There are two things I've learned about love in the gay world: One, never give up on finding the man of your dreams, and two, never date that man if his dick is smaller than yours is. When it comes to romance, I'm not sure which is the more valuable lesson.
When we're young, we sneak peeks at "Playgirl," imagining those men as grown-up lovers, in settings soon to become our cities. New York, L.A., Miami, they all foretell heavenly masculine scents, hand-holding, kisses in mist and moon glow, the brush of a beard, and a love so shiny it lives inside the diamond.
Once we grow up, none of this matters if his dick is little. Your dream lover will go from self-described "hot top" to versatile to bottom to disinterested to resentful to anger to blaming you for his impotence. This will happen over the course of a single evening. When you break up, he will accuse you of sexual selfishness. He won't feel the need to explain how masturbation is considered "sexual selfishness."
A New Jersey guy I dated once asked me why I'd never written about him. We were at a Christmas party, and he'd just told me that I was too immature to be seriously involved with him. This was right after he dragged me into the hosts' bathroom and pulled my jeans down, and right before he told me I was the love of his life. When I admitted that I, too, had feelings for him, he kissed me with eggnog breath and begged me to call him the next day.
He never returned that phone call because, apparently, I'm too immature to be seriously involved with him. I am, however, mature enough to write about him.
If there's one thing I've learned about eligible Los Angeles men is that none of them are eligible. Either they are in therapy for commitment issues, refuse to date anyone less successful or more successful than they are, less prettier or more prettier than they are, too career-oriented to date anyone over 21, or worried that you're not spiritually compatible since you're not tattooed down at least one side of your body and don't have a suitable James Franklin photo. And these are the 10 percent of the men who are
The remaining 90 percent write you love letters, talk of marriage and the appropriate number of children needed to begin your journey together, send you flowers (and unsolicited cock and spread-open-ass shots), dream up honeymoons in Tahiti, and remind you incessantly that you are the man they've been dreaming about all of their life. This conversation stops the day before you agree to meet them in person.
If you confront them about their commitment issues (which won't be easy since they've now blocked you on Facebook and email and refuse to return your phone messages), they will tell you that, since they are in a Program and you are not, their journey is something you can never understand. Damage is the Los Angeles black.
On my birthday a couple of years back, my boyfriend stormed out of the room in the middle of a fight. When I asked him why, he responded, "You're a writer, and I don't want to end up in one of your stories." I was shocked, naturally, as, at the time, I had never intended to write about him, or his small penis.
Our fight was over dinner plans. I wanted to stick to the romantic restaurant that we'd picked weeks earlier, and he wanted to go to IHOP. He didn't much feel like celebrating, and when I told him I'd simply go out on my own he forbade it. Apparently, all cities have men in them, and you never know when one of these men is going to sweep you off your feet and take you somewhere fancier than the International House of Pancakes. Or be happy that it's your birthday.
Miami men are so determined to be happy that the process makes them miserable. Their car is too expensive, their home is too expensive, and their upkeep is too expensive (their own upkeep, not their home's). Since they all know one another, it's like dating lesbians-except for the part about remaining friends after breakups or showing an ounce of kindness to anyone they don't owe money to. If they haven't moved to Fort Lauderdale yet, they're bemoaning the death of South Beach. Once they've migrated, they're bitter that Wilton Manors is now more fashionable than Ocean Drive.
Reno men are like the city: desperate for anyone willing to take a gamble no matter how bad the odds.
Last year, a handsome, debonair Philadelphia businessman invited me to his city for a romantic weekend. I met him at a memorial service, of all places, and was smitten by his charm. He graciously asked for my number, then called me several times before setting the actual weekend date. It couldn't have been more Cary Grant and Doris Day if you'd Technicolored our phone calls.
When I arrived-via train-in snowy Philadelphia, he was waiting at the station. He opened the car door for me, quickly showed me the sights, and then took me to his impressive three-story home. It was immaculate, with antique clocks and vintage wingchairs, even a veranda for summer barbecues. I didn't see any of this, because once we were in the bedroom, he ripped off my clothes and Lubed up. He was a gracious host in that department too-painfully so.
It was an unusual beginning to a long weekend, and it took a stranger turn once we emerged from the bedroom. He showed me his Lipo scar, showed me his smooth forehead, showed me his former nose (both of them), and showed me the door. Turns out, somewhere between "hello" and "hope I was clean" I'd failed his boyfriend test and needed to leave.
Our short time together after that night involved him talking on the phone nonstop to his friends as a way to avoid contact. When we did finally speak, he mentioned the memorial service where we'd met. Turns out, the deceased man, lover to one of his dearest friends, had a big dick. This was, apparently, intrinsic to their ten-year romance, and the one topic he needed to share.
Atlanta men only want one thing from another man: a way to get out of Atlanta.
When I left Philadelphia, on the bus, I felt used and cheap, and furious that a man living in such a historically rich city could be so deceptively appealing. When I re-thought the situation, it all made sense. He'd appealed to my emotions, he'd courted me, he'd comforted me and gotten to know my personal side, and then, once he'd conquered me, he threw me away. This man didn't just represent the home of the Liberty Bell and Ben Franklin, he represented America.
The Pacific Northwest is chockfull of men who swoon over you and court you, and who are somehow flattered by your lack of attention, bad attitude, bad mood, and detached nature. Back in New York, we have a name for those people: We don't know what that name is because we would never start a conversation with a guy like that.
I dated a man from D.C. once. He was the worst dresser in the world and one of the most amicable men I've ever met. At first it was funny when he'd slept with my next-door neighbor. Then it got weird when the guy who set us up had lived with his ex. By the time I found out the host of the cocktail party we'd been invited to was his ex-lover's lover, I realized I was the only one in the room who'd not had sex with someone there. Or hadn't shopped at J. Crew. I never heard from that guy again, because my roommate (who first told me about the guy and was his neighbor back in Dupont Circle) kicked me out of his apartment without notice, as he wanted to rent exclusively to his D.C. buddies. There's a reason men can't reproduce.
A very famous playwright I know once sent me an article he'd written about the nasty nature of critics. It made the point that, no matter your personal feelings, always remember the labor and love that an artist pours into his work before you toss it aside with a few blunt words. A short time after that, I asked him to read one of my plays. He said yes, and about 20 minutes later sent me an email saying he hated the play, hated every character, hated the plot, hated the dialogue, hated the whole concept, and couldn't finish it. I never dated that guy, and this anecdote has nothing to do with romance. I just like telling the story.
If there's one thing I've learned about Texas it's that its inhabitants are the most polite men on the planet. Most of them probably want to kill you-and are prepared to-but you'll never encounter such wonderful manners. Texas men are closeted, scared, repressed, angry, guilty, bigoted, racist, greedy, unable to commit, and, entirely disconnected. And they are better at romance than anyone.
When sleeping with a Texan, you risk, well, murder, but you will never forget the experience should you make it home in one piece. Perhaps if "Everything's bigger in ..." were tagged onto all men's welcome mats, our love affairs would improve. And Florida road rage might subside.
There's a joke going around that I only date men who live in cities besides New York. It's a joke because it's true. That's the problem with living in the center of the universe; you get every malfunction on one island.
There are Laundromat daters, the guys who fall madly in love, move in together, are inseparable, fight, have a horrible breakup, move out, never speak again, then rinse and repeat the cycle. There are the "Glee" guys, who only date men who look the same, act the same, dress the same, gym the same, phrase sentences the same (as in "Miss you guys," "Awesome," and "Stop hatin' on Britney"), and snub the same. Their "loser" status gives them license to know they're better than everyone else.
The worst offenders are those who post affirmations like "It's not how rich you are; it's not how beautiful you are; it's not how big your home or car; it's how much you love that matters." Any man who recites such mantras has a billionaire boyfriend, is dating a model, or is still waiting to hear if he'll be cast on the next installment of "The A-List." And wouldn't understand the irony if he read it in this graph.
If I make fun of men, it's because I am the butt of their jokes. I no more understand what men want than what they don't want: me.
A long time ago, a one-night, impotent, stand told me the next morning that his friends at the bar thought I was ugly and that he could have done better. When I told him to leave he told me I was selfish in bed. I didn't tell him that I hated his skinny penis. That guy had looked so handsome in a suit and tie that I couldn't resist. He reminded me of that man from San Francisco I used to have such a crush on; not a gay man, not even a real man, but Rod Taylor in "The Birds." He said he loved my gray sweater, and he called me darling and sweetheart and paid for our martinis. Twelve years later I still own that sweater, and I still like how it looks on me.
He didn't tell me he was living with a man who'd just thrown him out for infidelity, which happened after his nervous breakdown, which happened after he lost his job, which happened after he divorced his wife, which happened after his lover found out he was married.
Those two men are back together and have a home in The Hamptons. They have a large circle of friends, throw many parties and fundraisers, and invite over beautiful men who you could swear were the magazine models you viewed as a kid. It's a hunch, but I'm guessing much of the poolside cocktail chatter revolves around who has the biggest penis on Long Island.
Romance is not honest; prostitution is. Love is as elusive and thin as those who pile on lovers with abundance. When I am torn down, beaten and humiliated by a man's reproach, the path to recovery does not exist, but the words for survival are within my touch. I will pun and I will poke, and my sex will live inside the humor. It's for lack of love that I reproduce my wit, and the joke is always at my expense.