At 30 I had been with a woman for ten years and married for seven. I was the hands-on father of a three year old boy. And I was gay.
Tea Rooms provided a fun, steady outlet for my natural need to have sex with men. This was in early 1997 so the Internet was just starting to mature. Chat services like AOL and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) existed but they were still more about chatting than hooking-up.
As much as I liked the thrill of spontaneous, anonymous sex in Tea Rooms, I still preferred the idea of finding another married man who was interested in a deeper relationship. Peter could have been The One. But with nearly four hundred miles between us, the distance was too great to make frequent meetings possible.
It took nearly a year but eventually I met Vince on IRC and although he was not as good looking as Peter, he was only 20 miles away instead of 388.
Vince was two years younger than me and had been married for less than three years. Unlike most "curious" married men, he did not label himself as bisexual. He was gay and married, just like me.
I'm a sucker (literally) for just about any intelligent guy and Vince definitely had a brain. The adjective that best described him, however, was sweet. Vince was a little quiet and a little shy but he had a nice smile and a gentle warmth about him. Honestly, he wasn't a super hunk, but I found his low-key charm to be magnetic.
Phyically Vince was about 6 foot. He had a thin, lanky build, black hair and brown eyes. His goofy grin and compassionate eyes were his best features.
Vince and I chatted on IRC for about a month before we decided to meet. We hadn't exchanged pictures in advance so I was really nervous about meeting him. What if we didn't click in person? What if I like him and he doesn't like me? What if, what if, what if.
Vince worked for a public entity, so his work situation was not crazed, but he still had to make special arrangements to meet me. My schedule was very flexible; that was one of the perks of being self-employed.
All my fears about the two of us not clicking were unfounded. Vince was extremely approachable and warm but he was also masculine in the "guy next door" kind of way.
Most of the sex I'd been having with men were blow jobs in bathrooms. Other than Peter, there were two guys whose names I actually knew when I had sex with them. One guy was Dan. He was a young married guy I met through a personal ad. We got naked together once. It was one of the strangest encounters I'd ever had because as soon as he came, he grabbed his clothes, stammered something like, "I have to go." and ran out the door. He was gone in seconds. As he left, I got a quick look at his eyes and I could actually see that he was stunned, as if he'd just been hit by a car. YEARS later, he called me again.
I met another guy through IRC. "Spyderman" was his handle. With that name I had hoped for some limber gymnastics from him, but he turned out to built like a potato. There was no sexual chemistry between us. But, what the hell. We got each other off anyway.
Between Dan and Spyderman and the guys in the bathrooms, the sex I had been having was very generic. Hand on dick. Dick in mouth. Switch, repeat.
Vince was different. He liked holding hands. He liked looking deeply into my eyes. He loved to make out. He loved to go slow and savor every touch. Being with Vince was relaxing, a real escape from every day pressures. Spending time with him was way, way better than Tea Room sex.
Getting time with Vince was the one frustration I had with him. It was not easy for him to spare a few hours from work, and when he did, we did not have a good place to go. Several times we had sex in my car. A few other times we did it in a remote spot at a regional park. Not once did the two of us do it in a bed.
As Vince and I became a regular thing, for the first time in a long time---actually for the first time ever---I felt at peace and whole. Life was perfect. I had the wife, the kid AND the boyfriend. After giving up the chance for a gay life I now had it all, and I couldn't have been any happier. Well, I could have seen Vince more often.
In our fourth month together Vince told me some great news: his wife was pregnant, with twins. I felt three years of parenthood gave me the right to laugh at him. Twins! Did he have any idea what he was in for?
I was the one who got the first kid-related surprise.
About a month later, Vince told me that he couldn't meet me again. "I feel like, with the babies coming, I should be a good husband and father. The guilt of having an affair has really been getting to me."
Of course I understood. I knew exactly how he felt.
We had a nice good-bye and we wished each other all the best. We kept each other's contact information and we stayed in touch for a little while, but the contacts faded over time. I did see him one more time, about two years later. More about that meeting in the next post.
What was ironic was that shortly after Vince and I broke-up, Gabbie and I learned that she was knocked-up again. The father, in case you were wondering, was exactly the same eye dropper that had worked his magic to conceive Conrad. Kid number two was due in December.
At nearly 31, I definitely wasn't the most experienced homo on the planet. But I'd had enough relationships with men to learn a few things about myself along the way. Ten weeks with Jim was definitely the biggie. How many guys come out of the closet at 26 and then willingly go back in?? My time with Jim convinced me that I was better off staying away from single guys. In theory such a relationship could work. But, I thought, in the long-run how satisfied could a single guy be if he's left sitting at home alone while I'm happily enjoying family time with the wife and kid? If I wanted a fuck buddy, it wouldn't matter if the guy was single or married or two-headed or purple. All that would matter would be the sex. But I wanted more than sex. A lot more.
From my five months with Vince I learned that there were other married guys out there who wanted more than a regular sex partner. Being with Vince convinced me that I wasn't the only gay man my age to marry a woman. And the Internet was quickly becoming an easy place to find other men like myself and like Vince. I had more hope than ever that I could find another married guy like Vince or like Peter.
Within a few weeks of my last meeting with Vince I was feeling very restless. At first I thought I missed the sex and the male-bonding. Then, as another few weeks passed, I realized that I missed Vince more than I missed the sex and the bonding.
The idea of missing Vince so much was a little surprising. Without question I liked him but I was definitely not in love. I couldn't figure it out...what was so special about Vince that not being with him made be feel so...empty?
A few more weeks passed. Time did not make me feel any better. If anything, I felt worse. I couldn't understand why Vince had such a big effect on me. Then finally, I figured it out. When we were together, for the first time in my life, I felt like I had everything I could ever want. I had a kid, a job, a wife and a boyfriend. I had never "had it all" before and when I lost Vince, I felt incomplete.
Now that I figured out my problem, I embraced the opportunities to find another guy like Vince with new zeal.
Two good things happened shortly thereafter. First, I discovered that Yahoo Personals (which were free at the time) was a better place to find a guy like myself than Tea Rooms, newspaper personal ads or chat. Second, I discovered the Nifty Archives, http://www.nifty.org/
At the time that I found Nifty, it was pretty new; the collection was a few hundred stories. As it grew over the next few years, I think it reached its prime. In more recent years, the quality of the stories has greatly declined, and sadly, doesn't warrant much praise.
It's safe to say that 90% of Nifty stories are either cliche, poorly written or just plain BAD. The remaining 9.5% are passable. .4% are pretty good. .1% are incredible stories that cannot be forgotten.
Although I discovered Nifty in late '97, it wasn't until April of 2001 that I found a story that was genuinely compelling, Fraternity Memoirs.
FM started as juiced-up, three-part autobiographical jack off story. But over the next 18 months and 21 installments it became much more. The story was so popular and the author "John Walsh" was such a legend that he spawned a multitude of imitators and five different Yahoo groups. Eventually he had thousands of fans.
Then he pulled a JD Salinger and went into hiding. He has not published anything again in years, even though FM is unfinished. He has returned a handful of emails over the years, but mostly he wants to be left alone.
Walsh and the best of his imitators are what brought me to Blogger. It is only fitting that I tip my hat to him.
Here's a link to Fraternity Memoirs: