To Sleep in Bed Alone

Felix-Gonzalez-Torres' "Untitled"

I recently got stood up. 

But not in the traditional sense. I went on a first date, it went fairly well from my perspective (as first dates go), he even brought up the idea of meeting up a few days later during our date. I said that would be great and agreed. Later on that evening, after I had gotten home, I texted him that I had a good time and looked forward to Thursday. No response. 

No problem, I didn't "need" a response, though one would have been nice.

Then Wednesday came and went. Then Thursday came. And about halfway through the day I texted, "how's it going?" A little... nudge. No response. 

So, essentially: stood up, but not in the traditional sense.

It's fine. I'm glad it didn't last two weeks and then nothing. Or months and then nothing. It was only one date. But still, don't get my hopes up, right? He's the one who brought up the idea of a second date, not me. I make no expectations in these situations. I would never set up a second date on the first date, just in case it didn't go well and we're both just being... nice. Afterwards, you can find out if it did go well and then make plans and then move forward.

On dating apps, I get emails that I ignore. And others ignore my email. That's fine. I have no obligation to write you back and you have no obligation to write me back. If there's no attraction or interest it should be pretty obvious. No reason to give hope where this is none.

But, that's its own thing. 

What I've been thinking a lot about this year is being chronically lonely. This isn't to say I'm some depressed guy and this isn't to say that I'm looking for sympathy of any sorts, but at the same time, I am envious of those who have found that someone. Just someone to snuggle with at night. Or wake up and look over and see -- holy shit -- this person is with ME! ME! I've been chosen of all the fucking people on this earth. And you're waking up with me!

I've only been in one serious relationship and that feeling was probably the greatest of all the feelings I had in the relationship. There were other issues and larger things going on that made it not work, but waking up and knowing that he was there. That was an awesome, awesome feeling. But, beyond that year and half on again off again relationship, out of the 18 or so years that I would consider myself a dateable age, I haven't had that feeling again. 

There's many reasons. For one, I'm not a very "gay" gay. Now, I'm not saying anything more than I prefer those whose gender role plays more on the "traditionally masculine." This isn't some insult to "being gay" of course, I would be the first to say that I'm about as gay as it gets. It's just... a preference. The same as my preference for guys with dark hair and dark eyes over guys with blonde hair and blue eyes. It's a preference and one that's not necessarily a super hard and fast rule.

I know lots of gay guys. Most of them are awesome. A lot of them play naturally to the more "effeminate" or stereotypically gay. Some of them, I have even thought, I could be attracted too. But, mostly, I just think of them in a very platonic way. I love them as I could love a woman or a straight guy. I can find them attractive, I can find them to be a great and valuable friend -- but I could never see them sexually. I could never be attracted to them in "that way." 

I go on this diatribe mostly to wonder if that's my problem? Am I too picky? Am I being a snobby "gay?" But then, I shrug that idea off, believing that attraction should be real. Innate. Undeniable. Not intellectual. 

And because I think this way, it inevitably makes me think the other way. That guys think the same about me. That I just don't inherently "do it for them." This isn't to say, I think I'm ugly or undateable. I turn down requests on dating apps as much as I send them out, but the idea of finding a mutual attraction just feels... impossible. 

I'm 33 years old and it feels impossible. I look around and see lots of people dating, married, having kids, breaking up, finding new partners, new loves. It seems so easy for them. They're just so lucky. I hope they know how lucky it is. Even when you're arguing about something silly, something inane -- you found each other. And that's incredible to me.

I try not to think about this whole idea of being alone or being single too much. It at times, feels like a great debt collector, ringing your phone and as long as you don't answer it, it doesn't exist. Because, for the most part, I'm very happy in life. I have amazing friends. I have a family that loves me. People that I can be honest with, I don't have to hide that I'm gay. Or I'm HIV+. I have no fear about who I am. I don't like the term "pride" because I think it's odd to be "proud" about who I am... but I just am and that's just fine and those who I care to be with, care to be with me. 

This doesn't mean, however, that not finding someone to wake up too isn't... lonely. I think it makes me quick to anger. I react to things in a very visceral way. And whenever I have gone on a date, I have very instant thoughts about getting married and being with this person forever. Not that I expect that, or would push that -- but just because I haven't had the opportunity to honestly feel that. And I want to feel that. 

I'd like to have kids one day. I think I'd make an awesome Dad. At times, I think my life is sort of coming to a close, that the opportunities and desires I had just even a few years ago, feel more like a fleeting dream. And a kid, in the most primal way, is your own legacy. 

I'm still pushing forward. Still writing. Still designing my game. Still going to bombard my social media mates with requests to support my Kickstarter when I launch it (hopefully) later this year... but, I don't know. 

When I was in my relationship, I was happy with my life as a whole. I felt... whole. It didn't matter that I didn't have the greatest job ever. It didn't matter that I wasn't directing for a living. I was just happy. I could pursue life day by day, rather than living it for the future. My life now is about getting my game done in time for GenCon. The time between now and then is basically irrelevant. 

I veg out on television and play video games to pass the time. I spend too much on technology and other material things, but time to me is getting this game done in July. It's this night and then July. March. April. May. June... there all stepping stones until then.

And as such, life just flies by. I look up and realize, fuck -- I've lived in Los Angeles for almost 9 years. And what have I done with my life? What do I have to show for it? A short I played Sundance seven years ago? An accomplishment I am proud of, but it was seven years ago. A web series I made four years ago that no one saw or should see... probably. 

And then a series of unfunded feature screenplays. One of which I don't even have the rights to do anything with... and even if I reached out and somehow managed to obtain those rights, I don't know the right producers that can raise a half a million dollars or more it would take to make it. And I don't have the right, "go get 'em personality" to pitch it. I'm just... not that kind of guy. 

Excuses? Maybe.

Then it returns to the lack of partnership. I've sent out my screenplay to various outlets, with cold response. The closer the person is to me, the more people seem to like the work I've done. But the reverse is just as true. So, that's not a good sign, huh? 

For a while there, I felt I had something. I had two shorts back to back play pretty substantial festivals, but it all died when I found out I had HIV. My mind shifted to just... reality. And to my current boyfriend. And the decay and loss of that relationship was probably too much. It felt like a complete abandonment of everything I had wanted and done since I was a teenager. 

It didn't help that at this time too was The Great Recession. And adventurous money on new and exciting talent just wasn't possible. I came into the business just after YouTube and social media. My best work, when I had a few dollars to make it, is all in standard definition. A relic. It looks and feels antiquated. Directors I work with now have some of the same sensibilities I had/have, but they're about 5 to 8 years younger than me. Falling into the industry at the right time. The idea of After Effects as part of your storytelling felt gimmicky when I was in school and now feels almost a requirement. 

In all, I feel... lost. 

And it would be nice to wake up from it and realize it's not all for nothing. That at least there's someone sleeping soundly, safely next to me. That the next moment in my life isn't in July, but what's for breakfast.