Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Are Gay Men Obsessed With How We Look? And why?

I just saw a preview for a documentary that will be airing on Logo this weekend and I made sure to set my DVR to record it. The film is called "The Adonis Factor" and is directed by Christopher Hines. Check out the trailer:

 I am completely willing to admit that I am more than slightly obsessed with how I look. However, I feel that it is mostly due to the fact that I grew up obese and am now finally reaching the point where I am healthy and fit, and not embarrassed by my weight. So yes, I check myself out in the mirror constantly, to see how far I've come and what I have left to work on (are my standards for how far I need to go unrealistic and heavily influenced by this "Adonis Factor?") . And of course I care about how I dress, and how I look when I leave the house, but is that necessarily a "gay" thing? It seems like on the whole, the gay community puts more stock into looks and appearance. But why? I really hope this doc "makes good" and sheds some light on the topic.

Once I watch it I will have to do a little write up. I have a feeling it will tie in really well with my "pros and cons of living in WeHo" post.

Here is "The Adonis Factor" official site.


HOOK-UPs & HANG-UPs: Part Deux

I’m not exactly sure why, but I thought it would be fun to reminisce about the last 6 months or so with regard to my love life (or overall lack there of, HA!). It was by far the most interesting and promiscuous year on record for me. You can check out the first half of the year if you’d like here.

I guess I can start this by just laying it all out there. I think it is really bizarre to have guys come up to you at a club, start dancing and then just start making out. Even stranger is the hand down the pants move. I’m all for getting some action, but we’ve only just met; get your damn hand off my crotch! I honestly can’t keep track of how many random make out sessions I have had in the last 6 months. I’m not sure how I feel about that fact. It’s just the way it is.

One night while at The Abbey with some friends I made eye contact with some random hot guy as we passed each other trying to make our way through the crowd on the dance floor, he was headed toward the front, we had just entered and were trying to get over to the bar in the back. I was just looking around at the mix of people taking it all in, as I usually do, when I caught his glance. We held it for a few seconds, and because we were on opposite sides of the crowd and moving in opposite directions, that was it. We got to the bar, got drinks and found a semi-vacant place where we could stand and talk. A few minutes later, out of nowhere the guy from the dance floor pops up right next to me. He asks my name. I reply. I ask his. He tells me. We immediately begin kissing. I am not sure how long this goes on for, but I do think at one point he had his hand down my pants, and this is all in front of my friends and some people next to us that we had just met and befriended. After a while we stop and he makes his way back over to the bar to get another drink. I didn’t see him again. He was an OK kisser. I got a lot of shit from my friends for that one. It was a little awkward, right there in front of them and some statue of a random saint or whatever, I have to admit.

Fourth of July weekend I went out with some friends on what ended up being an epic evening. We started out on the eastside; it was agreed that we needed to escape the “WeHo scene.” We went to Akbar but weren’t feeling it so we headed over to MJ’s. I’ve always been amused by the mixed crowd at MJ’s; there’s a little bit of every type of gay. I ran into some friends of a friend and we danced for a bit (one kept making eyes at me but nothing ever happened). We excused ourselves to the patio to get some air (and so my friend could smoke). He found a group of older gay men to bum a cigarette off of. We quickly made friends and spent who knows how long chatting with them. One of the men offered to buy me a drink, I allowed him to do so. We eventually decided to go back out to the dance floor. We met back up with the friends-of-friends and before I knew it the man who bought me a drink was all up in my business. Full Disclosure: While older, in his 50’s, he was attractive, though not my type and I was not interested in anything but having fun. So . . . we ended up making out on the dance floor (are we seeing a trend here?) and he was getting a little grope-y and putting my hand down his pants and whispering all sorts of nonsense in my ear. After a while we were over it all and decided to go meet up with some friends at a club downtown. As we were leaving the older gentleman followed us out. He expressed his desire to take me home with him. I declined by way of having to take care of my friend, and he asked that I call him. I never did.

That night we ended up at some underground rave/party and then after hours at The Factory (which was definitely not my scene). We finally made it back to my house at about 5 in the morning and crashed.

Sometime in July I was out and about in WeHo and after an evening of drinking and dancing at all the usual spots, a friend and I ended up at Mickey’s after hours. Now, so far in my experience nothing “good” has ever come out of my going to Mickey’s. We hit the dance floor and were having a great time getting down. After some time I notice a guy and his friend making their way over to us. They start dancing next to us, and then one of them moves in to dance with me. We dance and at some point one of us makes the first move. We begin to kiss. We make out. Hands are moving all over. We both lose track of our friends and don’t realize or care until it is nearing the end of the night. We exchange numbers and go our separate ways, each of us with our re-found friend, but not before kissing goodbye.

The next afternoon I resolve to be the one to call and see about setting something up. Obviously it goes to voicemail so I leave a message, straightforward and to the point. He calls back that evening while I am at the gym and leaves me a message.  We agree to meet up that week. I pick the location. We meet around 9 at one of the smaller WeHo restaurants for drinks. We have round after round, and lots of good conversation. We stay until closing. He offers to drive me home (I laugh because I am within safe walking distance). He won’t take “no” for an answer. He drives the three or so minutes to my place. I give him a kiss good night. We make out in the car for a moment. A car drives by and he gets nervous. I laugh. I put the car in park for him. We continue to kiss. I enjoy kissing him, there is something that feels “right” about it. We stop and agree that is getting late and we both have to work the next day. One more kiss and I exit the car. We text back and forth a bit. At some point in the early morning hours I get a friend request notification from Facebook.

We don’t meet up again until after the weekend because he had to go out of town (we did text a lot while he was gone). We go to a lounge-y bar and just talk. We talk about all sorts of random stuff; the conversation is good (family, friends, politics, religion, etc.). Since receiving the friend request I now know his age. He is a bit younger than myself, but he is definitely more mature than the number of years would lead me to believe. Once gain we stay until near closing. He offers to give me a ride home, and I eagerly agree to it. In front of my house history repeats itself. I tell him that I could continue kissing him all night. Unfortunately, it is a weeknight and we must go our separate ways.

We continue to text each other back and forth throughout the day for the next couple days. We meet up again later that week. He parks at my place and we walk up to the boulevard together. We start out at one bar and have a few drinks and then head elsewhere to go dancing. He harasses me about looking at one of the go-go boys. I tell him that it is impossible to ignore them, and that I don’t even find the guy attractive its just that my eyes were drawn to the movement. He half-buys it, but it is the honest truth. We dance. Some straight girl cuts in to dance with me (I don’t know what it is, straight girls love me. And I mean that in the least arrogant way possible). She comments on how cute he and I are together and apologizes to him for stealing me away. We dance more. At some point I ask him whether he wants to stay and dance or do something else. We decide to head back to my place. I show him up to my apartment. We make our way to my room. We kiss. I push him down onto the bed. I lean over him and we continue to kiss. I am on top of him and we are making out. I start to unbutton his shirt, unbuckle his belt and pull down his pants. I unbutton my own shirt. I feel very comfortable with him. I pull down my pants. We kiss for a while in just our underwear. I move down to his crotch. I tease him a bit before pulling down his underwear (at first with my teeth). I give him head for a while before coming back up for another kiss. He comments on my “talent.” We trade places. He wraps his lips around my dick and he cups my balls. He is a little rough on the squeezing of them and I have to reach down and guide his hand. After a bit he comes up. He is expecting me to fuck him. I wasn’t even planning on him actually coming back to my place, let alone wanting to fuck, and I tell him I don’t have the necessary supplies (I just didn’t think about it). He is visibly disappointed. We continue to fool around but it is different now. We both come. We lay in the bed for a bit to recuperate. We clean up and get dressed. I walk him out to his car and we kiss for a bit. He is leaving the next day to go out of town for the weekend, I say goodbye with another kiss.

I text him the next day to see that he arrived at his destination safely but don’t hear back. I send another text later that evening. No response. I am now pretty sure things are through between us. I finally hear back after a couple days. He gives the usual excuses (busy with work and can’t be in a relationship right now . . .). I tell him that I knew it was over and I was waiting for him to actually say it. I am not sure of the real reasons behind the dissolution of our burgeoning relationship but I suppose it doesn’t matter much. What really made me angry about the whole situation was how strongly he had pursued me from the start only to end things so abruptly. My pride was bruised and that is never fun.

I see him again a few weeks later while out celebrating the overturning of Prop 8. We chat and introduce each other to friends. We dance and drink and have a general good time. We go to the bar together to grab a drink. He looks at me with “that” look in his eyes. He starts to lean in. He catches himself. I smile and hand him his drink. As I am leaving the bar I say goodbye, give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I jokingly tell him to “be good.”

My friends and I decide to stop into one of the other bars on the walk back home. I run into the guy that I hooked up with a couple times last spring. He says something about me never calling him, and I tell him that the phone lines work in both directions. We chat for a bit. He asks if I want to dance. I oblige.  We dance. We kiss. He says all the right things (again). We end up back at my place. We are in my bed fooling around and having a good time. He’s fun and a bit aggressive and I like it. It is surprisingly passionate for just being a hook-up. The only problem is that every time we kiss all I can focus on is the horrible taste of tobacco. It is a huge turn off, and I resolve that this is the last time I will be kissing him, let alone any other smoker. Once we have both gotten off he gets dressed and I walk him out. I give him a kiss goodbye knowing that it will be the very last time our lips will meet.

The rest of August and September were filled with more random make out sessions. Only one was particularly memorable. I made out with a friend of a friend (the same one I had run into at MJ’s in July) who I know had been interested in me for some time. We all met up at Fiesta Cantina before heading over to Here Lounge and in the middle of the dance floor he made his move. It was really tender and nice and he made some throwaway comment about cuddling with me (which I was not opposed to). However by the end of the night he was angry with me (still not exactly sure why) and one of my friends had to spend a bit of time talking to him and calming him down (maybe it was the alcohol). It was definitely and odd situation and I haven’t seen him since.

In October I went out to celebrate my friend’s leaving the country for a couple months on a soul-searching trip to “the east.” By the end of the night he and I wound up on the dance floor at Mickey’s and before long I had an older gentleman trying to get “all up in my business.” I wanted nothing to do with him but he was extremely persistent. He moved in and kissed me. He stuck his hand down my pants. He kissed harder. And then he was leading me out of the bar. I told him that I needed to look after my friend (who had actually found himself a cute boy to pursue). He said I didn’t need to worry and that my friend could take care of himself. We walked down the street. I pulled back, honestly worried about my pal and also not really feeling it with this guy. He persisted. I gave in, figuring, “what’s the worst that could happen?” We arrived at his house. We went to the bedroom and he began to undress, and then to undress me. We made our way to the bed and fooled around for a bit. He reached over to his bedside table to grab his bottle of lube and also another smaller bottle of something. I knew what it was from watching “Queer as Folk” back in the day, but I have never been with someone who uses poppers, so this was new territory for me. He proceeded to lube himself up and then guided me to make my entrance. This was another first for me.  We all know by now that I am a late bloomer in this regard, but I gave it 110%. There was thrusting, and moaning, and position changes; to be honest things were going a lot better than I expected. However, about a half an hour into this whole experience I found myself “in my head” asking what the hell I was doing. Telling myself that I knew I should not be there and that I needed to plan my escape. Here I was F@#King a guy that I wasn’t even really attracted to, that I didn’t exactly want to go home with in the first place, and now he was just lying there moaning rhythmically but not really contributing anything. I realized there was no way I was going to get off and gave up the charade. I stopped and laid on the bed next to him to rest for a moment and “figure my shit out” but he immediately tried to top me. I had to (politely) let him know that wasn’t about to happen, and apparently the next best thing was to sidle up next to me and spoon, with his arm draped over my body. In the midst of recalculating my escape I actually ended up falling asleep for a moment. I woke up, naked and cold, to the sound of his soft snoring. I gently lifted his arm and climbed out of the bed. I crept around to where my clothes were scattered on the floor, quietly put on everything buy my shoes, wrote a “thank you” note, placed it on the bedside table and tiptoed out of the house. Then I ran like hell all the way back to Santa Monica Blvd where I proceeded to put my shoes back on and then walk home through the now deserted WeHo; the crisp autumn air enveloping my body and helping to clear my head as I tried to process the nights events.

On Halloween I met a boy at a rooftop party. He came up and started chatting with my two friends and I. We hit it off. We joked. It was great. And then we had to leave. We said we’d meet up at the next bar but that never happened. We didn’t exchange numbers or anything. Big mistake. I can’t help but wonder . . .

Sometime in November I attended a straight friend’s birthday party at a bar in Hollywood. I was just hanging out, talking with some friends and minding my own business when this guy comes over and sits right next to me. I really didn’t think anything of it and didn’t pay him much attention. He got up after playing on his phone for a few minutes. Not too long after he was back, under the guise of needing to grab something out of his jacket which just so happened to be right next to me. I still wasn’t really thinking anything of it but somehow he managed to interject himself into our conversation. Finally it clicked that he was interested; I’m a little slow, what can I say? We chatted for a bit and he offered to buy me a drink. We made our way to the bar. We made our way to the dance floor. We danced. We kissed. We went outside on the patio to chat. We made out. We danced. We made out on the dance floor. And then it was time to leave and all of our friends were very swift in their exits. It was just he and I left, and his ride was already gone. So, we walked to my car. And we stopped to make out. And he said all sorts of nice things. And he said that he’s not used to “getting the hot guy.” And I laughed at the comment. And he was kissing me and unbuttoning my shirt. And eventually we found ourselves in the car. And I was giving him a ride home. We kissed at every red light. We parked in front of his building and it was raining (it was a bit romantic). And we kissed some more. He said more flattering things. Eventually he went inside and I drove home.

He texted me like crazy. We made plans to meet up a few days later. We grabbed coffee/tea and caught a movie. He didn’t take his hands off me throughout the movie. We walked around after and talked some. He walked me to my car. We kissed in the parking lot.  We met up one other time at one of the local WeHo watering holes. He introduced me to his friends. We had fun. I ran into some friends of mine and kind of ignored him for a bit. He walked me home and we kissed for a while outside on the sidewalk. I used the excuse of having to work early the next morning (which was true) to get out of inviting him in.

In January I found myself in the middle of my most interesting hook-up to date. I was out with friends at another birthday celebration. As usual it was nice to see friends and hang out, drink and dance. However, by about 1:30 everyone was ready to leave; everyone except myself and one other friend. So we decided to head over to one of the other bars that stay open later. We snuck in without standing in line or paying cover and headed right into the center of the chaos. I was looking around, taking in the scenery, and I noticed a guy looking in my direction. I thought nothing of it and kept on dancing. A few minutes later I noticed the same guy and his friend both glancing over our way. Now, I am thinking that maybe one of them is interested. Not long after they start to head over to us. We make our introductions. We chat for a bit. Someone has the bright idea to head out to the dance floor. We are all dancing for a little bit and then my friend decides it’s time to leave. I say bye and continue to dance with my new friends. And then one moves in to kiss me (though, not the one that I am more attracted to of course). And then the other moves in and kisses me. And I am definitely more interested in this one so I continue to dance with him and to kiss him. And then he poses THE question. He asks if I would “like to get out of here.” In that split second before answering I think, “what the hell, why not?” And now we are leaving the bar and heading toward his car. And his friend is right there along with us. The three of us pile into the car and set off. It is at this point that it becomes completely clear where the night is headed. I text my friend that left early to share what is abut to happen (and also in a way to get some sort of approval for what I was not certain I was ready to do). We stopped at a drugstore to pick up some supplies and raised more than a few eyebrows. We arrived at the apartment of one of the guys and sat around for a while just talking and getting to know each other. And then the kissing started. And the clothes were coming off. And then we all moved to the bed. Hands were moving all over the place. And mouths were on penises. And then one of them was behind me trying to make his way in. And it was painful as all hell. And the other was sucking me off. And then we took a break and there was more making out and more sucking. And then the other guy wanted a turn, so I assumed the position. And we try, but he is a bit thicker and I am just not able to relax enough to let it in. So we go back to oral and hand jobs and kissing. Eventually we all get off and are exhausted. We snuggle up next to each other in the bed and go to sleep. In the morning we slowly wake up and there is some more fooling around. We shower and get dressed. We talk and hang out. They give me a ride home. I am shocked by how NOT awkward the whole situation is.

Ok so enough with the sharing all these ridiculous stories. What is more important is: WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?

- I have learned that I am attractive. Obviously, I am not hideous if I have guys that are interested in me. This is a very difficult thing for me to grasp and accept. Especially when my brain has not caught up to the changes in my body and I am still stuck with the “fat guy” mentality.

- I have learned that I don’t need to date a guy just because he shows interest in me. So far I have not been 100% attracted to any of the guys I have dated but have agreed to go out (or hook-up) purely because they are pursuing me and I am not used to that. This whole men finding me attractive thing is pretty new. And even newer is my acknowledgement of it and the fact I am even allowing myself to be open to all of it.

- I have learned that I am very good at brushing off the compliments that guys give me (I am the king of the eye roll). Honestly, I find it so awkward to be called “hot” or “sexy.” For starters, I don’t really believe they are being genuine (still struggle with self-esteem issues). And I also don’t know what the appropriate response is. Do I compliment them back? Does that then seem disingenuous and like I’m only doing it because they did first?

- I am trying to learn to go after what I want. It’s not easy.

- I have learned that I am not necessarily a fan of random hook-ups or meaningless sex.

- I am learning to love myself more and more every day.

- I have learned to be more OK with my body, to let go of my “issues,” and just enjoy the moment.

- I have learned that I am pretty talented (if you catch my drift).


P.S All photos in this post are by a wonderful photographer by the name of Milan Vukmirovic. They are from an editorial in "L'Officiel Hommes" called "Boxes."