titanic

The last survivor of the Titanic died today.

For some reason, this is significant to me. I have always been fascinated by the Titanic. When I was little, somebody bought me a kid's book about it. (I know, right? How odd to make a kid's book about a bunch of people drowning to death.) Ever since then, I've been fascinated.

I read a ton more about it, and of course watched the Leonardo DiCaprio movie when it came out. I visited traveling exhibitions of memorabilia in the UK. I went to see the exhibit at the Widener Library at Harvard (which was built as a memorial by the mother of a recent Harvard grad who died on the boat).

As a result of all this childhood fascination with it, I've always been scared of cruise ships. As you know, I've been on a couple cruises, so I overcame the fear. But I still have a HUGE phobia of being in the water next to a big boat. I don't even like being on a small boat in Long Beach harbor because of how close you can get to the Queen Mary. I hated when my cruises would use tenders to get us to shore, because you'd have to step out of the bottom of the boat right next to the water line.

I don't know if they still have this, but when I was little you used to be able to go down to the very bottom of the Queen Mary, where they'd cut a hole out of the bottom of the ship so you could see down into the water and look at the propellers. AGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It still gives me the creeps just thinking about it. I was plastered so tight against the wall of that little room. I had NO interest in going anywhere near that water. I don't even like the idea of sunken ships. If anybody ever tried to make me go scuba diving to a sunken ship, I'd probably faint.

Anyway, needless to say, the Titanic still has a profound effect on my psyche. In other words, it fucked me up. But I do like the history, and I think having a survivor still alive in the world gave us all an interesting direct connection to that history. Maybe now it's time for me to put that phobia to bed.

the worst kind of news

He was so cute. Shorter than me, like I like. Happy smile. Beautiful dark, expressive eyes. Perfect skin. A few drinks in, I wasn't too shy to flirt, and it worked. He asked for my number, and then asked me to walk him to where his friends were picking him up. While we waited, we talked, and we kissed.

The next morning I texted him and asked for a date. He said yes, then no. I cajoled him back to yes, and picked him up at 7. The food was fine, but watching his eyes was a joy. What a beauty! We kissed more, walked hand in hand, and he spent the night. When we woke up the next morning, we brushed our teeth, and spent a couple more hours in bed. Much the same thing happened the next weekend.

When talking the following weekend, he mentioned non-chalantly that he had a doctor's appointment the next day that had him nervous. He'd had a routine HIV test, among other things, and he thought it strange that they were requiring him to come back in rather than give the results over the phone. I comforted him, since I'd never heard of HIV results being given over the phone, either way. After all, I reasoned, if it's bad news every time you have to come in, then they might as well just tell you over the phone, because saying you have to come in is the same thing as saying you're positive, but also torturing you with the wait. So it must be some other reason.

I was somewhat comforted by my own words, but not really. I couldn't think of anything else. I replayed in my mind, over and over, our sexual encounters. Did his cum touch anywhere that it could get in? Had my gums bled when I brushed my teeth that morning before doing it again? Had I eaten anything coarse that might have cut my mouth? I couldn't focus on work. I texted him, asking him to call me as soon as he was done with the doctor, because I couldn't think of anything else.

At 2:15pm, I got a text: "I knew there was a problem. They never call me into the office if everything is fine. I tested positive..."

and immediately thereafter

"I'm sorry you need to go get tested...I don't know how to deal with this."

I instantly got hot and flushed, and panicked a little bit. I didn't know what to do. I called my doctor and set up an appointment immediately. I left work and called a friend on the road. He was, ironically, at an AIDS conference in Chicago at the time. He assured me that what we'd done was relatively low risk. Regardless, I was terrified; while in the waiting room, I lost the very nice lunch I'd had.

My friend told me what to ask for, and my doctor gave me, a "viral load" test, which costs a lot more but has a shorter window period and is more accurate than the typical mouth swab thing. But it takes a lot longer to get results. The doctor and I talked quite a bit. He said that while HIV is no walk in the park, it's not a death sentence these days, and life expectancies are very long. As far as managing the disease goes, it's more along the lines of diabetes; it's annoying to have to constantly take pills and worry about your health, but it doesn't otherwise interfere with your life.

By the time I left the doctor's office, it had only been about an hour and a half since I'd found out, so I hadn't really had time to process it. I called my friend again, and for the first time since I was probably 12, I cried. I mean, I've cried since then, but only superficial crying, like in a movie. This was the first time I'd cried about something going on in my life. And certainly the first time I'd cried in front of another person. I was scared, and above all, lonely. I just needed a hug, but the guy who may have infected me wasn't talking to me, and I couldn't tell my family because they'd just worry unnecessarily. I felt completely alone, and I was. My friend insisted he was flying out to be with me, which was sweet, but I knew that would just stress me out even more because I'd have to think about it the whole time he was here.

I did talk to the guy after leaving the doctor's office. Strangely, I wasn't mad at him. My first reaction was to try to comfort him. But I don't really know him, and when something life-changing like that happens, I imagine you don't want to have to deal with the random guy you may have just infected, even if he's trying to be nice. He asked me to give him time to deal with it, so communication stopped.

I decided not to go back to work, and decided to go to the gym. My thought process was: dating is pretty much over for me if I have HIV. It's hard enough to find a guy with only 10% of the male population to choose from. When you have to drop that bombshell into conversation before sleeping together, things get a bit more complicated. So I felt like if I dedicated myself to the gym, I would not only be healthier to combat the disease, but I'd be more attractive.

But I got lazy, and was too worked up. Instead, I did research. I wanted to know EXACTLY how risky I'd been. What were my chances of getting it? What were my chances of staving off AIDS? What kind of drugs might I have to take? What kind of communities were there for guys with HIV? I read a report I'd written about this topic in school, which reassured me some. I read probably a dozen websites top to bottom. I looked up stats with the CDC. I called hotlines.

As it turns out, there's an HIV testing site and resource center within walking distance of my place. Of course, right? It is West Hollywood. I went down there and asked them a ton of questions, mostly to have personal confirmation of what I'd read online. They too assured me that what I'd done was pretty low risk. I got one of the 20 minute mouth swab tests. I knew I was still well within the window period, and it couldn't possibly come back positive even if I had it. But it made me feel better to get the results and hear them say the words "negative." I made a hefty donation to cover the wasted test, and because I was overwhelmed with appreciation that they are there for people who need them.

I looked up movies to try to distract myself, but there was nothing I wanted to see. I sat and did a lot of thinking about life, and life with HIV. My great uncle died of AIDS in the 80's, but I don't know that I ever met him, and if I did I was too young to understand. I had only known one other guy with HIV, in Boston, and had a giant crush on him. I recalled how much I'd wanted to kiss him, but also the conflict I'd felt over whether I'd really want to be in a relationship with him. I knew that is how people may react to me.

I thought about what my friend must be going through, knowing for certain that he really does have it. I thought about what his parents must be feeling, and how crushed my family might be when they find out. I went through a bit of "how could this possibly happen to me?" I am always so careful. I always use a condom. I almost always ask the guy (though it was now crystal clear that even if they tell the truth, they may not know themselves). I wondered whether the guy felt bad for possibly infecting me, and whatever other guys he'd been with, or whether he was only focused on himself at that moment. I wondered whether, if I were in his shoes, if I would feel guilty. Part of me feels like I shouldn't be making such a big deal out of it. After all, there shouldn't be any stigma to it. By reacting like this, am I betraying HIV-phobia? Maybe. On the other hand, how could I not react this way? It's one thing to be totally cool with somebody who has it, and another thing entirely to have it yourself. I took a sleeping pill and got some peace.

When I woke up and realized what had happened the day before, I promptly vomited. Every time I think about it I gag. Thankfully I'm not hungry, so there's nothing in my stomach to lose. I'm sure I'll lose weight. I suspect, like with everything else, the shock will probably wear off, and I'll get hungry eventually. Obviously I can't think of anything else. I don't know how I'll get through daily life waiting for the test results.

I suppose I'm not totally alone. This blog is more-or-less anonymous, but not totally. I know a number of my real-life friends read this. And I know there are a number of people, especially from Boston, who read this blog who know me in real life, but who I don't know are reading it. If you are one of those people who know me in real life, I need you to write to me now, whenever you read this, even if it's a year after I post it. Email or Facebook. I won't be mad that you've been reading it, even if you promised you wouldn't read it. It's important to me. Please.

memorial day

You know what, I'm having trouble keeping up with my list of things to post about. The truth is, I'm just too busy out living life to stop and write about it. And then once a week or two has passed, I don't always remember the fun details.

Anyway, I had a really great weekend. On Thursday afternoon I went over to my friend's house to help him prepare for a dinner party, and the party was amazing. Incredible food. Beautiful flowers. And a great group of people, ranging in age over 30 years between the oldest and youngest guests. I met a couple really cool guys who I want to befriend. I also now have a crush on a 48 year old woman I met there, so I guess it's about time to wrap up the gay blog. Just kidding. About the blog, not the crush. I really do have a crush. I did within the first 5 minutes! She told me she told our host that when we met, we had a special connection. And when I got home and googled her, I found out she has Emmys! We're gonna get drinks.

On Friday after work I had a business meeting with a friend for this project we're working on, and we made a ton of progress. We made the first really big decisions and started implementing, so that was satisfying. And it was really fun, too! Its cool to brainstorm with creative people. We then went for sushi with a friend, and were headed bowling but found something FAR more interesting to do. I love friends who challenge me to experiment, be more myself and live life to the fullest. We also watched a couple bootleg movies with some really fun scenes, and developed ideas for a cool photography project we've been talking about. We also went to the market to check out some magazines for some ideas for another project. That night definitely marks the start of summer! I didn't leave there til about 3, took a bit of a nap (but never really slept) and left at 7:30 for vacation with my family.

On the way there somebody hit my car, and didn't pull over. I called the highway patrol, but just as I was finally getting connected we happened to drive past an officer. I hope insurance pays, because it's going to cost a fortune to fix my car. Bah.

The weekend was amazing and relaxing. I spent a lot of time working on that project, but also played with a new toy we got for Christmas and hadn't had a chance to try. I got a fun phone call from a friend telling me about a threesome he'd had. I saw Angels and Demons (meh) and started reading a new book. I caught up on sleep a bit, and when I was driving home a friend called and invited me to a pool party. After that we came back to my place and checked out a website we'd been talking about, and then to his house for a few minutes of fun. After that we went for some amazing sushi. Ever since early Saturday morning I've been getting a bit sick, so now I'm just relaxing watching a movie a friend was in when he was a kid.

Such a great weekend!

Adam Lambert

I intend to post something more substantive soon, but I just want to use my bully pulpit to tell you to pick up your phones and vote for Adam Lambert on American Idol tonight! It's easy. You just figure out what number to call (toll free) and then hit redial for 2 hours.

Don't be complacent! Don't assume everybody will vote for Adam so you don't have to! Kris will get the Gokey fans!

Why vote for Adam? Well, let me tell you.

For one thing, Adam is CLEARLY the better singer and performer. You may not like his particular style, but really, is anybody going to remember Kris by this time next year? If he wins, he'll be the next Ruben Studdard. Who? Exactly.

Watch what I think were his two best performances here and here.

Granted, Kris Allen is sex on legs, even despite the ridiculous faces he makes. But I have it from an extremely reliable source that Adam is an excellent kisser. For what that's worth.

Also, freaking Bill O'Reilly has made it into a culture war battle, and we just can't let that douchebag win. If you haven't seen it, he has been doing stories about how "Adam might be a homosexual" *gasp* and how Americans historically tend to vote for the outspoken Christians (like Kris Allen) on American Idol. The not-so-subtle subtext is that O'Reilly's rabid conservative haters should vote for the Christian so that the homo doesn't win. Really, can we let him do that? No.

Finally, most importantly, and what is actually motivating me: Adam is an incredibly sweet, humble, charming and talented guy. None of this fame has gone to his head. He deserves to win.

VOTE!!!

big things going on

I have some big stuff going down, but I'm not ready to talk about it. And it has me super busy. In the meantime, I have something for you to chew on. I'm very curious to get people's reactions:
A gentleman never runs to catch a train. It is undignified. He should not have been late in the first place. It is unacceptable to do a second undignified thing in order to try to fix the first.

I have a feeling our old friend London Preppy will have something to say about this, as he has a keen sense of what is dignified.

As for the rest of you...

Thoughts?

lookin' good

For the last couple days, I've felt good looking, and it is such an unusual state of affairs that I think it merits a post (if for no other reason than I can refer back to it when I'm feeling bad again).

My horrid body-wide burn has mellowed into a perfect golden tan (with hot tan lines). My morning "workout" (if you can even call it that) seems to have paid dividends. The 6-pack isn't there yet, but my abs aren't just one boring plank, and when I dance or catch the light just right you can see some promising definition. I never had moobs or a muffin top or anything, but I think my chest is looking tighter and my v-muscles are more pronounced.

I hadn't bought a new bathing suit in about 5 years, so the one I have been wearing is dirty, out of style, and way too big (I have to cinch it up as tight as possible, and you can still see my pubes if I don't hike it up every minute or so). A friend dragged me to the store and made me try on these supergay little box-cut numbers. I would NEVER have even considered something like that on my own, but he insisted. As I was strutting around looking in mirrors, he accosted this classic old queen and said "Come on, tell me, doesn't this make his dick look big? Doesn't he look good in these?" With a dramatic flourish and great comic timing the guy looked down, in a breathy drag queen voice said "TOO good", and put his hand over his mouth, ducked his head, and scurried off like he was embarrassed. hahaha!

Needless to say I bought them and wore them all weekend by the pool. At first I was shy. It's true that my pubes were finally covered, but you could see a full outline of everything else, and when it got wet it didn't leave much to the imagination at all. And, as you know, I hardly ever let anybody see my body because I don't like how it looks. But then I saw myself in a mirror wearing nothing but these shorts, a chain, sandals and sunglasses, and thought "If I saw myself at a pool right now, I'd totally want to do me."

That realization (and it's probably the first time since I was a hot little twink in high school) had an amazing effect on me. I don't remember ever having affirmatively described myself as looking good in my OWN eyes on this blog. I know I've relayed what other people say, and have acknowledged that (objectively) I suppose I'm decent based on what other people seem to think. But I almost never subjectively think I look good. And that feeling often holds me back. I won't take a chance flirting with a cute guy (unless I'm drunk) because I can't imagine why he'd want me. I won't try to escalate a relationship with a guy I like because, again, I can't imagine he'd be interested given all the other guys to choose from in LA.

But in the last few days, feeling like I look good has had a kind of domino effect in the opposite direction. Because I feel like I look good, I act like I look good. And because confidence is attractive, other people see me as looking good, and so I feel even better. One simple thing is that I'm standing up straighter and putting my chest out. Especially when I wear a bathing suit, I kinda cower into myself, thinking nobody can see me. But now I'm standing tall.

I went to a club the other night and (again, totally uncharacteristically) wore a body-hugging tank top I'd been coerced into buying. From the moment I walked in, all sorts of cute guys were paying me attention. One guy totally eye-fucked me as we passed each other, and when I smiled to acknowledge it he smiled a beautiful smile right back. Another guy seemed into me as we talked, but had a boyfriend so I backed off. Another kept wanting to grind with me and my friend in various combinations. As I was ordering a drink, one of the (HOT) go-go dancers came out from the dressing room, stood behind the bartender, smiled at me, and pulled his speedo down to show me his (HOT) junk. Another cutie I was talking to definitely would have gone home with me, but I wasn't driving and it would have been tacky to ask. I also got a massage a few days ago, and the super-cute masseur kept going for an extra 20 minutes more than I'd paid for because, in his words, I "inspired" him. As evidenced by my tumescence under the sheet, which he admired and took no pains to avoid brushing up against, I was inspired too.


Anyway, those of you who like to call me narcissistic in response to any post that mentions my looks (regardless of whether I'm also talking about my self-esteem problems) now FINALLY have something to legitimately bitch about! But I don't care. I think it's healthy, and in my case necessary, to celebrate the rare occassions when I actually feel good about myself.

P.S. Obviously none of these pictures are me, but this post gives me a rare excuse to post some pictures of hot boys by the pool.