My new year's post about accepting compliments got so many, er, compliments from you people. Thank you very much for every one of them.
I was particularly taken aback by the volume of email I received in my personal box, after I published my thoughts. It seems that there are a good number of us—myself included—who often have difficulty accepting compliments. I think it's important to remember, however, that accepting a compliment is not the same thing as believing it—just as accepting a wrapped holiday gift is not the same thing as loving it once you've ripped off the paper and discovered that someone's given you a pair of particularly hideous argyle socks, or that they've regifted you a white elephant from their office party and not bothered to remove the original gift tag.
It would really be nice, if someone was impulsive and kind enough to lay a compliment upon you, if you were able to take the kind words, hug them to yourself, and let yourself believe them. The person who complimented you would love it if, when you give him your thank-you, you managed to imply with batted eyelashes that yes, you totally deserved that kind remark because you do have spectacular eyes, thank you very much and goodnight!
However, a thank-you is all that's really required. You might not take the compliment seriously. You might think it doesn't suit you, like loud argyle. Don't toss it aside carelessly, though, or fling it back in the giver's face. Just smile. And say thank you.
The world's a little better for it.
Anyway, after the volume of response to that particular entry of mine, I made a resolution for the rest of the year: I intend to dispense a compliment at a day, minimum, to someone I don't know. It'd be easy enough to accomplish that by hopping onto some cruising site and typing Nice ass! to the first round booty I see. I don't want it to be quite so easy a slam-dunk, though. I've been putting some genuine thought into it.
I have complimented a guy online, but it was for his profile's content—which was unusual as well as brave; he obviously put some thought into taking an unpopular stance and defending it ably in his profile, and I thought it was brave of him to do so. So I told him.
I told a guy on the commuter train that he had great hair. (He really did.) He seemed a little flustered to get a compliment like that from a stranger, but I could tell he loved hearing it.
I told a woman on the Times Square subway shuttle, who was older than I but exquisitely dressed, that she was beautifully put together. I've never seen anyone smile more broadly.
Not every compliment is going to land gracefully, or be so well received. Maybe more of them will connect than I suspect, though. And maybe by making them, I'll find I'm paying it forward a little, and some of the universe's bounty will spill into my lap. Who knows? As a resolution, it's definitely more fun to keep than a diet.
Let's get to some questions from formspring.me.
Why are so many tops derogatory about bottoms?
There are as many flavors of tops as there are of Baskin-Robbins ice cream, of course, but the perception is (with justification) that most bottoms crave a dominant top. You don't see profile ads from bottoms that say, Looking for milquetoast top to boss around and control. Never. Well, hardly ever.
For a lot of top men, the only way they can conceive of providing dominance is to be abusive, rude, cutting, and nasty—not in a good, self-aware, sexy manner. Some of these guys behave this way because they've seen it so often in porn. Others do it because they don't have enough imagination to make something other than brutish behavior their only shortcut to dominance.
I've engaged in some name-calling roleplay from time to time, and have pushed faces into pillows and called grown men 'boy' and 'faggot,' but I feel my personal style is better suited to just being comfortable in my own skin and directing the flow of the scene with non-abusive control. I think ultimately I am just as dominant—but I'm not abrasive.
Every top (and every bottom, too) needs to find his own personal style. That means relying on strengths, instead of attempting to ape some hyper-masculine monkey one once saw in a hot porn.
Was you first sexual experience with Spencer different to your usual hook-ups or was it his personality that made you love him despite knowing the pain you were inviting into your life?
It's been well over two years since I made love to Spencer the first time. I expected a simple hook-up; what I got was about six hours of some of the primal and athletic sex I'd had in years.
There was more to it than that, though. When he opened up and communicated with me his aspirations and his interests, and when he showed his tender side and his vulnerabilities, it made me want to know him better and to open up to him in kind.
Guys might open their holes to me, but they don't always open their lives or their hearts in the way Spencer did. Our connection was unexpected and unplanned, and even though to this day reflecting on it is like jabbing a bruise with a sharp fork, I wouldn't have traded it for the world.
Have you ever been in a hot tub outside when it was snowing?
Yes, often, and it's one of the most incredible sensations in the world.
At my old house we used to have a great hot tub. It went basically unused during the summer months, but on cool nights I was always out there after dark, soaking up the warm water and the bubbles. During icy or snowing conditions it was amazing to bask in the warmth while the ice and snow whipped around me.
I preferred to use the hot tub at night, because then we could use it nude without being spied upon by neighbors. Even in the dead of winter—or maybe even especially during—it's more comfortable to emerge naked and steaming from a hot tub than it is to have wet fabric dripping and slopping around and making the rest of you frigid.
hallo mrsexy whose side of your family do you take after-your mum or dad
Physically I take after my mom's side of the family. The men from her family are tall and lean and lanky, and hung. (At least, I'm assuming that's where I got that part of myself. It certainly wasn't from my dad.)
For years I would've said I took after my mother temperamentally as well; like her, I have a strong musical streak, a flair for writing, a love for reading, and tendency to depression (though my blue periods are nothing like hers). However, lately I notice that I'm spookily like my dad. We have the same laugh. I find myself pulling out his hoary old aphorisms and repeating them. We share the same academic rigor and get outraged about the exact same things.
It's freaking me out, man!
Sir, you are very open about your life & it's a privilege. Do you ever feel others try to trespass into areas of your life you don't or won't talk about?
Thanks for phrasing your question as you did. I like to think I'm remarkably open in my blog about quite a number of facets of my life.
There's a certain subset of people, however, who seem not to recognize the abundance of what I have given, and who feel entitled to more and more. When I balk, citing my limits as a blogger and semi-public person, they indulge in hissy fits and name-calling.
It's frustrating. Particularly when I've received precious little from them in any form.
Which decade of life do you think you had the best sexual experience, teens-20s-30s-40s and why?
I really like this question. However, it doesn't lend itself to as straightforward an answer as one might expect.
I'd nominate two of those decades as having the best sexual experiences. The first would be the decades of my teens; it was a stretch of time in which even the prospect of impending sex with a man made my hands shake and my heart pound so heavily in my chest I thought it would burst out. It was a decade in which everyone chased me—which is always gratifying to the ego—and when I could be assured of walking into a room and getting the attention of gay men, just because of my age and build. It was the only decade in which I didn't get turned down by anyone.
The nineteen-seventies were a time when guys fucked and swapped fluids without fear, which was liberating. The first few years of sexual exploration can be scary, but they're also amazing when they're unfolding. I like remembering those years because it seemed as if anything could happen, then.
In my twenties and thirties I continued to have good sex—a lot of it. But when one hits thirty in the gay world, one suddenly becomes invisible and irrelevant in a lot of contexts. Coming to terms with that sudden invisibility took a few years of getting used to. I also learned to use it to my advantage.
However, when I hit my forties, suddenly I became a daddy in the world of gay sex, and everything got good again. The young guys started crawling out of the woodwork for me. Older ones suddenly began rediscovering me again as well. I was by that time confident in my skin and in my abilities, which made me even better in the sack. Also, my sexual philosophies had matured to the point where I was comfortable with pursuing what I loved doing best.
I might've had a ton of sex in my teens when it was all vital and new, but though the quantity has decreased (only slightly!) in my forties, the quality has been overall a vast, vast improvement. I wouldn't trade those gains for youth, under any circumstances.