It bothered me only slightly that he lives in College Station, and that upon first viewing a thumbnail picture of him, I mistook him for my friend, Maggie - with a beard.
It struck me as slightly odd that he was so effusive in his affections, and that his heart was so clearly emblazoned on his sleeve. It was worse than odd; it was familiar - reminiscent of the exact way I handled meeting a new guy when I was fat, before the cosmetic surgery, before my drug dealing, before all the experiences that got me to the page I'm on now. I could certainly have made better choices, but I am really rather immensely happy I put myself through the shit I did ... because I don't think I have to apologize or compensate anymore.
Dan asked if I minded him coming to San Antonio. I responded, "why would I mind? You'll love the city. There's so much to see and do. So, why are you coming to San Antonio? Do you have business here?" I should perhaps have realized that he was coming just to see me. He hemmed and hawed, and then sheepishly admitted that he wanted to meet me. It was innocent and clear, and a complete surprise to me ... and then I recovered, as I tend to do, quickly. So, the plans were made ... or rather, Dan made them - booking the hotel (right down the street from my house) early last week. I made plans - deciding where to go, what to see, et cetera.
In the meantime, Dan and I spoke every night. He made much of how he looked forward to meeting me, how he looked forward all day to talking to me each night, and it was sweet - initially; however, too much of what was sort of a good thing, still sours eventually. I answered his calls each night, maintaining the distractions of web-surfing, reading, and so on, and prepared myself for a few hours of him thanking me for talking to him, thanking me for being so very wonderful, and then listening to Dan's various and sundry woes.
Like me only a few years ago, and maybe me still ... in some ways, Dan wore his heart (and his pain) not only on his sleeve but on his forehead. He has had more relationship experience than me - he spoke of 4 ex-boyfriends, one of whom I apparently resemble. The first. He is overweight and gay and smart - which is only slightly worse than being overweight and straight because so many gay men worship at the altar of young, (very) thin, and (very) simple. He has a history of depression - there was mention of a suicide attempt. He always felt, and had heard before, that nothing was ever good enough.
And, like I did on my first date with Daniel - just 3 years ago, Dan confused getting to know someone with going to therapy. I listened to him talk about his family, his friends, his problems ... and it was not offered in the edited and considered, redacted and usually optimistic interpretation that is date appropriate; rather, he vomited his story. On me.
He got into town on Friday, and discovered that his paycheck - which he deposited rather than cashed - did not clear. He had no money - but he did have a hotel room with WiFi. I took my laptop along, mostly because I take the little thing everywhere, and I am glad of it. Initially, we stopped in at the hotel so that Sam could transfer funds ... but that did not seem to work, so when next I looked up, he changed out of the pleasant enough Dockers and dress shirt, and into a white T-shirt and pajama pants.
My Friday night, thus, involved crawling into a king-sized bed next to a large man dressed like a 6-year old at bedtime - he on his laptop, logged onto his school's message board, and me on my laptop, logged onto facebook.
Saturday was far less blase. We breakfasted at Jesma's - a wonderful neighborhood restaurant with Marilyn Monroe murals and grand home cookin'. Dan ordered, in addition to his heavy Mexican plate, a pork chop taco (it is a literally just a pork chop - on the bone - wrapped in a tortilla). Of my lengua plate, he observed, "Is that really tongue? ... No thanks, I am not eating anything that can taste me back." He enjoyed the food, but commented that the restaurant reminded him of the taco truck outside his work-place. This included a conversation about Mexican restaurants failing to maintain health standards ... or even have permits.
After breakfast, there was MadHatter's Tea - a gay-owned tea house with an Alice in Wonderland, topsy-turvy theme, in the heart of King William ... on Beauregard, in fact. He said that King William was just like the Heights, in Houston. Of what I consider a spectacular house on a corner near MadHatter's, he observed, "What a fucking architectural nightmare."
His opposition to modern art he made clear when, upon seeing "The Friendship Torch" downtown, he decried that it was a waste of good metal. The San Antonio Central Library drew similar reactions. Of the Riverwalk, Dan said ... "Only in America would people pay good to look at a river." I pointed out that the Riverwalk was a WPA project, and thus that it is very much a part of American history, and a source of tremendous tourism ... and that a number of cities have attempted to replicate the phenomenon.
By the time, we made it to the local gay bars, I expected the comparison to Houston (inevitable ... and his apparent only frame of reference). I called for my gays. It was on the third bar of the evening when I decided to call in the City Councilman and the Frenemy. They arrived with guns blazing, and suddenly Dan's perspective on San Antonio was all "It's beautiful. The people are so friendly ..." It struck me that had I been with that man all day, I may actually have had a good time ... instead of gritting my teeth.
But owing to the effects of alcohol, consumed in sufficient quantities, and a desire to salvage something of what was a weekend of very good intentions, when Dan made a move for me ... I did not object. I dove in - fully armed - and received for my troubles a faceful of pubic hair. Manscaping was not a priority for him. I was almost erect when I entered him, and a few strokes and groans later, he got off ... though I could not. He asked if it was because I was drunk ... and, at that moment, there was nothing left to say - save the truth.
So, I told him, still inside him, that I wasn't going to get off, that I was barely even able to stay hard, that he just wasn't my type.
Needless to say, brunch was awkward. We went to Candlelight. He was sweet to the end - respected the plans I set for us what seems like ages ago now. the Frenemy joined us, and I was glad of the company. Facing the awkward morning-after is never so awkward as when it is done alone, and in public. He dropped me off at my father's house, and we exchanged a few words -
"I am sorry things did not work out as you would have liked."
"It's okay. I'm used to it. There's always disappointments. Sometimes they're big, and sometimes it's just a lot of little ones. I'm used to it."I hugged him, and then he was gone. Another bad date memory. Sweet man.