Listen to your fears
One afternoon I heard the familiar boopy boop Scruff notification coming from my phone. It was a message from a smiling bloke named Mateo. He flirted for about a nanosecond before asking how big my dick was. I asked how big his ass was. He sent me a picture, and so I of course obliged in turn. He was gorgeous and scruffy and he wanted me to rim him, and I was horny and a little hungover.
Mateo wanted me to come over, but something in me bristled; I wanted to hold to my new standard of at least a cursory date before “coming over.” Look, I’m nearly 30 and the world is filled with wackadoodles, and you should never get your junk anywhere near someone who won’t meet you, at least once, in a well lit public place. He sulked a little at the perceived slight – followed by a stream of pictures of inanimate objects going into his anus.
It’s not that I didn’t want to fuck him. If he’d been right there in front of me, I probably would have torn the pants right off him. But something about the whole thing suddenly seemed so alien. I was experiencing jamais vu – the opposite of déjà vu. I’d been through this act a thousand times, but now I felt repulsed. It was so strange! I didn’t even know his last name, but I knew the shape and size of his sex toys!
I told him I’d message him that night, but I begged off because I was tired. This was followed by frowny emoticons and more pictures of his ass. He messaged me several times that week, finally asking if he had scared me off with pictures that Thursday. “I’m sorry, I’ve just been really busy,” I said. “Good, as long as you still want to fuck me, daddy.” He asked me for more pictures – a reasonable enough request, considering from how many angles I had seen his derrière that week – but in that moment I decided to listen to my fears.
When I was younger, I think I thought that I had to seize every opportunity for sex that came my way. I remember thinking as a child that maybe someday I would run out of jizz, because isn’t it totally freaky that you don’t? My body is making more jizz, right now, as I type this. That’s totally fucking crazy. Maybe part of that carried over into my adult life, because I spent my late teens and early 20s fucking like fucking was a non-renewable, time-sensitive resource. And, just like a good American, I decided to burn through all of it as fast as possible instead of meting it out judiciously with caution aforethought.
One night outside 8 Ball, a shaggy, “flushed” homosexual with frosted tips approached and complimented my hair. And my face. And my “general bearishness.” He then proceeded to slide his hand between two buttons on my shirt, at which point I said, “that’s a little far.” By which I really meant “get your fucking hands off me right fucking now.” To his credit (?), he walked a brisk zigzag off into the night, and I looked around at my friends: “can you believe the nerve of that guy!?” But here’s the sick, sad thing, dear reader: part of me – a larger part than I’d care to think – thought, “Oh no, he was paying attention to me, and now I’ve scared him off!”
It’s that old “terrible food, and such small portions” joke, but with greasy queers instead of white fish. I was being sexually harassed, but some frightened, misguided part of me could only focus on the “sexual” part. I wasn’t even attracted to him! I wouldn’t have let him put his hand in my shirt in pretty much any circumstance. But the fact that he wanted to got me all in a twist.
It’s probably a hallmark of low self-esteem to be worried about chasing off someone who’s sexually harassing you. But the normative primacy of men’s whims is also the watchword of the patriarchy; that they’re doing something wrong, I’m certain, never even crosses their minds. Or more simply put: men suck, even the gay ones.
Further complicating matters was what you might call my “lapsed” polyamory. I still think of myself as polyamorous, but the thing is…I kind of suck at it.
I mean, do you know how much free time polyamory requires? Remembering multiple birthdays? Keeping a day planner? Assiduously saying the right name in bed? God, just pass me the Jack and wake me when it’s over.
When Ibrahim and I broke up, I kind of assumed I would revert back to my slutty ways. It was kind of the game plan, as you may recall: 1) Get a job. 2) Blow some dumb hipsters. But when I wrangled up a hipster who turned out not to be dumb after all, I kind of forgot that I was supposed to be a mega-slut.
It’s not like Jack-Santana and I were in any way officially exclusive. We didn’t talk about it. We occasionally discussed that week’s stabbings on Game of Thrones or oral technique, but never really what was going on between us. What was going on was pretty clear: we were having great sex when we could, end of story.
And, in fact, I did sleep with someone else, a sex educator out in Ypsi. He was a very nice boy, and smart to boot, and he showed me the wall of promotional sex toys companies had sent him. He was poly, too, and introducing his boyfriend to the WILD N WACKY WORLD of LOVING MORE. He was a good kisser with a nice smile, and I was admittedly charmed by the thought of mayhaps bedding them both. I didn’t dismiss the idea out of hand (or six), but, well…see previous point about kind of sucking at polyamory. Also, they lived in Ypsilanti, which, as we’ve established, might as well be Staten Island.
My relationship – such as it was – with Jack-Santana wasn’t so much about monogamy as being content with what I had. On yet another night at the 8 Ball, I told Liddie: “I don’t know if it’s because I’m having sex on a regular basis now, but I’ve realized: sex is just sex. I mean, don’t get me wrong, sex is great sometimes, but it’s still just…sex.”
That same night I told her: “I think easy people can still have standards.”
In the span of ten years, I had gone from virginity to monogamy to sluttery to ethical sluttery to monogamy to…however I felt now. Namely: not ready for love, but also no longer interested in pictures of strangers’ buttholes.
I briefly considered blocking Mateo, but in the end I just uninstalled Scruff. He hadn’t really done anything wrong – unless you’d ding him for not taking a hint -, and by that point I had largely forgotten I even had the sex apps. Having casual sex with just one person might not be the cutting edge of the queer vanguard, but it’s what I had space for in my life.