Are cigarettes good for you?

Of course not. They’ll do less for your health, in fact, than most hideous car crashes.   But that’s not the point, is it?  We already know that they’re unhealthy.  This has been drilled into our minds for what may as well be eons and yet 19% of the US smokes.

But whatever.  These are boring statistics that really aren’t what you’d call “unpublished”.  What I’m more interested in are the aspects of the “tobacco entity” that allow this habit to continue.  Why?

Because I smoke.  It’s expensive, has turned what used to be swimmer’s lungs into the biological equivalent of a tired old leaf blower, and in my circles smoking is more deadly to your social status than it is to your mortality.  But I do it anyway, because (here’s the good part)…

Hot or not?

Hot or not?

I enjoy it.  Genuine enjoyment and pleasure happens when I spark one up.  Turkish Royals, pink BIC, hell yeah.  I love it while driving, while eating, after sex, while at work, while hiking, or after I leave the gym (yes, you read that right).  Pretty much any activity I do, besides sleeping, is made better with a cigarette.

I’m addicted, hopelessly.  I say this with a tiny dash of shame, or much less salt than Emeril uses.  I’ve been smoking my entire adult life, for 12 years.  I’m 24 (hello?!).  Before you count years on your fingers I’ll go ahead and tell you that I was 12 the first time I took a puff – a beautiful, blue, billowing…never mind.  Anyway, this despite being brought up in a good family, in an excellent school (where I did well), and in an affluent area of town.

My next point, and this is the big one, is that I don’t know what life is like without cigarettes.  I have never actually lived adult life without them and the thought of not having tobacco at arm’s reach is downright scary.  How could it not be?

I don’t do drugs, I exercise, and I’m very conscious of what I eat.  The juxtapose of cigarettes in my life is nearly laughable.  I know I can’t smoke forever, but for now I shall.  So if you’ll excuse me, I have something to take care of…outside.

Crossing the line between sex and romance (whether you like it or not).

To start on a personal note, I like to be held.  Hugged, squeezed, or cradled… I love it all.  Some refer to this desire as “bottom”, but I firmly subscribe to the idea that labels belong on a can, not a man (although that’s another post entirely).

To get back on topic, I think I come off as a bit puzzling because at first glance I am, as Samantha Jones puts it, in a relationship with myself and can have sex with someone I don’t respect or like… or even remember.  Although nothing could be farther from the truth.

I rather desire affection and companionship – to be held.  That’s where “J” comes in.  We started as, to be completely honest, a grindr hookup.  This developed into several hookups, which in turn blossomed into a friends-with-benefits relationship.  But I wasn’t necessarily interested in a friends with benefits relationship.  That’s when something odd happened.

He picked up on it.  I didn’t tell him or even hint at it.  Yet, he asked me to dinner and made a point to tell me it would only be dinner because that’s what he thought I wanted.  I would include a screenshot of the text, but he did this over the phone. (I know, right?!)

As it turns out, he likes to hold me.  After dinner we went on a lovely stroll on the city’s new “walking bridge”.  It was completely frigid, so we went back to his place and laid in bed.  [Read: Laid, not “got laid”].  I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m a little scared by this.

My favorite way to walk.

It scares me because I feel like he’s holding me, even when we aren’t touching.  We walk down the sidewalk or sit together at a restaurant and I feel comforted by him.  Maybe I’m getting attached….and perhaps I’m afraid to get hurt.  So as this develops, will I be basking in mutual affection, or will I be spitting venom?  Either way, the results will be interesting (to say the least).  

My favorite book has blank pages.

There’s a certain excitement inherent when I see a blank page. All of the stories or chronicles that it could hold leave me with a sense of anticipation. So you can imagine how an entire blank diary must make me feel.

Last month I went through the things in my grandmother’s condo. She died two weeks prior and while she hadn’t lived there in over 5 years, it was still filled with her belongings. Five years ago she moved in with her boyfriend of 25 years, so all of the day-to-day items were gone. Left behind were decorations and personal items she had gathered throughout her life.

She traveled the world, and everything in that house told the story of where she’d gone. I found an ashtray from a hotel in Amsterdam. There were hand-painted porcelain dishes from Japan. Inside a cigarette tin from the UK laid a folded five pound note. A piece of stationary note from The Ritz in Paris had a bit of wine spilled on it and what appeared to be a last name and a phone number.

As I gathered a few of these things and put them in a small box I came across one more item that made me gasp with excitement  It was a journal. The cover was a colorful weave of fabric and it had a frayed string tied around it. I untied the string, hoping to find some record of where she was when she got it. To my disappointment, each and every page was blank. But no matter. I put it in the box with everything else and left her condo for what would be the last time.

It sits on the dresser...waiting.

It sits on the dresser…waiting.

The journal now sits on my dresser, waiting for words to fill it. It’s beautiful. From the weave and color of the fabric it looks to be from the Middle East (in my very non-expert opinion). There’s a smell of spice or incense coming from it. I want to write in it. At first, though, I couldn’t seem to think of any subject which would be worthy of a book with such personality.

A few things came to mind. I thought that perhaps someday I’d meet someone who is so special to me that he would be worthy of the journal. That seemed a bit risky though. I wouldn’t want to have to burn it, after all.

Then, it occurred to me something with which I could fill the diary that would fit its personality perfectly. I don’t know where it came from and I probably never will. But I want to see the world, as she did. I want to explore to the four corners. As I do, and I will, I’ll record that journey in this book.

Who knows where it will someday end up. Perhaps someday someone will find it in my condo and, while sitting on my couch, take a trip around the world.

That thing so good, you’ll never have it…

He’s that boy, for me at least.  He’s the one I knew I’d never have and I always wondered what it’d be like if I did.

He’s beautiful.  Completely.  He’s pretty in that Instagram, bartending-in-only-underwear way, and every detail is perfect.  The first time I met him was nearly a year ago. He was behind the bar making drinks for the crowd around him and I watched him for a moment.    I remember wondering to myself what kind of crazy perfect person I would have to be able to get next to the likes of him.

He is a very talented musician who is already well on his way to success – and hell bent on it.  He’s that kind of million-twidder-followers popular.  He knows every gay in the city (and I mean every single one), and most gays in other cities.  

The second time I met him was at his house (no, it’s not what you’re thinking).  I was with a friend who works with him at the club during a small gathering.  I casually asked him about his music and we ended up sitting on a couch chatting for awhile.  When I gave an awkward look he smiled and asked, “What?”

“I was just thinking about asking you to play for me.  I mean I don’t expect you to but…”

He interrupted me and said, “Sure, I’ll play for you.”

As I stepped through the doorway into his room I still had that thought of him in the back of my mind.  “I wonder what it would be like to kiss someone that beautiful…”  (Not that I ever would…)

He pulled out a black guitar and while he played the voice that came from him fit perfectly – it was beautiful.  He then showed me around, talking me through various recording equipment and discussing his plans to add more.  He sat down in front of a keyboard and toyed around with it for a moment.  I had my phone in my hand and took a picture of him playing.  He smiled and said, “What’s that?”

Just toying around...

Just toying around…

“I want to remember this, and I sort of take photos everywhere I go.”  He smiled and continued to play, pausing briefly to pull me towards him and wrap my arms around his chest.  I could feel the sound of his voice moving from his body into mine as he sang.  My whole upper body vibrated to the sound of his voice and I’m pretty sure I was trembling a bit.  Still playing, he turned and looked at me.

Then, he kissed me.

“It’s the little things.”

I went on a drive this evening.  That is, I got in the car with a recording artist friend of mine and drove, for the hell of it.  We were in a local forest and stumbled upon a beautiful winding road in the hills.

This is about 20 seconds of us weaving down that road.  Personally, this is one of the “little things” that makes life beautiful.

By the way, the song playing, if I remember correctly, is “The Fox” by Nickel Creek.  It’s brilliant!