I decided to write my 13 Reasons series earlier in the summer when I realized I had a lot of stuff to get off my chest. Such a lot of stuff.
There often have been times throughout my sex blog in which I’ve discussed encounters that have gone bad, or my disappointments with various men. I do have a department of bad encounters tag that I use liberally, after all. On the whole, though, throughout my blogging career I’ve kept most of my entries upbeat and complimentary of my partners. I’ve portrayed my sport fucking as steamy, and fun, and adventurous. Perhaps even as enviable. I wasn’t wrong to do so; the sex I have has been all those things.
But there have been episodes, and periods, in which the bad has outweighed the fun and the good. The handful that made up my series were downright harmful.
I didn’t write about those encounters until now for many reasons. Some took time to process. Years, even. Others, like those involving cyberbullies and stalkers, felt like sleeping bears it might be unwise to poke. A lot of my bad memories, however, I avoided writing about because I was wary of how readers would receive them. Historically, my readers have liked it when I focus on the porntastic. When I write openly about what’s bothering me, they’re not as pleased.
My reader feedback in the last few weeks has kind of borne that out. “It was a LOT of Cory,” someone told me today. And yes, yes it was a lot of Cory. There was a lot of Cory in my life for a year, and to this day I’m still dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath. So yeah, for you, four entries might’ve been an awful lot of Cory. For me, it was either the appropriate proportion of Cory, or given how sometimes he lingers, not enough.
“These posts are painful to read,” said another reader. “Some have made me cry.” I get that. I get that people have been reluctant to comment on some posts because my emotions in them are too raw, or too vivid. I respect that stance, even. People don't visit sex blogs so they can wallow in someone else’s misery. Everyone has enough of his or her own. My personal challenge at the beginning of the series was to write everything out as honestly as possible and damn the consequences. It was a good exercise for me. I recognize, though, it wasn’t everyone’s pair of pajama pants.
“I wish that your blog had just continued from where it left off, a year or so ago,” wrote one reader this week. And, my reader, if you happen to be recognizing your words on my page, fear not. I’m not trying to make you feel badly for your wish. I wish my blog could’ve continued from where it left off, too.
But honestly . . . it couldn’t.
Not writing about these hurts was smothering me. Every time one of my readers would spend weeks telling me I meant the world to him, only to disappear or deceive after we fucked, it weighed me down a little more. When one of my readers would demand more of me than he should, when he’d feel entitled to more than he’d earned, it pushed me down more and more. Maybe the individual disappointments each weighed no more than the lead apron my dental assistant drapes across me during an x-ray. But lay one, then another, then another . . . the cumulative weight suffocates.
It’s painful. They’ve made me cry, too. I wish I could’ve just picked up right where I left off. But I can’t.
When I started thinking about this series, in a fit of pique after my encounter with Bill 101, I modeled it after the (mostly ridiculous) Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, in which a high school girl, prior to committing suicide, recorded thirteen 45-minute cassette tape sides accusing thirteen of her peers for driving her to the grave. Each side was a Fuck you! from beyond the grave to one of her classmates who'd pushed her to that extreme.
Snapping Welcome to your tape! at someone who had pissed you off had become the meme of the spring; I was amused by the thought of appropriating it for the screeds I’d never written about the men who’d upset me.
I actually kind of had to weed from the final candidates the many readers who’d just kind of pissed me off, versus the ones whose actions were actually toxic to my well-being. So out went the guys who’d stood me up, or the ones who made promises they never kept, or never intended to keep. I narrowed my selection down to men who had impeded my creativity, to men who seemingly had gone above and beyond to disappoint. All along I intended to end with the knock-out one-two punch of Cory followed by the boy who fell in love with someone else—which I did. But the story of Cory I had to expand by a chapter more than I intended . . . because, again, there was an awful lot of Cory.
Originally I’d envisioned that the very last essay of the series would have been about its real and most persistent antagonist. That is, myself.
Writing these essays has brought me face to face with my many and abundant flaws. When I write about my monstrous vanity and my inflated ego, I’m not being charmingly self-deprecating. I mean to tell you guys I really do have a monstrous vanity and inflated ego.
Week after week I've had to confront ugly facts about myself. For example:
If I didn’t have such a monstrous vanity and inflated ego, I probably would’ve been strong enough not to go down the rabbit hole after the men who fed emotional heroin to those particular flaws. If cartoon birdies didn’t chirp in my eyes and my pupils didn’t dilate into Looney Tunes throbbing hearts every time some reader on the make started a conversation with Wow, sir, I really love your blog, I wouldn’t have had to put up with half the shit I ended up writing about for thirteen weeks.
If I didn’t think so damned highly about myself, if I didn’t truly believe at heart that I am always, always right, I wouldn’t expect men’s lives to be magically changed by my influence or presence. And then I wouldn’t be disappointed when they turn out, after all, to be just as human and fallible as I am myself.
If I were a more ruthlessly honest person, I’d question the morality of keeping a sex blog at all. Readers of my blog who choose to embark on a physical relationship with me are somewhat fair game; they know the likelihood of being written about. But men who are strangers to the blog? Is it fair of me to write about them, afterward—even if (as I do) I change their names and their circumstances to protect their privacy? What about men in my history, who may or may not stumble across my writings and happen to recognize themselves? (It’s happened, more frequently than makes me comfortable.) What kind of ethical compass do I follow, here . . . if I have one left at all, anymore?
I came away from this series feeling like more of a monster than any of the men I carped about. Anyone who imagined that I enjoyed my pity party would be seriously wrong.
But one of the things I try to do nowadays is to be a little kinder to myself than I typically have been in previous decades of my life. I don’t dismiss my offenses off-hand. Instead, I recognize my imperfections where I can. I try to isolate where I might have gone wrong, and see the path I might have chosen instead. Then I resolve to do better. That was the theme of this series, right? If we could do better, we would.
And I want to be able to do better.
My last thirteen entries took my readers through some dark places. I’ve left the impression with a lot of my readers, it seems, that I’m still feeling in the dark. Let me assure everyone, though, that I’ve been writing from a place of strength, and from a stance of conviction. Devastated as I was after the last two men I wrote about, I bounced back. I had pleasing physical and emotional relationships. I’m healthy. Life is good.
Sure, I was disinclined for a very long time to write entries for my sex blog. (You would be, too.) Of course I’ve been extremely wary of friendly overtures from readers, and I’ve been guilty of extreme over-caution in dealing with them—even with some of the readers I’ve known for a very long time. I often activate my usual icy self-defenses more quickly, these days, than I might have in the past.
But that Divine Spark I wrote about in my Cory entries? The internal pilot light that motivates my curiosity, my sexuality, my creativity—the one I worried was snuffed out for good? It’s been burning again, steadily if not brightly, through every one of the essays I wrote for this series.
Let’s end on a lighter, odder note.
I was about halfway through my series when someone tried hitting me up on BBRT. A younger guy in Manhattan. After he oinked at me, I looked over the handful of public photos on his profile. Nice ass, I told him.
It’s yours if you want it, Sir, he wrote back.
Readers, you and I both know my probable reaction to that one. Hands up if you picture me licking my chops, rubbing my hands together, and preparing to move in for the kill. (My hand is up.)
So let’s discuss that, son, I wrote back, while in my mind a mental soundtrack of bow-chicka-bow-wow started to play.
First off, Sir, let this faggot say that your blog changed his life.
Cue the sound of a needle scratching off that soundtrack. What the actual fuck?
May I see your locked pictures? I asked the guy. He assented, and unlocked. Sure enough, just as I suspected, the face in the profile was of This Faggot, the guy I wrote about in my second essay of the series.
What was weird about our conversation, though, was that he seemed to show absolutely either no memory of—or no remorse for—the way he’d led me on just three months prior.
A friend of mine, whom I was exchanging unbelieving texts, kept trying to convince me that This Faggot had read my entry about him and was trying to . . . I don’t know. Get me to admit I’d written it? See if I’d fall for his schtick again?
My argument back to my friend, though, was that This Faggot didn’t really have a clear motivation for coming at me again, without disguising himself, without changing his approach, without seeming to remember any of what had already happened between us. If he’d read the unpleasant (yet thoroughly accurate) account I’d written of him, wouldn’t he be angry? Or, you know, a little more subtle about his revenge?
Or was he just a messed-up ball of denial living so deep in his own fantasies that he really didn’t have any recollection of our tiring encounter? Or maybe just a psycho meth head?
I didn’t know.
So I wrote This Faggot and asked, Don’t you remember talking to me before?
This doesn't think it did, Sir. This Faggot would have remembered the honor of speaking to you. This faggot just knows it always been a fan of your blog and it changed its life.
Right, I wrote back. And we chatted in May.
Can’t remember. Deleted the site for a while.
That’s when I’d had enough. Whether or not he was playing me, I didn’t care. I told him off and told him not to contact me again.
Just when you think it can’t get any weirder, right?
By the way, for the purposes of this guy’s privacy, I’ve completely obscured his profile name in the email exchange I’ve shared above. I’m one hundred percent certain that it won’t be remotely legible and that I totally didn't forget to smudge out his name. Because that’s the sort of kind, caring, fellow I am.