“How would you feel about just staying friends? Would you be able to do that?”
I grimaced – it meant she had little faith that my feelings were reciprocated. Discomfort also arose from me not having an answer ready. I would probably be okay – she is optimistic, career-driven, gay, and is a connection on the west coast. She’s already offered free accommodation and to be my personal Uber driver and she’ll “take me to do all the outdoorsy shit and I’ll hate her for it but my instagram aesthetic will be strong”.
“I have a crazy story to tell you” She said.
My heart started beating real fast.
“I have a feeling I’ll be back in a year. Maybe two. Vancouver won’t be permanent.”
I delighted with her, in her revelation. But beneath, I yearned to know why… not why she had this feeling… but why she would tell me this. Why would you dangle hope in front of me, when I don’t even know how you feel about me?
Then a week ago, she asked for my address. I gave it. Then my postal code. I gave it. And she bought me her favourite book.
I’m tired. She’s seeing someone else. I can’t stomach it.
Usually I would detach. Oh it would be emotional violence.
But I want to try something new (partially because I genuinely believe I am better than the person she’s currently seeing, if we’re being brutally honest). I want to persist. She’s a friend worth keeping, I’d like to think. So I’ll bite my tongue.
I’ll persist, with hope.
This is fine dog in burning house .jpeg
And next thing you know, we’re texting every day. I know a lot about her. She’s poured unto me everything beneath her skin; I’ve laid upon her some of my deepest thoughts and insecurities. I’ve carved a dependence into her life. You would think this is a double-ended sword but familiarity makes me immune. I know this old tune and how it goes and there’s a bitterness to it.
Then it’s just a matter of time before my wandering eyes spot a scapegoat.
And then I detach, violently.
I’ve afforded them no explanation. If they cared they would dig deeper.
I’ve also afforded them an explanation. The ends don’t justify the means.
I’ve done this before. It’s muscle memory by now.
I feel great. I haven’t spoken to this one in a week. It was painful when she followed up after three days and asked “are we not okay?”. It’s best we give each other space. I get over feelings systematically. Her – not so much.
I’m only now wondering how it’s like on the other end. I’ve never been on that side before. How does it feel to have someone so close pull away so abruptly?
We didn’t have a future together – what are we even doing? Why are we wasting our Now when we have no Later? Let’s just move on.
I’m great at cutting people off. I’ve told her this. I’ve gotten good. It’s not healthy. “Am I next?” she joked. I don’t remember what I said.
I think I need counselling.
Perhaps it’s my own fault for spilling my guts to people I trust – I tell them everything. I believe in being on the same page with people close in my life; it’s rooted in my belief that the root of all conflict is a build-up of misunderstanding and one way to avoid that is to be on the same page as often as possible. Also, sometimes it is only in hindsight that you realize the extravagance of a story is best conveyed when the audience is living along the same timeline as you.
But what I’ve noticed is few things sting harder than when you find out way after that the person you’ve confided in has been omitting the fact that they’ve been hooking up with someone else. It feels like a violent act of betrayal. I don’t feel safe in a lot of people and I invest a lot of time and emotional energy in people that I do feel safe in, by telling them about my life, asking about and listening to theirs. So learning about this feels like suddenly the safety has been stripped and you’re left free-falling.
I’m not enough of a drama queen to say that it feels like everything I’ve known is a lie… but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t, for a hot minute, feel that way.
Taking a step back, I was going to write this post anyway. I’d been mulling it over.
What I didn’t expect was for it to happen again just as my WordPress page had loaded.
Here’s a shortened version of yesterday:
Queer park hang out went well. The weather wasn’t perfect so many didn’t show, but I was thoroughly impressed that about 15 or 20 queers powered through. It was a good time, I met some new queers and primarily hung out with familiar faces.
It was lovely hanging out in person with Birthday girl, S. She’s a fantastic conversationalist and I feel fairly comfortable with her. We’ve already established that we function and think along the same frequency. I’ve been burned several times by falling for the idea of people (as a result of the better half of our interactions being online) so I’ve developed a strong aversion to committing to the idea of someone if we don’t see each other in person. She remembered to bring a book, as did I. She gave me The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, acknowledging that neither of us were fiction readers but “this was so good I read it in 3 days”. She rolled her eyes at the story, set in pre-revolutionary China, being written by a white woman – which I found charming. She’s at least a lil woke.
She did have to leave early for a birthday dinner, but I’m somewhat glad. This, without a doubt, comes from insecurity, but I’m secretly glad she didn’t meet other gays – or, other gays didn’t meet her. Insecurity tells me others will go after her. Not that I don’t like a little competition, but definitely not when it comes to girls. We all just want someone we can be safe in, don’t we? I digress af.
But back to the (real) story.
Towards the end of the hang, she left quite abruptly, to go for a “talk”. It seemed like the two people around her knew exactly what it was about,and I was taken aback as she hadn’t told me. When I got home later that night, I messaged her “you had to go for a serious talk?”
And it came out. She’d been hooking up with one of my friends.
Why was this never mentioned, while I had been busy confiding in her? I always ask how her day is. Why was this deliberately omitted?
Perhaps it was a mix of being exhausted and still being slightly drunk, but I had to let her know I was hurt. Not by the fact that she had been hooking up with my friend, but the fact that she lied by omission.
We went back and forth.
Then I said “okay. Let’s be open. Do you still have feelings for me?”
“We’ve had this conversation before.
I’d be lying if I said no.”
My heart sank.
I didn’t know what to say or do.
Dread. Disappointment. Why hasn’t she moved on??? Does this mean we can’t be friends???
She asked if my feelings for her were gone. “They’re not completely gone. But knowing who you are dating or seeing helps to mitigate them.” The latter I’m sure she knows.
After much back and forth, we’ve agreed to be more open with each other.
It’s one thing to agree to do something, but quite another to actually do it. I don’t really want to see how this goes. I don’t want to talk to her. She’s not good for me.
I need to fucking move on.
Now, whenever I think about her, our conversation comes to mind and immediately, a feel dread clenching my chest, pulling downwards.
We’re fucking tragic.
Even before pressing Publish, I know this was a poorly written post. But there’s way too much emotion. Not to mention I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in over three weeks.
This time last year I would’ve been hard-pressed if asked to name more than 7 queer friends. Hell, I had to recruit a girl I’d met on Tinder to join my queer ultimate frisbee team.
So imagine my shock when, after sending out Facebook event invites for a queer park hang, the RSVP list spat out a tally of 65 queer females. And this wasn’t even counting the queers who I had either forgotten or deliberately did not invite.
After months of floating the idea of a queer park hang oriented towards ultimate frisbee, I decided to overcome the unnerving unknown of there being too few gays who would actually enjoy ultimate frisbee. I bit the bullet when I was most tired on a Thursday night, quickly drafted an event description, and sent out a swath of invitations.
I began remembering others who I’d missed and added them. Then BYOQ-style, people started inviting their own queer friends. I had amassed 90 (plus an additional 11 who cannot make it). Just under a third had committed ‘Yes’, a little less had thrown in a non-committal ‘Maybe’.
I’m excited, I really am. It’s a little tiring always having to meet gays in alcohol-themed settings. I love sports and I love park beers (beer is fine – hard liquor is a different story). Only a dollop of queerness could make these two things better.
A recurring theme in my life is meeting people when it’s too late.
In hindsight, it was sheer luck that her birthday caught my eye on Facebook – I’m usually rather oblivious and indifferent. And it was more luck that led me to privately messaging her “Hey, happy birthday!”.
“Thanks! How are things going with you?”
A deliberate opening.
We’ve been talking every day since for the past few weeks. A week into it, I learned she had recently become single.
Good. I never liked her ex.
I didn’t expect to get along so well with her though. I have such an appreciation for and attraction towards good conversationalists*.
* I’ve noticed someone who is a great conversationalist in-person is not always such over social media or online communication. The same is for the other way around. This is worth noting.
So it really sucks that she’s moving to the west coast in a few weeks.
A week into talking, she’s already opened her doors for a visit if I ever go. It doesn’t feel like a complete loss, but I am rather disappointed she’s leaving. I would’ve loved to get to know her more. Her association with a certain couple of people had me weary and dulled my interest in approaching her, but she’s a fantastic, career-driven person and we have very similar taste in books and humour. We’re both fascinated by growth and challenging ourselves. She’s very into motivational speakers and clearly a very resilient person. She’s just good vibes all around.
I’ll see her this weekend for my meetup. Beyond our dynamic, I’m excited for the event itself.
My Straights held our (/semi) annual feast in Port Credit this past weekend. I didn’t know how badly I needed to take a break from the emotional roller coaster of my queer life until I hung out with them this past weekend. It was purely good vibes.
I’ve recently noticed that I’ve gained confidence when making advances on girls, just like Vance Joy had said. I used to feel insufficient and very conscious of not coming off too strong on (/straight) girls, as if I was being careful to not stir any homophobia within them. I refused to play into “the lesbian boogeyman” borne from the egos of straight people; just because I am gay does not mean I hit on any female human being.
But now… I just don’t care.
If she’s attractive, Imma go for it.
Maybe it’s because I’ve picked up running and I’ve lost a bit of weight – I’m sure some iota of my confidence draws from that. But I think it’s primarily from three things I’ve done recently:
- Making out with (/fingering) that cute Asian girl at Pride;
- Getting a random kiss from my friend’s friend; and
- Knowing that showering a girl with (genuine) attention and interest plays out in my favour.
I’ve also gotten far better at banter and being the life of the party – straying far enough from my introverted side to be comfortable in the spotlight, but retreating back into being a quiet introvert at the end of the night. Despite what people say.
I’m not afraid to make the move. I’m not afraid to get physical. I’m not afraid of rejection. I’ve had a taste and I want more.
This past weekend I made a move on a bi girl that my friend had brought to the party. Twas going so well ’til I fucked myself over by drinking too much.
Either way, I’ve grown a lot. I wouldn’t have dared even touch her a few months ago. My right hand would’ve been nestled into my pocket and my left would’ve deliberately occupied itself with a beer.
I want to say I’m ready for the next step. But that might involve finding the right person. I refuse to settle for anything less than someone who is driven, curious, cultured, well-mannered, has a good sense of humour, and dresses well.
Is that too much to ask?
I have a few prospects in mind, not to mention that every night out on Church Street potentially creates another story, strings attached or otherwise.
I just gotta watch my alcohol intake.
For real tho.
She has feelings for me. She’s afraid of losing me.
I have feelings for her. I’m afraid of hurting her.
So we’re going to stay friends and nothing more.
She told me she had feelings for me early on but chose to shut them off because of her terrible experiences with past relationships, wherein her and her ex-partner would end up on bad terms and essentially cut each other off. She was terrified of that happening to us.
She asked me what I thought about that.
“What?” she asked.
It’s just the story of my life. When someone gets feelings for me, it’s early on and I don’t recognize or acknowledge mine until much later… when the other person has moved on, or their feelings for me have expired.
“… Okay but… hypothetically… what if my feelings haven’t expired?”
We endured the longest two minutes of silence.
I was at a loss for words.
I was at a crossroads.
Do what scares you.
Don’t hurt her.
You should do it.
You’ll hurt her.
You’ll have fun together.
You’ve weighed everything – you won’t last. And then you’ll hurt her.
I think I meant what I said earlier, when I said the most important thing to me is you don’t get hurt – by me or by anyone else. I don’t want to hurt you. So I don’t think we should pursue anything. We should just stay friends.
We… hugged it out.
There was no future with her. I should’ve realized this sooner. When confidante #2 asked me to list the things I liked about her, not long after naming just one, I strayed into the negatives territory, and it wasn’t until she pointed it out to me that I realized.
That in itself should be an indication.
Now the hard part comes – weening her off without hurting her.
I need to move on, for myself. And probably for her. It’s not healthy to be so invested in someone I’m not even pursuing.
So relationship territory remains unexplored. Alas. Plus ca change.
At 25, I’m only now learning about attraction and starting to navigate the emotional landscape of personal, intimate relationships. I’m definitely better at it now than last year, when I was basically a monkey in a china shop. I think I’ve made a breakthrough with figuring an important part of it out – but the problem has become this:
I thought she was cute, so I showered her with time and attention (fueled by genuine curiosity) but now that she likes me back, my feet are freezing up and I’m slowly succumbing to that persistent voice saying “RUN”. The box of reasons why I shouldn’t go any further with her has been knocked over and I’m fumbling around trying to shovel the grains back in.
That being said, not every reason strewn across the floor is irrational. She can’t eat gluten + I fucking love food. I love exploring the new restaurants in Toronto. I can’t do that with someone whose diet is so restrictive; She doesn’t have a stable job; She isn’t politically involved nor does she have an ear to the news. Everything she talks about is about being gay – it can get tiring, and reminiscent of the girl from last summer (…)
Yet I’m still not sure if these are real reasons or if it’s the “RUN” voice making excuses again. I should be head over heals about this girl if I liked her enough, but I’m not. I’m putting in a lot of effort.
There are so many blindingly obvious signs that she wants something with me. She was regretful about telling me she found one of my friends attractive. I didn’t react strongly that night, as far as I remember, but she was remorseful and abashedly told me to brush off anything stupid she had said, if I remembered.
Of course I did.
But I brushed it off, like she said.
I did fuck up though. After many nights out of nothing happening with her, I got frustrated and ended up making out with another girl in front of her. She was furious. She called me a “fuck boy” and stormed off. I walked her home, but trailed behind, sheepishly and drunkenly. But by the end of the night, I managed to diffuse the situation (for the most part) by talking about our deepest insecurities.
The day after I made out with the other girl at the club, we talked about this girl she had been sleeping with casually. She assured me there was no romantic attraction, but all I cared about was the fact that I was right – about her type. I don’t know why I’m obsessed with knowing her type. She’d mentioned this girl before and I’d brushed aside the fact that this queer girl was “her type”. We were supposed to go together, with a few film friends. But then she mentioned she would bring the other girl. Well… this was news to me. And my friends confirmed it was probably (definitely) a move to spite me for making out with that girl.
But it backfired on her because I gave her and the girl very little attention. I tend to lean away from couples – I absolutely abhor third-wheeling (This in itself warrants its own separate blogpost) – regardless of whatever attraction I had felt towards her. Luckily, I found a reason to remove myself from being near them. A friend of mine ended up bringing a queer femme friend and I gravitated towards her instead. She was cute. I like meeting new queers. Whaddya want???
She knows femme is my type and I’m sure she saw me giving this new girl all my attention. I wasn’t doing it just to spite her back – I genuinely thought she was cute and if She was going to get with the other girl, well then, great, all the best to ya, sayonara.
But I suspect it must’ve irked her. A few days later, she messaged me telling me she’d called it quits completely with the other girl.
It’s dumb, the games we’ve been playing. But it’s toned down. We’re more honest with one another… just short of admitting whatever feelings we may or may not have for one another.
It’s my fault.
She sets it up for me; She’ll lead the conversation and leave so many doors ajar for me to flirt, but I’m always too chickenshit. Instead, I remain a respectful guest in her house, mind my manners, dust off the doorknob, and close the door for her, before going back to the living room.
It’d be easier if I knew what I want.
It’d be easier if I wasn’t scared of hurting her.
It’d be easier if I didn’t care.
I don’t know. It’s Pride month. I’m meeting new queers. Let’s see where this month takes me. I’m ready to do it up.
I haven’t realized this til now but I’ve been subconsciously studying what makes people attractive recently. I don’t mean physically, but by way of actions. I’m learning from attractive (in this sense) people in my social circle. Showing care, different ways of caring. Showering someone with attention – remembering what they said in passing weeks ago, checking up on them for when their brow furrowed when they thought no one was looking. Certain highly-sought-after people have this in common and it’s no coincidence.
Another problematically attractive thing I’ve noticed about someone is their empty promises.
Guess I really am making an effort to earn how to love.
Edit (June 12): why am I so bad at writing/articulating my thoughts.