Right after my birthday last year I spent a week in Provincetown, MA with my best friend/roommate, Jacob. We had been there the year prior and absolutely fell in love with that small New England town. It is such an interesting mix of gay, art, gay, beach, bikes, drag queens, and with a dash of straights thrown in there for good measure. Its one of my favorite places to go.
Stupidly, I had introduced Jacob to the world of Grindr right before we departed for the cape. The thing about Jacob is that he was celibate for quite sometime. I never truly understood why. He in his early 40s, attractive, fun and incredibly talented. About the time I moved in with him he started dating again. Then, much like an early mid life crisis, he became obsessed with guys, dating and sex. Unfortunately for me and our relationship he started acting like a different person.
The first year we went to Ptown, Jacob and I spent so much time together. Even though both of us always had one eye scanning around for cute boys, we were there together. That trip really solidify our relationship. Our last trip seemed to have the opposite effect. We were like random people who were sharing space together. I contribute a lot of this to his new found love for Grindr. Don’t get me wrong, I use Grindr and other gentlemen socializing networks, ok…sometimes I over use them, but at least I can always pull my attention away from shirtless torsos to carry on a conversation. The rest of the vacation was chuck for of instances of him wanting to go out with me and within 10 minutes he would locate his next conquest and I was left at the bar, alone.
Jacob came back to our room one morning and told me that just had unprotected sex and wanted advice on what to do next. I simply shut down.
What do you think I should do? Is there anything I can do? Does it really matter if I was the top?
I did know some of the answers to his questions but I was so angry all I could say was “I don’t know.” I was angry not just for the way he was treating me during the vacation, more importantly how he could do this to himself knowing all the shit that not only I go through, but other of his close friends do, because of this disease. So instead of blowing up in his face I said “I don’t know.”
Later on that afternoon a memory flashed through my mind when I told a good friend of mine that I tested positive. He laid into me with a lecture consisting of “How could you not have any respect for yourself?” “What were you thinking?” I know that my friend was upset and worried but all I needed was someone to listen to me and to be there for me. So I choked on my pride, found Jacob and gave him as much information as I could.
A couple months later a another good friend of mine put themselves in the same situation. When he told me that after having unprotected sex, his sexual partner then informed him that he was positive. When my friend came to me for advice, I felt the same pangs of anger. I know this sounds completely self centered but I took it as a personal offense, just like I did with Jacob. This time I swallowed all of my urges to do my best Cher impression and slap him “Snap out of it!” and I just listened and told him what course of action needs to happen.
I understand the allure of sex and being in the moment, but it hurts me to know that my friends aren’t being safe. Intellectually I now that it has nothing to do with me and as ridiculous as it sounds when these situations happen I somehow feel betrayed.
I want to be able to be there for my friends, no matter what happens. So, I will do my best just to listen and to be a supportive shoulder to cry on in moments like these. But you can bet your ass that after the stings of these situation pass I will be first in line with a lecture that Dorothy Zbornak can be proud of!