Class is in Session

Welcome to Impossible Relationships 101. A class where I keep failing to learn anything from and am therefore doomed to repeat ad nauseam.

***

Lesson One: “You’re bi? Oh. Bye”

The Universe’s sense of humour has apparently deemed it amusing that I, an out-and-out gay guy who finds the idea of hiding my orientation and sexuality other than the sole reason of one day cashing in on my inheritance (if any) exhausting and ridiculous, am not only bound but destined to keep on attracting bisexual men with sexual identity issues. Yay! Not.

Now, I don’t have a problem with bisexuality in general; sexual freedom and all that. I just don’t fancy the idea of having to be jealous of both genders. One is tough competition in itself, thank you very much. Who needs the extra work? And plus, it’s not like I can compete with females anyway. Hello? Differences in hardware is number one. Followed by what these differences entail: Women offer the possibility of marriage and children and what society and religion and Indonesian law deem a ‘normal, healthy, and stable future’. Three adjectives that don’t exactly come to mind when I am the subject at hand (those would be ‘tattooed, pierced, and apeshit crazy’).

Yet in my infinite hopefulness (read: innate stupidity), I keep plowing on, always with the thoughts of ‘it may just work out this time’ and over-romanticised ideas of ‘love will conquer all and last forever’. Riiight. Here is the deal: in the course of my life, I’ve lost track of how many bi and gay Indonesian men I’ve met whose sense of religious guilt as well as social and familial responsibilities clash so badly with their sexual orientation and inclination. One example was at a dinner several days ago with the Hobbit (more on him later) and his friend where a discussion of my ‘lifestyle’, as they called it, culminated with the remark, “Well, the difference between you and us is that you actually have a choice.” Such hopelessness took the wind out of my sails so much that I didn’t even voice the response that in almost every case there is always a choice, and that they just don’t want to face the consequences of making a different one.

***

Lesson Two: “If you’re taken, don’t come knockin'”

Ah, yes. Another of the Universe’s potty little pranks. As often stated in my posts, I am as obsessed with fidelity and faithfulness -whether sexual or emotional – as any avid romance-reading, love-song-listening, and rom-com-watching person is. I am also of the firm belief that if you’re capable of cheating on and leaving your current partner whom you’ve vowed to love and treasure for as long as you both shall live, whether the aforementioned vow was said in a wedding or commitment ceremony, whispered on a bed as you’re laying together staring into each other’s eyes, or screamed during the throes of an orgasm, what’s exactly stopping you from doing it to me if I ever agree to take his or her place? And no, I’m not a fan of being on ‘the down low’ or ‘kept on the side’. I prefer uppers to downers and am not an order of french fries.

Yet they do come. Yet why? Is it simply basic human nature to never be satisfied with what you have? Is the grass always greener on the other side? Are we cursed with the affliction of wanting to have it all? Have fidelity and faithfulness become obsolete in modern society? Is monogamy, in fact, dying if not dead and rotting in a forgotten, unmarked grave somewhere? An example of this would be someone I like to call the Hitter; a widower in his mid-30’s who’s been in a relationship with a guy for several years up to now, and who despite his confessions of having sexual liaisons with multiple other guys has professed a supposedly heartfelt, genuine, and sincere intention of, and I quote, “settling down and being in a serious relationship” with me.

Great. Now I’m depressed. As flattering as the attention of others is, the attention of partnered others most often leave me disheartened and pessimistic of ever finding my pot of happily ever after at the end of that rainbow flag.

***

Oh God. Give me break time already.

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On the Transience of Experience

You promised. You made the choice. You knew the consequences, you knew there’s always a price to pay. And as tempting as it is to succumb and surrender, you promised. Can’t preach what you don’t practice, yes? You made the choice. Face the consequences, pay the price.

When you said you don’t want to harden to the world, as much as the world would like you to, you understood that committing to leaving yourself open is to risk vulnerability. Of course some words and some actions from some people will hurt. Let them. The point is not to keep yourself from pain, it’s to live through it and remain true to who and what you choose to be. Don’t hide your reactions, bury your thoughts, or deny your feelings; let them wash over you then simply take a step back and examine their validity and observe yourself. Why build walls and raise shields and put on armour and fight back? You’ve done all that. You decided to stop. You made the promise and the choice. This is the consequence and the price. Face it and pay up. Live it and let go.

This all shall pass. And if you’re as lucky as you claim to be, not that much longer to go.

On the Existential Duality of Being

“My challenge is not to be wholly good or wholly bad but to traverse the entire length between the opposite points of extreme and find a balance that I call perfection.”

Life is a rollercoaster ride. And since I’m not one of those endowed with knowledge of previous lives, every sharp turn or sudden rise and fall, as well anticipated as they sometimes are, still comes with a jolt of surprise. From those I learn, not just the occurrence but also my reactions to each one. With it comes either conflict, which leads to change and resolution, or acceptance, which resembles ignorance but is essentially and significantly different. Ignorance is bliss, yes, but only for the blessedly ignorant. For those born with the capacity to comprehend, ignorance is denial; it’s embracing lies and setting truths aside and would only create the illusion of happiness while taking us further from the real thing, blocking our inner developments and resulting in stagnation often mistaken as inner peace, burying our demons when we need to either struggle with or embrace them in order to know ourselves better and ultimately be the version of us that we strive to be.

If it sounds like I’m preaching, I both am and am not. This is simply a perspective, born from inspiration, contemplation, and experience. It’s not Truth, never with a capital t. I broke away from the dogmatic, rebelled against teachings that labelled the thirst and quest for knowledge as the original sin. It would be ironic to then claim Truth while at the same time promote the necessity and importance of journeys initiated by questioning and a healthy dose of scepticism. If anything, this is simply an indulgence of an aspect of myself. I’m not only of the body and spirituality is a part of me. And as both a physical and spiritual being, reaching for the lofty abstracts of spiritual understanding while remaining anchored and functional in the material world, it is the point of my personal journey to find that middle ground between spirituality and materialism, to resist the gravitational pull of each and let both be equal parts of my existence. I’ve given opportunities for my body, mind, and heart. This is my soul speaking out.

And though my soul is content enough within itself, witnessing the irresponsible words and actions of people claiming their interpretation of ‘God’s words’ as the one and only irrevocable and unquestionable Truth and the blind faith with which people swallow and follow makes it writhe and squirm in discomfort. Neither religion nor religious leaders is God. Unfortunately most seem to be unable to make the distinction or even unaware of it altogether. And the way people twist and manipulate these facts as means for attaining powers and benefits as well as financial and political gain is disheartening to say the least. And that people let it happen and continue is disappointing and just plain sad.

Blind faith, which is the death of the inquisitive mind, leads to dismissive narrow-mindedness, self-righteous and subjective prejudices, rigid preconceptions and inflexible values which bring about divisiveness and separation and, more often than not, animosity as a result of deliberate misunderstanding. The way I see it, there are two ways to understand something: to make it fit into your standards and expectations and general idea of how the thing ‘should’ be or to expand the extent of your comprehension in order to encompass what the thing is. Sure, it’s necessary to have a stance and take a stand for what you believe in; but to force that belief on others, especially regarding matters of faith where right or wrong is always an open subject for debate and supporting evidences are questionable and inconclusive, is a different matter entirely. It’s mental bullying, in most cases. A practice in argumentative skills and verbal combat, ending only when one party is subdued by and surrenders to the intellectual and mental prowess of the other. A very rarely constructive process, this, because it takes away the focus from the subject at hand and shifts it to the abilities of the sparring individuals.

So what if perspectives don’t agree? Diversity is a wonderful thing, in my opinion. It splashes life in various shades of colour instead of one bland hue. And it’s not the enemy of unity – or more exactly, it doesn’t need to be. We don’t all have to be the same to get along. That’s what tolerance and acceptance are for. Absolute uniformity in absolutely everything is boring and destroys any sense of personal identity. According to my beliefs of unity and oneness, we are all one and the same because we all came from and will return to the same source but that is in essence. We, as everything else in existence, whether material or ethereal, are simply energy taking form. And as conscious and animate forms of energy, I acknowledge the need for identifying individual expressions and characteristics. We are all both physical and spiritual beings. And no matter how different we may be in the physical world, it doesn’t matter because we’re spiritually the same. So what do the differences matter since they’re superficial anyway? Or is the superficial more important than the essential? Live and let live, it’s said. Be and let be, I say. A certain Wiccan creed comes to mind: “If it harm none, do what ye will.” And isn’t that enough?

I suppose what I wish for is the collective awakening of the cosmic consciousness. For us not to assimilate but to peacefully coexist in a society which strives for the good and development of all while maintaining unique personal values and characteristics, where individual rights are upheld and obligations fulfilled, where compromise isn’t compromising and acceptance is sincere. If it sounds Utopian, I suppose it is. But hey, what’s wrong with dreaming a little dream?

Say Goodnight and…

“It’s easy to lose yourself in the sounds and noises of the city, in a place to forget and be forgotten. Simple enough to find your voice replaced by someone else’s, that your thoughts and feelings are no longer quite your own. If you let it, then why are you so surprised?”

Dim your light. Stand aside. Keep quiet. Be considerate. Play nice. Don’t push back. And never, ever outshine. Please, go ahead, really, I don’t mind.

And you know what? I really don’t.

I’m lucky enough to not be a martyr. You know what I’m talking about, yea? The ones that go, “It’s alright that I give/obey/sacrifice/etc. as long as you’re happy” yet eventually bitch and moan and whine and complain about not getting whatever their deluded sense of self-entitlement makes them feel they’re due. And because I’m not a martyr, I don’t derive any twisted sense of satisfaction or pleasure from doing things for people that I don’t really want to do. If I do it, I make myself want it. Otherwise, I will tolerate it, I can allow it, and I may be lenient; but I can only be edged on for so long and so far before I either stand my ground, fight back, or simply walk away.

And here I am. Again.

Learning Curves and Resolutions

“Reality is defined and limited by possibility; therefore personal reality is defined and limited by what is possible for you.”

People say impossible a lot. Granted, we are endowed with sufficient logically deductive capabilities to ascertain the possibility or impossibility of a circumstantial occurrence based on the underlying determining factors and set precedence.

Which is really just an obnoxious way of saying that we learn from experience. And I wonder, how many disappointments have people had, how many crushed dreams and dashed hopes and empty wishes does it take to finally resign them to permanent residency in the realm of impossibility? Because if that’s the conclusive result of a learning experience, then damn, I sure as hell am one slow learner.

“The disappointment you experience is in direct proportion to the hope you have.”

And that’s just the way it is, no? And I hate it. No, not the fact; though feeling disappointed as a risk of having hope is something that intimidates the hell out of me, I’ve accepted it. What I hate is how the fear of disappointment pushes people to say things like, “See, that’s why I don’t hope at all” or “Why hope if you’re going to be disappointed anyway?”

Yes, disappointment sucks. I detest how easily it builds up and festers into bitterness, resentment, and jadedness. Not very appealing personality trait options. But doesn’t ‘to not hope at all’ mean you’re bitter, resentful, and jaded already and simply trying to not become more?

A couple of blog entries ago, during my last episode of severe mental break – and extreme melt – down, I posted such a sentiment. That was made even more tragic by the words “Faith. Hope. Love” I had permanently tattooed across the insides of my left forearm. Luckily, after a highly melodramatic phase of seclusion and soul searching, I bounced back. Things haven’t exactly reached a favourable conclusion and they sure are taking their sweet time but as I’ve said again and again, if you can’t change the way things are, alter the way you react to them. So that’s what I do.

I consider the absence of hope a bleak and depressing state to be in. I’ve tried it, didn’t work out, and didn’t take. But maybe it’s working wonders for you, in which case I say congratulations, carry on, and best of luck. To each his own. Whatever makes you happy. For me personally, no matter how huge the disappointment lurking and waiting for me at the end, I’m still going to pour all probable hope into it despite the impossibility. I’ve attempted it, lived through it, and managed to stay myself. Failure hurts but it only kills if you let it. And if I crumble, I’ll just pick up the pieces and start rebuilding until I’m whole again. The knowledge that I’ve tried, and that I’ve tried my damnedest with no qualms or reservations, will carry me along and let me see yet another day.

“I can do what you do; but then I’d be you, which would totally suck for me because at the end of the day, through it all, I’d much rather be me.”

And if I forget, I’ll just stare at these three words tattooed down my arm until I remember again.

What’s Wrong with a Little Common?

One of the hottest topics right now in Indonesia is the rise of gasoline price; headlining newspapers, covered by TV talkshows and expert discussions, and even provoking an organised public protest held yesterday in the nation’s capital (I’m guessing somewhere around the National Monument and the Presidential Palace) which went on reasonably peacefully.

No one likes a price increase – except of course, sellers – especially looking back at how a rise in the price of gasoline affected prices of everything else, including basic needs like foodstuffs or housing. So the public reaction is understandable, particularly from the financially lower class who will take the hardest hit. Interestingly (or in my case, annoyingly), I’ve observed some complaints from those belonging to the middle class; those who have online access and Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as smartphones such as Blackberries, whining about how they’re going to afford gasoline for their cars and the inevitable rise of taxi fares.

Seriously?

Let’s get real for a minute here, shall we? I know, oh I know how hard it is to let go of the lifestyle that you’ve become accustomed to, simply because I’ve been there. When I hit a rough patch a while back and my car became more of a liability than an asset, I sold it without hesitation. When I was flat-out-on-my-ass broke, I pawned off my diamond rings and never looked back (well there was a little looking back, I loved those rings, dammit). My point is, holding on to certain comforts and status symbols when you no longer have the means or any conceivable way to maintain them is ludicrous. And while we’re on the subject of private cars, it baffles me that the same people who complain about gridlocks and bad traffic are often the same people who personally own cars and never even thought of carpooling. Here’s the deal: the fact that you’re riding in your car alone along with so many others riding their cars alone is the reason there are too many goddamn cars in this city, causing the traffic jams and the elevating levels of pollution that you keep complaining about. And yes, I’m fully aware that the infrastructure is poorly planned, executed, and maintained and yes, I know Jakarta public transport is dubious and considered unsafe but those are governmental issues. Somehow I don’t foresee any relevant government officials reading this anytime soon. And if I have trouble making you, the reader, a regular citizen, to see my point, how much success would I, another regular citizen, have in influencing the governmental body? Now, I’ve always been a firm believer that if you cannot exact change on a situation, change yourself to adapt to it, until the time when you finally can. So unless you can rub the government like a magical lamp and get the president as your personal genie who considers your wishes as his commands, quit your bitching and moaning because things ain’t gonna change if you don’t start to. Here, I’ll walk you through it:

Q: Want to keep the car but can’t afford the rising cost of gas?
A: Don’t go out as much.

Q: Have to go out a lot?
A: Leave the car at home and brave the wilderness adventure that is Jakarta public transport.

Q: Afraid for or worried about your safety and comfort in public buses and trains?
A: Sell the car for several months worth of taxi fares.

Q: Don’t want to sell the car?
A: Well you can’t afford keeping and running the damn thing anyway, can you?

See where I’m going with this?

Now let’s talk about the protests. Honestly speaking, I’ve never had much faith in the effectiveness of public demonstrations. Too many have been done yet few (if any) ever produced the desired results. For example, in 1998 there was a national incident: Asian countries including Indonesia were in a prolonged monetary crisis. People demanded that the president at the time, Soeharto, to either find a way to end it or step down from office. There were continual protests and marches and he finally did the latter; but only after a string of endless demonstrations, after the violent clash between protesters and the police which resulted in the death of University students, after the class riots when cars were turned over and burned, houses and stores were broken into and looted, and after the ethnic Chinese inexplicably became the target of social envy, resulting in rape, beatings, and other types of violence. Currency exchange rates reached record highs (and have never really came back down), prices skyrocketed even more than before, and the country was in such unrest and chaos that he had no other choice. That was claimed as the ‘successful attempt at the show of power of the people’. Yes, it successfully ended Soeharto’s 30-something year long reign along with his New Order regime and began what’s known as the Reformation Era, but at what price?

Can we survive another 98? I doubt it. And for those that say “common sacrifices have to be made to achieve a common purpose”, would that entail the well-being and/or lives of innocents? Easy to pay the price when you’re not the one doing the paying, huh.

Making matters worse, I’ve noticed some people writing, posting, and spreading emotionally provocative and socially divisive statements on Facebook or Twitter or Blackberry Messenger status and broadcast messages over the whole gas price raise and demonstrations. Are you kidding me with this? I believe that having opinions is a good thing; it means that you’re not completely brain dead and your intellectual capacities are capable of digesting and processing information. Yet I also believe that not every opinion need to be verbally expressed; just because you can, doesn’t automatically mean you should. There are moments that you have to stand up and speak your mind and others to just sit your ass down and shut the fuck up; particularly when what you have to say contributes nothing to the resolution of a situation, worsens it, or creates new, distracting problems that you’re not going to be any help in solving.

A friend once (well, more than once; and more than one friend) said that my ideas are often too Utopian; that I expect the best in people and forget the less ‘sunshine-and-rainbow-and-butterflies’ aspects of human nature. But hell, I’m human and that means I have all those aspects, too. And here we start the rapid fire questions portion of the blogpost:

Don’t aspects simply influence and not determine? Doesn’t it all come down to choice? With common sense being not so common and all that, would it be too much to ask when the common good is at stake? Wouldn’t speaking and acting wisely and responsibly for the common good of ourselves and others be a personal interest since it ultimately benefits each person anyway? Should the government pass the decision and raise the price of gasoline and we are unable to stop that from happening, why not focus on the things we can do? Rather than ‘power of the people’ why not ‘power of the person’?

Keep it simple and personal and actual, unless of course you have Gandhi or Jesus tendencies in which I congratulate you and wish you the best of luck. And if we’re out of things to do and ideas start rolling in our heads of what to say, for God’s sake filter them. And if they have no redeeming positive or mutually beneficial value whatsoever, well…

I said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s time to park that ass down and I’m telling you this in the nicest possible way, just shut the fuck up.

Ready, Set, Gay!

Having been dragged and pushed into many activities since I was very young, I developed a competitive streak. I got used to winning and knowing that I was the best at something, whether it was getting chosen for a solo at choir or representing the school at competitions for any school subject (except math. I was never picked because I horribly sucked at it. Still do). General praise and admiration and even the envious bitching of my peers got addictive and it carried over well into my teens, which consisted of running for class president (I ended up as Vice, which was what I wanted. In my year the President got snubbed by his subordinates yet carried all the responsibilities. No, thanks), speech and story-telling contests, and becoming a full-fledged gay boy living a socially and sexually active life in the gay community. And that was when I was introduced to what I refer to as ‘the gay games’.

Gays compete, and from what I see it’s a blend of the female form of and the male approach to competition. The most common observable point of contest is the somewhat feminine one of desirability based on physical appearance and characteristics: how many guys have you had, how many want you, how often do you get approached, and so on. And this is performed and discussed in the same way that straight men do sports or whatever it is that straight men compete on: with aggressiveness and gusto. Now, I’m not quite sure if this stems from the testosterone overload of an environment filled with only men (and yes, even the most feminine of gays get competitive. And even bitchier about it. Those things dangling between their legs mean they’re men, too you know) or the insatiable need to constantly prove our worth due to multiple insecurities of an inflated yet bruised ego as a result of years of conflicted struggle growing up. All I know is that as far as the gay games go, at first it was interesting, then it became exciting, then it got really, really boring.

And presently, it’s just exhausting.

Sometimes I wonder if instead of getting me hooked on it, all those early years of being competitive made me see competition as juvenile and ultimately pointless. Or maybe it’s the distaste for the underhanded and sneaky tactics which competition seems to arouse in some people. Or maybe it just has no place in my current pursuit of a laid-back and peaceful existence. Yet still, just because I grew out of it or got sick of it or consider it irrelevant and unimportant, I’m still exposed to it or even pulled back into it and at times I find myself all tangled up in it. As a friend used to say, “No point in running. You inspire competition. For some reason you just make people want to compete with you.” Great. And people question and judge me on not having that many gay friends. Honestly though, I often feel that it’s less about me and more about them. Judging myself objectively, I’m sooo not the cutest, most lovable, biggest dicked, greatest bodied, most sought after gay guy out there and therefore I seriously think that it has nothing to do with my desirability and everything with their uncontrollable need to attain a sense of superiority or power, no matter how superficial it may be, in order to keep feeding their bottomless egos craving for constant approval and recognition.

A couple of nights ago I was staring at a twinkling star (well, at its twinkle some long time ago depending on distance) and I was struck by how we humans are so obsessed by our consequence when in the grand scheme of things our hallowed being and glorified existence are just a speck of inconsequential microdust. In regards to being desired by others, what does it matter? Could your sexual conquests alter the fate of the world? Would your last thought on your death bed be, “Ah yes. I had plowed/been plowed/taken turns plowing and being plowed by a gazillion men. I will now die in peace.” right before you close your eyes for the last time and bid goodbye to your slutty existence? Is that ever a benchmark for a life well-and-fully lived? Granted, I comprehend that it’s nice to be wanted and desired and adored and all those other snacks our egos need to devour to not shrivel and rot away but I also understand that continuously measuring your worth and self-esteem by the fickle standards and shallow opinions of others is a goddamn waste. I’m not one of those who measure people by their achievements or accomplishments, especially if they consist of how many penises have been inside you or how many bodies your penis has penetrated, unless you’re either a professional porn star or a professional whore. So which one are you?

There is one particular reason why competition gets me riled up and annoyed: all that hyped up but basically hollow bullshit has ruined and ended plenty of my already scant gay friendships. From desirability to time in the limelight to petty warfare over who gets to be the Queen Bee, I have gone from irritated to frustrated to unbearably fed up; and at the end I always chose to walk away. Staying on would’ve meant playing the game or deliberately losing just to end the stupid thing or weathering the baits and challenges thrown my way; none of which particularly appealing to me or fitting into my idea of what a friendship entails: mutual love and respect as well as understanding and acceptance.

To participate in a meaningless contest to win a pointless prize is only for witless people. So what does it say about you to keep doing it over and over again? Seriously, when does it end? And really, ain’t you tired yet?

Honesty is a Bitch with a Capital B

We all deny. We all justify. They’re both great and frightening traits of being human. We need to do them, sometimes simply just to keep living with ourselves; sometimes we take them too far and actually buy into our own press and lose sight of how we and how others and how things really are. It’s a tippy balance as well as a slippery slope downhill and a long and often winding way up. Do you know yourself and are you staying true to it while still striving and working to become the person you wish to be or are you simply getting lost among your own illusions and delusions and fears and hopes and buried remorse and unspoken wish? Is the line still there and can you still see it? And are you honest enough, including to yourself, to tell the truth when you don’t? Would you give yourself a slap in the face and get a grip when you finally admit to yourself that somewhere down the road you lost the way or is it more convenient to pile on and keep on paving the road to hell with good intentions? Can you face the is and fuck the could be? Will you choose the want or the should and handle whatever consequences or swallow whatever regrets that come later?

We deny. We justify. And eventually what we do becomes who we are.

I had a friend once, who gave me a 2-year silent treatment for being ‘boastful’. Something about me always asking around about other people’s grades and comparing mine with theirs after tests and stuff (this was when I still went to University, which I eventually abandoned. And yes when I was that kind of student, I was that kind of student) or maybe something about being a family-supported brat and having a car and chauffeur and money and being matter-of-fact about it. Mind you, this is the same person who once publicly shared, “I completely believe in the power of faith. Like the other day, I was thinking how cool and fancy a Mercedes would be and the next day, lo and behold (okay, okay I’m paraphrasing) my father brought home this huge cool and fancy Mercedes. Oh happy day (yes, still paraphrasing)!” Of course, being caught up in intense rapture, the person missed the slight eye-rolls and exchanged looks in the audience that day. Apparently it’s only ‘boasting’ when someone else does it; when you do it, it’s called ‘sharing’. And boy, isn’t it oh-so-nice to share?

And a couple of years later, upon discussing a celebrity gossip about a saucy Hollywood starlet, this same person made the similarly public statement of, “She’s such a bitch. Stealing someone else’s husband like that. That’s why I’ve never liked her.” A statement that would’ve been much less ironic and invoked considerably less stunned silence and awkward topic change if the person saying it was not, in fact, committing an affair with someone who was originally someone else’s husband. When others commit, it’s sin and trespass; when we commit, it’s human nature and perfectly acceptable. As much beauty and intelligence this person possesses, self-knowledge is not one of the more well-known attributes.

I no longer talk to this person. Disregard the fact that I was the witness and confidant from the beginning of the affair to the heat of it to the marriage. Never mind that a couple of weeks before the wedding, the person came crying to me because it might be cancelled because of the person’s my-Dad-was-horrible-so-I-don’t-trust-men issues. Let’s forget the time spent in discussion, working over the person’s sexual inhibitions and handicaps together. I was dropped just like that after my having an altercation with another friend. The person for reasons unknown, without once asking my side of the story, decided that it was my fault and began yet another silent treatment. No, no this is not an attempt to make amends. I did that once and not about to make that mistake again. What I’d like to say is that through the years, I saw the person clearly. I knew the person. Still I accepted the person being who the person was. Yet extending a courtesy doesn’t always mean receiving the same in return, yes? Especially from someone who though I knew, did not know themselves well enough.

Denials. Justifications. To live in the comfortable shade of our carefully maintained ignorance or the unforgiving glare of self-awareness is a choice we all make for ourselves. I can’t make others see themselves for who and what they are but, as far as whoever and whatever I am is concerned, I can make damn sure that I do. I know my faults and virtues, my altruistic actions and darker desires. And as I look back at that particular episode of my life spent walking through it with that particular someone who was once a friend, I thank all that’s happened that taught me a little better about myself and others. And as I write this, I wave goodbye contentedly and am smilingly at peace.

Micha, speaking up and signing off.

Friends, Anyone?

“Hello. You look fun. May I be your friend? Do you have a Blackberry PIN or phone number?”

To which, being hopelessly hopeful and often wilfully oblivious though cheerfully and consistently cynical, I promptly replied, “Sure. 25F89181. Yay a new friend!”

It got weird.

First, for someone who checked out my profile and sent me a message, would the question “Are you top or bottom?” when my profile clearly says ‘versatile bottom’ be something you ask? Which means either you didn’t or can’t read that well. And which, if your intention truly is being friends, begs the question why my preference between 1. getting fucked by someone while moaning and writhing seductively until I can’t take it anymore or 2. fucking someone with abandon while growling and occasionally biting and dirty-talking be something that really matters anyway. Make up your mind. And learn to read while you’re at it, maybe some basic skimming and scanning because no matter how pretty you may be or think you are, whether it be for friendship or casual bedroom (or car or kitchen or public places; anything, really. I’m very experimental) fun, stupidity is a turn-off.

Second, when I reply to your message and proceed to give you my contact information, it’s very rarely because I’m instantly attracted and helplessly in love or in lust with your profile picture on sight. At the beginning it’s courtesy, and in some cases charity, and most of the time it’s simply because I feel bad about refusing. So after we begin talking, in which you initiated the conversation anyway, to suddenly be acting all cool and aloof and lahdi-fucking-da is frankly.. sad. It’s so sad it makes me want to cry. No, not from sadness or offence. Out of shame. For you. And your lack of manners. And apparent lack of good-breeding in whatever Godforsaken hovel you were born, bred, raised in, and sprung from. Whatever happened to being civil and hospitable, friendly and polite? When did the gays of the world hold a convention and signed a treaty that said, “I solemnly swear to act like an utter asshole because ohmyGod I’m so awesome that every other gay guy, dead or alive, and some straight guys and gals to boot, all want me. Meeeeee!” Dangerously delusional douche. Why not try being nice and genuine and sincere? And please spare me the bitchy repartee if you get snippy and offended when it’s time for my comeback. Only dish it when you can take it. And just remember that even if you believe you’re THE queen bitch, you’re just A queen bitch in a gay world filled to the brim with bitchier queen bitches. So take the tiara off and yourself down a few notches before someone does it for you.

So why this rant? Well, this comes from my excessive and yes, maybe a little dramatic but (in my own subjective opinion) honestly justifiable exhaustion from attempt after failed attempt of making new friends. Most gay guys come with the offer of either sex or relationship and I wonder, are those the only options?

Some say that I look in the wrong places, that websites like Manjam or PlanetRomeo and IRC chatrooms like #gim and GPS-based applications like Grindr are all means for people who are only looking to hook up anyway. To which I ask, and yes I will write this in capitals, “WHERE EXACTLY ARE GAYS NOT LOOKING TO HOOK UP?” I’m not a gym member, but stories from my gym member friends consist of checking out other gym members and their dangling members in locker rooms and the occasional tug-and-suck sauna and steam room action (double-sweaty sex? Eurgh). And lounges and bars and clubs? Yea, right. Last night at another Revel event at Musro, I stood watching from a blessed haze of alcohol-and-microdot induced intoxication as a close-to-50 year old man approached a dubious looking twink standing alone, bought him a glass of (generic brand, frothy looking) beer, and proceeded to put his arm around the younger guy’s waist and run his hand up and down his back while club-whispering to one another (“My, my what great body you have”. “The better to spend your money with, Daddy”. Blah).

So, where are the guys looking to make friends and where are the places to find them, really? I’m getting so desperate that I actually said to Tara this morning on the phone, “Yo, you know those guys you slept with and immediately lost interest in after, can I try and be friends with them?” He said he’ll think about it and (assuming he gets over his possessiveness about guys he no longer is interested in anyway and his competitiveness as far as I’m concerned out of the way) he’ll let me know. And yes, Tara. I’m writing this on purpose for you to read. So call me up.

Oh and just when I’m writing this, a Whatsapp message appeared from someone called ‘Hendra’ who claimed that we met in Stadium. Hah. As if I’d exchange numbers with anyone at that place. And even if I did, I wouldn’t give just anyone this particular number. He insisted that I did; pressed me about where I am and whether we can meet; and when I asked him what for, he said “Because I miss you and I want to have sex with you.”

Seriously? Seriously?!?

I politely refused and told him I’m going to block his number and just did.

-insert long sigh-

Case temporarily closed. Blog entry ended.

Partyboy Confessions (Part 2)

Another Sunday morning. Slightly dazed after Waterfalls and a shot of tequila that I probably shouldn’t have downed but predictably did anyway. Drowning away the past, present, and future just so I don’t have to think of you. And yet I am anyhow, in the taste of ink and the burn of needles.

So I’m your first, huh? Your first ever? You’ve never been attracted to a man before? A boy has never turned you on? A glass of water, black coffee, a lit cigarette. Words. Looks. Smiles. No promises, no complications. A world of us that can only exist when no one’s around.

How can I shake you off when you’ll always be etched all over me?

Partyboy Confessions (Part 1 – Aftermath)

“Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know”
Dreams – Fleetwood Mac

J’adore Dior and L’eau Par Kenzo. A night of fingertips fluttering over skins, the graze of stubble, and warmth exchanged under the covers.

“For whatever it’s worth, a part of me loves a part of you”, I say.
“I love you, too”, you say.
A beat of silence that you broke:
“Too bad you’re here and I’m there.”

Stories of broken hearts and glass beads and the ink that records the things that touched you. Interludes in between kisses. Shared laughter. Freaks and non-conformists.

A text message:
“Thank you for making me feel special”, you say.
“That’s because you are”, I say.

I don’t go for Bigs, you don’t go for Barbies. Exceptions to the rule. The heat that seared my surface; dripping, flowing, running down.

“Love is a useless and irrelevant emotion.”

And yet here I am, free-falling.

Partyboy Confessions (Part 1)

Sunday morning. Typing this entry while alternating between puffs of menthol cigarette and sips of white wine. Lost in thoughts after yet another oh-my-God-what-did-I-do-last-night episode. Memories of silken tongues and intertwined limbs and your orange scent leaving a mark on my skin.

I’m a flirt. I’m a tease. But I play for keeps.

Don’t make me fall in love, baby because that’s more than you bargained for. I’ll let you do what you want just as long as I want it. So what if my hips sway with yours to every beat of the song? They never said we’d go all the way.

I’m a peep-show. An ad. A trailer for sex.

Fuck the movie, baby. Not me.

L

I’m staring at blue. A blue of swirling memories of yesteryears, when you were still here. My legs in short shorts, your laughter across the room, drunkenly driving you home without a license in somebody else’s car. You loved me, didn’t you? And I loved you. Dialysis machines and chilling air conditioners, slices of smoked beef on wheat with chili and mayo, the sheets of flowing green silk you fitted on me. For a blink of eternity’s eye we had a spot in space and time. Not quite an us, not quite apart. Audrey Hepburn’s unforgettable face, Bette Davis’ cigarette smoke, Almodovar’s quirky movies. You didn’t care that I was different. And yes, you were different, too. Arby’s gooey melted cheese, Silverbirds waiting in the front lawn, insistently calling me Spikey even when my hair got curly. “No one’s ever done that for me,” you whispered after glasses of chardonnay. Years later you confessed that no one ever did again. Nights of foosball, of salsa music, of endless conversations and punchlines and wishes and dreams.

And now you’re gone. And there is only memory.

And this is for now, a goodbye.

Nobody Else but Me

I’ve been called a lot of things. The latest were ‘delusional’, ‘misguided’, and my personal favourite, ‘idiotic’. It’s always interesting to hear people’s review of yourself, especially since opinions often carry even more information about the people who hold them than the subject matter concerned. Which is why as much as I’ll keep listening to what people say about me, I’ve learned that to swallow them whole and let them completely define me would never bring much good.

I’ve chosen how I live my life. It may not fulfill the expectations or approval of others, nor be up to their standards, nor even be to their liking. But guess what? It’s my choice. Just as it is your choice to live yours. It doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to judge me, though. Of course you are. Hell, I judge you, too. We all can’t help judging one another. But when you expect me to change into something or someone else when I don’t ever ask you to, who exactly is the deluded and misguided idiot here? You don’t know what’s best for me. Even I don’t know what’s best for me. We all just live whichever way we can and see what happens anyway.

So when you say that you’re worried about me, what exactly are you worried about? It’s not like you’ve been around me or helped me when I’m down and out or even ‘been there for me’. And please chill, I know that the world isn’t made of candy canes and cotton candy and that people are people instead of angels and that oftentimes in order to see beauty it takes not only willingness but a whole lot of effort. I know that. But hell, why should it be anyone’s concern if I want to believe otherwise? As if people don’t rely on their denials and justifications and delusions to live through each day. And if you think you don’t, well sweetie baby honey, that’s your own delusional misguided idiocy talking.

And… Scene

Drama, drama, and oh look.. more drama.

O boy.

I’m guilty of being a voyeur of other people’s interactions and relationships, observing and analyzing them in an attempt to better understand how others, the world in general, and myself operate and function in regard to one another. I don’t always like, approve of, or condone what I see but I still have to see it.

And what I’m seeing at the moment, is a whole lot of playacting. To say the right things at the right times at the right places in the right ways to the right people for the right reasons. It’s basically premeditated, predetermined interactions in order to fulfill a certain agenda. God forbid we should ever be who we really are or say what we really feel and think. And here lies the temptation: How much of ourselves are we willing to compromise or sacrifice for the sake of the limelight, the attention, and applause? Just how much of ourselves will we modify, alter, discard, and forget?

It’s drama, drama, and yes.. more drama. Performance rather than substance. And not much else.

Barenaked Me

Have been plagued with general thoughts and feelings of ‘being the only one’ lately. You know, that profound disconnectedness from the rest of the world that’s often tricky to shake off. Not that I’m special, which would make me cool. Unfortunately I’m just weird, which totally pushes me in the opposite direction. No, not hot. Just uncool. And while it’s true that I’ve long ago accepted that being an outsider -even among other outsiders- is just a natural fact that I have to live with, I still wonder about its recent prominent resurfacing.

I suppose that it mostly has to do with my inability or unwillingness to adapt to the direction and pace of modern life around me. People have this need to feel like they’re going somewhere and they pursue it with gusto, whether it’s their career or relationship or interest or passion or hobby or any particular purpose, whether imaginary or factual, whether profound or temporary. And they do it at such breakneck speed. I have to have it and I have to have it now. Well the thing is, I don’t.

So, where does that leave me?

As it seems, much behind. And very much alone. And I get it. It’s not so much that those close to me don’t want me in their lives, it’s just difficult to find the space and time to fit me in their hectic and often crazy schedules. Which is why this is not so much a complaint as it is an observation. A simple is as opposed to a demanding should be.

Yet after all is said and done, it still feels strange sometimes.

Bitter

When people use systematized faith as the basis of their argument, I just don’t get it. I really don’t. Putting forward faith in any organized religion or in any sort of God as a supporting line of reasoning puts an end to any discussion because suddenly every right and wrong becomes absolute. To question then becomes heresy and addressing a point becomes attacking the religion and a healthy discussion becomes a heated debate or an all-out battle.

Wait. Maybe I do get it.

It’s the easiest way to take to influence people and manipulate the masses, isn’t it? It only takes “Because God says so” or “Because God wants me to” to turn any agenda into a holy crusade. Dogma takes away the need for the people to think for themselves due to its authority on the ‘unquestionable truth’.

Oh..

And here I thought religions exist to teach people to love God and one another better.

Helplessness is a Cold Gun

I’ve just finished reading an official statement that the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) released in regards to the Queer Film Festival recently held in Jakarta (It’s unfortunately in Indonesian. I can translate it, but I won’t. It’s too depressing to read more than twice). It’s a inflammatory message of hate so strong in which they state that ‘homosexual behaviour is not human rights’ and claim that the festival is ‘a campaign to spread homosexuality and destroy Islamic values’, ending with a call to join FPI and ‘fight the spreading of sin backed by foreign forces and the excuse of human rights’.

I’ve stated in my previous posts that I’m worried. Should I be scared now?

Born a Batakese Christian (albeit more spiritual than religious) in Indonesia, I’m an automatic minority. Being gay classifies me into a smaller box. And being openly gay puts me in an even smaller one. It’s safe that say that I get more and more compartmentalized into a tighter and tighter corner. As much as I didn’t like it, though, I got used to it. But when something like this happens, I can’t help thinking, “Why can’t people just leave well enough alone?”

Growing up gay was not easy, as it very rarely is for anyone who’s different in any way. The taunts and the teases, the bullying and the intimidation, the name-calling and ostracism were rough but as with everything else, I lived through it and those experiences became just memories, uncomfortable and unwelcome as they may be.

I wonder, how about this one?

Fidelity is a Four Letter Word

It gets harder to write lately.

Yea, that was a lie.

I suppose I just don’t know what to write about.

That was another.

The truth of the moment is that I’m just too lazy. And not even in a pleasantly complacent, blissfully ignorant sort of way. This laziness is the by-product of my scatter-brained, distraction-hunting, if-I-don’t-think-about-anything-then-it’s-not-real escapist tendencies.

It’s a mess all up in my head. And as much as role-playing thrills me, the mood to don a maid’s uniform and start cleaning up is yet to come.

Although…

I have been thinking about something. Nothing significant, just a little thing which caught my eye a couple of weeks ago. See, I was at Apollo Bar and Lounge for the opening party of QFF (Queer Film Festival), an annual event in Jakarta and several other cities showcasing LGBTQ-related films, exhibitions, and events. It was just another typical Friday night at a Jakarta gay club, with typical Eurotrashy music you can sing along to and typical men and boys standing and walking and dancing around trying to pull off looking inviting and aloof at the same time.

And of course, there were the gay couples.

Whether they were insta-couples who just hooked up or actual couples who have been at it for some time, a swivel of the head in any given direction granted a look at (depending on their degree of inebriation and inhibition, but not necessarily in this order) hugging, kissing, cuddling, making out, groping men. Which is all fine and good. Despite being single and undersexed, I’d like to think that I’m not as embittered as to envy other people their happiness.

Yet.

In any case, they were interesting to watch. Or maybe the lack of any mind and/or mood altering substance from my system demanded that I be interested in something or risk death by boredom. Whatever. Point is, watch them I did. And it wasn’t long before I saw something that piqued my interest:

From time to time, I’d see this look. It was on their face, in their eyes and body language. A slight stretch of the neck. An almost imperceptible glint in their eyes. A glance or stare that lasted a few seconds too long. Even with a man/boy/hybrid in their arms, they were looking. Still. Whether it’s for their next great love or another hot body to explore or yet another pretty face to obsess over and fantasize about, they were definitely looking.

And it got me thinking.

Promiscuity is prevalent in the gay lifestyle, to the degree that it is not just accepted but expected. Yet at the same time, infidelity is one of the most common reasons for the demise of a relationship. Here lies the dilemma: What do gay men want?

“The thing with gay men is, we want everything.” Tara said over the phone. “We want it all. We want the relationship, but we’ll be damned if we let the opportunity of hooking up with a hotter, better-looking thing pass us by. It’s selfishness is what it is.”

“But that’s… pathetic. The concept of having it all is just so overrated and ultimately pointless.” I returned hotly.

“Of course it is. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’d still want it.”

And that pretty much says it all.

In a culture where men pretty much get to do whatever they want and freely set the norm for ‘acceptable’ sexual behaviour, the gay sub-culture consisting of only men takes it to new heights. As an acquaintance once said to me, “We can’t get married. And if we can, what’s the point? It’s not like we can make babies anyway. So why not just have fun?” He then elaborated on how fidelity and sexual exclusivity are values belonging to a heterosexual society and as I listened to him going on and on, I couldn’t help wondering if in our attempt to escape the confines of moral values that society imposes on us, we have somehow, somewhere decided to scrap them altogether.

What then, about love?

“What’s love?” Tara asked me between drags on his cigarette.

“Well, at least for me, when I love someone that means I want him to be happy and therefore I try not to do anything that might hurt him.” I replied carefully.

I could hear Tara inhaling and blowing cigarette smoke on the other side of the telephone. “Take W and M for example. During the last two months they have broken up four times. Four. All because W had action on the side and M found out. And yet they’ve gotten back together. W says he loves him.”

“How?” I incredulously inquired.

After a short silence, Tara said, “I don’t know. Maybe what they mean by love isn’t the same thing you do.”

And there you have it.

Apparently the road to happily ever after is not only long and winding, it’s also uphill.