Special anniversary gift: a multimedia reading of the first post ever on Confessions of a Boy Toy, “Cross the Bridge Once You Get There,” originally published on Valentine’s Day 2009.
Florence + The Machine – “No Light, No Light” (Ianborg Remix)
But it’s a conversation I just can’t have tonight.
It is universally acknowledged that a boy toy in possession of a good fortune must be in want of true love.
And he will look in all the wrong places before he finds it…
Bridge Builder tried to get me to cross to the other side. But in matters of the heart, pushing and shoving only results in a halt. Even though we might be uncertain as to what we want exactly… it’s always helpful to pinpoint what we do not want. And I knew that this relationship was going nowhere.
“Pretty soon, his calls and e-mails turn into a form of suffocation—a commitment I’m not ready to make. Maybe because he is 28 and I’m 21 or maybe because he has built a life in Chicago and I still want to go to New York. Or maybe because I enjoy being on my own. Or maybe because I know that he isn’t the bridge that is going to get me to the other side. Not now, anyway.”
So I began casually dating. I’m sort of traditional, so getting hammered and making out with strangers on the dance floor was how I met most of my Chicago paramours at this time. That’s how I met Canadian Stallion, DJ Dreamboat and Straight Guy. And even though we all fantasize about meeting that hook-up that hangs on to our heart, one-night stands rarely commit into the morning after.
“For one minute I let myself get caught up in the moment: the good boy with the lazy smile making breakfast while watching the morning news. A moment he would never recognize, a moment I’m ready to own.”
The carefree fooling around continued when I went to study abroad in Madrid for six months. My next-door neighbor, Chico Rock, impressed me immediately with his Euro-cool and in-the-know approach. But he turned out not to be as solid as I had hoped.
“I open my hand and see that he’s given me two pills. I take one and hand it over to Chico Rock, but he shakes his hands and says, ‘They’re all yours.’”
I took a little detour to Paris for a week and found myself in trouble once again – having to sneak into my flight back after almost getting caught in a ménage á trois.
And then – back to the states. This time, New York City after landing an internship with a magazine. The city was a whirlwind. I went out almost every night and met the most fascinating, life-driven individuals: polysexual party monsters, Wall Street trophy husbands and beautiful boys I should have had the courage to gone up to introduce myself.
“But if we genuinely feel the sparks and believe that the scruffy guy to our right is right, right now, then what’s stopping us from going for it, not like a mindless missile but like on a mission? The worse that can happen is old and rusted rejection. But we’re all big boys here. We can deal.”
New York was not all frisky, no strings attached. I began hooking up with my roommate, Sunny D, and getting dangerously close in our convenient, yet comforting relationship. He could see right through me, but it took him being jealous of a certain Toy Soldier to show it.
“‘So is that really what you think of me?’ I ask as I begin to walk back towards him. ‘That I just use guys? They’re totally disposable to me? Is that what I thought of you?’ The last question is particularly poignant because I’d recently expressed my feelings for him. He’s silent, so I continue. ‘What the hell was that all about? You have a boyfriend, remember?! So just… leave me alone and let me fuck whomever I want. Let me be the giant slut you think I am!’ I drunkenly shout on Avenue A. For some reason, no one thinks it’s weird.”
After all the conflict, I let the dust settled, Sunny D went home and I moved to a new apartment on the Lower East Side. And when I least expected it, I found my superhero… ironically, right before we were both about to jet to somewhere else. He went to California, and I went back to college in Chicago.
My Summer of Love ended, and after the roller coaster ride that was Europe and New York, I started feeling displaced, belonging to nowhere and to no one. I began to crave security, no more casual affairs, but a genuine connection. But that got me in even more of a predicament, because things are rarely what they seem. Denim Boy and Mr. Danger proved that.
“And I was so certain that this real boy would be different. He would care and be kind and not play games, not lead me on and resort to me whenever he wanted, like some plaything that would be available to him whenever he wished. What happened to the good old days when a boy kissed you because he meant it, not to just show that he could?”
But my search was not all a bunch of disillusions. For even when things appeared the grayest, I met a boy that would brighten up my world in multicolor.
After graduation, I moved to San Francisco and realized that my high school crush, Peter Pan, hadn’t grown up at all while I was gone. Chico Boricuo taught me more about myself in one night in a hotel room on Valencia. And I got caught in yet another bizarre love triangle with a Potential Player and an All-American Reject.
But after everything I’ve gone through, I still refuse to give up. No matter how many terrible first dates, misunderstood text messages and heartbreak – I still full-heartedly believe there’s a superhero out there for all of us. Not to rescue us but to fly high along with us. And we shouldn’t settle for anything less that will keep us grounded.
Now that I’m done writing about toy love, I’m focusing all my creative energy to my new bi-weekly column for EDGE. HomoTech ponders the impact of technology on gay lifestyle. Here’s my piece about why I decided to stop writing this blog. I’ve also re-launched my Tumblr, with a new focus on comic book superhero worship.
Thanks for flying along with me,
(photo taken in my college dorm, circa 2008)
Super Crush jumps on top of me; I grab his wrists and toss him to the other side of the bed. His body ricochets gently as I get on my knees and tackle him again. He puts both his hands around my neck and draws me in closer. I rotate my head, and he looses his grasp on my neck. He is out of breath now and laying down with his arms open. I pin him down and kiss his neck softly, making my way up from his jugular to his jaw. I can hear him rustling his feet and taking off his sneakers, and then he raises both of his legs and puts them around my waist. I shift up and grab on to him. I stare him down and can feel his crotch getting harder. I surrender.
Super Crush takes off his maroon polo, and I kiss his clavicle as soon as I see it. He takes my hand and places it on his chest, as if he’s trying to show me how fast he’s breathing or… how hard his heart is pounding. I finger his blond chest hair a little bit and then hug him as we both collapse onto his comforter.
He has a big window right by his bed leading to the fire escape. Every night that I’ve been staying over for the past few weeks, the moon, thanks to that window, has been the only source of lighting we’ve needed at night. By this point, I can almost navigate his body blind-folded.
I unbuckle my belt and move my hips forward so I can take it off with one swift pull. I take off my socks next. Socks are always one of the first things that need to come off. I don’t hook-ups in socks.
Earlier that evening, Super Crush and I had gone on another date. This time, we went to see Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona. Perfect date movie, I think, ’cause you have the quirky Woody Allen humor mixed in with steamy Spanish sex scenes.
And now back to my sex scene: Super Crush unbuttons my shirt and tosses it on the ground next to my socks. I lay down on my back and he climbs on top of me. It shocks me a little bit, so I make an overly exaggerated expression of confusion. He starts giggling and that confuses me even more.
“What is it?” I say suspicious of his laughter.
“Nothing, I just… haha. Nothing,” he says. I’m not satisfied with that answer, so I keep looking at him in wonderment. He finally lets down and confesses, “It’s just… I haven’t had this much fun on a date in a while.”
The morning after, I wake to the sound of Sunday morning cartoons playing on his television. The Fairly OddParents, I recognize Timmy’s voice. Super Crush is sitting up on the bed, waiting for me to get up.
And I think: I’m so lucky. My summer in New York has just started, and I’m living in the perfect location on the Lower East Side, interning at one of my favorite magazines and dating a caring boy and getting way past the point of pretending.
I had been thinking all night, while we cuddled, how I was going to bring up the subject of becoming boyfriends in the morning. He, too, had prepared all night for what he had to say to me this morning.
“Hey, so I talked to that guy at Marvel,” he says starring at the TV, not looking at me.
“What did he say?” I ask even though I know the answer. He’d been talking to Marvel Inc. about a potential short-term internship starting as soon as possible. This whole time, I had pretended to be supportive, faked a smile whenever the subject came up and told him that I hoped for the best, but, deep down, I wanted him to get rejected, I wanted him to stay in New York, stay with me, so we could keep doing this, keep doing this until…
“They want me to go work for them in California.”
I had found my one superhero. And he had found dozens.
I’m already late for my internship. Again. I’m always late. And I thought that by staying with him downtown I would be able to make it on time. But I’m never on time.
The walls of his apartment are decorated with black and white photographs of bridges. The Brooklyn Bridge. The London Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge. One night I sat in his living room for a whole hour, drinking red wine, as he showed me photos of his trip to New York. He went on one of those helicopters that fly around the city just so that he could get a bird’s eye view of the towering bridges. He once told me that if he could do anything in the world, he would build bridges.
I wait ’til the morning to tell him that it isn’t working.
Bridge Builder is successfully settled in Chicago and knows exactly what he wants next. And I’m an impulsive college guy who is never on time. I didn’t expect our relationship to endure past the point of casual dating. But after the concert at the House of Blues and the expensive steak dinner and the talk of going to his parents’ lakehouse in Michigan, I got the sense that he wanted more from me. Pretty soon, his calls and e-mails turn into a form of suffocation—a commitment I’m not ready to make. Maybe because he is 28 and I’m 21 or maybe because he has built a life in Chicago and I still want to go to New York.
Or maybe because I enjoy being on my own. Or maybe because I know that he isn’t the bridge that is going to get me to the other side. Not now, anyway.
Before he steps into the shower, Bridge Builder lets me borrow a fresh pair of Hugo Boss briefs. During our last-time-sex session, I didn’t even have the chance to take my underwear off before some minor leaking occured. But that leaves me with a pair of soiled Calvin Klein boxers to get rid of before going in to work. Disponsing of the evidence. So I walk out onto his balcony and the crisp Chicago morning air takes all the late-night heat out of me. Out on his balcony on the 42nd floor of his apartment building on Lake Shore Drive overlooking the lake and the loop, I realize that the only bridges in Chicago connect only directly across the river. They don’t lead anywhere—just from one part of the city to another.
I hear him turn off the shower, so I lean over slightly on the railing and toss my boxers out the balcony. I watch them parachute down and land on satellite dish a few stories down, waving in the wind like a triumphant flag, surely disrupting the signal.
I walk back inside. Bridge Builder is standing in the living room wearing just a white towel around his waist and a few drops of water on his shoulders and chest. I kiss him goodbye and tell him that I’ll call him later. But he has this look. He knows I’m not going to call. I grab my jacket and walk out the front door.
There are places I still need to go. And I’m not going to get there by sitting here and staring at black and white photographs.