Maclean’s recently reviewed a book titled Last One Down the Aisle Wins: 10 Keys to a Fabulous Single Life Now and an Even Better Marriage Later about the pitfalls of marrying young. The message is not not marry until you’re 30 and spend the 20s developing oneself – including building friendships, values and financial independence. It’s something I totally agree as I went thru it all myself.
“If you spend your twenties learning how to be a fabulous, stable, independent, fulfilled single woman, it will naturally follow that you will choose a guy to marry who possesses these same wonderful qualities.”
The book struck a chord with me because I met G when I was 19 and didn’t know myself yet. I spent my 20s figuring who I was, much to the disappointment of G but he stuck around for me. G fell in love with the innocence and fantasies of a 20 year old but I’m certain we wouldn’t hit it off if we meet now not for my kinky sexual preference and lack of career. I’ve always maintained I’m the lucky one in the relationship for having someone so accepting for my infidelities and being so patient with a totally different person than the one he met 12 years earlier.
Change is a scary thing even for someone as myself who has moved so many times. I used to be a lot more excited about moving in my younger days, moving off to college, to Bay Area after graduation and to Toronto shortly thereafter. A new place brought new people, excitement and essentially a playground to explore but at age 32, a move denotes leaving behind a life I’ve settled into for the past 9 years. I know I need this change but my heart is just not prepared for the unknown.
Days before I flew back to Toronto, I was offered a job opportunity that gave me guidance and discipline which I sorely need. But it’s in Hongkong which means I have to uproot myself and G. I’m glad he’s supportive and willing but I can’t help but feel the pressure to supply G. some form of stability with work and money since I initiated this move even though he never once requested anything. Having been back in Toronto for a month, I’ve been busy meeting people, old and new, as opposed to the funk I have been in for the past several years where I’ve been anti-social. I know I am gonna miss my friends here when I leave as I did when I left Hongkong. It’s not easy to break out of my comfort zone now as it was in my 20s. I’m now faced with responsibility and social ties which I didn’t have a decade ago.
Change is hard but I’m somehow looking forward to it for a new career and people, I just have to get over it.
I’ve learned thru experience that it’s easy to meet somebody socially, especially in recent months when I’ve been some sort of social butterfly in Hongkong, but it takes more to be able to call that person a ‘friend.’ As opposed to my younger days when I’d be glad to meet anybody can chat about superficial shit, these days I really make an effort to know the person and see if there’s a connection. My measurement for a friend is rather simple, if I can get along with him/her one-on-one when we’re sober, then I’d call him a friend, otherwise he’s an acquaintance. I’m not sure how this need for a real connection came about – maybe age or maybe because I don’t want to be like Ron, who was never alone but really lonely as he was unwilling to share himself.
One such case in point is Stephen whom I met one night at gay bar DYMK in Hongkong shortly after I moved there. He’s short and hot but that’s not exactly the point; Stephen is a real private guy who remains very secretive about his life – a private Facebook profile, refusing to add me, and even lying to me about where he attended graduate school. With some detective work, I was able to dig a few things up on him but I didn’t bring it up because I respect his privacy he went thru great lengths to build. Except for a quiet dinner a few weeks after our initial rendezvous, all subsequent meetings I had with took place at my apartment with minimal exchange of background and feelings. But I bumped into him last Saturday night and he looked cheerless which I discovered was due to a fight with his boyfriend, it was serious enough Stephen kicked the boyfriend out. I dolled out some relationship advice from my 12 years of experience amidst my drunken stupor, genuinely wanting him to be happy. Stephen was surprised that his fuckbuddy was so willing to help with his relationship adding “I’m really surprised this is coming from you” when I suggested that he think twice before foregoing the 2 year relationship with a guy he said he was serious about and thought it’d last. Just cuz I am shagging him doesn’t mean I want his relationship to fail, I’m good at compartamentalising.
Both of us intoxicated, I insisted dropping him off even though he lives out of the way which ended with an invite to spend the night. The least I could do was offer my company for the distressed guy when I insisted on dropping him off, the invitation was unexpected. I didn’t want to take advantage of the situation and fell asleep in each others arms after some tender moments.
I think I finally got through to the guy and offered myself if he needed any company or help. To me, friends are about helping each other and the willingness to share without judgements while being able to have fun together. As I’ve aged, I am appreciating the concept that it’s better to give, as I take pleasure in making others happy.
One obsession of our North American culture I haven’t succumbed to is the pursuit of youth. As many people would pray to be younger, I’m very happy to be 32. Yes, my mid-section is less than defined compared to when I was 20 but I don’t have the saggy skin and wrinkled forehead plaguing a 50 year old so the physical effects haven’t dawned on me yet, giving me the courage to say this. Ask me in 20 years, it may be different.
What I’m talking about is that as I’ve matured since college, I’ve become wiser and understand that things are never black and white. It’s true that wisdom comes with age and I’ve learned a lot in the past 12 years, the lesson has been so valuable that I am really appreciating it and hopefully make me a stronger person for the years to come.
One big lesson I learned is that there are no shortcuts in life. We all have to pay for it someway or another, just a matter of now or later. I cheated routinely thru high school and college thinking that I could get away with it but my laziness came back to haunt me, teaching me that I can’t cheat thru life. I was lucky to have successfully cheated but luck is not reliable like hard work.
There’s so much I wanna say but yet at the same time not sure where I’m going with this. Anyways, I just wanted to point out that it isn’t that bad being older and I wouldn’t trade what experiences for youth (not that it’s possible).
I’m starting to miss home, mainly my life with G., now that it’s been six months in Hongkong. I realise that no matter where I am, it’s the people that make the place. Spending time with G., cuddling, cooking and sharing tidbits in life is what a boyfriend is all about and I miss that terribly.
There’s the snow along with the messy weather, provincial people and over-regulation that bug me in Toronto yet there’s social conversatism and materialistic obsession in Hongkong that are just as annoying.
One thing I learned in then past 6 months is that we can’t have it all and need to make do with what we have in order to be satisfied.
I’m reading porn star Erik Rhodes’ blog about gays stepping on each other; that his boyfriend overheard guys at the bar trashing him for having a porn star as a boyfriend, and it pulled out from under the rug one of the biggest issues I have about gays.
One breed of gays I really dislike are the catty bitches who thrive on stepping down on fellow gay or females (rarely on straight guys). It’s essentially a sign of low self-esteem, feeling the need to debase fellows gays to make themselves feel better. One comment in response to the post summed up my thoughts:
“If you hadn’t been in porn they would say you are not clever/hunky/young/pretty/rich/educated/whatever enough to deserve the boyfriend/friends/job you’ve got. That´s the way most people work in order to cover up their low self-esteem. You are looking down on other “faggots“ and at the same time wonder why others look down on you. Break this silly circle of contempt. As soon as you realize that you are not better than any other you´ll see that at the same time no one is worth more than you. So no one has the right and/or the position to look down on you and judge your life.”
I had to endure this breed of bitchy queens during the New Year’s ski trip which made the journey that much more unbearable. David, whose ‘supposed’ handsome looks preceded our introduction years ago is the typical catty gay who loves stepping on others presumably to make himself feel better. I recall vividly one dinner 3 years ago at which he said “I hate that bitch (her colleague) who was telling me about her vacation in the sun while I’m slaving away at work, who cares about here holidays?” At that moment I thought to myself how petty and bitchy he was. Then I had to deal with him times two over the holidays when he and a friend of his with similar attitude, Kyle, always picked on things. I wanted out so much 2 days a after the 4 day trip but had to last out the remaining days because of G.
The bitchiness of these guys is derived from the female characteristic of jealousy (call me sexist). But women frequently do the same thing when they feel competitive with gals and the bitchy queens who espouse this attitude are just bringing out the girl within them. I just don’t get these bitchy gays who rip on fellow gays, how much better do they feel that another gay has less than perfect body or is too hot because he’s a porn star.
I’m not one to look back in life as I prefer to focus on the future. But I couldn’t help think today what my life would be like if I had taken a few different steps in my life. As an adult, I’ve encountered three points which I had the power to choose my destiny 1) a computer temp job at Imperial Oil 2) break up with G and 3) try it with Steven. In all of the instances I turned down the opportunity leading to where I am right now.
But what if I had taken the alternative in each situation, where would I be today? I don’t regret my choices but curiousity beckons.