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Friday, 27 June 2014

Meeting A Pleasant Belgian Entrepreneur for Coffee

A couple months back, a guy living in Belgium came across my profile on Gaydar and decided to send me a private message with a face picture attached. Not bad and pleasant looking, however he certainly didn't fit into a type that I would usually look out for.

"That's weird, why would a guy living so far away chat me up here? Usually people aren't even interested in talking to other guys unless they're within a certain geographical radius of commute. But this? This, we are far. What could possibly come out of it?", I thought.

Defying my own complicated deduction of logic, I made a decision to approach this with an open mind and just go with the flow. Even though his picture didn't pique enough of my interest.

Gradually after a few exchanges on Gaydar, we ended up on each other's instant messaging app and chatted occasionally on a wide variety of topics, including discussions about sex and also casually intriguing each other with recorded voice messaging.

He flirts a lot more with me whenever we chat but I most often never reciprocate, or take him for that matter seriously. One because I wasn't attracted to him that way and I didn't want to lead him on. And secondly, I'm almost never comfortable in expressing affection with a complete stranger I've never even met in real life.

Unexpectedly over the course of our frequent exchange, I think we became comfortable friends. We even talked about the possibility of us meeting one day, in Belgium or wherever serendipity might take us. Maybe he might even indulge me in some "bed training" as how he called it. However, he failed to mention that he will be coming to my city this month on business.

So last week, I couldn't believe my eyes when his message to me read that he was at the airport boarding a plane bound for the neighbouring capital city in my region for business. He told me that he will be passing by my city too for a couple of days. 

"What? He's going to be in the country? That's weird. We've been chatting for a while now. How come he never mentioned this trip to me? Aren't we friends?", I pondered. Putting all sense of reasoning aside, I told him that I am interested in meeting him for coffee and that we should definitely meet up. I wasn't hoping for sex at all when I arranged the meet, but I thought if I really liked him enough, the option might still be negotiable and I'll let him do whatever he wants with me.

On an uncomfortably hot Monday afternoon, I found myself seated at a downtown café with the very same Belgian guy I've been chatting to for months. It felt so surreal, and so positively weird that a character I've only ever known through a retina display screen, is now smiling at me in flesh after attending an afternoon business lunch. He was pleasant, approachable, funny and nice. He graciously paid for my coffee and we talked enjoyably about his business. He told me too that I looked good and that I am attractive.

However, I was still unsure if I'm up for some bedroom fun with him if he asks. I don't know if it was my hormones, my intake of antidepressants, or if my body is changing again, but for a few long weeks now, my sex drive has been in the extreme low. Pair that with my lack of physical attraction towards him and my newly awakened fear of failure again in bed, you have a recipe for disaster.

True enough after we both finished our drinks, there was a long silence and he asked if I wanted to go back to the room with him. Damn it! He really is asking. After taking a few seconds to come to the conclusion that I still am not 'in heat', I apologised and politely turned him down, explaining that I wasn't in the mood that day. He was of course disappointed.

The atmosphere got a little awkward and I felt bad for not delivering what was expected, but we got past it and continued to chat. For some reason after turning him down, I was really conscious of the time. He is a business man. Am I wasting his? Is he even interested in keeping me as a friend if I cannot give him what he's after?

Nevertheless, we continued to talk about many things. We even met up again the next day for drinks because I wanted to spend as much time as I can with him. After all, he did say that it is not everyday that we get to meet. Some of the interesting things in our conversation that struck me emotionally and ignited many 'a-ha' moments were:

  • the constant rejection in his line of work, and in business. In which he says to me "welcome to life in the real world" and that rejection is a part of living in reality. If there are a hundred doors, it is up to us to knock on all hundred in order to seek for that one lucky door that might be the one that we need to change things. If there are none within that first one hundred, look for another bulk of hundred and start over.

  • my not so positive past experiences with sex. "Are you scared? Afraid? Or what? The past is the past." He told me not to let a bad past experience hold me back and ruin my willingness to take risks again in the present. To chance positive memories that is the natural antidote to our not so positive past. He was of course talking about it in the context of sex and also in life.

  • the time he travelled on business to a neighbouring city and met up with a guy he long chatted with on Planet Romeo/Gay Romeo who "wasn't looking for fun". When they met at the lobby of his hotel, the Belgian entrepreneur was in his own words 'drooling' at the candidate. So they went out for the night, only to have the candidate himself suggest that they return to the hotel bar for a drink and wanted to "see his room". But because sex was not part of the plan that night, it didn't occur to the entrepreneur what was happening.

    The candidate stated later on in the room that "it's late and that he doesn't have transport home". So the Belgian allowed him to stay but joked that the guest is to sleep on the ground. The candidate agreed. But later on, the entrepreneur laughed and said:
    "Don't be silly, come share the bed" and he did. Then obviously clothes started to come off, they made love and they spend a couple of days together. Soon they parted ways. It was a tearful one on the part of the Belgian because he fell in love with this guy, who in his own words complemented him mentally, emotionally and sexually. It was perfect.

    However, after a few weeks of texting, the candidate turned aloof because he found a new British guy who lived in the same city to be with. The Belgian guy told me how devastatingly heartbroken he was and felt like his emotions were being played. Did everything he experienced, the genuine passion he felt with the candidate, was all for nothing?

After meeting him for coffee over two days, we kept in touch as he carried on with his business trip. I don't know when him and I will have the opportunity to sit down like this together again, but I hope this wouldn't be the last of each other.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Getting Tired of the German Backpacker

On Friday, T the German backpacker came back into town and suggested that we hang out. A part of me wanted to see him again in order to appreciate every present moment we have together as friends, but the other part where the strong inner voice resides question: "What's the point in us hanging out aimlessly again? Where is this all heading?"

Him and I went for a long late afternoon walk in the city park, followed by some street food for dinner and an American comedy film at the cinema. I could feel that he was different that evening, almost as if our time apart has given him some new found perspective to appreciating my openheartedness all along.

At the end of the evening while on the train, he was extremely warm to me. Up to the point where he and I were literally whispering in each other's faces as commuters stared, trying to digest the unfamiliar sight of two men being this close to each other in a place where homosexuality is "not normal". His stop came and I think he was expecting some usual warm goodbye hug from me, but I kept my distance because we were in public.

On Saturday night, he suggested again through text messaging that we should meet on Sunday because he is to leave the city on Monday. Initially I was hesitant about meeting again, but then I went along with it because I thought he really was interested in wanting to see me. "Maybe he was indeed coming around?", I thought.

On Sunday afternoon, I sent him a text with some suggestions on the time and location we were to meet. Despite the 'read' time stamps on his end, there was no reply. My instincts warned me very strongly once again about what is about to happen. 

About an hour after our supposed meet-up time, came his text.

M, I'm so sorry that I didn't tell you anything about my day plans.

I was having the broken charger, so my phone was empty the whole day and in day time I met my friend from the other city after so long and we went one more time to the American comedy film. The audience was shit but the movie awesome. I copied even the jokes I missed the first time.

Boy, I was angry, hurt and felt like a fool. There were so many things that were obviously wrong with the way he is behaving. He double-booked somebody else on the same day we were going to meet, went to the same movie, left me hanging and waiting again. To top things off, T isn't even aware of how ridiculously inconsiIderate he is sounding to me.

At the thought of wanting to send him a clear message as to how cheesed off and tired I am with him, I made sure that there was a 'read' time stamp for every one of his text bubble to me without a single reply from my end. For the first time since we met, our chat dashboard was filled with messages of him trying to communicate with me and none from me. Gradually after two hours, he realised something was wrong.

Are you mad with me? 
I don't understand.
If you are mad with me, ok... I have to accept it.
I like you much. But maybe if also you are against me, it will be a sign for me to go.
I'm sorry and I keep you in my heart.
Hello man!
Don't act like this please!

I am somebody who doesn't handle conflict very well, even when it comes to my very own heated emotions of anger. There have been times when conflicts in my life have ended up in incivility and I am left in regret for failing to handle it better. Hence for years, I've always settled for either the high road or the deadly cold silence whenever I'm furious. 

After a while, the inner voice spoke: "Okay, M. Silence is the most powerful way to express anger, but it's time to handle this like a civilised and mature grown man. What difference in maturity do you bring to the table if you ignore him completely and leave him hanging? We need to let him know that we are unhappy about the situation, but we can't very well give him the upper hand too by throwing tantrums."

I finally responded and told him that it's fine, and that I was really "confused with my own emotions" while waiting for him because I thought he was the one who wanted to meet. "Oh my god, I forgot that", was his reply.

As you can guess, I was obviously very tired and cheesed off with his behaviour. Even as a gay friend, I am aware that I deserve to be treated with priority after all the openheartedness and unconditional generosity I've shown him ever since we met. 

In the conversation, he did mention something about letting him pay me back for everything I've done, but I told him that a relationship between human to human can't always be based on scores or how much one has done for the other. That is certainly not how I function. For everything that I do comes from the sincere heart without a price tag.

For the moment, I have yet to come to a viable conclusion as to how I would like to proceed regarding my friendship with him. But if it's anything I've learnt from this experience, is a wake-up call to start learning how to invest intelligently in the right guys.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The German Backpacker Stays in My Home for a Week | ❷

Our honesty with each other that night in the car, gave rise to a very enjoyable dinner. For the remaining part of the week, things were back to normal. But there were also days in his stay when I could feel that we weren't exactly each other's favourite person. The occasional tension, frustration and exhaustive energy that happens when you put two strangers under one roof for too long. But we survived.

On the second last night, T and I were in one of those moods again so I excused myself and left him to drink some wine alone on the garden terrace. After a late night shower, I went downstairs to check on him. While drying my hair off with a towel, T suddenly looked at me with vulnerable alcohol intoxicated eyes and asked: "Are you in love with me?"

Whoa. I did not see that question coming. And the alcohol certainly gave him the balls to confront me with what was on his head. 

Me: [smile]
"What do you mean T?"

Him: [tipsy]
"Are you in love with me?"

Me: [caught-off-guard silence]

"Why do you ask that?"

Him: [tipsy]
"I feel that you have done too much for me during the past week and have over-attended to me the entire time. I know it's standard hospitality and being a good host, but I also know that nobody does something like that for somebody else unless they are truly in love with them in some way. And maybe you do love me more than I like you as a friend.

I mean I appreciate you letting me stay here and driving me around, but I feel like you are always there waiting for me and attending to me when I have actually done nothing for you. I worry if you might be doing those things because you are afraid of losing me? Or that I will go away?"

Me: [smiles]
"T, first of all, I did all those things because that's who I am. I am a good host. I believe very much in giving, and in being good to people so that it comes back to me. Maybe I might not get it back from you necessarily, but I will get it in another form, another person and in another time. That is the universal law of which I was raised and I would like to believe it.

And T, I know."

"You know what?"

"Everything! Everything you've just mentioned. I've known for a while and I've been feeling it strongly from you. But were you afraid to tell me this because you're worried I'm one of those guys who might go crazy on you if you didn't return my feelings?

T, I like you. A lot. And I know I haven't exactly been acting like a grown man since we met, but I am not in love with you. Infatuated maybe, but certainly not in love because I am realistic enough to know that you and I are deciphering life in different places at the moment. 

Within the next  year, you will move on to the next country, meet more guys and carry on with your travels. Where else I will still be the same twenty-something year old who needs to sort out his career and himself.

So I am actually aware of what's going on. I've known for quite some time. It's just that I wasn't willing to give it all up without even trying to the very last week."

Him: [tipsy]
"Okay. So I'm glad I told you the truth. It's good that you're realistic and that you understand. M, you are a sincere guy. You deserve somebody who will love you. 

I am an asshole and I am not a good guy. I'm telling you."

As he took another sip of his wine with mist in his eyes, his last sentence hit me hard. For deep down, my instincts have always warned me again and again about my denial to the truth of his own admission. As Maya Angelou once said: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them; the first time".

That night, I went to bed feeling a little tired and despondent. I thought about him and his issues with how he seems to be handling my warmth and approach to human emotions. Did he had trouble 'receiving' unconditional generosity and goodwill due to unresolved feelings of unworthiness? Was it T himself or the German mindset in him that I had difficulty understanding?

I spoke to my mother about what was happening and she gave me some advice that went something like how nurturing relationships are never purely one-sided and in my case, it really was me giving T my all, my love and my energy because I do harbour expectations that cannot be met by the other person.

The next day, things were still a little awkward between us despite me maintaining the very same hospitable façade to prove that I was truly being an empathetic host, as opposed to being in loveHe went away to the city to run some errands while I stayed at home to look for work. But as the evening came around, so did the both of us. 

That night, he and I walked the dog for about two hours and talked about a lot more things in which we previously never had the comfort level to discuss. We opened up about our past, our characters and also deeper subjects in which were previously emotionally inaccessible by neither of us. 

After having clarified how we both really felt, he seems to have increased his trust in me as a genuinely sincere person and opened up more about some of the problems he was going through. I listened with sympathy sans judgement and felt all of a sudden that him and I might actually have the potential to becoming sincere gay friends.

One of the most memorable topics I remember from our conversation was the concept of "living" and "preparing to live". It was the answer he gave when I asked him if it hurts, knowing that he is blowing off all his savings on this backpacking trip.

Finally a couple of days ago, we said goodbye and I dropped him off at the bus station for his solo trip to the islands, the countryside and the town where we met. He's going to be in the country for a while and I have a feeling we'll be keeping in touch.

Monday, 9 June 2014

The German Backpacker Stays in My Home for a Week | ❶

Last week, I gave into my heart's impulse and invited T, the German backpacker I first met in April this year to come spend a weekend at my home as an international friend. After the realistic signals and happenings within the last postI sort of came to the conclusion that him and I are probably just two guys who will maintain a very formal gay relationship.

I extended the invite under a platonic pretext and left the decision up to him of which, he openly accepts. My purpose for this arrangement was for us to fully spend an undisrupted weekend together, co-existing in the same space to see what comes up. Even if sexual exploration might not be on the menu again, I knew I liked T enough to want to continue being in his company. He said that it should be fun and came up with a few suggestions on what we can do together.

So the weekend finally arrives and during the entire time since he stepped foot into my car, I had to ride out intermittent boners that seem to arise at inconvenient intervals. Like when I was showing him the guest room, seeing him without his shirt on, or simply just seated next to him on the terrace. There were moments where I tried to initiate subtle physical contact but he seemed impervious to it all.

On the first evening of his stay, we went out for a nice dinner with my family and spent the late night chilling over some beer and alcohol on the garden terrace. We talked good, and the long hours were surprisingly more enjoyable than the times where I would commute into the city just to meet him for coffee.

At around 3am while preparing to go to bed, I deliberately lingered around his room under the pretext of being a good host and making sure that he is comfortable and has everything he needs to get a good night's sleep. Come on, invite me to share the same bed! We drank some alcohol didn't we? Still, nothing happened and we ended up sleeping in separate rooms.

The next morning, I woke up with morning wood knowing that he was in the next room. I brushed my teeth and went over to greet him and lazed on his bed. Again, he didn't seem to respond. But my erection was getting too obvious that I had to walk away before I embarrassed myself.

This day and night ritual then continued to repeat itself over the next two days without anything happening. By the third day, I got the message that nothing was ever going to happen and I maturely accepted it with slight disappointment.

Then unexpectedly, for what was supposed to be a weekend stay was slowly turning into something longer. I was his host for about a week and we were constantly in each other's company, doing all sorts of things together like:

  • Going shopping because he needed some new pants and t-shirts for his travels.
  • Making him coffee and toast in the morning.
  • Sightseeing at tourist spots and visiting cultural landmarks.
  • Long hourly night walks with my dog together in the neighbourhood.
  • Re-educating my untrained dog of his rusty manners.
  • Going to the cinema, sharing a popcorn and watching a blockbuster movie.
  • Cooking him my version of a lovely lunch and eating it out on the terrace together because he didn't feel like going out.
  • Sitting in cafés, public places and my terrace for hours.
  • Buying take out food together and sharing them with nightly beer and wine sessions.

Frankly, these are scenes of which I've always dreamt of doing all my life with a guy, or what I would call a 'boyfriend figure'. But this figure never had a face. At one point, I remember thinking that the Law of Attraction was manifesting in the form of T. However, not as a lover, but more of the 'guy figure' of which I did those things with. We were living everyday like a couple except that we are not a couple.

"So the universe does work in mysterious ways in sending you dreams", I find myself pondering.

While walking the dog one night, I don't know what came over me but I decided to tell him about how I never thought that the 'boyfriend figure' who would be walking the dog with me, was him. He looked at me with an expression that seem to depict his uneasiness with what I just said. I laughed and went on to explain that he doesn't have to take everything I say so seriously all the time.

One evening while we were in the car and on the way for some later night supper, my patience finally ran out at the onset of courage. I decided to be honest with him about my hopes for more bed fun.

"T, I have a burning question at the back of my head I've been wanting to ask you. But I think you might not be very comfortable with answering."

Him: [eyes front]

"You sure?"

"Yeah go ahead."

"You know ever since that time, you and I met for the first time and we 'you know', tried things out. Are you finish with ever wanting to try anything with me again? In bed I mean."

Him: [silent]

"I told you it was uncomfortable didn't I? Haha. But you know what, just forget it. You don't have to answer that."

"No no. It's a good question. I am very glad you asked me this because I've also been thinking if I want to talk to you about this."

"How come? Because I remember trying to get us to talk about it the last time but you seemed really uncomfortable and no longer wanted to pursue the conversation so I had to let it go. What changed?

I've decided to ask now because for the past few days, I've sort of gotten comfortable with you enough to want to go for honesty instead of I don't know...  I felt like you left me hanging back there and there was no feedback for me to find out what went wrong or how can I fix it."

"When we first met, I was stuck because I liked you. I really enjoyed the company and the conversations we were having. So much so that I was worried if inviting you back to my place for fun was going to spoil what he had. But we did go back to my place and it didn't go well. So I planned to leave it as that.

Then when I while I was back in Germany and we were chatting, you asked me some sex questions and I knew immediately what you had in mind and what you were planning.

When you invited me to your home, I thought to myself 'hmm.. let's see where this will go, or let's see how things will work out with M. I don't know where I stand with him and am also trying to figure out what will become of us. I like him as friend but we'll see.' 

And I'm not going to lie to you and say that I don't check you out or look at you behind your back whenever you turn because I like your body and I am attracted to it. Yeah. But at the same time, I enjoy his friendship that I don't want to bring us back to that awkward place in bed. We tried it, it wasn't good and I am impatient. For me, once was enough and... yeah. "

"Okay T. I just wanted to know. Thank you so much for being so honest. I just want to clarify and reassure you that I actually don't have any unreasonable expectations in mind or at the back of my head when I brought up this topic between us. I just felt that with you, I don't have to play games and don't want to play games. So now I know."

"Yeah, let's wait and see. We talk about this again in a few days. Right now, let's go to dinner."

[To Be Continued...  The German Backpacker Stays in My Home for a Week | ❷