Justin's Life...

~ June 2001 ~
~ June 1st - 12th ~

June 1, 2001 - Friday

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting in front of my computer, going through an edited version of the manuscript when I got a voice mail that started, "Hi, my name is Ryan Westheimer. I'm calling on behalf of Bob Simon. He's the producer on the television series 'The Agency'." RealAudio clipRA MP3 clipMP3

My heart paused for a moment... "producer on a television series." Was he calling because he wanted to do something with me, with my journal? Had I finally caught the attention of someone in Hollywood? Was this my big break? This wasn't like the stupid Human Rights Campaign plea for money which had gotten my hopes up for a split second when I saw the envelope addressed from Max Mutchnick, Creator of "Will & Grace." This was a personal call. This producer had found the voice mail phone number on the web page and had had his assistant call me.

The message continued... "Ah, he wanted to find out if Paul Kahairo is available to meet sometime today at CS Television City. Please call me back at 323-###-####. Ah, if no one's at this number, you can call me on my cell phone at 818-###-####. Thank you. Buh-bye." RealAudio clipRA MP3 clipMP3 It was a freaking wrong number!

I listened once again. RealAudio clipRA MP3 clipMP3.

A freaking wrong number.

But the internal observation had been made. No matter how much I disparaged L.A. to those who asked why I moved here to San Diego, I was still hoping someone from Hollywood would find me and put "Justin's Life..." on the map.

Indeed, even the irony of going through the manuscript while receiving the voice mail was not lost on me. I want to help the world, but there's no doubt about it; I want fame, too.


June 6, 2001 - Wednesday

There should be a single word which means "doing something when you know better," but defined as a single word or not, I've found myself guilty of the infraction.

Last week, the Marine and I had planned on hanging out on Saturday, but a couple days before the weekend, he informed me that he had to work and therefore he wouldn't be able to meet up. Sunday became the next maybe-but-probably-not option.

So, Sunday afternoon, having not heard from Todd since before the weekend, I went on a nature walk with Bryce and Jay. Later that evening, as I was getting ready to take Bryce home, I checked my e-mail and found a letter from Todd which stated that he had wanted to have dinner with me but was too tired. "I may be down in San Diego either Monday or Tuesday though. Would you want to meet for dinner somewhere?" he suggested. I responded that either would be good and left my schedule open.

Monday night came and Todd was once again too tired. We talked for a while, but he wasn't budging. Tuesday, he explained, he would be finishing up earlier and would most likely not be as tired. He would call me when he got in around 4PM and we could probably have dinner after that.

Tuesday came and at around 6:30PM, I called. He answered the phone, stating that he'd just walked in. He again was too tired and I again was pressing for him to drive down. (I'd offered to drive up, but that wasn't a possibility either.) We talked for a while and got no where.

Was he that apathetic about me? I mean, I could understand tired one day, but three days in a row... with no "I'm thinking of you" voice mails or e-mails? He sure didn't seem to be as interested in me as I was in him, and I'd grown tired of getting my hopes up only to have him not reciprocate in the least. I had already toned down my high maintenance requirements for him quite a bit, but wanting to know that he's at least thinking about me from time to time didn't seem high maintenance to me. If he couldn't fight his fatigue and show his attraction in person, at least he could call or write something to let me know that I was in his thoughts.

I wanted to tell him that that was it, that I was done, but I couldn't. That's the part that needs the one word term. There's a big part of me that knows better, that thinks I should just cut my losses and say "thanks for playing" before I get more caught up in him, but what if there's something there? What if his personality is closer to the "other" personality that I need rather than the world-revolving personalities of my ex's? That's the part that stops me from just telling him that I'm moving on.

He did write me a long e-mail last night to explain his viewpoint and I responded:


Thanks for the e-mail. I hear what you're saying... but, nah, I don't view us as a couple. I do like ya and would maybe be interested in "coupledom" in the future but we're not there yet.

Anyway, I heard what you're saying and see some of your points. I haven't had experience with military stuff before, so in my civilian life, when someone says they're tired for several days in a row, it's just an excuse. Given that you're not one for openly expressing your emotions, that adds to my brain thinking you're indifferent about hanging out or not. So, when you don't say, "I thought about ya today" and you don't drive down, that's how my brain puts it together. I know you're not the type to write mega-emails saying how wonderful someone is and that's ok. You need me to believe you in regards to the tired thing or to understand about the not outright expressing emotions thing. I promise I will do my best. I need you maybe drop me a quick "howdy" on the voicemail or a little "I thought about ya today" in e-mail. Hopefully you understand and will do your best in return.

So, I don't know what to say. How 'bout this? I won't plan around you and I'll believe you when you say you're tired and won't ask/beg/plead/annoy if you say you're staying in. You, maybe, can satisfy my need for a little "Howdy" or "I thought about you today" in return. I'll kick down my intensity regarding you a bit, too, k?

So, I hope you had a nice not-too-tiring day today. As of 12:01PM, I have no plans tonight, but I'm gonna see what I can do about that. Bryce is busy and Jay's got a date, so it's doubtful, but I'm gonna try to find something. If you wanna hang out tonight when you get in, give me a call and maybe we can. If not, that's fine, too.

Have a good one,

One part of me sees that he's not the type to send little "I'm thinking about you" e-mails, but the other part, the part that needs that single word term, somehow hopes that I'm mistaken, that there's a big softy sweetheart underneath that hard assed Marine exterior. He doesn't have to be cuckoo-for-Justin-puffs... but I do want to know (and be reminded) that he likes them.

Of course, the part that needs that single word term is also self aware enough to know that while I wrote that I'm not planning my life around meeting up with Todd, I also haven't really tried to make plans for tonight. I could call Mike, but the idea that Todd might actually come down, like he kept mentioning yesterday on the phone, keeps me from acting on trying to do anything else. And another part feels like shit for making everyone else in my life secondary to Todd, even when he's explicitly told me not to plan around him and when, in some ways, it's obvious they care a lot more about me than he does.

Oh how this phenomenon needs a one word term... but just don't call it a "Justin."


At around 5:45PM, I decided that waiting around for Todd to maybe call was more illogical than I could allow myself to be, and so I called Mike to see if he wanted to have dinner. He, of course, wasn't in... but I left a message.

Fifteen minutes later, I decided I'd call Todd and leave a message for him stating that I hadn't found any plans for the evening and was still game for dinner if he wanted to meet me. He, however, was in but was not game for dinner. He hadn't yet read my e-mail, but other than that, I didn't really find out anything. We talked for about five minutes and when he said he was staying in, I left it at that.

Just as I was hanging up with him, the cell phone rang with Mike calling. We talked for a few minutes, but he said he was feeling ill and so dinner was out of the question.

And so, I'll be dining alone tonight... but I'm remarkably ok with it. I'm actually a bit proud of myself for letting Todd's not meeting me for dinner roll right off my back. It's like I doubted I had it in me, but I did. I'm really totally ok with it. Amazing.


June 11, 2001 - Monday

Last Saturday night, I had dinner with Mike and a female friend of his who was visiting from out of town. Afterwards, we went to another restaurant for dessert and as we were sitting there just outside of Hillcrest, I suggested that we take Mike to a club. He'd never really been dancing before with a guy, and I figured it'd be a good experience for him. His friend agreed and I pressed so eventually he agreed as well.

Arriving at Rich's at around 9:30PM, we were three of approximately eight people on the dance floor, but we danced nevertheless and disregarded the crowd of spectators who outnumbered us. Before long though, the dance floor was full and we were having a really fun time dancing with ourselves. I undid several of the buttons on Mike's shirt, and we grinded a little bit as well. It was fun, and I didn't care in the least that I was getting Mike's sweat on me. I was amazingly comfortable with him and that felt nice.

Yet, during the course of the night, I came to notice a red head on the walkway around the dance floor's perimeter. With the flashing lights and distance, I had no real way to tell if he was cute, but I took note of him and thought to myself if there was any way I could say, "Hello." I decided that there was not as I was there with Mike who was very much attracted to me, regardless of if I felt as strongly back for him. I mentioned the red head just to be upfront about what was going through my mind, and exhausted from dancing nearly non-stop for an hour and a half, we left shortly thereafter.

Tuesday came and Mike, still on vacation from work, had lunch with me. He knew I was supposed to meet the Marine that night, but after we had lunch, we hung out here at my apartment, and then around 6:30PM, I called Todd as I stated earlier.

Ten minutes into my plaintive phone call to Todd, Mike declared that he was leaving. I could tell that he was upset, and I knew Todd wasn't coming over no matter how I pleaded, even though I felt compelled to plead, so I tried to get Mike to stay, but he would not.

The next day, Mike sent me an e-mail apologizing briefly for the way he left the night before, and the day after that I asked if he wanted to have dinner with Bryce, Jay, and me, but he had other plans. Friday afternoon, I got this detailed letter:

Hey Justin,

I've been doing a lot of thinking the past week and I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you, especially since they include you. On Saturday night, after we had gone dancing and we said our goodbyes, [my friend] and I had talked at length about you. One thing that I brought up and was a big part of our discussion was how frightened I was of becoming completely dependant on you: for a social life, or for just life itself. She said, "Honey, I think you already have." I was in denial of course but she brought up something I told her about the previous week. That Friday after I had spent the night, I left your apartment knowing you were having lunch with your marine friend. I ran some errands, got my haircut, went home, did some cleaning, ate and went to sleep. I woke up around 8:30 PM. I was disappointed because I had hoped you would have called and woken me up by then. So I got up and watched some TV, but the whole time I was sitting on the sofa desperately hoping you would call and ask me to come over. I felt stupid and pathetic for doing that and went to bed. Then on Saturday we had dinner with Jay and you told us about what had happened with the marine (the day before, the day you met him). I felt stupid again but then I felt jealous. I had told [my friend] about all of this before her visit and she had pointed it out as the evidence to prove her point. Then she added the comment you said (at dinner) about me "worshipping the ground you walk on," which I thought was merely you being a smart-ass - I didn't think I was that far gone. But when she said all this, it shut me up.

So on Tuesday, I knew you had plans for dinner with the marine and I was planning to leave anyway once (The Jerry) Springer (Show) was over. But as you were on the phone with him, repeatedly asking him "So are you coming down tonight?" I was getting annoyed with the frequency of that particular question. So I said, "Just say 'yes' already!" I thought my presence there was what was putting him off so that was my way of saying, "I'm leaving soon anyway." I didn't want to interfere with your plans. When he told me to "Shut up and watch your damn show," I took offense. I don't know why but it upset me. That's when I decided not to wait for Springer to finish and to go. You told me I didn't have to go but I realized right then, plain and clear, that I was in fact dependant on you and if I could feel jealous then that was even worse. Dependance is no basis for any relationship let alone friendship. And jealousy doesn't help either. It was really hard for me to turn around and leave because I so desperately wanted to stay. I felt worthless, shitty and hurt. I was mad at myself for being so stupid and jealous. I realized on the way home that I had forgotten the pager. It depressed me. I felt like crying, but I stifled it.

Then on Wednesday I felt really ill. Maybe it was just the exertion from going back to work and then going to the gym. I wanted you to come over but I also felt that it was better for me to be alone. I didn't want to say it, though. Anyway, this morning I read your journal even though I had vowed I wouldn't read it again because it always makes me anxious. But I read through and read what Philip wrote to you and found it somewhat ironic that you had reached a similar conclusion as the one I had: "center of the universe." And suddenly the "worshipping the ground you walk on" really sang out in my mind. Reading what you wrote is actually what prompted me to e-mail this to you. Then I read about the marine but that's not important. :p

So right now I don't know where I stand with you. I know that I like you a lot. I know that I want you to like me. I know that I'm too insecure for you. I know I still get nervous when you call me or when I'm around you. Then there's lots of stuff I don't know - we can't know everything, right? :)

Finally both [my friend] and my best friend back in Philly had told me to be careful with you which I thought I was doing. What they meant was for me not to expect too much. But I told them both that, when all is said and done, I can't imagine us NOT being friends. I hope that isn't too much to expect...

Anyway, those are some of the things I've been thinking. Sometimes it's easier for me to write things out than to speak them. I hope I haven't said too much. And I apologize if my punctuation is horrendous. Dealing with your book corrections and being busted for indiscriminate punctuation hopefully hasn't put you on the offensive. :)

Okay, well, I hope you had a good time at dinner last night. [A work colleague] and I went out to celebrate her new job which, although is still at Scripps but in a different department, starts on 1 July. We went to Rich's for the Hedonism thing. It was okay...I would have rather have been there with you but [she] made it a lot of fun. Someone grabbed my ass and I screamed like a girl.

I'm going to stay in tonight and catch up on sleep seeing that I got only 3 hours last night. I do have to work this weekend and have plans for Saturday and possibly Sunday. Otherwise I don't have anything planned for Monday right now. Call me if you want to get together or if you get the chance. Okay, well have a good day and I'll talk to you soon (I hope).


--- Edited For Identity/Clarity ---

I wrote back:


Remember when you, Jay, and I had dinner at that brewpub... the one where you ordered milk? That night, you said something about "having to fall in love with [me] first" before I'd break your heart... well, later, when Jay and I were talking, he said, "as though that hasn't already happened." Truth be known, I'd been saying that "I'm gonna break your heart" stuff as a pseudo veiled attempt to say "slow down." Now, before you think otherwise, there's no "wrong" in that... it's just that I've been where you are and know how it goes.

And while it may have come off as smart-assed when I said that you worshipped the ground I walk on, it really was another attempt at trying to indicate that you should slow down and not get QUITE so caught up in me. For some crazy reason, my brain puts "you worship the ground I walk on" as less egocentric than "I know you're all into me, but you need to slow down." I figured if I said it enough, you'd hear it and realize it was at least partially true. I'd also just experienced the Steve thing and when the interest goes from none to a lot in such a short time, I've found that it goes from a lot to none just as quickly. I didn't want to have that happen with you. I've had enough experience with that... and it's not fun, to put it mildly.

As for the Marine... your presence here had nothing whatsoever to do with whether he was coming over or not, like I told you. When he told you to shut up and watch your damn show, that didn't mean anything. He just saw you as someone else telling him to come over, which he wasn't going to do, and that was just his gruff way of saying he wasn't going to come over with you saying so either.

As for being dependent on someone else, that's part of life, part of learning to love. I was very dependent on Larry... and some days, I wish I still were. It's nice having someone there, to know that they're there for you. If we didn't depend on our friends/boyfriends for anything, what would be the point? I get what you're saying, but I'm saying that we're all dependent on others for things. It's nothing anyone should feel bad about.

I hated that you'd forgotten the pager, too... and I felt shitty about your leaving. The pager here almost seemed ominous. As though you were "moving on" and I didn't like that. I knew you'd misread my conversation with the marine. And I told you so, but ya didn't really believe me. If there's one thing that you can absolutely "depend" on me, it's that I'll tell you the truth.

You said you read about the marine... did you notice that I called you before I called him? If you'd been in, I would have had dinner with you... fuck the marine. I may have been temporarily blinded by the attraction, but yours vs. his quality was never an issue. You always won.

Not knowing everything is part of figuring out this whole love/attraction thing... and having had seven years head start on you, I'm still figuring it out... still having revelations. I've been trying to give you a leg up... but this stuff is largely something you can only learn on your own.

Now, if I may be so bold, I need to point out something. You're rebelling against me now... trying to prove your indifference, and that's not healthy either and it makes neither of us happy. Going to Rich's last night (a club you'd never been to before I took you the week before), not being able to see me until Monday. It's sort of an "I don't need you like I needed you" and it's working... it's getting under my skin. I didn't see you hardly any during your vacation (because of your mom and friend visiting) and I barely saw you this past week... now Monday's the next available time slot?

Well, that just won't do. In fact, it just sorta pisses me off... even though I KNOW the motivations behind it, proving to me and yourself that I'm not the center of your universe. It's like you're trying to regulate me back to the ranks of peon and while I can appreciate the demotion from center of the universe, I don't appreciate quite such a large demotion. I'm better than that.

So, sleep or none, we should have dinner tonight. We both WANT to see each other, and I really don't think it's the best choice to wait until Monday... there's no point in us staying on "bad footing" until then.


--- Edited For Clarity ---

We met that night (this past Friday) and I gave him a "people care about you" pep talk, but he left around 7:30PM saying that he didn't feel well.

Saturday, he had his previously made office party plans and last night, when I asked if he wanted to have dinner, he responded that he just wanted to stay in by himself. I told him that I understood, that while I wanted to help, there was nothing more I could do or say besides what I said on Friday night and that the last little part was up to him... but tonight we're having dinner. Hopefully I can provide the spark he needs to get out of his funk.


June 12, 2001 - Tuesday

Having seen that red head at Rich's last weekend, this past Saturday night I decided I'd venture there once more to possibly say "hello" to him.

Unfortunately, all my friends were busy, but keeping in that mindset of pushing myself to do new things, I decided I'd go alone. I waited until around 10:30PM then headed over, figuring that, at best, I'd say "hello" and maybe exchange a phone number, but in all likelihood, I'd simply stand around for two hours before heading home disheartened.

I went into the club, made a round, then headed to the bar outside the dance area to order a rum and Coke. Armed with my prop, I walked back in and stood along the wall as I scanned for someone cute.

"He looks sort of cute," I thought to myself as I walked past a couple guys or as they walked past me.

"Oh, and he looks kinda new, not really into the gay scene. Sort of helpless here..." I thought about another. And then I mentally smacked myself. I was not looking for someone who was all into "the scene," but I also wasn't looking for someone over whom I felt superior. I'd been there and done that: Time to start acting a little more mature and find an equal.

So, finishing my rum and Coke, I walked around the perimeter of the dance area and saw a couple cute guys who didn't look intimidated by being there. They weren't gym bunnies or bar hags, but rather regular looking guys... but without that just-coming-out helpless look. I also saw a guy who I thought was red headed. With the flashing lights and smoke, I wasn't for sure and he didn't really look like the red head I'd seen the Saturday before, but with another rum and Coke, I thought, perhaps I would brave saying "hello."

As I was standing next to the wall drinking that second rum and Coke, one of the cute regular guys walked past me with a friend of his. "Hey ya," he said in my direction. Wait, he was cute and interested. I turned in his direction and sort of casually followed him as I walked to the other side of the dancefloor... but he and his friend went towards the front door and left. I didn't even have time to work up the courage to say "hello."

So, standing along the opposite wall of where I'd previously been, I wondered just how bad the night was going to suck as I continued drinking my second rum and Coke. A few minutes later, the guy standing next to me, who I hadn't really noticed, asked, "Is your name Justin?"

I responded, "Yes," and he replied, "And did you just move from Michigan?"

"No," was my one word answer.

"From L.A.?" he countered.

And from there we started talking. Turned out, he had seen my personal ad, e-mailed me, and read my site some back in October... and he remembered me! I had been

For seven years, I'd been writing the journal and never once had I been recognized in public. I told him that no matter how the night turned out, he had completely made my day. He didn't seem to think it was a big deal, but I sure was smiling.

Anyway, we began talking and I didn't remember him. I didn't feel bad about it, though. In fact, me not knowing him made him recognizing me all the sweeter, and his remembering me in detail to the point of asking if I'd seen any cute red heads there at the club that night made feel nothing short of awesome.

So, anyway, Eric and I were dancing in the middle of the dancefloor when he asked if I'd seen any cute reds. I responded that I'd seen one, but I hadn't seen him close enough to know if he was cute. He responded back that if I would just point him out, he would take care of the meeting. That sounded great to me.

So we danced for a bit and I started looking for that red head. I found him, about ten feet behind me, and just after pointing him out to Eric, we were walking over in his direction. We walked past him and stopped a few feet on the other side. The next thing I knew, Eric and he were in conversation about a wrist strap he was wearing, and a few seconds later, names were exchanged. Eric introduced me as his friend Justin. I was impressed. I've got the skills I've got, but I really have to push myself to start a conversation with a stranger. Eric did it with ease.

So, still undecided on if I thought the red head was cute and having gotten no "you're cute" eyes from him, I went back to dancing with Eric. Soon though, he and I were back at the bar outside the dance area with his friend Anthony, who Eric had introduced me to earlier in the night but who had gone off dancing by himself shortly after saying "hello."

The three of us talked for a while, and then one of them suggested going to Numbers. I said I'd never been before but going there was fine with me. We headed out the door and down the street.

Upon entering the new club and getting to the dance floor, I saw this really cute guy who was a friend of Eric and Anthony's. They introduced me and I watched him dance as I noted he was a mix of J. Crew and Abercrombie & Fitch; physically attractive using anyone's scale.

Soon, Eric and Anthony's shirts were off and Eric pulled me close to dirty dance with him. I'd sort of already stand-offishly dirty danced with him at Rich's, but given that he recognized me and that that was such a big thing to me, I figured a little "no hands going anywhere" full clothed body contact was ok.

Anyway, at Numbers, Eric pulled me to up behind him and J. Crew/Abercrombie boy to his frontside. That was more like it.

The three of us moved up and down and J. Crew/Abercrombie boy held his hands on my upper arms. My hands were around Eric's waist, with my fingers pushing up J. Crew/Abercrombie boy's shirt to the beat of the music. I could feel his tummy hair on the backside of my fingers. I was having fun.

Soon, though, the three dirty dancing thing broke and somewhere along in there, Eric turned towards me. He leaned over to kiss me, but I arched my back and stuck out my chest to block him. He didn't pursue it.

Before long, J. Crew/Abercrombie boy's shirt came off as well, and I felt a little odd as the only one still shirted, but my non-toned chest and slight love handles were not coming out to play... especially next to these three thin guys.

The next thing I remember is that I had to pee, so off to the bathroom I headed. Once that was done, I went back to the dancefloor and shortly after that, the three of us each had another drink as we sat near the bar. I said something about J. Crew/Abercrombie boy being extremely attractive and they responded that he was a player. All things being relative and Anthony knowing a good portion of the people in the club, too much of a player J. Crew/Abercrombie boy undoubtedly must have been. Oh well, at least he was fun to look at.

Once the drinks were done, we headed back on the street and back down to Rich's. The "Hey ya" guy had returned and this time, we said hello to one another. He introduced himself and I introduced myself back and then he, Eric, and I started dancing. We talked/yelled a little as we were dancing, but somehow, I honestly don't remember, he went back to his friends and I again was dancing with Eric and Anthony. "Last call," they announced over the loudspeaker a couple times and at 1:45AM, the lights came up.

When the lights were turned on, Eric, Anthony, and I were on one side of the dancefloor and "Hey ya" guy was on the other, talking with his friends. He didn't look over in my direction, so I couldn't make eye contact, and when he and his friends started leaving the dancefloor area, they headed towards the opposite exit. Oh well, I guessed I was more interested in him than he was in me.

So, anyway, Eric, Anthony, and I stood outside the club talking for a bit and exchanged phone numbers. "Hey ya" guy walked past us but didn't look in our direction. He was gone, that was it, over... but five minutes or so later, as we were walking down the street, I saw that "Hey ya" guy had stopped to talk with some of his friends on the sidewalk. I nudged him in the back as I walked past and he started following me. I stopped to talk, but Eric and Anthony were waiting on me, so I simply said something about how I would hopefully see him there next week.

He indicated that he hoped to see me, too, and as I started walking again, he rattled off his phone number. We shared the same prefix, so I responded by saying, "Mine's ####." That meant we lived near each other, too.

So, while this was happening and "Hey ya" guy was getting my phone number, Eric said, "Here, just take my card" or something like that and gave "Hey ya" guy the business card I'd given him a couple minutes earlier. I knew Eric was attracted to me, but the business card thing seemed a little, "Here, you can have him."

So, anyway, I gave Eric another card and walked Anthony and him to his car. As I was saying good-bye, Eric said something to Anthony about how I wouldn't give him a kiss on the lips. I said, "no, sorry" or something to that effect, and Eric pleaded. He did cause me to have a most excellent night, so I said I'd give him on the cheek. I grabbed his face with my hand to hold him in place and kissed his right cheek. He still pleaded that he wanted a kiss on the lips and that I had said how he'd made my day because no one had ever recognized me before. So after walking around in the parking lot for a minute, I figured that he'd made the night turn out so much better than I'd expected, if a kiss would make him happy, I'd do it. I said, "ok, but just a quick peck," and I gave him a quick, closed mouth peck.

We said bye and I headed back to my car, amazed at just how differently the night had turned out than I'd planned. I would've never thought I'd be out until 3AM, hanging out with new friends and exchanging phone numbers. And I for sure didn't think someone would recognize me. It was more fun than I'd had in a long while.

Actually, it reminded me of that MIT dance in 1995... and needless to say, that was a while ago.

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© 2001 Justin Clouse
Justin's Life...Justin's