Monday, January 18, 2010

A Single Man

I just finished watching A Single Man with Alexa, and I can't help but think about how a story set a few decades ago can still be so relevant and important today. But I'm not here to talk about the social ramifications of gay marriage and the ideals we as gay men try to subscribe to because they are "normal" to a world that does not see us as "normal." No, I'm here to talk about myself, which frankly, is what I do best.

I want to begin this post by making sure that anyone reading it understands that this is not a plea for compliments or for friends to tell me to "hang in there" and that "once you stop looking, that's when you'll find him," because that's the last thing in the world that I want to hear. Thanks in advance. You see the thing is, I can't really put my finger on why exactly it is that I am single. And have been, with very little in the way of opportunity, for over four years. And sure, I've had a couple of false starts along the way, and I admit that maybe once or twice I chose not to pursue someone that may have worked out, but four years is a long time dammit! So what is wrong with me?

I used to be pretty busy: working full time at a bank was a 6-day a week job, and bar-tending on the weekends on top of that. Oh and then there was school, which also took a lot of time. These are things that I did to better myself, mentally and financially, and I acquired a lot of the things that I wanted, save for that one thing that eludes me... a freakin' date on a Friday night. I put work and school above a lot of things, and I even think that those choices were part of the reason my first and only major relationship ended the way that it did. But at the end of the day, these were good decisions, right? I have succeeded in the banking world, attained a college degree, and managed to do it without sacrificing too much of my "life". So a successful career and an education can't be the relationship-killer that they seemingly are, so maybe there is something else.

Circuit parties. That has to be it! I go to 2 - 4 circuit parties a year, with friends from all over the country. I have met people from 10 countries, and experienced music the way it should be: on a dance floor with 10,000 sweaty guys having a great time. Surely there's no way anyone that goes to these sinful events can have a relationship, or expect one to come of them. The only problem with this thought is that I go to these parties with, mostly, couples! Some of them are the happiest couples I know - I won't bore you with their names, but they know who they are. These are relationships that I hope to someday be able to model my own after. Loving relationships, comfortable with each other, respectful, fun, focused on success, friendship, enjoying themselves and everything they do. Fun though it is for me to go, frankly, I wonder where I'm going wrong here. Where is my handsome, tall, white, muscley professional that wants to go dance and be silly on a cruise boat with 3,500 new friends? I'm not asking for the world here - just a companion. And maybe, for once, I don't want it to be someone ELSE'S companion (if ya know what I mean).

My friends are very important - maybe to a fault. Recently I experienced the loss of a great friend, because he chose to focus on a relationship. I have never, and could never, make that decision. My friends are my everything, and I cannot imagine trying to put the pressure of everything that these people give me on the back of one man. It wouldn't be fair to him. Cause frankly, I'm sure some would agree, I'm a bit of a handful. Without the Five Easy Friendships (Becky, Todd, Aaron, Mikey, Alexa), I wouldn't be able to recognize myself in the mirror when I think I start to lose myself, and without the other major friendships in my life, I wouldn't even know if I was lost. I've seen so many times when the decision has to be made, "bros" or"hos"... and I feel that the right decision depends on what's most important to the man making it. I feel that throughout my relationship, I was able to adequately balance my relationship time and my friend time... and none of my friends can say that I chose my man over them. Hopefully he would agree that I never chose them over him, either. Can it work though? Can I find someone that can put up with me, be all mine, but that can handle my wanting to go to a movie with Kyle and not with him? More so, I wonder if I can I handle it if HE wants to go to a bar without me?

"Love is a many splendored thing love, lifts us up where we belong - all you need is love" sings Christian to Satine in Moulin Rouge. I wonder sometimes. If I am good at my job, am loved by family and friends around the world, if I'm healthy, relatively happy more often than not, and am able to dream and make those dreams into reality, why do I even need a man? Do I need love and with it, the heartbreak that comes when that love isn't there anymore. I remember when I realized, really realized, that my relationship was over how incredible the pain in my chest was. It was unreal - I told Jon Amico, "It really hurts in my heart, like my actual heart is breaking." I meant it too, so why think about wanting to go through it all over again? There are so many times I think I am so lucky I don't have a boyfriend - like when one wants to go home from a party and the other doesn't, or when I meet a handsome stranger on the street and get all the fun feelings of what might be, or right now when I am going to go to Chipotle for the 3rd time in 7 days and I don't have to answer to ANYONE. I am impatient, stubborn, and I get bored easily, I think. I look around too much when I talk to someone, and I don't really like PDA. There are times that I think I'm Samantha, but deep down I know I am just Miranda: stubborn, sarcastic, smart and friend-focused... and looking for one person to love.

Maybe in the new year, with so many changes coming, and with so many looming decisions to be made, I can take a look at some of these qualities and make myself either 1) a happy single man or 2) a man that can be someone else's one person to love. Either way this state of grey blah-ness can't continue for much longer, for I fear, as the ridiculous Carrie Bradshaw once thought, that I am becoming cynical about this love stuff. And the last thing I want to be is bitter.

Well, more bitter.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010: A Fresh Start and the Beginning of the End

I made the decision last year that this year I will be leaving my home of Columbus, Ohio. Ask anyone, especially Kyle Kline, that I have made this decision every year for approximately 7 or 8 of the last 9 years I have lived here. The reason was always wrong, and the timing was never right, but I have done everything that I set out to do when I moved here in 2000: I graduated college, I marched in a world class color guard, I made amazing friends, began a career, bought a home, and so far, 3 cars. The American Dream, eh? The place was always supposed to be Chicago, and hell, I'm there every chance I get, and I have an amazing family in Mikey, Brandon and Jeff, Nathan, even Zach and Kyle from my Cavaliers days... but something tells me that it should remain the place that I love to visit, just for a little while longer.

So, what can possibly be better than Chicago as a new place to call home, when you're me and looking for something bigger and better? LA and NYC, of course. I am not an LA boy - no matter that I would have good friends in Tony and Bryan for sure, and nearby old friends like Tyler and Fernando. No, I hear the call of the big city, and with it all the crazy things that I have to plan on to get there. I've told a few of you, not that I need any encouragement, but this last trip I took was an incredible eye-opener. Aside from the great time with great friends like Aaron and Tom, new friends like Chris and Lee and AJ and Corey and Adam, my favorite part of the trip was the 30 blocks I walked alone with my earbuds in on a Sunday evening. Sure it was a holiday weekend and sure, it's New York so there's going to be so many thousands of people everywhere - but damn, it was exhilarating, powerful, and a great reminder of the work I have to do to get to where I want to go.

My 10 year anniversary of being an Ohioan will be in September, and if all goes according to plan (which so rarely happens in my life) I will be sending everyone a "change of address" text with a New York City joke of some sort. I feel like I should be more sad to leave, but I think the reason I am not is because of the incredible network of friendships that I have built while I have been based in Columbus. Most incredible of all being that so few of those major friendships are in Columbus at all: Dallas holds Robby, Jeff, Hugh, Kellen, and Justin Carrier - who came into my life purely because he thought I was cute and is a touchstone of my existence. Don and Eric and Judi B and Tracy who I have traveled with following music, laughs, and will continue to do so, even if I won't be taking Southwest with them. I have made friends, true friends, all over the country and through different channels and can't wait to see what the future, 2010 and beyond holds for us.

One thing I know, is that this will be my last year in Columbus, Ohio. I'll miss the bar, which has been so central to my life here. I'll miss my friends, and I'll miss my jobs, which, though mostly through my own talent and drive, I have been fortunate to get through connections, friends, associates, and even the occasional drag queen. I hope that in the city of 8 million people I find an Alexa, who shares my brain and makes every day at my job more bearable, or less awful, and I hope I find someone who recognizes that I am the most hard-working person they will ever hire, as I have been so fortunate to find here. I'll miss knowing everyone, and I'll miss being known. I will also cherish having some anonymity and will thoroughly appreciate the difficulties I will endure in creating a family like I have made for myself here. Steven, Josh... irreplaceable. The thing is, that I know all of you know, that it's time for me to go - there isn't anything else I want here in Columbus, except the one thing that continues to elude me, so I may as well go looking for all those OTHER things all over again, while experiencing the center of the universe. There's a New York Magazine-style approval matrix in here somewhere, right Ryan?

Over the next few months, as I work my ass off to make this new dream come true, I want to do a little bit of writing and make sure that I don't forget anything - things are going to be so different after I leave, I know there's going to be a million things that I will want to remember and hold on to from here. I want to make sure that I am not leaving behind a life, rather taking that life with me toward my new one - with new hopes and dreams and adventures.

And that you'll be there with me.