“Time is a funny thing. A decade can flash by in an uneventful second, and then, in just two years, monumental things can happen… things you couldn’t imagine happening in a million years.” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City 2
I don’t think time is a funny thing at all; I feel enslaved by it. Two years guilted me out of going for whatever might have made me happy. 48 days made me regret letting go of a six-month fling, despite its toxicity. 20 years (21 in February) made me rush myself into a relationship that obviously imploded; it also made me unsure of how I feel about being single.
No. 4 | Hola, Amor
Before everything went to shit, I was the ultimate single boy. Unlike most of the people in my university, I had never wanted to be in a relationship, and for good reason. I had Latin honors to chase, and virtually no time for any social life beyond what I could have with classmates that I had projects with. I was willing to sacrifice everything to get good grades, my health, even, but a relationship wasn’t one of them. For the most part, it felt a lot like I didn’t need one. I found it to be such a waste of time and money, and I learned early on that I was almost always happier when I did things with myself. A lot of it also came from the awareness of my physical attributes. I’m not handsome. I’m morbidly obese because of my conscious decision to neglect a healthy diet and daily exercise in favor of doing schoolwork. I accepted that I was a specific type, that it would take an extremely special boy to see past my size, or at least one with a weird fetish for big bellies.
No. 9 | Bottoms Up!
No. 12 | Hello,
I really needed to cry. I ran out of the rec center to get some fresh air. Once I got outside, I looked at my surroundings to see what I could do next. I spotted a supermarket across the street. Determined to get revenge, I stormed in, my face red from holding back the tears I refused to shed for Connor.
I didn’t get too much—just a box of Trojans and two bottles of lube. Even though I was fuming with anger, I couldn’t help but laugh at how ridiculous and immature I was being. Before the cashier gave me my receipt, she told me, “it’s best to be safe even when you’re heart-broken.”
That last part I made up. The cashier didn’t care. Being gay in Canada was as commonplace as having a tattoo; nobody cared. But at that moment, I wish that somebody did because I needed a hug, a really warm hug, preferably from a burly man with a lot of body hair and natural musk.
I went to Toronto last spring for two reasons: the first was to attend an open house for a university I was considering attending; the other was to say hello to an ex-boyfriend, the only ex-boyfriend I had at the time.
Previously on Life from the Closet…
“We’re dating, right? I’m surprised you think that four months is a long time. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re on our way. I want a serious relationship.”
It wasn’t what I wanted to hear exactly. We weren’t on the same page when it came to relationship timeframes. I guess I was so used to being with Americans, who’d stick the boyfriend label one month in, that I forgot to consider that he was the first local I was dating seriously. When I think of his response now, I figure he’s right. Four months isn’t a long time compared to being single for 20 years. I wasn’t even single for 20 years—I was in a relationship with myself, and that relationship wasn’t afraid to ask the tough question: Are you really ready to commit to someone else?
Our conversation didn’t end there. I told him all my doubts about him. I confessed how I felt that he was too busy for a relationship that I started questioning if I was important to him. He asked me to be more understanding of his situation, how close he was to reaching his goals, and he told me that whether I was important to him or not was on him. I didn’t know what he meant by that, but it certainly didn’t make me feel better about myself. I felt taken for granted, especially after going through all that trouble today. Perhaps it was his way of saying no.
I had a solid alibi: Having just graduated, my best friend Audrey would be hosting a celebratory lunch party for her closest friends, myself, included. While everyone is supposed to sleep over at my grandparents’ place after, Audrey’s mom would suggest that the girls sleepover at her house and the boys at my grandparents’, so it wouldn’t look like we were planning a weird after-party orgy. The next day, Audrey would drive the girls to the seaport, and Nate and I (being the only boys in the group, and Nate being Walt) would meet them there in my car. Unfortunately, the girls would oversleep; of course, Nate and I would still head to the abandoned island because we would already be there when we find out that they’re not coming. When we get back in my hometown, Nate would just pick up some stuff he left at my place before I drive him back to his grandparents’, which is conveniently in the same city. Exhausted from our day out, he would fall asleep while packing up, so he’ll have to leave the next day, instead.
One of the things that excited me the most about visiting the United States was the possibility of losing my virginity. With the tragic turn that my online dating experience had taken in the last three years, I gave up on the idea that I would find a boyfriend, or at the very least, a hookup, in Manila. Besides, I’ve always had better-looking Tinder matches when I went abroad, and they’ve had more substance than any local I’ve conversed with.
On my 18-hour-flight, I began to fixate on wanting to have sex—real, penetrative, anal sex with a man—for the first time. Sure I’ve had my fair share of encounters, like that blowjob in a school bathroom when I was 16 and that awkward meeting with the Quebecois less than a year before, but I’ve never gone all the way. I was dying to know what bottoming felt like, why some men hated it when it looked like it could make me scream with pleasure. I also wanted to know if I was confident enough to be a top. One of my strangest beliefs was that a top needed to be masculine, and I wasn’t sure if I had that much masculinity in me.