Why I just can’t do Religion…

Very early on in life we are taught about right and wrong.  Various means to this end all seem to have one underlying theme – we all have within us the ability to discern between the two.  For everyone, this is influenced by unique factors but for all the voice is still there – the one that weighs everything we know against a situation and allows us to make decisions.  Sometimes this is the right decision, sometimes it’s not-so-right.  Fox News knows all about the second one.

We are taught that Situation A + Action B = Result C.  We are taught, through consequences, that we have the ability to evaluate this system.  Break the rules, you’ll be punished.  Help an old lady across the street in Russia and someone with a dash cam will make you feel good about yourself.  Make top grades in your class and you’ll get a gold star…whatever.  I believe in this system of cause and effect.  It’s how I live my life and I know that, at the end of every day, my actions will be evaluated by my most scrupulous critic:  Me.

The problem I have with Religion (I have capitalized the letter R, as Religion is an entity which holds so much power over the human race that it deserves a proper name) is faith.  I know of no Religion which doesn’t require one to have faith.  Webster says faith is “firm belief in something for which there is no proof”.  No proof?  In other words, with faith, what you see and feel and touch is trumped by what someone else tells you – whether it be from a book, a pulpit, or a bible verse written on a bathroom stall at Speedway.

I see it constantly.  Under the veil of religion, people look Situation A, Action B and Result C in the eye and tell them to go shove off – that they’ve got a uniquely true version of reality supported by nothing definitive and screw anyone who says otherwise.  Obviously this issue is as infinitely complex as the flaws in our understanding which allow it to continue but the simple truth is this:  We all have, built into our bodies and minds, the capacity to evaluate the world around us objectively.  It is, absolutely, how we stay alive.

Forget the countless conflict that has arisen.  Forget the families that have been torn apart.  Forget that some of the most heinous acts in human history have been committed in the name of Religion.  This is the reason that I just can’t do Religion, and it has to do with that essential capacity which makes us human:  Religion allows us to ignore it.

 

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Dating and Mozzarella Cheese Sticks – One In the Same?

 

No.  One is delicious but short-lived and bad for you, while the other is just a snack.

Standing next to the stove, I stared at a cookie sheet with what appeared to be the remnants of a small explosion on it.  You see, they’d started life as mozzarella sticks and ended life, mostly, on the insides of the oven.  Alas, another potential meal had fallen victim to my culinary shortcomings.  Staring at them though, I had a revelation…

I’m not patient.  I just hate waiting.  I want my various tasks, projects, and aspirations to be perfect, right from the start.  This is the truth for my (apparently futile) culinary endeavors, as well as my relationships.  The sad truth is that they won’t be.  I realize this now.

This is probably why I like foods that can be prepared in the microwave.  Nearly instant, more-or-less done well, and guilt-free are how I like things.  This posed a question – As I jumped from one hopeless romance to another, was I searching for something that didn’t exist…a microwavable boyfriend?

It was then that I realized a crucial piece of a successful relationship that I was lacking – patience.  Not with a potential romantic partner, but with myself.  As always with my (perhaps silly) revelations, it came from something seemingly mundane – a terrible-for-you snack food that should probably be avoided (they’re brilliant at White Castle, by the way).

So I’ve made a decision to turn down the heat, be patient, and leave it in the oven.  As for feeding myself, there’s always Qdoba.

“What-ifs” – Good or Bad?

Sitting on Zach’s bed, I stared at the TV and pondered a timeless question, “How did this happen?” Throughout the day I had been helping him move into a new apartment, and seeing all of his things; the little knick-knacks around his room, brought back memories.

I knew I still had feelings for Zach. I knew I still loved him. I knew that he was the only boy I ever really felt comfortable with. But just as he had expressed regret that we hadn’t taken things farther, he had made plainly clear that “those days are over.”.

But something in me still thought that there might be something between us that was more than friendship. Part of me thought there still may be a possibility for romance. But laying there, a body’s width away from him, I couldn’t muster the courage to take his hand, to look him in the eye, and tell him how I felt.

We all imagine situations and examine them through the filter of an almighty variable “What if…”. My better judgement told me (well, shouted really) to let things go; to forget it; that the spark between us was gone. But my own internal “what if” kept holding me back. As we moved furniture and unpacked boxes in his new apartment, I couldn’t help but imagine how it would feel if this were our apartment; if we were together.

I looked at Zach and suddenly the cold reality of the situation seemed to slap me. We weren’t together. There was someone else for him. Most horribly, I blew it. A year ago when he moved to into the city I completely ignored the emotions between us. As he would later tell me, “I would have dated you in a heartbeat.”

But then I started to think of my soon-to-come move to Chicago, and the new start that I would have there. My “what ifs” began again. Only this time, they were what-ifs for the future. These are the good kind; the kind that give us hope and stir ambition. Maybe I’ll be happy there. Maybe I’ll make great friends, and maybe, just maybe, with a little luck, I’ll finally find someone that I can be happy with.

So as I begin my journey to a new city and a new chapter of my life, will my ambitions lead me to great things, or will they leave me wondering, “What if?”.

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).  

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.

The Gay Social Screen: GRINDR

Awhile back I took some screenshots from my grindr and laid out a few categories for some of the specimens that can be found on the app.  I promised to regularly post some interesting or funny grindr snippets from time to time and, well… didn’t. This is probably because, like most things grindr, I lost interest in it fairly quickly.

Luckily some interest has popped back into my head.  Here are a few snippets to make us all feel better about ourselves:

My reaction to this one caused everyone in line at the gas station to stare at me.  To set the record straight, if I did have any kinky fantasies, I don’t think I’d have a problem finding a way to act them out.

That conversation started (and ended) with a bang… Unfortunately for him, the answer to that question is a resounding “no.” Well, the second part at least.

Not exactly Jake Shears, but seemingly ordinary.

This one seemed to only register a 3 or 4 out of 10 on Jacob’s Spectrum of Bizarreness, but upon further investigation of the individual wearing the duck-printed shirt…

It shot up to 8 or 9.  Eek!!

Like whoa!!

This next one’s photo probably came from an album that had a title of something like “5th Anniversary”.

“He told me grindr was an app for coffee beans!”

I’m not sure about the most concerning part of this next one.  Perhaps it’s how enormously  a turn-off a school bus is.  Maybe it’s the fact that this dude was on grindr while behind the wheel of a freaking school bus! 

While Oprah says the car is a “No Phone Zone”, I think a bus counts too.

I figure that if I poke fun at some Grindrvillians on a regular basis, I can get on it for my own purposes and not feel bad.  So I suppose I owe a bit of gratitude to the blogosphere for making a small proportion of my sex life possible.  Thanks everyone!

Making the Impossible Possible: Dating

As I headed over to Eric’s I knew that when I left I would be filled with regret.  I had the perfect playlist cued up.  It’s called “Bursting” and among others it contains:

  • -Song for the Lonely, Cher
  • -Silver and Cold, AFI
  • -Born to Die, Lana Del Ray

I’m sure you get the idea.  With things getting serious between Michael and I (although not yet official), this had all the makings of a hookup-gone-wrong.  Eric is Tanya’s roommate – she’s a long time friend and for us things have not always gone smoothly.  He works at a gay club…as a stripper.  She has warned me about him and before today I had met him twice.  It was the perfect combination for a potentially very un-perfect situation.

He welcomed me in and we started the movie that we both knew we’d never finish.  It was at this point something odd started to happen.  That pre-hookup awkwardness – the kind that’s dispelled instantly once one grabs the other’s crotch – began to fade away and we talked.   We talked about the bad acting in the movie, what we thought about certain aspects of gay culture, and before long we were discussing personal philosophy.  I can honestly say with utmost certainty that this has never happened during this type of encounter.  Before too long we were laying in bed together, clothed.

“Why do I find it weird how compatible we seem to be?”

Just talking.

He posed this question and instantly I snapped out of whatever haze I was in and realized that this was more than a hookup.  It wasn’t a hookup at all, in fact.  Had something significant just happened?  In a place that should completely lack it, had there suddenly been meaning?  As we laid there he showed me some of his poetry.  It was brilliant – it flowed and lacked that “I’m trying to be poetic” feel that plagues most abstract writing.  Eventually we ended up in his jeep.  We had the top down despite the cold and we rode along through the city, belting out random songs from the likes of the Goo Goo Dolls and Cher.

I got in my car to leave and was left wondering, “What the hell just happened?”  I know that this entire situation has D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R written across it in big ol’ red letters.  I know that the boy I’m dating is great and I’ve been warned that Eric should be approached with caution.  Which begs the question:  Is the impossible, in this case, possible?