.

“Do you think my friend’s cute?” He said. The other man laughed and walked closer. His bubble butt and thick arms interested me.

“Come on, he’s not gay.” the friend said. I rolled my eyes. This comment might flatter some macho-homosexuals but I’m fully aware of my flamboyancy. My graceful walk and soft voice come at the expense of being “outed” everywhere I go.

“Yes, I’m gay.” I said and stacked another chair on top. flirting.jpg

“Would you go on a date with my friend? He’s a great guy but he always goes out with assholes.” the square faced man said. I smiled and told them to come back next week.

“Is something wrong?” the friend said. I wanted to tell them that they both seemed drunk.  They kept touching my face and elbow. Only drunk or insecure men think I’m incredibly sexy. Of the which I prefer the insecure because then at least they’re being sincere.

“Oh my BMW just pulled up,” the square faced man said and climbed inside with his friend. They rolled down the window and asked me my name. I told them. They told me theirs.

The night ended like any other with me coming home alone. I logged onto Grindr looking for a conversation. Profile picture after profile picture zoomed by. No one said hello. If maybe I could learn how to play the game outside of this app then I would find someone. Someone a little drunk. Someone a little too touchy. Someone a little bit more than no one.

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The Cop

I met Peter in the club on accident. Three weeks prior we had introduced ourselves on Grindr. He was a twenty-something year old gay cop and I a student at the time. He texted me “Good Morning,” up until the day I accidentally sent him an embarrassing message.

Me: Would you mind sending a nude pic?

Him: no response

Me :OMG! I meant another pic. I’m so sorry! Autocorrect.

Him: no response

So when he greeted me in the club with a hug, needless to say, I was surprised! He had big arms and a nice slim waist. I felt flattered that a handsome respectful guy like this was interested in me.

We chit-chatted a while before I apologized again for the text I sent. He graciously waved it off. He said that it did weird him out but that I seemed like a genuine person that was faulted by autocorrect. I laughed.

The conversation carried on to where eventually he invited me back to his place. That was when a red flag went off in my head. I wasn’t sure what to think about the situation: if I was naive to situations like these or if they actually happened outside QAF (Queer As Folk). He was a nice guy and also a cop so I didn’t think there should be any worries. But what if he’s a secret serial killer, I kept telling myself. So I politely turned him down but told him to keep in touch.

He went back with his friends and I with mine. I asked one of them if what I did was the correct thing to do. They assured me it was but then why did I feel regret? Because this is a new experience, something you moved to Orlando for, so don’t turn it down. Be safe. The voice inside of me said. I grumbled and walked to the bar and ordered a Long Island.

Dating has never been “fluent” for me. I was twenty-two years old and had never brought a boyfriend home for the holidays. I had never technically dated anyone longer than two weeks. I had never also gone home with a guy. I turned around from my drink and went in search of the cop. He was with a couple of friends and told me he was getting ready to leave.

“I want to go with you.” I said. He smiled. I told him to wait there while I informed my friends of what I was doing. They worried and told me to call them when I was at the place. They also asked for an address and the guy’s number. I Have Such Great Friends.

The cop walked us out to his car, which was very nice, but I didn’t know what kind it was. We held hands the entire ride. When we arrived at his place I texted my friends and told them everything was alright. Peter and I cuddled while watching TV. During this my thoughts were that , I didn’t know how old this guy was, what his last name, did he have a favorite color?

We moved to the bedroom where I stripped to my underwear as did he. Throughout the night we kissed and spooned. We never had sex. At times I was the big spoon and him the little, which was another first for me. He was the first man I’d ever wrapped my arms around. Broad shoulders. A Career. Respect. It was a nice feeling, that I could secure a man in my arms, that he did the same.

Warning: The Following Content May Be Graphic For Certain Audience Members. In the morning we kissed and groped. He had such big shoulders. I loved it. Never once did he pressure me to go all the way. Once again I was reminded that he was a man. We finished together and then kissed.

He drove me home afterwards. When I laid down in my own bed I felt happy and grateful. I wanted to see him again, but even if I didn’t I had the experiences he gave.