I started therapy this week. For the longest time, I thought that I could write my way out of my problems. I’m not so sure anymore.
My friend Muscle Mary asked me in amazement, you mean you’ve never been to a therapist before?
Girl, he said, get ready to discuss some deep, emotional issues. And you’ve definitely got issues.
We’ve only had one session so far, but I told my therapist that I want to live in the moment more. He asked me to describe some of the moments in my life when I feel like I’m in the moment. I thought about it for a few seconds. And then I told him I feel really in the moment at live music concerts. I told him I hate being at concerts where I am surrounded by girls because they need so much attention. I told him I feel in the moment when I get stoned with Reuben and then go out for Shabu Shabu dinner. He would grill and I would boil and we’d eat. Occasionally we’d talk but it always ends up Reuben doing the talking while I ate and then he’d say, stop getting me to entertain you while you eat. So mostly we would concentrate on eating. It’s like the most comfortable silence — I know that he’s really enjoying himself and I’m really enjoying myself. That’s when I feel really in the moment.
After I left my therapist I went to my favorite coffee shop to write. I had barely gotten my laptop out of my backpack before a guy sat down next to me. I’ve seen him at the coffee shop many times before. The last time I overheard him talking about a short story he was working on. A-ha! A fellow writer! As he sat down I introduced myself.
We started talking, writer to writer.
He wasn’t at all pretentious. I was excited to meet another writer, especially another gay writer. We just clicked. It was so easy to talk to him about narrative styles and debate the value of an MFA. It’s refreshing because I haven’t exactly been wowed by the writers I’ve met. With the exceptions here and there, they tend to be insecure and write badly. I haven’t read his stuff yet but I hope this guy doesn’t write badly.
I once attended a gay writer’s group and it was a most disheartening experience.
One of the guys who read that night wrote about going to Cuba where he hooked up with the hottest guy in his life. Except it wasn’t just a hookup to him. I could tell because of the details he chose to include. Like how nervous and surprised he was when the guy brought him home to introduce to his mother. How it made him hopeful.
You don’t bring a one night stand home to meet your mom.
As he read more, I found myself drawn to the simple earnestness of his story. The story didn’t come across like he was bragging. It came across kind of like the way he came across in real life: shy, good natured – the classic but he’s beautiful on the inside! Here he was, an average looking guy. The hot Cuban guy probably would not have looked at him twice here in the States. But being an American in Cuba carries a sexual currency. Because, you know, Cuba is relatively poor. It was one of those connections possible only because of the location.
One of the old and fat white guys in the group commented on this unspoken sentiment right away.
Oh yeah, in Cuba they love Americans.
It was the way he said it. Like he’s had many experiences going to poor countries where his fat white ass was worshipped on a pedestal. The words sounded dirty coming out of this guy’s mouth. Cheap. They sounded dirty in a way that the guy writing about his hot Cuban boyfriend could never have intended.
That was what made Mr. Average’s story all the more appealing. He wasn’t an American in search of vanity in an economically depressed Cuba. He was a person searching for a connection in this rather cruel and indifferent world.
Speaking of the sex, Mr. Average never got around to writing it. I felt cheated. He did the hardest part already – he had me invested in the story. I was rooting for the narrator. Why not go all the way? Why close the bedroom door on us after leading us up the stairs?
But what about what happened after? I blurted out to him. What about the SEX?
The group, however, was indifferent to hearing more. They were perfunctory in their feedback. Dismissive, even. They just weren’t interested in the sex life of someone they deemed not popular enough in real life. Classic Revenge of the Nerds writers behavior.
But what really irked the writer in me was when some of them advised Mr. Average to stay away from writing about sex because that’s a difficult task.
Now, whether or not Mr. Average ever decided to write about the sex is his prerogative. Perhaps not everyone can write about sex. Maybe Mr. Average is as shy, and hesitant, and unassertive, in his writing as he is in real life. Maybe he thought, who am I to write about my sex life when no one in this room finds me attractive. Maybe he lacked the balls.
Here’s how I would advise him on growing a pair. For starters, I would tell him, as a writer to a writer, to never back off on a subject because someone else deemed it too difficult for you. That’s the definition of writing without balls. Words, Mr. Average, are public domain. Tell your story. When it comes to capturing the joys of sex, words are not limited to only good looking people, or people who write in opaque poetry that sucks all the excitement and grittiness out of sex. It is NOT “too difficult to write about.” Just write about what happened.
Dirty sex is hot sex.
Writing is like cooking that way. Everyone has access to the same ingredients: flour and water, words and punctuation marks. The only thing that counts at the end of the day is how you use the material available to you.
I would have wanted to hear what he saw in the eyes of the Cuban guy when he kneeled before him. A friend of mine once said, when we fall in love with a person, we’re really falling in love with the way we see ourselves through their eyes. And wouldn’t you agree there’s nothing quite like looking into the eyes of someone when they have you in his mouth?
What do you think Mr. Unattractive saw when he looked at himself in the eyes of the hot Cuban?
Hope for a better life, perhaps?
All sorts of thoughts and feelings are electrified when the eyes connect during oral sex. Sometimes when I look down at a guy kneeling in front of me searing images of fried chicken flash before me. But it doesn’t make the intensity of that moment, that intense moment of physical connection, any less real.
It just means I’m stoned.
And, speaking of weed… maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but this new gay writer friend of mine — this guy I just met in the coffee shop — he offered me a pot cookie after we talked.
I feel like it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.