“And Protect Yourself With Fire”

Content warning for some explicit sexual content

I think I’m beginning to develop trust issues.

I’ve had… one of the weirdest couple of weeks of my life. And frankly, it’s all starting to wear on me.

When I tell people about the things that happen to me, they often respond by saying I have such an interesting life, or they say “How are you meeting so many people?” or “I wish I could meet guys like you can.” Well, it isn’t really like that.

I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll start about a week or so ago. The story is very detailed and complicated but to wrap it all up in a brief summary, I had a hookup with a guy in the middle of the night who was drunk and acting incredibly strange. At one point he asked me how much money I had in my wallet, then when I told him I was uncomfortable with that question and I’m going to leave if he keeps talking that way, he laughed at me and said “You really think you can leave? I’m very strong.” That’s probably the most horrific thing anyone has ever said to me. It occurred to me in that moment that the people killed by Jeffrey Dahmer probably also had a similar moment of realization that they were in serious danger.

Despite his creepy behavior, and for whatever reason, I actually ended up staying so that we could finish fooling around because it was late and I was worked up. He did another incredibly weird thing, which is that he found a zit on my back and then BIT IT OPEN, causing me to start bleeding everywhere. Weirdly, I did still stay until we finished, and then left soon after. That night, I went to Waffle House around 4AM to try and get some food and calm down, feeling really dirty and gross. When I went back to my car, I was sitting there looking at my phone and a drunk lady opened my passenger door and sat down in my car, resulting in me calling the cops to get her to leave, which she did, she hopped in her own car and drove away.

A few days later, after spending a day at a friends house more or less recovering from all the strangeness, I got a message from a guy on Grindr who wanted to hook up. When we met, we had a lot in common, and for some reason that I still don’t understand I just started to fall for this guy very quickly. He was charming and cute, and he was affectionate and understanding and very intelligent and well-spoken. He invited me to spend the next day with him while he worked from home, even told me to go home and get my computer and then come back, but later on after I left, he completely “ghosted” me, and never responded to any messages.

Next, another guy who I’d met through Tinder asked to come spend some time with me. He knew I wasn’t feeling well but he wanted to come anyway, and he actually drove two hours to get here. He was in his early twenties, but acted like a teenager and we had nothing in common. He was very rude to me, refusing to look up from his phone, playing on Instagram instead of paying attention to me, and when I tried to liven things up by playing piano for him, he was checking his Grindr instead of listening to me. He started playing piano for me and was doing pretty well, but he kept going on about how his favorite musicians were Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez and honestly I just couldn’t believe how awful his taste in music was, especially for someone with some level of musical ability.

Later on with that same guy, things got sexual but he said he didn’t want to touch me at all. He didn’t mind me touching him, just didn’t want to touch me back. I was a little confused and thought that was selfish, but eventually without really any prodding from me, he DID start to touch me, and then stopped to ask me if I’d showered, and implied he didn’t want to go down on me because I smelled bad. Considering I had come home early from my job, where I’d been standing up in the heat all afternoon, and he hadn’t seen me take a shower, I thought he might have put together that I hadn’t taken a shower, but to outright insult me like that on top of everything was too much, and I made him leave.

I felt guilty for doing it, because the guy has Asbherger’s, and while that isn’t a free pass to be a dick to me, he honestly just looked so SCARED when I told him to get out, and shocked and confused, and I realized that maybe he hadn’t intended to be as rude as he was, and I felt awful at the idea that I might have made him feel unsafe. We spoke about it and I apologized, as did he, but the whole experience is still upsetting for me, mostly because I feel so terrible for even possibly making him feel unsafe. I was angry at him and cussed at him, but I didn’t want him to think I was going to HURT him. I just told him he had been incredibly rude and was being a bitch to me.

After all of this had happened, Gay Pride weekend started in Charlotte. I wanted to go but I kind of chickened out. I never went to the parade or the official celebration, but I did go to a gay bar. It’s a small bar that caters more toward bears and a wider range of guys than our local gay club, and has a better atmosphere. I felt a little out of place there, as the majority of men were large hairy guys in harnesses and kilts, or wrestling singlets. I mostly sat by the pool tables and played on my phone, ignoring the crowds. At one point I start to walk around outside, where people were moving in a line to get through the crowds, and I saw one guy who stood out from the others, but only from behind: he was a short guy with somewhat pale skin, wearing nothing but rainbow briefs and a harness, with blue glitter all over his body and in his hair. At one point he turned around and I saw his face and realized it was actually the guy from earlier in the week who had ghosted me after I had started to kind of fall for him.

I called out his name and said hello to him. He was very nice and easy to talk to. He told me he’s in a weird place right now and didn’t know what to say, and I told him that if he didn’t want me to talk to him it was okay, just to let me know, and he told me I hadn’t done anything wrong. But later on, after I tried to message him… once again, nothing. No response. Ghosted me again. I was feeling pretty down after the whole experience so I went home. I wasn’t fitting at the gay bar and generally just preferred to be at home with my video games and my library of Kate Bush music.

I got a message from a friend who I’ve spoken to online but never met in person that he was drunk and needed me to pick him up. I’d told him earlier on that I was willing to come get him if he needed anything, so I absolutely didn’t mind doing it. I brought him back to my house and we got in bed, started to snuggle, and one thing led to another and we ended up having sex. This was actually a very special experience for me, because the guy in question is transgender and I’ve never been with a trans guy before. As far as having sex with someone with a vagina, I’ve done that once, a very long time ago, with a girl I worked with, and it wasn’t a very enjoyable experience. I didn’t get to do a lot of the things I wanted to try, we had very little chemistry, and the whole thing was over quickly.

So this was really my first time being with someone who doesn’t have a penis, and there was so much I wanted to do and experiment with, and I was finally able to. I tasted and touched things I hadn’t before, and I felt new sensations. I felt like a virgin again. We fucked twice, kissing each time, holding each other close. I woke up in the middle of the night to us already making out, and he climbed on top of me and we fucked again.

In the morning, I tried to reach between his legs and he pulled away. Later on I asked if I could kiss him and he said “I’m good.” We had a good time going out to breakfast, and then I took him home. He didn’t ghost me afterward, but I’ve realized that most likely what we did only happened because he was feeling very uninhibited and excited. He assured me the night we did it that I wasn’t taking advantage of him, as even though he was feeling tipsy, he was still in control of himself, which was why he’d asked me to come and get him in the first place, because he’d been with a guy who was coming on to him too hard and wanted to get away from the situation but couldn’t drive himself.

But I realized that what we did probably didn’t mean very much to him. For me it was special, it was my first time with a trans guy, it was a new experience that I’ve wanted to have for a long time, and it was beautiful. But for him… well, it probably wasn’t that important. And that’s okay, but after everything that’s happened, I just wish it hadn’t have ended that way. I don’t mean that we should have become boyfriends or anything, but getting rejected by him right after we’d had such chemistry hurt.

The next night, I was laying in bed when a guy on Grindr told me he was homeless, his boyfriend had dropped him off earlier in the day and never come back. I knew it was a dangerous idea to invite him over to my house, but I wanted to help, so I picked him up and took him to McDonalds, then to the gas station to get him some water and snacks to take with him. The next day he found somewhere to go, an ex of his came and picked him up. This story doesn’t actually end with sex or rejection or anything, but it was an odd experience to happen in an already eventful week.

And then we reach today. Yet another guy from Grindr (I’m starting to see a pattern here…) asked me to hang out. We’d spoken before. He’s polyamorous and married, and we’ve exchanged photos and generally been sexual with one another. So he invited me over to watch a movie and have dinner. He ordered pizza and he gave me alcohol. We actually spoke for about an hour beforehand and we were getting along well, he seemed like an interesting guy and we had things in common. But about fifteen minutes after we’d eaten and we were just starting the movie, he stood up and started walking around his house, and when I followed him to ask if everything was alright, he told me he needed to get started on homework. I was a little confused that he would ask me to leave right after giving me alcohol, as in addition to being strange and sending me mixed signals, it was also an irresponsible and potentially dangerous thing to do to me. I hadn’t actually come on to him apart from earlier when we sat on the couch and I gave his back a quick scratch and asked if he’d like come and cuddle with me while he watched the movie, to which he said no and just kept his face turned away from me.

After I left, feeling utterly hurt and disappointed, he told me that he was uncomfortable because he could smell something weird in his house that smelled like a combination of cat poop and body odor. I hadn’t noticed it, but his house did smell like cats in general because they’re fostering a bunch of kittens, and it hadn’t bothered me. But he also made a comment that made me feel even more hurt, he said he couldn’t tell if the smell was “Your feet, my work clothes, or cat shit under the carpet.” Wait did you just imply that my feet stank too? That’s the second time this week someone’s made a weirdly disparaging comment about how I smell! I literally had just taken a shower, what the hell?

And now here I am at home, genuinely starting to wonder if I can trust people. I told this guy about my experience earlier in the week being ghosted, and then told him that if he wanted me to just leave him alone all he had to do was tell me. I couldn’t have possibly made it any easier for him, but he continued to be evasive and not tell me the whole story, because his behavior was still incredibly strange and I don’t think I understand it completely.

I know what some of you are thinking: stop going on Grindr. It’s probably good advice. But the thing is, dating apps are the ONLY way to meet people, especially if you live in the South and there isn’t a very accessible gay community. I don’t have much choice when it comes to meeting other guys, and after deciding recently that I might even be open the idea of finding a partner, or someone who might become a partner, I can’t very well just delete all ways of doing that from phone.

I don’t know. Right now I feel crappy, and I feel unwanted, and I feel lonely. Like always.

 

Currently listening to…

Lily
Kate Bush
Before The Dawn

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My Wicked Little Heart

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A whisper is inside me
Begging to slip out
I’m afraid to say it
These sweet words hiding in my mouth
Where your tongue slipped in

 

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I only know how to be alone
But I’m hoping that you’ll teach me
How do I ask you
To make a new heart for me
Replace the old one that was taken
And if we’re meant to touch
I’ll be Jonathan, you be David

 

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And my wicked little heart is trembling in your hands
You climbed into my chest and found it beating
And if you want to keep me all you have to do is ask

Friend

Suicide is tempting because peace is tempting. There are moments where you feel you would give absolutely anything not to feel so much pain and fear anymore. To just be at peace. To finally go to sleep and rest. Some days it’s hard to resist that temptation.

I’m trying. I’m trying to stay alive because I believe there is more for me to do here, and that I will find hope one day. But some days it’s very hard. It’s hard not to welcome death a kind friend and go to sleep.

Hope: A Welcome To Night Vale Fan Episode

If you haven’t heard of Welcome to Night Vale, it’s a podcast that tells the story of a creepy desert town where Lovecraftian horrors exist alongside everyday people, and the madness that ensues. It’s normally told through radio broadcasts, narrated by the voice of Night Vale, radio presenter Cecil Palmer. While listening to several episodes, I was really amused by a lot of the humour, and just started writing down some notes for jokes of my own that I thought would fit into an episode, and before I knew it I had a brief little fan episode written out. So I thought I’d share it with you. Enjoy!


Roses are red. Violets are red. Red is everywhere. Everything is red and there is no going back.

Welcome to Night Vale.

Good mourning Night Vale. Good morning to you, and to all the other mourners in the procession of mourning. Mourning is a good thing. Only through mourning can we heal and grow and find the strength to live.

City council has announced that the ancient temple on the outskirts of town, hidden deep and unreachable within a cluster of trees whose oaken trunks are older perhaps than time itself, will be demolished to make way for a parking lot. The parking lot will not be attached to any businesses or attractions, and will also be unreachable. As always, any attempts to park cars in a parking lot will remain illegal.

Wednesday is currently lost. Because of this absence of a day of the week, a time vortex has opened in the town square, which threatens to engulf the entire town. The sheriff’s secret police have promised a reward for the safe return of Wednesday, or any information leading to the recapture of Wednesday. Remember that if you find Wednesday, it is be to returned to the sheriff’s secret police alive, or else you will be unable to claim the bounty, and the time vortex will consume us all.

The body shop is offering a two for one sale for a limited time. Any body you purchase will come with a second body of equal or lesser value.

The Night Vale PTA bake sale has raised just a hair over $300. Really. The bake sale brought in $300 and a long stand of hair. Dark hair. Hair that looks suspiciously like the dark hair of that girl you met in college. You know the one. You shared an intimate night together and forgot to get one another’s names, and the next day you saw her on the front page of the school paper, momentarily excited to learn her name before you realized that the story was about an annual memorial for a girl who had been hit by a bus years before, and who you discovered had in fact lived in your very dorm room.

The bake sale continue tomorrow, but city council would like to remind you that there will be metal detectors. Anyone found to contain traces of common bodily metals will be detained indefinitely.

Listeners, I don’t often talk about the details of my personal life, being a radio professional and all, but since Carlos vanished into a desert otherworld, he’s only been able to communicate by occasional phone calls, or by drips of strange blue liquid, leaking from my ceiling, landing on the kitchen floor in rhythmic drops resembling Morse code. And frankly, I’m feeling a bit down about the whole thing. With Valentine’s day just around the corner, I know that many listeners will be feeling lonely as well. After all, Valentine’s day can be difficult for those of us with significant others, as we are required each Valentine’s day to sacrifice whoever or whatever it is we love most in the world to the creature in Grove Park, only to have them returned to us the next day, changed in unspeakable ways. But this year I won’t be able to make my offering, because the person about whom I care most is currently trapped in a desert otherworld.

I crawl into bed at night, look over to my nightstand where, amongst my collection of antique doll heads and bone-hewn knives from the Before Times, sits the stethoscope that Carlos gave me on our anniversary. I myself don’t quite understand how to use a stethoscope, after all who has the time to bother learning how to properly throw stones at passing birds with a stethoscope, as is customary in science, but I always enjoy listening to Carlos explain it to me. Sometimes it’s nice just to hear his silky voice, even if I don’t understand what he’s saying. Carlos, if you’re listening to this broadcast, know that I miss you, and I eagerly await your next coded message, dropping in blue rivulets into an undulating quivering mass on the kitchen floor.

The absence of Carlos has caused me to spend a lot of time thinking about hope, dear listeners. Hope is a fickle thing. When it is absent, we despair and long for its presence, lamenting that we’ve lost something we didn’t at first realize we had. And then, over time, we find that we had hope after all, only it was a tiny hope, a little flame that burned in our chests, growing larger and larger, photosynthesizing the sunlight of our thoughts and pumping out the will to continue. When we wake up one morning to discover we have hope, it can be alarming. After all, after you’ve lived so long without any hope at all, how are you to deal with finally having it?

Being able to see a light at the end of a tunnel is, in its own way, more difficult than giving up, and accepting the endless darkness of the tunnel. But hope is a responsibility, a responsibility to ourselves. It is a gift we are given by that little flame within us, which always burns, no matter how small it becomes, and we must hold hope, burning and sometimes singing our weary fingers, and carry it with us. It can sometimes be a burden, in the vast vast darkness, it can illuminate our path, while we wait for the sun to rise. The night is long, listeners, and hope may sting our hands, but still we hold the flame aloft, and let it guide us through safer paths, to shelter, to safety. When the morning comes it begins with a chill, and then as the dew settles in on the wet grass beneath us, we see the sun reaching its bright tentacles up over the distant mountains. And we have morning.

Morning is how we heal, how we grow, how we find the stength to live.

Be safe. Keep hope alive, even when it stings.

And good night, Night Vale.

Good night.