break-ups

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

I ran my first race today. A five-miler in Central Park. It was for charity, to benefit brain cancer research. (Don’t worry. I have not nor has anyone in my family been diagnosed with brain cancer or anything else since we broke up. I just wanted to run a race, I didn’t have any particular affinity to the charity. Though it is a good cause. I’m glad my money went to funding something good. I’m not a terrible person.)

I have you to thank for giving me the motivation to do it. Not that finishing a five-mile race is that much to get excited about. I mean, it is only five mile. The motivation is more about having found a new hobby and stuck with it.

I started running pretty regularly when you broke up with me. I admit that I originally took it up to prove something to you, to shed some pounds and tone up again in hopes that you’d feel some regret over ending things.

I’m one of those people who let themselves go a bit when in a relationship. It got hard to make time for working out when I also had to make time for actual work and for you. I know I’d gained like fifteen pounds over the course of our year and a half together. It never really showed, though, or at least that’s the lie I tell myself. Now that I’ve trimmed back down I’m not seeing a ton of places where the old weight has disappeared. Maybe in my thighs. You probably wouldn’t even notice the change if you saw me.

But back to thanking you. I knew that eventually my spite-driven motivation would wear off. Then I’d need something else to get me up  and out running every day. So I decided to sign up for a race. My first of many, I hope. I picked a shorter distance, but I plan to expand up to a half-marathon at some point next year. I don’t think my legs have it in them to go a full twenty-six. Or maybe it’s my brain that can’t handle it. Either way, I don’t think I’ll run a full marathon anytime soon.

When I was out on the course today, I didn’t have any music. I wanted to make sure I kept my focus on the race itself. Instead I thought about you – only for a bit. I used to think about you a lot when I ran. Not so much anymore. But when we first broke up it consumed me. In a good way. It pushed me forward, made the miles and minutes slip away.

Now that I’m moving on, I think about other things – the prospect of meeting that next special guy, the fantasy of winning some major award or getting a crazy promotion at work, of meeting and becoming best friends with one of my celebrity crushes. I also reminisce on high school and the races I ran then. Basically anything that I can imagine myself winning at.

Winning motivates me, especially the fantastic kind that would never happen in real life. When we were still dating I had this whole scenario mapped out where I won an Academy Award (I know, impossible considering I don’t do anything remotely involved with the movie business) and you were there in the audience with me and so supportive and proud when I walked up to the stage and gave my speech, thanking you in the first line. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it really does make me run faster. And the best thing about that Academy Award ceremony wasn’t winning the award, it was having you there to support me. Having you to make proud.

You were always so supportive, to me and to your friends. We went to that little one-man show your friend put on, in that tiny coffee shop that doubled as a performance space. You always listened to your roommate’s web series scripts, trying to give him helpful notes even though he never listens to anyone’s ideas but his own. You even went all the way out to Brooklyn on a very early Sunday morning (made even more grueling by the fact that you’d been out until 4AM the night before) to watch one of your friends run the Brooklyn half-marathon. You were there at the start and then saw him once when he ran through Prospect Park. Then you were at the finish line to cheer him on and head back to Manhattan with him. That’s a very early and big trip to make to see someone all of three times over the course of a two-hour race. But you were always willing to give of yourself to support those you cared about. It’s such an attractive quality you possess.

If we were still dating, you would have come out and cheered for me this morning. And I would have loved it. That’s where boyfriends are better than friends. Boyfriends support you no matter what. Most friends only come when it’s convenient.

No one came out to cheer for me this morning. Not a single one of my friends. I didn’t expect them to show up. It was an 8:30 race on a Sunday morning. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t disappointed not to hear anyone cheering for me, to know that there wouldn’t be any of those little bumps of adrenaline from spying a familiar face around the corner to give me a spurt of speed, no cute and witty signs, no one there at the finish line to cheer me in on my final sprint.

It was kind of a lonely morning, actually. Getting up early and making my way out to Central Park by myself, warming-up and stretching by myself, the five miles I ran, all the time in my own head, polishing off my complimentary bagel and apple at the end of the race and then watching other people finishing for a bit, again all by myself. I even had to take my own post-race picture, proof that I had indeed finished. I couldn’t get the camera far enough back to get both my head and my race number in the shot so I had to take off my shirt and hold the number up. I looked like one of those selfie-obsessed morons.

My parents didn’t even answer the phone when I called to tell them how the race had gone. They were at church, but still. Accomplishing something, even minor, really sucks when you don’t have someone to share the excitement with. You were that person I always shared those little victories with, whether they be “good jobs” at the office or making a delicious cake.

I know that I’ll eventually find someone new to date, someone new to share all of these things with. But in the meantime I miss having you there. I miss the way your eyes lit up and the genuine smile you’d get on your face when I surprised you with some piece of good news from my day, some small or big victory I had accomplished.

And I miss having you to root for. I miss getting to be excited about your successes. Even though we’ve been broken up for three months now, I still do wish you the best, career-wise and personally. I want you to succeed in life. You’re a great guy and you deserve it.

But anyways, I just wanted to thank you for giving me the motivation to keep running. And I hope that you are kicking ass in life, even though you’re kicking it without me now.

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Sunday, October 6th, 2013 (Part 1)

Today’s the four-year anniversary of my very first break-up. You probably think I’m weird for remembering that. But it was the same day as my brother’s birthday, so I always put them together.

Richie was my first boyfriend. We met in college, two months after I had come out. He was my first for a lot of things – the first guy I went on a date with, the first guy I held hands with, the first guy I hooked-up with. But also not my first for some important things. He wasn’t the first guy I had sex with. He wasn’t the first guy I said “I love you” to. Even though we dated for eight months.

We were good friends. We had the same interests and our conversations flowed so naturally. He had the easiest laugh and the brightest smile. But I think from the start, I knew things wouldn’t work out. At least, not in the long-run. He was my first boyfriend. I can’t imagine ending up with the first guy I ever dated. I’m a big believer in comparatives. I think you have to know bad to appreciate good. The definition of one depends on experiencing and knowing the other. So how can you be happy when you’ve only ever known one thing – one boyfriend, one kisser, one sexual partner. You have no idea what else is out there. How do you really know it’s good – that the two of you are great together – when you haven’t had any other experiences to compare it to?

So yes, I think my relationship with Riche was doomed from the beginning. Any first boyfriend I had would have been the same. But that’s not to say I didn’t have a good relationship with him. I learned so much from him. I had just come out of the closet and he taught me a lot about what it was to be gay. And we were great friends. Just never lovers. Those three words never crossed either of our lips.

When Richie ended things, I knew it was coming. I didn’t know the date or the time he was going to break up with me, but I knew it was inevitable. It still made me sad, though. I cried and felt lonely for several weeks. But I knew that the break-up was as much my doing as his. I had told him that I didn’t see us dating after I graduated that year. I didn’t love him, so I wasn’t going to do long-distance. And for his part, he didn’t see a reason to keep dating if we had an expiration date.

Just because we didn’t work out romantically, didn’t mean we weren’t good friends. In fact, we both wanted to stay friends. And we tried at first. I remember we went to get coffee a few weeks after we broke up. We went with one of his best friends, a nice buffer to cut through any awkwardness. We were walking across campus, Richie in the middle of our three-across group. It was late October at this point, chilly even in North Carolina. Richie had this disgusting jacket he liked to wear. A beat up brown leather, it had this flipped up collar that was lined with a fuzzy faux-fur that was just ridiculous. We all made fun of him for it, in a light-hearted but also serious way. He was wearing the jacket that day, and not thinking, I reached up and made some comment about the faux-fur as I rubbed it, something I would have done no problem back when we were dating. It wasn’t until after I did it that I realized I shouldn’t have. Richie kind of laughed it off and then moved to the other side so that his friend now walked in the middle.

Richie and I had broken up, but we hadn’t redefined our relationship to just friends. Not yet, at least. I had never been only his friend, and I didn’t know how to be that at first. We didn’t talk for a long time after that. I started dating someone else a few months later and then I graduated.

It must have been two years later or so before I can say we truly were friends again. We weren’t living in the same city, so it’s not like we ever saw each other. But we’d talk online every now and again. At this point he had gotten back together with the boyfriend he’d dated prior to dating me. So I guess the threat of something happening between us dissipated and allowed us to be friends. That or the two years apart let us reset our relationship and start from zero. We got coffee once when he came up to New York City, and then I would make it a point to see him whenever I went down to Philadelphia to visit friends.

We did almost hook-up again this one time, though. It was one of the strangest nights, about two months before I met you.

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

My girlfriends don’t seem to understand the concept of briefs. As in the underwear. I think they look at them as a “gay” thing, and so any guy who wears them is automatically unfit for them to date or sleep with. I don’t really get it. But then I am a gay man. Who does wear briefs.

Just the other night at kickball we were talking about men’s underwear. Not an uncommon topic for us, actually. The girls on my team are fascinated by what I wear. And I’m always more than willing to pull down my shorts to let them get a peek. (It’s a very heterosexual bar – it’s kickball, after all – so no need for you to retroactively worry.)

I wish you had seen their confusion the few times I wore a jock strap. It’s like they’ve never seen backless underwear before. And I kept trying to tell them that it’s the same basic principle as their thongs, but they still don’t get it. Even after I pulled down my shorts to let them glimpse my ass cheeks and see the jock strap working in real life. They’re hopeless.

Personally, I find jock straps super comfortable. They hold everything in nice and securely, they minimize unwanted package protrusion and they keep my butt comfortable and cool in the summer. Not to mention the slight lifting effect they have on the ass. It’s always nice and perky when I’ve got one on. I bought my first pair when I was dating you. And my second. I stopped after two, though. Because really, how many pairs does one man need? It’s not like I play professional sports or anything. And now that I’m running a lot, I need a boxer brief or my thighs chafe.

But back to my girlfriend’s not understanding briefs. Kristen and I were talking about underwear the other night at kickball and she was asking me what I liked to wear, and I told her briefs. She seemed somewhat confused by this. But whatever. She’s probably never seen a guy in briefs, except for me. Then Dhani, my Indian (like the sub-continent) girl friend, comes up to join in our conversation. And she asks maybe the most baffling question ever.

Wait…so when you wear briefs, where does you dick go? Do you have to tuck it up?

What?

I couldn’t even process her question. Where else would we put it? And do girls really think that it’s more comfortable having our penises dangling down between our legs? Or tucked into one or the other pant leg? Because it’s not. It’s just annoying. And requires constant readjustment. The brief keeps it nice and pulled up. Not “tucked” as Dhani put it. That’s what drag queens do to hide their penises. And they’re tucking them in the opposite and far less comfortable direction.

I thought that maybe this lack of knowledge about men’s underwear (particularly a gay man’s underwear) held just for the girls on my kickball team. But then the conversation came up again with two of my roommates, Marjorie and Trina. We were talking about the guys Marjorie has been going out on dates with and what she likes about each one. Somehow we got on the topic of underwear and again I was baffled by Marjorie and Trina’s preferences. They both agreed that boxers were a no-no. But they also weren’t attracted to a guy in briefs. Only boxer briefs for them.

Again, I don’t understand. It’s not like I’m talking about tighty-whities. Briefs are form-fitting and colorful. They can have patterns and come in low-cut varieties. They are super sexy. And yet again, I’m confronted with girl friends who don’t agree.

Poor straight guys, relegated to wear only boxer briefs. That must get annoying. I’d want to be able to mix it up, have a little fun with it, and get the phallic support I need. Boxer briefs, despite what people might tell you, aren’t always snug down there. They can stretch and sag, and then they’re doing about as much good as a pair of boxer shorts in regards to support. Not to mention how ugly they look on someone when they’re all loose and stretched out. But that’s what my girl friends (and I’m including all of them here) want their guys to wear.

Boxer briefs…

And if not boxer briefs, then they’d actually prefer their men wear boxers. Am I crazy? A guy wearing boxers as underwear just doesn’t do a damn thing for me. It does not cut it at all.

I mean, I’m not knocking boxers completely. I do own a few pairs. Mine just aren’t in the best shape any longer. They’re old and ratty, remnants of my “straight” days in high school and college.  Half of them have holes in them. I haven’t bought a new pair in probably six or seven years. I only wear them when I sleep alone, though. So you never saw me in a pair. No one sees me in them actually.

I saw you in a pair of boxers one time. A nice salmon-striped pair. I think they were from J Crew. Yours were fitted nicely though, almost as if you’d had them tailored. (I wonder if rich people get their underwear tailored. Because that would be awesome! Another reason to have a lot of money.) You looked cute in those boxers. But then you looked damn good no matter what underwear you had on.

I’m going to miss seeing you in your underwear. First, because you really do have an excellent ass. And then you have a little waist for someone who’s so muscular, so you can fit into all those sexy little pairs of briefs and the occasional jock strap.

I remember your different pairs of underwear pretty well, actually. There were those camo boxer briefs; the funky, purple and pink plaid boxer briefs; the bright blue and incandescent pink American Apparel briefs that you bought on sale with me that one time; your sexy blue, see-through mesh briefs; the navy pinstriped briefs that looked like something you might wear to the office if suits had never been invented; the colorful assortment of American Eagle boxer briefs you have from your college days of working there, the ones with the eagle logo splashed across the right hip like a bad paint job; and then that super sexy pair from AussieBum that was so small but just managed to cover you up.

(Are you creeped out that I remember so much? I guess I kind of have a fetish for guys and their underwear.)

But of all the pairs you had, do you know which one was my favorite? You might be surprised.

You had this pair of light blue trunks (they weren’t necessarily briefs, but then they weren’t as long as boxer briefs either) that had little yellow shapes on them that I think were ducks. I say I think they were ducks because it was one of your older pairs and the fabric had worn from so many wears and washings. But that pair of underwear was so soft and clung to your ass so nicely…I honestly never found you sexier than when you wore them, keeping in mind that one of my favorite parts was getting to take them off of you.

I just hope that the next guy has your ass. Or at least your eye for undergarment style. Because you really did know how to wear a good pair of briefs.