Wednesday, 23 April 2014

10 Hours With a Guy from Germany | ❶

"You can tell your parents that you want to walk for 30 minutes alone in the town on the river, and then we meet for small talk", read the message on my Grindr.

It was an interesting couple of days back in my historical hometownThe time on my phone says 00:35 and here I am curled up in bed, getting ready to sleep when a nice looking blonde in the thumbnail I chatted up earlier wants to meet. I was torn between uncertainty, being lazy and possible regret if I don't respond to his invite.

The Voice In My Head:
Oh come on! This is what you've been anticipating when you packed your nice pair of Calvins, fresh cologne and condoms into your bag this afternoon. You had a 'feeling' that you were going to meet someone on this trip back. It's finally happening after three and a half-months of finding nothing and now you're going to turn him down for bed?

It all began when my mom convinced me and my brother to spend a couple of days together down south. I was enjoying my glass of house pour at a local pub when I fired up Grindr and decided to reach out to two attractive thumbnails. One belonged to a masculine British guy from London who ignored me, and the other was T, the guy from Germany who responded and called me handsome.

I could have pulled myself up to go meet this guy, but I took the risk of losing the interest of this potential candidate by proposing to re-liaise tomorrow. We chatted via an instant messaging app. As I lay in bed, regret started to crept its way into my guts and I wondered if I made the right decision.

The next day with luck still on my side, we finally arranged to meet for the first time by the river. I was a little nervous because I was walking towards something in which I have no absolute clue as to what it is I want out of this meet. Yes, a part of me wanted some fun. It's been three months since my failed attempt to bottom for a hot top, and I'm still not comfortable. 

As I spotted the rugged backpacker from afar while crossing the street, my worry came to a distracting halt and I felt excited.

Me: [handshake]
"Hi, my name is M. Nice to meet you. Have you waited long?"

"Hi I'm T. Nice to meet you too. Oh just three minutes. It's nothing."

His breathtakingly turquoise irises were staring right back at me and I drowned for a moment in vulnerable insecurity, masked in intentional confidence. Well whad'ya know. Underneath that scruff and Timberland-inspired backpacking attire is an attractive guy who is kinda hot. That stubble-studded jaw, blonde hair, high cheekbones and cute accent. I wanted to kiss him on the lips.

At that point, I knew that if I fail to jettison all nerves and expectations out the window, I won't be able to function properly on a date. So we adjourned to an alfresco café by the riverside and sat down for a cup of coffee.

Gradually, I allowed the innate conversationalist in me to take over and we talked about a variety of topics, ranging from personal purposes to national culture, travelling to acting, spiritual growth to international relations. It was nice. I wonder what's going through his mind at the moment?

After our coffee, T told me he needed some time alone with his computer to search for a flight home, but suggested to meet again after he was done. I didn't mind the interruption at all because a guy on the road has to do what he's gotta to do. But at the back of my head, a protective voice was questioning: Are you sure that wasn't just him ending the date?

Knowing better than to let these self-destructive thoughts get to me, I decided to walk around town and take some pictures. It was nice and I got to enjoy two hours of sightseeing on my own. However at the same time, I was also constantly checking my phone like a lovesick teenager. His text finally came and my trust for him went up a bar. So he really did mean what he said.

In five minutes, we met up again and picked up from where we left off. One of the most memorable topics we discussed was about the art of acting. I've always been fascinated by the deep mechanics of putting yourself into a particular role or character. We talked about bloopers, corpsing, getting yelled at by the director, understanding film production etc

At one point, he grabbed me on my shoulder to stop us in our tracks and looked me in the eye to show me an example of how two people would act out a scene. God. It was one of the most intensely attractive moments I've come to experience with another guy. Oh boy, if we became boyfriends, can you imagine all the acting fun we will have?

Later on, I brought him into a local establishment to try some dessert. There, we talked more. After dessert, he suggested that we walk around and look for a nice place to have another cup of coffee. The time was already 4pm with signs of grey skies approaching. 

We walked past this place and he greeted two other fellow travellers who were sitting on the patio. I am not making this up, but I felt a certain vibe with the way they were looking at me. And suddenly, it hit me: "You are probably not the only guy they've seen him with. God knows how many types of us he's taken through this route". My insecurity took another damaging dip.

As we carried on walking, I could feel this impatient vibe growing between us. I don't know if it's him or if it was me. But I swear, my intuitions are never to be doubted sometimes. The voice in my head asked: Are we gonna have some fun later or am I 'feeling things'? Are we ready to engage in sex again?

Then, while checking out the cafés by the river which were all closed, the first subtle invitation from him happened. He stopped us in our tracks and casually asked: "Where do you want to go?" 

There it was. The subtle key question that was an invitation to some fun. But still, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go ahead. With the excuse that his message wasn't clear enough, I suggested that we continue walking in search of a suitable place to have our coffee.

We gallivanted for another 20 minutes or so and still no place came up. It came to a point where it was getting really obvious that the both of us were tired and losing our patience with the whole aimless wandering around.

"Or we can go back to my place and hang out there?"

The Voice In My Head:
God. That's the cue happening already. What are we gonna say? Come on think!

"Er... Is there anything to drink at your place?"

"Well we can just stop by a convenient store and buy some chilled coffee."

I remained silent for about five seconds to find him watching me closely as I fumbled for an answer. It was awkward, but so seductively exciting at the same time.

"How far are we from your place? Does it take long?"

"Oh just 10 minutes by foot."

The Voice In My Head:
Come on, tick tock. Make a decision! Say yes you idiot. Say yes.

"Sure! We can go back to your place. Let's go!"

I stared right back into his ocean eyes as I uttered the last sentence and there it was again, that awkward but seductively thrilling sexual tension, accentuated by a lingering eye contact. It was hot. 
And I'm feeling a little dizzy.

We switched course and my heart rate shot up in nervousness. I could feel a mild panic attack happening inside. I was excited, I was scared, I was anxious. The image of me and him being physically naked with each other sent some signs of apprehension to my guts. 

The fact that both parties were aware of what we're about to do next and where this date is heading, makes the whole walking and talking a lot more awkward and harder to concentrate. I have done walks like these many times throughout the past 3 years of my journey and I never liked them. But I also know that this is just something that I need to get use to, and will get use to in time as I meet more people for sex.

We stopped by a convenient store along the way and he bought us some chilled drinks and chocolate bars. The same insecure thoughts about me being the 'numbered guy' crept up again as we were paying at the cashier.

After a further 5 minutes on foot, I suddenly found him leading me into an old familiar street that I used to spend my childhood running around with my cousins. We would cycle around, play tag, firecrackers and a whole range of other games. It's not a very elegant neighbourhood and I never thought I'd actually revisit this particular spot on this trip, but here we are.

Within the vicinity, there is this particular dodgy building that I always avoided. Little did I know that 10 years down the road, in the year 2014, I would actually enter this particular dilapidated 4-storey complex with an attractive guy from Germany. In addition to that, I would also be doing it from the shoes of a guy who is no longer fearful about his sexual attraction for men.

As he pulled out his keys to unlock the entrance into the building, he waved and exchanged a couple of words with the owner who was loitering outside. And just like before, it suddenly dawned on me how this whole scenario must have looked like from the owner's perspective, and that I am not the only 'friend du jour' who has followed T all the way back to his bedroom.

"We really are just like any other guy he meets for company and a fuck", the reality hit me for a moment and I felt a stab of disappointment. But the date has to go on and I needed to get real.

A lady with an old musical instrument, meager living conditions, dark storage spaces, unpleasant odours and plain interiors were a couple of things I witnessed while climbing the staircase to the highest floor.

The common area before his room sat a mother and a daughter. I acknowledged them with some form of gesture even though they shot me a certain 'friend du jour' look and there was that possibility of them knowing what T and I were up to. 

The temporary room he rented was made up of thinly partitioned walls, which is the only flimsy element separating the private space T and I were about to have some fun in with the rest of the residents on the floor.

In the room, there was a working table and a chair right next to his queen size bed. The bathroom was en-suite and the space quite large. I relaxed myself comfortably on the bed and him on the chair as we continued to chat with our chocolates and beverages. 

As we finish our snack and took sips of our drinks, the gap between our dialogues were starting to widen and the awkward silence was getting more conspicuous than ever. We both knew it was time to get down to business but neither parties were willing to make the next obvious move.

"What are you doing on the chair? Here. Come lie down with me."

He took a sip of his beverage, nodded his head and came to lie side by side with me on his bed. We continued to make small talk as our arms and legs gently rubbed against each other. His scruff and leg hair provided that extra tingling sensation. My blood simmered in excitement and in eroticism. He was tanned, athletic, charismatic and attractive.
I think I love him!

The both of us finally ran out of things to say and laid there in uncomfortable silence. It was so obvious what we wanted and what is going to come next, but the flow was a little off. I took the initiative to massage and caress his athletic thighs with my fingers in an erotically loving way and he reciprocated. 

His scent was intoxicating. I can't quite put my finger on how to describe it, but it was very him. I turned and positioned my head near his chest to reach out for more, parking my chin on his right shoulder and my nose on his neck. I inhaled his heavenly scent. It was what I desperately needed after three months of finding no one. I revelled in the closeness and the inexplicable melodic peace that always seems to serenade my heart whenever I am in the arms of another guy. I wanted to stay like this and smell him forever.

[ To Be Continued... 10 Hours With a Guy From Germany | ❷ ]

Sunday, 6 April 2014

When Will It Be My Turn?

For those who can still recall the early beginnings of my journey, would remember that it was my conversation with a divorced but successful man named R back in 2011 that jump-started the entire process of wanting to wake up from denial and face my homosexual fears head on.

R was first mentioned in a fifth entry of this journal titled 'The Day I Surrendered and Came Out to Myself' and then again in 'Coming Into Your Life For A Reason'. I regard him as a pivotal chance encounter who probably saved a young guy like me from going ahead with my choice of wanting to live through a "straight" life.

We never really kept in touch after going our separate ways on the pavement that night. I suppose my hounding him for sensitive answers in reference to my own battle with homosexuality probably did the trick. And also because I think our visions in life originate from opposing sides of the world. He was the good-looking and successful 50 year old gay man living in the free world, and I, the still dependent lost soul behind this journal in his twenties from the third.

R is an attractive guy for his age and there are moments where I sometimes wonder about the slight possibility of us getting together. I don't know how that's going to happen or if it'll work out but you can't really blame a guy for fantasising.

About a year ago, I sent him a nice gratitude card and added him on Facebook to try and make amends to the dynamics of how we saw each other. We got in touch for a bit, but nothing much happened after that. So I kept my distance out of respect, and he out of whatever reason he chooses. I wondered too at that moment if R found someone in his life and was happy? If so, I would be too for him.

While scrolling through my Facebook news feed the other day, my hunch was validated when I saw pictures of him and his boyfriend enjoying themselves on vacation in a beautiful foreign city. 

On one hand, I was genuinely happy for him that things are working out really well between him and his new guy. But on the other, I did feel a little envious of the whole package I was seeing. You know, R and his boyfriend. Lovers on holiday? It was a romantic dream of mine too which seems to be happening only to other people.

"Excuse me, whatever happens to other people, is none of your business", the inner interventionist intervenes with a smug on his face.

So after allowing myself to burn-off some I'm-human-too envy, I decided that I am not that person with the small heart. And that I am truly going to be happy for him and his new guy. For I really shouldn't, at the expense of not finding my own romance story, feel threatened that almost everybody around me has. So here's to R and his boyfriend. May they stay happy and in love together.

Friday, 4 April 2014

My First Time at an Anonymous HIV Screening

So today, after weeks of dilly-dallying, I finally made an appointment and went for my first anonymous HIV screening. Within the past 10 months, I've had maybe about two occasions where the guys I was having fun with attempted to enter me without protection. The incident happened within the heat of the moment which can be re-read here and here

I know, I know. It's not a big deal for somebody who didn't go all the way with full penetration, but with pre-cum and exposed wounds and tears in the anal area these days, you just never know. Let's just say that with everything that has been going on in my life, the worse always happens when you least expect it to. So I am going to be smart in taking responsibility for my own life.

The place I went to is an independent foundation that offers anonymous HIV screening to an array of candidates such as transsexuals, sex workers, men-who-have-sex with men (yup, their term) and drug users. Basically individuals within the country who can't openly go to a normal clinic and tell the doctor these things. 

During my hour long journey to the centre, I didn't feel anything at all. For I relate it very much to the emotions of how I felt the first time I was walking to the gay bar and sauna about three years ago. But then again, no matter how much you say it doesn't affect you, there is always that slight tingle of anxiety behind your head with the question: "What if it was positive and you have it? What would you do? Do you really think you can still be this calm and composed?"

Then the other side of my head went: "Okay M,  let's not be dramatic. Being positive doesn't necessarily mean death nowadays. There's nothing we can do no more to change what has been done if it does turn out for the worse. Let's not worry about that and just move forward with living your life. I mean, aren't you sick of all the issues you're going through already? Come on. It's not like this is your first year as a human being. Just shush! Stop over-thinking unnecessarily."

The centre was located in this really dodgy area of the city. I dreaded the long walk because for some reason, I felt like the whole world was watching me on camera. I arrived, filled in the forms and waited for my number to be called. There were a number of other guys at the centre too. Some were shy, some were silently judging others, and some who were conspicuously nervous and shaking. I could literally feel all kinds of energy in the waiting room, but ignored them all and minded my own business because I don't have time for other people's emotions.

The lady that attended to me was American and a volunteer. As we shot the breeze over some paperwork, she reminded me so much of my love for the free world, and how I aspire to build my life in a cultural environment where I can genuinely be who I am in the face of freedom and equality. At least, in comparison to where I am at the moment.

Not long after, my number was called and I went into the screening room. "Have you ever thought about what you're going to do if the results do come out positive? Have you prepared yourself?", asked another volunteer. I gave him my thoughts and he seems pretty confident that I am aware of what it means.

He told me that if it was positive, I will have to go to a hospital and get it confirmed. If the results are negative, then it's safe to say that I am clear because I am within the period where it would be detected.

He pricked my finger and dripped my blood sample into the tester. Fast forward 30 minutes later, the results came out negative and I was clear. It felt good being able to conclude that I can concretely move on without worrying at the back of my head if the last two vulnerable occasions did put me at risk. 

But what I did learn from this visit however, is that apart from it being about me, taking responsibility for my own life and getting myself tested, is that it also ignited a more powerful sense of compassion and respect in me for every other positive/negative person who went through a similar process.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Learning to Rise Above Dull-Witted Homophobes at Work

Few weeks ago, a potential new hire came into the workplace for a job interview. However, I didn't manage to get a glimpse of him until the last 15 seconds when the interview ended and he was escorted by the panel past our desks to the exit.

He was your typical average-looking fellow citizen who was overdressed and if I may be honest, looked gay. But then I started thinking, it's none of my business. And regardless if my assumption about him was true or not, all he has to say to relegate my auto-pilot judgemental instincts back into its place, is that he actually fucks woman.

When it started to register in my head that there is a very high chance that this new hire might be a fellow gay brother, I became worried about how he was going to be bullied when he starts his permanent tenure here, in a place where the people are pettily unhealthy.

This morning, a loud cross cubicle discussion about the new hire ensued between two female colleagues. I know intelligent people ignore, but man it still irritated the fuck out of me.

Female Colleague 1: [smiles proudly]
"Hey, you know that new guy that we hired? He's gay. I think he's gay. I mean I suspected it."

In My Head: [annoyed]
Oh for fuck sake! Wow. Bravo girl. Bra-vo to you for such a worthy accomplishment! You guessed out the gay guy! You have the gift that everyone would kill for! How cool is that?! Maybe from now on you can use it to guess the lottery numbers?! Maybe that might get you an actual applause.

Female Colleague 2:
"Oh really?"

Female Colleague 1: [smiles proudly]
"Yeah! Director 2 (the egoistical one) who was interviewing him told us all the other day that 'his gaydar was going off the charts, off the charts!' "

"Then Director 1 (the one I like) was like: 'Naah guys! Come on.' "

Female Colleague 2:
"Ho ho"

Female Colleague 1: [smiles proudly]

Female Colleague 2:
[turns to another permanent male co-worker, Colleague 3]
"Hey did you hear that? You better be careful! lol..."

Male Colleague 3:
[awkward and uncomfortable, pretended he didn't hear the comment]

In My Head: [extremely annoyed]
Lord, put me OUT of my misery by striking these peopl- No no no! Stop it. That is so beneath you. Stop it. Let it go, let it go. Rise above. Shush!

I think you don't have to be a genius to interpret how the final comment might suggest that just because the new hire looks gay or might be a homosexual, every other straight male person that is within radius is immediately in danger of being pursued, converted, molested, raped or whatever discriminatory verb you'd choose to use.

Readers must be thinking why would I give these people power by rehearsing their narrow-minded gossips in a bright journal dedicated to greater things? Well, these are exactly the kind of stupid mockery that happens in the close-minded world I live in, and my purpose here is to document it as part of the ongoing journey before I actually achieve true freedom one day and tune out.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Navigating the World of Red Flag Colleagues

Last week, I was commissioned by two upper level consultants to work on a report that required a lot of back and forth consultation while the associate above me was on leave. So I did my part, submitted it to them and waited for the next instruction.

Fast forward to Monday when both consultants were on leave, the client suddenly called the next person in charge and wanted it by the end of the day. The immediate associate above me started freaking out, with tantrums of course because she is now responsible for providing the client with the finished version in which she has no absolute clue. 

Due to the fact that I wasn't given any further instructions on what to do next, I had no fucking idea on how to proceed with handling a report that needed consolidated information, figures and approval from the two consultants who were not in the office.

However, as a responsible and initiative-driven person, I stayed back and single-handedly worked on it continuously until a version we "believe" is final was produced. The associate thanked me profusely for being such a trooper and I felt appreciated. I became that bottom level guy who had to finish the job of an associate.

To be honest, I never liked her from the start because of the amount of boisterous superficiality she tends to exude and the many betrayals she committed behind my back. But that night for some reason, my heart softened at the thought that there might be some form of genuineness in her and I shouldn't give into my defensive instincts.

Then guess what? Just when I thought things were going to be different this time, everything was forgotten and she did not mention any credit on my part the next day when answering to the consultant.

I was furiously annoyed! But then again, I can only blame myself for being so naive with people again and again. I couldn't believe that at the fear of not wanting to become the difficult version of myself that might get nasty, I disregarded my instincts and all the dishonourable red flags about this person that were knocking on my door. 

Then I thought: "Okay M, time for a refresher's course in learning how to be smart! It's life's way of trying to tell you that you are every bit the greater good and respectable individual you know yourself to be, but you also need to get used to being extremely firm and controversial at the same time with people in order to have boundaries, and also to implement the things you feel is right."

As someone in his mid-twenties who is just starting out, I understand that stories like these in a world of jobs and survival of the fittest are not abnormal. There are worse case scenarios and work personalities out there, but I just needed a post today to vent my frustration.