Wednesday, July 19, 2017

THE DATING FAT


Not my actual belly. Yet.
You may dismiss it as grasping at straws to find a downside of a good relationship but I’m getting fat. Not obese. Maybe not even fat fat. I’ve always freaked out over weight gain and I’m highly uncomfortable with the extra five—or ten—pounds I’ve packed on. Oh gawd, what if it is ten?!



I don’t think I’ve become complacent. I’ve got a guy. Now I can skip the gym and stuff myself with Twinkies. (Incidentally, Hostess trades on NASDAQ as TWNK. Gay-friendly investing.) I never liked Twinkies. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever had one. I don’t like the idea of baked goods lasting for weeks or months in a shroud of cellophane.



But that argument doesn’t apply to the crusty, burnt-on-the-edges sourdough loaf I devoured yesterday from the too-close Nelson & Seagull. 



And it doesn’t apply to the to-go orders of fries I keep getting from the also-too-close Meet vegan restaurant in Gastown. Full confession: The menu calls them the “Little Mountain of Fries!” Yes, the exclamation mark is part of the name and, yes again, it’s warranted. But, still, I wish they’d play down size a tad and call ‘em a hill. Or a knoll. Little Knoll of Fries! Maybe not as boastful, but a respectable nod to the diet-conscious. And what do you mean the diet-conscious don’t order fries? These sliced up taters are tasty!



Okay, you know you have a problem when you write an entire paragraph on fries.



Really tasty, I swear.



It’s my boyfriend’s fault. Yes, I can make this point. You see, my few friends here in Vancouver refuse to go to vegan restaurants and I don’t go alone. I used to stay home and eat nonfat cottage cheese. Day in, day out. But my wonderful boyfriend more than tolerates vegan fare. He actually likes it. Not only did he acquiesce to my suggestion to try Meet, but he assented to going again. And by then my habit formed. Fries! (This time the exclamation mark’s all mine.) I got it bad.



Of course, a few orders of fries can’t account for five—or ten—extra pounds. My boyfriend is to blame for other reasons. He lives in Portland so Friday workouts aren’t as common anymore as we spend a lot of them in transit, flying or driving or riding the train or picking up each other. And Saturday workouts—and sometimes Sunday workouts—aren’t as likely because, well, our time together is limited and bench presses and ab crunches aren’t what either of us regard as quality time.



So, yeah, fewer workouts adds to the problem. Body fat seeks out opportunities.



But then there’s also the fact that I find going out for ice cream to be a romantic date. I even let him taste my scoop—okay, scoops. Is that love or what?! And it’s not my fault that he chose to live in Portland of all places. They’ve got multiple locations of Salt & Straw, which I’ve concluded has the best ice cream in the whole wide world. (But, being a true skeptic, I keep trying other shops in other cities. Refute my claim, San Francisco!)



And Portland also has Blue Star Donuts. Not romantic but undeniably yummy. And the city even has a Blue Star at its airport which seems like a much better way to pass the time before my flights home than getting a shoe shine (I wear Converse) or repeatedly going through the body scanning ride. (What? It’s not a ride? Then why do they keep asking for my ticket?)



So fries, no workouts, ice cream and donuts. It all adds up. Ten pounds. Okay, maybe fifteen.



Being in love has its perks, for sure, but also its drawbacks. Side effects in the form of side growths along the midriff. Love handles, aptly named.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A PROLONGED ABSENCE


I know what you’re thinking. He gets a boyfriend (poor dude) and then abandons us. Typical gay flake.

But, no, it’s not what you think. Sure, I’m still navigating a new relationship (yep, poor dude), but I just haven’t had anything to write about.

Okay, it may have something to do with the boyfriend. So many of my blog posts over the years have been about dates, most of them bad ones. Now I don’t have to navigate online sites filled with supposedly single guys who supposedly want to be in a relationship or, at least, meet for a coffee. And I don’t have to use my blog as an outlet to process the endless stream of those WTF coffee get-togethers.

Married guys.

Closeted guys.

Hung over guys.

Men who show up still sweating profusely from the gym.

Guys that talk in uninterrupted monologues.

Guys that decide to sit and give me the silent treatment.

Guys that don’t show up at all.

It was great fodder for writing but utterly ego-crushing. And I didn’t have much of an ego to begin with!

I know I could have continued to communicate with you, dear reader, even without the bad dates. Maybe I could have written about the early stages of my relationship, but I haven’t talked with my partner about that and I don’t want him reading about our tiffs on a public website that two or three people glance at every so often. I made a conscious choice to preserve and protect our beginnings. A relationship needs to find its legs on its own without the meddling and the (dis)approval of family, friends and blog readers.

I may still go virtual with The State of Us. That’s one of the drawbacks of dating a writer. You become a character, fictionalized or not. If David Sedaris can do it with Hugh Hamrick, why can’t I with my man, aka, The Poor Dude? But that’s still a discussion that’s yet to come.

Here's an idea: Maybe we can wear shirts and
still be proud. Aren't we supposed to have a
keen sense of fashion?
I could have written about other things. Pride parades and the press’ constant need to post the related pics of guys with abs in teeny tiny Lycra bottoms. Why do these attendees have a constant need to bare themselves and why do they hang in packs of two or three? Six packs stick together while Other-Bellied Gays come and go in various configurations—even, perhaps not so shockingly, alone. I could have gone political with a few posts, too. How can there NOT be a daily blog about Trump and his henchmen?! (Just this morning, I heard one of his supporters call all this bothersome inquiry into Russia “the big nothing burger.” So eloquent, so profound.) There’s also been troubling news from Chechnya and a discouraging personal “No” vote from Angela Merkel on gay marriage. Clearly, the blog could have continued.

Okay, I will admit that my boyfriend has been a most pleasant distraction. As it’s a long-distance relationship, there are a lot of late night conversations on FaceTime. Consequently, I’m not as inclined to hit the cafĂ© in the morning to carve out some writing time before work. So he is a factor but not the main one. The simple truth is that my energy to write fizzled. My thoughts dried up. I lost my voice. The pressures of a new work environment consumed me more that I wanted to admit. In the past, writing served as my escape, my source of joy, my outlet for creativity. (Okay, I can see it myself…Enter: boyfriend.) The harsh reality is that I’ve struggled to find any satisfaction with the drivel I’ve typed on those occasions when I have tried to commit to my craft. I never fully told myself to go on hiatus—which would have been a healthier way to rid myself of writer’s guilt—but that’s what, in effect, happened.

So now I have summer and some time off from work. It means more time with my partner—yay! (once more, the poor dude)—but it also offers a chance to find my writing voice once more.

I appreciate your patience, dear reader, and the fact that you’ve bothered to check in again. I can’t promise regular posts, but I’ll make a better effort. Don’t blame the boyfriend. The flakiness is all me.