Justin's Life...

~ May 2001 ~
~ May 19th - 31st ~

May 19, 2001 - Saturday

As I'd reckoned, when I had lunch with Scott, the fireman, yesterday, I was still attracted to him, but it was considerably less than the cuckoo-for-fireman-puffs level I'd experienced on Wednesday. In short, we had a nice, relaxed lunch which lasted about two hours then parted ways. When I got home, I wrote him e-mail to say thanks and to let him know that I really thought we could become friends. He wrote back a bit later to say, "i think you're pretty darn cool yourself :-)"

It's a nice feeling I've got with him now. Low key, but nice. I like it.


Last night, I went to see the computer animated feature Shrek and left the theatre intrigued not by the story itself but by its execution. As opposed to Toy Story, which centered on inanimate objects coming to life, Shrek had a considerable cast of computer generated humans. What's incredibly interesting about that is how one's brain has trouble believing that the computer generated humans are more than just a collection of sounds and images. The mouths move and you hear the words, but when it's a human saying it, it doesn't connect. It's like an unmarked threshold has been crossed whereby the humans don't look cartoony enough to be cartoons but they don't look real enough to be human. Indeed, the humans in the film are far less real than the talking donkey and ogre.

I don't know... perhaps it's because I was a communication major that I find this worth more than just a passing thought, but I do find it amazing. Of all the billions of people on Earth, we can look at them and tell they're real. Yet the mind has trouble seeing the computer generated humans as believable, even with eyes flexing, mouths curling, and brows furling... whereas the mind has no problem whatsoever doing the same thing for a talking donkey and ogre.


May 21, 2001 - Monday

A little less than two months ago, I had dinner with Mark and Lisa. Mark, a friend of Larry's in college, had said in e-mail that his wife Lisa missed seeing me when Larry was over at their house, and after Lisa gave me a call, we arranged to have dinner one Saturday night.

During that night, the three of us talked extensively about a number of things, but one in particular embedded itself within my brain; publishing the journal.

The next day, armed with Lisa's suggestions of which book to read about self-publishing and Mark's confidence that people would buy a printed version, I ordered a "how to" book from Amazon.com. It arrived shortly thereafter and I read it from cover to cover in two days.

From that point on, publishing the journal, or more specifically, the 1995 entries to start, has been going through my mind. I first printed out the 25 sections of 1995 to discover that they contained over 127,000 words. The average 288 page novel, I'd read, contains only 80,000. Four read-thru's later, I'd managed to pare it down to just under 100,000 without really sacrificing anything. I asked for "readability testing" volunteers from the people who receive my newsletter and shortly thereafter five were chosen.

Today, I got back three of those five manuscripts, and I've yet to read through the manuscripts themselves, but the letters accompanying them almost had me misty eyed. The cerebral part of me knew that the people volunteering had an affinity for me and for the journal, but to read their heartfelt words about my impact on their lives was awing. Even now, I sit here in a sort of stupor. I have to publish this thing; forget the effect it'll have on my ego. The effect it'll have on those reading it is what's important.


May 23, 2001 - Wednesday

Yesterday, I dropped off a copy of the manuscript for Mark to read, and while I was there at his house, we got to talking about how I'd changed since the time I'd written the words within. We talked briefly about sex, and maturing there, too, and I left once again with an idea going through my head.

As far as I know, ya only live once. I'm 25 and I've gone from mutual masturbation wearing condoms to a point where I'm not entirely grossed out if the other guy happens to get some on me. I've had no daredevil sex, no one night stands, no fetishes. It hasn't been entirely wholesome, but I started dating seven years ago... and I've never even swallowed.

So, last night, with that thought still going through my head, and having briefly started an HBO documentary about people who lived through the entire 20th century, I realized that it's all just life and I should experience it to its fullest.

Determined to do something adventurous, I got online and entered a chat room. I found a picture of a guy who I thought looked cute and we began talking. After typing back and forth about nothing for a while, I forced myself to brave the waters:

Justin: there's a secret "bad boy" in me
Other Guy: really? tell me more!
Justin: but AT MOST, he'd just want to watch some guy jerk off
Other Guy: that's all?
Justin: not that I haven't done stuff with guys
Other Guy: but?
Justin: but something about just randomly meeting a guy and watching him
Justin: I'm sure I'd be so nervous I'd be twitching
Justin: that's what I meant before
Justin: I'm too vanilla for ya
Other Guy: twitching? damn that's cute
Justin: but trying to be adventurous relative to me
Other Guy: that's cool
Other Guy: like I said, I totally enjoy vanilla also
Other Guy: you got awful quiet
Justin: just not sure what to say
Other Guy: whatever you want
Justin: but I doubt you'd enjoy me watching you jerk off
Justin: I mean, you'd want me to do something too
Justin: and I'm not quite ready for that
Other Guy: well yeah
Justin: just twitching is it for me right now

Indeed, I was so nervous stating my thoughts to him that my hands were clammy and my face was flushed. I had already felt the beginnings of the twitching just from articulating my desires. I knew if I was standing there before him, watching a stranger jerk off for me, I'd be so full of adrenaline that I couldn't help but twitch.

I also couldn't believe that I was actually doing it. I was uttering my desires to see this stranger's naked body and making arrangements to make it a reality.

An hour and half later, I was committed to driving over to his place and going through with it, but he said it was late and that he was tired and would want me to join in if I came over... and so, a little before 4AM, I jerked off alone and went to bed, happy that I'd let myself live a little but a bit disappointed that it didn't work out.


May 28, 2001 - Monday

This past Wednesday night, I was supposed to have dinner with my military friend Jon. Having known him for a little over a month now, I'd become accustomed to the government-imposed last minute plan changes, but Wednesday evening came and I was left wondering if he would call. He didn't answer his cell phone when I dialed it and the night was growing late, but it wasn't so late as to summarily cancel and do something else.

And then the phone rang.

It was not Jon, but instead Todd*. I'd given him my phone number almost entirely on whimsy. He hadn't sent a picture and he'd only written two none-too-long e-mails in response to my personal ad, but he seemed sincere and he asked for my number, so I gave it to him.

We began talking and before long, I suggested that if Jon didn't call me by 8, Todd and I should meet. He, however, said that he couldn't because he had to study... but I pressed. Finally, when it became obvious that he wasn't meeting me that night no matter what, I gave up and we agreed to meet for lunch on Friday.

So Friday morning came and Todd called. I gave him directions to a nearby restaurant, and I headed towards there a few minutes later.

When I got to the parking lot, I saw a buzz cut dirty blonde sitting on his motorcycle. I'd found out during our Wednesday night conversation that he rode one, but his e-mail had said that he was into country music and that his hair was brown. I was expecting a more "cowboy hat wearing, hay seed sticking out of his mouth, big gutted" type. Todd had none of the three: Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

So, we had lunch and I harassed him about being "bi" and about being a Marine. He was fairly cute, but having had my share of Mormons turn straight, this Marine seemed dangerous territory. If I fell for him, not only could he disappear because of some military related thing, but he could also disappear just because. He hadn't given me a phone number and so except for some free e-mail account, I had no way to contact to him... but with cautious apprehension, I proceeded.

After lunch, we went to see the movie Shrek and once the lights went down, a new person emerged. Before buying tickets, my insistence that we wouldn't leave a seat between us had gotten no agreeance and even some playful resistance, but inside the theatre, I sat directly to Todd's side, and he put his hand on my knee.

For the length of the movie, we squeezed each other's leg and ran hands on arms. A couple times, he tensed up when someone came near our next to back row seats, but I was glad to know that he was attracted to me, even if it was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in nature.

After the movie, we walked back to our vehicles and I said that I didn't want to stop hanging out with him. We talked for a bit about how going back to my apartment did not mean going back there for sex, and a few minutes later, he was following me back here.

Once I showed him where to park, we came inside and I gave him the tour of all my gadgets. We watched TV, hugged for a while, and kissed a bit.

And, well, as the day grew on, things got more intense in both traditional and non-traditional ways. I went back and forth from feeling really nice to really bad, and around 11:30PM, I walked Todd to his motorcycle.

I don't remember exactly what I told him standing there next to his bike, but I do remember him saying, "I fucked up." I responded to that by telling him not to worry, that I'd see him again, and he responded that he knew that but was worried what underlying effects his fuck up would have. We soon said good-bye and he headed off.

The next morning, I wrote him this e-mail:


Last night, when I got back up to my apartment, I wanted to cry... not because of any big thought but rather because I was exhausted. From taking your picture, to being pushed back down in the floor about thirty times, to not letting me cop a feel, to not going to the restaurant for dinner, to even wanting the light on in the shower, I'd been defeated or at least _repeatedly_ delayed in everything I wanted to do. I mean, take the simplest of those: the lights in the shower. I wanted the lights on. You wanted them off. You physically blocked me from turning them on or from going into the hallway to turn that light on. I tried to go. You continued to block. Finally, you agreed to let me have the candle... but only if I'd shut the door. I can't help but feel that you weren't worried about the candle and the open door making too much light, but rather you were more concerned about having control. It seemed to be that way with nearly everything.

You're stronger than me. You've got the control. I think you're amazing attractive, but sitting here now, I still want to cry. I don't want to feel defeated at the end of a day with anyone. I don't want to be physically overpowered/blocked all the time. I want to have fun with that other person. I want to share experiences, not have to bargain or plead or insist. I DO want to be that adventurer, but it's something of which I must PUSH myself, not something of which I can be PULLED.

And lest you think I only see you in a bad light, I REALLY like how you utter, "You're awesome"'s all the time. They make me feel good... special.

But I don't know you and with all the secrecy, I'm not sure what's your "routine" and what's "real." Perhaps most guys/girls are "awesome" and "beautiful." I _think_ I know your name, but I'm not even certain of that. So these are real things for me. I can't run headlong into this trusting you with so many of these in the background. I will trust you in time, but the secrecy combined with the insistence on control makes me uneasy... especially in situations like the shower.

So, anyway, I'm still attracted to you, but I needed to say this. I'm gonna have lunch and hang out with my friends today. I'll give ya a call a little later.

Things had gotten too intense for me, both in the sexual progression speed and the physical overpowerment. Sexually, I hadn't crossed into any new territories and nobody had an orgasm, so I didn't feel terrible about it, but it was still too much for me, having only met him earlier in the day.

As for the control thing, that left me feeling much worse, and I was decided that if we met again, not a lot more would be tolerated. Of course, having seen his reaction next to his motorcycle and having sent that e-mail, I didn't think we'd be meeting again.

In fact, when he didn't e-mail or call on Saturday, I figured "Marines" would be one step closer to "Mormons" on the list of "Don't Dates," but yesterday afternoon, he called and we're having dinner tonight. I don't know how it'll go, but I do know I'm not going to be nearly as passive, no matter what.

And as I told Jay, when I moved out, I wanted adventure and I'm certainly getting it... but sometimes I miss my comfortable life.

* The Marine's name is not Todd. I plan on summarily changing "Todd" to his correct name when he gets out and his being bi/gay is no longer an issue, but of the two, his being a Marine is a lot more relevant to the story than his actual name. For sake of readability, this will be the only time I make note that his name is not Todd.


May 29, 2001 - Tuesday

Last night with the Marine went a lot better. We met for dinner then came back to my apartment where we watched Contact, and not one time did he try to block me or stop me from doing something. Our clothes stayed entirely on, too, and except for a couple quick grabs, things were as innocent as a middle school dance. It was nice and far more relaxing than the Friday before.

Who knows... I may just have my very own Marine boy after all.


May 30, 2001 - Wednesday

Sometimes I'm an ass. Sometimes I say things so biting, I almost cringe when I say them... yet I still say them. It's like I have this need to make sure everyone knows just what's wrong with him, and while a good dose of reality is helpful every once in a while, as at the very least, we all wonder if something we've noticed about ourselves is noticeable by others, too much not only doesn't help the problem but also makes the other person feel bad.

I just need to learn how to pull in the reigns on my tongue a bit. I don't want to entirely lose my "telling it like it is," as Bryce called it, as I feel it really is one of my better traits, but as I said when I started this entry, sometimes I'm an ass.

Even when biting my tongue, I know it's just a matter of time before I say, for example, "Do you ever floss your teeth?" I'll surround it with softeners so it doesn't sting as badly as it would stated alone, but I'll say it. I don't know how not to. It's like my mind thinks, "Does he know his teeth are decaying in between? Is he in denial, thinking that no one could tell? Is he just a big kid who, now out of Mommy and Daddy's house, thinks brushing his teeth is no longer important?" Never does it enter my mind that he's fully aware of his teeth situation and that he possibly has a medical condition.

But at the same time, the other night, I could tell that he wanted to kiss me. I didn't really want to kiss him anyway, but with his teeth, I especially did not. So the state of his teeth was/is relevant, but how do I not say something about it? And even more curiously, how does he not read it here and figure out that it is him of which I'm speaking? But that's a topic best saved for another day.

So, anyway, sometimes I'm an ass... and I don't even need anyone to point it out for me; that's the irony.


Today I've most decidedly felt like a bad person, like there's something wrong with me, to the point of wanting to just sit home alone, unworthy of anyone's company.

Actually, it all started a couple months ago and today is only the culmination.

With my communication with Steve lessening and with David Wayne's birthday approaching, thoughts of the two couldn't help but intermingle, and I had to think that while the person was different, the events were similar. Indeed, the similarities aren't just limited to Steve and David but also to Rob and to Adam. Four of the last five guys I dated for any length of time don't talk to me. And they don't just not talk to me; they view me contemptuously.

And so, last night when I was talking with Bryce and found out that he'd been talking to Steve, even to the point of Bryce flying up for a visit, I had to start wondering what's wrong with me. I thought Steve and I had weathered the breakup and made it through. Heck, I had even voiced my concerns that several aspects of my interaction with Steve reminded me of my interaction with Rob, and he'd told me that I was worrying too much and that he was not Rob. So much for that...

And this morning, I woke and wrote to ask:


What happened with you and me? We went from talking near nightly on the phone to not talking at all. I've been busy, you've been busy, but Bryce mentioned in passing that he'd talked to you. So I guess it's just me... And I don't even know why you're not talking to me anymore? If you're going to be upset with me, at least tell me why. I mean, I'm sure I've done some assholish things, but I miss interacting with you.


This afternoon, he responded:


I think the reason I haven't spoken with you is because when I think of the time we spent together, I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. It was never about you and I--it was always about you and how I should act to please you.

I mean, I definitely had some good times, but most of the time I was always worrying that something I did was going to upset you. And if I wasn't worrying about that, I was trying to figure out what I did wrong to make you upset. And that's not healthy--especially since I'm trying to become more secure with myself.

And now that I'm dating someone who is so amazing and I've finally made a group of fun and supportive friends, I don't feel like I have the energy or desire to talk to you because I know it will be ALL about you.

I didn't really want things to have to come to this point (ie.. explaining the reasons why I don't feel like talking to you, but you seem like you need to know...).

Hopefully this is honest enough for your tastes...


So, I feel like shit, as evidenced by that earlier asshole entry, and I just wonder how people who found you so wonderful and important in their lives at the time can decide that you're such an asshole in hindsight. If I liked you then, I won't decide later that you weren't really likable and I was somehow confused or unenlightened... but that's just me.


May 31, 2001 - Thursday

I'm in better spirits today, thanks in part to talking with Jay, who I met last week, and having dinner with Bryce last night. I still don't fully understand the ability of someone to skew the past because of the present, but I guess it just further evidences the concept of reality being created by the perceiver.


I hadn't really thought much today about yesterday's events, but a few minutes ago I got an e-mail which set off the "well, duh!" bells.

Philip, one of the guys who'd volunteered to read the 1995 manuscript, had made an observation. His e-mail read:

Of late in your diary, you've noticed that certain current people mirror certain former people in your life, that situations that you have today seem vaguely repetitive. Well, while I was reading your manuscript, I realized little has changed (in the man department), that you repeat the same patterns. It seems that you are stuck in some sort of rut. You keep returning to the same kind of men (although personally I think Larry was an extraordinary exception, one that I could bonk you in the head for losing :), i.e., men who have Samsonites full of luggage. This is no indictment, because I've done the same thing in my own life and it was only by accident that I broke the cycle. What I want to say is that if you want to find the solution to your present problems with men, perhaps you should read your own diary, start to finish.

I'd been so caught up thinking that I was the common bond between the guys that I'd never thought to ponder what they had in common with each other. And while I don't think I would call it "luggage," I do think they all had a lot of self-discovery ahead of them. They'd never really had an all out boyfriend before, and when they had me, I became the center of their universe. I liked the attention: I reveled in it, in fact, and when things didn't work out perfectly in the end, I got just as strong a dose of contempt as I used to receive of adoration.

How did I not see that until Philip pointed it out? It was like I was so close to making the connection, but I just didn't connect the dots. Larry loved me more than any of the others, but he didn't revolve his world around me. That's why he doesn't fit in with the rest. That's why we can still talk and I can still hang out for an entire day with him and the kids. True, I'd likely not be hanging out all day were it not for the kids, but I'd still have e-mails and communication. I just chalked it up to him being more mature than the rest, and maybe that's part of it, but I think it really has to do with that thing Philip called "luggage." The overt intensity of the infatuation is only the positive side of the barefaced repugnance. With one comes the other.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I haven't done everything right, but stepping back from the situation, I can see that I didn't do everything wrong either. I'm not a bad person, and having looked at it from Philip's viewpoint, I feel much better about myself.

Now the question remains: "How do I stop the cycle?"

Click here for the next set of entries.

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