Monday, August 14, 2017

13 Reasons Why/Tape 10: Cory 2

(The previous installment to this story can be found here.)

When I think about Cory these days, it’s always with bafflement and a sense of loss. I sense as if I’ve missed something; I want to throw my hands in the air, shout that I give up, and hope that someone will simply tell me the answers I seek. The main reason I chronicle my life is because doing so gives me the opportunity to tell my life’s story as I understand it. Very often the recounting is the only thing that helps me understand. Cory, I just don’t understand.

It’s taken a very long time to tell this story about my time with Cory because of this lingering uncertainty. When he was done with me, I was left debilitated and bewildered; physically I felt like I’d been trampled by all the bulls in Pamplona. Even now, I’m still trying to sift through the experience in order to figure out which parts were real, and which were his lies. Why things happened the way they did. How can I put together this puzzle when the biggest chunks are still missing?

Thinking about Cory makes me feel like a minor player in a bigger story. Like a walk-on character who lacked the grand perspective to understand what's going on around him: a Rosencrantz in someone else’s Hamlet.

And perhaps that's all I was to him.




It was sometime in the summer that I started having my doubts.

Cory liked to taking selfies of us during sex. He’d be lying on his back, legs sprawled in the air, and while I knelt between them, thrusting and pounding and sweating, he’d cooly reach over to the bedside table, grab his beat-up iPhone, and stretch a long arm to position it underneath the action. While I still fucked away, he’d review the new shots, sliding his fingertip from capture to capture, impassively deleting the bad ones before grabbing my head and pulling me down for a passionate kiss.

After we’d both shoot our loads, we’d hide under the sheets and review the photos together, looking up as he held the phone above our heads. Images of cock and hole, hard flesh and hairy ass would flash by as he’d swipe them across the little screen. “Let me text these to you,” he’d say. I have several of those selfies, still. One I don’t even remember him taking. In it, I’m sleeping in his arms, my face peaceful, even beatific. His face is in profile, his lips softly pressed against my forehead, his eyes closed as if he, too, is sleeping. Don’t we look beautiful together, he said, when he texted me. I had to agree.

Of course, that photo is a lie. Only one of us was unconscious. The other feigned slumber, while he took the shot. It’s a little detail—but it means a lot.

But none of these little disloyal thoughts crossed my mind that summer.

One morning we were cuddled in bed together, enjoying our post-coital ritual. We looked at the photos and murmured to each other about how much we’d enjoyed the sex. He showered me with compliments; I accepted them with a smile and a shy glow. I remember sighing happily, stretching out like a cat, and then snuggling next to Cory in sleepy contentment. Thinking I was napping, he continued to tap at his phone. Through heavy eyelids, I lazily watched as he switched apps to check his email.

I wasn’t snooping. I would never have gone through his email on my own. But he held the phone so that we both could see as he scrolled down his Yahoo! inbox, where I could plainly view the subject lines of all the mail he had waiting there. Craigslist reply 9045: Hotel top looking for bareback bottom, one of them said. He tapped it, unfurling into a long spiral of re: re: re: re: Craigslist reply 9045s that indicated a very long back and forth correspondence.

There were more Craigslist emails from other ads, more sexual correspondence—dozens of them in total, all within the week before, with titles that implied not that he’d been only hunting online, but that most of the guys writing him were after second or third helpings of Cory’s ass.

My brain casually assimilated and absorbed these facts before I realized, with a cold and painful shock, that none of these emails were intended for me to see. I turned my head, tried to slow my breath, and willed my heart to stop its tattoo. After a moment he must have realized that he was exposing his private correspondence. He attempted to change back to the photo app. He couldn't do it quickly, though, with only one hand.

I remember watching him clumsily try to cover up his embarrassment, then finally closing my eyes. I pretended I hadn't seen anything.

In my stunned silence, I remember thinking: Okay, there’s that.

Throughout the previous winter, spring, and most of the summer, I’d been sexually exclusive with Cory. I’d save my loads for him, merely because my doing so gave him pleasure. I was happy not constantly to have to take long trips into the city for encounters that ranged from bad to mediocre. I loved the sex we’d had. After I accidentally saw his emails, it took me long months before I started having sex with other men again—but I consider that morning the point at which I stopped thinking about Cory in terms of sexual exclusivity.

To be absolutely fair, he’d never expected me to keep my dick in my pants. Several times, in fact, he’d told me he was perfectly all right with me fucking other men. But he loved hearing that I wanted only him. He loved when I’d say I didn’t need any other receptacle for my loads than his ass. He knew quite well I wasn’t looking elsewhere—and even though he’d theoretically given me my freedom, he’d specifically told me many times over, even up to and including that week, that I was the only man he was having sex with.

In fact, so flattered was I by his many assurances that he’d been with no one else, that he needed no one else other than me, that I'd been more than willing to have him as total focus of my erotic life.
How much it stung, the discovery that I wasn’t the only object of his desire.

But I’d been stung so many times, by so many men, that I kept the complaint to myself. I hardened myself against letting it hurt. I thought the betrayal was worth living with, in exchange for his company, his compliments.

I never knew whether or not Cory was aware that I’d seen those emails. Something came up soon after, though, that pushed his secret dalliances from top of the list to least of my concerns.

Not even a week had passed, after the morning I accidentally saw Cory’s emails, when he wanted to show me some videos on his laptop. We were curled up together in bed, sticky and sweaty and weighted down with Poochy’s considerable bulk, when Cory hauled his notebook onto his lap and started searching for something. Probably a dog video. He loved clips of hounds making funny noises, or begging in a cute way, or riding skateboards or whatever it is that viral canines do.
Cory wasn’t finding the particular video quickly, though, by typing generic keywords like funny dogs into YouTube. So he decided to open up his browsing history, and find it from the list of sites he’d recently visited.

Again, I should’ve shielded my eyes—or more truthfully, he should’ve been a hell of a lot more self-conscious about exposing his browsing history while he knew we both were looking at the screen. Among the various YouTube pages he’d visited were not only a long list of Craigslist links, but a series of addresses that all began with mrsteed64.blogspot.com.

Seeing my blog in his browsing history brought me up short. The shock I felt was even greater than witnessing his Craigslist correspondences; I actually felt feverish, and as if I needed to throw up. My health had been up and down recently, anyway. While Cory played that damned dog video, I felt waves of nausea and disgust roll over me.

At last , when I couldn’t stand it any longer. I excused myself to the bathroom, where I leaned over the toilet for three or four minutes until I was sure nothing was going to come up. Then I went back to the bedroom, collected my clothing, and made an excuse to leave a little earlier than usual. Cory just lay in the bed, watching videos and laughing to himself, never realizing that anything was wrong.

Back at home, I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Never, at any point, had Cory mentioned that he’d read or known about my blog. Not once. Nor had I mentioned having one. Remember, I met Cory a mere six weeks after my enervating, grueling experience with Cheater, who’d secretly been reading my blog long before he’d tracked me down and lured me into his bed. The possibility that history was repeating itself again, so soon, was making my stomach flip.

On the other hand. . . . Once I was a little more calm, I had to admit that if Cory had been a covert blog reader, he had acted remarkably little upon what knowledges he’d gleaned. Cheater had come at me determined to push every button. He’d weaponized every word I’d written in order to get me to fuck him, and employed every bit of trivia to keep me unloading into his hole.

I never got the sense that Cory had done anything like that. Our sex had been damned good—up until that point, anyway. Even in retrospect, though, not once did it seem calculated or false.

Cory had never committed any of the misdemeanors of which other readers in this particular series were profoundly guilty. He hadn’t nagged to be written about. He hadn’t read entries about himself—and by that point there’d been a few—and then expressed displeasure. Never had he seemed to pretend to be into anything he wasn’t, in order to gain my approval; never had he given the appearance of fabricating stories to coerce me to want him. At least, not as far as I knew.

Was I even sure that Cory had been a reader of my blog all along? Perhaps he’d just stumbled upon it, and was shy about mentioning the discovery. Maybe he’d been a reader, but hadn’t made the connection between the blog and myself in real life. He could simply have resolved to remain discreet about his knowledge.

Did the discovery really change anything? I wasn’t sure. The nausea the initial shock had induced lingered for days, causing me more than once that week to jump up from my seat and run to the bathroom. Nights, I’d wake up feverish and sweating as well, only to flash back in the dark to the sight of my blog’s address on his computer’s screen. The physical aftereffects were concerning—but following the trauma I’d experienced with Cheater, they didn’t really surprise me, either. On some level, I was learning to expect betrayal. Even from Cory.

That week was one of the few in which I only saw the boy during our regular Tuesday assignation. I used my suddenly perpetually-upset stomach as an excuse for the rest of the week to keep to myself, while I mulled over what I wanted.

It would have been very easy simply to pull away from Cory after that double whammy. Maybe I even should have. Was closing myself off what the universe wanted me to do, though? After Cheater, after Mr. BipolarCocksucker, perhaps my instincts of self-preservation were kicking into overdrive too easily. If I’d retreated—if I’d told Cory I couldn’t see him any longer, if I’d invoked that clause in our agreement that would make him disappear forever—would I be throwing away something good, for little reason than fear?

That wasn’t like me, I told myself.

People disappoint each other, I reasoned. I’m well aware that in the past I have let down those closest to me, sometimes in a major way. I probably will again in the future. But did they walk away after one or two offenses? Sure, Cory had perhaps made mistakes, either in fooling around and being a secret blog reader, or else in accidentally cluing me in to both. Were those mistakes enough to stop seeing him? Or should I be giving him another chance?

By the following week, my health had recuperated slightly, and I’d come to a decision. Tuesday arrived. I drove to the house where Cory lived, parked, let myself in the side door, walked up the little servants’ staircase and into the suite where he lived. I kicked off my sandals and shucked my shorts and tee. Then, as Cory sleepily smiled at me and lifted the sheet, I crawled into the bed and pressed my naked body and hardening cock against his.

I, too, smiled.

Part of me wants to say this was the worst and most fateful decision I’ve ever made. Honestly, though . . . by then, all the damage yet to be discovered had probably had been done.

(To be continued.)



Afterword


During my hiatus, I’ve received from readers a lot of very sweet emails wishing me well. Most of them have recognized the amount of work I’ve poured into my blog and have expressed their thanks. I’m so grateful for those sentiments.

Many people who’ve written, however, have made the assumption that the reason I have decided to take a break is because of the so-called haters—that is, the men who leave nasty comments on my blog, and those who go out of their way to make sure I understand how contemptible I am to them.

I’ve had plenty of haters over the years. They wear me down, yes. But more than anyone, the men who have sucked the joy out of my writing (and to a certain extent, my life) are those who meant well. They’re men who claimed to admire me, who wanted to meet me—and many of them did—and who then, whether out of clumsiness or fear or whatever, failed to recognize they’d gone too far. A man can only withstand so many successive blows to the ego (even an ego as Jericho-sturdy as mine) before it begins to tumble.

What’s more, every single one of these men read my blog. They’re men who subscribed to my point of view, who enjoyed my writing. Or read my writing, at least. Some of them wanted to be written about. Others never intended me to know they were blog fans.

Maybe one of these men is you.

If it is you? Although there’s a small and petty part of me that wants to flip a finger in your direction, I’m not going to. I’m moving on as I write this series. A friend of mine shared with me something his grandmother used to say that I truly believe: People do the best they can. If they could do better, they would.

My advice, if you think you recognize yourself . . . or even if you don’t: do better.

All of us could stand to do better.

Monday, August 7, 2017

13 Reasons Why/Tape 9: Cory 1

How long did I put off writing about Cory? Years. He blasted into my life like a natural disaster, swept me off my feet, and tossed me around. And like an act of God, he vanished and left me for dead, trailing a lengthy wake of destruction behind him.

I wrote several entries about Cory, long ago. They’re still there. I can’t re-read them, though. The memories are still too. . . .

I’m not surely how neatly to end that sentence. Too raw? Too confusing? Too embarrassing?

Perhaps all those completions apply.

Some context. I wrote earlier in this series about Cheater, the man several years back I fucked savagely and repeatedly, only to discover, after he’d exhibited a number of stalker-like behaviors, that all along he read my blog and used what he’d learned to ingratiate himself with me.

Cory followed Cheater by a mere couple of months; he was my attempt at a rebound into a more sane sexual relationship.

You know what they say. Out of the frying pan. Into the white-hot core of the sun.

Cory and I were lovers. For the better part of an entire year, I saw Cory more or less exclusively. I invested more emotion in him. . . .

And here’s another sentence I don’t know how to finish. Saying more or less implies an equation that needs balancing—an algebra of exchange requiring justification on both sides. However, there was no equity between Cory and I, in the end.

Let me fire off a few test rounds:

I invested more emotion in him than I ever intended.

I invested more emotion in him than he ever did in me.

I almost want to say I invested more emotion in him than I should have, but even at the remove of a few years, I don’t yet have the perspective necessary to determine that one.

I wish he were that easy to write off.




For six weeks after Cheater’s stalking, I shut myself off from the world. I was afraid to open the door and find another bag of dog turds, frightened even of going to the supermarket and running into him there. Scared of my own shadow, I was for a little while. I felt betrayed, and silly, and old.

I met Cory online in that winter of my solitude, one lonely and frigid Tuesday morning. When he opened his private profile photos for me to view, I found myself both intimidated and taken aback by his beauty. His photos were grainy selfies taken with an older model of smartphone, but despite their potato quality, they still stunned me at first glance.

I was startled by Cory’s mane of impossibly sleek long hair that hung in a raven curtain to his waist, his haunted anime-size eyes, the cheekbones that could slice cheese, the strong, almost comic-book-hero chin. I gazed at the shots of his long, lean, naked, twenty-seven-year-old torso, and felt an old, familiar stirring. Not merely in my pants. Although I’d cut the wires to my sex drive a month and a half before, after Cheater, Cory’s photos got the mental engine revving again.

Eventually I summoned up the courage to ask Cory what he did for a living. He told me he was a runway and fit model for a major fashion house in the city. Previously he’d starred in multiple print campaigns for other major designers. He offered to text me some photos of his print work. The engine thrummed into a higher gear at the sight of him objectified in international jeans and men’s fashion ads for big, big names.

What decided me, though, were the selfies he took and texted as he urged me to come to his place. He was naked once more in those candid shots, his lean body stretched out on his mattress, his dark eyes drilling into the camera lens with the intensity of laser fire. He’d taken those shots for me. He wanted me. And he wanted me right now and then. On a cold Tuesday morning, his need for me warmed me more than a summer sunbath. I hesitated only a moment more before swigging some mouthwash and hopping in my car.

Another reason I agreed to visit that first morning was because Cory lived so close. The address he sent was less than a mile away, up the street I was living on at the time and around a few corners. To be honest, I had to challenge myself to go through with the meeting, rather than let myself be daunted by his youth and extreme good looks.

I’m easily cowed by beautiful men.

What terrifies me even more, though, is wealth. The address I thought was close by turned out to be in what we call the ‘back country,’ that fabled green section of this already-wealthy town where the estate lots are measured by dozens of acres instead of hundreds of square feet. The few corners were so alien, and I became helplessly lost among the unmarked roads and thick greenery. When a broad boulevard appeared before me that wasn’t on my GPS’s maps, I gave in and phoned Cory for directions. It turned out that the boulevard was really his driveway.

This endless, long thoroughfare was his fucking driveway, I thought to myself as I drove my jalopy up to the estate at the top of the hill. The notion that I would be stripping naked with someone who actually owned this sprawl made me tense and sweaty. The house, once it loomed from behind the primeval forest, was one of those nineteenth-century Gothic revival homes straight out of a Shirley Jackson novel. Expansive front porch. Widow’s walk high above the house’s center. Stone porch. Room tacked onto room tacked randomly onto room like the Winchester House.

And there, sprawled on the wide stone railing of the porch, sat Cory, seemingly unaware of my approach. He pecked away on his iPhone, barefoot on that cold winter’s day, wearing nothing more than a white tee, blue jeans, and a pair of oversized brown sunglasses. A waterfall of dark hair cascaded over his right shoulder and down his chest. There were no photographers, but he looked all the world as if he were shooting a denim company ad on a spring day.

Then, as I pulled my car to a stop, he looked up from his phone and lifted his glasses. With his eyes he smiled at me; his lips followed suit shortly thereafter. He reached out an enormous hand as I stepped out onto the drive. My hands are large. Cory’s paws made mine seem like a doll’s. I extended my own to shake. But he took it in a clasp, held it there, and didn’t let go.

Of course I assumed he owned the place. He’d told me he was a successful model. And Cory certainly acted like lord of the manor. With my hand feeling tiny in his, he led me through the front door and into a main hall stuffed with country antiques. Through another door he escorted me into a gourmet’s kitchen, then up what used to be a servant’s stair to the house’s east wing. His house had wings.

Cory had a suite at the top of the narrow little staircase, private and quiet, bathed in sunlight from the skylights set in the twenty-foot ceiling. Still holding my hand, he guided me to his bed. I don’t know whether he sensed my nervousness. Perhaps. But he lay me back, and settled the pillows behind my shoulders, and urged me to relax. Then, with one hand stroking my hair and the other tugging impatiently at my zipper, he whispered to me how beautiful he found me. How much he had always desired me.

I melted. I was hooked.

Over time I’ve come to realize that Cory collected me. He’d made up his mind, added me to his online shopping cart, and clicked the button demanding express delivery. He seduced me with a directness that, in retrospect, turned out to be astonishingly confident. That confidence, though, was tempered with a tenderness I so badly needed, though, after my stalking experience with Cheater. I’d just gotten out of a bad run with a guy who’d studied my blog and used his knowledge of me to get what he wanted. With Cory it seemed—it seemed—that perhaps this time around I might get as good as I gave.

Cory knew he had me with the sex, though. Sex between us was always incendiary. He would beg for my dick inside him, three, four, five times a session. Thrust for thrust he’d meet me, crying out at the top of his lungs, telling me how mine was the only dick he wanted. Sometimes he would lay me back on the mattress and ride me, slowly, deliberately, milking me with his ass muscles, stealing the loads I might greedily try to keep from him. He could be romantic, then nasty, on the turn of a dime. The entire time I’d keep stealing glances at his handsome face—glances only, as staring at Cory for too long could be blinding, like staring into the sun—and wondering how I’d gotten so lucky.

Every visit he’d surprise me. One day he’d step out from behind a door to greet me with a romantic kiss, his body naked and still steaming from a hot shower. Another time I’d find him spread face-down on his mattress, legs apart, designer underwear torn slightly, the words OPEN HERE scrawled with permanent marker on the fabric, ready for me to rip open and ruin. One day he’d keep my underwear and make me wear his, and then return my own on my next visit, caked with his semen.

And then he would pin me to the bed and hold me down while once more he rode me, taking his pleasure deliberately, almost cruelly, until at last he would blast an enormous load on my chest and face. He was aggressive about his needs, and I’d strive to match Cory’s hunger, fuck for fuck.

As I said, there was enormous confidence in Cory’s assumptions. He assumed from the beginning, for example, that I’d be his confidante, as well as his lover. Immediately, willingly, I became his grateful, sex-addled sidekick. I tagged along behind him whoever he wanted to go, just like his dog, Poochy. He and Poochy and I would huddle beneath the sheets in that sometimes-glacial room while he’d tell me about his life. I learned that he was a twin, one of two brothers in an enormous Mennonite family from California. I learned that as a child he’d fallen down a well, and that the manhunt for him had lasted days. I learned that he’d been an enormous billboard idol in Japan of almost rock star proportions, during a campaign for a brand of footwear.

Soon, though, the image I carried of him as the wealthy and reclusive young owner of this fashionable old back country manor eroded, to be replaced by something much more banal. Through his stories, I found out the house and property actually belonged to a couple that he worked for; she was some kind of high-powered financier, he did something in politics. They were rarely home. I never saw them.

Cory had indeed been a model for many years, but was taking a so-called break from the business. In the meantime he was earning his living by acting as caretaker of the couple’s son—a paraplegic teen with severe mental disabilities. He was a nurse, essentially, though he didn’t have a nursing degree. The couple loved him, he said, because he gave them hope. They intended to will the house to him after their deaths. This was his home forever, he told me. I'd always be welcome.

I lapped it up, utterly undismayed by any of the revelations. I was addled, I know, by Cory’s good looks.

Spencer, my dancer, had been breathtaking in his beauty. He’d not been an actual male model, though. And I mean no disloyalty—none in the least—when I say that compared to Cory, Spencer’s looks were ordinary.

Every time I basked in Cory’s presence, I’d find myself astonished by his sheer star power. I’d arrive at the house in the spring and find Cory stretched out in the sunlight by the pool, naked and waiting for me . . . and every time, all over again, a wave of helplessness and admiration would wash over me, as strong as it had the first time we’d met. Cory and I would walk through Manhattan on hot summer weekends together, hand in hand, with Poochy on a leash, and I’d notice how everyone—men and women alike—would stare at him, and murmur quietly to each other, trying to figure out if he was a Someone.

Wherever we went together, people would assume we were a couple. The envy in their eyes made me viciously happy. The first time he’d reached for my hand in public, however, I’d balked. I didn’t grow up in a time of public displays of affection between homos.

“Don’t worry. I’ll always protect you,” he told me then, and grabbed my fingers in between his, just as he had that winter morning we’d met.

I believed him.

I believed it all.

I believed when he told me how beautiful I was. I believed when he told me he’d been exclusive with me during the winter and spring. I believed, and I’d saved all my sexual energies exclusively for him. Our Tuesday mornings turned into Tuesdays and Thursdays, with evenings sometimes thrown in. Sometimes we were sneaking time for each other on weekends. Anytime I had a couple of hours to myself and Cory wasn’t working, we’d meet, and strip, and fuck, and talk.

I allowed myself to be flattered by the attentions of a younger, more beautiful man. I basked in the warm glow of his shining glory. I was proud of how he turned heads, male and female alike, when we were out together. Shamefully, I confess I relished that glorious moment when they would realize Cory was mine.

Was I in love with him?

Ah. Well.

Our sex was so intense that somehow I never noticed how I’d sped past and over that first flush of love—I wasn’t allotted an in-love stage in which I pined for Cory, yearned to see him again. Without me realizing, Cory maneuvered a beauty-addled, silly old man into a more complex manifestation of almost paternal love in which I cared for him, in which I wanted to be supportive, in which I needed to help him solve his problems and get his life in order.

We fucked hard. Cory made me feel desired. He admitted me into his orbit, and as a consequence, I felt grateful to be a minor satellite to the blazing sun of his beauty. However, a satellite is never truly one with the object of its gravity. It revolves around the greater mass while all the time, it attempts to avoid the crush of its inexorable pull.

No. I wasn't in love with the boy.

I let Cory tell me he loved me, though. He’d say the words as I was impaling him, or when he approached a climax. “Let me be in love with you,” he begged me early on. “You don’t have to feel the same. I won’t be a threat to your relationship, your home. If you ever want me to go, just say the word and I’ll disappear. I promise.”

After the trauma of Cheater, I needed to hear assurances like those. From beginning to end, we had that bargain—and never did I have to take him up on his promise.

Because in the end, Cory disappeared anyway.

(To be continued.)



Afterword

During my hiatus, I’ve received from readers a lot of very sweet emails wishing me well. Most of them have recognized the amount of work I’ve poured into my blog and have expressed their thanks. I’m so grateful for those sentiments.

Many people who’ve written, however, have made the assumption that the reason I have decided to take a break is because of the so-called haters—that is, the men who leave nasty comments on my blog, and those who go out of their way to make sure I understand how contemptible I am to them.
I’ve had plenty of haters over the years. They wear me down, yes. But more than anyone, the men who have sucked the joy out of my writing (and to a certain extent, my life) are those who meant well. They’re men who claimed to admire me, who wanted to meet me—and many of them did—and who then, whether out of clumsiness or fear or whatever, failed to recognize they’d gone too far. A man can only withstand so many successive blows to the ego (even an ego as Jericho-sturdy as mine) before it begins to tumble.

What’s more, every single one of these men read my blog. They’re men who subscribed to my point of view, who enjoyed my writing. Or read my writing, at least. Some of them wanted to be written about. Others never intended me to know they were blog fans.

Maybe one of these men is you.

If it is you? Although there’s a small and petty part of me that wants to flip a finger in your direction, I’m not going to. I’m moving on as I write this series. A friend of mine shared with me something his grandmother used to say that I truly believe: People do the best they can. If they could do better, they would.

My advice, if you think you recognize yourself . . . or even if you don’t: do better.

All of us could stand to do better.

Monday, July 31, 2017

13 Reasons Why/Tape 8: MrBipolarCockSucker

Let me take you back to an October night six years ago. I’m sitting in a karaoke bar with several friends, a second can of hard cider on the wooden counter in front of me. It’s a cold evening. We’re not far from the front door and I have to zipper my sweatshirt and tug the hood over my head, because guys keep the door ajar when they leave the bar to smoke. It’s amazing, how much chill three inches can admit. But my little group is laughing, and daring each other to sing certain songs when our turns come, and having a silly good time.

My phone buzzes in my jeans pocket. I pull it out. Check the screen. It’s from Blogspot. When someone comments on my blog, the site sends an email with the automatically-posted content.

Frequent comments not an unusual occurrence, then; my blog is at the height of its popularity and notoriety. One mention on a single website brought me over twenty thousand new visits on a single day, not long before this night. The blog has brought me several opportunities I wouldn’t have had, otherwise. I’ve been asked to contribute to a book; I’ve had one of my essays solicited for a quarterly of literary erotica. Sure, I’ve had a couple of run-ins with hostile passers-by who want to lecture me about having either too much sex or about celebrating sensuality without apology, but I’m still feeling the first flush of my notoriety, such as it is.

I might’ve encountered a couple of bumps along my road, but no potholes. Not until that night.

The email from Blogspot is a cold, wet slap to the face. You fucking asshole I am going to track you down motherfucker how dare you how dare you how dare you oh you just know I am going to get my revenge you have seen nothing yet, sssssnake.

The frost in my veins isn’t from the open doorway. It’s my own blood, freezing me where I sit. What the actual fuck is going on?

In my hand, my phone vibrates once more. Another mail arrives in my box, also from Blogspot. I know all your sssssnake sssssecrets and soon the world is going to know them and won’t that be a pretty picture, you shouldn’t have opened this door but it’s all your fault all your fault and you can’t run or hide because I know where you ssssslither, it reads.

Jesus Christ.

What’s happening on my phone, as I stare at the screen, unable to react or move, is like a scene from a bad techno-horror summer popcorn movie from the nineties starring Sandra Bullock as a programmer who has stumbled into a dangerous back alley of the internet on her Netscape browser and discovers Secrets She Shouldn’t Have Stumbled Upon. Email after email from Blogspot pops up on my screen at an accelerating pace, as if someone on the other end is pounding at the keys as fast they can and smashing the send button.

I can read the first lines in my mail program.

When your family finds out what a ssssslippery sssssnake you really are. . . .

I am going to find you and then you are going to pay. . . .

You are a missssserable sssssnake and I am going to. . . .

There’s nowhere you can hide from me because. . . .

Dimly, it occurs to me that every one of these horrible emails is at this moment visible as a comment on my blog.

Back in those innocent days, you see, I was so confident that the reception of my sexual adventures would be so uniformly positive and welcoming that of course I allowed my readers to post comments anonymously, without moderation. All someone had to do was to type in the box, hit the little button, and it would immediately appear.

This is the night that changed, if you haven’t yet figured it out.

My phone is fairly new by the standards of six years ago, but that night it seemed glacially slow as I use my smokin' hot 3G connection and a palm-sized browser to connect to Blogspot and manually delete the . . . holy fuck . . . fifteen threats! . . . from the same poison pen that have already been posted.

The problem is, however, that the guy is penning comments at a manic pace. I delete one, and two pop up in its place. I delete those only to find six more. They’re like poisonous little cyber Tribbles.

The poster catches on that I’m deleting comments, and soon he begins taunting me. Hahaha ssssssnake I can keep this up all night there is no ssssssilencing me, not after what you said about me. All your sssssssecrets are going to come tumbling out and you will be exposed and everyone will know what you really are, ssssssnake!

Not only is he now posting, but he’s doing so to multiple entries, all over the life of the blog, so that I have first to find the entry, let it load, and then delete it.

Motherfucker.

While I panic and stab at my little touchscreen with my thumbs, life is still going on around me. My friends are laughing and drinking, the karaoke is still blaring, people are trying to engage me in conversation. All I can do, however, is sit glued to my bar stool in a panic.

I know that there’s an option on Blogger to moderate comments—that is, to set it so that it won’t automatically post this guy’s unhinged stream of consciousness to the blog. The problem is, it takes me a while to find the right page . . . and then it takes my smokin’ hot 3G connection even longer to connect to the damned thing. Finally, though, I find the toggle deep in Blogspot’s recesses and flip it.

My phone keeps vibrating, but that I expect. Blogspot is still sending me every single email, which by now was in the forties or fifties. But at least the vicious taunts are no longer sullying my pages.
The phone is now buzzing so insistently that my friends ask if someone is trying to get in urgent touch with me. I laugh and make excuses while I expunge the last two dozen hateful remarks. Who could have such animus against me, so strongly and suddenly? Not after what you said about me, he’d said. So it wasn’t a random stranger. It had to be someone who knew my blog. Who in the world. . . ?

Then I know. I know beyond a doubt who has become unhinged. Welcome to your tape, Mr. BipolarCockSucker!

There used to be another blogger known as Mr. BipolarCockSucker. No, that wasn’t his actual name. It’ll do. Some of you might even remember him. Our blogs were both quite popular at roughly the same time. People still ask me about him today. Mr. BipolarCockSucker kept a very specialized sex blog that featured photos of men sucking dick in public. Each x-rated shot he’d accompany with a few paragraphs about his thoughts. Sometimes he’d speculate on when or where these men learned to suck; sometimes he’d get visceral about the sensations he himself experienced sucking dick, himself. Quite often he’d post video footage of him sucking—he had a busy XTube page at one time (though it seems to be gone now).

I liked Mr. BipolarCockSucker’s blog. He was a wry writer with a sly sense of humor. All of his posts were sexy. Clearly he knew what he was talking about, when it came to dick and public cruising. Mr. BipolarCockSucker obviously was an educated man who had a lot of sex and relished sharing his experiences. Like me, he was unapologetic about his favorite hobby.

I commented on his blog frequently; sharp-eyed readers can still find his comments littering my earlier entries. We had a good back-and-forth rapport. Or so I thought.

However, Mr. BipolarCockSucker had a pattern that, repeated a half-dozen times, eventually annoyed me. He’d carry on with his blog at a brisk pace, posting half a dozen entries per day. Then, eventually, he’d start to complain. Why were readers commenting only on the posts with photos, he’d wonder?

And why, when he’d write a straight essay, did they complain MOAR PIX? Why wasn’t he getting more comments? Enough comments? If he didn’t get more comments, he’d grouse, he’d take down the blog altogether—and just how would his readers like that?

His concerns were valid, I think. But instead of either rolling with the punches or being grateful to the readers (myself included) who continued to post comments, Mr. BipolarCockSucker would eventually fly into a huff, write an ultimatum, then delete his blog entirely. The whole thing would vanish overnight, without a trace.

Then, months later, Mr. BipolarCockSucker would start up a new blog with the same themes with a slightly different name at a different site, as if nothing had ever happened.

As I said, I suffered through Mr. BipolarCockSucker repeating this pattern five or six times. The first couple of disappearances, I was sympathetic. I knew what it was like to have readers who were obnoxiously demanding, posts that received no comments, and followers who would get aggressive and demand less wordsmithing, more fucking and how about some goddamned pics?

Around the third time, though, my reaction was more along the lines of, Sheesh, not again. Then I actively started rolling my eyes when his hissy fit and subsequent disappearing act would happen, as it inevitably would.

Someone can fill me in on the details if I’m wrong, here, but there was also a really weird incident in which Mr. BipolarCockSucker’s blog vanished, then started up again a couple of months later, per usual, only to disappear after a good run—and then Mr. BipolarCockSucker basically showed up in its place and said something like, “Sorry guys, I don’t know who that last Mr. BipolarCockSucker was, but he was a fake! It wasn’t me. I’m back now!”

And I was supposed to believe, somehow, that the faux Mr. BipolarCockSucker wrote exactly like the real Mr. BipolarCockSucker, provided the same kind of content as the real Mr. BipolarCockSucker, and was indistinguishable in all ways from Mr. BipolarCockSucker, but wasn’t really Mr. BipolarCockSucker?

I lost patience. I mentioned something in my blog about him.

I didn’t write, as I’m doing now, an entire Mr. BipolarCockSucker expose. I barely mentioned him, in fact. In the entry in question, I recall complaining more bluntly about another, different, much more vile blogger, who recently had written a post in which he was rude and derogatory about one of his fucks. The blogger had called the poor anonymous guy a ‘fatty’ and made it sound like the guy was a charity fuck—despite the fact that the blogger himself was pretty chubby and a quite frankly horrible person. I’m not body shaming either man here—I was pissed at the time, and still am, that the blogger in question would ever betray and violate someone he slept with by calling the bottom names behind his back, just so the top blogger could feel more studly than he really was.

My feeling is that sex bloggers are already in a oddly precarious relationship with their sex partners. They rely on them for material—so they should honor them by treating them with a respect they’ve earned . . . if they’ve earned it. Sex partners deserve respect, and so do readers, I said, even when they aren’t one and the same.

Then, in passing, that I remarked somewhat vaguely that I thought other bloggers did their readers a disservice when they’d complain about reader comments and then make the entirety of their posts inaccessible.

That was it. That last fleeting sentence was all I said about Mr. BipolarCockSucker. I didn’t call him out by name. I didn’t say I thought any less of his blog. But less than twenty-four hours before the barrage of hate mails commenced, I’d made an allusion to him, and it seemed mighty coincidental that now I was receiving anonymous hate mail about it.

(I knew the blogger I’d really gone off on wasn’t the perpetrator. I’d have said the same things to his face—and I have.)

That night I received over two-hundred emails from Blogspot, all of them Mr. BipolarCockSucker’s increasingly insane comments on my latest post. Long after I turned off my phone so that it would stop buzzing, they kept coming; he must not have slept at all that night because the time stamps on the emails started shortly after ten in the evening and they were still coming in at two, three, five, eight, ten o’clock in the morning.

Ssssssssssssssssssnake ssssssssssssssssss, many of them read. I was freaked out by the onslaught. At this point in my blogging career, I’d never encountered anything like it.

It wasn’t as if I actually thought Mr. BipolarCockSucker was going to leap out of a closet with a knife. For one thing, he’d have to detach himself from his keyboard to make the journey from Illinois, and that didn’t seem likely. But the fact that one offhand remark could send someone on a fucking crazy bender of hate mail boggled me. If this was my first exposure to the drawbacks of internet ‘fame,’ it felt like someone chained me to the explosives of a building scheduled for implosion, and pushed the plunger.

As if there were any doubt to the identity of the poison pen, the very next day Mr. BipolarCockSucker made a post in his blog that I was his public enemy number one and that his readers should let me know what they think of me by boycotting me and sending me hate mail.
Oh yes. Really. It was fan-fuckin-tastic, man.

Only one of his lackeys followed his orders, however—a loyal Mr. BipolarCockSucker lapdog who, every day for months (until I figured out how to block his IP address), would post a blog comment along the lines of dude ur blog is a shitty ripoff of Mr. BipolarCockSucker and u are really ugly too lol. At least the stylistic difference between the two made it easy to tell, in the coming months, which poison pen was which.

That’s right. Mr. BipolarCockSucker did not desist. Not for a while. The two-hundred- posts-per-twelve-hours frequency decreased, but only gradually; I’d say—conservatively—during the first week after the incident I received a little over a fifteen hundred hate mails from the guy via Blogpost—none of which appeared on the multiple pages to which he posted, but all of which I had to read as I sent them, one by one, to the reject bin.

Day after day I had to read this trash. After a month, the messages trailed off. I thought I was in the clear. Then three weeks later they started again, five or ten or twenty at a time, for a week, followed by silence for another three weeks. This vaguely lunar cycle endured for a good couple of years until at last he ceased completely.

Now, I didn’t give Mr. BipolarCockSucker his soubriquet for no reason. It was clear to me the entire time that he was actively sending me hate mail that the guy was living with bipolar disorder, or something very like. I have life experience coping with people living with the condition. I know its signs and expressions. The lifetime of his blog followed a general cycle of posting during the up phases and retreating and deleting during the down. With me, he’d go through manic periods in which I was his persecutor and betrayer and enemy number one who had to be warded off through massive amounts of sinister and increasingly incomprehensible hate mail about sssssnakes—and then he’d retreat once the high wore off. There were times that clearly his meds were working less efficiently than others, and then his irrational hatred and feelings of persecution would flare up out of control.

I feel now, and I reluctantly felt back then, a certain degree of sympathy for Mr. BipolarCockSucker and his medical condition. It didn’t really excuse what he was doing, but at least it helped me understand the compulsions behind the hate mail. Oh, that poor old sod is off his meds again is easier to think, than to lie awake at night and wonder why, why someone out there would have an vendetta against me.

Honestly, though, the realization didn’t make receiving all those hundreds and hundreds of hate mails from both Mr. BipolarCockSucker and his one loyal puppy dog any easier. To a festering wound, it was the mildest of balms.

I’ve said before that I’ve been writing these entries all out of order. Chronologically, this essay perhaps should have been the first. Before Mr. BipolarCockSucker, writing in my sex blog had been sheer enjoyment. Sure, I ran into the occasional person determined to put me down—but I’d never encountered anyone so off-balance that I worried for my safety.

From Mr. BipolarCockSucker I learned that one offhand remark could result in years of undeserved harassment—and that if I wanted to avoid a repeat, all I had to do over the blog’s lifetime was to guess which one phrase out of the hundreds of thousands I crafted might be incendiary, and not write it. Thanks to Mr. BipolarCockSucker, quite early on in my blogging career I found myself overthinking every word I set down: judging it for possible offense, weighing its implications for my future peace and sanity. Instead of writing and expressing myself, he taught me that it was safer to keep my damned opinions to myself.

There have been times, looking back, when I think to myself that a wise man would simply have shut down his blog right then and there. Of expunging it, so it couldn’t be used against himself . . . as mine would, time and time again.

If I’d followed the wise man’s route, I’d have been guilty of disappointing my readers—the very thing I’d suggested that Mr. BipolarCockSucker did every time he closed and relocated. But I might have avoided every single disappointment yet to come.

But, I try to console myself, I would’ve avoided a lot of joy, too. The joys of meeting new people. The joys of self discovery through sex, and through writing. The joys of accomplishment.

None of those are inconsiderate happinesses.

Sometimes, in my darker hours, I wonder, though, if I might have found other ways to be happy. Because as much as I dread it, starting next week I’ll be writing about my darkest hours yet.



Afterword

During my hiatus, I’ve received from readers a lot of very sweet emails wishing me well. Most of them have recognized the amount of work I’ve poured into my blog and have expressed their thanks. I’m so grateful for those sentiments.

Many people who’ve written, however, have made the assumption that the reason I have decided to take a break is because of the so-called haters—that is, the men who leave nasty comments on my blog, and those who go out of their way to make sure I understand how contemptible I am to them.
I’ve had plenty of haters over the years. They wear me down, yes. But more than anyone, the men who have sucked the joy out of my writing (and to a certain extent, my life) are those who meant well. They’re men who claimed to admire me, who wanted to meet me—and many of them did—and who then, whether out of clumsiness or fear or whatever, failed to recognize they’d gone too far. A man can only withstand so many successive blows to the ego (even an ego as Jericho-sturdy as mine) before it begins to tumble.

What’s more, every single one of these men read my blog. They’re men who subscribed to my point of view, who enjoyed my writing. Or read my writing, at least. Some of them wanted to be written about. Others never intended me to know they were blog fans.

Maybe one of these men is you.

If it is you? Although there’s a small and petty part of me that wants to flip a finger in your direction, I’m not going to. I’m moving on as I write this series. A friend of mine shared with me something his grandmother used to say that I truly believe: People do the best they can. If they could do better, they would.

My advice, if you think you recognize yourself . . . or even if you don’t: do better.

All of us could stand to do better.

Monday, July 24, 2017

13 Reasons Why/Tape 7: J. Crew 101

So. Earlier this year it was time for my annual Craigslist ad.

No, I don’t have a particular day or season I place Craigslist personals. Theoretically, I could put up an ad a day if I cared to.

I just don’t care to.

I’m aware that the site works for other people in other areas. For me, where I live, Craigslist is pretty much the online cruising spot of last resort. The site where horny hopes go to die a slow and painful death. The dirty red light district of the internet where you’re pretty sure the digital equivalent of scabies lurk in every shadow.

What exasperates me about the site is that it’s a place where one can be scientifically precise about who one is and what one is looking for, and yet will be sure to receive emails offering nothing but the exact opposite. I’m willing to put down hard cash money that this afternoon, if you were to write an ad starting out with I’m a bottom with a small dick looking for tops only, the very first reply you would receive would begin with the words, Hi, I saw your ad just now and I am looking for a big-dicked top like you to fuck me.

I’ll only reply to profiles with photos will yield scores of emails from horny souls who don’t include pictures or who are curiously allergic to cameras. Say Please be local, and you’ll be fielding inquiries from Lincoln, Nebraska. (Unless you are actually from Lincoln, Nebraska, and then you’ll get responses from men in my neighborhood.) Include the restriction, I’m only free after five this afternoon, and I guarantee every reply you receive will include the words, LOOKING 4 NOW???

The sheer signal-to-noise ratio on Craigslist is so low that it takes roughly twelve months for me to stop my shuddering from my last experience to give it another try. On this particular afternoon in May, though, I found myself in Manhattan for a meeting. I had some time open in the evening after I was done, and was looking for a little mischief.

And J. Crew 101 . . . that’s my cue to welcome you to your tape.

I knew my meeting would take several hours and that during the time I’d be in the conference room, I wouldn’t be able to keep stabbing at the phone to keep track on the GPS apps I tend to like. I couldn’t easily open up a website to cruise. What I could do, without really being overly distracted or distracting to others, was to place a Craigslist ad for later on. I could check the emails I received discreetly and easily, without seeming to the others around the table like I’d rather be somewhere else.

The ad I placed was straightforward. I said I was a married dude looking for a mouth or ass to unload in. I gave all my stats. I stated the specific block or time I was available. I made clear I’d only consider responses with photos. I said that I could not host, but I would travel either to the guy’s place, or meet him somewhere like a bookstore. Then, my mind busily envisioning all the topsy-turvy replies I’d be sure to get, I attached a clear photo and posted the damned thing.

The meeting had barely gotten past the previous month’s minutes when my Yahoo! mail account started to blow up. With what I assumed was a surreptitious air, I held the fingers of my left hand up to my eyebrow, shielding my eyes in a pose that I was pretty sure connoted deep and philosophical thought, while with my right hand underneath the table, I browsed through the missives. Looking 4 now?? Top here to fuck you at your place, was the first promising response. Hi, do you have a car and can you come out to Passaic right now? was the second.

I suppose my general approach to Craigslist is fatalistic, really. I know that roughly all the responses I’m going to get are going to be utter nonsense. I know that every rare occasion I'm sent a hot email it’ll be from someone who is ‘too discreet’ to have any photographs of himself taken, and that every time I receive a scorching pic from a guy, it’ll be accompanied by a meth-fueled stream of consciousness so addled and incoherent that it will leave my boner limp for a week. I sat there in that meeting, fingers pushing up my left eyebrow, flipping through message after message and thinking, Nope. Nope. Nuh-uh. God no. Really, dude? Nope. Fuck no.

Then, toward the end of my meeting, I finally got a bite from a man named Jim—though I’m calling him J. Crew 101 for the purposes of this entry—that made me sit up and take notice. The guy sent a pic—of his butt, admittedly, but it was a good-looking butt. In his email he said he was a married guy (to a man) who was looking for downlow fuckings that he wasn't getting at home. He needed someone discreet with whom he could share some extramarital, stress-relieving sex from time to time.

Sounded perfect to me.

I went out to dinner by myself when the meeting was done. In a little sandwich shop I sat, exchanging some preliminary emails with the guy. J. Crew 101 lived in Chelsea, not far from where I was. The face photo he sent was quite attractive. Clean-cut, preppy, fair-haired, shy in appearance, wearing a Casual Fridays business shirt rather than a bare torso. I’m really looking for someone passionate, who’ll take his time with me, he wrote. I rarely get the sex that I need. I’m choosy.

Sounded right up my alley.

Even though the guy was only a handful of city blocks away, I was in no rush to pressure him into meeting. For one thing, I didn’t know if he was LOOKING 4 NOW. For another, he kept reiterating that he wanted a longer-term, unrushed, physical relationship. You don’t insist on closing the deal in four email exchanges or less for something like that.

Instead of the Craigslist forwarding service we’d been using, I gave him my real email address, and then my cell number, so that we communicate that way. For the better part of ninety minutes, I ate my dinner and read my book and got to know J. Crew 101.

J. Crew 101 started having sex later in life. He was one of those Catholic boys so terrified of hell that he didn’t even masturbate until he was in college. He got into a relationship young, without sowing any of his wild oats, he confided in me. His husband of fifteen years would probably be relieved to know he was getting sex elsewhere, because it would absolve his husband of the guilt and unfulfilled responsibility of keeping J. Crew 101 satisfied. Did I understand?

My life had been completely different, I told him. I was sexed young, and never really stopped. I made my confession, too: that in the last couple of years I’d been so discouraged by a couple of men that for a time—and this was perfectly true—I’d decided it was less soul-crushing to remain celibate than to get involved and broken again. It wasn’t that I was too easily disillusioned by the men I’d been seeing, I explained. It was that the men I’d been seeing seemed incredibly eager to disappoint me.

We exchanged several emails, and then texts, along that vein. It was nice to open up to a stranger; though I didn’t dwell on my recent sorrows so much that I sounded like an Eeyore, he gave me the space to state my recent disappointments and my hopes for a new beginning. And although he didn’t bad-mouth his husband, he let me know that something was lacking in his life, and that he was trying to rectify the situation . . . albeit by answering a Craigslist ad. Which we both agreed was not the most likely way for either of us to remedy our ills.

I liked J. Crew 101. As sunset began to fall, I took my phone and my backpack to a small park by the hospital and continued to chat with him. He told me that he felt confident to meet sometime soon, and floated a few possible dates. I told him my availability, and the times I’d most likely be back in his neighborhood. And then he had to go make dinner for his husband.

I spent another couple of hours in the city, having drinks with a friend, and was on my way back to the train when J. Crew 101 sent me an abrupt email. Hey, I think we want the same things, he said. But I think you're "too advanced" for me. Apologies. Good luck. 

The fuck, I thought. What was this ‘too advanced’ shit, and where was it coming from? I’m sorry to hear that, I wrote back with a clenched jaw, but a determination to remain polite. It’s a shame you’ve talked yourself into this decision. I won’t attempt to convince you to change your mind, as you’ve apparently conjured up a number of imaginary reasons why we wouldn’t be good for each other. I wish you’d spared me hoping that I’d made a new friend.

I really was trying not to be rude to the guy. Quite the opposite—I was aiming to be as nonjudgmental as possible in my response. At the same time, though, my feelings were of utter dejection. I mean, I’d found a guy—on Craigslist, of all things—who had potential. We liked each other so far. In person, our chemistry may or may not have worked. But we both wanted similar things, and we’d gotten along.

His sudden rejection not only stung, but it reminded me that perhaps I should’ve expected it.

One of the philosophies in which I’ve believed, for large chunks of my life anyway, is in the innate generosity of the universe. For many years I’ve always said that the universe always offers us a rich banquet of opportunities, and that all we have to do to keep receiving them is to tell the universe yes.

Say yes to new people, and yes to new conversations and ideas, and yes to whatever weird, fun, and wonderful strokes of good fortune come our way. Telling the universe yes, I’ll try that, or yes, I will, or most importantly, yes, I’ll take this chance is what expands our horizons and makes our lives rich and worth living.

Saying no, I won’t, or no, not this time, or no, I’m fine where I am is what diminishes us as men and women, and makes our lives smaller. Say no often enough, and opportunity will vanish altogether.

That’s what I believed, I’d told J. Crew 101 (in an abbreviated version) earlier that evening. A few encounters with bum guys—and I meant everyone in this series of essays, and those I have yet to write about—had shaken that belief. I’d closed myself off, and was only this last spring considering starting to say yes once again.

And now, when I was saying yes, please, to J. Crew 101, J. Crew 101 was saying not a chance. Slamming the door in my face.

I was shaken. But I recognized, somehow, that it wasn’t me. It was him.

I didn’t expect a reply from him to my polite goodbye. I got one, though. I googled your email, he told me. (After my last two entries in this series, we all know how I feel about being stalked online.) I found your blog. I’ve been reading it for the last two hours. I jacked off three times reading it. But you’re too advanced for me.

At that point in May, I hadn’t written in my blog in ages. I’d been on my hiatus for seven months. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d ever be moved to write again. I’d contemplated several times deleting it entirely—but enough former fondness for the project lingered that I hadn’t yet given in to the impulse.

But there it sat, my blog. Ironic, that most of my resentments to the blog lay in the way I’d been treated by a handful of longtime readers—and now it was causing a first-time reader to reject me outright. For once there was something cruel in the accusation that I was at the postdoc level of sexual depravity, while J. Crew was content merely to take the 101-level seminar. Not even take the seminar. Audit it. He didn't have the courage to commit  to completing anything—nor when he could walk out the moment it made him feel awkward.

I didn’t reply. What could I say to the guy that didn’t reek of recrimination? That he’d apparently found me and my blog enticing enough to jack off three loads in two hours, but that I was the sex fiend, here? What could I say that didn’t sound like an apology or a repudiation of what I am? Was I supposed to grovel I hadn’t written in the blog for months and months and would he pleeeeeease consider taking me back? That I’d reformed?

J. Crew 101’s decision was his; I didn’t intend to make him feel badly for making it. I’m always telling readers to know their own comfort levels, and to stick to them. That’s all J. Crew 101 did, essentially. I wasn’t going to apologize for my sexual being. I am what I am. (And he’d been the one to answer my ad for blatant and remorseless sex, after all.)

But most interesting of all, I didn’t want to renounce my blog. I wasn’t going to wave it away as a triviality, or claim it was just a passing phase, or diminish it in any way at all. I felt oddly defensive over the poor little neglected thing, all of a sudden. Even if I didn’t really want to add to it right then or there . . . at least J. Crew 101 lit a little spark of protectiveness in me.

These entries I’ve been writing out of sequence all along. Basically I’ve been trying to space out the more dire and difficult to write about with some of the more easy or comic annoyances. Maybe this should have been the first in the series, because it really gave rise to my desire to express all the grievances I’ve been bottling up over the last several years. My encounter with J. Crew 101 made me want to holler my anger aloud, to shout back, to catalog the wrongs that have fettered me, over and over again. Maybe it should be the series' last, since it kicked off these entries that followed.

So thanks for being an asshole, J. Crew 101—and you were indeed an asshole, even if you were the asshole who got me started on this path of airing my grievances. One of these days, before it’s too late, I hope you’ll open your eyes and realize that amazing opportunities are passing you by every day—even from something as grungy and unlikely as Craigslist, and even from 'too advanced' lowlifes like me. And I hope that you have the courage, some day, to say yes . . . before there’s nothing left to say yes to.



Afterword

During my hiatus, I’ve received from readers a lot of very sweet emails wishing me well. Most of them have recognized the amount of work I’ve poured into my blog and have expressed their thanks. I’m so grateful for those sentiments.

Many people who’ve written, however, have made the assumption that the reason I have decided to take a break is because of the so-called haters—that is, the men who leave nasty comments on my blog, and those who go out of their way to make sure I understand how contemptible I am to them.
I’ve had plenty of haters over the years. They wear me down, yes. But more than anyone, the men who have sucked the joy out of my writing (and to a certain extent, my life) are those who meant well. They’re men who claimed to admire me, who wanted to meet me—and many of them did—and who then, whether out of clumsiness or fear or whatever, failed to recognize they’d gone too far. A man can only withstand so many successive blows to the ego (even an ego as Jericho-sturdy as mine) before it begins to tumble.

What’s more, every single one of these men read my blog. They’re men who subscribed to my point of view, who enjoyed my writing. Or read my writing, at least. Some of them wanted to be written about. Others never intended me to know they were blog fans.

Maybe one of these men is you.

If it is you? Although there’s a small and petty part of me that wants to flip a finger in your direction, I’m not going to. I’m moving on as I write this series. A friend of mine shared with me something his grandmother used to say that I truly believe: People do the best they can. If they could do better, they would.

My advice, if you think you recognize yourself . . . or even if you don’t: do better.

All of us could stand to do better.

Monday, July 17, 2017

13 Reasons Why/Tape 6: Nick

“This is the most ridiculous thing ever,” I tell Nick as he pads in from the kitchen. He’s got an bowl in his hands. It’s set on a plate. A single spoon rests on the rim.

“But you’ve been busy.” His tone is teasing. He sits down on the side of his bed, and leans over. I’m naked, beneath the covers, and surrounded by the several pillows he’s fluffed to prop me up. “You need to save your hands for better things. Like . . . fucking me again. Now, open wide.”

Nick dips his spoon into the bowl and produces an Italian meatball, microwaved and covered with brown gravy. I’m still protesting, but more and more weakly. “I’m not a baby bird.”

“Open wide,” he whispers, and brings the spoon in for a landing. My last defenses break down, and I part my mouth. The spoon penetrates between my lips; he tips the utensil to deliver the piping-hot meatball onto my tongue. “Now chew,” he says, staring me in the eyes. I obey. “Good boy.”

A shiver passes over my body. It’s an intimate, surprisingly erotic moment. No one else has ever fed me meatballs in bed, before.

Have you ever had an encounter with someone who initially comes off as a fucking lunatic, but turns out to be surprisingly sweet in person . . . and then morphs into a lunatic again? That would be my history with Nick, the Greek escort. Welcome, Nick, to your tape.

Nick came more or less out of nowhere (and ultimately disappeared just as quickly) to give me one of the sweetest, and most baffling, encounters of last year. I was at home one evening folding laundry when I checked BBRT, which I’d had running in the background, to see if anyone was looking for sex. It’s rare that anyone is, in my sleepy suburb. I had one message from a guy from New Haven with a profile name of GiorgioSaint. I checked his profile first, something I always do unless I know the guy. No photos. Nothing in the description. No stats. Every field said ‘ask me,’ which is the hallmark of someone who either has just created the profile, or worse, never bothered to fill it out.

Hi, I’m Giorgio. Send me your email, said the guy’s message.

Ordinarily I would’ve just ignored the request. That evening, though, I must’ve felt cranky and contentious. (Hey, it happens.) Why in the world would I send you my email? I don’t know you, and your profile tells me nothing.

Send me your email. I’m out of messages and I want to tell you something.

Somehow I was pretty sure that the something this anonymous guy wanted to tell me was that if I logged into www.camtacularboyz.com I could chat with him for the low rate of twenty dollars for ten minutes, or that he had a surefire way to battle erectile dysfunction. Apparently I was mystified as well as cranky and contentious, though, because after a moment’s hesitation, I gave him my address. Then I prepared for the spam that was to follow.

About five minutes later I got the guy’s email.

Hey Mr. Steed! I am going to be upfront with you right from the start. I am NOT Giorgio Saint. I had to come up with an alias if I was to come onto the site in peace! I did NOT want to bother with blocking people or attitudes. Who I really am is Nick Basil Pappas. If you do a "Search" and put in my name, there you will find me. Those are my pics and they are current. I recognize you from your blog and I liked your writing and your attitude.

(And no, that wasn’t the name he actually gave me.)

I mentioned in last week’s entry in this series that I don’t use search engines to research my tricks. I don’t peep at their Facebook accounts, if I know their last names. I don’t hunt for them on (as my dad calls it), The Tweeter. In my opinion, it’s rude. It’s invasive. Just because one can do it, doesn’t mean one should.

Sure, I’ll occasionally look up old college classmates on social media when I’m feeling nostalgic, or if I want to see how much older than myself they look. But potential tricks or guys I’m fucking? Nope, not unless they invite me to. It’s such an solid plank in my sexual belief system that hopping online to research a person doesn’t even occur to me, and I usually become exasperated when I find someone’s done it to me.

When invited, though, particularly in these trying circumstances, I’ll bite. I copied the guy’s name and pasted it into my browser bar, and a moment later I had a pageful of results. Problem was, I wasn’t sure what to make of them. After a moment, I typed out another email. So you're telling me you're a bipolar unarmed man from San Diego who attempted to rob and assault a senior citizen in her home and was shot by police and taken into custody? Because that's what's at the top of the list when I search for Nick Basil Pappas.

What? No.

He repeated that he wanted me to Google the name, and I reiterated that I’d done exactly that . . . and come up with Nick B. Pappas’ rap sheet and a bunch of incredibly unflattering mug shots for photos. By now I was laughing at this idiot, and continuing the conversation merely because it amused me. The fact that he seemed totally unaware that a West Coast bipolar granny robber had hijacked the top spot in Google searches of his name seemed the cherry on the sundae.

At last Nick sent me an actual web page to check out, which I did. The link took me to a site where interested customers could solicit local male escorts. Suddenly, the conversation lost its fun.

Hey thanks, I told him, trying to stay polite for what was going to be my final email. I appreciate it, but I don’t pay for sex. Before I hit send, I spent a moment looking at the escort's photos. This Nick guy was handsome—handsome as hell, in fact, with his dark Mediterranean movie star looks and deep, soulful eyes. His eyebrows were dark, dense, and brooding. And the body. Shit. That body. Even though he was obviously in his forties or early fifties, Nick looked like he belonged on the cover of Men’s Health.

His photos were so professionally done that I suspected they’d been promo shots for porn films. When I did a more refined search for Nick Pappas gay porn (hey . . . he’d invited me to do it) I indeed found a slew of video clips from porn studios of Nick performing with stars I’d actually heard of.

Still. Paying for sex isn’t something I do. I closed the browser and sent off my reply.

But no, no, no. That’s not what the East Coast Nick Basil Pappas was asking for. He assured me in a series of emails accompanied by even more photos from his porn career that he wasn’t trying to solicit my business, but my expertise. (The choice of word was his.) He’d read my blog for several months. He wanted me.

He had very strict rules about what his clients could do with him. They could suck his dick. They could bend over and he would fuck them. He would give them massages, but he would not kiss them. He'd never be submissive, and encounters with his clients would never be at all romantic.

The photos he’d offered, I should mention, had me licking my chops. Nick was a bodybuilder, and the porn films he’d done unanimously played to his strengths. He sent shots from a film he’d done were he was the big buff prize straight guy at the gym all the queers were trying to attract. He’d played an Olympic athlete who’d fucked all the other athletes in the village. He’s played another type of Olympian entirely when he’d been draped in laurels and a sheet and some gold sandals for the part of Horny Zeus. There was a shot of him wearing nothing but a yellow hard hat and a skimpy tool belt, for a production where he’d been a horny dumb construction worker tricked into topping a man's hole for the first time by the boss’ smart-assed son. The guy was the kind of beefcake that are the bread and butter of porn, and I confess, I was a little surprised he was soliciting me in such an eccentric way.

Yet Nick said he wanted to meet because he intuited from my blog that I would take good care of him. He found me attractive. He liked my dick. In fact, he wanted to suck it. He wanted it to fuck him bareback, and to breed him. He wanted to be kissed. He wanted someone to take control and make love to him, because he hadn’t experienced any tenderness in his life for a long time. Because he trusted me, and because he liked me from my blog, he’d decided I was the man he wanted to do all these things.

After such an oddball start, I was touched by his rapid-fire confessions. And flattered, of course. If anything is illuminated by this particular series, it’s that I am too much of a sucker for a man who compliments both my dick and my writing, even though I know, I know that losing all perspective for a pretty compliment never turns out well.

Yes, I told him. I’ll be that man.

So I’ve driven a long way to see Nick. Over an hour and a half, it turns out, because the town where Nick lives has the same relationship to New Haven that Flint, Michigan has to Detroit—they’re sometimes referred to in the same sentence, but they’re not very close at all. When I arrive at his apartment building, I knock on his door. It opens. He’s standing on the other side, completely naked. Exposed. He seems, to my expert eyes, a little vulnerable. “You came,” he says.

“Of course I did.” I step through and into the gloom of his apartment. He’s got blackout shades drawn over every window, so it’s difficult to see. Not that there’s much decor to look at. Nick’s apartment has the spartan quality of a home that’s barely been moved into, much less lived in. Nothing hangs on the walls; the surfaces clear of clutter. Even the furniture speaks of a bare minimum. “Did you think I wouldn’t?”

He laughs. “I’m nervous,” he says. Even in the dark I can tell how very handsome he is. He’s exactly what his photos advertise—the porn pics, that is. Not the mugshots of the granny robber. Five foot five inches of sheer bulk. What’s funny is that this object of fantasy for so many men—the brawny lumberjack, the construction worker, the alpha musclebound literal god of all, in one film at least—is nervous of me. Of me.

“Oh, Nick,” I say, shaking my head. I step forward and place my hands on his narrow hips. Then I pull him close.

He falls into the embrace eagerly, resting his head on my chest. I feel the warmth of him radiating through the layers of my cotton clothing. Below my crotch, I can feel the heavy bulk of his soft cock as it swells with blood and begins to harden against me. “You’re what I want.” He utters the confession softly, as if afraid of breaking the solemn hush. “Can I belong to you tonight?”

For answer, I cup my hands beneath his chin and steer his lips to mine. He responds with a kiss . . . of sorts, anyway. It’s a peck on my lips, really. Is he being timid. I move in more aggressively for something deeper and more intimate. He responds by tightening his lips and pushing out his tongue so that it protrudes about a quarter of an inch, like the tip of a tiny pyramid.

And that’s just how he kisses, does Nick the Greek. About as lewdly as someone’s Victorian maiden aunt.

But that’s all right. He’s got other skills. After he leads me into the bedroom, he stands me by the high king-sized bed and kneels on the ground. His lips open to surround my hardened flesh; I feel the warmth and wetness of his tongue and mouth as he takes my inches to the balls. He groans contentedly to himself as, slowly, deliberately, he travels from tip to base to tip again, where lets the slick flesh rest against his nose and upper lip. It’s as good of a blow job I’ve had in some time, and I make sure to let him know it.

He’s anxious to proceed, though. “I so badly need to be fucked by you,” he says in a low and lyrical voice. “Am I fuckable?”

“Oh, Nick,” I laugh. “You are so very fuckable.”

“I really just want to be worthy of you,” he says, looking directly into my eyes. Maybe he uses these sugared words on his clients, I think to myself. Maybe not. But I’m not a paying customer, and when he’s looking at me in that liquid, trusting way, I have no reason to doubt anything he says. I let the good moment remain a good moment, free of doubt.

“Let me show you how worthy you are.” I say the words as I lie him face down on the bed, with a pillow propping up his hips. Then I start lapping his hole.

For long minutes he’s wordless as I lick and chew at him. He grunts. He moans. He raises his hips to give me deeper access. But he doesn’t speak until ten, fifteen, twenty minutes have passed. “Nobody ever gives me this pleasure.”

“Do you let them?” I wonder aloud.

He chuckles. “No. You know I’m selective about who gets to enter me.” Right then, right there, Nick makes a decision. “Fuck my hole.” Onto his back he flips, using the same pillow that’s nestled in his crotch to lift the small of his back.

“Are you ready for that?” I already know the answer. I just want to hear him say it.

“I’m ready.”

I kneel between his uplifted legs. Spit in my hand, rub it on my meat. Repeat with another handful of spit, for his ass. I position my cock at his hole. The head nudges his warm, pulsing flesh. Our eyes lock. He nods.

In I go.

It’s a sweet fuck. Every thrust yields new revelations, from the tightening of his nipples to the red blush that spreads across his chest and face, to the way his eyes bulge with pleasure. His hole opens wide for me. His cock, fully rigid for the first time since we’ve met in the flesh, swells into a fat nine inches. And when we kiss, his mouth opens slight. He still doesn’t admit my tongue, but it’s a start.

I fuck him for a full half hour in that same position, taking it slow, letting him enjoy long thrusts the entire length of my dick. His whimpers turn to utterances of satisfaction, then to pleas. “You want my cum?” I ask.

“Yes. God, yes. I want to belong to you. Make me yours.”

I let him have it. It’s an shuddering orgasm, intense enough to make my vision dim. My body is still shaking and jerking when he begins pounding furiously at his own dick. “Don’t pull out,” he begs. “Stay inside. Stay inside. Stay. . . .”

His own climax is even noisier and more violent than mine. He thrashes like a bucking bronco, sending me sprawling to the side. Juice oozes from his hole and onto the top sheet as his own semen jets into the air into a perfect arc. It splatters on his face. Pretty good for a dude his age, I’m thinking to myself.

I lie next to him, and wait for him to come to. He smiles at me, and laughs, aware he’s caused a commotion. “I made you miss dinner,” he says. It's probably the most unexpected thing he could say, in the moment.

“I’m fine.” I really am. Whipped, but fine.

“No, no, you need to eat.” It’s not usually what I hear from my fucks, but he nestles me beneath the sheets and a comforter, props pillows around me, and ambles off in the direction of his kitchen to see what he can whip up.

It seems fitting, in this barely-furnished abode, that a box of frozen meatballs and some canned gravy is all he can produce. But as he feeds me, ball by microwaved ball, I find myself enchanted by the sweet unlikeliness of this encounter. Nick’s not a kisser—that’s for sure. But there’s a honest, endearing quality to Nick’s naked need for affection and love that makes my heart reach out to him.

When we parted that night, several hours and loads later, Nick said to me, “I’d like you to come back.”

I confess to having felt a glow at the words. I hadn’t been sure if this was a one-time physical connection, or whether he wanted it to lead to a regular round of good sex. “I’d like that too.”

“Will I be reading about this in your blog?” He still held my hand as he asked the question.

“You tell me,” I said. “Do you want me to write about it?”

He seemed to think over the question, but only for a mere split second. “Yes. Write what you want. I’ll look forward to reading it.”

Fair enough. I let him give me another couple of his ladylike pecks on the lips, and then we parted.

Sweet, right? I drove back home feeling like I'd hit the jackpot.

But then.

You know there has to be a but then, right? It usually takes a lot for me to lose my temper with a guy. It’d be pretty unlikely I’d be stomping around writing a burn list post and growling, That guy totally pissed me off by giving me sweet good sex and feeding me meatballs in bed! God DAMN him!

No, the initial encounter with Nick over the internet had been awkward as hell. In person, he was attractive, and kind, and loving in bed. It really was a highlight to make love to a guy who’s been the object of so much lust, whether through porn vids or escort ads. You’d think that after we met, everything would have been smooth sailing.

You’d be wrong, because the minute we weren’t face-to-face any longer, all our communications went straight to hell.

When are you writing about me? he started asking, basically the minute I got home. What are you going to say? I told him I didn’t know when I’d be writing about him, and that it probably would be after I’d let the encounter gestate a little bit. Don’t use my real name, please, he begged.

The inquiries continued daily, several times a day, for the better part of a week. Are you writing about me yet? When will it come out? Will it be tomorrow?

Listen, I eventually told him, over the course of several texts. I intend to write about you. I really do. We had a great time, and I was hoping it would be the first of many great times. I’d like to celebrate the night that we had. But when you’re so overeager to see your entry (this was my attempt at tact, by the way, and trying not to say ‘When you bug the shit out of me about your entry. . .”), it makes me anxious, and the anxiety prevents me from sitting down and writing it. If you give me a little space, and time, you’ll see it.

Oh. Space and time. You don’t want to see me again.

That’s not what I’d been telling him, I tried to make clear. All I really wanted was a little freedom from the constant inquiries into when he’d see the entry about himself.

I thought we’d reached an understanding. I mean, when someone says, Okay, I understand, you’re justified in thinking you’ve reached an understanding, right? A couple of blissfully text-free days later, though, he sent me: Is your post up yet? I’ve been waiting a week to see it.

I didn’t lose my temper. Honestly, I didn’t. I did reply, carefully choosing my words, that I thought I’d made it clear that the pressure he was putting on me to sit down at my laptop and pound out an essay about pounding him out, wasn’t exactly conducive to my creative process.

This is bullshit, he wrote back.

Well, what’s there to say to that? I said nothing, in fact. I thought I was being generous in overlooking it.

Two hours later, though: So I guess you’re not talking to me now. I thought we had a good night together. I guess I was fooling myself.

I’m not usually a fan of passive-aggressive behavior like this. It turns me off so much that usually I won’t acknowledge it, much less fall into its intended manipulation and re-enter a conversation on the defense. You and I had an incredible night together, I assured him. I’d really like to see you again. Maybe we can talk all this out the next time we meet? I think it’s easier that way than in text.

I realize that not everybody is a great communicator in writing. I disagree with the trope that emails and text automatically lack the nuance that in-person conversations can have; after all, over the years the great writers of the world have packed plenty of nuance into their sentences, paragraphs, and books. Not everybody’s adept at it, though, and I was beginning to realize that if I wanted a real conversation with Nick, without confusion, face-to-face was going to be the way to do it.

He didn’t reply, though. I wasn’t going to nag him.

Then, another two days later. I guess I wasn’t good enough to make your blog. Sorry I couldn’t make the cut.

Dude. Something was wrong, here. I sighed, and tried turning my mind to other things. I’m not suggesting that musclebound porn actors/escorts with the faces of movie stars can’t have insecurities. Everyone has insecurities. What I did know, however, was that however this man felt about himself, whatever self-perceived void he was trying to fill through me, neither I nor a blog post was going to make him complete. I might have a few sexual and writing skills, but I can’t heal all of that. I didn't deserve his hostility, either.

Nick made me sad. I'm sad right now, thinking and writing about him. I probably could have sat down and forced out a sketch of our night together—but it wouldn’t have felt right, nor would it have been enough for him. As I write this essay, enough time has passed that I can remember our time in the flesh with unalloyed fondness, separate from the annoyance he was immediately after. But that week when he was nagging me four, five, six, ten times a day to hurry up and write the post? All it really was doing was making me peevish.

I was still processing the last message from him when my phone vibrated again. Don’t bother texting me or trying to contact me any more. Goodbye.

Guys. Don’t go throwing around ultimatums you don’t intend to stick to. I’ve had this exact situation happen enough in my life to know that when someone tells me never to text or call again, the guy isn’t going to be happy when I actually follow his admonitions. Still, I hoped Nick would come around. I thought I’d give him some time to simmer down.

A day after his command not to text him, though, he texted a last time. I can’t believe you haven’t tried to apologize. This is fucking ridiculous.

And that, friends, was the point I’d had enough. Even the sweetest evening can’t counterbalance weeks of haranguing. Maybe our communication might have been better if we’d talked it out over coffee (or sex). But Nick wasn’t even giving me incentive to write a short essay about him, much less drive another hour and a half to iron out our differences.

So I file this one under Regrets, my friends. The incident makes me sad for what could have matured into something beautiful, but died stillborn.

Nick, if you’re reading this post—which I doubt, but who knows?—the entry you thought you deserved would’ve ended right before my But then. It would’ve been an entry worth a boner and a smile. It would’ve been romantic, even. Readers would have envied us both.

Here’s what I wish, though: I wish you’d loved the reality of what happened that night, and let that reality be. I wish you’d not let doubt or worry force you into pressuring me; I wish you hadn't needed constant reassurance of my sincerity. My blog doesn’t take faulty encounters and make them golden. It’s not my job to take a snapshot of an evening and then to soften the edges, erase the wrinkles, and make everything picture-perfect. If our evening of lovemaking and meatballs felt real to you, then it was real. If it felt good in the moment, it was good.

The next time you encounter someone who provides exactly what you want and need, love him for what he is and what he gives you. Don’t insist on dragging him into the crap, afterward.

Let good things be good. That’s a lesson we all can learn.



Afterword

During my hiatus, I’ve received from readers a lot of very sweet emails wishing me well. Most of them have recognized the amount of work I’ve poured into my blog and have expressed their thanks. I’m so grateful for those sentiments.

Many people who’ve written, however, have made the assumption that the reason I have decided to take a break is because of the so-called haters—that is, the men who leave nasty comments on my blog, and those who go out of their way to make sure I understand how contemptible I am to them.

I’ve had plenty of haters over the years. They wear me down, yes. But more than anyone, the men who have sucked the joy out of my writing (and to a certain extent, my life) are those who meant well. They’re men who claimed to admire me, who wanted to meet me—and many of them did—and who then, whether out of clumsiness or fear or whatever, failed to recognize they’d gone too far. A man can only withstand so many successive blows to the ego (even an ego as Jericho-sturdy as mine) before it begins to tumble.

What’s more, every single one of these men read my blog. They’re men who subscribed to my point of view, who enjoyed my writing. Or read my writing, at least. Some of them wanted to be written about. Others never intended me to know they were blog fans.

Maybe one of these men is you.

If it is you? Although there’s a small and petty part of me that wants to flip a finger in your direction, I’m not going to. I’m moving on as I write this series. A friend of mine shared with me something his grandmother used to say that I truly believe: People do the best they can. If they could do better, they would.

My advice, if you think you recognize yourself . . . or even if you don’t: do better.

All of us could stand to do better.

Monday, July 10, 2017

13 Reasons Why/Tape 5: Cheater

To some, this series might seem little more like the venting of a crabby old man stood up by one trick too many. From my perspective, the truth is a little more complex. I’ve been exploring (exorcising might be a better word, really) the ways in which some of my readers have actively shut me down as a sex blogger. I used to post multiple times a week. Now I find it an effort to muster any enthusiasm about posting at all. By definition, my fans are supposed to be supportive and enthusiastic about my creative efforts. Yet there are a handful of them who have behaved so appallingly, or disappointed me so deeply, that I’ve found myself muted, without words.

After a few posts about readers who were just clueless, I’d now like to turn to a different type—a reader who intentionally exploited what he knew about me for his own personal ends. I’ve talked about this incident with a few close friends, but have never before discussed the details publicly.

So hey there, Cheater. Are you still stalking me? Welcome to your tape.

I met a man online early in 2013. A local guy, five exits down the freeway. The photos he sent were so blurry it was difficult to make out anything other than the fact he was vaguely slender and in decent shape for his age, which was a half-decade more than mine. He was looking for a regular top, he told me. His husband didn’t keep him satisfied; he loved the thrill of fucking around. Cheating made him harder than anything.

I’m married too, I wrote back. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

I started having sex at a young age in restrooms and parks, he told me. My horny hole knows how to keep a big-dicked top like you satisfied for hours.

Hey, I wrote back. I started at a young age myself, also in cruisy tearooms and parks.

Wow, I guess we have something in common, then, he told me.

It really seemed we had a hell of a lot of things in common, the more we chatted. He told me he had a fetish for wearing jocks while being fucked, because he liked the way they framed his ass. He confided that he liked calling a man dad during sex because it took him back to his early days of being used. He really liked to be fisted, but only if the fisting top took his time and made the experience slow and sensual.

After all these things I would thrill with delight as we seemed more and more compatible. I peppered my replies with multiple exclamation points. I love jocks for the very same reason! I love being called dad!! That’s exactly the way I like to fist a guy!!! This is perfect!!!!

Finally, he reeled me in with one of his later texts. This is kind of weird and you might not be into it, he said. But I have this fantasy of being a dominant bottom with a top. Telling him what to do. Even tying him up and using his cock for my pleasure, or teaming up with another bottom and both of us using him.

I nearly passed out. As I’ve said on these pages a few times before, being used and even restrained by a dominant bottom (or several bottoms) has been a fantasy of mine for years. (Sadly unfulfilled, still.) I was already half-infatuated with Cheater for seeing eye to eye with me in so many ways. The fact he wanted to bring to fruition one of my deepest desires made me determined to meet him and make it work.

We fucked twice that week in a seedy by-the-hour motel down the freeway. Cheater turned out to be a handsome older gentleman, a preppy Westchester conservative in Dockers and a button-down Oxford shirt. Yet, as I hoped, once those slacks hit the floor, he turned into a nasty little fuck. He kissed well, he sucked well, he begged for my dick and my cum, and his stamina was nearly as good as my own.

I can’t overemphasize, here, what a hot fuck Cheater was. He seemed to know everything he could do to drive me wild for him. He chewed on my nipples in exactly the right way, kissed me deeply when I needed to be kissed. Sometimes, in the middle of me driving my cock deep into his guts, he’d cup his hand around the back of my head, look at me with liquid eyes, and whisper, “I love what you do to me, Sir.” He knew when to keep quiet, and when to speak—and when he spoke, he almost always said the right thing. After I’d shoot, he’d often turn me around, hold me in his arms, and sweetly kiss the back of my neck. It was as if, at some point I didn’t recall, I’d handed him a map to all my erogenous zones. I didn’t have to tell him what I liked. He somehow knew how to make me melt with a touch, or a word.

He arranged for us to fuck at a business he owned . . . a florist’s shop. Now, longtime readers will remember that I had a pretty significant encounter in my early life when I topped a man for the very first time ever in the rear room of a florist’s. I hadn’t been inside one (that is, either a rear room or the rear of a florist) since. So imagine my reaction when, as instructed, I walked through the shop’s back door and saw Cheater lying on top of a metal florist’s table, naked, legs up, hole exposed, in the exact same position that had convinced me to switch from adolescent hole to bareback top man.

“This is fucking crazy,” I said. “Something like this happened to me a million years ago in a shop just like this one.”

“Tell me later,” he ordered. “Fuck me now.”

Well, I obeyed, all right. I raped the shit out of him, and the greedy little pig loved it.

The sex that Cheater and I had was dirty. Nasty. There were tender moments, but then he’d do or say something was so similar to men I’d known and treasured in the past that he’d have my erection raging again. We had sex in the dirty motel. We fucked in his shop. He bought an over-the-door sling so that I could bang him in the back room. We fucked outdoors in a cold and snowy park.

Every time I’d shove myself inside those sweet lips, he’d howl and beg for my slick inches. I’d grunt and rut in his slimy, cum-filled hole and make him tell me I fucked him better than his husband. He’d howl how much more he needed me, how much more I meant to him. For six weeks we fucked like this, several times a week, making time for each other as much as possible. Sneaking around. We’d go home stinking like the other.

And I loved it.

I was so blindly infatuated with the guy that it took a while for me to notice that he had a few . . . well, odd ways to get thrills. For example, one evening I’d gone out to a bar for karaoke with a couple of close friends of mine. Half an hour in, he strolled in through the doors, looked around, met my eyes, smiled, and kept moving across the room. He had a man in tow with him—the husband he cheated on, I presumed (correctly), a dull-looking lump who seemed to be wishing he were anywhere else.

Now, I’d mentioned to Cheater that I was going to out that evening, and I’d casually told him where I planned to be, but I certainly hadn’t invited him to join me—much less to invite his husband. Cheater strolled on by, however, seeming to take no notice of me while smiling to himself as if enjoying a private joke. Then he positioned himself at the bar’s far end with his husband, directly in my line of sight. We didn’t interact all evening, but he stared at me, clapped and whooped when I sang karaoke, and once, when his husband was looking away and my friends were otherwise engaged, shared with me a conspiratorial wink.

In the back room of his shop, the next day, I banged him mercilessly. “That was a fucking stupid thing to do, bringing him with you,” I growled, thrusting hard enough that I hoped it hurt.

“It made you hot though, seeing the man I’m cheating on,” he taunted. His ass ground down on my dick, just as eager.

Honestly? Yeah, it riled me up. Fucker was taking a risk, parading his husband in front of me. Or was he parading me in front of his husband? Either way, it was wrong, and it was hot.

But it was still a little weird.

I was so overwhelmed and turned on by the scorching sex we had, time after time, that I was initially willing to overlook a few other little oddities as well. For example: about six weeks into the relationship, one morning I’d taken my Monday jaunt to Fairway for the weekly groceries. Halfway through my shopping trip, my phone vibrated. Don’t forget to pick up spaghetti, read a text from Cheater.

That’s crazy, I texted back. Did I tell you I was doing groceries this morning? I didn’t think I had.
Ha-ha-ha, was all he said back.

The thing was that when I’d gotten the text, I’d been in the pasta aisle.

Funny, right? Ha-ha-ha.

A few days later I was at the barber, sitting in the chair, when my phone buzzed again. I couldn’t get it out of my pocket until after the barber had finished cutting and brushing and blowing away the stray hairs. After I’d paid the cashier and exited the shop, I activated the screen and read, Just a little off the top, okay?

Ha-ha-ha. Funny again. Right? Was I wrong to feel paranoid about these texts? After all, we did live in the same vicinity. Maybe I'd even said something to let him know where I'd be. I sent him a text of complaint, but kept it so mild as to be milquetoast. You seem awfully interested in my whereabouts. 

For some reason, though, I still wasn't too concerned. I knew Cheater was taking a ski trip with his boyfriend at the end of the week. Maybe he was just going a little stir-crazy at work, and needed to tease me to keep himself in a good mood.

I hadn't written in my blog about Cheater before that point, even though we'd fucked for six weeks. The same week as those two texts, though, I decided to sit down and create an entry about him. I was proud of it, when I was done; it was one of the better posts I've made on the blog. Even today, reading it (and no, I won't link to it directly), its hot. It's nasty. It captures the raw heat of the fucks Cheater and I shared. I got a boner re-reading it just now—and I don’t often get aroused at my own work. For the entry, I changed the particulars of his job and his location to protect him, but the encounter I wrote about was quite true to life. I hit the button to upload it thinking what a damned good job I'd done in capturing him.

Readers seemed to agree, in the comments. I had multiple fans tell me they wished I’d fuck them that way.

From this point on in the relationship, things got very weird, very quickly. It all started the day after I’d published my Cheater post on my blog.

That morning I got a text at the mall when I was out with my family. (Going to the Apple Store?) I got a text at a Home Depot, later on. (Plumbing on aisle 30!) Then Cheater started pulling out random facts from my past and presenting them to me via text. I didn't know your mom taught college!, read one. Then he tossed me another with the name of an academic paper I'd written, years ago. More followed—a barrage of publicly-available facts he was gleaning from search engines.

When that evening Cheater started sending me texts with quotes from press interviews I'd given a long while back, and comments on a photograph of me that had appeared in a newspaper at one time (no, it wasn't a mug shot) . . . well, that's the late point in which I ceased thinking of his little intrusions into my life as slightly odd but possibly coincidental, to distastefully stalkery.

Look, I get that people research each other on the internet these days. I don’t—except once, when a guy asked me to, which is an entry I’ll be getting to next week. I find Googling someone invasive and predatory; worse, I find letting the person know you’ve done so unthinkably rude.

If you have to be a creeper, for gods’ sakes, don’t fucking brag about it to the guy you’re creeping on. I once kicked a decent fuck to the curb because when we went out to lunch, he hung around the cashier specifically so he could peep at my last name on a credit card—and then proceeded to use my last name later as if I’d shared it with him. Which I hadn’t. Had the guy simply asked me what my surname was, I probably would’ve told him. To be sneaky about it and then boastfully reveal to me what he’d been up to? Unforgivable.

So how am I going to react when someone who’s been sending me texts for a couple of days all but bragging about how he’s following me around the county, spying around corners in the supermarket and stalking me to the barber shop, suddenly presents all kinds of electronic evidence that he’s digging into every aspect of my life possible? You bet your ass the answer is poorly.

Cheater and I hadn’t met face to face since before the stalking behaviors surfaced. I hadn’t had a chance to look him in the eye and to ask him to stop—so it’s not that his upsetting texts went on for weeks and I allowed it to progress unchecked while I continued to use his ass. The surveillance, both physical and via search engine, started suddenly and escalated quickly. My mind was so numb with shock that for several hours I couldn’t really decide what to do. Break it off? Give him a little more benefit of the doubt and ask him gently to desist? Hope that the week-long ski trip he was taking with his husband would cool him down?

But then I got a text from him mentioning something about a couple of seminars I’d taken as a junior in college. I don’t know how he found out the names of the courses. Maybe I’d written about them, somewhere in my past, though I doubted it. Maybe—and this was the possibility that chilled me—he’d somehow finagled my college transcript from my alma mater. Whatever the explanation, the sexual fog that had been clouding my better judgment cleared instantly.

I am very concerned that you are spending so much of your time Googling me, I texted immediately him back. Please consider this my official request that you stop. I didn’t get a reply. Then, because at that point I was still spending too much time trying to be the Nice Guy, I fretted for a few hours over whether I’d been too hard on the fellow.

Not that it mattered, after what came next.

That evening, my phone started to buzz. I looked at the number; Cheater was trying to call me. I was at a dinner with family and couldn’t pick up. Quite honestly, I assumed he was calling to apologize and make it up to me. Over and over he called, and every time the phone went to voice mail. Eventually I had to set the phone not to disturb me.

Then the texts started, rapid and non-stop. YOU FUCKER!!!! he sent. IS THAT WHAT YOU THINK OF ME???? I didn’t know what he was talking about, or how to reply, until the phone buzzed again. I READ YOUR POST ABOUT ME, MOTHERFUCKER.

My post? The one I’d published on my blog twenty-four hours before? How in the world—?

Oh.

Fuck.

That was the moment that a hundred individual pieces flew into place to form a picture I’d been overlooking from our very first communication. It was the moment when suddenly I could see everything clearly. Cheater hadn’t merely stumbled onto the one post I’d written about him. He’d known about my blog before we’d met, even. Cheater was one of my long-term readers—a fact he’d never once mentioned.

He’d been waiting for this post about himself all along—and now that it was out there, he didn’t like it. The disguise he’d been wearing for six weeks dropped, and for the very first time I was seeing the real man I’d been fucking.

For months, possibly years, Cheater had been gleaning bits of information about me from my blog and storing them away like a squirrel with its acorns, waiting for the day he could use what he knew to lure and entrap me. The fact he had an unerring sense of where to touch and where to kiss me? Picked up from multiple entries in which I’d laid bare for him and everyone else that map of my erogenous zones. The words he’d say during sex? The jocks he claimed he loved to wear? Plucked from blog posts in which I’d mentioned they’d specifically excited me. That scene in the back room of his shop? He definitely exploited the coincidence to keep me enflamed.

I felt like a fucking idiot. How likely was it that some random guy from a sex site would have the same ultimate secret sexual fantasy as I? I’d initially felt kinship for this guy because we’d both spent our early teens and adolescence sucking dick and bending over for men in public parks and tearooms. Most likely he’d fed me a line of bullshit, just to establish rapport.

When one of my readers picks up on things I enjoy from my blog and uses it during a sexual encounter with me, I consider it flattering. It tells me he’s been paying attention. He knows it’s going to make me happy, and I know he’s doing it to please me. There’s reciprocity, there. It’s vastly different from someone—this someone—who stacked the odds in his favor with his secret knowledge of my likes and dislikes. It’s different from a manipulator who used my own words and revelations against me, as a weapon. Strategizing, secrecy, and deception—that’s how this asshole had declared war on me, and I had no idea I’d been conquered until my defenses were long down.

His texts kept coming in. WHAT WE HAVE IS SACRED AND YOU MADE IT DIRTY!!! IS THIS WHAT YOU REALLY THINK OF ME???

What, I wondered, did Cheater assume I was going to say about him? Did he, too, expect to be another Spencer? Our sex had some sweet moments, but romance had never driven the relationship between us. Nasty, perverted fucking—well, that’s what we did. We’d never spoken of flowers and feelings when I’d been nuts-deep in him, banging him against the door between his back room and his shop until the hinges had given way. I hadn’t been reading him Baudelaire during our bareback motel fucks and his whore’s baths in the cheap fiberglass sinks.

Every word of the entry I’d written about him had been almost verbatim. Every snarl, every curse word, every whimper. So what if I’d drawn myself as a sadistic top and him a cum-soaked hungry hole? That’s exactly the way it had been between us each and every time we fucked. What had he expected as he checked my blog morning after morning during those six weeks as he waited for me to write about him—that I’d happily bask in his approval when he finally unveiled that he’d been reading me all along?

Fuck that.

My reply was short and sweet. I’m doneYou fucked up. Then I blocked him.

That was a bad period in my life, friends. Every belief I’d ever held sacred about my relationship with blog readers fell to pieces. If I couldn’t trust someone I’d been fucking for weeks, how the fuck could I trust any of the incorporeal readers who claimed friendship with me? All the enjoyment I’d experienced in sharing my sexual adventures evaporated.

Before this incident, I’d been posting in my blog several times a week, for several years. After Cheater, I stopped posting for over a month. I eventually had to come back to reassure people I hadn’t died. I attempted throughout 2013 to regain my joy in sharing again, until later that year I was knocked down a second time and left for dead by another reader (whose time in this series will come in the near future).

Then my posts became erratic. Resentful. Guarded. And people wondered why.

You betrayed me, Cheater. You weaponized my own words, my confessions, and used them against me—then attempted to shame me for expressing them. You left me exposed and vulnerable and frightened; for months I was depressed because of you. The distrust you cultivated still lingers. When I contemplate resurrecting regular blog posts—when I sit down to write of my sexual exploits—the revulsion and apathy I mostly feel is directly because of you.

If only you’d been honest from the start. But you weren’t. And here we are, because of it.

For months after, I still had to suffer with Cheater’s continued stalking. He couldn’t text, but he could leave dead flowers on my doorstep, or little gifts of dog shit. He couldn’t send messages on websites or via email, but he could leave nasty, ugly anonymous comments on my entries, daily, for months and months. Every time I attempted to write in my blog, I knew I could look forward to one of his hissing, venomous anonymous screeds. I never approved them so they’d be visible, but I still had to read to screen them.

It’s been years since the fallout, and I’ve avoided writing about Cheater—and every other reader who’s given me reasons not to write—because he’d finally given up and stopped harassing me. I didn’t want to stir the hornet’s nest.

But you know what? I’ve figured out that I’m tougher than I gave myself credit for, at the time. I’m no longer concerned with being the Nice Guy. Not giving voice to my grievances does me no favors. Keeping quiet about what’s bothered me is what has thwarted me creatively.

I’m fighting my way back, resentment by resentment.

And I’m not even halfway there.


Afterword

During my hiatus, I’ve received from readers a lot of very sweet emails wishing me well. Most of them have recognized the amount of work I’ve poured into my blog and have expressed their thanks. I’m so grateful for those sentiments.

Many people who’ve written, however, have made the assumption that the reason I have decided to take a break is because of the so-called haters—that is, the men who leave nasty comments on my blog, and those who go out of their way to make sure I understand how contemptible I am to them.
I’ve had plenty of haters over the years. They wear me down, yes. But more than anyone, the men who have sucked the joy out of my writing (and to a certain extent, my life) are those who meant well. They’re men who claimed to admire me, who wanted to meet me—and many of them did—and who then, whether out of clumsiness or fear or whatever, failed to recognize they’d gone too far. A man can only withstand so many successive blows to the ego (even an ego as Jericho-sturdy as mine) before it begins to tumble.

What’s more, every single one of these men read my blog. They’re men who subscribed to my point of view, who enjoyed my writing. Or read my writing, at least. Some of them wanted to be written about. Others never intended me to know they were blog fans.

Maybe one of these men is you.

If it is you? Although there’s a small and petty part of me that wants to flip a finger in your direction, I’m not going to. I’m moving on as I write this series. A friend of mine shared with me something his grandmother used to say that I truly believe: People do the best they can. If they could do better, they would.

My advice, if you think you recognize yourself . . . or even if you don’t: do better.

All of us could stand to do better.