Gay Men Searching or Not Searching For True Love
To Bring You My Love
'Things have been just great since my nation abandoned me. Now I'm liberated and can see reality for the first time.'
'Shut the fuck up, you crazy drug-addled nihilist! No one abandoned you--you abandoned them. No one hates you--you hate them.'
This gentleman is a 32-year-old man who had unprotected anal intercourse last evening. He had met him only once on Tender. There were no condoms used. There was ejaculation.
In a small apartment, a small bathhouse room, or, does it really matter?--two men are suffering in the bitter euphoric throes induced by crystal meth. For the younger man, this is his first time--his first time smoking crystal meth.
"You overthink everything. Why don't you become more like me?" the older man stands up to grab his pipe.
"Nobody's perfect, man," the younger man replies. "I'm just a narcissist looking for an easy ride because I'm too lazy to work for a living."
"No, I think you are imbued with the sin of vanity."
"Don't you mean--you meant to say, 'The sin of pride.'”
'You keep hurling insults at me because you are transparent to me. Why don't you man up and stop behaving like a spoiled toddler throwing a temper tantrum?'
'I'm just a cog in the meat grinder of capitalism, this machine that has made me into an object, and has transformed you into an object, this machine that has objectified and dehumanized all of us.'
"You are too gay, mister," the older man says before getting back to what he believed he really wanted to do.
"I think I'm still too difficult to enter. This is my third time."
"Just stop talking; I will get inside eventually," the older man says. "But it would be easier without a condom, you know."
This happened last evening.
He has not taken prophylactic medication post-exposure. He is not on pre-exposure medication.
Patient has no other medical history except for chronic pelvic pain.
_ _ _
"What's your name?" the older man asks again.
"My name is . . . Ivan."
"Guess my age, but don't be mean."
"Actually, I'm forty-six-years-old. But you're right in a way: After I turned thirty-seven, I stopped adding years to my age; I stopped counting my birthdays."
The younger man (Ivan) fails to maintain an erection tonight and never really gets one either. The older man (Gabriel) appears to be struggling with the condoms.
"Stop talking like this. It's turning me off. Another man wouldn't be as tolerant as I am," Gabriel says.
"I'm sorry, but I'm not attracted to older men. I'm not trying to insult you."
"It takes more to insult me . . . If you didn't like me, why did you decide to come here and put both of us through this torture?"
"I guess I thought, 'Why not?' Nobody else wants me. Maybe I can still learn something. It's just a hook-up, right?"
Less than two days after this encounter, Ivan meets a somewhat younger man -- someone youthful and masculine, someone hairy and smooth. This man's name is Varun. At first, Ivan feels unsure of himself. The withdrawal from his first experience with crystal meth has made him feel more suicidal and depressed, even more volatile, than usual, but it's like it's all in his head. He feels trapped and miserable in his shell of alienation. Gabriel said that he's wasting his youth, and Ivan can't help but wonder, deep down, if what Gabriel said was true. He wants to hate Gabriel for criticizing him and being mean with him, but Ivan realizes the heart is not a place where easy riddles and truths are revealed. The heart is a frightening desert wasteland where we can drop our masks, our boundaries, and try to connect with other people or just one other human being. We talk, we kiss, we have sex.
'Tender banned me because I'm a Marxist-Leninist.'
'Shut the fuck up, fascist! Tender banned you because you argue with dudes, spam them with links, send them unsolicited pornographic images, and try to provoke political debates and controversies.'
Varun drives a sparkling, old-fashioned, turquoise car. He looks like a perfect gentleman, a handsome, heroic prince extending an olive branch of charity to the unfortunate, lonely, or wretched. Varun waits in his car near a café in Ivan's neighborhood. Seconds of eternities pass by, the moments in which you or anyone can make a split decision that could potentially alter your whole life.
"Hey," Varun says to Ivan as he approaches the car.
Regardless of whether or not it is true love at first sight, Ivan is blinded by the unadulterated beauty of this god of a man.
"Hi," Ivan says as he takes off his knapsack and gets into the passenger's seat of Varun's car. The Smiths song "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" plays quietly on the radio. As Ivan looks into Varun's god-like eyes, he almost finds it hard to believe that such a perfect man would want to be with him. Ivan looks like a woodpecker; Varun looks like a wolf. Ivan has always thought that wolves are cool and numinous. After the song ends, only silence remains.
The awkward silence ends when Varun asks him, "So where would you like to go?"
"I don't know. It's up to you."
"I was thinking of going to a bathhouse downtown."
"Okay," Ivan says. "Do you need a vaccine passport to go there?"
"I have one."
"I do too."
"Have you ever been there?" Varun asks.
"No. I did go to the bathhouse in Victoria once."
"Wow, I didn’t know it still exists.”
“I went there in 2010,” Ivan explains, “so I don’t know if it’s still there.”
Varun affectionately pets Ivan’s left hand with his right hand. “You’re very hot,” he says.
“I think you’re hot too,” Ivan says.
“So you sent me a link to that stream of yours, but I never listened to it. Do you consider yourself a Marxist or Communist?”
“I’m not really sure, to be honest. I don’t know yet.”
“The problem is that whenever nations tried to implement Marxist theory on a mass scale, it resulted in mass murder and dictatorship,” Varun says.
Just a year ago, Ivan wouldn’t even have wanted to argue with this commonsensical statement. But Ivan was disillusioned by both Trudeau and Trump, and couldn’t see why he shouldn’t give socialism another chance. He remembered some Internet videos that presented evidence that Che Guevara’s and Cuba’s executions around the time of the Cuban revolution were necessary and justified. “But there are contradictory and competing claims regarding what happened in Cuba during and after the Revolution,” Ivan says.
“That might be true, but what happened in Maoist China and the Soviet Union or Soviet Russia is pretty clear-cut. They were too authoritarian."
"But Karl Marx wasn't a statist or authoritarian in the literal, modern-day sense of the terms."
"Marx was a theorist, though. Yet I have to admit that the provinces in India that have adopted Marxism have higher literacy rates," Varun adds, thereby concluding this political discussion.
After a brief discussion regarding what sex acts they'd like to do, Varun smiles and touches Ivan's hand again. "I'm a versatile top, but mostly a top. What about you, Ivan?"
"A versatile bottom, but more of a bottom," Ivan says.
Varun smiles. "So we're a good fit for each other."
"Do you like Seattle?"
"Yes, I like it," Varun says. "The only thing I don't like sometimes is how gloomy it gets at this time of year. Do you like living in Seattle?"
"I don't know. Sometimes. I'd say I like it for the most part."
"What do you like about it?" Varun inquires.
"The mountains, different people; there are a lot of different people one can meet."
“It’s very diverse here. Do you ever go mountain climbing or hiking?”
“Never,” Ivan says. “Do you think we’ll get to meet again in the future after this?”
“It depends entirely on what the sex is gonna be like.”
‘No pressure,’ Ivan thinks to himself. "How long are we going to stay at the bathhouse together?"
"Probably around one hour or two. I have to wake up early tomorrow." Varun parks the car near the bathhouse that goes by the name Smoke Incubi. "Make sure you have your mask ready."
They both exit the car. As Ivan walks behind Varun toward the bathhouse, Ivan can't help but notice what a thick, and big, sexy chad he is. Not too long ago, Ivan had a young female acquaintance who told him that he needs to "find a chad to frot" (rub cocks or jerk off cocks) with. Lurking beneath this patina of delight, Ivan senses his primal fear: that he won't be able to please this handsome alpha male, at least not enough to get a second chance with him.
They both put their masks on and enter Smoke Incubi. A jolly Santa Claus works at the front desk or reception area of the bathhouse. Varun and Ivan noiselessly stand in line waiting for their turn. Varun decides he's going to purchase a locker; Ivan decides on a basic room. Separately, they show their digital vaccine cards -- with barcodes like static television snow -- and proceed to pay for their rental purchases.
"We ran out of basic rooms," Santa Claus tells Ivan, so he opts for the slightly more pricey standard room. When Santa checks Ivan's backpack, he finds an opaque, wooden water-container, which Santa promptly empties, since outside beverages are not allowed on the premises. Ivan instantly regrets not drinking any of the filtered water before, but quickly gets over it, since he's not really that thirsty -- at least not thirsty for water, at any rate.
Ivan is given the keys and TV remote, and Varun carries all of them, along with the towels, as he guides Ivan toward the room's location. Once inside the small room, they gradually remove their clothes and place them on a very small bench near the bed.
"I brought lube and condoms," Ivan says, explaining his open knapsack on the floor.
"I don't like condoms," Varun says as Ivan cleans his hand with a hand sanitizing spray.
"But I'm not on PrEP."
"Don't worry; I am. And my most recent test results came back negative. Come over here; we have plenty of foreplay to do." Varun is already lying down on the bed, seemingly fully erect, a thick, at-least-eight-inch, beautiful phallus. (Definitely not less than seven inches.) Ivan can't help but feel a bit inferior. His phallus is six inches, but right now he's still completely flaccid.
"Do you want oral?" Varun asks as he begins to suck Ivan's soft cock. Ivan is still standing near the bed.
He proceeds to lie down with Varun in the small bed, and he can't help but worry about his size and potential impotence.
"You want to try cock-to-cock?" Ivan asks.
"Sure, I've never tried it, though." Varun takes his shirt off, and Ivan realizes Varun was right when he said he's not in the greatest shape either. They're both in the same boat (at least when it comes to body fat). They lie down in front of each other with their legs open and draw closer to one another. As they get closer, they embrace and wrap their arms around each other, reconstituting the original whole they may have once been. Ivan then tries a different position on top of Varun, trying to masturbate their penises together, but unfortunately all to no avail, since Ivan is still flaccid.
"Want to try sixty-nine?" Ivan asks.
Varun's head is closer to the shelf, and he starts sucking Ivan's penis as Ivan does the same for Varun, taking his long thick cock into his mouth. He wants to give Varun pleasure, yet at the same time knows he has never sucked such a big dick before. Ivan breathes, does his best to make sure his teeth don't make contact. For several seconds Ivan stops sucking and strokes Varun's beautiful cock. He notices that Varun is also playing with his ass and that it feels good. Ivan says, "Let me know if anything feels uncomfortable. Can I also touch your ass?"
"Yes, please do. I like that."
Ivan starts touching Varun's butt and notices he's getting hard and harder inside Varun's mouth and starts moaning softly.
After a minute (more or less), and since Ivan finally has an erection, he asks him to go back to cock-to-cock. At first Ivan wants to put his nose and face in Varun's glorious, bountiful chest hair. It bears the familiar fragrance of a body wash.
They align their hard cocks together, Ivan jerking them off in his hand, and they lean in for a big kiss, their mouths open and desperate to transcend any and all separateness and alienation. After a few more minutes, Ivan asks if they can try a different cock-to-cock position, with Ivan facing away from him. Varun is excited about getting to see Ivan's ass, and Ivan kind of enjoys this position as he masturbates their phalli together while he sits on Varun's lower abdomen.
After a couple minutes, Ivan decides to go down on Varun and suck his cock. He tries the hummer technique at times, and Varun seems like he might be worried he might cum. "I have to pace myself a bit," he says. After the olympic effort exerted in sucking such a big dick, Ivan gets a bit tired and asks, "Do you want to do anal now or should I rim you first?"
"Have you ever rimmed?"
"This will be my first time doing it to a guy," Ivan says.
Varun gets down on all fours, and Ivan starts licking his ass crack for about a minute or two. Although Varun is very clean, Ivan gets a bit bored and stops, not really knowing if he's doing it right. "Do you want to rim me too?" Ivan asks.
"It's up to you."
"I can," Varun says. Ivan gets into position and Varun reciprocates for about the same amount of time. He licks the ass cheeks first.
They quickly get ready for anal. With his right middle finger, Ivan gets some silicone lubricant into his ass. He already lubed up at home in the shower, but he knows that with anal, more lube is usually better. Varun gets Ivan down on all fours, and begins penetration in a doggy style position. He begins the process of teasing the ass, and applies a bit more lube on his naked cock. Once he gets inside, he tells Ivan to lie down flat on his stomach.
"It's so comfy this way, don't you think?" Varun says, breathing on the back of Ivan's neck. Ivan is overwhelmed by all of the sensations running through his body. Varun's talking, breathing -- and whatever else he's doing to his neck -- feel ticklish. Ivan moves his head. The pleasure emanating from the anal penetration is growing for both of them. Whenever Ivan tries to answer one of Varun's questions, Ivan can barely speak. He feels so much love inside his heart, so much that he yearns to say, 'I love you,' but doesn't because he's afraid it might decrease the chance of a potential future with Varun.
As he lies down on his stomach, Ivan sometimes turns his head to the right to watch Varun's beautiful, light brown buttocks in the mirror. As he thrusts into Ivan's ass, Varun's butt muscles contract in all of their hairy, masculine glory.
"I could get lost in you," he whispers softly in Ivan's ear.
"Did you cum yet?" Ivan asks.
"Yes, I already came."
'His jizz is inside me,' Ivan says to himself unconsciously. Ivan did not ejaculate, but the truth is he prefers a man who doesn't care if he cums or not. Even in a relationship, Ivan would prefer not to have to cum too much. Precum is enough.
They both take their towels and Ivan follows Varun toward the showers. The corridors are dimly lit, and they both walk past different nondescript men. Not one of the men Ivan sees is even remotely comparable to the man he wanted to say, 'I love you' to. All those men are practically invisible to him. They shower side-by-side as the warm water washes over their nude bodies. After the shower, Varun walks to the sink and gargles some mouthwash.
As they get dressed, Varun asks, "Would you like to go have some ice cream with me?"
"Sorry, I can't; I'm lactose intolerant and I didn't bring Lactaid with me. Maybe I could go buy some first."
"No, it's okay. I'll drive you home now." They head back to the reception area to return the key and remote. Mockingly anxious thoughts begin to fill Ivan's head: 'I should've been nicer with people. Why did I get so angry with those guys? I have to make amends; I'll start by apologizing to at least one of them. I was wrong.'
Varun says he has to quickly check something before he leaves.
Ivan isn't sure where he went -- perhaps to the fitness area.
He returns after about a minute or so, and they both leave into the night.
As Varun drives, Ivan is scared that he might say the wrong thing like he did on other dating sites and dates. Varun asks, "So do you have any family in Seattle?"
"Just my mother. I still live with her. I'm the only son."
"I'm not. So you have no brothers or sisters. Do you like living with your mother?"
"Sometimes I don't," Ivan replies.
"Is she bossy?"
"Definitely . . . How do you feel about something more long-term, like a relationship or friends-with-benefits?"
"Relationships can get emotionally complicated," Varun says.
"When it comes to sex."
"Like not communicating about what you like and dislike in the bedroom?" Ivan asks.
"No, more like if I have sex with someone else, it could hurt his feelings. I don't like feeling responsible for another person's emotional pain."
"Maybe it's best to be honest about it in the beginning, if it's an open relationship or not. Are you still looking to try more hook-ups?"
"Yes," Varun says. "But I think we should meet again, maybe just try to be friends first. We could have dinner somewhere. Would you like to drink alcohol next time?"
"I'm not sure what I can have before bottoming, but I'll probably be okay."
"We don't have to have sex after . . . Why don't you try douching too?" Varun asks.
"I read that it can be unhealthy. Was I clean?"
"Yes. But regarding douching being unhealthy, you don't have to do it too often, and some are healthier than others."
"There is a healthier one I'm thinking of buying, but if my fiber regimen is adequate, I'm not sure if I will waste money on it or not," Ivan says.
"Fair enough. Do you have any other kinks?"
"I don't know. Besides cock-to-cock? I don't think so."
"On Tender, you shouldn't post anything on your profile or username about your fiber and bottoming regimen or Marxism. Enter a neutral summary or stats and that's that."
Ivan reluctantly agrees, yet he also wonders if he would've gotten Varun's attention if he didn't try to make a bit of a scene or drama on Tender.
"When was the last time you bottomed?"
"It was with a 46-year-old guy who lied about his age."
"Did you find him interesting?" Varun asks.
"You said you topped once?"
"Yeah, once in October."
"I'm not sure how to get to your place," Varun says.
"I'll look up directions on my i-Phone." Ivan reads the directions.
After a few more minutes, Varun says, "I'm not sure where to go from here. Is it okay if I drop you off here?"
"Yeah, it's not too far away from where I live."
"Okay," he stops the car near the sidewalk. Ivan says, "Goodbye" as the thought of trying to kiss Varun crosses his mind and then drifts away. When he steps out of the car, Ivan immediately feels giddy and disoriented. How far is he from home? He hasn't walked in this specific part of his neighborhood in years. It's like the real world has turned into a dream or movie. Ivan immediately wants to apologize to a man on Tender, a man he sent odd messages to. Ivan knows there is no excuse, neither alcohol nor crystal meth, that could justify his behavior. He's able to admit that to himself and the man who accused him of drunk messaging, but does he truly understand the ethical reasons why his actions were wrong?
When Ivan finally gets home, a part of him knows he'll sooner or later tell his mother everything. When he unlocks and opens the door, Frances is already asking questions. "Did you have sex?"
"Yes. He took me to a bathhouse."
"Did you do anal?" Frances asks.
"Did he ejaculate inside you?"
"Yes," Ivan says, "I tried it for the first time."
"Oh no," Frances raises her voice slightly. "I wish I could've had an abortion when I was pregnant with you. I wish I could’ve killed you in my womb a long time ago. I wouldn’t have to suffer so much . . . I wish you made different choices. I sometimes wish you were different. Did I make a mistake accidentally conceiving you with a much older man who could never love you? I don't know. But I did my best.” His mother also tells him that he has to go get PEP the next day.
_ _ _
Ivan cries and listens to passionate songs about love and heartache, works harder to improve his life, and gives up on social media and dating, while turning to THC edibles on a weekly basis. He realizes that if his soul doesn't progress on the path of experiencing peace, serenity, happiness, honor, excellence, wisdom, and learning, then he will never be able to love anyone truly and courageously. Ivan forces himself to weather many uncertain days and months without losing his sanity or hope this time around. Days and months go by and Varun and Ivan never cross paths . . .
_ _ _
. . . until one winter morning a year later their paths do cross again! When Ivan decides he has had enough of self-imposed isolation, he goes back to the world of online dating, but this time without the same angst and fear of rejection. Ivan finds Varun on a different dating site this time. They quickly exchange phone numbers and emails. They feel like they have both improved as men and spiritual beings, but that the work has only just begun.
They go have that dinner date Varun suggested a year ago. They both enjoy the food and drinks, and grateful for finding each other again, they discuss their questions and opinions regarding fate and providence. Ivan realizes that he must love the whole world he lives in, that to do otherwise would be to betray himself. How can he love one man if he can't love all men and all human beings?
"You finally realized you could become less cowardly and self-absorbed," Varun says as they walk to Ivan's new place. Ivan no longer lives with his mother.
"I realized that hell was a place I kept making for myself by wasting my time and thoughts on information that made me anxious and miserable."
They both drink some alcohol at their place, and after a meaningful conversation, they start cuddling and playfully wrestling on Ivan's bed. Passion and love make their spirits soar in wild rapture. They take their time to just enjoy holding and embracing one another. Ivan interrupts the silence with the words, "I love you."