The Re-return

I have this feeling that I’m going to have the option of re-returning to an old.. flame? Let’s call him that for now.

See, the re-return is the action of re-dating someone, be it a full fledged ex or even just someone who you vibed with for a while. I’ve always had a a strict no re-return rule – if things didn’t work the first time, there must have been a reason, and that action likely to repeat itself.

So the possible re-return, we’ll call him Designer, is a guy I met the year after I graduated from high school, in what I’m now calling my gap year. I dated someone else for a good portion of that year, and I met Designer after we broke up. He was attractive, sweet, funny and the nicest guy I had met in a while. We hit it off and started going out, sort of.  We saw a lot of each other and met each other’s friends, so I guess you can say we were dating.

In the very early stages, before we were really anything to each other, we went gay clubbing with some other friends. gay clubbing is almost always a mistake, a mistake with great music. Anyway, so Designer made out with someone right in front of me and that pissed me off. I should have called it off then and there, but if you’ve read anything I’ve posted before, you know I’m a sucker for punishment. So my response was to go make out with the same guy later that night. The things you think are a good idea when you’re young and slightly inebriated. We became exclusive that night.

We went strong for a while, but he worked full time, and I started my medical degree the next year, a little while after we started seeing each other. He was also not out yet, and we know how I feel about that – he’s out now though at least. I started seeing less and less of him as time went on and eventually we decided to end it, whatever it was.

I saw him out now and again, as happens in this city. With a population of more than 4 million and more than 7 million in the greater Jo’Burg area, you’d think I’d run into fewer exes when I go out. I ran into him again this year, in early May, when we were celebrating my birthday at the same gay club where we both made out with a handsome stranger that night many years ago. I got pretty crunk that night, it was for my birthday after all. So we made out, this designer and I.

It was good, but it was meant to be a one time thing. He texted me the next day and we chatted a bit for the next few days. The conversation fizzled out as it always seems to, until last week that is.

I wake up one morning last week to a text with a picture from one of the first times we went out way back when. I sent back a laughing emoji and mentioned that my hair was horrible back then, which is completely true by the way. He responds with a picture in which I’m trying my best to blue steel and pout and smolder all at once. It was terrible, but he followed the picture with a heart-for-eyes emoji. This made me smile and right there Id decided the conversation wouldn’t fizzle out so quickly this time.

We’ve been chatting since then and we plan to meet up some time to catch up. This follows my exes and ohs post, both because it seemed like a good follow-up and because somehow all of this is happening at once.

From what I’ve told you here, it may seem like I’m basing my opportunity for a re-return on very little. That’s because I’m scared he may read this in the future and the less I say about it, the better.

I do however feel like the opportunity is real. The question is just, have we changed and matured enough in the last three years for it to work this time, or am I setting myself up for disaster by even considering this?

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Exes and Ohs

When a relationship ends things tend to be a little awkward. If you do the breaking up then the other party inevitably hates you for a period of time, even if they still love you. That seemed like a juxtaposition, but I’m sure many people have experienced this very weird emotional position – an example that I experience all the time is my folks, they annoy the hell out of me sometimes with their old-timey views and lack of understanding of things happening around them, but of course I still love them. When I’m broken up with, or even when I break up with someone, I feel something similar to this. I just can’t really go back to the person after I cool down and say sorry, I love you. But can you, after a cool-down period, go back and give them a a different kind of love? Can exes be friends?

Usually I’d say no. I’m fantastically good friends with some girls I dated way back when in primary school, because I have since come out, and anything in primary school can’t actually count when you’re in your twenties, right? Right. There are, however, no guys from my past that I’m actually properly friends with. I’ll see some of them out now and again, or send or receive a text from one if we need to discuss something specific. But friends? No, I still refer to them as ‘my ex’, not ‘my friend’.

This past weekend I had yet another birthday party with a theme – ‘Squares and Drapes’. If you don’t know what that theme entails, it’s from some Johnny Depp movie made in 1990. Anyway, I didn’t know what to wear and one of the very few people I knew was going to be there, was an ex. I sent him a text the morning of asking what I should wear, what I really wanted to gauge was if it was going to be an awkward evening or not. Turns out we’re fine now, almost two years after we broke up. I’m sure it helped that he’s been in a year-long relationship with someone new, even if it’s long distance. He seemed happy and we got along just fine.

The only hiccup was when I had to explain why I did not go to his birthday party a few months ago, even though quite a few of my friends ended up going. I said it was because I felt like I was the obligatory invite, the guy you invite because you feel like it’s the right thing to do – it’s the absolute worst when they actually end up coming. This explanation was mostly true. I also just didn’t feel like a room full of attractive gay guys when I’ve really been letting myself go for the last six months or so.

So that went well – we’re still not going to be in the business of inviting each other out to coffee or clubbing though. Still just ‘my ex’.

Now, some people may or may not remember Ben from at least two of my other recent posts. We vibed for like a month, that’s no time at all. I developed a semblance of feelings very quickly though, possibly just because I hadn’t had any for anyone in quite some time. Well whatever the reason for my ridiculous affections, they were there. Now it’s his birthday this coming weekend and lo and behold, he’s having a party. It’s Halloween themed – apt. Not only because it’s Halloween on Saturday (also JHB gay pride that day by the way), but because I’m terrified of going. I’ve been checking the Facebook event and many of my friends are going. So is Gaysian, from my extended play post.

The reason I’m terrified, is because we were never friends and we were never together, but we kind of broke up. We haven’t texted in weeks and it’s awkward when we run into each other, unlike the ex that I saw last week. I don’t want to go and be awkward and I don’t want to not go because then it’s obvious that I’m not going because I dread seeing him. Is it obvious?

Anyway, he invited 150 people. He’s personally told me that he dislikes some of the people on his guest-list. Am I one of those people for real this time? The one that you feel you have to invite to be polite, but secretly you really hope they don’t come.

What’s the right move here? Do I go because my friends are going, do I go because I want to show him that I’m over it, or do I not go and risk being the guy that can’t be friends with a whole group of people because of one failed relationship attempt with a member of said group?

Did I burn a bridge here? Or if I haven’t burnt one, am I risking doing just that?

Label It

This is something that intrigues and confuses me, and it has for a long time. I posted about coming out just a few days ago, and although I didn’t really feel like telling my own story, I tried to convey that I’m all for coming out and being gay and being happy. But is it really that easy to label yourself and then just live with it?

At my university, we have an annual event called the Medics Pub Crawl – it’s pretty fun I think. I’m not really sure, since the goal is to be off your face even before you get on the bus to the first destination. At last year’s pub crawl, as is my tradition when going out, I mingled with many groups of people and not just my everyday group of friends. So on one of the buses between venues, I sat with some girls in my class. We were all pretty well socially lubricated at this point, so things got a bit flirty as they often do. They all knew that I was gay and I knew that they all knew, so it’s all good if we flirt a bit. No harm done. Except that I ended up almost making out with the one girl, but picked her friend instead. This caused some friction there apparently, oh well. Anyway, the one I chose is taller than me, has beautiful blonde curls or waves or whatever and has a banging body. It just happened, and it was fun for both of us I hope.

Later that night, at the last venue, I spot this super tall guy who is also in my class. I had never really spoken to him before that evening, but I had always assumed that he would swing both ways. So we’re on the street and I approach him and attempt to chat him up, and it works. Did I mention that he’s taller than me and had brown curls or waves or whatever? The reason I’m drawing this comparison is simply because sometimes it’s true that you have a type, but can your type resonate with you regardless of gender?

For me the answer is almost always no, but after a few drinks I enjoy making out with girls. I assume it’s just because I enjoy making out and it doesn’t really have anything to do with sex or gender, as long as there’s some level of physical attraction.

The reason for the backstory was really so I could mention the tall guy. Let’s just call him J. J is a vegetarian and looks like a hippy sometimes and like a hipster other times. He’s a model and a medical student, so he checks a lot of boxes and leaves many other boxes blank.

My sometimes socially awkward friend doesn’t make out with too many people when she’s drunk, instead she asks questions and brings up things best forgotten. I mentioned earlier that J and I didn’t really speak before we kissed a year ago, well now we’re in the same group of friends, so we speak rather often. At a party last weekend the awkward bestie asks him about his label. He responds, quite casually I might add, that he isn’t sure what he is. He likes girls but he could also easily make out with me again right there and then. I responded that it would not be that easy, just because I didn’t know what to say.

The akward bestie, I think that’s what I’ll call her from now on, seemed unsure how she felt about this, purely from a ‘what box in my head is reserved fir this’, kind of perspective. I tried to come up for J and said not to label him, he’s clearly not at either extreme of the Kinsey scale. I felt very cosmopolitan and forward thinking for saying this, but then I started really thinking about it. I think I may need labels. I think society as whole may function better when we can label things. I tried to imagine dating not J, but someone like him, someone who didn’t really know what they wanted.

I’ve been struggling with simply the idea of dating a bisexual man. I don’t know why it’s such a weird thing for me, I hook up with guys and girls but have no emotional or romantic attraction to girls so I’m not quite identifying as bi. Should it bother me that a bi man could just as easily leave me for a woman as for another man? Probably not. What does bother me and I feel like it may be more justified, is that a bi man can never be at the same comfort level with my girl friends as I am, there’s a possibility of sexual attraction there. I’m the jealous type, so maybe that’s what’s shining through here if we’re being completely honest. So did I just decide that the ‘Bi’ label is an exception? Do we want labels, but ones that say something concrete, like ‘I want a girlfriend’ or ‘I want a boyfriend’ rather than ‘I’m single’?

Back to the J situation. If you’re unsure what you want, and you date a boy for a year just to realise that you really want to marry a woman instead, is that fair to either of you? If you don’t want the world to label you, that’s probably completely okay, but maybe you should have a label tucked away in your mind just for your own personal use?

Obviously I can’t really come up with a concrete solution to the problem of labeling, and maybe there isn’t a problem at all. Maybe it’s all much of a muchness and every situation warrants a complete evaluation by itself.

Friendship Whore

I had recently been called a friendship whore, and I was appalled. In the context it simply seemed to suggest that I had a few different groups of friends, so when I attended events I could not be counted on to be someone’s pillar and keep them company for the whole evening. That actually doesn’t sound so bad does it? Having quite a few friends could sometimes be considered a good thing.

The reason it upset me, not to my core, but on a rather superficial flesh wound kind of level, was because someone I like as a friend called me a Friendship Whore. I mean, there can be no good intent when calling someone any kind of whore, unless when quoting Mean Girls, and subtly letting someone know they’re part of your crew with a playful “Boo, you whore”.

I remembered the phrase in question this morning, while considering the weekend ahead – thinking where I had to go and who I was likely to see and what we might have to talk about. Halfway through my mental preparations it popped into my head –  “You’re such a friendship whore”. I considered this accusation and its validity, especially in a context where I was actually thinking ahead about what to say to different people at social events. I know that it’s really because of social anxiety and not wanting to have to improvise if I ran into someone that I had nothing to say to, but I think maybe it could come across as some form of friendship whoring.

Just to really be sure if I could be described as such a fiend, I did a quick internet search of the term. Of course. there is a certain not so official online dictionary that has a definition for this phrase, this title, this… insult. It is described as someone who pretends to be a nice person so that they can be your friend and your trusted confident, but then turns out to really not give a damn about you. Not only that, but the victim of the charade is then so deep in this whore’s grasp that they can never be angry enough to justify breaking off the friendship.

Now I’m a bit uncomfortable. Is this a status that I actually have among people? Worst of all, the one that first brought my attention to my whoring ways is in my class, one of my peers and someone that I see regularly and will have to see for at least three more years. This is fine. What’s not fine, is if other people agree, other people who are also my peers and who also have to be in my life for years to come.

Maybe I should simply embrace the idea and allow people to fall into my black widow-esque clutches from which there is no escape and build an army of devout, if not slightly sad and hurt, patrons of whoring.

I feel like maybe this is all coming off very dramatic and woe-is-me. I’ll mention that as much as this is a worry in my life, it’s not really a worry in my life. That makes total sense right? Good.

Coming Out

In my weekend haze of sleep and binge eating, I missed coming out day. Hoe embarrassing for me.  If I’m telling the absolute truth, I actually had no idea that I was missing it – I either never knew such a day existed, or I had simply forgotten about it.

I was going to use this post to complain about the fact that gay men and women, not to mention transgender folks and a multitude of other fringe sexualities, actually still have to come out. I was going to use the argument that it’s 2015, and straight people don’t have to come out as straight and blah blah blah. You know, the usual indignation about things that won’t change simply because I’m indignant about it.

I’ve decided against going that route, and would rather say something about how great it is that there is actually a day for coming out. It puts some kind of pressure on society when a mass of young boys and girls all flock to social media on one day to declare themselves normal, and proud of it. I’m using the word normal because that’s exactly what LGBTQI people are, just a different kind of normal. That last sentence was written with my tongue literally nestled in my cheek, its favourite position, by the way.

Not only does it give the individuals actually doing the coming out a chance to start living life as themselves, but it also encourages those not ready this year to potentially start readying themselves for a big reveal next year. We must all know that having a date in mind for the completion of any project helps you and forces you to get it done. It’s no different with coming out. It’s a battle you need to fight and being able to postpone the inevitable makes it so easy to do.

I remember coming out quite well. Actually, that’s a lie. I was 14 at the time, and what i remember the most clearly is the fallout at home and at school. I don’t feel like rehashing the whole thing, it’s not a very entertaining story. What is worth mentioning though, is that people who aren’t too impressed when you tell do get over it and eventually grow the hell up – yes, even mothers.

I’m 22 now and mostly happy and comfortable with the whole thing, even though there are still assholes out there that say fantastically homophobic things to my face. It will happen to anyone, no matter how long you’ve been out or where you’re from or where you fit in to the LGBTQI spectrum, so fear of such immature and most likely dumb folks is no reason to postpone living your best and most honest life.

That’s really all I have on the topic right now. So come out, be you and live your life.