Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fat Mary, A Proud Moment & Craigslist M4M

Twice a week Gabbie packed up her pillow and spent the night with Charlie.

She also spent a lot of time with him on weekdays and at night in the bar. Nights at the bar were especially important to Gabbie because she felt trapped in the house all day. And, she loved to play shuffleboard. Every night she'd give me a detailed description of her shuffleboard maneuvers, victories and losses. Drinking went along with shuffleboard. She always drank hard liquor, never beer, so in a two hour period she could easily down three or four whiskey sours on an empty stomach. The booze amplified her moods when she came home. If she had a few good games of shuffleboard, she'd be giddy. If she lost, she'd be morose and depressed. Either way, she'd be pretty buzzed.

As the weeks ticked past, I learned more about Charlie. I learned that he was in the US illegally. I learned that he had been physically abused by his alcoholic father as a child. I learned that he had fathered multiple children out of wedlock all over the globe; the only one he kept in contact with was his son with his crazy ex-wife.

I learned that he had at least two DUIs and he owed the county court about $1800 in unpaid DUI fines. One night, he got into a fight at the bar and when the police checked his record, they put him in jail for three days---not because of the fight, but because of the unpaid court fees.

Gabbie thought she could teach Charlie to be more responsible, especially with his money. All he cared about was whether he had enough money to drink and eat that day. Saving to pay rent or utilities was something that never crossed his mind. Or if it did, he never bothered to worry about them. Once he moved off his ex-wife's couch and got a small apartment, he paid one month's rent. Thereafter, his landlady spent months getting him evicted because he never paid again.

Charlie didn't worry about paying his bills, but Gabbie did. And she worried about everything else in his life too. I got to hear all about it---two out of every three of our conversations had something to do with Charlie.

The very best thing I learned about Charlie was that he accidentally killed a man and served time for manslaughter.

Manslaughter? Multiple DUIs? Illegitimate children all over the world? Pay one month's rent then wait to be evicted? The more I learned about him the more I wondered how long it would take for Gabbie to realize that she should run away from him and never look back. It was painfully obvious that beneath Charlie's chatty, charming demeanor, he was a nightmare.

I couldn't understand why Gabbie was so stupid about him; she had always been very smart and very savvy about people. I figured it was only a matter of time before she realized that Charlie was a disaster. So, as much as I hated him, I decided to be patient and wait for their relationship to inevitably implode. I knew it was the best way to end Gabbie's ridiculous infatuation with him.

It didn't take long for the first flecks of shit to hit the fan.

The two of them had been fucking for about six weeks, at least as far as I knew. (I did my best to be in denial about the details.) One Friday night, a VERY large and unattractive woman came into the bar and started a vicious, screaming fight with Charlie. Gabbie stepped in to defend him and suddenly found herself targeted. The woman, Fat Mary, told her to mind her own business---Charlie was her boyfriend.

The revelation that Charlie was fucking another woman hit Gabbie hard. Angry, mad, pissed...put them together and multiply by ten and you'll have some idea of the intensity of Gabbie's fury.

The drama lasted for several weeks and came to cathartic climax when Gabbie and Fat Mary had a screaming, drunken verbal brawl in the middle of our small town. "WHY ARE YOU MARRIED AND FUCKING AROUND WITH MY BOYFRIEND?!!!" That's a good question Mary.

Charlie defended his behavior by saying that he was not accountable to Gabbie because she already had a husband. He also tried to redeem himself by dumping Fat Mary.

I really thought the Fat Mary affair was going to be the end of dear old Charlie, but it wasn't. Within days he and Gabbie were back to hanging out, day and night.

Two weeks later, a gigantic load of shit hit the fan: Gabbie discovered she had genital warts.

To call Gabbie a germaphobe was an understatement. She was borderline obsessive-compulsive about washing her hands and was extremely paranoid about getting any disease or illness. Contracting genital warts was the worst thing that ever happened to her. She expected me to be sympathetic, and outwardly I was, but inside...I loved it. What's the expression? "Play with fire long enough and you'll get burned."

Gabbie suffered (and I do mean suffered) through four months of laser and other treatments at Planned Parenthood to get rid of the warts. For nearly two years afterward she had me regularly play gynecologist and check her twat for any sign of warts.

To me, there's a whole lot of worse things she could have contracted instead of genital warts. To Gabbie, it was a life-and-death situation and her wrath was formidable.

She said, and I was inclined to believe her, that once she knew Charlie had 'cheated' on her, she stopped having sex with him. It was just her bad luck that she had already contracted the warts by that time and didn't know it. The warts, she said, permanently sealed his fate. Under no circumstances was she ever going to trust him again.

I was elated. Hearing this news made for one of the happiest days I'd had in a very long time.

My joy was somewhat premature. In the following weeks I realized that Gabbie was not done with Charlie completely. She was just done fucking him.

Confession time. As much as I hated Charlie, I owe him a measure of gratitude. He did what no OB/GYN or therapist or I could do, which was to get Gabbie to relax enough to be correctly penetrated. So, as if I have not humiliated myself enough in this blog, I now get to reveal that Charlie made normal sex possible for Gabbie and I. After she was done having sex with Charlie and was cured of the warts, I got to officially lose my straight-virginity. At the age of 41.

Another proud Cameron moment.

I didn't have any objections to our usual slip-n-slide sex, the kind Gabbie and I had for 20 years; it wasn't gross and I got off; but it certainly wasn't anything great. Never any fireworks. Maybe a sparkler every once in a while.

Missing the "wow" factor was no great surprise. I'm gay. I wouldn't have had sex with a woman if I wasn't married to one.

Real straight sex, however, turned out to make for BIG fireworks. I had no idea what I had been missing all those years. Fucking a woman really did feel amazing.

I had to ask myself: did it feel better than sex with a man?

It was hard to admit after so many years...but yes, yes it did. I liked fucking Gabbie's cunt better than fucking a man's ass. Maybe I had never fucked the right man's ass, but, well, her cunt was more pleasurable.

I never expected to have a straight sex revelation at 41. The unexpectedness was shocking. But it didn't change my world. I'm still gay. I just happen to think about fucking a cunt much more often than I ever used to.

***

Gabbie's continuing friendship with Charlie caused a lot of problems for her, on multiple fronts.

She was only close to two family members, her mother and her sister. Neither of them liked Charlie. More than that, they lived in fear that their friends might think Gabbie was cheating on me. They therefore endlessly criticized Gabbie and everything she did. When she did nothing to appease them, the relationships suffered. Gabbie and her mother fought constantly. Gabbie and her sister stopped speaking to each other and have not spoken since.

Linda also stopped speaking to Gabbie because of Charlie.

Our kids were speaking to their mother, but that was because they were oblivious to her relationship with Charlie. I was an enabler, I guess, because I did everything I could to make excuses for the fact that Gabbie was always out of the house. Over time, Gabbie's absence became routine and her relationship with all three kids weakened. She lost all patience for them, their problems and most especially, their endless prattle. When she was at home all she could think about was going to the bar.

One day in early August of 2008, Gabbie and Conrad got into an argument about something. It was nothing important, but any noise or tension in the house was too much for her. Once the argument began I knew it would end when she fled to the bar for the rest of the day and night.

What surprised me was what she said moments before she escaped out the door.

"As soon as Rose graduates from high school, I'm going to England for a whole year. BY MYSELF. And maybe, just maybe, I'll come back."

After being with Gabbie for 22 years, I knew when to take her seriously and when to ignore her. In this case, she was quite serious.

Gabbie had talked about 'getting away' multiple times over a multi-year period, but that was the very first time she set a date and voiced a plan. It was a pivotal moment for me because I had to ask myself: why am I fighting so hard to preserve our marriage? Why do I spend night after night alone, while she's out carousing, when she intends to leave as soon as the kids are grown?

All at once, our relationship seemed incredibly pointless.

I had a lot to think about. Over the next few weeks I narrowed my confused thoughts into a simple question: If Gabbie was going to leave in 9 years, should I wait until then to start a new life, or, should I ask her to leave now, thereby freeing us both to find new lives?

Why stay? Conrad, John and Rose.

Why leave? In the gay world, age and youthful-looks matter. A lot. If I waited nine years I'd be 51. And I'd probably look nine years older. Who would want me? Would I spend the last of my prime years waiting for the kids to grow up only to discover afterward that no gay man would have me?

I had to do some research. Was being 50, gay and single such a bad thing? Would happiness be possible?

For a few weeks I read through all the Misc Romance M4M ads on Craigslist. Not just in the Bay Area where I live, but throughout the country. Mostly, the guys who sounded interesting to me were looking for guys 40 and under. Every once in a while, a guy would not specify an age or would list an age over 50. It was an unscientific sampling method but the results were not good.

I went a step further and placed a short ad in the Seattle Craigslist Misc Romance M4M. I wanted to see if I tried to date now what kind of men I would attract. In the ad I included my age and stats and a current face picture. All I said was that I was looking to date. I got maybe 10 replies. Two were kind of interesting. Overall, the results were somewhat encouraging at 42 but I had no idea who would want to date me if I was 51.

To answer my question, I decided that I had to disclose more about myself and my situation. I posted a long ad in the Los Angeles Craigslist Misc Romance M4M where I explained my dilemma and asked whether I should leave Gabbie now or wait until the kids were grown. I also asked whether I would be datable at 51 and posted a face picture.

I received over 30 replies in two days. They ran the gamut. Some were simple cut and paste replies from guys who seemed willing to date anyone. Some were lengthy personal histories that offered support. Several replies said I'd be ok if I waited---those gave me hope!

One reply really hit me in the gut. The guy said, "I think your priority should be your kids not you. ... You got yourself into this predicament, now it is your responsibility to see it through."

Ouch.

But he was right.

I canceled the ad immediately. I had my answer. Although Gabbie seemed to have no problem abandoning me at 51, I had a real problem choosing a gay life at 42 and turning my kids' lives upside down.

Until Gabbie actually left me, I was not going to do anything to disrupt my kids' lives.

In January of 2010, I had a new reason to question my decision.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May I have an affair now, please?

In 1999, Gabbie and I had our third kid, Rose. She was conceived with the same lucky eye dropper as her brothers. Rose is our last kid. In 2001 Gabbie had a partial hysterectomy.

John and Rose were less than two years apart, which meant that if Gabbie worked a traditional job, she'd have to make a lot of money just to cover day care costs. Instead she preferred to stay at home with the kids.

To help pay our bills, Gabbie decided to open an in-home infant nursery. For about four years she took care of a rotating contingent of four infants. She cared for the babies all day, all by herself.

Gabbie always had a very strong work ethic. And she needed it. Time after time, and against my wishes, she insisted that we buy houses we couldn't afford. Her mother, the real estate maven, used her many connections to make the purchases happen. Within two years of each purchase, the obvious became clear and Gabbie had no choice but to agree with my wishes to cut expenses and move.

The house we waited in line for three days to buy was no exception. It was the third time in 10 years that we over-bought. To keep from having to leave her much-loved house, Gabbie was very motivated to earn as much money as she could. That was why she took care of four infants alone for four years.

Eventually, the stress of working solo and catering to an endless supply of needy babies got to her. The housing bubble was clearly inflating and I told her that we would be smart to sell and move. Gabbie couldn't keep the nursery full and was too burnt out to care about the house anymore. At the very end of 2004 we sold.

I wanted to ride out the bubble by renting a house. But Gabbie and her mother thought I was an idiot for insisting there even was a bubble. Her mother repeatedly told me, "House prices have never - NEVER - gone down more than one year in a row. And even in those rare bad years, prices went way higher right after."

Gabbie blamed our long history of housing woes on me - I didn't make enough money - and I blamed them on her - she kept buying places we couldn't afford. With the house sold, we decided to declare a truce on the subject. Part of the terms of the truce were that Gabbie would make our future housing choices and she alone was responsible for the consequences; if she chose to buy, then the loan and title were to be only in her name.

I was disappointed, but silent, when Gabbie decided to buy a small two bedroom condo.

Selling the house was a boon for Gabbie. After being "cooped up in the house forever" she took a much needed break and stopped working. The kids were in school most of the day so after a few months with little to do, she got bored and started to work with her mother as a Realtor. She loved the social aspects of the job but hated being dragged around by indecisive buyers. She was never particularly busy and that left her under-stimulated. Because she was no longer exhausted and tied to the house all the time, she started making plans at night with various friends, including Linda, her best friend from high school.

When Linda and Gabbie were together, the party was always ON. Linda was divorced and very much on the hunt for a new husband. Gabbie was Linda's wingwoman. The two of them went out clubbing several weekend nights every month.

Gabbie didn't want to neglect any of her other friends so she made time to go out with them on other weekend nights. Gabbie and I went out too, about one night every two weeks.

Gabbie was very happy with her social, stress-free life. The kids, however, never stopped complaining about where we lived. All three of them (11, 7 & 5) shared one small bedroom. There was was no yard or place for them to play. There was no safe place for them to ride their bikes and there were no other kids nearby to play with. I agreed with the kids, the condo sucked. But I kept my mouth shut.

The kids' endless complaining, and Gabbie's concerns about having a 12 year old boy share a bedroom with a 6 year old girl, forced Gabbie to think about moving again. She would never admit it, but the condo was a mistake.

After less than two years of condo living, Gabbie found us a new "perfect home."

The new house was a "great deal" because it was a probate sale and it was large enough for everyone. In fact, it was 2.5x larger than the condo.

The price? Exactly what we sold the wait-in-line house for --- an amount that we couldn't afford. "It's only a few hundred dollars more a month than the condo." Um, sure, if you make the minimum payment on a neg am adjustable loan.

I couldn't hold my tongue this time. I told Gabbie I was against the purchase. But per our agreement, as long as I wasn't going on the loan and the title, she could do whatever she liked. Even if I wanted to, there wasn't any point in arguing with her. She did whatever she wanted anyway. And I was easy to ignore because I had this stupid idea that we were in a housing bubble.

Thanks to her 820 credit score and a Washington Mutual "No Doc" loan, Gabbie had no problem buying the place on her own---the Realtor who had only sold one house.

After she bought the probate house, Gabbie was quite busy over-seeing some significant renovations to it---some things were "too gross" in the house and had to be fixed. An endless supply of borrowed money paid for the renovations and the mortgage payments, for both places. (In order to get the "good deal" we had to buy before we sold. So we had double mortgage payments for several months until the condo sold.)

We moved into the probate house in the beginning of October of 2006. After we were there for about two weeks, I went out on a Sunday morning to get the newspaper and I noticed that the passenger seat of Gabbie's car had been moved. The seat was pushed all the way back and the head-rest was fully extended. Gabbie had been out the night before and it was obvious that a very tall person had been in her car. Linda is tall, but I found it odd that the head-rest was extended. Linda wasn't the type to adjust a head-rest.

Later that week, there were a few times when Gabbie deliberately took her cell phone into the bathroom so she could talk privately. Clearly, something was up. At my first opportunity, when Gabbie left her phone lying around, I checked her call log. I knew most of the numbers, except one, which showed up frequently. This was all the proof I needed. Between the moved car seat and the secret calls, I was certain that Gabbie was having an affair.

I debated what I should do. Be pissed? Threaten to leave? Actually leave?

Of all the things I could have said or done, anything that made me a hypocrite was not an option. I had fooled around with many men; how could I condemn her for fooling around with one?

Before I made a rash decision, I decided to confirm my suspicions. I knew that if I asked Gabbie any accusatory questions, a nasty fight would ensue. Therefore, I had to be careful. Gabbie always went on the offensive in a fight and if I questioned her fidelity, she would answer by questioning mine. How guilty would I look when she asked me if I'd ever had an affair?

I decided to stay silent, at least for a while. The risk of my accusation backfiring was too high, and, there was a chance that I was wrong.

The next day, Gabbie locked herself in the bathroom again to talk on her cell phone. I listened at the door. The conversation was pretty generic, nothing racy. But her tone gave her away. She was giddy. Whoever she was talking to made her very happy. Ok. NOW I had my proof.

When she came out of the bathroom I asked, "Who was that you were talking to?"

"You were listening to my conversation?! God! Can't I have a private conversation in this house without someone listening to me?!!"

"I just heard you laughing a lot, that's all. Who were you talking to?"

"A friend."

"Anyone I know?"

"No." She paused. "A friend I met going out."

"Is his phone number 235-3122?" I had memorized the number from her call log.

"How did you know that?? Did you take my phone without permission?! That is my PRIVATE phone. How dare you!"

When will people learn? If I am involved with you and you leave your cell phone or computer unattended, I WILL check them to see what you've been doing.

By the end of the fight, I learned that the guy she'd been talking to was Charlie. A "really fun guy who loves to go dancing." Um, hello, I like dancing.

Without any accusations from me, Gabbie swore up and down that she and Charlie were just friends. She said, "He's just a fun friend. I'm an honest person [this was a dig at me, going back 14 years, to Jim] and I would tell you if something was going on."

What she said was true. Gabbie had never withheld any emotion from me. For better or worse, I always knew exactly how she felt at every moment. And in that moment, I could tell...she had a crush on the guy, but hadn't slept with him.

A little over a week later, I got to meet Charlie myself. He was tall and lanky, about 6'3". Older, 47, and English.

I met Charlie at Linda's 40th birthday party. He was dressed rather nicely, in a black jacket and slacks. His face was weathered and had a lot of sun damage. His teeth were typically English. I didn't find him attractive but I could see that some people would.

Charlie made no effort to avoid me. Nor was he awkward around me. This gave me confidence that he and Gabbie were indeed just friends. Like Gabbie, he loved to talk and expected to be the center of attention. Poor Linda. She could be quite the Prima Donna herself but with Charlie and Gabbie around, she could barely hold the spotlight on her own birthday.

The party itself turned out to be very tame, which I hadn't expected from Linda. It was nice enough...a live band that covered Tom Petty. But no one got shit-faced or did anything to really embarrass themselves. Such a shame, really. Isn't that what 40th birthday parties are for?

Charlie worked as a handyman. In February of 2007 he somehow lost his job and Gabbie was absolutely thrilled when he said he could re-shingle our house for only $5,000. She had a low contractor's bid of $35,000. So starting that February and for many, many months afterward, Charlie worked on our house.

Because being a Realtor hadn't exactly worked out for Gabbie, she took a job looking after an infant for a single woman, an attorney. Gabbie negotiated with the woman to watch the baby at our house, thereby freeing her of any responsibility for the woman's household chores. This meant that Gabbie was home all day with someone to talk to - Charlie.

Every afternoon when I came home at 5, I found Charlie and Gabbie out on the back deck, drinking a cocktail together, laughing and bullshitting. Charlie was always doing the bullshitting and Gabbie was doing most of the laughing. She was like a 14 year old girl, sitting at the feet of her charming 17 year old boyfriend, idolizing him.

Puke.

Mostly, I couldn't stay for cocktail hour. I had to take Conrad to karate and wait for him for an hour. By the time I got back, the sun had set and Charlie was gone.

Spending every weekday together wasn't enough for Gabbie and Charlie. They went out together several nights a week, including at least one Friday or Saturday. Linda would have been pissed about losing her wingwoman, had she not sunk her talons into a new boyfriend.

As the months ticked by, I learned more and more about Charlie. The first, and the most obvious thing I learned, was that he was an alcoholic. In a typical day, he worked from 10-4 with at least an hour lunch. And he drank about 15 beers in those 6 hours. Then he went to a bar for the rest of the night. Second, I learned that Charlie was what Gabbie called "a scrappy survivor." He didn't have a place of his own or even a car. He slept on his ex-wife's couch. The third thing I learned was that his ex-wife was a crazy bitch that he hated. Charlie had knocked her up about 14 years before while the two of them lived together and blew through her inheritance. Once the money ran out, so did Charlie. He moved to Miami.

He had returned only a month before Gabbie met him and the reason he came back was to spend time with his kid. Or so he said.

Basically, he was an unemployed, alcoholic drifter who had two things going for him: his ok looks and his charming English demeanor.

Obviously, I hated Charlie. LOATHED HIM. On the rare day when I came home and he wasn't in the house or on the back deck, I thought, Maybe this is the day that he's gone for good! My hopes were always dashed.

Why did I put up with him? Why did I allow him to spend all day with my wife while she gazed dreamily at him like a love-sick school girl?

Most men would have told their wives, "Enough is enough. Tell this guy to clean up his shit and never come back." But I wouldn't do that. I don't tell my wife what to do. Ever.

Gabbie has always had, and always will have, complete freedom to do whatever she wants. Freedom is like oxygen to her and I would rather suffocate myself rather than watch her wither in a metaphorical cage. Freedom and Gabbie are one in the same.

Deep down, both Gabbie and I know that our marriage has been tenuous ever since I came out and we split up. Ever since returning to her 10 weeks after splitting, I have been honestly and sincerely committed to her. But in Gabbie's heart, we both know she doesn't trust me. And her distrust will never be resolved by anything that I say, do, or don't do. It's a breakthrough that must happen for her, without my interference.

Charlie was a test for Gabbie. He and I were completely different. I was the known entity, a steady, reliable and somewhat introverted gay husband of 17 years and he was the loud, macho, charming Englishman, a Johnny-Come-Lately, ready to add excitement to her otherwise dreary life.

For months, I spent almost every night at home with kids while Gabbie was out with Charlie, clubbing or listening to bands. I believed Charlie was a bright flame, someone who burns intensely for a short time, then fades. But that didn't happen.

One night, I thought things went too far. Charlie and Gabbie were both very drunk and for whatever reason, Charlie gave Gabbie a piggy-back ride. While carrying her, he stumbled and she fell, causing her clavicle to break. She was pretty bruised and in a lot of pain throughout the 6 weeks that she wore a sling to heal the break. I hoped that her injury would make her question her friendship with Charlie. It didn't. Days later, the two of them were out together again.

In the early summer of 2007 Gabbie's complaints about my low libido reached a crescendo. It excited her to be around macho Charlie and she was looking to me to fulfill her needs. I had already reduce the Propecia to one pill every third day, but I decided to stop taking it all together.

In early October, Gabbie and I took a week-long cruise together, just the two of us, while her mother watched the kids. It was a terrific time. Other than almost missing the plane home, everything went perfectly. We had sex often, and it was good. After silently battling Charlie for her attention, I felt sure that I had won. How could she even think about him when, without the pressures of everyday life, we were so good together?

The next night after we returned, Charlie and Gabbie went out as usual.

In the days and weeks that followed, they continued their routine of spending much of the day together and then playing shuffleboard as a team at a local bar at night.

In December of 2007, Gabbie started to regularly complain that she had never had the chance to "sow any wild oats." All her friends had dated, they had lots of sex with lots of different guys, but she had only been with me.

I knew what she wanted. She wanted me to give her permission to have sex with Charlie.

As I said, I never said 'no' to Gabbie. But what she wanted...

Did I have any self-respect at all? Any pride? Any balls?

My response to her 'sowing oats' speech was "uh huh" as in, "I don't want to talk about this, but I'm going to respond so that we can move along to another subject."

Over the next five or six weeks, Gabbie repeated variations of her 'sowing oats' speech, often sighting the sexual exploits of her girlfriends, especially Linda. I continued to avoid discussing the subject as much as I could.

Eventually, Gabbie lost her patience. One Sunday night, she asked me directly, "Would it be ok if I sowed some wild oats of my own?"

Fucking 'wild oats.'

Her direct question required a direct answer and although I tried to hem and haw, dodge and stall, she would not relent. After being badgered so much, I lost my considerable patience, and finally said, "I'm not going to tell you what to do. Do whatever you think is best."

Two nights later she packed a large purse and put her beloved lumpy pillow in it.

She was so excited, she practically levitated out the door, calling out as she left, "I love you sweetie!"

Sure you do.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quick and Dirty - through April 2010

I have a fascination for detailed sexual histories, but mine is long compared to most in the blog-sphere. Here is a quick and dirty synopsis of what I have posted so far:

I self-identified as gay at 12. I struggled with it at first, but by 13 I accepted myself. I had no need or reason to tell anyone else I was gay. It was good enough that I knew myself, so I stayed in the closet.

At 15, my sexual thoughts and dreams were only about boys. However, what I desired more than sex was intimacy. My ideal was to be so emotionally and physically close to another guy that we became One.

Also at 15, I unintentionally outed myself by writing an anonymous note that wasn't anonymous. I worried about being harassed, but when nothing happened after a few days, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then on Halloween someone wrote "FAG" in large, bloody letters on my locker. The word, written like that, was a knife in my soul. It freaked me out and pushed me even more deeply into the closet.

Shortly thereafter, I felt so isolated by the closet that I was seriously suicidal.

Ultimately, my inability to kill myself forced me to persevere. I learned that self-hatred was not the answer.

At 17 I had my first relationship with a boy. There were great moments and not so great moments, but it only lasted about two months.

In college I was too busy having a blast to worry about sex or coming out. It was only when I was home from school that sex dominated. One summer, a friend came out to me and I came out to him. He introduced me to gay life in San Francisco bars in the mid-80s.

At 20 I traveled through Europe alone for 17 days, on my way to study in England. I was a tourist by day and an out gay man by night---although some nights didn't go as planned. I gained some confidence and experience as I cruised multiple gay bars alone; I was slowly emerging from the closet.

I spent my last night "out" in London with a nice, older guy. In the morning he offered to be my life-long sugar daddy if I stayed with him. I declined his offer.

Only hours later I met a girl, Gabbie.

Initially, I had no interest in Gabbie as anything more than a friend. But she was both persistent and insistent. Within two weeks we were a couple. I didn't take our unconsummated relationship seriously and assumed that it would end when we returned to the States. It didn't. In fact, only a few months later Gabbie gave me an ultimatum to propose or break up.

I took the easy way out and gave her a ring.

We had a three year engagement. Often, I wanted to end our relationship, but I didn't know how to do it. Just as often, I wanted to deepen our relationship; I liked Gabbie and I liked the idea of having four kids and a nice house surrounded by a white picket fence.

Two years after we were married Gabbie spent a lot of time socializing after work. I was left with a lot of time on my hands to daydream about men. I placed a personal ad in an alternative paper and met a 20 year old UC Berkeley student, Jim. Jim was a terrific guy and during our very long first night together, he promised to support me if I came out to Gabbie. Later that same night I took him up on his offer; I returned to Gabbie and told her I was gay.

Gabbie and I immediately separated. I assumed our marriage was over.

Jim and I very much enjoyed each other as dating boyfriends. Because of his parents' painful divorce, Jim did not want Gabbie to know about him. And she didn't...until they bumped into each other in a very awkward moment.

Based on Jim's wishes to not be involved with my divorce, I lied to Gabbie and said that Jim was just a friend.

A few weeks later, I realized that the less time I spent with Gabbie, the more I missed her.

Before our split we had paid for a week-long vacation to Florida together. In spite of our separation, we both wanted to go.

The week in Florida got us back together. By the end, I knew that I wanted to be with her more than I wanted to be with Jim.

And that was saying something because Jim was perfect.

My affair with Jim lasted 10 weeks. When I returned to Gabbie, I no longer felt tricked or trapped by her. I felt secure in our relationship. She, however, was unnerved. Her faith in our future was permanently compromised and no matter how much time passed, she never missed an opportunity to tell me that one day she knew I was going to leave her again.

Our day-to-day life together was very good, and only five months after leaving Jim, Gabbie was pregnant. Her pregnancy did not come easily, at least not until we used an eye dropper to send my boys in. Much to our mutual horror, we learned that Gabbie's hymen was intact. Years earlier, when we 'lost' our mutual straight virginities to each other, it had been a painful, unpleasant experience for Gabbie. The next day, what was comfortable for her was a frottage sort of sex where I did not penetrate her cervix. We both got off so the sex seemed to work. In our ignorance, we continued having sex that way until a doctor broke Gabbie's hymen years later.

Our first kid was a boy, Conrad. He was born in 1994. When Conrad was about 18 months, the Internet started to become more popular and, in an effort to find men like myself, I signed on. Even before the Internet I had Tea Room sex with different men. Although I was having sex with various men, I always felt committed to Gabbie.

Sex was not my goal, it was a means to an end. What I really craved was an intimate relationship with a man. After a few years of Tea Room jack-offs and other hook-ups, I wanted something deeper and more personal. I found that in a series of Fuck Buddies, from 1996 - 2003. The longest one was with Marc. We met frequently for more than 5 years.

In 1997 and 1999, Gabbie and I had two more kids. First a boy, John, then a girl, Rose. All of Gabbie's deliveries were by cesarean. I had always hoped for a vaginal birth so that her cervix would be stretched, but it never happened. Often I would encourage Gabbie to let me try to penetrate her so that we could fuck correctly, but she always complained about the pain and gave up in frustration. When I insisted on trying sex that way it turned into an unpleasant experience so eventually I gave up. Instead we used our slip-n-slide method which worked for both of us.

I stopped looking for Fuck Buddies in 2003. I had no emotional connection with the last guy and therefore found the sex unsatisfying. I felt done with hook-ups and Fuck Buddies.

I haven't had sex with a man in seven years.

I took Propecia for a number of years, which is a very slow acting hormone. It's supposed to grow hair, and it does, but it also has severe side-effects. One of the many side-effects was that it put me into a insulated, unsocial, unsexual, unemotional world.

It killed my sex life but I didn't care.

From 2003-late 2007 my libido was extremely low, causing my sex life with Gabbie to suffer---much to her dissatisfaction as she reached her sexual prime.

In 2006, a series of events began that brings me to today, where I face an uncertain future. The next two posts will detail those events and catch us up to today.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Too Potent to Swallow

I missed meeting Marc.

I didn't pine for him, and I wasn't anywhere close to being an emotional wreck about him, but I still missed him.

In the months that followed our split we had several very enjoyable phone conversations. But Marc never asked me to meet him.

I therefore decided that I had to find another fuck buddy. I used Craigslist, which at the time wasn't the daily hook-up site that it is today. I don't remember how long it took to find a new buddy, but it wasn't long.

Will seemed like a good match. He was exactly my age. He was at ease with his sexuality, he was married with two kids, and, his office was across the parking lot from mine. Very convenient.

Before we met, we didn't know that we worked so near each other. But once we realized how close we were, our proximity proved to be quite a boon. We quickly became experts in the Lunch Hour Quickie.

Will was tall, 6'1", with an average build. He was decent looking. Objectively he was probably a little better looking than Marc, but Marc's personality greatly out-shined Will's.

Will was a computer geek. And contrary to the geeky stereo-type, his very best attribute wasn't his brain, it was his naturally beautiful dick. I had seen a lot of dicks over the years, but Will's was easily the prettiest one I ever touched. It was a perfect length, about 7.5 inches. It had a perfectly proportioned thickness and a classic head, neither too large nor too small. And it was always straight, STEEL hard and ready for action.

Most good relationships evolve over time, or at least they evolve from their early superficial days. My relationship with Will never evolved. We never became better friends and we never shared much about our personal lives.

Sadly, the sex with Will never evolved either. What began as quick, exciting blow job exchanges in my office became routine blow and gos. "Quick" and "exciting" became annoying and unsatisfying.

After about two months, I realized that Will and I weren't very sexually compatible. He wanted to meet every day. That was too often for me. I wanted more intimacy, that is, to fuck him. But there was no way he was going to let that happen. I even suggested that he fuck me, but he wasn't up for that either. All he wanted to do was trade blow jobs.

I kept up with Will's sexual needs as long as I could, but early in our third month of meeting, I started making more and more excuses for why I couldn't meet on a particular day. Then, when he complained, I told him that meeting once or twice a week was ideal for me. He said he was ok with that and we started meeting less often. Then I started pressing him about fucking. He made it clear that it was never going to happen. So, I gave up. Two weeks later I told him I couldn't meet any more. I told him the truth, which was that I just wasn't into the sex as I once was.

In retrospect it seems that Will wore me out. After I stopped meeting him, weeks, months and then years went by where I had no desire to meet any guys for sex. I still jacked off, but fuck buddies and hook-ups...I felt done with them. Too much trouble, not satisfying. And for the first time in my life I didn't feel restless or unhappy because I was not having them.

The last time I had sex with a guy was the one last time with Marc, more than seven years ago.

***

About a year after I stopped seeing Will, I realized that a perfect day was one where the phone never rang and no one ever talked to me. I was self-employed so if the phone stopped ringing, my income went down. But I didn't care. I was just happy to be left alone.

More and more, I came to dread going out socially with Gabbie. When we did go out, I didn't want her to leave my side. I worried that, while I was alone, I might have to talk to someone I didn't know.

Sometimes I'd think about sex, but not too often. When I thought about it, mostly I wondered why I didn't care about it any more. Even masturbating was dull. I could regularly go two weeks without doing it. And when I did, the orgasm was hardly worth bothering with. Mostly I needed to do it to release the physical edginess I felt when I went too long without cumming.

About two years after I stopped meeting Will, I started to become more concerned about my growing social anxiety. I had never been an anxious person. I wasn't an extrovert, but I certainly had never wished to spend day after day hoping the phone would never ring. I tried to think of reasons why I was suddenly feeling so anxious. Not that my anxiety bothered me, because it didn't. Nothing bothered me. I just wanted to be left alone.

As I thought about changes in my life or things that had happened to me, I realized there could be two reasons why I felt so very different about sex and people than I used to.

At some point, several years earlier, I was feeling rather horny while I was in the shower. I really craved some good prostate stimulation so I shoved a few fingers up my hole and pounded out a nice orgasm. Prostate stimulation was not a regular part of my masturbation routine but every once in a while, I really wanted some.

About four days later, I started feeling like I was getting the flu. I had aches, chills, a fever. I assumed it was a virus and decided to wait it out. By the sixth day I was feeling worse than ever. My lower back was really aching. Reluctantly, I scheduled an appointment to see a doctor.

I hadn't been to a doctor in ages and so I was forced to pick a new primary care physician. When I said I had no preference, a newer doctor was assigned to me. It turned out, the guy was about two years younger than me. And pretty cute.

In the course of my exam, one of the things he checked was my prostate. It was a real shame that I was too sick to care when he slid his finger into my ass.

"You have a prostate infection."

Wha?? I had no idea that fingering myself could cause that.

I have to say, it was a little awkward having the doctor question me about ways I might have contracted the infection. I was too embarrassed to admit anything, so he listed the cause as 'unknown.'

Dr. Hot prescribed an anti-biotic and within five days I was cured. Other than keeping my fingers out of my ass, I didn't think about the infection again until years later.

***

Everyone has their favorite body parts, things they notice about a guy or a girl first. Tits, asses, eyes, smiles - those are common ones. I like pecs more than abs, which is unusual. Beautiful eyes often catch my attention. And good hair. Sometimes good hair alone is enough to make me think a guy is hot.

I have plenty of body parts that I would be happy to switch out, as if I was Mr. Potato Head. My hair is one of them. Mousy brown. No natural body or wave. No curl. Thin hair shafts. Of course, we get what we get, so I always made the most of what I had.

In my late 20s Gabbie was kind enough to tell me that my hair was starting to thin. FUCK! NO! I really, really, really didn't want to be bald.

Rogaine was new then and I started using it. It didn't grow any hair but it seemed to keep me from losing more. Eight years or so later, I was holding on to what I had reasonably well. It was a losing battle, but I was having some success in dragging it out. At around 35, a physician friend told me that he actually had new hair grow when he starting taking Propecia. New hair? Sign me up!

The prescription for Propecia (aka Finasteride) is a ONE milligram pill a day. That's a tiny amount. And it takes "up to 6 months" before you see any benefits.

I can vouch for Propecia. It works. But I can also vouch for the very slow progression of severe side-effects it caused me. It killed my sex drive. It took all the pleasure out of sex and orgasms. It made me so anxious that my business has permanently suffered. And it placed me in a mental cocoon where I was apathetic about everything.

Gabbie wasn't happy with the side-effects either. She got really upset because she was entering her sexual prime and I could barely perform. Beside being indifferent to sex, my erections were weak and I stopped getting morning wood. At 38.

All from taking a small pill with 1 milligram of chemicals in it every day. In spite of its tiny size, the pill was far too potent. Too potent to swallow!

A point of reference: one can of Diet Pepsi contains 46 milligrams of caffeine; the empty aluminum can the Diet Pepsi comes in weighs 69,000 milligrams.

Because one of the side effects was an apathetic nonchalance about everything, I didn't care that the pill was ruining my life. It was only after lots of complaining from Gabbie that I cut back to one pill every other day. When I noticed a modest improvement many months later, I started to realize how much the pill was affecting me. I took it every third day for a while, then I eventually stopped taking it completely. In total, I took that nightmare pill for more than five years.

It's taken about three years for me to feel free of its effects, although I still can't say that I feel the same way about sex that I did nine years ago. I have no idea if the pill did permanent damage or if age is a factor. I also wonder about the prostate infection. I have yet to read about any connection between prostate infections and any form of sexual dysfunction, but I still wonder if they could.

My doctor friend who recommended Propecia says that he hasn't suffered any side-effects. Whatever. The Internet is full of guys complaining about Finasteride. My side-effects were especially severe because of how much it changed my personality.

As much as I love good hair, the only thing I can say about Propecia or Finasteride is: stay away from them.

Now that I am out of the influence of the Propecia, my life has gotten more complicated. But not for reasons I would have expected...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Don't Own You

I never felt like high-fiving myself for cheating on Gabbie. But I certainly didn't feel bad about it either.

My commitment to her was never at risk and the fulfillment I got from being with men was nothing Gabbie could ever have given me. Being with a man and being with Gabbie were so completely different that I didn't even think of having sex with men as cheating.

My affair with Marc had multiple, positive effects on my relationship with Gabbie. Meeting with him kept me from feeling restless or dissatisfied, and, I wasn't having unsafe sex with many different men.

The actual sex with Marc had multiple, positive effects too. The more I did it with him, the more I wanted to do it with Gabbie. And when Gabbie and I did have sex, it was better than ever. Sex with Marc was so good that he made me a better lover.

The bottom line was that have an affair with Marc had nothing but positive effects on my relationship with Gabbie; Marc brought us closer together.

Spending time with Marc also inspired my subconscious in a new way. Before Marc, I had never had lengthy, intimate conversations with anyone about straight sex. Marc was not a big bragger, but sometimes we'd get on the subject of his many female conquests when he was young. He'd give such vivid descriptions of everything that happened that I sometimes felt like I was the one fucking the girls.

It was a day after one of those detailed straight-sex conversations that I had my very first erotic dream about a woman. Imagine, I was 34 years old and had been fucking a woman for 14 years, but I had never once had a straight sex dream.

The dream was very rudimentary. All I remember was feeling pure joy as I ferociously fucked an anonymous cunt. I just wanted to pound the shit out of that cunt, to fuck it hard, then cum deep inside, then toss the girl away when I was done.

I'm a very low-key guy and never in my conscious mind did I ever fantasize about fucking a woman like an animal. But the dream was so hot that it created a permanent straight fantasy for me. The only one I've ever had. I'd be happy to fuck any cunt presented to me, just so long as I don't have to see the woman's face and I can fuck her as hard as I want, then cum, then walk away.

The dream and the fantasy were so strong that for the very first time in my life I wondered if I might be turning straight. Turning straight? That couldn't be true! The whole possibility really fucked with my self-identity.

We've all heard stories of guys who suddenly realize they are turned on by men long after their straight sexual identity has been established. That's what happened to me, only in reverse. After a lifetime of fantasizing only about men, I now had a real fantasy about sex with women. It was bizarre and completely unexpected, but it stayed with me.

***

When Marc and I were together, I felt like I was living a whole other life, away from Gabbie and the kids, away from work. It was like our own private bubble, a timeless oasis that only Marc and I occupied.

As our second, third, fourth and fifth years together ticked by I wondered how much longer we would continue meeting. 10 years? 20 years? Longer? I really had no idea. I was extremely happy with the sex, and our friendship, so I had no desire to change anything. Hell, I even loved that we always drank a bottle of wine and ate sandwiches together! There was only one unsettling question about our relationship: what was our future?

If we were a traditional straight couple, we'd have a predestined path that our relationship was expected to follow, beginning with dating, then advancing to marriage, younger kids, older kids, an empty nest and eventually to retirement.

But Marc and I were nothing like a traditional straight couple. We were friends, with benefits. And our friendship was largely confined to a few hours every other week in a hotel room. We had an oasis, and it was fantastic, but was it our destiny to keep meeting in the same pattern for many years to come? And how long would we keep meeting? Why would we stop?

I didn't think about these questions too often, but when I did, I was definitely unnerved. The best solution, it seemed, was to never think about the future, to live for the day.

***

Shortly into our 6th year together, Marc's wife was away visiting her parents in the Mid-West. This gave Marc and I the option to meet at his house for a change. I hadn't been there for about two years so I was happy to see updated pictures of his boy Martin and to see the new back deck Marc and his brothers built.

After the house tour, and the sucking and fucking, it was time for lunch. Marc went to the kitchen to find us something to eat and I took the opportunity of being alone in his office to see what kind of porn I could find on his computer.

Instead of porn, I found a chat session Marc had left open on a dating site that I had never heard of. I had no idea if the site was mostly gay, bi or straight. I decided to check Marc's profile on the site to find out what he was doing there.

It proved that he had been trolling for guys.

I read a few emails in his in-box and saw that he had been emailing different guys for months. I couldn't be absolutely certain, but it looked like he had been "cheating" on me.

The realization made my stomach sink a little. And I was a little pissed. But I wasn't emotionally devastated nor did I storm out of his house in an angry tirade.

We had never discussed the option of screwing around with other guys. Nor had we ever discussed being exclusive. Because of our wives and our families, we were both adamant about safe sex. Part of our bond, I thought, was to keep ourselves and our families safe. But that was my assumption. Truthfully, our commitment was implied but not explicit. Based on what we had actually discussed, I could not criticize Marc for fucking around without telling me. We had set no rules.

From his office, I yelled to him in the kitchen, "Hey Marc. What's the deal with this dating site? Is this for hook-ups for bi guys or what?"

Within seconds he was standing in the doorway of his office, watching me at his computer. He looked embarrassed.

"What are you doing? I'm making you lunch and here you are checking out my private email?" His tone wasn't angry. It was defensive.

"I was just curious about what you've been up to. It looks to me like you've been very busy."

"Well, uh...ya. I've chatted with a few people. It's no big deal."

"You're lying to me. From these emails it looks like you've been fucking around, not just talking."

"So. We never said we were exclusive."

"Ok. That's true. You can do whatever you want. I don't own you."

"You're right, you don't."

I slowly nodded, taking in his attitude. "I guess you're bored with me then huh?"

"Look. You're the only guy I've ever been with, except for the two threesomes [one when he was young, with a married couple, the other with Vince]. I was just curious what sex is like with different guys."

"I understand." And I did. I was hardly a virgin and if, like Marc, I had so little experience with guys at the age of 44, I'd be curious too.

I looked at him for a minute. I studied his face, checking for clues about how he really felt about me and our relationship.

Mostly, he looked embarrassed, like a kid caught doing something he knows he shouldn't be doing.

Maybe I was too naive, or maybe I was stupid, but I believed that his lack of loyalty had more to do with him than me.

Rather than beat myself up about it, I decided to accept him at his word; it was not my fault that he was fucking around.

I decided not to feel insulted. By giving myself a break, I was giving Marc one too. If he wasn't insulting me, then I couldn't be pissed. All I could be was disappointed.

And I was very disappointed.

But the conversation was over. There was nothing else to say. So I decided to move ahead and signal that I was done talking about it.

"What's for lunch?"

***

Marc called me the next day to talk about us. Mostly he wanted to explain his reasons for being curious, which were exactly what he had told me the day before. I told him I understood.

I didn't know what more he wanted from me.

Finally I said, "As I told you yesterday, I don't own you. Do whatever you want, with whoever you want. The most important thing is that you play safe. ... I'm not going to spend my time worrying about what you're doing. Whenever you want to meet me again, let me know, and we'll talk about it. For right now, I think you've made it clear that you want to fool around with other guys and what you do is none of my business."

I didn't hear from Marc again for a few weeks. When he did call, we had a friendly chat, but I would not ask him if wanted to meet. There was no way I was going to beg.

For whatever reason, Marc didn't ask me to meet him again, until nearly two years later. I don't know how the subject came up, but it did, and Marc invited me over. Everything was great, just like it had always been. Great sex, great conversation and even a great lunch.

That was six years ago. I haven't seen Marc since but I have talked to him numerous times, most recently a few weeks ago.

Not long after we stopped seeing each other, his marriage began to collapse. Not because of sex, but because Joan was an alcoholic. She quit her job because she didn't like it and wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Marc changed jobs too and there was a period where she was at home and he was not. During that time she started drinking heavily during the day. Marc would come home from work and she'd be blotto. He had no patience for her behavior, especially with Martin in her care. Marc and Joan went through a lot of drama, trying to get her to stay sober, but she didn't want to do it. There was a lot of shit that happened between the two of them but the short story is that they divorced and now share custody of Martin.

Marc has had a live-in girlfriend for the last two years. I don't think he plans to marry her, but I'm not sure. Martin is in 8th grade now. He's 14. When Marc and I spoke a few weeks ago, I asked him if he was fucking anyone other than his girlfriend, but then she came in the room so I never got an answer. The next time we talk, I'll ask him again. He seems to like this girlfriend but he's also keen on new experiences, so who knows.

If Marc ever point-blank asked me to come see him, I'd go. But he hasn't done that. Every time we talk, we dance around that question. Neither of us will ask the other if he's willing. I don't want to sound needy; I figure if he wants me to suck his dick, he can invite me over.

Not counting the one time we met two years later, Marc and I had a regular thing for more than five years. We weren't lovers, we were friends. True friends with awesome benefits.

Even though he is old as fuck now (52) and he pretty much cheated on me, I'd do him again in a minute. Overall, the time we spent together was pretty damn awesome.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Small, Wrapped Box

I don't think my portrayal of Gabbie thus far has been exactly fair. I've emphasized many of her worst moments, perhaps making her look like nothing more than a shrew. Why would I stay married to her if she was so awful?

The truth is, Gabbie could be both a royal bitch and a real pain in the ass. But those moments were rare and fleeting. On a daily basis we always got along well.

Her look, for anyone who is curious, was very Elizabeth McGovern, as seen here:

She was good looking, but her fun-loving, out-going personality was really what made her shine.

She was always friendly to strangers and had a warm, compassionate heart. Most importantly to me, she was a smart, strong, opinionated woman. Stupid, weak women were extremely unattractive to me.

In our relationship, Gabbie and I fit together like a hand in a glove because she knew what she wanted in life and I wanted her to be happy. This meant that if she desired something, it was my mission to get it for her. I liked this arrangement because it made me feel needed and useful.

On a day to day basis, Gabbie and I always got along well. Her strong personality and opinions sometimes irritated me, but mostly I went along with whatever she said. Our relationship was positive and vibrant and our sex life generally reflected that, albeit much more mildly. With a young kid frequently in our bed, our sex life existed, but we weren't exactly doing it every night. Once a week was good and once every two weeks was about average. In our earlier days we were much more active. But as is typical, getting older and having kids did not have a positive impact on our sex life.

If there was anything significantly wrong with our relationship, it wasn't that I was gay. It was that I had told Gabbie I was gay. My ten week liaison with Jim made Gabbie permanently insecure about our future together. She was deeply hurt by my departure and felt the best way to protect herself was to expect that, on any random day, I was going to announce that I was leaving again.

The irony is that up until the moment when I actually did leave, there were many times when I wanted to leave. But once I returned, all my desires to leave vanished. As a result, I felt far more secure about our future than Gabbie did.

As satisfying as I found our relationship to be, loving Gabbie did not compensate for my need to be with men. My five month affair with Vince proved to be a decisive experience because it was only after I couldn't be with him any more that I realized how incomplete I felt. At first I thought I just missed sex or I missed him, but as the weeks ticked by and my unhappiness grew, I realized that the ONLY way I could feel complete was if I was able to maintain an intimate, regular connection with another man.

In my search to find another man, another Vince, I frequently browsed a variety of on-line personal ads. My favorites were Yahoo ads because they were free and plentiful. Most of the ads were placed by single men but I decided that it would be better if I found another married guy, preferably one with kids, because then we'd share common priorities and obligations.

In my third week of searching, I found a new ad that seemed promising. The guy was 39, bisexual, married and was almost exactly my height and weight. From what the ad said, he seemed like a good match so I replied. Shortly thereafter we agreed to meet at a large park a few miles from my home.

Marc lived about 40 minutes away but he said he was in my area on business the day we met. At the time, it was not customary to exchange pictures before meeting so we didn't know what the other looked like. As I walked from my car toward the spot where we agreed to meet, I saw a guy who I guessed was Marc, waiting.

As I got closer and could see him more clearly, I was a bit disappointed. Based on his stats, I was hoping he had a young, twinkish look. Instead, he looked over 40, his hair was thinning and his head was disproportionately larger than his body. He spotted me approaching, so I was committed to meeting him (not that I would have stood him up based solely on his looks) but my hopes that I would like him were very much in doubt.

We introduced ourselves, shook hands, and proceeded to spend an hour and a half walking and talking.

In the first few minutes Marc explained that, although he had been in a threesome many years earlier with a married couple, he had never been with just a guy. His 40th birthday was rapidly approaching and one of the things he wanted to do before he turned 40 was to have sex with a man. He wanted to be honest, he said, so he told me that he had received quite a few replies to his ad and had decided to meet three guys. I was one of them.

Basically, he told me that I was being interviewed to see if I was 'the right guy' to fool around with.

At first I was a little annoyed. Wasn't it tacky to agree to meet someone and then tell them they were being interviewed for "a position?"

But the more Marc talked about himself, his family and the kind of situation he was looking for, the more I grew to like him. His approach was not exactly orthodox but his intentions were good. He could've not told me he was meeting others, for example, but the fact that was up-front about his approach gave me confidence that he was a straight-forward and honest guy.

I had met enough guys to know that many of them could not cope well with their sexuality, or, all they were interested in was a one-time hook-up. Like Peter and Vince before him, Marc stood out from the crowd because he was different. He was real, he was sincere and he was not afraid of his sexuality. By the end of our long walk I was very confident that Marc would choose me. Maybe he didn't know it, but I did. I knew that the other two guys he was going to meet were probably going to be like most of the guys I had met: shallow or skittish or both. I was the real deal.

Marc thanked me for meeting him and said he would let me know in a few days, after he'd met the third guy, what he had decided to do. I wished him the best, fully confident that I would be meeting him again soon.

A week later Marc called and told me he'd like to meet again; he clicked with me far better than he had with either of the other two guys. Damn, Cameron you are so smart!

The first time we had sex was the day before Marc's 40th birthday. We met at his house. He worked as a sales rep and his home office was his base of operations. His wife worked about thirty minutes away and never came home unexpectedly. He had an almost 2 year-old son who was in day care.

In the first two weeks of our affair, Marc and I met 5 or 6 times. That was a lot for me---I was lucky to see Vince twice a month. Each time we met, Marc told me more about himself, his family and his past. We also had superb sex. We had a natural rhythm together that I had never had with anyone else, including Gabbie. Vince has very sensual, which I liked. And although Marc was less sensual than Vince, being with him was more intimate and erotic.

Sex with Marc made me feel more connected to him than to any man I had ever been with before. But as great as the sex was, what I most valued was how quickly we became genuine friends.

Part of the appeal of Marc was that he was an honest, straight-forward, no-drama guy. Together, we had a very mature relationship that was neither needy nor hierarchical. When we got together, we were equals, both sexually and as partners in the relationship. Neither of us would have wanted it any other way.

One of the first milestones for Marc and I was the birth of my second kid, John, in December of 1997. Because of John's birth, I hadn't been able to see Marc for more than a week. When we did meet, it was for a quickie in my office. Of course I was already happy to see him, but I was greatly pleased and surprised when he handed me a wrapped bottle of wine and offered his congratulations. Maybe he had re-gifted the wine and had put very little thought into the gesture, but I was genuinely touched. In fact, I have yet to open that bottle. It's still stored away in a safe place in my office; I have this idea that one day we will drink it together, maybe when John graduates from high school.

Although I'd had a few relationships and had been with many men, that bottle of wine was only the second gift I had ever received from a guy. The first was a small plastic shark Jim bought me after he spent a day away from me at Marine World. I still have the shark too. It's buried in a box in the attic.

Marc was not a sappy guy but he had excellent manners and was very considerate. The wine was more of a means to acknowledge John's birth than it was a token of whatever affection he had for me. But the joy I got from receiving it was very much on my mind when Christmas came only two weeks later. We hadn't talked about exchanging gifts---I knew he would have said we shouldn't---but I really wanted to give him an object that would forever remind him of me and our time together. I knew it couldn't be anything too personal, that would offend him, so after wracking my brain I eventually settled on the idea of a rare coin. I don't remember what I chose---something European, with no real tie to either of us, but I decided the idea of the tangible, forever-valuable gift was more important than what was on the coin. I spent about $30.

I was somewhat nervous about giving it to him because I worried that I was crossing a line with him. I wasn't suggesting that we leave our wives, buy a cottage and pick out curtains together, but the gift implied a deeper emotional connection than us simply being fuck buddies.

Marc was uncharacteristically speechless when I gave him the small, wrapped box. His silence was not because he was overcome with joyous emotion. Instead, he wrestled with his natural inclination to be polite and his interior discomfort that I was implying our relationship was something serious. After a few protests he accepted the coin and then politely but firmly laid down the law: no more gifts.

As soon as I gave him the coin, I knew I had made a mistake. I could see the discomfort in his eyes. Maybe I was testing the limits of our bond; maybe I wanted to see if Marc was open to being lovers and not just fuck buddies; or maybe I just wanted to always be remembered, the way I would always remember him. In any case, Marc handled the situation very effectively. He didn't freak, instead he was gracious and clear.

From that moment on, I understood the limits of our intimacy and I was never unhappy about them.

When I saw him again the following week Marc had a box for me. It was a gag-gift that had probably been given to him: shoe inserts that added an inch to the wearer's height. I thanked him for the 'lifts' and then promptly called him a fucker. Not long afterward, I took my revenge by fucking him hard in the ass.

***

In April of 1998, six months into our affair, Marc and I spent most of a day driving along the ocean in Marin County, which is just north of San Francisco. It was his idea to spend a few hours outside, fuck, then have lunch. I suppose the day could have been seen as romantic, and to a degree it was, but I knew Marc's limits. I think the trip was as much about having sex with a guy on a beach as it was about being with me. Regardless, the trip inspired us to try something more daring. We decided to try to "normalize" our friendship so that we could be more open about doing things together. The goal was to arrange a way for all of us to meet, Marc and his wife, Gabbie and I, then exchange business cards and create a public friendship from there.

We came up with a plan to take our kids whale watching in Monterey Bay. The spring is prime whale watching season in California as the Grays migrate up the coast from Mexico to Alaska. We bought tickets weeks in advance for the same boat, on the same cruise, on the same day.

For me, the arrangement became unexpectedly awkward. It turned out that Gabbie and I spent the three days prior to the whale watching tour camped out in a parking lot, waiting for a chance to buy a new house. This event marked the beginning of the housing boom for me because we were couple number two of nearly forty who spent at least one night camped out in the line to buy a house.

The fact that this was yet another house we couldn't afford was an irrelevant point. Gabbie wanted the house so, of course, we were going to buy it.

It happened that the whale watching tour was the same day that we were pulled from the home-buying line to complete the contract for the house. We were lucky to be at the very front of the line. Even after rushing through the paperwork we didn't finish until 11:30am and the boat tour left Monterey at 2pm. The drive-time to Monterey was 2 hours and 15 minutes. So, after sleeping in the car for three nights, I forced Gabbie and the two kids to "hurry up and get in" and drove like a demon to Monterey. We literally ran to the boat and made it with less than five minutes to spare.

Well, half of us made it. As Gabbie was about to board she was told that bringing babies was strongly discouraged; they cried the whole time because of the shifting of the boat. Gabbie reluctantly suggested that Conrad and I take the tour and she and John would wait for us. I hated making her wait an hour and a half but it was the only option that made sense. Even then, without her on the boat, a crucial part of our plan was foiled.

Marc and his wife Joan were the only other couple who brought a kid on the boat. Marc's kid, Martin, was two years old and my kid was four, so it didn't take long for the two of them to find each other and interact. Eventually I was having a conversation with Joan and Marc, but mostly Joan.

Between the engine noise of the boat and the sound of the waves crashing around us, it was very difficult to hear. We were practically shouting at each other, making for a rather awkward conversation.

Conrad did his part to help, however. About half way through the tour he told me that he didn't feel good. A few minutes later he puked on the deck, right in front of Joan.

As you might imagine, he was ready to get off the boat. I spent the remaining time on the cruise consoling him. Joan offered sympathy to both Conrad and I, but Conrad's incessant whining (shut up kid, I'm working a plan here!) pretty much left my ambitions for the meeting in ruins. Who wants to be friends with some random guy whose kid pukes in front of you on a boat?

As if the day wasn't disastrous enough, we never saw a single whale. Lots of dolphins, but no whales.

When we got back to land and I told Gabbie what had happened, she decided that our soiree to Monterey was over. We loaded the kids back in the car and drove the two plus hours home. Overall, it was not a fun day.

The following week, Marc and I each tried to parley our meeting into something more, but our efforts fizzled. Gabbie had no idea who I was talking about and all Joan remembered was Conrad barfing in front of her. Our idea of making our friendship public was a bust. And having once failed, neither one of us was eager to try again.

***

Marc never told me that he had a "Bucket List" - a list of things he wanted to do before he "kicked the bucket" and died, but he sure liked ticking off different kinds of experiences. He had already had a MMF threesome, a FFM threesome and now he wanted a MMM threesome.

Marc wanted me to ask Vince if he wanted to be our lucky third. I hadn't emailed or spoken with Vince in more than a year and a half, but he, somewhat to my surprise, was into the idea.

We rented a hotel room and after making the introductions, we all got naked. We did just about every combination of sucking and fucking you could imagine. It was fun.

It was an experience worth trying at least once, but honestly, it wasn't super hot. It was awkward for Vince, I think, and his awkwardness made me worry that he wasn't having the best time. Also, I don't think Marc and Vince were very hot for each other. Even so, everybody came twice so I'm not sure that we could complain too much about how things went.

For Vince, the threesome turned out to be very bad idea.

For whatever reason, he was not careful about the emails he and I exchanged and his wife found them. Things got ugly from there and to patch things up as best he could, he promised his wife that he would never speak to (or email) me again. He told me what happened in a short telephone call a few days after the threesome. That was the last time we spoke.

Now that I've been thinking about him, I've been tempted to friend him on Facebook, or at least send an email. But after the initial hellos and catching up, I wouldn't know what to say. And why would I say hi now? Should I tell him that I've been writing about him? I don't think so.

Maybe at some point in the future I'll email him.

***

As I mentioned, in our earliest weeks together Marc and I met at his house during the day. After about two months of meeting there, he changed his mind about the safety of that option; one day his wife came home early because she was sick.

Fortunately, it was not a day that we had planned to meet, but the idea of his wife walking in on us...well, we stopped meeting at his house. For a while, we tried other options. We met at my office, which worked, but was awkward. Or we met outside somewhere.

As time rolled on, we eventually settled into paying cash for a cheap hotel room. At first we tried to vary the location, to avoid the embarrassment of regularly renting a room. But after a few months we settled into renting a room at one particular motel in Berkeley. We took turns registering and paying.

We met most frequently in our earliest days but as time passed we settled into a routine of meeting twice a month at the same motel. Every time we met, whoever didn't pay for the room brought sandwiches for lunch, some kind of snack or dessert, and a bottle of wine.

I relished our afternoons together. I felt like I was living a whole other life, away from Gabbie and the kids, away from work. We each had pressures at different times about different things, and we talked about them with each other, but talking was therapeutic and even bringing real-life stresses into our bed was strangely relaxing.

The days with Marc were glorious. And not just because of the sex. The sex was an essential ingredient but the fact that we had a genuine friendship and that we enjoying just talking to each other, all of that together, was idyllic.

***

On an entirely different topic, I want to give a nod to Adam Phillips. In 2003 he started writing what has become a very influential sexual biography on Nifty.org.

Adam is a fucking asshole. He's hot tempered, opinionated and very impatient.

He's also brilliant.

He's multi-layered and never dull; he's a genuinely crazy-smart guy.

Adam was inspired by John Walsh's Fraternity Memoirs, and, starting with an email he sent to Walsh, Adam wrote his story, Cross Currents, for the Nifty Archive.

Walsh's story is hotter but Adam's thoughtfulness, particularly on issues of bisexuality and relationships, make his story a must-read, especially for young bi guys.

Here's a link:

http://library.gaycafe.com/nifty/gay/relationships/cross-currents/

Cross Currents is unfinished, but Adam has promised to complete it this year.

I should mention that he made similar promises in 2008 and 2009.

Adam has two blogs, one on the right, Divers Gems and another at GayAuthors.org:

http://www.gayauthors.org/forums/index.php?app=blog&module=display§ion=blog&blogid=205&