Saturday, March 6, 2010

I’m Not That Boy, Part 3

Fateful Dissonance

Anderson and I picked up right where we’d left off after he finished up another show. At this point, I was making efforts to branch out and be more social, although (for the most part) outside of my hometown. I was also in the midst of my first great date rush—as many as seven dates a week for the three weeks of Winter Break.

Anderson was a really sweet guy who completely trusted and respected me. He was incredibly attractive in a physical sense. We also had a lot of fun together. All of this worried me because looming on the horizon were two barriers to things working out between us. First, the give and take of shows upon his schedule diffused any progress we seemed to make in getting close to one another. And second, although we connected on an emotional and physical level, I just wasn’t sure it would go any deeper than that even were he to have unlimited time for me.

My heart said to enjoy myself while my head told me it was time to let go, especially as Ianto had recently come into the picture.

Light in the Piazza

Our penultimate date was spent in Salt Lake away from the cares of home and school. I’d bought tickets to The Light in the Piazza at the Pioneer Theater a month earlier, working out all of the possible kinks in our schedules. As the day approached, I was excited and dreading it all at the same time. Am I leading him on or are we just having fun?

We turned the day into something care free. An adventure in a town I knew relatively little about. I completely relied upon Cole to drive or guide me through Salt Lake because there was no reason for me to be in the big city. That day, Anderson showed me some of my first slices of Salt Lake’s gay culture. He pointed out Babylon and Gossip (two of the bigger names in gay clubs at the time) and the homes of a few of his friends. He saved what he thought of as the best for last.

“Okay. Turn left here,” he told me on State Street. Then a few seconds later, “Left again.”

“The D.I.?” I asked. “You know how much I like my thrift stores, but that doesn’t make for much of a surprise.”

“Just wait,” he said over the top of the car as we got out. “Follow me.”

He put his arm around me for a second and flashed his bright blue eyes before leading the way. PDAs weren’t his thing, but he was always tempted.

“There,” he said, pointing to a large black and red sign. “Spark.”


As we went in, I realized that we were in a specialty store of sorts. It was a clothing store, but with a different vibe. Everything seemed to call out a bit more than usual, especially the wall of shoes.

“This is what I wanted to show you,” he said, picking up a pair of checked faux snakeskin shoes. “These are just what you need. They go perfectly with your purple shirt.”

“Only forty dollars!?” I exclaimed. “I can’t. I can’t”

“You know you want to….”

I procrastinated another twenty minutes, weighing out options. “I can’t. I can’t I can’t,” I told him, picking up some burgundy shoes. “They’re so nice and even reasonably priced!”

His puppy-dog eyes pushed me over the edge. “I’m doing it.” I set down the red shoes and picked up the snakeskin ones on the way to the register.

“Wait,” he said, “I have to show you the back of the store.”

I wasn’t sure what to make of the sexually-charged tone in his voice, but it took my breath away. As we entered the back of the store (“Cockers” as it’s known to some), I felt a certain spark, a blatantly-sexual connection. It wasn’t so much the sex paraphernalia (toys, lotions, and literature I will leave to the imagination), but rather the underwear. Some of it was modest and some of it downright skanky, but it all seemed to glorify and emphasize the contours of the male body—something that seemed forbidden on so many levels, but also beautiful.

Cockers Underwear Mens “Wow.”

That was all I could think or say at that point, and the experience stayed with me.

After buying the shoes, the night turned into a collage of memorable moments: a chatty dinner at a local pizza parlor; stealing a kiss in the parking lot; hiding our back-row hand-holding under my suit jacket; stealing another kiss behind the coat rack during intermission.

I couldn’t really escape the feeling that he might be falling for me more than I could ever fall for him. As we left the theater making our way through the chaotic surge of people, I spotted Drake Hatch pushed towards me by the current of the crowd. Just weeks after his disappearance, he pretended not to notice until conversation was unavoidable. We passed our pleasantries of “Hi, how are you?” and went on our ways. I felt good for putting on a strong face and having a handsome man at my side, but wondered if it was an omen of what I would become dating so much and lacking a necessary connection with Anderson.

“Well, that was a great night,” I said.

“I have a surprise for you, GMB. If you’re not too tired, the night doesn’t have to be over.”

Not one to turn down a surprise, I said, “Sure. What is it?”

He then took me to a friend’s house. My theatre friends are having a party and I say we stop by for a few minutes. It’ll be nice for them to put a name with your face. I felt a bit guilty as he introduced me to Grace, a budding director; Alec, a very flamboyant tenor; RJ, the lone straight seducer in the department; Tara, the brilliant character actress/alto; and Derek, a tall curly-haired bass who remained quiet the rest of the night as he sipped his drink.

RJ Grace Derek

With his friends (clearly all aware of his sexuality), Anderson was more of a showman and distant. Was he presenting me as a friend or a love interest or maybe even an object? We enjoyed the night of improve games and desserts as I made some new friends. That said, I wasn’t sure what to make of my feelings for Anderson. Or the way he acted around his friends. Or Derek staring and smiling at me from across the room the rest of the night through his black thick-rimmed glasses.

End, Part 3.


Billy said...

Thank you for some wonderful writing. I've been reading for a month or two and I've really enjoyed the way you've told your story with just the right amount of reflection.

The best part is I there's a rainy afternoon's entertainment to look forward to when I go back through the archive.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

Thank you, Billy. "just the right amount of reflection" is a compliment I really appreciate as it's something I've thought about quite a bit. Thanks for letting me know I'm not whiny or overly-sentimental.

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