Justin's Life...

~ October 2000 ~

October 2, 2000 - Monday

Yesterday I went to a theatre in Santa Monica to watch a film with Noam (who, by the way, had designs on me when we met a couple weeks ago, but I decided I wanted to just be friends and nothing came of it).

Well, anyway, the movie absolutely stunk, I even remarked about how horrible it was during it, but something "positive" from the film has gone through my head over and over since it ended yesterday afternoon. I think it can best be described as the idea of the perfect couple.

You see, in the film Urbania, the actor Dan Futterman, the cute son from The Birdcage, has a boyfriend played by Matt Keeslar, an actor who's been in a couple dozen films but who you'd know by face only. And though the film shows their relationship only as flashbacks, it's perfect. They're both amazingly cute, they're both hairy, they're both fit, and they're both smart, sweet, loving, etc.. They're both regular guys who happen to be gay. And for the first time that I can remember, I actually envied the life a gay character had on screen.

Granted, the rest of the movie was all screwed up and completely unengaging, but the relationship they had was just so... enviable. And I guess I've never really seen a gay relationship on film before that I wanted.

Sure, I've wished that I was in some movies, wished I was part of something, but here, in the midst of this otherwise horrible movie, was the depiction of my ideal relationship; two really cute but absolutely regular guys loving one another, kissing one another, sharing a bed with one another. I've just never seen it before outside my head. Practically perfect in every way.

So, since the movie ended, it's been running through my head and I've been wondering how I can possibly get it. Perhaps I'm overengrandizing the past by thinking that David Wayne embodied both the body and the personality, but he was far and away closer to that body and mind ideal than anyone else I've ever met, especially compared to the recent crop of guys I've met via Yahoo!. And while I've done my best to shut off the part of my brain that's responsible for emotion, part of me wonders if I'll ever find a mental match like the one I had/have in Larry... but that's another story entirely.


October 10, 2000 - Tuesday

Do nice guys always finish last? Does it even pay to be nice? I mean, I try to be a nice guy in everything I do, from going to the grocery, to driving in traffic, to interacting with other people personally, but I'm beginning to wonder if it just wouldn't be a whole heckuva lot easier if I were nasty.

The other day, I went to the grocery store and rather than get in the lane of a checker who was closing, I did the "right thing" and stood behind someone with a cartload of items. Several people came to the checkstands after me and got right in the closing lane. She rang up their purchases and they were on their way before I even unloaded my things onto the conveyor belt. What good did it get me for being nice?

And in traffic, I try to merge when I'm supposed to merge instead of waiting to the last minute and darting in front of someone... but then I see several cars pass me and dart in. What good did it do me to "play nice?"

And in social contexts, it seems I continually get screwed for being nice. When I first met Noam, he tried to force his affections on me because I wasn't nasty enough in my saying that I wasn't attracted to him. It was an awkward scene and I had to escort him to the door. And on Sunday I was talking to this guy, David, from Kentucky, who I'd been talking to via Instant Messenger, via the phone, and via webcam for a few weeks. Long story short, I offered to fly him out this coming weekend, I bought the plane ticket, his mom was very concerned about the trip, and we had a long conversation about how, as a 20 year old guy not living at home, he needed to have the courage to do what he really wanted to do instead of letting his mom or anyone else beat him back into the closet. -- He and his mom had a deal that he wouldn't talk of anything gay to her, and this trip obviously put being gay out in the open. To make sure that his homosexual tendencies were kept at bay, her stance was just shy of disowning him if he went.

Anyway, during our long conversation, we talked about a lot of things, but he brought up stuff like, "What about the holidays?" and would I be ok if he spent the holidays with his family without me, as there was no way that his mother or sister would let him bring me around. I explained that when he got to that point, with whomever, he'd be confident in himself enough to demand that he either come with his boyfriend or not at all. I equivocated it to dating a black girl. He wouldn't leave her home, and if all the pieces worked out perfectly, which it was way too early to plan for, he wouldn't leave me behind either.

So, anyway, yesterday morning, I got up and wrote:

Subject: Expectations, $$, and Sleeping Bags...


I woke up this morning worrying a bit about expectations being set a little too high. I mean, I TOTALLY expect it to be a super, great, fantabulous weekend, but I worry a bit that "happily ever after" is already being prepared-for/contingencied when we haven't even yet met in person, know what I mean? I just don't want either of us to be disappointed, so expect a little, get a lot, and you're on top of the world. Expect the world, get a lot, and you're lukewarm at best. Do you know what I mean?

And on a completely opposite note, I FedEx'd you $120 cash this morning... so if you need to take a cab to get to the airport, pay a friend for gas, buy food in Chicago, or whatever, you've got it. (Ergo: I REALLY want you to come.) You should have it tomorrow.

This morning, I bought a sleeping bag. That way, let's anticipate (aka "expect") that one of us will sleep in the sleeping bag. If it ends up not getting used, that's fine, but it's here. You are not coming out here with the expectation that you'll be sleeping in the same bed with me. Know what I mean on that one, too?

So... I should probably do some French homework. I'm going to move my computer over to the desk today... I think. ;-)

Sorry to be a "downer" this morning (err "afternoon")... I just don't want there to be any miscommunication and if expectations are set too high, they'll never be met. Just look at it as an AMAZING weekend in Los Angeles, all expenses paid. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm having to force myself NOT to plan every last detail so it'll be non-stop fun... just in case you can't come, but I SOOOOO want to plan everything out. Universal Citywalk on Friday, Knott's Scary Farm on Saturday night, Dinner with Noam on Sunday night, etc. ;-) In fact, I would be ordering the tickets today for Saturday night at Knott's Scary Farm as they may very likely sell out.

So... anyway, talk to you soon,

The money, it should be explained, was because I knew that finances were tight. While never saying, "I'm poor" as pride would dictate that he did not say, he did tell me how he didn't have a driver's license because he didn't want his mom to have to pay the car insurance. Now for a 16 year old kid to not get his driver's license, that told me two things: he was really considerate of his family and money wasn't something they had much of. In fact, they were pretty darn poor.

So, anyway, I sent the e-mail and then got the following response:

Subject: Piss, vinegar, and friendship



Maybe things are a bit high-strung right now. I know we've both been careful to avoid such a situation, as we both know the consequences of those things. I worried about that with you being all gung-ho to have me over so spontaneously. But, I just saw it as an exploration and you had the money to burn. (Bad phrase to use, but you know what I mean.) If I have the wrong impression, let me know. I don't feel as though I'm "too attached to you." In all honesty, I am attracted to you. That's never been a secret I think. :-) Anyways, it did strike me odd that I felt so miserable about not wanting to come/backing out on you for a while last night, but I think that was more than just my attraction to you though. On a different note, I, too, expect to have a wonderful time. haha The Hanted Field of Blood (or whatever it is) sounds so freakin' cool!! I honestly just want to come out to hang with you, and see if there's a chemistry. If there is, there is; if there's not, there's not. Despite what you may think, I don't think you're irresistible. I can't assure you either way about how I really feel about you or what my true motives are; you're just going to have to have faith in me, and I will do the same for you.


I feel horrible at that.... You've given me so damn much already, but why?.... That makes me question you a bit, your motives and such. But, I'm going on faith that its just the fact that you can do it and you want to. I appreciate all you've/you're doing for me, but I can't help but feel that I'm not worth that much to you. (What brought the $120 on anyways?)


While I had given thought to the "sleeping with each other" idea, I never realistically considered it. Way too fast, way too soon. We're just friends right now anyways. (I don't mind sleeping in the sleeping bag btw.) :-) (Wouldn't want to put the city-slicker out of his bed and on the hard ground....) Did you expect that I would want to sleep with you?

You've not been a downer in any way today. You've reassured me in some senses, so this was a good letter. Right now, we're both being playing defense just in case this blows up, but that's alright. That's what we're programmed to do.

Now's my chance to voice my concerns though. I see you as being potentially controlling/manipulative. Those may be too strong of words, but I felt like you were bullying me to stand up to my mom last night. And while I didn't appreciate the way you instigated the situation, I understood what you were saying, and I did appreciate the underlying thought of it.

And, what I was trying to say last night is that I don't want to be lumped in with "all the other guys" or "all the other closet cases" because I don't feel as though I'm one of "them." Maybe I just like telling myself that, but that's the way I feel. I know the situation with my mom may seem "childish" to you, but there's a hell of a lot you don't know about my situation. Its not all the same across the board. I hope you realize this and don't hold me to some expectations in another sense. haha Now I'm worrying about my letter being a downer.

And the thing that pissed me off the most was when you sort of called me a liar. All I ask is that you not pass judgement on me. I haven't told you in any shape or form that you're "right" or "wrong" for leading your life in any way. Just give me the same courtesy.

So, that's it in a nutshell. I guess I'll let you read it and we'll discuss it. Talk to you in a sec.


Fuck me for being nice. "That makes me question you a bit, your motives and such." "Did you expect that I would want to sleep with you?" "I see you as being potentially controlling/manipulative." Buy a guy a ticket for an all expenses paid weekend in LA, assure him that nothing's expected of him in return, help him to be his own man and have a little more self-assurance... even send him money to make sure he can get to the airport, and what does it get you? Gratefulness? Praise? Or making someone else happy? No, it gets you a big fat slap in the face. Several big fat slaps in the face.

We talked via instant messages after I read that e-mail. I was not only upset, but hurt. I mean, all I ever wanted was to be nice to him, and I got that back as a show of appreciation for my trouble.

Finally, when the instant message thing was going no where fast, David called. We talked on the phone for an hour or so before I had to go to class, and he apologized... but damn, I just feel like I'm repeatedly getting kicked in the balls for being nice. Yet I just can't play nasty... that's just not me.


I guess things between David and I are ok, but the ordeal did leave a bitter aftertaste.


October 12, 2000 - Thursday

Well, everything between David and I was kosher yesterday: He'd secured a ride to the airport and was fairly sure he was flying out... but David's mom was coming over to his place last night to indubitably have a talk with him to try and convince him out of coming to L.A.. I didn't honestly think she had a chance, but I didn't get an e-mail last night or this morning. That doesn't bode well.

I mean, if he had talked to his mom and told her that he was coming, he very likely would have e-mailed me to say as much... especially considering that I sent him a little playful encouragement video.

[ Modem RealVideo(TM) Download ] [ DSL RealVideo(TM) Download ]

But I didn't hear anything... about the video or about the trip. So, who knows? Even though I'd only invested friendship in his trip, it's still gonna majorly suck if he doesn't show.


I talked to David. He did have that talk with his mom and sister last night, but he's still coming. I want to believe it, that he'll be here tomorrow afternoon, but it's hard for me to let myself get invested in it when I know I might get let down.


Needless to say, I've been thinking a lot about David's impending visit. I so hope he comes. I think he will. I hope he will. But my emotional wall is pretty thick right now. If he doesn't, I'll be fine. -- I didn't have a chance to write about it, but last week, a guy who I thought was all sweet on me stood me up at the last minute to go to some dance club with his friends... to possibly see Ryan Phillipe. When I dared to say that I thought it was a crock of crap to tell me that he wasn't meeting me as I was driving over to his apartment, he hung up on me. So I'm a little extra guarded.

If David does come, which I think he will, it'll be so nice just to have someone with whom I'll have an extended stay. While I've hung out with Noam a lot, I miss the closeness brought by extended time together with someone. With Noam, I'm still on "let me entertain you" mode. I miss just kicking off my shoes and letting someone see the real, unguarded me. I know I could probably get there with Noam, and if he's to be my true friend, I'll have to get there eventually, but the whole "forcing of affections" has left me a little leery in Noam's presence. Time will mend that, but I really just want someone to like me, for the real unguarded me, right now.

That's a lot to ask of someone you've never met in person... but, well, here, this speaks for itself.

[ Modem RealVideo(TM) Download ] [ DSL RealVideo(TM) Download ]

The video was named "Video 14.avi" so I'd have to guess 14 times.


October 12, 2000 - Thursday

This morning when I woke at 7:10AM, I realized that David had a short 48 minute layover at the Chicago airport (which is quite expansive) and was on a Priceline.com ticket. If he didn't hustle, he'd never make a terminal change, and if he called me like he was going to do, he'd add even more likelihood of missing his flight and spending all day at the Chicago airport while we figured out what to do.

So, checking online and finding that there was indeed a terminal change, I had David paged at the Lexington airport so I could let him know all the specifics of why he needed to hurry to the second plane... but he didn't answer the page.

Two hours passed where I wondered if he'd make it and where I changed all my voicemails to say "David, hang up and run to the second plane," but then I got a call from David in Chicago. I told him to hustle to the next gate or he'd miss his plane, and then when he got to the gate of the California bound flight, he called again to say that the plane had yet to board, but that he'd made it.

He'll be here in less than 2 hours!


October 16, 2000 - Monday

David arrived at the airport, and all I can say is that the weekend was amazingly wonderful, yet remarkably ordinary. David and I hung out non-stop for the 72 hours that he was here, and even we had trouble trying to put words to our feelings as we drove to the airport this morning. There is no hot and heavy romance, though we did see each other naked. Though we were playful and flirty, very playful and very flirty, we somehow both know and somehow both agree, as though through telepathy, that we're not "the one." And I just can't describe how great it was to have a kindred spirit here for the weekend. Indeed, "kindred spirit" is about the only term I can think of that truly describes David's place to me.

We're friends... and then some. But not "the one" for the other. And our weekend was neither moving towards a dating relationship or a one night stand; a concept that seems so alien to most. Talking to Noam, he just couldn't figure it out... but amazingly, David and I both knew that sex wasn't the end goal. We were close, and comforting, and cuddling. We shared of ourselves, realized the other had real value as a person, and yet we didn't go ga ga crazy or "ride off into the sunset" with each other. Like I'd hoped, like I predicted, David was that guy who let me kick my shoes off and be myself, that guy that I so needed. David was a kindred spirit and a friend.

And now, I've been trying not to look around the apartment and see how empty it is. I miss friends, not acquaintances, but real friends, and I'm just so amazingly grateful for this past weekend... which was completely ordinary, yet fantastically, enchantingly wonderful.


October 19, 2000 - Thursday

I'm on a plane heading towards Kentucky, and I must say, it's rather odd being here by myself. I can't remember the last time I flew somewhere with no one to share the trip, and little things like the baby crying in the row behind me and the milk that was served with breakfast set me off remembering times of baby shuffling, extra milk getting, and family.

In my little apartment, it's a new world. Except for the occassional picture on my computer's desktop, there's nothing really there to remind of the life I had. Yet I know once I'm back in Kentucky, the emotions are going to hit hard. I won't have Larry to go to Wal-Mart with me. I'll be sleeping in my waterbed alone. Katie won't be lugging the cat around the house, Larry won't be complaining about the dogs and harassing my mom, and Spencer won't be running around, needing a bottle or a diaper change. I try not to think about those things... and I'm for the most part successful in my new apartment, but here, where I've spent the last 4 or 5 Christmases and where I've not been without Larry for years, it's going to be hard.

And while I'm on the subject, things with Larry have been as amicable as could be expected. The interactions are different, for sure, but I've been to the house a few times in the last couple months, and the week before last we all went to Chuck E. Cheese's. I miss the life I used to have, but I don't regret the decision to move out. I knew it was something I had to do... but that doesn't make it any easier.


October 25, 2000 - Wednesday

The trip to Kentucky was exhaustive, but a nice break. I drove over 800 miles during the 4 day trip, picking up David at his dorm on Friday night, returning him back on Saturday afternoon, spending Saturday night with the family, then driving Sunday morning nearly to Tennessee to meet a red headed guy who responded to my personal ad, before heading to Lexington on Sunday night with the family to have dinner.

Early Monday morning (5AM), Mom and I headed out to towards the Dayton airport, and I spent most of the airplane trips doing homework and studying for a French test Monday night. As I said, it was quite the trip.

It did tell me a few things, though... like I don't want to move back to Richmond when school's done in December. That was one of my thoughts before, but being back there, I saw how it's been overrun by development at a rate startling even to this city boy. Subdivisions, hotels, restaurants have popped up everywhere, and the quaintness my hometown once had has all but disappeared. Don't get me wrong: it never was Mayberry, but it had a nice feel to it. Now it's just L.A. without the character, spread out a little more, with newer houses.

Yet, when I pulled into the town where David goes to school, I instantly found that quaintness again. Restaurants that were run out of town in Richmond by mega franchises were still going in David's town. It was large enough to have a Wal-Mart, but it was small enough to have a two lane curvy Main Street. It had that feel that Richmond once had. I decided right then if I was moving back to Kentucky, there was where I wanted to go.

So, I learned those things and again realized just what a great friend I'm going to have in David. It's hard to describe really. Like I said, we had a great time when he was here in LA ( ), but it's just so incredibly, amazingly comfortable. It's almost as though we're straight best friends, without the "he'll think I'm gay" inhibitions.

So, anyway, it was quite the trip.


When I got back from Kentucky and turned on my computer, I saw an e-mail downloaing from Jeremy. Needless to say, I was pretty psyched and thought for a second, "maybe he's finally come to his senses."

But, when I downloaded the e-mail, it simply said:

Subject: Just curious...

Is this you? Just curious.... saw the banner and was somewhat surprised.


Was that my face? It sure looked like my eyes, and it looked like the little tuft of hair between my eyebrows... and those looked like my ears as well.

Why would someone have taken my picture and used it for the Portland Gay Film Festival? Was it really my picture? I had to know, so I went through the collection of pictures I have online and low and behold, I found a match.

It was me! Instead of being pissed that someone had stolen my picture and used it for a banner ad, I was impressed: someone found my eyes nice enough to use for a banner ad AND more importantly, Jeremy knew my eyes enough to recognize that picture as me.


October 28, 2000 - Saturday

I'm so incredibly lonely. I spent a few hours yesterday responding to 36 e-mails related to my personal ads, but it seems none of the guys are local. Instead, they're in San Diego (where I think I'll be moving once school is done in December), and so I'm left here, alone, on the weekend, with nothing to do.

And as I said before, I hate this apartment. I hate the temporariness of it all. It's as though I'm living in a hotel with no daily maid service. It's not my space; I'm merely occupying it for the next couple of months. And I know, without a doubt, that if I do stay in L.A., I won't be staying in this apartment. So I can't embrace it, even under the best of circumstances. Instead, I just make it livable.

The same philosophy transfers into my social life as well. Part of me thinks that if I did make friends here, I'd have to leave them in a few months... so I'm reluctant to "get out there" and try to make real life friends via bars or whatever route people use besides the Internet. I did put my personal ad in L.A. in addition to San Diego and Kentucky, but the dating/friend pool here is remarkably less-than-stellar.

So who knows? I'm confused, I'm tired, and I'm trying to keep myself busy, trying not to think about it, trying to think that it is only temporary.


October 29, 2000 - Sunday

Last night I went to see a movie with a deaf guy. I'd never really interacted one-on-one with a deaf person before, and I came away from the evening realizing just how great I do have it, lonely as I may be as of late.

"You never appreciate something until you don't have it," is the saying, but interacting, being with someone who could not hear, I realized how very much we rely on the sounds around us. Before the movie, I realized when I was laughing at the noisy teenagers yelling obscenities in the theatre, only I could hear them. When the characters in the horror movie were disturbed by the eerie sounds, I realized that my companion for the night had no concept of an "eerie" sound. And while I am partially colorblind and while I may perceive colors differently than most, it's incomparable to not perceiving colors entirely or not perceiving sound at all.

So I came away from the night, not with any sense of pity, but with a newfound sense of appreciation for what I do have. I may be lonely right now, I may hate living in my temporary apartment, but I can change those things.

Click here for the next set of entries.

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