Thursday, September 25, 2003

Adventures in the City: A Weekend with Gabe

:: I realise everyone believes I lead the life of a monk and, for the most part, that's true. But once in a while I actually do manage to meet someone -- like Gabe, who I met online. While this adventure occurred six months ago, it brings a special smile to my lips tonight.

As Sophia Petrillo might say ... picture this! ... A sultry spring (albeit snowy) Saturday night in Toronto ... Apr 5th, 2003 ....

A true tail in the city (mine? his?) ... and I'm still glowing from it. ...

So there I was, on a date this weekend, in truth the first one in quite a while, with this sweet Asian guy, 5'11", who'd been pursuing me online, on the phone, in e-mails and in person. We'd already had a beer together at Woody's once for a "look see", and ran into each other (expectedly) at a function called Asian Xpress the week before. But this was the "big night" -- a real date!

It started well.

Statlers Piano Bar Doorway, Church St, Toronto

We met at 10:30 pm on a (gasp!) still snowy April Saturday night outside Statlers, a cosy piano bar, where the guy at the keys was purring out Elton John, Annie Lennox, Cole Porter and various and sundry show tunes. Gabe (my date) had a smart tomato juice; I had a tasty local Toronto brew -- Cameron's Auburn Ale. Before I could lean over and compliment him on his lovely smile, he reached down into his knapsack and produced, at the ends of his long, sexy fingers, two documents: "A Meditation on Intimacy and Ecstasy" and "Forever, Brothers". (The first is a poem/performance piece I wrote for a spiritual retreat in Pennsylvania last January; the latter a story about a gay adopted guy who meets his mom for the first time, later in life; see links at right.)

"I'd like to discuss these with you, line-by-line," he said. (Did I mention he's studying to be an accountant and turned 21 in January?)

"This is a true story, right?", he exclaimed. "I was soooooo deeply moved!" He exhaled, with a slight squeal, authentically sincere.

"Well, um, actually, no. It's fiction. I made the whole thing up. I'm a writer."

His face fell. "But it's sooooo from the heart! You mean, that's not your brother in the story? I didn't mind the incest. You are such a romantic. I just love your mind. It's not just all about your sexy body, you know!"

Dan at Statlers during Toronto Pride, 2003

Just then the bartender, incredibly almost as adorable as Gabe, came by to see if we wanted a refill. Dan is possibly the hottest young man on the street, white, blond, twinky in the nicest way; and as gentle a personality as you can imagine.

"Well, ok, maybe another tomato juice -- with a bit of vodka this time", Gabe suggested.

Dan squinted at him.

"I'll have to see some ID." He looked at me apologetically (Dan knew me; I'm a regular here). Gabe fished out an Ontario Health Card, and a driver's license, both with photo ID, an address and birthdate. Dan examined them for a moment, then lit up all smiles as he handed them back: "Gosh! You're 11 months older than me! I just turned 20!" and then scurried off to complete our order.

For the next 90 minutes Gabe read through every page, commenting on this and that idea, or turn of phrase, and then turned to the Meditation for examination, as well. I was at a terrible disadvantage because, in the lowish lighting and without my bifocals, I couldn't really see the page. (It's always a good idea to be on the same page with a hot young date. I would have studied up on them earlier in the evening! What can I say? I write, and I move on. Who knew there might be a test tonight?) He didn't ask for my autograph, though.

Meanwhile the piano player sang on.

Who knew to take pictures that night? This is not Gabe, but you get the idea.

:: But this was Saturday night and it's no place for two cute guys -- one young and the other of indeterminate age -- to hang out all evening. Ya gotta dance!

So soon he was packing up his knapsack, and, after I helped Gabe on with his coat, we headed out to The Barn, a local dance club, where he likes to go on Friday and Saturday nights while he's living in Toronto. (He'd been doing a four month co-op stint and would return to Waterloo in May.) The Barn was a couple of blocks down the street and, despite the snowy sidewalks, the temperature was mild. Bois were passing left and right, in both directions, and Gabe grabbed my hand as we walked.

Wasn't that nice? He didn't need to steady himself on the ice. He liked me! It's amazing we didn't float to The Barn!

We chatted about this and that until we arrived at the club. I noticed that I was feeling nicely warm with his fingers tightly clutched in mine. Then, after dropping off our coats at the door, we did a quick spin around the club -- all three floors -- to check out the scene. In the middle of it, suddenly he pulled me to one side and asked: "Can I spend the night with you?"

Graciously I agreed to let him spend the night ....

"Gosh", I thought to myself.

"How could I live with myself if I say no? Is it really my place to break his young heart?"

Deftly smoothing my hand over my forehead attempting, without much success I am sure, to keep the horns from rising any further -- and discretely wiping the drool from my lips -- I graciously responded, "Yes".

We then proceeded to dance for the next three hours, mostly to music I'd heard in the club before but had no idea what the tunes were (I don't own a radio). From time-to-time, we paused to take a breather and he introduced me to this friend and that, and to have a bottled water, or something even nicer, to drink. I had a chance to reflect on how many Glucosamine Chondroitin tablets I'd have to swallow the next morning for my knees to recover.

But quickly my mind wandered to swallowing other things. Gabe had returned with a fresh bottle of water in hand and I learned, over the thud-thud-thud coming from the adjacent dance floor, that we'd been listening to souped up J-Lo, Mariah Carey, Cher and other divas I don't remember now.

Pet Shop Boys, maybe singing Always on My Mind, or maybe not

Suddenly I heard something I actually did recognize -- The Pet Shop Boys' Always On My Mind -- and we were back on the dance floor. I was really into this number and for the first time tentatively offered a kiss as I danced in close and put my arms around his shoulders. If we were sticky before, we were now, suddenly, very hot. A little tongue later, I was being twirled around and I found myself engaged in some interesting front-to-back manoeuvres (!).

But then it dawned on me this tune was released when he was 4. Thanks to the good manners of arithmetic, I am no longer twelve times his age. Small mercies!

(Trivia note 1: did you know that someone has made a rap/disco version of "Killing Me Softly With His Song"?!? So, call me an old fart!, but, honestly!, Roberta Flack's original was better. Much better.)

(Trivia note 2: did you know that when you are sitting in someone's lap, even when the music is very, very loud, you can still feel their cell phone vibrate when it goes off?)

:: By 3 am, we were literally soaking wet, head-to-toe, every article of clothing ready to be wrung out. We reclaimed our jackets (and knapsack) and faced what was now much colder night (early morning) air and walked home the few blocks north to chez Alexander. We tried to be quiet entering the apartment where, of course, my roommate DJ was sensibly long since sound asleep. The cat glared at us but stretched out in a silent greeting.

It ought to have been time for sleep, right? But bois will be bois.

I suggested we take a shower (hey! I was prepared for separate showers) and I tossed him a fresh towel as I started to take off my icky wet clothes.

But I didn't get very far. (Thank you, God.)

Tiger-boi decided the shower could wait and, for the next hour, there was much cheer in the land. The cat left in boredom and Teddy sobbed quietly in the corner (he hates to be left out). Don't ask me why I even bothered to try to make the bed.

So maybe even the shower head was smiling that morning ...

With that out of our system, a shower was even more in order. Miraculously, based on the evidence of snoring, roommate DJ was still happily undisturbed -- but not for long. Here on Maitland Street, we have a Shower From Hell with a Whistle from Hades but Gabe and I managed to tame it, sort of. I don't know what they teach in university these days but if there is space to enrol in this semester's "Showering and Its Social Impact 101", I recommend you take it. I took it (is that the correct way to put it?) then and there -- the one hour introductory at least. This blue-eyed 40s-something pupil apparently pleased his teacher, muchly.

But boyish giggling from the soapy duo finally aroused (is that the right word?) DJ from his slumber. Sorry about that, sweet man! Kitty continued to doze. Teddy remained unamused. As the door to the roommate's room opened in the shadows, the two of us made a freshly towelled dash for my bedroom.

This was the evening of the spring time change (so it was already an hour later than it felt) and by now the sun was coming up; still, for the next hour or so, we managed to find interesting new ways to flex this muscle, and that, before finally (and gratefully) collapsing into a heap of arms and legs and licks and snuggles and tired giggles and a close, tender embrace.

Sleep had finally won out. Teddy stood guard, silently.

Teddy being upacked

:: About four hours later, I opened my eyes to see another set, these brown and baleful and, realising this was not Teddy as usual, mumbled, "Mornin', Gabe". Has anyone else ever had an erection in the morning? Or is it just me? LOL. More giggling ensued -- followed by a lot of heavy breathing. No surprise that soon it was time for another shower.

(But not before he'd also looked at my shelf of CDs and squealed with approval. One title especially required his close inspection. Michael Jackson? Backstreet Boys? Sonique? Macy Gray? Ella Fitzgerald? Nope ... Franz Liszt!)

Sheepishly, as Gabe was dressing, I sauntered out to the living room to discover DJ diligently marking exams. I asked how he slept and got a glower in return.

"Tea?", I offered, knowing it wouldn't really soothe the savage beast.

How many hair care products are in there?!? But before I got the kettle on, the sing-song voice of my dressing-for-success date called out from the bathroom: "What sort of moisturizers do you use?"

Little did I know that his knapsack -- full to bursting -- contained only two classes of things: samples of my writings; and a plethora of hair and skin care products. The things I learned in the next 20 minutes would entitle me to an instant promotion as Estee Lauder clerk-of-the-month at Bloomingdale's.

Alas, all good things come to an end and, as it was now pushing 2 pm on Sunday afternoon, I retrieved his winter jacket (which had every pocket stuffed, incredibly, with even more hair care products -- did I mention he was studying to be an accountant?!?) and we were on our way to "breakfast". The all-you-can-eat special at the local pancake joint was already over so we settled on The Village Rainbow at Church and Maitland. At 5'11" and maybe 160 pounds, I have no idea where Gabe put all that food. I had the discrete two poached eggs and and a slice of fried tomato; he had the Lumberjack Special with sausages, three eggs over easy, french toast, homes fries, brown toast, bacon ....

But what a sweet conversation over the next couple of hours chatting about life, and dreams, and bois and the night before. Gabe isn't exactly what you might term "butch" (ROTFLMAO) so I wasn't quite sure how to take his going on about how "refined" and "dainty-like" my mannerisms were. Anyway, he liked them and thought I was polite. I heard most of what he was saying but I did get distracted by the way he ate those sausages. Slowly. Lingeringly. Nibble-by-nibble.

After much hand-holding, it was time for him to go home to his parents (!) so at 4 pm I walked him to the subway. We kissed and caressed outside the entrance for a minute or two and then he disappeared into the train station. I headed home, refreshed, and spent, in a good way.

What to do for an encore?

Is it Friday, yet?

(PS -- Whether an act of God or an act of Glucosamine, my knees turned out to be just fine, thanks. Whew!)

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