2011 Retrospective, selected memories that shaped my year:
It’s January, MAL, and I’m sitting in a hotel room with two muscular men in jockstraps talking about bondage. Their handsome faces smile atop thick torsos while gesturing with tattooed arms. I feel like a child compared to their physiques, confidence, and knowledge and I freeze up when asked if I’d like to help tie up one of the men. I leave feeling confused. My hair is long and I don’t have a beard.
It’s February and I’m 29 years old today. I’m pouring sake bombs down my throat while laughing with dear friends in a loud and wild sushi restaurant in downtown Manhattan. We are all wearing gear and attract the attention of the frat boys celebrating a birthday at the table next to us. A challenge is issued to the birthday boys: swap clothes! We do and for the first time in my life I’m wearing a backwards cap with a button down shirt 2 sizes too big. The night ends with lots of kissing.
It’s March and I’m zipping up the gown of Donna Sachet at the Mr. SF Leather Contest while my Sir puts the final touches on his new leather cop uniform. In a moment they will return to the stage to announce the winner of the title to an audience of Leather men and women. I’m wearing a collar and my favorite leather cap–an outfit I choose only after debating the merits of leather vs. wrestling singlets with my close friends. I brought the singlet to change into for the after party.
It’s June and hot and I’m wearing a sufficiently slutty tank top with my nipples popping out as I push my way through the Pride parade crowd in the West Village I marvel at all the men in drag and the number of rainbow flags swirling in the air. Someone shoots me with a water gun from the balcony of second floor apartment and I stop to shout up at the asshole. He gives me a sly smile as if to say, “I’m up here and you’re down there and you can’t get me” so I charm my way past the doorman and head up to the apartment of the gunman. A large party is going on inside. My tank top doesn’t stay on for long.
It’s August and I have been searching for the entrance to the meat rack for at least half an hour. Fire Island is dark at night and I stumble through pitch black woods in vain with the distant sounds of Lady Gaga and shrieking coming from the illuminated boardwalk. I’m sweating in my singlet and feel ready to give up this silly endeavor when I hear someone behind me walking over sticks and kicking up sand. I smell him before I see him…and it’s a nice smell. His hand touches my shoulder in a gesture that’s friendly and intimate. I notice the stars overhead for the first time.
It’s September and the sun is setting over Folsom Street in San Fransisco. I’m kissing a man with green eyes amongst the crowd of fetish folk and feel him shutter with desire. He smells like leather and man and the warm sunlight ignites his eyes as they look into mine. I don’t know him, but in this moment we are bounded on a deeper level where men go to safely share their vulnerabilities. My whole weekend climaxes at this point.
It’s October and I’m dancing in my harness boots at Katie’s wedding in Asheville, NC. A slow song comes on and I feel utterly compelled to dance with my boyfriend despite being one of only two gay couples at the event in the conservative south. We flow together on the dance floor and I briefly debate where to put my hands and arms. I opt for over his shoulders as I close my eyes and smile. This is the first time I’ve ever lovingly danced with another man before.
It’s December and I’ve just learned how to properly shape my beard from the advice of a Barber. I marvel at how a few careful strokes of the a razor can create a stronger jaw and a more masculine face. My hair is short the way I like it and I notice the mix of boy and man in the mirror in front of me. Outside a dog howls, I howl back.
2011 has been a great year for me and involved a lot of learning and growing as a man. I’m thankful for my relationships with friends, brothers, and my boyfriend and look forward to all that awaits and all I’ll create in the new year.