This post contains everything that's wrong with the generic personal weblog post. It's a story about people you don't know, and it's more interesting to me than to you. On the other hand, it's easier to read than, say, Finnegan's Wake, and if you're the kind of person who'd rather hear about the portions of my life when I'm not having sex, then, well, what kind of freak are you? (I kid.) Anyway, I've tried to compensate for the post's mundane nature by throwing in anonymous pictures of reasonably attractive men. Let's call it even, shall we?
Last night (Well, okay, it was Wednesday night, but it's just so much easier to write if we pretend that it was last night, so let's do that, ok? Thanks!) I journeyed into DC for my buddy J.'s birthday gathering. J. is my gay friend of longest standing (he doesn't appreciate being called my "oldest" gay friend), and he was turning 50 last night. (For the record, both he and his driver's license say that he was turning 49, but I figure it can't be that hard to bribe an MVA clerk, and God knows J. has plenty of incentive to lie about his age.) The plan was to have dinner at the Clyde's right next to the MCI center and then to migrate to the nearby bowling alley for a game or two.
Back when I was a baby gay, J. and I hung out a lot, and on many weekends when I didn't have the kids, I'd drive out to Annapolis, where he lived at the time, to catch a movie and/or have dinner with him. He was pretty much a baby gay himself. He'd had one pseudo-boyfriend, but he wasn't out to his family, co-workers, or most of his friends. That changed not long after I met him. While online, he met a guy from Kentucky, then he went out to Kentucky, then he had the guy visit him in Maryland, and -- less than a month after he'd started seeing the guy -- he agreed to move the guy from Kentucky to Maryland and in with him. This struck me as not the best idea, largely because a) J. still hadn't bothered to tell his parents that he was gay, and b) his mother came to his house twice or three times a week to deal with his laundry and make sure the house cleaners were doing a good job. It was difficult for me to see how he was going to explain away a young man (S2, his then-boyfriend, was about fifteen years his junior) sharing a bedroom and bathroom with him. Four or five times I urged him to either tell his parents or, at the very least, tell his sister and have his sister leak the information to his parents, but J. decided that it would be easiest (for him) to just let the shit hit the fan. And it did. That fan sprayed shit everywhere.
Anyway, as you might expect, having your bf's mother find you in the house and suddenly realize that a) her son was gay and b) he was shtupping you, was not the best way to start a relationship. It was a fairly rocky coupling from the get go. J. (because he can take responsibility for nothing) still blames me for his and S2's break up. Or at least he tells people that it was my fault. I'm pretty sure he doesn't really think that. In fact, they broke up several times, and the first time I talked to each of them separately and helped them mend things. After the second breakup/reunion, J. very specifically told me "Don't fix it again," so I didn't. S2 was a real piece of work, too. He had a severe case of OCD (by the way, if your bf has OCD and spends ninety minutes getting his hair just right, you might not want to muss it as soon as you see him; I tried explaining this concept to J., but he never quite got it.) and a bad shopping addiction. Which means that after he was done running his eight credit cards to their maximum, he had to spend thirty minutes rearranging them in his wallet. I never quite understand how people who have to wash their hands thirty times a day find time for sex, but, apparently, they had lots of it, and that's what the relationship was all about.
Anyway, my point, sort of, is that J. and I go way back. About the time that b&c and I got together, J. bought a very nice townhouse in Rehoboth. J. doesn't really care for b&c all that much (though he won't admit it), and I really don't like Rehoboth, so these days we rarely see each other, but we still have a lot of history, so it's always good to see him. He can be extremely annoying (he's a Republican, and out of nowhere he started defending the U.S. Attorney firings last night; in 2000, he traveled to Florida to protest after the election; he used to call me every night, and I would have to put the phone down and walk away when he started screaming at me), but he's the sort of friend you can count on.
Anyway, J.'s and my friend C. (not my current FWP C.) had called me with plans for the birthday dinner. He'd said our reservation was for 7:30 but that the restaurant thought they might be able to seat us earlier if we got there at 7. I rolled my eyes when I heard this because a) what are the odds that Clyde's can seat 8 people earlier and b) C. is the most consistently tardy person that I know. But I figured I'd do my part and get there at 7.
Since the MCI center is next to a Red Line Metro stop and my office is next to a Red Line Metro stop, it would have been ridiculous to go to DC by car (always painful) and try to park (always even more painful). As it happened, I needed to get J. a gift and a card, and Dupont Circle is a Red Line Metro stop between my office and the restaurant. I left the office a little bit after 5:30, took the subway to Dupont, browsed for a while in The Leather Rack, picked up some handcuffs and nipple clamps (I wanted to get J. a blindfold, but they were out of blindfolds. How is this even possible?), browsed for a while in Lambda Rising, picked up a card (You can't even buy a card specifically for 50, there. You can buy a card for 20, 30, and 40, and you can buy a card that says "49 again," but you can't buy a card for 50. I guess the very notion is too painful for a gay man to contemplate. Thank God this is the year I start getting younger; otherwise I'd have to worry about that in seven years.), picked up some light reading for myself, walked back to the Metro, took the train to Gallery Place, and walked up a couple of blocks to the restaurant, just in time to see J. arriving with his new boyfriend D. and his friend from college J2.
We got there just before 7, and the restaurant seated us promptly at 7:30. By then, six of us had arrived. C. arrived at 7:45, citing traffic. You have to admire his consistency.
I wasn't all that impressed with Clyde's. The service was inattentive and slow, the fried calimari was rubbery, and the shrimp I ordered looked like they had been frozen for too long. On the plus side, the shrimp came with fried green tomatoes and an edamame succotash, and the vegetables were kick ass. Besides, the company was good, and I long ago learned not to expect terrific food when I eat with J. He prefers the expensive over the innovative, and he steadfastly refuses any cuisine from Asia, Latin America, or Africa. Eastern Europe is out, too. He had a steak. Always the culinary pioneer, that one.
I was sitting between D. and C. I hadn't met D. before, but he was very nice, something I've not necessarily come to expect from J.'s boyfriends. He was also very quiet. I think he must be a sub. (J. likes to pretend that he's a dom, and, who knows, he may be better at it now. Back in the day, he used to call me before going on a date with a sub, and I'd tell him what to do. He'd typically be incredulous about my advice, but he'd follow it and then he'd call back afterwards to tell me that it had been spot on. Eventually, I just loaned him my copy of SM101. Unfortunately, his mother found it in with his porn, at which point he told her that I'd left it by mistake when I'd slept over one night. His mother still likes me, though. In part that's because I can be the kind of guy you take home to your mother. But mostly it's because she dislikes the rest of his gay friends, and I look good by comparison.) When J. opened the gifts, D. made a couple of remarks to me that let me know he was no stranger to either handcuffs or nipple clamps. In fact, though, I hadn't even known that D. was going to be there. I'm totally the guy that would give you a nudie birthday card and bondage toys in front of your friends, but I wouldn't knowingly give them to you in front of your boyfriend. That's just tacky.
Anyway, C. and I go way back, and I hadn't seen him in a while, either, so we had lots to catch up on. Someone mentioned "[C.]'s boyfriend," and I looked at him and said, "You have a boyfriend?" at which point C. took the sort of breath that precedes a long explanation and started to say, "Well...," so I cut him off and said, "Really, it's the sort of question that you ought to be able to answer with a yes or no." Then he said, "Well, from his point of view, I'm his boyfriend. From my point of view, I'm still interested in other people."
I was impressed. Not long after I first met C., he met a guy he always called "Bubba," and the two of them became partners. Mind you, C. lives in Northern Virginia (of course), and Bubba lived first in Alabama and then in Florida. The two of them saw each other about three times a year for a couple of days each time and typically had sex once on each of those occasions, but C. still said they had a commitment and remained faithful to Bubba. Bubba had lied to C. before they ever met, and while they were so-called partners, Bubba lost a lot of weight and got buff, but C. continued to believe that he and Bubba were monogamous and exclusive. After they'd been together (to the extent you can call it that) for over two years, Bubba decided to go back to law school in some location that was nowhere near either C.'s home or the home of his parents, and they finally broke up (to the extent you can call it that). In the past, every time I saw C., I told him that he needed to lose his fixation on having a boyfriend/partner and just hook up more. Over time, he came around to my way of thinking, but I never expected that he'd be able to pass up the opportunity to be anyone's boyfriend.
C. says that when the new guy (whose name and even initial escape me) first asked whether they could be exclusive, he'd been caught off guard and had said yes. But then he realized that next week, he'd be off to Fort Lauderdale and that there's a guy there he wants to fuck. So now he's got to go back and say no. If a guy asks you to be exclusive and you say no, it's awkward, sure. But if you say yes and then you have to say, "You know how I said 'yes'? I really meant 'not so much,'" then you've got a real problem. I was going to feel sorry for C., but then I realized a) he created the problem himself, and b) he agreed to be exclusive with a guy that he'd known for one week.
Did I mention that of all the guys at the table, only J2 and I have partners? With one exception (a happily and hornily single sixty year old), the rest of the guys there spend about 80% of their waking hours bemoaning the fact that they're single. Because of this, they're very much like lesbians, and if they're not renting a UHaul on the second date, they're not all that far behind. Which is a large part of why they're all single. I've tried to tell most of them that, but it's really the thing they least want to hear. Anyway, C. has now been going out (sort of) with his boyfriend/non-boyfriend for all of three weeks, so I reckon he's looking into having a pre-nup drawn up. Relationship implosion in five, four, three....
After dinner, there was dessert with a candle, and some of us sang "Happy Birthday," and we eventually ended up at the bowling alley.
I probably hadn't bowled in a couple of years, but who doesn't love bowling? Back when I was first out and dating, I used to go bowling fairly often because it's really the ideal activity for a first or second date. Everyone likes to bowl, but almost everyone sucks at it, and spending time having fun doing something that you're both awful at is a really good way to get to know someone. (And to make them comfortable with you so that they want you to fuck them, but we all know that sex really just isn't very important to me. Pardon me for a moment: I have to go file down my nose.) Pool does the same thing, but unless you have very similar levels of incompetence, it's better to stick to bowling. When you're bowling, if you screw up really badly, the other guy still gets to roll his own balls. In pool, if the other guy's better than you, you can seriously reduce his enjoyment through your own incompetence. I speak from experience here.
Anyway, eight gay men bowling badly on two lanes is more fun than ought to be legal, and we all had a pretty good time. Apparently, J. and J2 have been competing over bowling (and everything else) since they were in college, which was a long, long time ago, so they may have been having slightly less fun than the rest of us, but each of them beat the other once, so it worked out pretty well. I didn't get out of the alley until 11:30, but I caught a train immediately, so I was back to the office before midnight and home before 12:30.
I'm glad that I don't spend a lot more time hanging out with that crowd. They tend to talk about and relive the same very unimportant events over and over again. It's kind of like watching The Real World but without the really cute twenty-something boys who regularly remove their shirts. But since I only see them a couple of times a year, I haven't heard about recent events, so it's all news to me. And they're all decent guys. Besides, what's better than celebrating the birthday of a friend who's years older than you are?
By the way, I rolled 185 last night.
Yes, 84 in the first game and 101 in the second. At least I got better.