Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Oh, Taste and See

Tonight I found myself sitting in the same position I’d been in the two previous Tuesday evenings, sitting across from Fresh Rain. Over the past several weeks he and I have talked on the phone when our schedules permit and have carved a spot in Tuesday night to call our own. Tonight found us spending some getting to know you time in one of my favorite DC dessert spots ironically called the Love Café.

What was supposed to last for an hour lasted for several. Hours full of continuous talking, laughing and listening. Each time we speak I feel as though I learn much more about him and him about me. The discovery phase is such a wonderful experience. Every chapter of the book is new and every picture vivid and alive. In addition to learning about him over the past couple of weeks I have also learned more about myself. Thankfully, I have done some growing up since the last time I pursued a relationship with a man. I don’t count the number of phone calls as much as I seek quality of conversations. I don’t rush to call him just because he called me. I respond in a timely manner but still in due time. I say smart things but tend to hold back any smart comments. I realize that whenever we meet someone new, their life just like anyone else’s was already a life in progress. I am meeting him where he is and he appears to be meeting me where I am. At one point tonight I met him half way across the table. He was reaching over to feed me a chocolate dipped strawberry. It tasted so sweet.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Jimmy Jam's Jam

Last Friday I purchased a ticket to fly home to Cleveland to surprise my brother for his 30th birthday. For the first time since he was in elementary school he was having a birthday party and for months he had been asking me to come home to celebrate with him. Repeatedly I told him no that I wouldn’t be coming. But as his birthday approached I began to change my mind. You only turn 30 once and as a brother I should be overjoyed my brother who loves and cares about me dearly wanted me to be at his birthday party. That is why I bought the ticket last Friday.

On Monday a colleague brought an envelope to me. I thought it was junk mail. I was wrong. It was a letter and invitation from the director of marketing at one of DC’s most popular nightclubs. The invitation was to attend a private party hosted by two very well known musical artists. I was very pleased. I was moving my way into the heterosexual social circle and a new market for me to really network. I don’t want to be boxed in and this was a good place for me to meet and greet some new faces. The only problem was that this party was the same night and time as my brothers birthday affair in Cleveland.

All week I wrestled with the question of should I go to Cleveland or should I stay in Washington, DC. For some people it may have been a very easy decision but for me it was a difficult choice to make that made me think and question a lot of things. How important is my pursuit of social status? Does family come first? I am the same guy who missed my uncles’ second wedding because I had an oratory contest that day that was the qualifier for the national competition. If I didn’t attend the event in DC would I make that guest list again for another event? Would I be a bad brother if I chose to party with strangers over my family because I thought I could get some personal gain?

I went back and forth for several days. Finally on Thursday night I made the decision to come home for Jimmy Jam’s jam. I am happy that I came. My brother yelled, “Brother!” when he saw me for the first time earlier today. He was quite surprised to see me. I could hear in his voice he was happy. I knew then that I had made the right decision.

My brother is very special to me. I am sure I don’t tell him often enough but I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else in the world. I am lucky to have Jimmy Jam. He and I are as different as night and day but we are still good friends. I can talk about anything with him and feel comfortable. Only my brother would see me bored and pouting on a weekend visit home and take me to the gay club so I could have some fun. Only I could tell my brother “follow that car!” and he help me chase down a cute guy. Only my brother would ask me if I had a Valentine and what his name is. Only my brother would travel cross country to move me into my first apartment without a single gripe. Only my brother would tell me to sit in the floor and just be still while he and my cousin brought in all the boxes, set all the clocks and put everything together. I know that my brother loves, respects and cares for me deeply and I absolutely love him too.

Tonight at his birthday party I saw him so excited. He was dancing, which he rarely does, laughing and having what I think he will remember as his best birthday yet. I am glad that I could be here for it. Besides seeing my brother having a great time the two best parts of the night were seeing Jimmy Jam and my mom do the atomic dog just like when we were little kids and taking a picture with Jimmy Jam, my sister and my mom. I think it is my new favorite picture.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Heavens Opened Up

There is no better poet than God. Only in his almighty power can some scenarios be created and this no where else is better illustrated than in this evening. At 7:20pm I walked outside my office building to find that it was drizzling. Slow beats of rain were coming from the heavens for the first time in days. I looked to the sky and acknowledged that I knew that this was no great coincidence. I was leaving work not headed for home, not headed to a meeting, not headed to the grocery store. I was leaving work and on my way to dinner with Fresh Rain.

This dinner has been long awaited and postponed. Two weeks of phone calls since our first meeting had past. Tonight was first meant to be a brunch on Sunday but other things made us prolong our meeting. Even today we played phone tag and the time of dinner was pushed back and back again. I wasn’t sure if it were going to happen. But, tonight it was to be and it was.

He was late. I ordered a cocktail somewhat annoyed by his tardiness and began to plot out my things to do list for the rest of the week. Time is precious, I need not waste any. As I sat facing the door, I saw what I remembered to be his outline enter the restaurant. Fresh Rain approached the table and I was taken aback. He looked much better than I recalled. I met him in the wee hours of the morning leaving a popular nightspot and it was very dark. Tonight Fresh Rain was in the light. His smooth dark skin gave way to the thought that onyx was a woman and she had birthed this child. What I also didn’t see in the dark was his physique. Light brings life and attention to many things. Moreover, his smile was as bright as I remember. There was a time when a man with his looks may have intimidated me but because we’ve spent two weeks speaking on the phone I was actually put at ease and sincerely happy that I hadn’t noticed or remembered his good looks in finite detail. I believe then our conversations wouldn’t have taken on the shape and texture they did as we began this discovery phase.

In moments any hint of annoyance withdrew from my mind and body. I was engaged and further I was engaging him in never ending conversation. After ordering and in between bites we just talked and talked and I learned and I believe he did as well. He was late tonight. I learned that is not atypical of him. He is not perfect nor am I. But in this moment, is he wonderful for being who he is, yes he is. Most intriguing about him are his rituals, respect for friendship and genuine and laid back nature. I’ve not said it in ages about any man, but with him I wanted to be the best me. That’s how I know I enjoyed his company. He left it that he enjoyed my time, company and restaurant choice but the next time he would get to choose. I offered that indeed next time the choice is his. We walked out the restaurant. Exchanged departing for words for the evening and he even did what I never expected him to do. He gave me a hug. We went our separate ways until the next time.

En route to the train I called my sister who I had spoken to very briefly last night. When we talked yesterday she said she didn’t want to talk long. She only asked me to pray for her. Tonight I learned that she had broken up with her boyfriend of the past nearly two years. I was reminded by her separation from love of its other side. For everything there is a beginning and an end. No matter how sour or sweet either of them are, they both exist.

No one could be better at this than God.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

It's Like Water

Early Friday morning I found myself drenched. At 2:00AM after two and a half hours of conversation with Fresh Rain I was lying in my bed soaked with the satisfaction of hearing him whisper the words “good night.” His was the last voice I heard before I went to sleep and mine was the last sound he heard before he too drifted off to Slumber Land.

I met Fresh Rain two weeks ago today standing outside a club here in DC. I was eagerly waiting on Mr. Kane to finish a conversation with some random guy so that we could rush to the car and make ourselves ghost. At that moment a more friendly spirit placed himself in front of me. Around my height, a little thicker than me, a dark chocolate man with milky white teeth asked me a question. Immediately I answered – for there is no question I seem not to have an answer to. He smiled, I talked, he listened, I flirted, he talked, I listened and we exchanged numbers. For the next several days we exchanged phone calls, a game of phone tag that lasted until the following Friday.

When we finally were able to connect the conversation was pleasant. Our conversation flowed naturally. There were no awkward pauses or moments of silence. Topics seemed to flow like water down a stream, effortlessly and cool. I found myself interested in him and he repeated many a time that I was intriguing. Personal backgrounds, education, hobbies, interests, travel, past loves, fear of leaving comfort zones and we even broached the topic of comfort level with self. I could hear Lauryn Hill on that guitar plucking and singing, “It’s like water and I ain’t felt this way in years.”

When that initial conversation closed I was confident that we would speak again. Days went by and another game of phone tag and busy schedules precluded us from speaking again until Thursday night that took us into Friday morning. That second phone encounter was longer and even more engaging than the first. This man seemed so genuine and careful in his nature. He wasn’t rough around the edges nor was he a smooth operator. He just was. He was a man with a gentle voice and hearty laugh. He was a man with an open mind. I was growing more and more captivated with him. I hadn’t felt this way about anyone since I had first met Langston.

It’s like water and I felt this way in years.

The more I learned about Fresh Rain the more I wanted to know. What also made him attractive is that he wanted learn more and more about me. He was not afraid to answer my pensive and probing questions, as many are, and he wasn’t afraid to ask me questions. Moreover, I could expound on my thoughts and not be afraid I’d lose him to disinterest or wayward thinking. Even when we talked about my philosophy of life as a relay race he listened and absorbed, walking away with an understanding of how at times I see myself and others and the world around me.

Fresh Rain and I made tentative plans to go to brunch this afternoon. I called him last night to confirm and he informed me that he’d have to reschedule. I expressed my disappointment and sad to say I lamented over the phone with him. But he suggested we meet for cocktails as early as both our schedules permit. So rather than brunch today with Fresh Rain I enjoyed a beautiful spring day in the District doing other things I love to do though I was alone. I took a walk and talked to my neighbors. I visited my shoe shine man at Nordstrom’s who I hadn’t seen in a while. I finished reading a book. I helped a fraternity brother out by arranging a speaker to come to his class to speak. I napped. I enjoyed an Auntie Anne’s pretzel and strawberry ice cream. I danced to a great song in my apartment all alone just because I felt like it and ‘my song was on.’ I didn’t have Fresh Rain today, but I won’t knock my sunny day. Maybe, it’s a sign I will be able to enjoy the shower when it truly comes.

Monday, April 04, 2005


Today I found myself at work with a little extra time on my hands. What better to do on a Monday afternoon than flip through some personal ads? I couldn’t think of anything, so that is what I decided to do. I like browsing personal ads though only once have I been browsing and felt compelled to send a message to the guy with an ad posted. Nevertheless, I can continue to flip through them, partly because I’m interested in seeing anyone I might be interested in, partly because I want to see if there is anyone I know with a current ad and partly because I just enjoy the way the ads are written.

My favorite ads are the ones where guys say that they are DL. How down low can one be with your picture on the world wide web? It makes me chuckle to think how the phraseology of DL has been distorted over time. People equate masculinity to DL and they aren’t quite the same thing. Hell, I’m not even sure anymore what it means sometimes.

It always boggles my mind how people spell words incorrectly in their personal ads too. I know not everyone was an English major, grammar is not something everyone masters. I certainly have not. What I do have though is spell check in Microsoft Word along with a copy and paste feature. Why not type your ad in Word, free from spelling errors and then paste into the personal ad? Whenever I see ads that talk about how they want someone smart, intelligent, educated and so on, and it has words spelled wrong it makes me wonder why this person seeks that. Is it because they need someone in their life who can spell for them?

My absolute favorite ads are those that spew the infamous web line, “no fats, no fems, no fakes.” That certainly rules out about 90% of the dating pool. Or is that my cynicism? Also, I think that it is just a rude and bad way of presenting oneself to talk about what it is that you don’t want with such strong words. Would it be so hard for people to speak in the positive? “I desire someone who is. . .” “I prefer men who. . .” I always say, like what you like, I certainly have my own preferences. But in liking what you like, I think its just much better to present in a way that is less damning of others.

“No fakes.” | “I want someone who keeps it real.” –What healthy human being would seek a relationship with someone who wasn’t real and honest? It sounds silly to me. I long for the day when just for giggles someone posts an ad that says, “looking for someone who keeps it fake and lies.”

In my ongoing search for romance, a close encounter of the first kind, I have pondered posting an ad myself. I have always opted not to because I was too afraid people I know would do the same thing I do – gasp! I should really asses why I am gasping. Those people have the guts to seek romance on the frontline in a way in which I’m not yet comfortable doing. More power to them.

Personally, I am not quite ready for the personals. Not just yet.