It’s interesting to observe that whenever I bump into an old friend or an acquaintance I haven’t seen for some time, I get asked a similar question:
“So, Micha… Who are you with?”
To which I shake my head and answer with a blunt, “No one.”
Naturally, most don’t stop there and press on, asking why I remained single for so long (9 months of no relationships and/or dates – but who’s counting?).
Usually I just shrug, laugh it off, and say that I just haven’t met the right one yet. Of course, to avoid further probing, amazement, or general disbelief, I neglect to mention that not only have I managed to stay single, I don’t have sex for months at a time.
The thing is, living as an urban gay boy with a typically gay urbanite lifestyle, an active sexual-romantic life is not only commonplace but even expected. In a way, the city is a cafeteria and it’s insane to not sample delectable items on the menu – or at least want to. People around me fall in a plethora of categories, several of which I’ll mention.
An extreme example of this would be my friend MJ, who is currently romantically involved with five different men at the same time in three different cities and still has time and energy to cruise the Net for casual sex (the insatiable gourmand who is more or less trying to compensate for something).
Or if a particular item is not listed on the menu, you can always substitute it with something else; like Tara, a friend of mine who although is inexplicably managing to stay in love with a straight (and presently married) guy for 10 consecutive years, is still maintaining a steady diet of booty calls from his ex (in diet terms, he’s on Atkins but bingeing on chocolate).
Or you can skim the menu until you find something that catches your interest and finish a whole course before moving on; like yet another friend of mine, JF, who persistently and actively sought out potential boyfriends at Heaven every time we go clubbing; creating an illusion of being alone while throwing glances and smiles to increase the chances of being approached by anyone interested. He’d meet someone, be madly and blindly and completely head over heels for several weeks until he realizes that he’s not the one after all, be depressed and drowns himself in a pool of tears before he starts looking for the next Mr. Right and repeating the cycle (a bulimic in denial – aren’t they all?)
In which terms, I suppose I would be an anorectic.
The point is that sex and relationship are extremely attainable. You can have it anywhere, anytime, and (depending whether you have the Big 4 determining factors of utterly shallow yet applicable elements of appeal: face, body, money, size – superficial, I know but I don’t set the world; I just write about it) with anyone you want. If desperation hits or you yearn for no-strings-attached impersonality and discretion, prostitution’s aplenty.
So smack dab in the middle of all this, why am I still single and overwhelmingly undersexed?
The answer is that it is a matter of choice. My ultimate answer whenever having to deal with the incessant queries of others is that I refuse to settle for less. And it’s not like I have a perfect idea of a perfect man in my head or an ex-boyfriend that embodies everything that I could ever want in a man. It’s nothing like that. I have no specific characteristics of his physical appearance or even his personality. In fact, in the end nothing even matters because the standard that I ask – no, demand – is to fall in love.
I do not know how, I do not know when or where, I don’t even know who, and I sure won’t know why but I’ll know when it happens; because for me love is not love unless it overtakes me and possesses me completely. Therefore I can never plan it or force it or make it happen; and although I can fake it or fill its absence with flings or substitutes, I don’t. All because I refuse to settle for less than the real thing. It’s like carrying a faux Vuitton. People might not know it’s an imitation, but you will.
And in regard to sex, I’m not someone who views sex in its own right as something sacred. Although it is a valid expression of love (and is oh-so-much-nicer with the person you love), I understand and accept that sex is also a primal drive and the need for sexual contact along with sexual release is a part of human nature. Yet casual sex without an element of conquest, exploration of new heights, the materialization of fantasy, or a deeper underlying meaning is just too boring and predictable. Casual sex for the sake of sex seems sort of a paint-by-numbers with the human body as the canvas, paint, and brush; creating nothing but an imitation of a piece of art and just as soulless.
Besides, I’ve always had a higher esteem on intimacy: the kissing, the cuddling, the late night chat about whatever, the touching, the staring into each other’s eyes, the sleeping in someone’s arms, the fondling, the stroking; basically the prelude and the afterglow. Unfortunately, wham-bam-without-a-thank-you is so much more in fashion.
So here I am. Alone. Waiting. In the last words of Posner of The History Boys, “I’m not exactly happy, but I’m not unhappy about it.” It might happen tomorrow or it might not happen at all. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’d rather be alone and lonely than to ever compromise my dreams.
“Some people are settling down, some people are settling, and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.”
Sex and the City – Carrie Bradshaw