two weeks ago we were in the air, near paris.
we were watching a funny movie in first class.
he was watching the movie.
i was watching him.
his chewing mouth
his large shoulders
his dark eyes
yes, that was it, that was what drew me away from the little television. he calmly, confidently, and leisurely owned the plane, owned first class, owned his own comfort. i was struck by how familiar this view was to me. this is one of the reasons i find him so beautiful: he is rarely nervous or uncomfortable with anyone or in any situation. i marveled at his ability to be comfortable here, on this my first transatlantic flight in the front of the plane, in the huge reclining seats. i delighted seeing him here, encapsulated by the boring environment of a delta first class cabin. he was easily the most beautiful man there. he was also MY MAN.
yet i had to keep saying that. he's MY MAN, because i could not fathom the depth of his comfort, and how he truly owns my heart at moments like this, innocuously chewing a piece of bread, fully above the movie and the world and the capital of france, but right in front of me, devoting his attention to silliness anyway, fully absolute, unaware that i'm admiring in, soaking in him. he is the one who revels in sneaking long glances at me while i'm reading, while we watch battlestar galactica together, while i'm looking at a menu, he trying to stay quiet while he grins from ear to ear like a little boy who is allowed to have dessert at the beginning of the meal. yet it was he who was being observed, and the fact that his facial expression was so different than when he is returning my gaze, yet so close to what i thought of his emotional being, startled me.
tonight i was on the train, from my apartment to his. outside, on the platform, was a guy, in a black jacket, not too much taller than me, but with a torso more stout than my own, buzzed head, a long, handsome nose. he was a new york gorgeous guy, moving quickly toward the stair off the platform, places to go on this rainy night, probably well-educated, athletic, confident, not too young, and a freak in the sack. obviously, i was filling in the picture a little. i did not feel any physical or emotional desire for this man; the looking was detached, the completion of his life's story something that tumbled out of my head while i was waiting for the doors to close. in fact, i find myself looking at other men at the times like these, the times that habit takes over my head: when tired, or on the train, or drunk, or during a game. it's like my boyfriend's dog, really, who likes eating and sleeping and playing with the plastic doggie bone, an automatic function of the body, instinct, not something i do with the slightest grain of passion or motive, but something i do because i've spent years doing it. i had trained myself to look everywhere for what i wanted. yet i have since learned that what we see and say about others is, of course, what we wish we could see in, or should say about, our selves, and so it is of little use to speak of anything except our selves. and even though i still see other men with my eyes, i now marvel at how my projections on them would always end in disappointment, in that the dream of being those guys' terrific familiar was nothing but a little film i kept playing in my head, over and over, bringing me no closer to actually living that kind of life. i've watched clue, the movie, more times than i can say, yet have yet to design the kind of house that movie inspires in me. so, tonight, when i looked at the guy in the black jacket, i could only think oh. i nearly forgot. i have that terrific familiar waiting for me. for real.
while these train and street reveries bear some resemblance to my darling, at the same time these subjects of my looking habit are nothing like him. he encompasses everything they are, the curl of the nose, a set of dark eyes, a smile that won't quit, a dark beard, beautiful chest and arm muscles, and transmutes those qualities with more generosity and compassion and understanding and communicativeness than i could ever imagine, into something truly alien to my little visions. i look at those men and see nothing familiar, nothing i would ever want, because i am in love with a man that is something entirely apart from them. i looked at the guy in the black jacket and saw a depthless Not-Boyfriend, and yet again counted the stops on the 1/9 before i got to my man's apartment.
the party was friday evening, for four gay rugby teams in town for a big gay rugby invitational the next day. we had all gathered in a remote house, far from new york, in the wilds of new jersey. the house was a large, beautiful, 70s house, designed by a taliesen student. travertine floors. sunken conversation pits. wood ceilings. rambling, flowing spaces, separated by glass or by changes in floor height: obviously designed by someone who understands what really delimits spaces, someone who can design a house with no "rooms" without erasing privacy or connection to the piece of landscape the house sits in. its period furnishings (70s glam) were impeccable and new. it was not a photo set for a dumb lifestyle magazine photo shoot, it was not ersatz. it was as someone had decorated it thirty years ago, and its glamourous aspirations (mirrored billiard table, carpeted and mirrored bathroom walls, metallic wallpaper) lent a hedonistic grandeur to the party.
fifty feet by fifty feet. that's a large indoor pool. it was a trapezoid, not a square, and its shape turned the pool into a beautiful sculptural depression, with a teak indoor deck around it, wooden ceiling and beams and skylights overhead. it was heated, and very warm. it was full of naked rugby players and their hirsute admirers. we were all drinking, and had been well fed. there was a wood floor that overhung the pool, and several terraced balconies on the other sides. there were few cameras, and absolutely no press, no telephones, and no one to tansmit or broadcast anything to the outside world. we were all alone out here, and in a perfect environment for the men, all frolicking, then looking, then frolicking some more.
my boyfriend and i had worn our halloween costumes under our jeans, the matching tiny swimtrunks that we felt very good in. we were timid about going into the pool, though: both of us had had a long week and were already tired, and far from home. yet we were easily persuaded by our driver to join in the fun, and a few moments later, floating on an air raft together, watching the friend who had driven us get surrounded by naked bears the instant he got in (he was grinning), we exhaled and let ourselves be borne up by the sexual leisure everyone felt, one that allowed everyone to loosen up and just be together. it was a delicious sight, because our rugby club had started the other three that were present, and so our in-pool fellowship felt more like a family reunion (teamwork and enjoyment) than a rugby petting zoo (appearances and glamour). the tableau from my clorinated, floating pavilion, head resting on my boyfriend's muscular ass, made me wonder when bette midler was going on, with barry manilow on the piano, and if the continental baths served liquor while you were in the pool, or if you had to be seated poolside to get waiter service.
first of all, we scored our first tries on our last game. in both cases, it was the result of a wonderful and rolling pick-and-run borne by something we felt for the first time all season: a team-wide momentum. it is the sense that our opponents would not stop us. ever. a common sense, and for the first time the entire team was helping their mates out in order to maintain possession and advance the ball. it was unlike anything i'd ever felt before. it wasn't teamwork, it was teamthought, if i can be allowed to even approach the description of the sensation of knowing that happens in a contact sport with a neologism based on the word thought.
so, given that transgression, if you have the patience, let me try to tell you about this.
during parts of the game, i should have been terrified. this was the team that sent me to the hospital in april. yet i was simply playing my game. team goals, personal goals, backs goals, all were formulated sometime on the sidelines, but left there. it was my job to play the line, tackle, and run the ball. more importantly, or if you prefer, more specifically, the ball was in the air at an early moment. i was in the middle of five opponents, and most of us jumped for the ball. i could easily get it up there. but i had no help to offload to, and there were a couple of dogs waiting for my toes to touch the ground (a person in the air cannot be tackled), when they could slam my ass into the dirt. my brain formed a thought (doesn't happen much during games) that was very clear: let's sit this one out. when i hit the ground i could tackle the guy who would get the ball. i took him into touch. our lineout.
much later, the guy who i think put me in the hospital was thrown a hospital pass. i recognized it, because i had been given one or two of them in april.
rugby, for all its arcane rules, and its arcane terms for certain things (range is pronounced ran-gay, and is a kind of circle pass play), also has simple names for things that will cause you injury due to the directness of the violence. it is not unlike Here Come The Warm Jets:
he's on the menu
he's the table
he's the knife and he's the waiter
because there is a need to directly push you energetically from an inner source of pent-up energy, similar to the reason a larger child pushes a smaller one on the playground, yet in all three cases a complete obfuscation about the intentions behind the violent, abherrent reaction.
and if you can be bothered to read a little further into this, you will know that thought is erased on the pitch, during a game, much the way it is at a busy manhattan intersection, such as, perhaps, canal and hudson, where, as one travels toward the village, to, say, one's boyfriend's apartment, after a long day at the office, and one is nearly injured, fatally, by an errant, swerving, honking van, with the label DEAF SCHOOL upon its dented side. it is as if the intersection, with its criss-crossed lines, is a new territory of violence, one that seems to occlude all other prescriptions toward normal behavior for an honorable code of running your obstacles into the ground.
don't get me wrong, or read this the wrong way, please. it's all very clear why the opponents want to tackle you: it's THEIR BALL and you are merely tresspassing on their possession of it. but the hit, while you are just out of the air, is what is unintelligible. why would they want to hurt you after such a lovely leap? i still don't know the answer to this.
my boyfriend thinks i am cute when i run and jump. and darling, my travelling boyfriend, who grinningly skips around the touchlines with my camera attempting to fill my CF card with pictures of the little man he loves, has suddenly encircled the playing field with his own invisible, yet palpable, concentric boundary around those pitch lines. another territory where these behaviors are not only happening but admired. a field of love for what i want to be every saturday at one in the afternoon. i still wonder how that happened, in the sense that i cannot imagine it ever not-happening.
not-imagine, that is, except when i get friendster messages from beautiful men who, before i met my gorgeously studlike co-fiend, would always send me their telephone numbers, unsolicited by any request from me, with no intention of ever receiving my telephone call or invitation for beer. the messages say things like "it is a shame we never got to meet up" out of the complete blue sky, and curling around those phrases are the experiences of falling in love with my delicious partner-in-mischief, little territories that accreted to become our relationship, all the little actions and all the thousands of little gifts that we have given each other without any planning or thinking, all the effortless giving of ourselves, all the things that are unaffected by this need--so endemic to a manhattan bachelor--for noncommittal attention. this empty need seems to spring up in spaces like friendster, another territory where people may indulge their habits without concern for the safety of others.
hospital pass. it is not sympathetic to the receiver. it is a pass the receiver won't jump for instinctively, yet one in which their limbs are extended into the air, exposing ribs and internal organs while they return to the ground, vulnerable to a hit. my opponent had the sense to jump for the ball, but i had the sense to stay on the ground. the first rule of a good tackle is to be in position to tackle the man before he gets the ball, so you can hit him in the kidneys at the moment he is trying to catch a slick and muddy ovoid ball. he caught the ball, and i started toward his back, timing my hit for when he hit the ground. he touched, i wrapped his waist, and pulled him over me, toward my teammates. he sent the ball to a teammate, but found himself tumbled in front of the ball. i took great satisfaction in my set-up. why would i want to hurt him, on this, the last union game of the season? i really don't have any words for that. but i know that i need to do it, because after a long period of being very tired of being hit, part of me feels like it is my duty (or due). and i look forward to doing it again.
Dedah dedah de DAH!
We're definitely moving beyond a brief and extremely effective dating phase.
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.