When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

So. There's This Guy.

He's about a head taller than me and he has a runner's frame. His head is completely shaved and he sports a sandy brown goatee. My new glasses very much resemble the ones he usually wears. He surely must be in his thirties. And I see no wedding or commitment rings.

He works in a designing firm on the same floor as our counseling offices, and I catch him at times near the 5:00 whistle if I come in early enough for my night gig. We meet at the bathroom--I'm arriving, he's leaving.

Now, you know chemistry when you see it. You make eye contact. You smile, they smile. You get a little flutter. You feel a little nervous. You want, more than air at that moment, to say something--ANYTHING--smart and funny and winning and deep and binding and everlastingly impressive.

Lemme back up some. A few weeks ago, while on the street approach to the building, I saw him heading my way, walking with someone in big conversation. That made the twice or third time, but that time, he was broadly striding in a kilt. Complete with black Doc Martin boots and that dangly, beaded, leathery adornment that goes in the front of kilts. (Kind of like a pipeless bagpipe? I dunno.)

So that was my in. I knew that the next time I'd see him, I would bring up that kilt. (No pun intended). I always need a good reason to launch into conversation. (Remember me, the guy who took meds for nearly a year because of social anxiety? I only quit because my doctor was holding them hostage. Finally the withdrawal symptoms have faded away. Now I feel unmedicated and still have managed to keep my dayjob and call new people back who want sessions in the evening. Yes, I was openly weeping on a weekly basis, but I was sad.)

But I digress! That kilt was IT! So, yesterday was the 'next time' I was waiting for. In fact, yesterday was layered in all sortsa circumstance.

I just got in and hadda go, ifyaknowwhatImean. But the bathroom key was not in our office. So I figured one of our therapists was inside using the facilities. So I stood outside of the bathroom, which is out in the hall, closer to the designer firm than to our counseling center--and I waited. It's taking a little longer than I wish, but so far I'm good.

And who should step out of the designing firm? Kilt-Guy! (Not wearing a kilt, by the way). HE has his own key. So I smile, say hello, and look beyond him into the bathroom so I can confirm that I'm waiting for someone from OUR office to let me in. Except 1) Kilt-Guy engages me, almost as if, while wearing a big smile, he's not going to let me in and 2) I see no one beyond him in the bathroom. I stumble over my words--"someone from my offices ... is it okay if I just ... the key ... I think someone's in there and I need to ..." AWKWARRRRRRRRD!

Kilt Guy lets me in though, he recognizes that I'm here a lot and has used a key to these facilities before, and maybe, just maybe, he's been feeling the same thing I've been feeling anyway. So I'm in the bathroom as he "heads" for the urinal, and now I see ... there's NO ONE IN THE BATHROOM. So possibly I've just bum-rushed my way into the bathroom with a false, and quite horribly cheap excuse to get in with him. After I've been stalking outside both the bathroom AND his office.

NOT a good look, people.

But to my GREAT relief, I found the key inside a commode stall, which I waved around like a battlefield flag as if to say "See? NOT a perve! NOT a perve!" because dang it, it WAS missing and I DID have to go! Well, icebreaker ACHIEVED. Here we were.

So I bring up the kilt. Again, no pun intended. And he shares freely. He likes it. He lives in Jersey City, in an ethnic community. He likes shocking the neighbors with his fashion choices. A chick on Fifth Avenue impulsively lifted up the back. And a few sundry other pleasantries.

But what I'm checking for is "Does this guy dig me? Is this more of the same, like what I got from the Haagen-Daas Dude? Are we flirting here? Does he know that I damn sure am?"

What a perfect tapered jaw I was looking at. What sky blue eyes, wide smile, anatomy-model bald head he has. My heart is just all a-pitter pitter pitter with the odd patter thrown in. Broad shoulders--not as chunky and bold as I usually like but there's some upper chest development and evidence that he's tight under those clothes. Flat stomach. Just ... he's just so ...

And out to the elevators he goes. One more smile, nod, and farewell as he stands and I go into the counseling offices with freshly washed hands.

And regardless of whether he's gay or not, this is how I know that I am.

This doesn't HAPPEN between two straight guys. I mean, I still believe there are constant degrees of ambivalence and fluidity. I believe straight guys are fascinated and still attracted to other mens' physiques. I believe that straight men still crush on the Hugh Jackmans and Jason Stathams of the world.

But do they go as far as I do?

I want this guy to want me. I want to practice a kiss where my heart actually bangs. I want to give in to the gravity of his masculinity, his looks, his charm, his style, his presence, his person. I wanna touch!

Look, I told my Former Father Figure a few weeks ago about why I thought I was gay and why I realized that my past relationships with women never worked. I used to think I was unable to "love." I used to think I never really could, because of my history with Mom, with no parental example, with the lack of practice by the time I was in my late twenties/mid-thirties--whateverhaveyou. Never mind that I thought muscular guys were hot. Nevermind that I bought Muscle & Fitness mags the way middle-aged men bought Playboy. Those facts were all compartmentalized away. I was a Christian and I was supposed to marry a girl. End of story.

So I believed that my affection for women, my admiration and appreciation for them--all that would surely turn into sexual energy given enough time. But it didn't. Even when I left the strictness of church and allowed myself to kiss my girlfriend--even when I was alone with her in her apartment, or in my own, and we were laying spooned together on the couch ...

... I never felt anything close to what I felt in the workplace bathroom yesterday.

I'm sure if he would have moved in on me and crushed me up against the commode stall I'd have fainted from the stark thrill of the moment.

I'm gay.

I'm gay.

And if Kilt-Guy asks me out on a date ...

I'm gunna go.

And that's what's going on.

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