After a promiscuous encounter with a not-so-available photographer, columnist Josh Fernandez notices a trend.
A female friend of mine did some recon at a quaint lesbian bar around the corner from Rittenhouse Square. After exchanging a few BlackBerry and text messages, we walked toward the Center City gay bar, desperately trying to escape the 40-degree fall weather.
After a chilling walk, we arrived at our destination: a side alley where the bar’s entrance was located. Outside the bar was our friend, waiting for us and smoking a cigarette.
“Finally, my entourage is here,” she announced to the two boys accompanying her.
I immediately recognized the one boy as an acquaintance from school. I caught myself staring at the second boy, a photographer, who looked familiar, but I couldn’t figure out where I’d seen him. Once inside, he came over and introduced himself, and I realized we were Facebook friends and that he’d been inviting me to this bar through event invitations for the last several weeks.
My friends and I had drinks, we danced, and the photographer took several photos of us. He flirted with me, invaded my personal hula-hoop and threw a plethora of pick-up lines at me. I didn’t mind since the guy I invited and was trying to flirt with up and left me before we decided on a bar.
The recon friend knew the photographer, so I asked her to once again do a little recon for me and get the scoop. She came back shortly after.
“He has a boyfriend,” she said with a disappointed look.
Out of frustration, I blurted loudly, “Then why is he flirting with me?”
“I don’t know. Come on, let’s go dance,” my friend said, trying to get me to do something to keep my mind from wandering.
I try not to judge people who “cheat” on their significant others. If you have an open relationship or rules as to what constitutes cheating and those rules are followed, then good. But I couldn’t figure out whether that was the case.
An hour goes by, and after a couple of drinks, I jokingly kissed one of my female friends. The photographer saw, pulled me away from her and pushed me against the wall, his hand covering half my face. He was aggressively less than thrilled to see me kissing the opposite sex. He walked away jokingly offering to find me a guy to kiss, which I just shrugged off and continued to dance with my friends.
As my friends and I readied ourselves to leave the bar and brave the cold, the photographer came up to me and we chatted for a little. At some point, we kissed with my friends a few feet away. Our faces parted, so I decided to bust it for him.
“So, tell me about this boyfriend of yours,” I said with a smirk.
“He’s cute, we’ve been together for about a year,” he replied smoothly.
He said he was leaving and that I should walk him out, so I did. As you’d expect, we kissed – and a little more – 10 feet away from the bar entrance, before he dashed off.
I felt like a mess. My only guy friend of the group came outside and was encouraging me to just cut my losses and not feel guilty.
“Look,” he started, “I hope you don’t become as bitter as I am, but after a certain point, you learn that a lot of gay men are incapable of commitment.
“If anyone deserves a little fun,” he added, “it’s you.”
To an extent, that is true. I’m tired of floating along and not finding anyone decent worthy of my time. I’m very over the college dating scene. But I have no way of knowing what the photographer and his boyfriend consider cheating.
Some people don’t consider kissing to be a big deal. For others, kissing is a deal breaker. The photographer and I might have hurt his boyfriend.
All of this, in addition to my friend’s belief that a majority of gay men can’t commit, has me thinking that I was born in the wrong generation. In an ideal world, I would’ve been brought up in an environment where homosexuality wasn’t conflicting with mainstream society, and gay men didn’t get this kind of reputation.
I would also like to point out that it’s not solely an issue for gay men. Plenty of people in the queer community deal with this. Our heterosexual counterparts also deal with this. I think the issue as it relates to queers is a result of two factors. For one, many of us weren’t in nurturing environments where queer dating was acceptable in our adolescence. Many queers are just beginning the sexually active phase they didn’t get to have when they were younger.
The other factor is the influence of the media and, to an extent, preceding generations, both stressing that the queer individual’s attractions need not follow the norms that are established for heterosexual coupling and sexual habits. Anyone who watches Queer as Folk, specifically the charismatic, man-eating character Brian, knows what I’m talking about.
There are gay men out there whose motivations are solely based on sex. Anything more — conversation, commitment, et cetera — isn’t necessary. There’s absolutely nothing wrong this, as long as any action is consensual and both parties are fully aware that it’s sex – nothing more.
At times, I feel like I’m a rare commodity. I love to love, and I love to be in love. I want to take that feeling and let it manifest for an individual. I get a little jealous when I see my straight friends, and the few queer friends, who are in relationships. They seem so genuinely happy, almost all the time.
Right now, I have serious fears that my male friend was right. Perhaps our generation isn’t ready for commitment. Maybe 10 years down the line they’ll be ready.
For now, I’m just going to enjoy my life, and cross my fingers from time-to-time hoping someone worthwhile comes along. And if they don’t come for a while, that’s fine too. Patience is supposedly a virtue.
Josh Fernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.