Justin's Life...

~ November 2000 ~
~ November 1st - 21st ~

November 1, 2000 - Wednesday

It's amazing how much your outlook can change through the course of one day. When I woke up yesterday, I was doing fine. I wasn't in a bad mood, nor was I in a good mood, but I was fine. And then around 2PM, I got a call from Andrew, saying that he was in the neighborhood and asking if I wanted him to stop by?

I said sure and he arrived a few minutes later. After the "hellos" and looking out the window of my 15th story apartment, we sat on the floor and started talking. He told me what all he'd been up to lately; hanging out at friend's houses, playing little games with them that tended to involve someone getting someone else's clothes off, and just things which all sounded great. I, in turn, told him what I'd been up to lately; about the people I'd met that didn't really click, about watching The Drew Carey Show and Martha Stewart Living nearly nonstop, and just things that didn't really amount to jack -- essentially nothing. He was living that life that I wanted to live, where he hung out with his gaggle of gay friends, where his nearly every waking moment had something to do, someone wanting him to be somewhere, and yet I was here in my apartment, on a schedule of my own choosing, with the only real obligations being French class Monday and Wednesday night. No one wanted me to be anywhere.

So, when Andrew left, I was really depressed. He hadn't meant to depress me, but he did. I was so envious, and I realized that I was just sitting here, with my life passing me by.

So, anyway, last night came and I headed over to the house to go Trick Or Treating with Katie, Spencer, and Larry. I held Spencer most of the time, took him up to the houses and managed to get something akin to "Trick or Treat" out of his mouth. I talked with Larry during most of the walk, and afterwards in the kitchen, I talked about my life in more detail. It was just nice to have that je ne sais quoi. It wasn't like old times, yet it was. I knew as crazy as he thought I was for moving out, he understood on some level.

So, after having a burger on the grill (my first home cooked meal in L.A. in about two months) and talking some more, I headed back to the house, played on the computer, then got ready for bed... then the phone rang.

It was a guy who'd responded to my personal ad, and I'd sent him my phone number, figuring that he sounded like a nice guy and worse case scenario, I could always have my phone number changed (as it's a new number anyway).

Yet I wasn't really in the mood for talking to some stranger at 11PM, so I was slow to start the conversation, answering in short two word answers... but before long, it was an hour and a half later. At least on the phone, we were compatible. Hooray! One less loon responding to my personal ad! I mean, I'd been a little worried from Matt's picture and major (Music) that he might be on the daintier side of the spectrum, but he sounded fine on the phone... and we could carry on conversation with each other! When we were finished talking for the evening, he even asked if he could call tomorrow (which is now today).

So I went from fine, to depressed, to fine, to fine plus. Amazing how all those feelings can happen in just one 10 hour period.


November 4, 2000 - Saturday

Two late night daily phone calls later (last night), I had a date with Matt. My first official "date" since I moved out, and it went well. Not a soul mate, but perhaps a new friend. Time will tell.

Tonight, I'm meeting this closeted guy, George, from Orange County for dinner. It, however, is not a date. Hopefully, he'll be a new friend as well... as I really need to expand my circle of friends.

Thinking about it, it's amazing how sometimes it's a date, and sometimes it's not, but the only difference is in the attitude and preparation.


November 5, 2000 - Sunday

Dinner with George last night was so incredibly boring that even today I'm still trying to figure out why I found myself very much longing to go back to my apartment and do nothing. Normally, by the end of the week, I'm so bored and so stir crazy that any reason to leave my apartment and interact with others is great. But, for some unknown reason, all I wanted to do last night was come back here and be by myself.

Now, the weird thing about it is that George wasn't a bad guy, nor was he quiet or awkward. Actually, he was cordial and talked far more than I... but the thought going through my head was a resounding "I don't care" to virtually everything he said. My eyes were wandering, my brain was elsewhere, and I really don't know why. There was nothing disengaging about him, but there was nothing engaging about him either, at least from my viewpoint.

Perhaps I've reached that point where I'm so tired of meeting guys I have nothing in common with that I actually dread it. I think I'm to the point of summary judgments and would rather be alone than spend a long night with someone I'll never see again. Indeed, I had tried to do something with Matt instead of meeting someone new. Yet, at the same time, I hate to think that I've reached that point of "not wanting to try" already, and I have no real friends yet. What if I summarily judge that perfect friend as someone I have nothing in common with? Was it possible that something could have happened last night during dinner or during our attempts to go to a movie that could have changed my ultimate opinion?

I don't think so... but I guess figuring all this out is part of life.


November 8, 2000 - Wednesday

Last night I was flipping past radio stations in the car when I heard a local talk show host mention Dr. Laura. Dr. Laura, another radio talk show host, was given her own T.V. show in September, much to the chagrin of gays and lesbians who protested extensively against the show and its producer, Paramount, due to Dr. Laura's referring to gays and lesbians as "biological errors."

I hadn't really paid much attention the whole ordeal, but I had watched part of one show and determined that regardless of its potentially inflammatory content, it sucked. I even remarked to Larry that it played like an infomercial.

Anyway, the talk show host last night was very much enjoying reporting that Dr. Laura's T.V. show was being moved to the 2AM time slot as of Monday on all CBS owned affiliates. He said that meant that of the 10 top television markets in the U.S., she would essentially be off the air in six. He further reported that a Philadelphia station was canceling the show entirely. And all this had followed the decision of the show's Canadian distributor to cancel the show entirely in Canada.

I hadn't participated in the protests, even in spirit, but I got some perverse sense of pleasure out of her demise. Gays and lesbians had pulled together and gotten something major accomplished. "We showed her" was the thought going through my head. And sure, the format of her show didn't help, but I have no doubt that it was reworked before its debut as to not offend gay and lesbian folk. Nor do I have any doubt that the pressure on advertisers, and the subsequent lack of advertisers because of the numerous pull outs, had a big effect on the show's failure as well.

So, I don't know... I don't seem to be grasping the bigger idea that I had last night... but I guess I was just "proud" that gay and lesbian folk had really managed to make a difference and help make the world a better place... because if there's one less media person spouting crap about us, that's a lot less minds keeping the thoughts of gays and lesbians being freaks.


November 13, 2000 - Monday

Thursday night, I again had a night with a dinner companion, and Friday night, I again had a date. This time, though, the preparation for each was the same. Indeed, the only difference was my attitude going into it.

Alex, the guy I met on Thursday night, was just not my type from the photos he'd sent. (I'm mainly into masculine paler white guys. He was dark complected, perhaps Persian; his eyebrows looked plucked and the photos were model type poses with stylized lighting.) So I knew going into it that it was only a "dining companion" thing before we ever met. Bryce, the guy I met on Friday night, was, however, quite cute from the photo he'd sent. He looked very regular and after the deluge of headshots and overly processed photos I'd gotten from the L.A. dating crowd, "regular" was a welcomed change. But while his photo was nice, he seemed a bit standoffish and guarded. I didn't know what to think, but I figured he did contact me, and not vice versa, so what the heck, I offered my phone number for him to give me a call.

To the e-mail containing my phone number, he responded:

Hey Justin,

I am glad that you liked the pic. But before I call you I have to tell you a little more. I would ask that I not be part of that website that you have. I am kinda a private person, and am not into having my actions published. ...

"Oh great," I thought to myself sarcastically. This was in response, no doubt, to the recent "boring" night that I'd written about. But I fired back a response in understanding, but no uncertain terms:


Thanks for saying "hey" back... as for the web site, well, I can't promise that you'll never be a part of it, but I can assure you that we'll talk about it before any writing about "Bryce", "B", or "Whomever" takes place. The important thing to realize is that the website isn't there for my ego, but rather for all those guys in the middle of no where who have no interaction with gay guys whatsoever. While one can argue whether it's better to preclude someone from my life if he cannot accept that I may write about him, even with a new made up name, or whether it's better to meet someone and have him be part of my life, but never write about that part, I have to go with the idea the former. So, I really hope that you'll give me that call... and like I said, I can assure you that I won't write about you before we talk about it... and you can have a pseudonym online even. ...

Worst case scenario, I would leave out one night of my life to meet him. If it went badly, I'd just have to share it with David and Noam. If it went well, I would convince him that writing about him wasn't the big deal he'd imagined it to be and all would be fine.

So, moving right along, we talked on the phone a few times after that, and Friday night we met for dinner. We had a great time, held hands in the car, watched Charlie's Angels in the theatre while holding hands, and we even gave each other kisses on the cheek goodnight.

At 5'7", he was adorably cute and cuddly. With sandy brown hair, short guy hands and features, and a slim short guy stature, he was like a miniaturized white guy. Indeed, as the night went on, I kept saying how "cute and cuddly" he was, even while he protested that he wasn't "short."

Saturday night, we had another date... and I'll be seeing him again tomorrow. Oh, and get this, he goes to school in San Diego but his parents live up here. So my moving to San Diego in January wouldn't be a problem at all. (Yeah, I realize that's looking into the future a bit, but it'd suck to think that no matter what, in two months it would be over.)

So, Tuesday I'm driving down to San Diego to see him again. I'm a little weary of burning the candle too brightly, but I'm gonna risk it. And I think I'm going to have a positive impact on the boy as well. Last night he came out to his roommates... and his name really is Bryce. How many Bryce's could there be that are 5'7" with sandy brown hair who go to school in San Diego but have parents that live here? He'll be completely out to his family, the only people who really don't know, in no time.


November 15, 2000 - Wednesday

There's a line in the song The Rose that goes, "the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live." That lyric has been going through my head a lot as of late. I am that soul.

I'm so afraid of screwing up the future, that I barely live in the present. I fret about accidentally erasing answering machine messages because they won't be there when I'm old and gray and someone's doing a biography about me. I worry so much about finding that knight in shining armor that I can hardly have fun with the here and now. I'm afraid of having too much fun with Bryce for fear that when my knight does come along, he'll want someone "untainted." Someone who can say, "I've never given a blowjob to anyone and I've gone down on less guys than you can count on one hand. See? See! I am pure." I am that guy. I can say that now, but for what am I saving myself. I'll be 25 next month and I've never given anyone a blowjob. Shouldn't a knight expect that his knight has a little experience? Isn't life a learning experience? And wouldn't someone with some experience be a better catch than someone completely inexperienced?

I am the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live, and I don't like it.

I have no idea if Bryce will one day be my knight in shining armor, but I am in the here and now, and I may never be in the future. I may get hit in a car wreck on the way to school tonight, and all my saving will be for naught. So, I'm going to do my best to stop being that "soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live." I'm gonna do my best to live in the here and now... and ya know, I think I'm gonna get there. The day before yesterday, I did accidentally erase the nine special messages I'd kept on my answering machine, and I didn't worry about it. Yesterday, I did let myself have some fun with Bryce without feeling guilty or overly worrying about how it'd impact my future.

I will get there.


November 17, 2000 - Friday

I haven't mentioned it much, but I talk to David (the guy from Kentucky) at least once every day; typically on the phone, often via e-mail and instant messenger. That unusual kinship that I wrote about before has lasted, and I think it will last indefinitely.

Anyway, last night we were on the phone and goofing off with video chat as well. I opened the whiteboard application, and soon, we'd drawn a really sweet picture together. I saved it and printed it out... before we both wrecked it with childish stuff like drawing "weenies." I'm gonna frame it and put it in my new apartment... it's just somehow so sweet:


I've realized, from experience, that you can't mold someone into the person you want him to be, but I'm not sure if Bryce is at that point yet. Last night, after talking to him on the phone, I wrote the following e-mail to David, mainly just to vent:

Subject: Just needing to vent...


Tonight I called Bryce a little before ten and he was asking me what I did today. I told him, and got to the clothes that I bought and stuff, which solicited a "suggestion"... so anyway, I realized (or more accurately "re-realized") that he's "suggested" how I could change EVERY piece of me from head to toe, except my personality. I mean, I told ya how he suggested before that I try the ab slide thing... but tonight, I realized he's told/suggested that I: A) get a haircut B) wear my contacts C) try different shirts D) wear khakis E) wear Calvin Klein tighty underwear. The only physical things on me that he hasn't suggested changing are my watch and shoes. Tonight I just had to tell him (again, like I told him about the ab slide) that he either needs to take me as I am or move on and find that perfect preppy guy that he's looking for. He apologized, but I'm like "damn, I sure don't need someone making me feel bad about myself... especially on such trivial things as clothes and physical appearance." Heck, most of the time I think I'm darn cute. And, as is, with every suggestion, I have to question myself a bit to see if there's something wrong with me. I'm happy with who I am, with what I wear, with how I look, etc.. And his suggesting that I change it, just sorta makes me re-doubt myself, like I did when I was younger... when I felt like I completely didn't fit in, when I felt like I was an outcast and had no friends... like when I was a kid and "had" to have the right shoes and when I just prayed that no one would make fun of me... his "suggestions" are like the adult version of the same sort of torment... needless to say, that sucks. And like I've gushed, otherwise, he's really nice... but I can't have someone making me feel inferior. He said he'd stop, so I hope he does... I guess time will tell.

Anyway, like I said, just needed to vent... ;-)

Love ya,

P.S. I think I'm gonna forward a copy of this e-mail to him so he better understands.

--- Edited For Clarity ---

I did forward that e-mail to Bryce, along with a short follow up that read:

Subject: Don't feel bad...


You're learning... dating is an experience. It's important that you understand the other person, but you haven't done anything to beat yourself up about. I like you... quite a bit. ;-) So, hang in there... grow a bit... and things'll be swell.

Talk to you soon,

He's just 19, and he is trying. Guess we'll see.


November 18, 2000 - Saturday

In just two short weeks, my schedule's gone from virtually empty to completely full. Indeed, my calendar as of late has looked like:


Meet Alex


Date With Bryce


2nd Date With Bryce


Lunch With Noam

Dinner and Bowling with Alex


French Class


Drive to San Diego To See Bryce


French Class


Dinner With Jim


Dinner With Noam and Alex


Cook Dinner For Bryce

It's not quite that gaggle of friends that I've dreamt about, as most of my activities seem to be with just one other person, but I'll for sure take it over sitting in my apartment alone. In fact, I'm having fun and the only real downside is that I'm spending one heckuva lot of money on eating out. $40 here and $30 there adds up quickly when you go out five nights a week, and I'd guess that of the last 20 meals I've had with someone, I've picked up the check nineteen times. I don't mind normally, but I'd really just like someone, for once, to insist on paying. Everyone seems to always offer to pay their share, but as soon as I say, "It's ok, I got it," no one ever insists. Even last night, when Noam knew that I was trying to cut back on spending, as soon as I said I got it, he let me. Yes, I said I'd get it, but I was just reared differently. If I can pay for my share, I do pay for my share; no matter what the other person says.

Anyway, not sure there was really a point. I guess the main idea was that I'm quite busy as of late... and I like it.


November 19, 2000 - Sunday

Yesterday with Bryce went a little less stellar than planned. In short, his "suggesting" thing was replaced by another gerund: "demanding" : While he didn't mention anything about my physical person that he'd like changed, he seemingly went on and on in his demands: "rub my feet," "I need to eat now," "now's my turn," etcetera. It was as though I was his servant... and his attitude was epitomized by two exchanges in particular:

In one, he was complaining that he needed to eat now and that it was taking me too long to peel the pearl onions. When I suggested that he rinse off the potatoes and put them in the pan if he wanted things to go faster, he complained about it, and later, when he wanted more chicken and I was cleaning up the trash which had fallen over and out of the bag, he complained about having to get it himself and rather than do that, he said he'd have no more. I, of course, stopped cleaning up the trash mess and carved the chicken off the carcass for him.

Indeed, when David called later in the night, he said that I sounded "raw." I explained that I was perturbed by the night's events... but I still don't think Bryce appreciated the seriousness of the situation. In fact, I was, at that point, asking myself what I did like about Bryce and was mainly just hoping he'd leave soon. He's cute and playful, but there's a definite maturity issue that's lacking there. David could tell that I was agitated just from the tone of my voice on the phone, yet Bryce didn't seem to get that he was really obnoxious even after I told him. He did sort of stop after I repeatedly told him how obnoxious he was being, after I started counting his demands out loud, but it was like he still didn't get it.

He did sincerely apologize earlier this past week about the "suggestion" thing, attributing it to his rich kid location and childhood friends, so I have to give him credit for not suggesting any changes in me yesterday, but I have serious doubts about our compatibility now. I want someone that wants to make me happy because he likes seeing me happy: not someone that wants to make me happy so that I can return the favor, and yesterday, the motivations of Bryce seemed to be precisely the latter. I also don't want someone who treats me like the help or his overly attentive mother. I want an equal relationship, but I have real doubts that Bryce is capable of that at this moment in his life. He's only 19, so perhaps that's too much to ask, but it doesn't make his attitude fun, nevertheless.

And as David summed, "there seem to be a lot of issues way too early in the relationship."


November 21, 2000 - Tuesday

Last night after class, I called Bryce, and he said what I'd been thinking; that we're not working out. Indeed, earlier yesterday I'd renewed my personal ads on Yahoo! and spent a good portion of the day responding to personal ad related e-mail, so I obviously agreed with his statement... but at the same time, his articulation of us not working out left me depressed and antsy at the thought that I had no one around here who just loved me for me. With Bryce, for the past two weeks, I had someone on whom I could focus my attentions. I had someone besides David to call and just say "hey" when I was stuck in traffic. I had interaction with someone familiar to look forward to.

And now, looking at it in more detail, I think my feelings are a little jumbled, too, because I've never dated someone and had it go from zero to sixty and back to zero in such a short time. I don't think the brightness of the candle had anything to do with it burning out, but I do think that had the candle not burned so brightly, I wouldn't feel the unfamiliar sense of... defeat that I feel now.

Bryce did say that we'd be friends, but in all candor, I don't even know how compatible we are in that regard either. I'd like to have some friends in San Diego if/when I move there in January... but I guess, as with all things, time will tell and the rest is merely supposition.

Otherwise, today I designed my Christmas Card, and tonight I met and had dinner with a guy from Valencia named Paul. He seemed nice enough, but I don't think there's enough of a friendship spark to overcome the physical distance between us (30+ miles). I could be wrong... I'd like to be wrong, but if I thought I were wrong, I wouldn't be thinking what I'm thinking, now would I?

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© 2000 Justin Clouse
Justin's Life...Justin's