Saturday, 29 December 2012

Hometown Hook-Ups

As you may have gathered, I live in a large Eastern city, and I live in its Gay Village.  But previous to this, I lived in a small city near the Rocky Mountains, and I’m writing to you from there now, visiting on vacation.  My family picked me up at the airport early last week, and as we drove into the downtown core, I spotted a place that caused my soul to lurch with a wave of sentimentality.  The place?  The Holiday Inn Express Hotel.

We kept driving towards my family’s apartment building located on the fringes of downtown and we passed The Westin, The Coast Plaza Hotel and the Carleton Hotel.  As we drove, I did my best to chat and play the role of “son”, but seeing those hotels recalled a part of me perhaps more authentic than that of “son”.

In each of those hotels, I recalled a hook-up.

And it wasn’t just hotels.  I had lived in this backwater city for a decade, and had had hook-ups in homes and apartments dotted across town.  On this trip, there would be no time or opportunity for men.  I was here to see parents and friends, whom I hadn’t seen in almost two years.  On the plane, I had already begun to slip into the roles that I would play – that of son and buddy.  It wasn’t until I saw the Holiday Inn Express Hotel that I realized that the role I felt most authentic in was the one I played when naked with a man.  I looked forward to talking with my family and friends, but I longed even more to be back in room #212 in the Holiday Inn Express, where words weren’t always necessary.  Instead, I and another naked man with a matching need would communicate on a visceral level – with words, if necessary, but also with taste and touch.

We continued driving, and passed the apartment complex that I had lived in while residing here.  I thought not of the parties with friends, or the meals I’d burnt in the kitchen, or the view from my 23rd floor window.  Instead, I remembered the men I’d welcomed over – some of whom I’d connected with, some of whom I hadn’t really, but respected all the same.  Respected them for skipping the niceties of normal society and baring their need to me.  They would leave and I’d be left to wonder what their “real” lives were like, the life in which they had to put a mask on and return to being a son, a brother, a friend, a banker, a waiter, a doctor.

During a hook-up, I was so unmasked and authentic, that I could also be terribly vulnerable.  I would sometimes say goodbye to a hook-up, leave his place, and feel that I’d left a part of my soul behind on his bedside table.  There would be times when I wouldn’t really connect with someone I was hooking up with and feel dirty afterwards, as if I had raped myself somehow, my emotions shaken and stirred.  But that feeling would subside, and I’d be online again, looking for the next hook-up.  

Because often I would luck out and really dig the guy I was hooking up with.  Yes, I realized that even during the hook-up, I was playing a role (that of sex buddy).  But the role did away with worldly pretense and most of all, hypocrisy.  Thus, the role felt authentic, at least to me, and the by-product of that was that I felt alive and realized.

Living here, I had felt so isolated as a gay man that I believe I hooked-up sometimes for the wrong reasons in order to just feel noticed.  Now, living in a Gay Village, I am no longer isolated and therefore less inclined to hook-up out of desperation.  I used to think that hook-ups were just about getting off.  But if that were so, we could all just jerk off.  No, we hook-up because we need to be seen.  We need our authentic sexual needs acknowledged and accepted.  Even if we like being single, and feel that we are not the marrying kind, we still need to be touched occasionally (touched gently if you wish, or slapped hard by a gorgeous dom Master).

The new trend for gays is to resist being ghettoized and to not live in a Gay Village.  But here I am in my old town, and the world feels and looks so straight that I feel like a ghost walking through it. I feel a void here that cannot be filled by terrific parents and loving friends.  I feel castrated and lonely, and I would sleep with just about anybody just to be recognized as a fellow gay traveller. 

I’m ready to go home.


  1. "But here I am in my old town, and the world feels and looks so straight that I feel like a ghost walking through it. I feel a void here that cannot be filled by terrific parents and loving friends. I feel castrated and lonely, and I would sleep with just about anybody just to be recognized as a fellow gay traveller."

    such a powerful paragraph. your vulnerability & your choice of words are such turn-ons i'm jerking off reading & ready to cry at the same time. i've been feeling this need to be "seen" lately, painfully so. been reveling in the servicing of men. looking up at them i'm so enamored with the pleasure in their eyes, their grunting & groaning, it feels like prayer - it is prayer. i feel throughly satisfied, connected, & lifted every time i help a man to climax. i bathe in the beautiful, glorious filth of it. i had an anonymous play buddy kiss me so passionately the other night i was ready to marry him. he put his hands gently on either side of my face & pulled me in tenderly & slowly. the connection was fucking incredible, as if everything else disappeared. i was too shy & afraid to give him my number but i don't know - maybe the fantasy of him is best. maybe it's just about living with the anticipation & excitement of hopefully running into him again. or who knows? maybe i'll give him my number when i see him next time.

    i too feel alive & realized within many of my connections with men. there's a sense of rightness & righteousness about hooking up & exchanging sexual energy without necessarily using words to speak.

    any way, thank u for this great post about visiting your old town. hope u get out of isolation & back home soon.

    1. I can't express deeply enough what a profound compliment you've given me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, little is. Your comment stirred so many thoughts and questions, that I must number them: 1) You seem to get a transcendent experience from your hook-ups that I am envious of, because during a hook up, I often have a little voice of insecurity nagging me (ie. does he like me, am I doing this right, etc.). Is it always transcendent, or are there opposite feelings you grapple with? 2) It sounds like your experience where the man kissed you was profound. It sounds like you really connected. What do you think, in hindsight, kept you from giving him your number? 3) I love the way you put together two binaries (I'm using your term a lot now!) - "glorious filth". So many words about sex have a bad connatation about them. For example, my favorite word, Fuck, is often used as an insult, for example when somebody says "fuck you". Then again it's often used to express great happiness, ie. "fuck yeah!" Like another of my favorite words, slut, I think we need to reclaim them positively for ourselves, the way the word "queer" was taken back by us. Your thoughts? Thank you again for sharing so openly....Jason

    2. part1

      hey Jason, well settle in cause i got a mouthful for you. (devious grin)
      so to answer your first question:

      1) i wouldn't say that i experience insecurity so much in the midst of a hook-up, but insecurity is something i definitely grapple with. in anonymous encounters where there's very little dialogue to go on, i rely on the way his body responds, verbal & primal cues (cursing/grunts/moans etc). during these encounters i feel a sense of power because at least for the moment, this person wants me… maybe even, needs me, & i have him literally & figuratively in the palm of my hand (or the cradle of my mouth as it were). also, i won't hesitate to ask either, "is this good?", "you like that?", i'll even throw em a "tell me how you like it… fast, slow?" if i'm not getting the audible approval i need or i'm just really ready for them to get off & go.

      while in the past i have felt both shame & insecurity during hook-ups, it seems that now, insecurity plagues me more when i actually know intimitely the person i'm involved with. with the anonymous there's no "relationship", it's just the here & now & then it's done - or maybe you run into that person again & have a repeat encounter. the anonymous person doesn't know my "flaws", my economic status, my level of education, how bad i am at math or whatever. if i'm rejected by some anonymous *jim i've been with before, or even a new one i'm cruising, the insecurity can definitely rear it's head. but i try to remember that the rejection has nothing inherently to do with me, maybe i'm just not *jim's cup of joe today. maybe another time, or maybe never. in some ways maybe it's sad that i thrive on this anonymity, this ability to keep me "hidden". in other ways i think it removes to need for any pretense or perfection. not that there isn't role playing or putting on a visage in hook-up situations. still, i think there's both mystery & a real "sense" of me being shared with a hook-up. & then there are a number of occasions where the anonymous develops into a really nice acquaintanceship/friendship which is also cool.

      2) i think i stopped short of giving passionate kiss guy my number because i find it easier to be on my own without any attachments or expectations of anyone. i've been hurt quite a bit in the last few years in relationships & i've also let people down. while part of me longs for a consistent cuddle buddy & someone to "love", i really feel like i have so much work to do alone that i don't even wanna to invite another into my messy little world. i have spiritual, artistic, & emotional work to do & i don't think i'd be a very good partner at this point in my life, so i leave myself to the fantasy of what cuddling by a fire & hanging out for an extended weekend at a cabin in the mountains might be like with him :-)

    3. part2

      3) yes! i love taking that which is considered to be profane & making it beautiful. sex language is interesting. it's often so shaming & damaging. i feel like there's more negative connotation in sex language used by hetero men to oppress & control woman than anything. phrases like, "beat the pussy up", "girl i wanna cut you", "girl lemme stab that". i think this language is violent in a way that a lot of my women friends are not cool with. as far as slut goes, i like how some women are reclaiming it with the SLUTWALK(s) happening in different cities. as "sluts" go, i believe that men, whether gay or not, pretty much get away with doing what the fuck we want sexually & answering to no one for it. the issue of society putting us down for having "gay sex" in particular is something else entirely i think.

      i can see however, that with all this "gay marriage" equality stuff, there are a lot of gay couples out there who want to model their relationships after what hetero folks are doing, meaning: they want to prove that we're just as "normal" i.e. monogamous as they, & we want all the same things. in this regard i can see how gay men do come under fire for being "sluts" but i think we're more often called promiscuous which to me doesn't have the same venomous bite as a woman being called a slut. so i guess i'm saying that i think my male privilege allows me to escape the whole slut-shaming thing & therefore i don't really think it's my word to reclaim. this is not to say that i don't have issues around being free & open with my promiscuity, because i too fight with myself around the issue of sex-positivity & how i will be perceived by both straight folks & sex-shaming gays in my own community who want us to be a cleaner version of gay like some 'will & grace' character. i'm willing to bet though, that many of these "ready for prime time tv" gays are also modeling the hetero-male's propensity for creepin & cheatin. maybe we all need more models than monogamy, & a workshop on 'the ethical slut'

      queer is a word i still grapple with because it was used so often when i was a kid to destroy me. i don't feel empowered by it & in fact i used to have an aversion to it altogether. i'm all for those who are comfortable with it though, but i still don't feel like i have a term that completely accurately describes my sexual/gendered self. gay is okay, but still not quite the right fit for me either.

      now fuck? i fucking love the word fuck. us it often during sex & even masturbation. i curse at my pornography as if the actors can hear me & i'm definitely using the word to say that i approve! i also curse myself if i do something for example like… stub my toe (which i do often - surprised i ain't broke it). that one sounds like, man fuck you & your clumsy ass! lol.

      whew! i rambled on forever. you seriously provoke me to do some unpacking of my thoughts.

      cheers to you, & a very happy new year!

      *jim - something like the prostitute's client except i ain't gettin paid in money, & i pimp myself out.

      -little is

    4. I just had what Oprah calls the "Ah Ha!" moment while reading you! I've had it said to me that this hooking up business is me being afraid of intimacy. While there is a place for intimacy, is there not also a place for us where we don't have reveal it all and simply be in the sexual moment with another man who has the same need? You wrote: "not that there isn't role playing or putting on a visage in hook-up situations. still, i think there's both mystery & a real "sense" of me being shared with a hook-up." I had a date recently - dinner, talking, good sex after - and it was very intimate. But my hooks up have been very intimate, just on another level. Apples and oranges, but both great fruits. As you said, in a hook up, there is no pretense. But in my date, I found myself playing the role of "date" and trying to measure up to supposed expectations - presenting the best Jason I could. But is that Jason a construction? And is it a construction that I can tear down and re-invent with a hook up with whom there is no past, no future, just the here and now? Damn little got me thinking. Can you tell that what you wrote really resonated for me?

    5. As to the second part of your wonderful commentary, I feel supported by the writers of The Ethical Slut when they call for an examination of this thing called marriage for everybody, whether gay or straight. As Dolly Parton joked, "Gays should be able to marry and ruin their lives just like everybody else!" Underneath the joke is a nod to the narrow ways we define what a "right" or "normal" relationship looks like. I'm a loner, a very independent person. I like to write and read and be with myself. But I also need to touch and be touched. What if hook ups are the "right" relationships for me? Someone once said to me, "Jason, if you really wanted a relationship, you would have one by now."

    6. i love that you had this oprah "ah ha!" moment. :-) i'm having a number of them lately & they're in large part inspired by reading things you've written here. yes, i think that we have many selves that we put on for different occasions. when i've been on dates or even having a conversation with a guy in a bar, there can be a kind of performance that comes from me being nervous, or too sober, or having my guard up because i don't "know" this person & there's no trust. there are interesting shifts that can happen by being too quickly vulnerable, or say, revealing where we stand on politics, or the guy says something i think is racist, or classist, or sexist - certain things can shut an otherwise flirty & potentially sexy situation down so we kind find ourselves in a kind of dance where we're trying to interpret the other's move, or how what move we should or shouldn't make next.

      i can be so awkward socially, especially if i haven't had the right amount of alcohol. but then i don't wanna have too much alcohol cause that can also be "bad". with the hook-up thing, it's more about a few basic, immediate, primal needs being met & not always the need for conversation. maybe i figure out non-verbally that he want me to play a really submissive role. or he pinches my nipple, non-verbally letting me know he wants me to tweak his. if more than sex comes of it then that's great. if not, that's fine too. i almost think that i end up being more comfortable & less afraid of vulnerability with a hook-up because we've already seen each other "naked" & perhaps gone to this ecstatic place that maybe starts as performance, but ends in an openness brought on by the sex. i've had really interesting conversation & learned so much about some dudes just walking back to the parking lot to get in our cars. & of course sometimes, we're done & there's no conversation at all. but i always at least say "thank you", & "have a good rest of your day/evening." maybe what we were taught as children about "waiting" to have sex with the "right" person is bs. maybe the way to get to "know" a person is to experience them with few words & more physicality first. ha ha. this exchange with u is taking my mind to some trippy & interesting places. i'm reevaluating everything i thought i knew.

      also, i think you might be onto something. you write: "I like to write and read and be with myself. But I also need to touch and be touched. What if hook ups are the "right" relationships for me?" i'm asking myself the same question lately.

      in any case, i'm resolved to the fact that whatever relationship i have, i will never again live with anyone else full time. i must always have a separate space of my own & days/nights where we are not attached. i make the best art, celebrate my best nakedness, & have my best masturbation when i'm on my own. plus, i like to play my music crazy loud & dance around in states of madness. all these things are essential to my being.

    7. Thanks again little is! I really related to you last paragraph, since I also 100% "make the best art, celebrate my best nakedness, & have my best masturbation when i'm on my own. plus, i like to play my music crazy loud & dance around in states of madness. all these things are essential to my being." You see? I just copy and pasted what you wrote, because it said what I wanted to say about myself best!

    8. here's to more great art, nakedness, masturbation, & ecstatic dancing in 2013! :-)

  2. I can't go back to my hometown. It's gone. Washed away by not one, but two, floods in 2001. There is a house on the hillside where I tried very hard to fall in love with somebody once, but it sits abandoned; the house next to it where a friend once lived is a burned-out carcass.

    But I can go back to the town where I was forced to live while growing up. Because I was growing up, sexual encounters with other guys was still new, and the pickings were slim because I was too dumb to know when a guy was flirting. I still am, but that's another story. But there at the interstate exit was the Ramada Inn. I drove by it many years ago...still there behind an IHOP, with a new name...but still there. At the time, I just kind of grinned at my immaturity and bumbling efforts at being gay.

    Now, many years later, I wonder if that one guy remembers even doing anything there. I had set up the meeting with a guy from, yes, the youth choir at church. I had heard he had a rather large endowment, and I was determined to see it; touch it; do something to it. We were both of driving age, although he was probably only 16 at the time, and I was a freshman in college with a collection of x-rated "dirty books." So here we were, in a Ramada Inn, watching the Miss America pageant on the TV, and looking at dirty books.

    These were straight magazines, and I had no idea what he was looking at when he started shaking uncontrollably. He mentioned that he "shook" when he got hard. I don't even remember how it happened that his cock finally came out of his pants, but it did...and I was on it. Heck, I was so uninformed that I only knew the terms "suck dick" and "blow job." I learned that night that one really doesn't do either of those things. Sucking a dick like it's a straw isn't going to make much happen, and blowing one doesn't work either. Somehow, we both got off. I don't even remember if he came in my mouth, or if we just jerked off.

    We parted that night, only to see each other in church the next morning and evening. Over the next couple of years, we did the same thing two more times. I got better at what I was doing; he never quite shaking. I spent the next twenty-five years looking for hookups in spite of being in more than one relationship. He looked for a wife and found one. I looked for hookups not because I needed the sex that went with it, because I needed affirmation from another man. I get affirmation in different ways now, and am mostly okay with who I am, and I don't need the Ramada Inn for that. He looked for affirmation in what his strict Southern-Baptist upbringing had taught him.

    That night, however, I left with an education about what NOT to do: blow and suck. I left with a transient feeling of guilt and shame which had completely vanished by the time I woke up the next morning. I left with one less magazine than I had arrived with.

    I'm going back home in a month. It has been ten years since my last trip to east central Florida. I'm going to drive by that motel just to see if any other feelings rise to the surface, and then I may drive by his house and see if he still has my magazine.

    Even though I lost some reading material, I came away a better person in the long run.

    1. Rod, a beatiful essay. Affirmation. The word recocheted in my head as I read what you wrote and wrote so, so beautifully. Affirmation is part of this blog's mission statement. I wonder if he found the affirmation he needed, your friend there. You are a story teller. I'm grateful to have met you on my blog....Jason