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A distraction like love

Social Chaos: The Gay Boy Next Door

I know you’re not going to believe me when I tell you this, but I’ve been practically celibate since I won my Nicky Award and reality show last year. As I’ve detailed before, those experiences really boosted my sense of self-worth and helped me to forgo the meaningless hook-ups that once filled me with a short-lived sense of purpose!

Instead, I’ve concentrated on realizing my creative potential and building a career. With all the time I once used thinking about dating, sex, boys and relationships, I’ve managed to make a life for myself. I’m almost tempted to call love and sex a waste of time, but, unfortunately for my tired heart, I can’t.

No matter how strong I become, love and sex are always intricately tied to my success and happiness. It might be easy to stop the meaningless hook-ups, but the driving force behind them is impossible to ignore. A little hope, love and pleasure can go a long way in muting the pain and stress of everyday life. It might feel like a distraction from career goals and self-development, but sometimes a distraction is just what the doctor ordered.

I winced at the calendar recently when noticing just how long it’s been since my last relationship. I’ve become a guarded soul and have focused entirely on my career and long-term financial goals. But as my stress and anxiety levels go up at work, I’m starting to realize that my plan might not be as balanced as it should be. It would be incredibly re-energizing to have someone hold me at night or wish me luck on my way to the office.

Looking back at my first love, I remember some of the happiness I’m missing now. Six years ago I had a man who made me laugh with his monkey faces, hugged me with his big arms and warmed me with his love. I jokingly compared him to King Kong, because he felt like my strong, primal protector. Years after our break up, I’m still comforted by the message he recorded into a voice box for a stuffed monkey he gave me on Valentine’s Day. “Arrrr … King Kong! I love you, Sweetie,” it repeats for me when I’m feeling lonely.

Recently my work situation became so stressful that I sought relief from an unexpected source: Grindr, everyone’s favorite iPhone app. I figured at least talking to guys again might take my mind off the job and I justified the trashiness by insisting the app’s mobility meant some people really did just go on there to chat.

Surprisingly, within a week I met a brilliant engineer from New York who represented almost everything I could want in a boyfriend. My heart melted a little when he sent pictures of himself dressed as video game all-star, Donkey Kong. The snapshots of him as a protective primate struck a chord with me, and renewed my hope and interest in love. Unfortunately, the MIT graduate was not as taken by me, but the chance encounter still inspired more strength than sadness.

Not long after, at a friend’s pool party in L.A., I met a beautiful actor who caught my eye. With a rekindled interest in romance, I approached him confidently and eventually got him alone so I could “help him put on sunscreen.” We passionately made out and I got a real taste of mutual interest for the first time in many months.

He turned out to be a very sweet, song-writing introvert (my ideal guy) and quite emotionally available. He even sent me the usual “can’t stop thinking about you” text messages. Unfortunately he lives in L.A. so he is temporarily off the boyfriend potential list, but once again I felt re-energized by love and the realization that it will find me if I open myself up to it.

It feels like I’ve spent the last few months finding God and following the 12 steps of Lovers Anonymous only to suddenly fall off the widow wagon. I guess you don’t realize how much you’ve missed something until it’s back sitting on a bed with you smiling.

I’ve done a good job avoiding people, love and sex in the past few months, but like any pleasure in life I just needed a dose of moderation. My little romances have reminded me that I can’t swear off men forever if I want to be happy. There’s too much good stuff and too many good men out there to close myself off to the world completely. And even if I want to focus on my career and financial future, love is my motivator and support and I can’t get very far without it. There’s only so much stress relief family, friends and fans can provide. Sometimes a boy needs a good distraction.

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Posted by on Jul 7, 2011. Filed under The Gay Boy Next Door. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “A distraction like love”

  1. Hey Matthew,
    I’m a gay therapist in Los Angeles (who also wrote a long-running column in our local rag about becoming a gay dad-which was published as a book “Forever Dads” this year- maybe the same will happen to your columns at some point). Anyway, that’s not why I’m writing- Somehow, came across you on Facebook and then your column- the keyword in my mind to your last sentence in this particular column in my mind is ‘sometimes’- keep those ‘distractions’ as you put them, as infrequent as possible to stay healthy. I don’t know if you were joking about ‘lovers anonymous”- but there is a program for exactly what you’re talking about called SLAA (Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous)- as a columnist- it may be good for you to know (as well as your fellow ‘grindrs’)- which deals more with the love aspects of sex, love and intimacy issues as faulty coping mechanisms -just thought I’d pass on the info since you may have a following with your readers and have people write you the occasional letter. Keep up the good work-I enjoyed reading it!
    Tony Zimbardi

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