The plane to my new home of Montreal couldn’t fly fast enough.
A year and a half before that flight to Montreal, I had visited Montreal and Toronto on vacation. But it wasn’t really a vacation – I was scouting out the two cities in an effort to decide which one I wanted to move to. I was living in a small city in Western Canada, and I was dying from the sense of isolation I felt there. Isolation from men like me, isolation from the creativity that is borne of shared sexuality. Yes, I had gay male friends in the West, but the dating (fucking?) pool was small and incestuous. The two small gay bars were emptied out, ravaged by the internet. Online, on Manhunt or Squirt, there were hardly any men in my city online. The city had two bathhouses, and this presented a problem. Which one will have the most men? I always assumed that the one I chose for the night was the wrong one, since I often was the only man there, wondering lost and alone in a towel and a bad mood.
It was not a city for a slut like me.
But what is a slut? A slut to me is a person who needs to connect with more than just one person, and on multiple levels, and that connection is borne through the conduit of sexuality. It’s a polyamorous notion. It’s not negative in the least, and neither does it negate the fact that I may choose monogamy at some point. I’ll leave it at that, since I don’t wish to defend myself any longer on the issue of sluthood.
And so after visiting Montreal, I headed to Toronto, and sat in a Starbucks in Toronto’s Village, and made a list of pros and cons regarding the two major centers. Almost all the pros favored moving to Toronto, because ultimately, Montreal is a French-speaking city. I speak French (as one person put it) like a third grader with head trauma. But Montreal is also a dirty, sexy city light years ahead of the rest of North America in its openness to sex. I was intrigued. I was ignorant. I was naive. Most of all, I was hopeful. I chose to move to Montreal.
A year and a half later, I landed in my new city and in the cab, I wept at the first sight of Montreal’s downtown skyline.
It is now three years later, and I have just left Montreal. Guess where I moved to yesterday?
My job paid shit in Montreal, and layoffs were being announced. I never did master the French language. A job offer presented itself in Toronto and I took it. Last Sunday, I stood in my emptied-out apartment in the Montreal Village, and I sobbed. The sobs echoed in the empty space. I sobbed because in spite of the fact that I, an Anglophone, had no business living in Montreal, Montreal had opened its arms to me and healed me. That healing began on the stages of comedy clubs.
At work one day, a co-worker laughed at my impromptu jokes and said I was funny. Then, she dared me to write my jokes down and create an act for a comedy club. I took the bait. What was born was an act that centered around being a horny, thirty-something man living in Montreal’s Gay Village. I would hit the stage, telling the audience that “I never remember a face unless I’ve sat on it” and close with this:
“I’m a horny guy, as you can tell, but the strangest things happened to me this week: I lost my sex drive. But you see, when you lose your sex drive, that passion doesn’t just disappear, oh no, it just finds a new way to flow. And for me, it flows right to the fridge. When I lose my sex drive, I want to EAT everything in sight. Like, have you ever had the experience where you’re being gangbanged by four guys, and all you can think is “Gee, I’d love a jelly donut...”
I won a few contests and some money. My friends and family who came to watch my act gently suggested that I might want to broaden my comedy horizons and write jokes about something other than gay dating and sex. I adamantly refused. I couldn’t make a political joke for the life of me, and didn’t want to. There are two great moments in one’s life: The moment you are born, and the moment you know what you were born for. I felt that I was born to communicate my experiences as a gay, sexual being.
Less than a year ago, I gave birth to this blog. When I was doing my comedy act, my sister would listen and say “It’s good Jason, but go deeper.” I never could figure out how to fully flesh out the difficult parts of my sexual journey and still be funny. But with this blog, I didn’t have to worry about getting immediate laughter from a crowd. I didn’t have to be a dancing monkey on a stage. I let the comedy act go and focused on this blog.
Men - men like You reading this - began to write to me or comment right on the blog, and it cracked me wide open. There was this frank, honest dialogue about our respective sexual journeys. I felt nothing less than honored and humbled by the messages I received.
Last Saturday, my dear friend Alex threw me a going away party. Alex had recently had a stroke and had fought his way back, regaining his ability to speak and walk after much arduous therapy. He’s a slut too, and he said he had to get better – “There are men still to fuck!” After the ordeal of being in a rehabilitation center for four months, he was able to return home, and upon doing so, slowly walked himself to a tattoo parlour and had the word “Courage” tattooed on his forearm. Courage is, to me, the hottest thing about a person.
And so, tonight, my first night living in Toronto’s Gay Village, I am back where I started, writing this at the Starbucks where I had once made my list of pros and cons about whether to live in Montreal or Toronto. We are not born once, nor do we die once. Life is a series of births followed by deaths followed by rebirths. What sexual journeys will I encounter here in Toronto? Will you, Dear Reader, continue to share with me your sexual journey so that I may learn from you? Toronto, will you welcome me as I, a gypsy at heart, start anew? Men of Toronto, will the encounters I have with you illuminate our sexual lives, will we connect? Sexual attraction can bring together disparate people who might never otherwise have met. Who will I meet and how? Most importantly, will I meet myself more fully in the process? Hello Toronto. My name is Jason Armstrong.