Lest The Predator Become Prey

 

“Excuse me,” He said shouting through the passenger window to reach me on the sidewalk.

I’m still young-ish. I intend to be young-at-heart forever, but as of yet, I’ve experienced 27 years on earth, (at least in this life; ain’t no telling how long the other lives were. ). What I can tell you is that no good comes when a man pulls his car up to yell something at you while he’s driving. Ever. This is not a theory. This is law. Universal law. It existed before you got here, and it will be in operation after you’re gone.

I promise you.

“I just find you mad sexy,” he confessed from his SUV; an older model in aqua blue.

No amount of flattery is worth my safety, so I thanked him and kept walking. I’m not sure what I thanked him for, exactly. Thank you for finding me sexy? I think my gratitude was really more of a punctuation mark than an addition to our dialog. It could act in place of a period, because I was certainly done there. It could have also been a question mark, because I sure as hell was confused.

“Wait, wait, where are you going?” he asked, letting his car pace with my long and lazy stride. I didn’t answer because:

1- I don’t know where I’m going. The walks are a bit more about journey and less about destination. I don’t think he wants my ‘mindfulness’ answer.

And 2- I don’t have to answer you. Let me walk.
…I fucked up when I looked at the driver. I tend to fuck up anytime I recognize people as people. Empathy is nice but it’s also inconvenient. You stop seeing people as they appear and search for who they are; sometimes making up backstories to feed your curiosities – It’s terrible.

He was handsome, brown, and tattooed on his sleeveless arms. A small piercing decorated his nose.  Gold stud with a golden stud. His eyes were round and large, inviting, honest, and too innocent for a guy that picks up men by hollering at them from a moving vehicle.

Something about him was both tough and boyish. Let’s say we weren’t grown men in the middle of June, and instead we were six and on a playground. He’d be the type to kiss you outta nowhere and lie about it if his friends asked, but still watch you with longing.

….I fucked up when I wondered what his sex would be like. Yes, we have the ‘street smart meets booksmart’ porno-trope thing going on, obviously. But it didn’t take me even half a second to imagine a little deeper.

He is brave enough to pull up and make an entire conversation. I’m brave enough to not respond if I don’t feel inclined to, (hint: I didn’t). Our dual-confidences could be interesting, sharing power with one another, aching, begging, taking turns, turning a man back into a boy.

You’ve got to be careful who you call out to on the street. You have no idea what runs through their head and with one bad move you can find yourself becoming the prey when you thought you were the predator.

I laughed, to myself. Not because of him, he wasn’t funny. But because of me, and he has no idea that in just a few footsteps I’ve calculated ways to ruin him.

He asks me for my name.
He isn’t ready for it.

And now there is a line of confused cars behind him.
I tell him to have a nice day.

It’s not Delivery; it’s Discouragement

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“Oh no, honey, I can’t do single life!” said my pizza delivery guy.

You might be wondering why my pizza delivery guy was talking to me about relationships.

I might be wondering why my pizza delivery guy was talking to me about relationships.

No part of this is in his job description. His duty is simple. Bring me my pizza and leave. That’s it. I’m pretty sure the rest of the world is doing a phenomenal job attempting to indoctrinate me on what love is and isn’t, and congress seems to be revising that definition usually to fit a much larger plan, but the last person I need to join in on this is the man who delivers a large pizza to the apartment where I am usually at alone.

Some background:

I get an insane discount from this nearby pizza place. It’s cheaper to order a pizza than it is to cook, so that is exactly what I do. Yes, my body feels like death afterwards, but I knew what I was getting into when I ordered, and I still ordered.

This pizza guy is gay and thinks we have some sort of kinship that goes beyond me ordering pizza. We have no such thing. I like to think I’m making this clear via my body language and usually not tipping, but he seems to be pretty bad at hints.

“So, you go to any clubs around here?” he asked me, out of the blue.

Gay men talking about clubs is the equivalent to straight people saying, “read any good books lately?” or “lovely weather we’re having, isn’t it?” You’re looking for an excuse to have a conversation. I didn’t disclose my sexuality when ordering my pizza over the phone, so the conversation was unwarranted.

“I don’t. I pretty much stay in my apartment, go to work, and go to class. I’m not really into clubs.” I explained signing off for my pizza.

We then had a lengthy conversation about his favorite club, which he likes, despite the clubs reputation for drugs and police-raids.

He could just give me my pizza and leave – this is definitely typical delivery protocol.

But I’m fake as shit, so I pretend to be interested, then when there’s a break in the conversation, I repeat myself, verbatim and explain, I’m really not into clubs.

One visit, I learned the pizza gig was his second job. His first job was at a furniture store.

He learned, somedays, I prefer Alfredo and baby spinach to my usual bacon pizza. It’s hard to write after eating an entire bacon pizza, alone, and the switch makes it easier for me to indulge while still managing to get some writing done.

Another visit I learned he was stressed out from apartment hunting. I live in a pretty small college town. I’m accustomed to bigger city life where usually, you’d welcome the idea of cohabitating with an axe murderer so long as a train could comfortably get you into and out of Manhattan at a reasonable time. I informed him I had little sympathy for his predicament, and took my pizza.

I admit, I could do a lot better in the friend department of my life. Fickle associates, I have something close to three dozen, and tragically, they all think we’re friends, and never question why I’ve never seen them outside of work, or classes, or whatever place obligates our association. I recognize there is a potential friendship that could bud between me and pizza guy, should I desire that.

But I don’t desire that. Please just give me my pizza.

Today was the day he overdid it.

The vigorous and excited knock on my door. The feigned surprise as if I didn’t call in my order almost a half hour earlier, and he doesn’t see me upwards of three times a week.

“I’ve got a date this weekend!” he shared as he handed me my usual bacon pizza. I’ve been in a slight writing slump and I might as well hit rock bottom with some force.

I laughed, not in a, wow that was funny, thank you for sharing, sort of way, but more of a, good fucking luck type of laugh. I signed off for my pizza and grabbed the warm box from his pudgy pale hands.

“sounds great, for you.” I said emphasis on for you, as in, keep that shit over there.

“What? You don’t date?!” He exclaimed.

Sir. You might not know me, but you know enough to know I eat pizza too often and too alone to be actively dating right now.

“Nope, not my thing.” I explained in no further terms.

“Oh no honey, I can’t do single-life,” He shared, “Everyone needs someone,”

That last bit hit me. I don’t know if I felt offended, or if I was just taken aback by how wrong and dumb that sounded. Does everyone need someone? I have a very serious pet peeve about misusing and misdiagnosing the ideas of love.

People are social creatures. Yes. I need to occasionally be out in the world living instead of behind my computer writing and eating discounted pizza, I’ll give you that pizza guy. But do I need a someone to fill that entire void?

Fuck No.

You know what I need right now? My pizza, and perhaps the number to your corporate office, because the person I need right now, and not forever, is your district manager, because I’ve really had enough of you coming to my place of residence and talking to me as if we are friends.

We are not.

I eat pizza.

You deliver pizza.

Those are the dynamics of our relationship.

Anything further is uncalled for and burdensome.

Um. No. Don’t Give Me Old Time Religion.

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I am at the place in my life where I’d like to explore spirituality beyond the coercing of my mother, and I refuse to tell her because she’ll think I’m giving my life black to God and let’s be very clear: That’s not what I’m doing.

I’m just trying to recognize that a force beyond myself is at work because I’m only so competent, and I’d like to be able to thank something other than statistics and chance when shit somehow goes right.

My requirements are few and quite simple:

No group that believes they’re exclusively right. If you’re way works for you, congratulations. If my way doesn’t work for you, shut the fuck up. It can all be that simple. If you have found a way that makes your time on earth fulfilling, go practice that way. Bashing anyone else, I imagine, would only take away from the time you could be spending practicing the way you claim makes your life enriching. I’m also deducting your religious group points if you cosign any of the moments your deity told anyone in your squad to kill someone who was minding their business, or take land that people were already happily living on.

No Religious group that thinks I’m finding them out of tragedy. I know the common narrative for a man in his 20’s is I’m supposed to be finding God after being strung out on crack or some other frightening rock-bottom experience. This is not my case. My life is great. I work a job I enjoy. I talk to my parents. Our relationship is good considering we represent two distinctly different groups of black people. I’m healthy. I’m starting to reach the point where I’m recognized for my writing when I run into people I had no idea even read.

My life is going well.

I just know damn well I had almost nothing to do with that.

So I’m trying to develop a practice where I can give God some credit for my life.

No Group that dislikes other people for no explainable reason. I’m not explaining myself beyond that line. If your variation of God doesn’t like people who are gay, poor, immigrants, or have experimental and consensual sex as means of better understanding the human body God gave them, your God can go to hell.

Nothing Ironic. A coffee shop I go to has a day where Atheist get together.  Have no idea what they do. I’m not brave enough for atheism. I’m too black for that shit. Something has to exist, and yes, this contradicts my “don’t tell people how to believe” theory but I’m not telling people how to believe, I’m simply saying mankind RARELY ever gets it right, and yet here we are. That’s pretty amazing, and I don’t think we can take credit for that.

I acknowledge if “God” is way too complex to figure out right this minute, but something has to exist that got me right here, right now, and I don’t have to know all the ins-and-outs to be grateful.

No Religious Group that thinks they know better for my own life than I do. I need you to respect my own journey as unique and ultimately, mine. I think it’s great God told you to get married in your 20’s and have all your kids shortly thereafter. I didn’t get that memo for my life. I’ve felt no inclination to that calling, so no, don’t tell me that’s what God told me to do. I’ll tell you where your God told me you can shove it.

I’m not knocking any religious group or organization, specifically. Although, It’s definitely going to be a polite no thank you to Scientology. I think there’s a lot of overlap between most religions. I’m also aware that there’s room for interpretation in any text that includes words or developed from the spiritual equivalent of hearsay.

I think Jesus had it right with the whole, “God’s plan and my existence are kinda one and the same, but if I try to explain that, y’all bitch asses gon’ try and crucify me

I’m down for Buddha’s Get away from all the fuckery people put on you, find yourself, (spoiler you’ve been you the entire time) and have some sex on the way.

I’m down for Rumi’s, any answer you ever needed has been with you, just shut the fuck up and listen, approach.

And like my interpretation of these great teachers messages, I too need to find a place where I can let my irreverent-self embrace the spiritual experience.

The Intense Stuff

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There is nothing romantic about the process behind me fining sexual partners. It’s about as sexy as that last sentence.

It’s calculated, it’s a little cold and to-the-point. I imagine it’s a bit confusing for the perspective candidates who really just sent me some nudes and thought we we’re gonna smash on contact.

But surprise. I have fucking self-restraint.

I’m also very clear about what I want upfront, that’s because at my tender age, I think I’ve experienced too much and I know a little bit of clarity goes a long way when it comes to men, and definitely gay men, but probably men in general.

“I like to bottom.” Explained one guy who I don’t think was being honest about his age.

He didn’t know I already eliminated him as a possibility because if you can’t be honest about your age, I don’t know if you’ll be honest about other important things, like…I don’t know….diseases. I also eliminated him because at his age (and I’m not giving him a day younger than 35, which to me, is fantastic, but you had to go and lie about stupid shit) he should know so much more about his sexual taste than him being a top or bottom. If I wanted to be stuck with that, I’d stay dating 18-year-olds. I swear until you’re about 24 or 25 you identify by how you enjoy your sexual experience. You don’t top or bottom, you ARE a top or bottom. You navigate the world by topness or bottomness. It’s as important as your race and gender. You’re pretty much intersectional.

“Well….I’m a bottom.” You might tell someone when you’ve only really had sex twice and there’s no real way to tell if that’s the team you’ll be joining for the rest of your life. You also won’t tell me how you like to bottom – those are important details. Are you an aggressive bottom? Do you prefer being dominated? Have you had a lot of experience? Are you new to sex in general, and you’re looking to learn something? Details, please, details.

If you can’t give me details, I’ll imagine you aren’t particularly self-aware, if you aren’t self-aware, please don’t have sex with me. Keep having sex with you, and other people living their lives unaware.

“I like big cocks.” You’ll say without knowing that as a black man, the word cock makes me a little uncomfortable. Also I won’t have any idea what you’re talking about for a couple seconds if you talk about “rimming”; we have a whole other word for that where I’m from. And yeah, let’s talk about it, If you use the word cock, and you tell me you like them big, I know that you probably only like black men for their penises.

I won’t dock you any points for this if you can just be honest about that. You work a white-collar job, you’re married to a woman who doesn’t like to have sex with you anymore. All you have in your life is money and you feel empty. You use to be exciting and now your favorite color is beige. I thoroughly believe sex is a beautiful time to confront the ugliest parts of ourselves, so say it. Say you like to have sex with black men because in real life, you pretend to not like us, fear us even, when in actuality, all you want is to be destroyed by the big black cock that you’re mesmerized by.

Yes. I freak men the hell out with my preliminary questions prior to us agreeing to be friends with benefits and in the spirit of honesty, I’m not really looking for any more friends. I have enough, some days, I have too many. I’m just looking for benefits.

I ask the probing questions before I agree to probe anything. If my process is too slow-paced for you, feel free to go anywhere else. I don’t skip the process. That’s where the magic happens. That’s where we admit some of the things we’ve ignored about ourselves during the daylight. It’s where we embrace some of the things we put on hold at our jobs.

The best sex I’ve ever had was with a man who had lost his mother during his teen years and never met his father. I learned this after asking him about a tattoo on his arm. He told me about how difficult it was to navigate the world with nobody. He told me about how difficult it is to live when you’ve been dealt an unfair hand and still have to press forward. That shit is frustrating, it’s wearing. Our sex was phenomenal. I could feel the mix between his intensity, anger, his wanting to be close to someone. Sex lets us bring all that into the room

Pressing himself into me he whispered into my ear, don’t worry, I’ve got you and I believed every word, not even because I’m dumb, but because that come from someplace.

Maybe words he wanted to hear, maybe it was words he missed hearing, I don’t know, but something there felt real. There ain’t a lot of real no more.

He hit me up every day the month after. I ignored the call. He hit me up over the summer. Sometimes from new numbers, hoping to get in contact with me.

I was wrong. I know. I was also young and that connection was too intense. I was not ready for anything that real.

After accidentally answering once, he confessed, “I have never had anything like that with anyone.”

I know I wasn’t anything exceptional. I was way too young to have any sexual expertise, but what we had wasn’t about a technique or who topped or bottomed, that shit was about letting ourselves be honest about who we were and what we wanted. He was some DL guy living on a side of town that would have horrified my parents, and I was freshly from the west coast and going to school in small town North Carolina. We didn’t want to be boyfriends or start a relationship. We just wanted to be ourselves, and there’s something wild that happens when we’re allowed to be.

It’s intense, it’s other-worldly, it’s frightening.

So now I interview potential sexual partners. I ask questions. I don’t give a fuck what you do for a living. I’m not going to listen to you brag about what you drive. Don’t fake your age.

And dear god, do not go on about how you’re a top or a bottom.

I have important questions and the sooner you answer, the sooner we can get to the good stuff.

The intense stuff.

Sensation

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It started with a waterproof vibrator. It was affordable and looked something like modern art, so I figured it would be a pretty good tool to start with. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of being penetrated. I’ve spent the last couple of months studying the body, and doing my best to understand my own spots of sensation, and I’m using ‘studying’ loosely. I’m sure that sounds academic, but what I really mean is I started reading a bunch of things I found on the internet and putting every question I had into a YouTube search engine.  This proved strangely helpful considering you aren’t supposed to trust things that you find on the internet.

A couple of articles and a little less than 20 bucks later, I’m standing in the shower holding the silver colored vibrating plastic bit. Long enough to properly do the job, but not long enough to alter the way my body should operate afterwards.

After learning a bit about my own body, I’m convinced some guys really just don’t like their anus. Nothing 20 inches in length and 14 inches in girth should be going into your rectum. Yes. That one pornstar in that one video does it. But I am not him, he is not me. Our goals our so entirely different. Our backstories and narratives are far removed from one another. Also, it is his job to entertain you for a living by creating FANTASY.

That is not my ministry. That is not my anointing, nor is it my divine calling.

It is my duty to understand how MY body works so that I can make sure I am as pleased as possible.

To the man who can take a solid 12 inches without so much as a whimper: more power (bottom) to you, sis. Thankfully, you are not my standard.

And on that note I begin to explore. Gently at first. Just an inch or two keeping the vibration on low, partly because I’d hate to be electrocuted here in my own shower and be found with a vibrator sticking out of my rectum.

Maybe an inch or two more. The toy is slim. The tip is narrow and it widens as you move down the shaft, but not by much. It’s gentle, it’s not invasive and obnoxious. I’ve seen those. Silicone sex toys with the size and shape of a forearm and a fist. I’m not here to yuck anybody’s yum, but what in the hell have you experienced in your own life in which that toy is the requirement for your own pleasure?

The toy is in there pretty good. I’m alive. I’m filled. I’m comfortable. I slowly increase the vibration.

The sensation of the toy and the warmth of the water team up together. The rising steam whispered in my ear, this is how it should be done.

Pull it out, push it in. Slow at first. Feel every sensation of the slow rhythm. Understand what’s happening while it’s all happening. Do it kinda like you love yourself, and just want to please you real good. Fuck what you’ve seen. This ain’t about what you’ve seen. It’s about what you feel.

How do you feel?

I moan, just a little. Not that fake ass, keep going daddy bullshit we say to our partners when we want them to feel good about themselves so they don’t have sex with other people, but as an instinctual reaction to something that felt entirely new. This was pleasure.

And with pleasure, you breath deep, you hold, you release. You try your hardest to capture every sensation you can knowing that when you’re done it’s right back to the real, sensationless world.

With a slight turn of the wrist, I began to hit a place in myself that felt literally and figuratively untapped.

May I be dramatic for a second?

Suddenly sex made complete sense. Life in all it’s dullness was made into something remarkable. I picked up the pace, and moved my wrist around vigorously and explored as if I was just a motion away from discovery. I moaned trough the steam of the shower. I cursed myself for never requiring my previous partners to help me feel this way; I didn’t know any better. I repented for not understanding what this place felt like when I made love to other men. I felt everything in absolute order, balance, and perfection. I felt amazing, I felt messy, I felt empowered, my legs felt weak. I felt deeply selfish. I felt deeply grateful. I felt deeply.

And right when everything in this wild world aligned itself into perfection, I released myself. And yes, I’m talking about ejaculation, but for a second I felt as if my soul clocked out and parted with me knowing it had done it’s job for the day.

The water worked its way over me. For a minute I questioned what reality actually was. In the past, after I spent the moment pleasing myself (and now I use pleasing so loosely), I returned to real life only more frustrated, mostly at myself. To have literally engaged motions but not felt many sensations at all.

This time felt new. I let me understand myself. I listened closely to my body, and obeyed it’s every request.

I finished washing me off or maybe I started washing me off.

I felt as if I started to know myself.

Let Us Put An End To The Corny Shit

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So you know that picture of Julie Andrew’s spinning in the Swiss Alps among the vibrant green fields and the mountains?

That was pretty much me leaving the sex shop the other day almost a hundred and fifty dollars poorer, but excited about making what is clearly an investment in my own sexuality. We are comfortably into 2017. I turn 27 in just a couple of months and I decided having sex and not trying to understand the sensation is officially corny shit.

Having sex with guys who kinda don’t know what they’re doing or how they enjoy their own sexual experiences is officially corny shit.

Having sex with guys whose primary understanding of sex comes from pornhub videos is officially corny shit.

We don’t do corny shit anymore in 2017. We leaving corny shit behind with the electoral college process, right in 2016 where it belongs, forever.

Guys that don’t know how to communicate what they want sexually, that’s corny shirt.

Guys that think penetration includes shoving your boys parts as far into another human being as possible, that’s corny shit. It’s also anatomically a terrible idea.

Deciding that you’re going to be the partner who tops and I’m going to be the receiver JUST because you think you act more masculine is corny shit.

Saying you don’t like being eaten out because you prefer to top is corny shit. I’d argue it’s the CORNIEST shit. It’s 2017. Relax. Get your booty eaten out. It’s all good. I think no less of you.

NOT BEING HONEST ABOUT YOUR SEXUAL EXPERIENCE IS CORNY SHIT. If you’re new to trying something, it’s totally fine to admit you have NO IDEA what a new position, a new place of stimulation or a new dynamic feels like. In fact, get this: NOT knowing could make the experience more exciting. And in the time you’re pretending you’ve done it all, you could just as easily be enjoying the experience of trying something completely new.

Acting like sex and love for another person are synonymous is corny shit. They’re different. They’re extremely different. I’d argue that they don’t even live in the same neighborhood. Acting like we’re going to keep having sex until we fall in love will TRULY and ONLY set yourself up for disappointment in your own life, and I have nothing to do with that. I’m clear upfront. Sex involves sensation, stimulation, I’m not PARTICULARLY sure love for another person makes sex any better or worse. Plenty of people love each other and don’t have great or regular sex. I have had PHENOMENAL sex with men whose names I can’t quite remember. I’ve had bad sex with men I’ve sworn myself to.

Telling me there’s no sex without love is like saying The Number 7 is only good with scrambled eggs. Please, beloved; Leave that corny shit behind.

I left that sex shop with a new determination. It’s 2017. I’m ready to get uncompromising with understanding how my body registers pleasure

And at the ABSOLUTE least, I want to get to the end of a sexual experience and not think about all the things I could have written in that time.

The Case of The Old Crush

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The thing about an old crush is they should stay an old crush. Old, as in ‘of the past’, and not ‘of the present’. They should be a lingering memory that you replay in your mind repeatedly. The story of that short lived and usually unreciprocated variant of love must sound juicer every time you tell the story.

He watched me over the school fountain behind the student union. I’m 90% sure it was the spring, and you couldn’t tell me that cherry blossoms weren’t falling. I saw in him my peripheral and acted as if I hadn’t seen the handsome stranger a day in my life. His gaze, it burned. My smile, it crept. We took no more initiative than that. We appreciated that beautiful moment, because deep down, I knew I was going to see him again, and I think he knew he’d eventually see me too.

It’s almost four years later.

I’m not just starting school in the unfamiliar city. I’ll graduate in handful of months.
He graduated years ago, and life is all over his face. His beard is thick. His eyes are still warm, but he looks like a man that can’t get lost in a moment like we did years ago.

I got out of my first relationship last year. I speak about it like I’ve barely escaped a war; It’s nice to still be alive, but I’m not entirely sure I’ll be the same again.

He has so many stories about working about a place that he doesn’t enjoy and how he’s too scared to do what he loves. Any advice he gives me about the real world is the unhelpful kind that mostly reflects his insecurities.

He’s handsome when I don’t listen to anything he’s saying.
And he isn’t looking at me like the confident man that peered at me over the school fountain, but he watches me with this sort of longing, hoping perhaps that I still find him attractive, and I don’t but it has nothing to do with the way he appears.

He does that thing where he asks me what kind of guys I’m into, and then attempts to convince me he is that guy. He is not that guy.

I am wildly attracted to men who are excited about the lives they create for themselves. It’s really that simple. And I’m not asking for anything unfamiliar. Nothing on earth makes me happier than writing and I adjust my entire life to do it better. That scares many men. I want to grow a life with a man that can relate to that feeling. He understands his purpose on earth and I find that sexy.

I think he feels bad that he isn’t that guy.

Not every guy is gonna be that guy.

And along that line of thinking, I don’t need to be with every guy; this guy included.

He makes suggestions about visiting his place, maybe even for a couple of days. My head suggests to my heart that maybe we liked him better back when we were too scared to talk to him. My head suggests that maybe my heart has almost no hindsight whatsoever, and shouldn’t accept every invitation for drinks.

My head also suggested that maybe we didn’t actually like him to begin with. Maybe we just liked how we felt during that time. We felt alive. My head full of ideas imagined scenarios and plotted opportunities to run into him and my heart cosigned.

Perhaps I can appreciate the butterflies in my stomach, without asking them for navigating directions.

Maybe we can let an old crush be just that – an old crush.

Maybe I’m capable of making me feel alive now.

Maybe I don’t need your help anymore.

Let’s Attempt to Maybe Feel Even A Little Sexy.

He’s licking his lips over and over again, sometimes in the middle of his sentences. It’s almost the end of December and I keep reminding myself that I need to purchase more chapstick, because Vaseline isn’t really a sufficient substitute.

He starts to squint his eyes while he talks about nothing in particular.

I roll mine.

I think we’re flirting. I’m using “we’re” so loose, that if it were any looser it would probably fall right out of my sentence. He’s flirting, kind of. He’s just confusing me, honestly, and I don’t know the proper way to stop him and make what could easily be the most honest confession of 2016.

I haven’t had sex in a year, like, I think a full calendar year. My last series of times was with my last boyfriend, and no, I didn’t enjoy the sex, which wasn’t entirely his fault. I could have stopped him the first few times and politely mentioned that I didn’t particularly enjoy the routine that was smothered in vanilla practices, and couldn’t have been less experimental. I felt like I didn’t spend a lot of time having sex, but rather, tolerating sex.

Fastforward a year later, and I haven’t been courageous enough to try again.

I haven’t felt a loss going without sex, to be honest. Some of my friends complain about needing sex every month or two, and failure to receive the sex causes restlessness and unexpected visits to my apartment to complain and drink wine that I paid for.

At first, not needing sex felt pretty empowering. I felt like one of those videos on Buzzfeed about asexuality. Demanding that people recognize my sexuality which is ironically absent; millennials are pretty crafty. I sighed audibly when my friends discussed they sex they had, the sex they were having or the sex they were going to have. I felt enough joy sitting in my apartment on a Friday night making grilled cheese sandwiches, drinking my wine (which again, I paid for) and watching TED TALKS. Yes, maybe sex can be nice. I hadn’t experienced ‘nice’ sex in a while so I’m speaking from probability and not so much from experience. I imagine someone in this wide world is having good sex. It’s a big world.

Not only had I eliminated the possibility that I had not been having particularly great sex, but I kinda forgot the possibility that I could, maybe, have good sex. Perhaps even in this lifetime. And this man, licking his lips and squinting hard as if he was perhaps tongue kissing a ghost, brought up a lingering feeling I’m not sure I was willing to deal with.

I think I forgot that maybe someone would want to have sex with me again. I hadn’t even worked that possibility into my life. I think I forgot that someone might find me sexually desirable, eventually. This morning when brushing my teeth in the mirror, I noticed my face structure kinda reminded me of Barbara from Shark Tank – I thought that was kinda cool. Perhaps it’s not sexy, but Barbara’s pretty rich, and she loves to invest in businesses run by women, and that’s something to aspire for. I’m wearing my favorite sailor moon t-shirt, no pants, and a pair of socks with Michalangelo’s, “David” embroidered in a way that I think is both intricate and clever, but probably not sexy. Later today I plan on sitting and reading a book I haven’t read in a couple of years. I like reading books, and I love rereading books. I tried rereading “Hiroshima”, but I just end up getting mad at America. This doesn’t make me feel sexy.

And while this man is looking at me like something he could snack on, I just want to interject and kindly let him know:

Hey. First of all, thank you for whatever you’re doing. At the absolute least, it makes great writing material. Unfortunately, I haven’t felt sexy in almost a year, so I’m not willing to do whatever you think we’re going to do, unless what you think we’re going to do involves binge watching TED TALKS and feeling qualified enough to discuss feminism as it relates to African countries, or how to use Tech to create personal emotional stability.

It’s not that I’m not entirely disinterested, I just don’t feel very sexy right now.

But you have given me a great place to start, and that’s valuable. So thank you. Maybe, i’m ready to start feeling sexy again.

I Choose My Bad Decisions Wisely

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The last time I saw Darrell had to be something close to three year ago, during my freshman year. I was mysterious then because I was still new. Fresh from the west coast and doing a terrible job at fitting in at a school that was predominately black

Darrell was the type of person who was quiet during the day hours, but at any party doesn’t like to see you without a drink in your hand, typically both hands.

“Drink.” He said shoving another beer into my hands. I think it was PBR, and instead of reminding him that I’m from the place where producing wine is more of a competitive sport, I just drank.

Darrell was built something close to maybe 6’6’’, but every bit of a gentle giant aside from the fact he wouldn’t let me acknowledge my own alcohol tolerance. Built broad, with skin so dark it almost glowed a deep purple color, like the skin of a plum. His full beard and dark eyes were both alluring and when he handed me drink, after drink, he pretty much knew he’d be assuming responsibility for any poor actions on my behalf later in the evening. Before I could even finish my beer, he was shoving another concoction into my chest.

“What’s in this?” I slurred shaking my plastic cup of an almost neon blue liquid.

He said something I couldn’t really make sense of. I know commercials on MTV tell you not to take drinks given to you by men, and yes, I could have stood to know Darrell a bit better before taking every drink offered, but MTV says a lot of things I don’t quite believe to be true, like 30 year-olds make convincing high school students in original programming, and nobody actually wants to see music videos anymore, anyway.

That, by the way, is drunk logic. And on such logic, I accepted another drink.

It tasted about as safe as it looked – perhaps a mix of cat urine, eye discharge, and whatever keeps glow sticks working.

Darrell laughed at how contorted my face was after taking just a sip. I think I looked the way Mariah Carey looks when she attempts high notes without a track in the background.

“Just finish it,” He said over his rolling laughter, and you know what, I did just that. Crushing the plastic cup against his brawny chest after completing every drop.

I can only vaguely recall what occurred afterwards. I think lights danced. Some of the lines on the walls moved. The room spun. Walking in a straight line resembled nouveu contemporary performance art. I remember lounging lazily among a group of our friends, playing card games I had never played before with rules that required everyone get loud, usually for no reason whatsoever.

I laid comfortably close to Darrell, who was becoming comfortably close with me, running his hand through my thick hair. I didn’t stop him. It wasn’t 2016 yet and there weren’t nearly that many think pieces out on consent yet, but I feel strong that for this unique case, if I wanted him to stop, he would have, but I didn’t want him to.

His hand moved down my back, up my t-shirt and his finger caressed my lower spine. My guess is he was seeing what point was ‘crossing the line’ and frankly, I think we were both figuring it out as he went and after a couple seconds of being touched, very secretly, in the presence of our friends, he got up, in the direction of what was the restroom.

Was I new to college? Yes.
Was this my first time being in a group of other black gay men? Yes.
Did I know protocol? Yep. Sure the fuck did.

I gave it a solid five minutes before I stumbled my way to the bathroom. The entire room was in full swing, voices fought one another to out-loud each other. I could have spontaneously combusted and I don’t think anyone would have realized until cleaning up the apartment the following morning.

I slipped into the bathroom where Darrell had been leaning against the wall, waiting. His eyes were dark and calculating. In more of collapse then a movement forward, we crashed into each other and began kissing there in the awful burned yellow lighting of the bathroom.

I have a bit of an insecurity about how slender my own frame is, not in a body image sort of way, but in the way where I’m highly aware that if a man wanted to force me into anything, I wouldn’t ever have the strength to protect myself.

I find it wildly attractive when a man lets me know that he is in fact larger but I have nothing to worry about. He gets double the points if he can make the statement, nonverbally. Darrell got all the points that night.

His large and powerful hands searching me carefully, but never making me feel trapped. He didn’t force me to be closer or to kiss deeper. He ensured me that drinking with him would be safe, and even if we were making an awful decision, I still felt as if he was a safe person to make bad decision with.

I choose my bad decisions wisely. I chose him.