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Friday, December 17, 2010

The Escape, Part 3

Just Keep Swimming

So, the time had come to jump back into the big pond of little gay fish.  After a short and thoughtful break, it seemed appropriate to put myself back on the meat market.  Another rainbow slab on a hook waiting to get some attention.  My passive approach to dating left me in a rather dependent position, appreciating what praise I received, but essentially leaving myself to rot.

During that month of inevitable unemployment, I spent many hours lounging around the local internet cafes writing and reading intermittently as I left open a newly-revised Connexion profile and waited for a bite.  Here and there: a conversation, a number, a date.  It felt like progress—like I wasn’t wasting time.

Coffee Shop guy computer

What resulted were a set of experiences that left me excited, unnerved, and puzzled as to what I should expect from myself in my apparent escape from the dissatisfaction with the Church at this point in my life.  Though this was a serious improvement over sitting still and waiting for life to make sense, the lessons learned were perhaps not as welcome or profound as one in my position would hope. 

***

Glen suggested we meet up sometime when I found myself in Utah Valley.  What followed was a tension of “This can’t get worse, but it certainly will before it gets better” moments.  Upon arrival in Provo, he asked if I minded picking him up after his stepfather had his car repossessed.

As everyone knows, that’s never a good sign. 

For the next forty-five minutes of my life (yes, the date remained notably the shortest of my life), I regretted what the universe had to offer in that particular moment.  Each moment of the date was spent in a suicidal death spiral contemplating the inevitable, painful ending.  I’ve managed to repress everything about that short date with the exception of a marathon lunch he ordered and expected me to pay for, a solid half hour of thank yous for getting him away from World of Warcraft for a bit, and explanations as to the four or so times he’d dropped out of college to pursue a career as some sort of ogre.

world-of-warcraft-demotivational-poster-1213833506

Needless to say, the date turned out to be somewhat of a challenge to my patience.  I didn’t really give an excuse for the date ending so early, but let’s just say when the ending is the best part of a story, there’s more reason to rush through the story.

***

Billie picked up very quickly that I was new to the world of dating without Mormon reservations.  Even though he was nineteen, he had been there before and took pride in being my guide through a foreign land.  We met up for lunch and a walk through Memory Park. 

“You wonder a lot, don’t you?” he asked.

Briefly picturing myself  as Dante and him as Virgil, I responded, “I’d say thought and words are what makes me who I am, I suppose.”

“What do you think about when you see a cute guy?”

“I look at his hand and think what it would feel like in mine and at his lips and imagine their taste.”

Cute Moody Guy in Tank

“I wonder if you’ll stay that way,” he said slanting an eyebrow.

“What do you mean?”

“My guess is you’ve never had sex before.  You would have had a different answer or had a harder time explaining as innocently as you did.”

“You’ve got me pegged,” I said smirking reservedly at the phallic irony.

“Let me just tell you you’re doing this the right way.  Making I’ve got a surprise for you,” he said, “at the end of the date.” We continued winding our way through the park as he shared with me the mistakes he felt I could learn from.

*

“You’ll thank me for this someday,” he said as we got out of the car.  It was clear he’d shared with me horror stories of coming out, dating, and sex as some sort of cautionary tale.  In some way, I think this instruction became a form of redemption for him. 

He put his arm around my back and pointed me in the direction of a chocolate-colored wooden building. 

“Under other circumstances, you would probably be shitting your pants by now,” he teased as he opened the door. 

I stepped in and noted the surroundings.  Orange-brown carpet, chairs from an 80s high school cafeteria, a pair of end tables in either corner of the room—on one a stack of clipboards and the other a bowl of condoms. 

“Take a few of these,” Billie said, placing one in my palm. 

holding-condom hand

“Um, thanks,” I blurted out.  It was the first time I’d knowingly held one in my hand.  I squeezed it and felt sensations of cool and smooth between my thumb and index finger—a pocket of air and ribbed rings of latex against latex. This is what the future feels like? 

“It’s best to know what it’s like to be tested before you have to worry about it.  Just fill out this form and go to the desk when they call your number.”

*

“How many times have you had oral sex in the last 3 months?”  “Anal sex?” “Vaginal?” “Number of partners?”  “6 months?” “Year?”

“Zero.”

“Zero.”

counseling-man-woman

“None.” 

“Never.”

“Zero.”

A smile opened up on the counselor’s impassive face as she peered up from his clipboard, put down his pen, and asked one last question off the record.  “Ever?” she asked, raising her tone slightly.

“Zero,” I answered floating through waves of satisfaction and embarrassment.

“You, sir, are at very low risk.  Your results were negative.”

3 comments:

Corey said...

interesting experience. thank you for sharing. :)

robert said...

Hmmm... I perceive that your writing is becoming more wry. I like the mild adjustment. Maybe its all of those GRE test materials raking their nails on your chalkboard. Happy Holidays! BTW

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