Don’t Rain on My Charade

227234_10150189647514153_1184052_n Ah, the holidays. Houses donned with lights, deep discounts in stores, boycotting Salvation Army Santas, gay men dating women…Gay men dating women?!

I ran into an old fling at a party recently. I had dated Justin briefly years ago and now we are acquaintances. So, I had no problem casually saying “hello.” This time was different, though. When he saw me walking up, he seemed…uncomfortable.

“Good to see you,” I stated, kissing him on his withdrawing cheek. I tried not to put too much thought into his awkwardness. I noticed a woman next to him, so I began to greet her as well.

“Oh, this is my girlfriend, Amanda,” Justin introduced, putting his arm on her back.

At first, I thought he meant a girl who was a friend, but when she linked her arm with his, I got it.

“Ooooh, so nice to meet you,” I said, desperately trying to hide my bewilderment.
Although, I’m sure my wide-eyed stare gave it away. Let me clarify my shock, by saying there is NOTHING straight about Justin; even his penis is crooked.

I know the holidays can bring out feelings of nostalgia and longing. But this was unlike anything I had ever seen before. I realized there was an even bigger pandemic out there besides Ebola; The “I need to be with somebody for the holidays” virus.

The next day, I was out shopping with a mutual friend, Caymon. I was ranting about the previous evening’s trauma.

“Justin’s gay,” Caymon assured. “His dick just doesn’t care.”

How does that work? I pondered. People today fake their age, eye and hair color, we fake fur. Hell, men have even learned to fake orgasms. So, is it only logical that dating should follow suit? Could we actually fake whole relationships?

I began thinking back to a holiday season not long ago when I almost succumbed to settling.

It had been months since Jim and I had broken up. Sure, I had random hook-ups and a date here and there. But I had yet to get involved in a serious relationship. Christmas was coming as was Jim’s annual bash. A mutual friend of ours had invited me to be her date. I figured I’d be ok emotionally. I felt it was time to let bygones be bygones and maybe even attempt to be friends. And besides, it was the holidays.

When we arrived, he was quick to greet me and surprisingly happy to see me.

“You look great,” he whispered in my ear, hugging me. He looked great. And smelled great. I need a drink.

“Where’s the bar?” I inquired, loosening his grip. I slipped away for him to greet other guests coming in.

I figured I’d be safe now that the initial post-break-up-first-meeting was over. I also had my trusty lesbian in tow. Although, throughout the evening, every time I would venture away from the crowd or find myself alone in a hallway or room, Jim would be there.

He would find ways to touch me and make libidinous remarks like, “I’m really glad to see you,” and “I’m glad you’re here.”

I tried to chalk it up to simple flirting and inebriation. I just thanked him and walked confidently back into the party.
A couple of hours later, the party was dying down. I went to use the restroom before heading out myself. Just as I went to lock the door, the handle turned and the door thrust open. It was Jim. He nudged his way in, closing the door behind him.

“What are you doing?” I retorted with a smirk.

“I want you,” he replied.

After a moment of temporary insanity and almost falling for his line, I responded snidely. “That’s nice.”

“I miss you.” Then, he moved in for the kill. Before I could think, with one swoop, he closed the door behind him and pushed me against the wall, pressing his lips against mine. That line is kryptonite to the lovelorn and heartbroken.

“I miss you, too.” We kissed fervently.

“Spend the night with me.” I couldn’t fight him anymore. I ended up staying.

The next morning, Jim got up to get ready for work. I heard the shower turn on. I lay there, massaging my temples. What did I do? I sat up when I heard the shower turn off.

“You can stay if you want,” he offered, walking over to the bed. “I just have to go into work for a few hours.”

I had no clue what to say. Did last night mean we were back together? I smiled, my eyelids still heavy. “Ok.” He kissed me, and then headed out the door.

I got up and jumped in the shower myself. As I lathered up, I wondered if I even wanted to get back together with Jim. This was the same person who, not long ago, put my heart through a paper shredder. I had to consider the fact that maybe he was just lonely and I represented familiarity and comfort. Granted, I was lonely, too; but I was not going to settle for “comfort.”

I got dressed, walked out of his apartment and didn’t look back. Nor did I return his call later that day.

Why do we sometimes make such awful decisions and sometimes even compromise our identity when it comes to dating or finding love? Whether it be because the holidays, inherent pressure or our own vault of insecurities, it seems to bring drama up front. Don’t fall for the “I want” perspective. What do you really “need” to feel complete?

It’s very tempting when you want to be with someone, anyone, to settle for much less – even a vague, pathetic, facsimile of less – than you would have ever imagined.

Erik Fact: Don’t allow yourself to feel “not good enough.” The only thing not good enough is your attitude.