Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tomorrow is a big day...

I'm coming out to my dad tomorrow.

Sunday I move back to Toronto. Saturday I'm helping another friend move. That leaves Friday, more specifically Friday at around 7 p.m. Eastern time.

I've known what to say for a long time...there really isn't much thinking. I'm gay. I'm happy. The trick now is to not get upset or angry, depending on his reaction, while I explain things. But it needs to happen; it's needed to happen for a year, and no good opportunity has presented itself. There never will be one.

Really, the awkwardness after the fact I can deal with. We've had a difficult summer between the two of us, with me putting a lot of safety distance between him and me. It's the getting through the conversation that I'm dreading.

So send me positive vibes tomorrow night, because it'll be helpful to know there are people behind me. If I don't get anything posted for a few days, don't take it as really bad news, since I'll barely be around a computer let alone have any privacy to write it all out.

And so I go, once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...

It all comes down to you...

I've spent the last few days getting my life in order.

The corn has grown above my head, the sun sets earlier each evening, and there is a decided chill in the air during the dead of night. Everything is pointing to the one sure thing in life: time is creeping forward. Summer is coming to a close.

With the end of the season ticking ever closer, I've started my ritualistic packing and organizing. Decisions must be made, what to take and what to leave. Arrangements must be made, the big move in date set. Summer ends, school begins. The next new chapter of life.

Last week I wasn't stressed about the subject. Far from it...I was excited, relaxed and really looking forward to being back in Toronto, having my new normal life back. The butterflies that used to come on when I started planning my new year were nowhere to be found, and truth be told I enjoyed it. For the first time, I felt no unease about just how things would go, what kind of a year I'd have.

But over the last few days, my carefree mood darkened. I started realizing how much of a change was coming, how different things were about to be again.

I started to see the end of the line.

Come September I'll be going into my fourth and final year of university. It's hard to imagine something that you've chosen, planned for, dedicated yourself to, lived, ate and slept - coming to a close. Yet it is, or will be. In eight months I will be a university graduate.

Of course, it has the ring of accomplishment to it, the knowledge that you've succeeded in your field of study and have successfully navigated another phase of your life. I'm proud of what I've done so far, and I hope that this final year will be the crowning achievement, the culmination of my four years of study.

But...there's so much more I feel like I have to do, or at least want to.

Life as a student is truly amazing. Yes, there is responsibility (at least, for me), but there is the overwhelming sense that anything is possible. During the past three years, I've discovered more about myself, learned who I really am and experienced more life than I did in the 17 years before.

But again, when I think that it's coming to a close, I feel like there are so many things still left to do.

It all comes down to safety. As a student, you have a great safety net surrounding your life; you're young, learning, experimenting. There is no 9 to 5 job you have to attend every day. Nights can drag until 4 a.m. with little consequence to your life. Days can be spent thinking, or at least attempting to, solving the riddles of life.

Of course, many people see it differently. On having this conversation with a friend, she turned the inflection of the thought on its head. "Exactly, you're finished university in eight months!" she said with enthusiasm and sincerity. "And there's so much more you can do once you graduate!"

She's right, to an extent. It's true that just because I'm going to be finished school doesn't mean I have achieved the highest peaks of my life. There are years and years (and hopefully a few more after that) for me to continue to explore, to live.

I can't even put my finger on what exactly it is I feel I have yet to do. At university, I suppose I would argue I haven't had the 'American college' experience; there are no meanderings through the quad, no school spirit or community. Unlike a Bret Easton Ellis novel, we're not all doing copious amounts of drugs and constantly sleeping with each other...not that that would make for the most well-rounded university experience.

I guess a lot of it comes down to being 'involved.' I've passed three years of my life at university already, yet I still feel on the outside of the organizational sphere. I never got into councils, organizations, action groups...but then a lot of it wasn't really for me to begin with...

Also, thinking of leaving university in many ways makes me feel I'm loosing my gay safety net. It's one thing to think I'll figure out the whole gay thing during school, where there are people my age experiencing the same things, where there is a student group with an open door I could always force myself through. Once I graduate, that all evaporates...and I become one gay against the world. But, since I haven't really figured it out after three years of the same thing, maybe a change would be for the better after all.

So here's to eight more months of the best job of my life.

So far.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Actions speak louder than words...

Online interaction between humans brings out the worst in us.

It's as if the ambiguity of representing yourself electronically is too much for our relatively unevolved psyches to understand and accept. It's something we're not taught from our youth, like how we gauge other interaction between people. Such a fluid thing is likely to cause problems.

Much like online interaction brings out the worst in us, it can be related to playing 'the game' while dating. The ideas are similar; neither party knows quite what the other is saying, and how things are meant usually are interpreted very differently by the other person.

As we speak, I'm having said issue. I popped online a few minutes ago, more as a distraction than a serious need to speak with anyone. A couple people were online, but only one person, whom I wouldn't have minded speaking with, sat there 'Online', his little green man glowing, welcoming conversation.

I double clicked on his icon, then stopped. I don't want to appear too needy/forward/irritating to someone who I was just talking to last night, so I should probably just see if he messages me.

A few moments pass. I busy myself with other things, checking messages and dropping a few 'happy birthday' messages to people on Facebook. Nothing is happening on the IM front; both our icons glow the happy green, and neither is making the first attempt at a hello.

So I sit there. I don't really need to talk, but I'm getting a little irritated that he's not so much as acknowledged my presence.

I look away to do something, and when I look back his status is now set to 'Away'. Hrm...well, maybe he truly was busy, or had stepped away from his computer. Again, I turn around and work on other things.

After another ten minutes, I've decided it's not really worth my time to sit here when nobody is talking to me. Might as well accomplish the 5000 other things I have to do. So, I set myself to 'Appear Offline', and get busy.

A couple minutes later, I notice that he has now gone back online.

This is where the uncertainty seems to be grounded in something more than a vivid imagination. When I'm online, he sets himself away...when I leave, he comes back online.

I try to be reasonable, rational. We really could have had some bad timing, he may have literally stepped away for those few minutes I was online, only to return when I went offline.

But the unlearned side of us, the side that deals with this new set of social interactions, really wonders if I'd just been ignored with such enthusiasm that a friend actually went to great pains to avoid speaking with me.

Of course, there's no way to prove any of this, to answer the question and put the mind at ease. Everything online is so open ended; we have nothing else to interpret the other's meaning except the naked words (or silence) that are sent to us. So how are you supposed to take it when a friend completely ignores your existence, simply reversing what you have done in an attempt to appear innocent?

And naturally, one can't simply flat-out ask them, because you would look absolutely insane, desperate and paranoid. As we all know, I'm only two of those three things.

So I sit here still, he now back online, me still invisible, and I wonder if I've been silently slapped in the face, or if I'm just a paranoid egomaniac.

Yes, I know I have too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


"All I want to do is make you happy, because you've made me the happiest I've ever been in a long time."

Forgiving the bad grammar, I read, re-read, and read once more the last sentence of his e-mail to me.

For some reason, I almost didn't want to see it. I almost didn't want to hear that, yes, I'm making someone happy. Why? Because, in my experience, it's something that's hard to trust. I've been there before...sure, this time I have way more substantial evidence that it's true, but it can be a little daunting to imagine things working...still working, for someone where it very rarely has.

But there it was, in black and white. And mixed with the slight unease was a great sense of flushed warmth.

Of course, it didn't take long for me to slip from pleasure to pressure. While half of me was relaxed and happy because of the statement, the other half felt a new weight fall on my shoulders, the don't-fuck-it-up-now-because-it's-getting-more-serious pressure to perform.

Actually, writing this now sounds like I'm a lot more worried by the pressure than reassure by the sentiment. That's not the case; when I got it, and after I kept reading it, I was really reassured by it. It felt right.

I just have to remind myself to stop thinking and go with the flow.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Warm inside and out...

I had one of those near-perfect moments this afternoon.

After another day at work, and another mid-afternoon of boredom and what could be called introspective thinking (but was really just moping and listlessness), I chanced to go online and check my messages. Strangely enough, there were a few people online, and I happily said hello to a good friend of mine.

Within two minutes, we were on the phone together. It was late afternoon, and nobody was home; for the first time in what I would swear to be weeks, the sun blazed through the large front window, warming the couch already covered in pillows.

I lay out on it, sunshine nearly burning my eyes, and instantly felt comfortable. My body just sank into place, my back propped just enough to let me speak clearly. And we talked.

For 48 minutes and one second, I lounged comfortably and had a great conversation with him. We haven't spoken in what felt like months, but was really weeks...only an eventful few weeks. We never run out of things to say, we always can talk endlessly and not get bored.

Our topics of conversation ranged from work to our respective love lives to travel. I didn't even realize how good it felt to lay there, with nobody else around, and have a meaningful conversation with someone; by the time he was ready to say goodbye I had sunk into an impossibly comfortable position that I did not want to move from.

The goodbye's are always brief, so we said them and he disconnected. I waited on the line to hear the click, and the fuzz of static afterwards. And I smiled.

I'm not really sure what it was...the conversation, the couch or the sunshine. Probably the combination of all three, at that exact moment in the universe, in that exact harmony. But I sat there, a smile on my face, and just felt blissfully happy. Content.

And so I carried out the next few hours of the day in the similar manner, still with a smile tugging at the corner of my mouth. Even now, I want to go back to that couch and feel it all over again, but alas the sun has slid further to the west, the the couch grew cold, and the phone line is silent.

But it doesn't take away the pure joy that one of those near-perfect moments brings you.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Some interesting opinions...

So I must confess, I've actually been watching the Olympics.

Not that I had intended to...I had actually sort of decided to boycott the damn things and ignore their existence as a way to protest against China...but they're the only thing on TV. And I have to say, they've been kinda fun to watch, a horrifying statement from a guy that generally hates sports.

It certainly doesn't hurt that almost all of the male athletes are completely dreamy...they're so damn muscled it's annoying, but they're not hyper-developed. Add to that the fact many are in the 18-25 category...and it makes for delicious viewing.

I also realized during the opening ceremonies that I'm particularly fond of the Swiss and Swede crowd. I think I'm adding to my list of things to do a couple guys from that general geographic area. Hell, I'll even put on 'Olympic athlete' on that list; I wouldn't mind one of those swimmers gyrating with me in bed.

Of course, all of this commentary was silent because of the company I've kept today. We had a family-visit day, so it was just me, my parents and my grandparents all hanging out. And because of the beautiful pissing-rain-and-cold weather, we were stuck inside watching the games unfold.

And since I was with my grandparents, there had to be the inevitable moment of sheer awkwardness. Well...of course, there were actually a few, mostly surrounding their insane ideas about the world outside North America. But the one that was most bizarre was a rant about the male swimmers.

"They're all fags, you know," my grandmother said, as if she were telling me the sky is cloudy today.

"Oh?" I said, in strangled laughter. This is certainly odd...

"Yeah, like that young kid, whatshisname," my grandfather added. "He's as queer as a two dollar bill. See, all these male's mostly a gay competition."

The conviction in his voice was laughable; it was as if he were a retired drag queen trying to lecture me on the gay community. He was dead certain that every male swimmer was gay.

"Um...ok," I said, not really knowing where to begin. "So, why do you say that?"

"Because they are!" he said. "They're all gay, you can tell."

At this point, I was biting my tongue to keep from barking with laughter. Sure, there are some gay athletes...but could we whitewash much more than that? Now they're all magically gay, and an old straight dude can tell them apart?

" can you tell?" I said. "I mean, they just swim on TV."

He thought for a second. "No, no, you can tell," he assured me. "It's all in their mannerisms...they move like they're gay, they look's just the way they behave." My grandmother nodded along, since clearly she is an expert on such things as well.

"Oh," I said simply, rolling my eyes to the back of my head and still suppressing the laughter. The irony was amazing; here he sat two feet from a gay guy, and he was preaching about how he just knew all the swimmers at the Olympics are gay from the way they acted on screen.

Luckily he didn't degenerate into a hate speech about said gay swimmers, but it still was hilarious and bizarre to hear him preach with such authority on the subject.

After they had gone home, my mother shook her head at the thought. "They have some pretty crazy ideas about athletes. It's pretty clear they have no idea about sports whatsoever," she said.

"Ha, I know!" I replied. "And what's with the gay thing? I mean, I'm a huge homo, and they don't seem to be picking up on that at all...but he's such an authority on the subject!"

We both shared a bit of a laugh, inwardly thankful that they really don't know as much as they think they do.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Things left unsaid...

In the past few days, there have been a few things that I've left unsaid to people.

I'm not usually one to hold my opinions back, except in moments where a formal politeness is required. One of the only other times is when my statements will potentially leave a very sour taste in someone's mouth, even though they're not intended to be cutting comments.


The old Fuck Buddy isn't in Toronto...hell, he hasn't been for months. Every few weeks I get a poke on Facebook from him, a little reminder that he's alive. It also reminds me of our cycle, how we keep fooling around and I get a small rush of sexual excitement whenever he messages me. Then we set up a time, and he usually keeps me waiting around until the early hours of the next morning before showing up on my doorstep. The sex is usually quite banal and more often than not, when he leaves, I feel only slightly satisfied. And exhausted the next day, because I got four hours of sleep in lieu of boring sex.

He's not one to show his hand, so I never really know quite what he thinks of me. I more often than not, I'd guess he just likes to get his rocks off, and likes the fact that he doesn't have to go trolling for another boy to sleep with. But every time he messages me this summer, it surprises me a little...I'm obviously on his mind, because he's thousands of miles away from me, yet still sending me the occasional communication. Hrm...what does that mean? Is he just that good with PR that he's keeping the embers glowing until he gets home?

And his messages get even stranger...from "Hey." to "How's it going." to the shocker..."Dude. I miss you haha."

Each time I've replied with a vague, "Yeah, miss you too..." style comment.

But each time, I stop myself from typing what's really on my mind.

"Do you miss me, or do you just miss fucking me? Having a bit of a horny moment, are we?"

Really, I'm just curious.


A guy I used to go out with randomly messaged me this afternoon on a gay site. We're on good terms with each other, so much so that I get the feeling he wants to date me again. While I don't see us working in the dating sense, I do see us sleeping with each other. And why not...when we were good, we were good.

Out of curiosity, I checked out his profile. His picture was awful, albeit candid. His description was a bit of a mixed message...the typical 'down to earth guy' thing with a curious statement tagged on the end about 'enjoy life and other human beings'. Further down, it listed his interests both in and out of the sack. Strangely, at least to me, he didn't have "Relationships/LTR" written anywhere. A little out of context for me, since we seemed to have been shooting for something more than just a casual date.

Maybe he was just interested in something casual after all. Maybe I should learn to just date for the hell of it, to not expect things to always show signs of getting serious. Not like I do that on a first date, but instead of moving on when the spark vanishes, maybe I should take a page from his book and just 'enjoy life and other human beings'.

I replied to his message, saying that I of course want to see him again come the fall, hoping that he didn't take that as a sign we're giving it another shot. But again, I left out the questions that would most satisfy my curiosity.

"So, I thought you weren't the type to hook up with randoms. Just how many guys are you sleeping with on an average week?"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Peer pressure...

Everybody knows you talk about your relationships with your friends.

Sometimes it's to celebrate how ecstatically happy you are. Other times it's to vent your frustrations about your partner, where friends offer a safe place outside of earshot to talk about what's been bothering you.

So, it's no surprise to me that my name has been on James' lips lately, when I'm not around. After all, we're still dating, and still happy. And as it turns out, we're one of the few actually happy couples within his circle of friends.

"It feel weird," he said last night, "being the one that actually has something good to say on the dating front."

I laughed, mostly because I agree; I'm never the one that has had such consecutively good news related to dating. And his point was pretty valid; it's odd for both of us to be actually happy while others are hitting the down-in-the-dumps/I-hate-boys wall.

Being the modest sort, it feels weird to imagine his friends discussing my relationship. But being the curious sort, I naturally want to know just what the hell they're talking about.

During our conversation last night, it became more and more clear.

"They're all happy that I'm happy," said James simply. Well, that's a good thing...but I highly doubt that he would repeat anything too negative about me directly to me. Then things started to become a bit more clear.

While discussing one of his friend's new boyfriends, James mentioned the fact the newly happy couple has only been dating for two weeks. "Seems sort of unbelievable," he said, "since it's been so short. I mean, us...we have like three months!"

I nodded my head. "Yeah, of course, I would hope that means we're a lot closer than they are." I kind of got a little tingle of excitement and wonder at the fact I've been with someone for that long and things haven't exploded yet.

But apparently this friend of his isn't too impressed with our track record, no matter how long we've been going out.

"He says he doesn't understand why I'm still seeing you since we're not boyfriends after two months," James said bluntly.


"Actually, a lot of them don't really get it...they think we're some casual on-and-off thing," he continued. Apparently a couple weeks ago, his friends invited him out to a party somewhere, "there would be a lot of single guys. They wanted me to go have fun with them and basically get laid," he said.

The bottom line is, most of his friends think that James shouldn't wait around for me to commit, especially after this 'long'. To them, I represent some guy stringing their friend along, unwilling to slip a ring on his finger and book the Orange, wait...just what do they expect me to do?

"I don't get it," I said after a minute. "We've been together for a long time, we've been getting more serious and taking our time with the whole 'boyfriend' thing. Why don't they approve?"

James snorted softly. "I have no idea. One of the things I like about you the most is how thoughtful you are, how you really think things through. I really like the fact you don't just call everyone a boyfriend, that you're actually making sure there's something there. They don't get the fact that we're pretty serious about each other."

The conversation segued into a lengthy talk about labels, and what we are, and the fact that we're both quite happy as is. But even after we'd said our goodbyes, I was still stuck on the lofty opinions of his friends about our relationship.

Just where the hell are these guys coming from? We're about as sane and stable as the best couples, because we've taken our time to make sure we actually like each other before slapping a ridiculous label on ourselves. He constantly tells them how happy he is, and that we're still together. He's told them he wants to be with me - and only me - and to stop suggesting guys for him to date. For all intents and purposes, we are boyfriends...except for the fact they don't see it that way.

I've been doing a sort of slow-burn ever since, rolling things around in my head and trying to think up a more polite response than, "Go fuck yourself." Are these guys seriously as vapid as they sound from my end? Do they really think all there is to a relationship is the simple title of 'boyfriend? Does the fact we've been seeing each other for so long mean nothing to them, except that I'm 'wasting his time'?

Even now, I shake my head in amazement. Here I thought these guys were a little above the crazed scene ideology that has seemingly guided them to their conclusion...but clearly I gave them a little too much credit. While I feel like we've done everything the adult way, they seem to think I'm acting like a child.

I vented some of this to James last night. "I mean, really, what would be different if I started calling you my boyfriend?" I asked him. "I'll still feel the same way for you that I do now, we'll still be the same people, except for some stupid label that somehow would prove to your friends that we're a legit couple."

He agreed, saying that he's happy with the way things have gone, and that he's glad we didn't rush into anything.

"Unless we're getting married," I said, "what will the difference be when we finally use that B word?"

In my imagination, I played out the, on one knee, holding his hand and asking..."Will you be my boyfriend?" What a load of shit.

Our conversation veered into our pasts, with him describing a few instances of intimacy with the boys of yesterday. We compared notes on the subject, and I offered a little anecdote to go along with one of my little stories. Three quarters of the way through, it happened.

After describing a sexual encounter that didn't go so well, and venting a little of my frustration, I casually said, "Ha, I guess that's something that I really shouldn't be reliving with my...oh God."

"What? What oh God?" he said.

"I almost said it."

He paused. "Said what."

I rolled my eyes. "That word. You know?"

James laughed. "What word?" Ok...he wants to hear me say it now. Great.

"You know," I said, with more than a hint of drama in my voice. "The B word."

He burst into laughter. "Ohhh..." he said.

That little scene proves my point entirely. Just what exactly do James' friends think will change when I finally say that word out loud? I already thought it in my head, and slammed on the brakes before I said it, and it clearly shows that we're on the cusp of it happening.

So what makes his friends think we're less legitimate than a couple who label themselves after 14 days of dating?