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  These are boring statistics that really aren’t what you’d call “unpublished”.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).  

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?

When things are going just a little too well…

“He’s just crippled any relationship that I’ve had since.  I haven’t been able to really care about anybody.”

There it was.  That bitter adage “too good to be true” had finally prevailed.  The whole time I had been trying to figure out what, for all of this new boy’s good qualities, were his bad ones.  Everyone’s got them, after all, and there’s no sense in running from this fact.  His was simple and oh-so-common.  In a word:  Baggage.

For good qualities, he has many to speak of.  Great ones, actually.  He’s adventurous.  He’s playful, but knows how to be serious, which is more than I can say for most of the gays I know.  He likes clothes and shopping, but wants me to teach him to shoot (no, that’s not innuendo).  By the way, I’ve been planning a date at the shooting range, but I’ll save that for later.

Though as we lay naked in my bed, I finally realized the truth about his previous relationship to which he had alluded many times.  He wasn’t just hurt by that boy – it went much farther.  In fact, I wasn’t sure he had even let this other boy go.

We all have baggage.  Lord knows I do.  Between the erratic hookups and relationships gone awry, I’ve got boxes, trunks, and suitcases worth.  I should probably employ a bellboy, full time.  As I regard myself as relatively sane, I suppose it’s how we let our baggage weigh on us that determines what we’re cut out for as we surge ahead into the romantic unknown.

As I dropped him off later that evening, we had one of those playful “one more kiss before I get out of the car” moments.  Despite nearly hurling on my keyboard just now, I still find it kind of sweet.  I like this boy, and I think I’ll keep him around.

So the million dollar question is this:  Will I be caught suffocating under a suitcase full of bad decisions, or will I be caught comfortably naked, with him?

…SMOKING! Arghh! There, I said it.

It happened to me again today.  I was in the checkout at Kroger, and among my various groceries was – brace yourselves – a box of  Camel cigarettes.  Normally this is not an issue, especially in Kentucky.  So I was only half-expecting it when the cashier said, “You know these are bad for you, right?”

I’m shaking my head just recalling the experience. “Yes, dear, it’s written on the box.” was my reply.

I would like to comment on this issue.  I was wondering how to approach the subject, and I knew I had to do it delicately.  Then I realized that I didn’t care so, as usual, I’m going to call it like I see it.

Let me start by saying something – I know that smoking is bad for me.  I know that it’s full of very bad things that, should I do it long enough, will probably cause me to meet my untimely demise.  I could go over the reasons why I smoke, but needless to say it would be a futile exercise and that’s not really what I want to talk about anyway.  So here goes….

Part. 1 – Things NOT to say to a smoker:

“That’s bad for you!”

I’m just not sure how people utter this phrase and expect anything but a snide remark in reply.  Normally I am nice about it, but at some point I am going to be inclined to point out things about other people’s health.  For example, I will not hesitate to ask, “…and your Big Mac is increasing your life span, is it?”  Smoking is bad for you, but so is being fat (among many other things).

I dare you to tell the Commander-in-chief that his cigarette is bad for him.

“Smoking is so unattractive.”

Several times I have had people say this to me, without knowing that I smoke, and then pretend that they never said anything when they saw me fire one up.  I do not believe that smoking is unattractive.  Some people may find it a bit of a turn off, but that doesn’t mean everyone does.  What I find unattractive about smoking is when unattractive people smoke.

If you don't find that hot, you're lying to yourself.

Now that your malevolence towards me is likely melting your screen, I would like to explore the other side of the coin.

Pt. 2 – Smokers, it’s NOT okay to do the following:

It’s not okay to smoke in inappropriate locations or situations.  I don’t care how desperately you think you need a cigarette.  You may think you are going to die without one, but trust me, you won’t.  For example, if you are in the car with a toddler in the back seat and a pre-teen in the front, it’s not okay to have a fag, people.  “What if I am not sure whether a situation is okay for smoking?”  I hear some of you asking.  If you are wondering whether it is…it’s probably not.

It’s also not okay to use a lack of nicotine as an excuse to be an asshole.  It may have been a while and you may be a little irritated, but trust me, it could get a whole lot worse.  So at the end of the day, you’re not really nicotine starved, you’re just an asshole.

Lastly – and this is a big one – it is not okay, while in situations where it is impossible to smoke (read: at work or on a plane), to constantly talk about how you “need” a cigarette.  You don’t need it, you want it, and I believe that part of being a decent human being is knowing the difference between the two.

Well… now that I’ve got that out, I feel much better.  I’ll be outside if you need me.