Commentary: The Single Guy
It’s Wednesday night, and from an anonymous corner of a crowded bar your emptiness signals an awakening. How long has it been? A year? Two years? Marriage? You’re definitely not recovering from a fling.
The terror around your edges that says “too broke to fix” is evident as you hide behind a rediscovered artifact—a friend–the only one you have left from a life you barely remember, the one you had before “him.” You never left your cave when the big chunks of hurt were evident, but the men in this bar still see you wince from unextracted slivers of his memory. You lost your identity in the process of building a new creation, but all that’s just wreckage now. Heavy with the dizziness of recent hibernation you move cautiously back into pink wilderness.
Now, you’re a domesticated predator relearning the hunt, or maybe an awkward gazelle searching sense memory for the dynamics of the chase. Either way, you’re gamed out. At the edge of your psyche you recognize the excitement of your new life, but there’s too much danger to revel in it. Others sense the danger. You don’t want them to run. You don’t want to tell them that you recently broke from an LTR, but you can’t help it. It was who you were for so long. So much unreserved space to fill, what can you say that fills it? You never expected to be like those people who lose themselves in their dyads only to spin apart into the unknown, but here you are. Single. Didn’t you play this game before? You were good at it. So why do you feel like a teenager again? So clumsy. All the rules seem foreign. A bad relationship brought you to your knees, and ragged self esteem dragged bloody down years of bad road calls into question the most basic assumptions about your identity. Who are you without him? Who can you be? All you know for sure is that the savannah is brutal, and you’ve got to find a pack to run with. You’ve got to keep moving.
The gym is now a transformed setting where diffused eyes now become specific. You’ve worked out there for years, but now when men stare you hold their gaze. That cute bartender from TOWN is doing squats, and he notices your attention. You’ve seen him do squats for two years, but today you watch him finish his set. He grabbed your cock in a seedy South East strip bar eight years ago, but you spurned him because of your ideals. You cycle between weight stations, and every time you see him he’s looking at you with a wry, hopeful smile. How long has he waited for you to notice him? His ideals haven’t changed, but you suspect yours have. While you shower he walks by your stall and stares through the curtain. You tell yourself that if he walks by again and shows his ass, it’s on. He does walk by, and through the crack in the shower curtain you see him drop his towel. Your mind breaks through twisted thoughts of doubt, leaving single minded clarity. As water rolls down your body, you know you have walked through a door, and it leads you into the locker room where you meet the smile he has waiting for you.
He waits for you outside the gym, and you walk him home. After 15 minutes of small talk you’re in his bed demanding to fuck his ass, but he resists. Frustrated by the tease, you ask again. He resists, but gladly offers you his face. He doesn’t say much, but you don’t really give him the opportunity, so when you leave he surprises you by offering his card. He wants you to call him again. Dinner, maybe a movie. He suddenly seems much less like a hot slut and more like someone you understand, but you’re euphoric from the release of being free, spontaneous, and once more recipient of a man’s touch. It’s the best you’ve felt in months, and you want more. A lot more. You don’t mean to lose his card, but you do.
You’ve spent more time at the gym during the last few months than you have in the last year. You’re a rocket in refuel and you finally feel ready to launch. You wear the tightest shirt you can find and hit the club feeling bold. Thumping waves of sound and disaffected poses saturate your experience, creating a humid layer between you and the lust that holds the room together. You’re the center of attention yet completely alienated, like the corpse at a well attended funeral. Despite the out of body experience of the dance floor you make contact with a cute guy with curly black locks, and through the plumage of boy feathers you weave your way toward him. You ask him immediately to leave with you, and he obliges.
Your conversation during the walk is light and entertaining, made easy by vodka and soda. You like him, and at his place you listen to Czech rap music, drink apple juice, and talk about his life as a teacher. You really like him. You go to bed, where he’s excited by your body but you’re dissapointed in his. After uneventful sex he asks you to leave, but you’re tired and ask to stay. He’s weird in the morning, and you wonder if you did something wrong, but as you leave he asks to see you again and you know he’s being genuine. It isn’t until the next day that you realize that asking to stay was a promise that you liked him for more than a place to crash for the night. It was an insinuation that required him to temporarily drop his guard. You kick yourself for the lack of consideration, but you don’t return his call.
You’re waiting for the metro at L’Enfant Plaza when you see a dream guy standing near you who looks like a cross between Chris O’Donnell and your favorite mistake. You exchange quick glances as the yellow line train arrives, and again as he takes his seat. The doors close, and as the train pulls away dream guy smiles and holds your gaze from behind several inches of plexiglass, leaving you behind on the platform to wait for the green line. Six hours later you’re at Blowoff, the Bob Mould party at the 9:30 Club. You’re being hit on by a 40 year-old “boi” who fell off an Abercrombie catalog fifteen years ago and never recovered, when you see the guy from the metro staring at you from 10 feet away. You beeline toward him and without exchanging a word, you kiss passionately. It’s a perfect moment ruined minutes later when dream guy begins to talk. His mind is dull and his speech is cliche’ riddled and bombastic: Mr. Magoo with an angel’s face and a coke habit. It’s all wrong, and you need to get away, fast.
You exchange numbers and bolt for the door. As you’re walking out you recognize a guy who contacted you online earlier in the day, minutes after creating your first Manhunt profile. He looks better than his photos, so you go back to his place almost drunk enough to deal with white party club remixes and a dozen clone friends who just walked off a Robert Palmer music video. During your six thousandth conversation about real estate you manage to slip away to your host’s bathroom for a clandestine blowjob from one of his friends, partly because you’re drunk but mostly so you can shut him up about Mariah Carey. Despite lots of weed and cheap white wine, you magically wake up in your own bed. Alone.
You meet a guy at one of the many weekly DC house parties that spring up in conjunction with the fashion and modeling shows that appear on the Bravo! television network. You can’t remember the name of the show, but the hot blonde with the easy charm is following you around the room with his eyes, so you don’t care. You trade names and boilerplate dat
e talk, but surprisingly you manage to connect based on the commonality of shared roots and interests. He’s also fun.
An hour later you’re surveying the wreckage of his bachelor pad. His bathroom is a CDC cleanup site and his clothing decorated bedroom is a cave drawing of whore history since the birth of poppers. On your way from his bedroom to his couch you step on a business card for a lawyer who tried to pick you up two years ago, when the guy was still a stripper.
Blonde guy has a massive television in his living room, so you both agree to watch an episode of the nature program “Planet Earth.” Blonde guy also has a nice mouth, and as he starts to deep throat your cock, the narrarator of the episode explains that you’re watching dramatic footage of a mountain lion chasing its prey down a deadly steep cliff. He explains that the breathtaking moment you are watching was not even thought possible, and as the two animals hurl themselves down from rock to rock at great speed, you climax at the very moment the lion snaps its jaws through the throat of its prey. At this precise moment, blonde guy’s face in your crotch and your eyes fixated on the screen for this consumation of animal instincts and the natural world, you thrust your fists into the air above your head and release an inward scream through every hallway of your mind. For the night, you’re satisfied.
You’re at HALO on P Street hanging out with the whitest people on the planet, all compelled to the upstairs lounge by either the chocolate masses beneath them on the first floor or by the reflexive habit to climb, social or otherwise. A looker in designer clothes who works as a personal shopper for wealthy women approaches you and tells you that you look exotic and out of place here. He’s gorgeous, and you remember him from years earlier, an adonis with a taste for twinks. He’s never noticed you before, but you’ve got his attention now. He’s surprised by your age and you’re stunned by the impossibility of his. You go back to his perfect apartment and strip him naked. His flawless body offers you an apple and a list of demands, including getting fucked. Hard.
You never finish the apple. You’re on his couch enjoying each other’s bodies, but you can’t get fully hard despite his amazement of your physique. You caress and kiss his perfect skin and eight-pack abs, trying to immerse yourself in him, to make your minds match your bodies and make the moment something more than slapping flesh, but his continuous questions interrupt your concentration:
“What’s your workout routine?”
“What’s your diet like?”
“What do you lift?”
“Do you run?”
“Want to get high?”
The situation isn’t moving fast enough for him, so he asks to take a break. You quickly find out that he hates his job, has few real friends, has a creative hobby that he talks about but doesn’t do, and lives a life based on artifice second only to Dorian Gray. In the span of 10 minutes, your God is reduced to a fallen angel clinging to immortality. He asks if you want to smoke a bowl, and with your refusal you know you have been cast from the garden. He says he wants to see you again and asks you to leave your card by the door. You dress quickly, and as you walk out you see a small bowl by the door with a few cards sitting in it. The card on top is from the blonde guy you saw the previous night. You smile on the inside, impressed by the efficiency and impudence of his operation. You drop your card, and with a kiss, you go. He never calls.
You meet a politico at a young gay professionals mixer. He wants to be an elected official, but you’re not familiar enough with politics to know that most politcos have the same dream. He’s smart, hot, charming, funny, and ambitious. Very ambitious. When he’s not debating everything you say he’s networking, which to you looks like trying to seduce everything that moves. You could fall for this guy, but you know love would be term limited. You will never be able to offer him enough to satisfy him. You share a violent fuck, partisan in a way that makes you feel like a Republican, if only due to the submissive way he lets you advance your agenda. Afterwards you swear there was something different about this one….the dynamics. He puts your number in his blackberry and you put his near your heart, but when your head clears you realize that like politics, it was all just a game. You call him once, a week later, but only to ask him about the crabs he gave you.
TNG Readers: I don’t know what happens on Wednesday, so I need your help. Does the single guy have more good experiences or bad? Revelatory moments or more of the same? Is there a happy ending?
Please submit your single guy story (1-2 paragraphs) below in the comments section. I’m curious to find out what happens next.
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