Tag Archives: A Love Story

An Orchid Kind of Love

It was so easy in the beginning
When you didn’t feel like running from your feelings like you are now
What happened? What do I remind you of?
Your past, your dreams
Or some part of yourself that you just can’t love?
Madonna – Waiting

Orchid

I finally had the moment of silence I was craving all weekend.

Surrounded by evergreens and vegetation, I found the peace that evaded me on this trip in New England. A wedding invitation prompted me to reach out again and here I was visiting him for the first time. Only things were different…much different.

We were fighting about everything; breakfast, leaving hickeys in the wrong places, going to the gayborhood…it was never this bad when he came to visit me in New York. It was like I was dealing with a different person.

And for the first time I realized I represented White gay values in his life, which was a mindfuck in itself. Men of color often talk about having to “choose” between their culture and their sexuality, but how that plays out in lived experience is so nuanced and heavy.

Nothing screams “I get fucked in the butt” like bringing a 6’1” Black man to a Pacific Islander barbeque.

And I felt terrible: I could see the conflicting messages in his brothers’ minds. The wheels were turning at fever pace, it was a lot to process…even for me. They could sense the love and affection, but instinctually wanted to defend their brother’s masculinity honor. What do you say do when someone says, “You guys make a cute couple,” then follows it up with a homophobic butt sex joke? Thank God the microaggressions from the White people at work allowed me to perfect my John Cage smile.

Did I mention there were hickeys in visible places? ::sigh::

Despite all the craziness, I was having a good time. It was nice to meet everyone I heard so much about the last two years. I also got to see this family garden he was so proud of. We managed to slip out of the barbeque for a minute to pick up some plants. It was a tall order; the garden was a nice size plot and he was trying to coordinate color, seasonality and upkeep. He didn’t find what he wanted at the outdoor nursery so we made our way to Lowe’s. While he chatted up an employee I found myself in the exotic plants section.

“Why don’t you get one of these!”

“Orchids are stupid,” he shot back. “They’re so fussy and take too much time and energy to keep alive.”

I didn’t have the courage to tell him orchids were my favorite flowers.

We ran back to the barbeque for a minute to drop off the goods, but it was time for me to say goodbye. On the way to the bus station, we were fighting again about nothing. He stopped yelling for a minute as he realized I would soon be gone.

“So what did you think? Was everyone nice to you?”

“You have a beautiful family. I would choose them over a relationship too.”

Two years of this and he was rarely speechless. I think he knew there was no sarcasm laced in the statement and didn’t know how to react.

On the bus ride back to New York, I realized there was prior botany foreshadowing that I missed. The first time he came to my new apartment I sent him out for breakfast and he came back with a gift.

“What is that?”
“It’s a Desert Plant. You need something living in this place.”

It was meager and sorry looking. He could tell I wasn’t impressed and tried to sell it some more.

“You know how most people kill their plants? They overwater them.”

While the statement is true, I would still advocate for the orchid. It needs the right light, is very sensitive to temperature, etc. But I like the challenge of nurturing it. The payoff is worth it, they’re absolutely beautiful, especially the purple varieties (my favorite color).

It was in that moment on the bus I realized we were fighting for two very different types of love. He preferred the kind with low responsibility, low upkeep (emotional and otherwise). Like an oasis in the desert, he knew how to find me when he needed dick to get away and could then return to his journey.

Me, I want an orchid kind of love; a relationship where my partner would be sensitive to my needs and make sacrifices knowing we would eventually blossom together and create something beautiful. Historically the orchid has been a symbol of love, luxury and beauty. Adapting for millions of years, it continues to thrive today.

I still believe in love. The resilient kind that takes hard work in service of something bigger.

And deep down, I still believe I will find it.

Keep On Going

rip love.jpg

 

I needed answers. So I decided to go back to the beginning. Back to where it all began.

The profile read:

Good looking, masculine bottom looking for tops who know what they’re doing. Men of color especially. You will not be disappointed.

The headline read:

Good sex, NO strings attached.

He opened his pics, as requested. I didn’t expect him to be so cute.
“Sexy. What you looking to get into?”

“In town for a few days. Looking for a good fuck bro.”

If I told you I loved you, would it make any difference?
If you told me or if I believed you?
Duplicity

I made my list and it was more unanswered questions than pro/con:

If you knew you weren’t ready for a relationship, why did we do this?
I don’t want to date you on your terms.
If you want to be friends with someone, don’t date them.
I can understand seeing relationships as structurally unsafe, but at least I was willing to have the conversation.
There’s never a good time.

What’s love got to do with it?
At the end of the day: nothing. Ultimately I let my ego get in the way. As with the situation with my friends, I had no one to blame but myself.

Funny enough, there was some foreshadowing I didn’t even realize until the other day. I had completely disregarded this year’s Rules of Engagement as predicted. Sex does change everything. The best relationships last because the individuals put the unit above themselves.

You should however, make sure there’s a relationship before you handle yourself in that fashion. 🙂

We spoke. Actually it was more like awkward silence with a few statements in between.

“I don’t think this is gonna work out, but whatever we have…this thing between us, you know it’s bigger than us right?”

It’s hard to end things when you feel such a visceral connection to a person…when you can look into the sky and communicate. But love is not a spectator sport. The most important thing you can give someone is a chance and that was the one thing I didn’t have.

You’ve been telling me you don’t want a relationship every day for weeks now and I’ve been ignoring you…’cause you’re different from any man I’ve ever known. So that’s my fault, I should’ve walked away a long time ago. I can blame you for many things, but a lack of clarity is not one of them.
Grey’s Anatomy – Love, Loss and Legacy (adapted)

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Iyanla said on one of the Lifeclass webcasts all emotions can be reduced to either love or fear. That kind of makes sense to me.

All the anger, all the sadness. It’s all fear. Fear I’ll end up alone. Or worse, I’ll have to reduce my standards. I saw an opportunity, took a year to execute a plan but there was still push-back. But that’s life, and I’m grateful for the lesson(s).

The struggle continues.

I love you. But right now, I’m done with you.
Private Practice – …To Change the Things I Can

Wishful Thinking

I realize that I’m asking you for everything, but I feel like if I don’t ask for what I want then what’s the point?
Private Practice – What We Have Here…

I asked him to be my boyfriend.
He said he didn’t want one.

I suppose in hindsight I could’ve seen this coming. But truth is, this wasn’t about “having a boyfriend.”

A lot’s happened in the last year. I got a promotion/raise at work (in this economy!), I found my dream apartment…I was willing my life to where I’ve been trying to go for the last decade and it felt amazing. Why couldn’t my love life be next?

And I was so confident about this one. I did my astrological homework, anticipated as many problems as I could and was prepared with solutions. But it eventually became clear I was the only one working on this relationship. As they used to say on Passions, secrets always come out in the end.

I think maybe when people say they need more time it means they’re not committed. And that doesn’t really work for me any more. So I need to know: are you in or are you out?
Private Practice – A Step Too Far

wishfulthinking.jpg

If you’ve been taking Oprah’s Lifeclass you know the very important lesson I was ignoring: When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them. My list wasn’t as dramatic as the one above, but close enough that it was clear I wasn’t operating in reality.

Funny this is, when I published that post, my phone immediately blew up. Who is this guy? What’s so special about him? What the hell happened at that conference? My friends, some of whom I’ve known for years had never “seen” that side of me. They wanted to know everything.

And I don’t regret writing that piece. It’s me at my best, my most optimistic and my most vulnerable.

It’s also the Tony that gets chewed up and spit out every time he comes out to play.

As Oprah said in tonight’s Lifeclass, I didn’t see what was going on because I didn’t want to see it. But when I allowed myself to take the whole thing in and see what was right in front of me the entire time, I had to finally take responsibility.

Responsibility not only for the energy I was bringing into the relationship, but the energy I was allowing him to bring into my space.

Ambivalence and mixed messages had sucked up a year of my life. It was time I finally did something about it.

Final Hour

If you’re going to break up with someone you need to tell them face to face and you need to tell them why. You need to give them closure. I think the worse thing you could ever do to someone is not give them closure.
Joey Diamond – Breakups

I met a man once. Brown skin, a naughty smile that lit up a room. There was an instant connection. He was only in town for a few weeks, but I used what time I had to get to know him. On his final night, we were supposed to have a going away dinner. I called to confirm:

“I’m kind of ambivalent to dinner.”
There was a good thirty seconds of awkward silence.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what that means.”

In my head I was thinking “Be excited for dinner. Say I don’t want to do this. Just have a reaction! Ambivalent? What the fuck does that mean?”

After all, we had spent considerable time together, the least we could do was have a last supper; even if he didn’t think this was worth pursuing once he left town. Needless to say we didn’t have dinner that night.

bscott wishful thinking.jpg

As you can see, I don’t go through the five stages of grief evenly. It’s usually very little denial, a period of sadness and anger. Lots of anger.

The worse thing you can feel in a relationship is disrespected. A year later, that’s exactly how I felt.

You know what the final straw was? I went to mail his birthday card and realized I didn’t have his home address; only his work. I kind of had a core meltdown. What kind of a man will let you into his body, but won’t tell you where he lives?

Actually, tons of people. People not looking for anything serious. I had answered my own question.

And there it was; the brutally honest truth right before my eyes.

Reflecting on both cases, I think the worse part is the unrealized potential. It’s not like I don’t meet great guys, I meet great guys all the time. But the timing is never right.

They’re either trying to restart their careers.
Or fending off family trying to arrange their marriage (to a woman!).
Or they’ve just been alone for so long that’s what feels safe.

And I get it, I was operating from a deficit once too. But can someone throw me a bone here? I just feel like people don’t even put in effort these days.

Especially when it comes to interracial dating. The differences that initially intrigues you becomes the “reasons” why that person can’t be fully integrated into your life. When you pit potential partner against culture, family and community win most of the time.

At some point you have to swallow your pride and realize you wanted it more than he did.

Emotional Rollercoaster

Denial
He really is a busy man. He’ll make time…eventually.

Bargaining
I don’t bargain, lol. That question about moving cities was to incite conversation/understanding.

And I’m not going to apologize for liking dinner sans eyeballs.

Depression

Why are you so worried about cumming?

pathetic.jpg

Anger
Those really are my friends, I didn’t hire them. Don’t get frustrated with me because it felt so right.

Just because I don’t “know” Captain Cockblock doesn’t mean I’m wrong about the situation.

You spend all your time helping others because you don’t want to deal with your own shit.

Honestly, the sex could’ve been better. Dirtier? I take full responsibility for that. I’ve internalized this gay Madonna-whore thing which clearly became an obstacle. How ’bout next conference we just get a bunch of black guys with big dicks and we can have a good old fashioned gangbang; cause that’s what we’re good for right? You’d probably be a lot happier. And I’d probably be more comfortable.

I didn’t want you to call anymore because every time I hear your voice all I think is “YOU LIE.” (whether to yourself or to me)

You don’t deserve me.

Acceptance
Different man, same selfish kind of love.

In the end, you’re breaking your own heart.

What is Love?

Cockblock Kitty.jpg

The name of the show is “Perception” and we’re all a part of the cast. Do you know your lines?
Gary – Because It’s Time 4 One

“OMG, he’s in love with you!”

He started to get agitated. I could tell by the look on his face he regretted it even came up in conversation.

“Don’t make assumptions. You don’t even know him.”

I just found out the man I was courting had a cuddle buddy. At our first meal out no less! But this wasn’t just some random person; it was his “best friend.”

This wasn’t the first time I encountered this misleading label phenomenon with a gay-identified man. When I moved to San Francisco and was getting to know The Puerto Rican in the program we would talk about the East Coast and the people in our lives. His “best friend” was the first person he mentioned and after weeks of long conversations it was clear to me he had deeper feelings for this man besides friendship.

Back at dinner, I wasn’t threatened, not even upset; just confused. I was assured nothing sexual ever went on between the two of them, but it still didn’t make any sense to me. If you were sharing your bed with this man, having physical intimacy every night, how was anyone new (read: me) supposed to enter the picture?

It’s like when you see a ten year old in a stroller.
Or when a thirty year old still lives with his parents.

There could be a perfectly good explanation for both scenarios, but it just looks bad.

I know tons of gay identified men with unnecessarily complicated relationships like this. I call this kind of friend Captain Cockblock. Like any good Captain, his job is to steer the ship (the man in the middle) in the direction he sees fit. Taking this analogy farther, if you represent land (a new frontier if you will) Captain Cockblock will do anything he can to keep the ship away from you. Because once the ship reaches land, his journey is over.

Beware, as he has many tools in his arsenal:

Captain Cockblock is that bastard who’s listed as “In a Relationship” with your future husband even though they’re “just friends.”

Captain Cockblock “was here first.” They have “history.”

Captain Cockblock will smear your name like it’s a presidential campaign.

Captain Cockblock keeps a record of all your transgressions and waits until the perfect moment to remind your future husband what a “horrible person” you are.

Captain Cockblock keeps feeding everyone drinks so he can better control the situation.

Captain Cockblock is always available, especially when you aren’t.

Captain Cockblock practices his helpless puppy dog face in the mirror every night before he goes to bed.

These kinds of relationships have larger implication as well. If a large chunk of gay identified men have these splintered/compartmentalized relationships, what does a successful relationship look like? If you’re cuddling with your “best friend” what is reserved for your “boyfriend/partner?”

I’ve been doing this kind of work for about ten years now. I’ve seen it all, heard it all. I don’t expect there to be one relationship template that works for everyone. But was the traditional monogamous relationship within grasp?

Having a map is essential to getting to your destination. So I ask you:

What is love?

“People like you ya know…but I found you first.”
Single White Female