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by Michele Christopher
Another week has flown by and here we are again! So nice to see you all! This week I have been totally bombarded with suggestions about my article, and topics that I could discuss. Mostly I hear that they want me to talk about love, and romance. What a wonderful yet loaded topic! I could literally spend pages upon pages telling you all about the things I go through and my opinion on all of these events. So I think I will just have to narrow it down to a few small topics, and from there we can either continue with more next week, or I might just have ALOT more to say about something else, as we all well know a lot can happen in seven days! So to my friends, it is no secret that I am woefully unlucky in the love department, however the few times that I have been in a seemingly devoted relationship, I have learned a lot about men, gay men, and about the dynamic of love.
My first real love was a guy we'll call "Michael". He was about six or seven years my senior and was/is a really sweet guy. He gave me flowers, little gifts, supported me a lot during my troubled high school years, affectionately known as HELL. He was a considerate man, and introduced me to the wonders of handcuffs. Oh and that boy knew how to melt my... heart (You thought I was going to say something else perhaps???). We dated for almost six months and sadly this remains to be the longest relationship I have ever had the pleasure of being in. (Boy can I pick 'em!) Over the Christmas season, I actually proposed to the guy and he accepted. Two months later I surprise him and his "Boy on the side." and promptly dumped his unthinking ass. Then just for spite, dated the boy he had been so unfaithful to me with. (I was 18, how would you have reacted at that time?) This brings us to beef number one.
WHO EXACTLY TO CHEATERS THINK THEY ARE FOOLING?
You know you're going to get caught sooner or later, and then you act all surprised when we find out. C'mon guys who are we kidding here? I'm not the brightest crayon in the box, but I'll tell you now, I can be sharp as a razor! Instinctively, a person knows the MINUTE something starts to happen, you may not know how, or why you know, but you do. A few months or however long down the road, when you get CONFIRMATION of your intuitive feeling, it can still be quite a blow. But I knew when it started with Michael, and the litany of potential mates that followed him. (I seem to collect them like shoes for some reason.) One of my more recent relationships was with a sweet and very good man. (Ok, ok, he has a good heart anyway!) I had that feeling for months when we had to live separated due to financial difficulties. (Ok two months out of four, but whatever...)
He came to visit me one Saturday morning, and asked me if I'd dated anyone since we had been apart and I replied with my standard response. "I don't need a relationship to define me, sweetie. I was fine before you came and I'll be fine if you're gone. But no I haven't." And he said that was just great and seemed generally pleased, and said he hadn't seen anyone either. I had my doubts, mind you, but the sentiment made me feel good. Less than eight hours later I am working as a bartender at "Shooka Dooka's" When a patron came in and asked if I'd met my guy’s new boyfriend. I'm sorry what? New boyfriend?? How long has this been going on? So I said: "Nope hadn't heard a word about it. Give me the scoop!" Well come to find out he'd been seeing a guy in neighboring new Hampshire for two months and they were moving in together, and that they'd be coming to the bar later that evening. Well you bet your sweet Aunt Rosie when the two of them showed up, that boy got a talking to from me! But you know what? I wasn't mad about the relationship really, I was mad about the fact that the fool LIED to me. For two months! I do apologize, but I don't understand how the guilt didn't even faze him. I was disappointed and hurt. I told him that we could be friendly, but that I wouldn't trust him for a VERY long time, if ever.
I have a problem with lying, it just seems stupid. I will admit that I was/ am guilty of cheating once, and only once. I recall the next day I went to my beau, and gave it to him like this: "Honey, there is a problem and I am not spending the attention on you like you deserve, I need to call this off." I still spent about two hours in the shower washing the guilt off me, but be honest with your partners. If you're going to another well for water, at least give up the one you don't need in a polite manner. It's only courtesy and honesty, and what human doesn’t deserve to be let go of if they don't happen to be what you need? Wouldn't you rather know and have it be over instead of being lied to on a regular basis for months before actually finding something like this out? To the people out there currently having a fling; Cut one loose, please? Someday you'll find the perfect mate for you, I promise! Now let others have the same opportunity, as opposed to being led on. Sadly enough one night stands are still prevalent in the gay and straight world. I recently read an article in Details" magazine, I think... It talks about how recently there has been a sexual revolution for women, feeling empowered to have a quickie now and then, and how liberated it was for women. I suppose given the current age we live in, this is a good thing. In the back of my mind I had a different thought all together.
WHAT HAPPENED TO COURTING, AND REAL DATING?
Somewhere down the line in evolution, it seems that we have lost the ability to hold ourselves back in the heat of passion. You know? I see and have heard stories about virtuous people courting and having dates of lunches, afternoon teas, dinners at nice places, and movies, or bowling. (Whatever your pleasure.) No sex, no "Third base" action; just good conversation, some laughs, and the occasional hug, or kiss. The sex was reserved for after marriage, and the whole tension building up between the two must have been just amazing! Just think, all that time wanting to bone a guy and just not! Then about two years down the line you're married and BAM! Its happening and you love it! (Usually regardless of penis size and experience...) That was how love was forged and created... You'd like a person and spend REAL time with them, really get to know a lot about who they are, what they like and dislike and all those little things that most of us these days refer to as "Quirks". The way his eye twitches when he looks in that special way at you, or the way she always manages to forget to blot her lipstick and it's all OVER her cigarette. Whatever floats your boat.
I used to dream as a little queer that life as a grown up would be like that, civilized, respectful and ultimately rewarding in the most fantastic way. Today life is sadly not so civilized. perhaps one might even go so far as to say that sexually, and possibly socially, we are going the way of the savages. Conversation usually turns sexual at one point or another during dates, and frequently I see people in bars who say "Hi my name is_____" and twenty minutes later have their hand down that persons pants or a tongue down their throat, or both! like I've said before, I’m all for any kind of love, but if you really feel that strongly about the person after twenty minutes, it's not love, it's lust. Most likely 48 hours later, you'll find that this person is not all you dreamed him to be, rippled pectorals or not.
I've been told before that I'm old fashioned, sometimes that life in the 50's would be better suited for me, and if I were straight, probably they would be right. As a gay man and drag queen, I am very happy to be here, now. I have seen the progress for gay rights and we seem to be making some very nice headway into the future. I just wish that my rights were defined simply for existing, not whom I decide to love. I want to love. I do, but the only way I see this happening, is if there is a level of maturity in dating. I want to be wooed, and return the woo-ing; I'd like little favors and small tokens of appreciation, quiet starry nights on a rooftop, a nice touch and a soft gaze. A bottle of wine and a lot of laughs, opening up little pieces of myself over a fine dinner, and cuddling up in front of a movie type stuff.
What I don't want is: "Gee you're hot, want to see my PAD?" Or better yet: " How hung are you?" Oh how SUAVE! Makes me realize that my body is more important than possibly how I'm doing right then. How about: “How about I take you out to dinner? You seem really fun." Or maybe: "Gee I'd love to go for coffee sometime, would you be up for that?" Please understand that if a person accepts such an invitation, it does not mean: "I'm gonna do you." It simply means that they like you well enough to know you better. I personally do not make any sexual guarantees when meeting anyone! I reserve the right to not even hug you if I don't want to. So ladies, gentlemen, children around the world; stand up for yourself and your heart. You’ve only got the one, and it's not worth screwing it up, just for a screw.
Speaking of dates at restaurants brings me to my last tirade of the week:
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO LOOKING NICE WHEN GOING OUT?
I was just having a conversation with the adorable young man I am currently dating about going out to dinner sometime soon when it occurred to me that no one dresses up much to go out. Whatever happened to really looking good when you're in public? I remember being a youngster not that long ago, and when my folks wanted to go out it was a nice shirt (Maybe a tie.), the nice shoes and cloth pants as opposed to my jeans. My dad would be in a nice sports coat, my mother a nice dress. (Usually I helped her pick it out!) What ever happened to those days? Why do I see nothing but jeans and tee shirts at the local steakhouse, or the local "upscale" places around town? Do we always dress the same when going to McDonalds for a bite as we do when attending a fancy place that charges thirty to forty dollars a plate? Where has our dignity gone?
Just for fun I grab my gal pal, Jo; and we have a night out, get dressed in our Sunday best, have a nice expensive dinner, and a movie to close the evening. A proper date for a person if we were about twenty years ago, but instead of looking nice like everyone else, we get looked at as though we are zits on the face of the community.. How the hell can anyone give a look like that when dressed in a pair of ripped up jeans, and a faded concert tee? Since WHEN did this become respectable attire? What have we done to ourselves that makes us think that to dress up nicely should only be for weddings, or funerals? (Sometimes not even such solemn occasions are marred by a pair of corduroys and a bad hoodie.) I implore you all to look at your wardrobe right now. (Don't wait!)
Please take the time to check if you have a few of these essentials for dating and public wear: Nice shined shoes, dress slacks, button up long sleeve shirt (White), undershirt, clean socks, a tie in black or red... (Just one, it's not hard and they come pre-tied!) And make sure that you have clean undies. (You never know when they might warm your ankles!) Please don't wear that old jean jacket on a date, just a nice coat or jacket of leather, or some other fabric will do. Ladies, if you are going on a date with a guy less is better when it comes to dressing. Mascara is good, don't bother with eye shadow, unless you really like a lot of drama. Foundation can hide blemishes, yes, but if you can get away without it, don't bother putting it on. Lipstick can be great in berry or earth tones, but not any truly wild colors. Wear a dress or a skirt paired with a pleasant and not too revealing blouse. That’s right I said BLOUSE, not a shirt, there is a difference. Flats or heels are fine when paired with a modest handbag and minimal jewelry. I read that while guys fantasize about glamorous women, the woman next door is more what they truly want.
When a person dresses nicely, their confidence level automatically goes up. This has been documented folks, and it is used as a coping tool for cancer patients. It's called the "Look Good, Feel Better" program, and they provide wigs, makeup tips and clothing for cancer patients, because if a person looks good and has a positive attitude about the way they look, they are healthier, and heal faster. I think this is sage advice for anyone not surviving cancer as well so heed the call and try it out, you might be surprised at the change in your attitude, and your date!
I suppose that's about all for this week, I have given you a lot to think about, or to be mad about. I hope you find happiness in the week ahead! Don't worry about me, I'm a drag queen, what do I know?
Matthew Pinsonneault lives and dates in Vermont, where he always looks nice when going out. Even in a dress.