Justin's Life... March 9th-10th, 1998

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March 9, 1998 - Monday


Well, it's Monday, March 9th, the beginning of Spring Break, and I'm back, just like I said I was going to be. Before moving on to today, though, I need to get a couple brief things out of the way:

The above link will also include a letter I wrote to Jim further detailing my rationale about pulling the page. Overall, this has been a learning experience (and a much needed break to boot)

Not wanting to simply delete this whole incident, I'm putting the entries that were on 98feb2.html here. It messes with chronology a bit, but that's the way I'm doing it. The end. (You may find my attitude not "rude" really, but not overly pleasant for the time being. I mean, that last sentence was going to be something along the lines of "but that's the only way I can think to do it" but then I realized that was asking for some smart ass to write and tell me how to do it better... I just don't need that right now. (READ: I'm still a little "less than wonderful" about the incident.))


February 18, 1998 - Wednesday


So, on towards Knott's Berry we headed, driving slowly through the rain and heavy traffic. During the trip, I playfully flirted with Sean and didn't get a response. He just sat there, doing nothing, not getting mad, not flirting back. And so, I flirted more. I commented about the flirting. I verbally flirted. I did whatever I could think of, short of grabbing his crotch, to get a response. It was as though he was sitting there, miserable, thinking I had cooties or something, hating the fact that I was touching him.... yet not saying anything. Pretty soon, my self esteem started to take a nose dive. Was I that gross? I thought to myself. "Am I that gross?" I asked. How could someone go from spending long hours on the phone with me a couple years ago and wanting me when I met him in Utah to thinking that I was so gross that he didn't want me to touch him? I hadn't really changed. For the most part, both mentally and physically, I was the same.

And so, we got to the Knott's Berry exit... with me miserable that Sean wouldn't even acknowledge my flirting let alone flirt back and him miserable that I was flirting at all. I drove down the street, then after not readily finding the turnoff, called Knott's Berry information. The guy on the phone told me that the crossroad with Knott Ave was La Palma, but then he said the park was closing at 1PM. It was almost noon. Arghh! My plan to soften him up on the forced-to-sit-close-together roller coasters and water log rides was spoiled. The only alternative I could think of was returning to the house, where he for sure wouldn't be flirting.

Nevertheless, as I told Sean what the guy on the phone said, he suggested we go see a movie. Somehow or the other, we found a theatre nearby playing Sphere at 1:15PM. To pass the time, we went to In and Out and once again talked about how not wonderful the day was going. I told him that I didn't expect a relationship to build out of the weekend, that I figured he'd go back to Utah and I wouldn't hear from him again for another six months or a year, that I was just flirting to have fun. I said that my friends with whom I'm not attracted and who are not attracted to me "flirt." I tried to say that it wasn't that big of a deal, that I was basically trying to make the weekend fun: It had no strings attached to it.

Sean responded that he'd told me that it was a platonic visit when I'd asked earlier and I agreed. I gave up.

See, basically, by this time, I was disappointed in myself, seeing in the mirror some sort of creepy reject... and feeling even worse for having forced myself on Sean. In fact, before the movie started, I actually leaned over to Sean and apologized for making him uncomfortable. He said some unfamiliar form of "That's ok" (which I can't remember right now) and the movie began.

When the movie was over, while Sean was smoking a cigarette just outside the theatre doors, I playfully said, "Did you notice? I didn't touch you the entire movie." In an extremely serious tone, he responded, "I know. Thank you." WOW! Knock me over with a feather. He was actually thanking me for not touching him. What a creep I must be. For someone to actually thank me for not touching him, I had to be wretched.

So, we got back in the car and I started thinking about all that had happened during the day. On one level, I knew I wasn't that horrendous... but if you tell someone something often enough he'll start to believe it. I was starting to believe that I was simply vile. Sean was making me feel horrible about myself. I wished he was gone and was thinking just that when I asked, "So what are you thinking?" I followed up with something like, "You're always thinking about something, whether it's as trivial as the word "toy" being in Toyota or some brilliant thought, you're always thinking something. So, what are you thinking?" He responded, "You don't want to know." and I said back, "It couldn't be any worse than anything else I've heard all day." He then said, "I wish I was back home." Quick as I could, I said, "Guess what! I was thinking exactly the same thing." It was THAT bad.

So, sitting in silence for a minute or two, I thought about the possible paths. Eventually, I decided on one and said, "OK, we can either go on the way we are and both have a totally miserable weekend or we can start over." I don't remember what he said, if anything, but that was the decision... and I didn't flirt with him at all again. Oh wait, he did say that he wasn't "comfortable"; a word that stuck in my mind because I'm not accustomed to making people uncomfortable.

When we got home, I basically let him go his way. After taking his stuff downstairs, he sat in the kitchen with Selma and talked while I covertly got Larry into the bedroom and told him how horrible the day had gone.

A short while later, Larry showed Sean the house and talked with the neighbors with him while I wrote a quick letter to Jim to let him know how things were going:


Well, I picked up Sean at the airport and it's been downhill ever since. I mean, I've been my flirty self and he's basically taken on the attitude of don't touch me, which, of course, only made me touch (you know playfully hit) him more... which has, in turn, made him more standoffish. I explained while we were eating that I don't expect any "relationship" to build out of his weekend here. That I was simply flirting and basically he responded that he was just here platonically. It's odd though, I mean, even the most distant of friends who I know aren't really attracted to me or vice versa are more "friendly", know what I mean? It's like he's intentionally being a prick. I actually apologized, saying that I wasn't trying to make him uncomfortable.

So, anyway, we went and saw a movie and afterwards I playfully said how I didn't touch him at all during the movie. He responded, "I know. Thank you." Wow. Didn't realize I was THAT gross. Talk about hurt feelings.

On the car ride back, I randomly asked him what he was thinking. He said, "You don't want to know." I said that it couldn't be worse than everything else I'd hurt during the day. He responded, "I wish I was back home." I responded that I was thinking the same thing: I wished he was back in Utah.

So, now Larry's showing him the house next door... gotta run, they're walking in.


Sometime thereafter, we all went to see As Good As It Gets and had dinner at 360 Degrees in Hollywood. By this time, the tension had, for the most part, died and it was simply a night out. Not wonderful. Not bad. Just there.

When we got home, Sean said that he wanted to go home the next day, that he still wasn't comfortable. I told him that he had some issues he had to deal with; there was absolutely no reason for him to be uncomfortable after we started over. I said something like, "You just had dinner with a gay couple and an older male/female married couple. If you were straight, you might not have fit in perfectly, but there would be nothing about the night to make you 'uncomfortable'." By this time, things were starting to come into light. Sean wasn't uncomfortable with me. He was uncomfortable with himself.

And then, completely out of left field, Sean said, "Snuggle with me." Knock me over with a feather in the opposite direction. I was amazed and asked how could I be the person who basically had cooties all day to someone he wanted to snuggle with. The picture, however, was crystal clear. Sean hated himself, being himself, to such a degree that he couldn't let himself flirt. Yet, by the end of the day, his defenses had worn down. He "knew" snuggling was bad but he wanted it so much that he just had to have it. It was as though he were a druggie, with gay feelings being the bad drug he couldn't let himself have.

The pissed off feelings I had for Sean and the self-esteem bruising that I had sustained immediately disappeared. I wasn't gross. It wasn't that at all. How could I have not seen it before? And so, I layed down in the floor on the sleeping bag next to him. I hugged him tightly and he hugged back.


February 20, 1998 - Friday


Well, I'll tell you straight up. I'm tired of writing about the Sean trip: It's like I'm dwelling on something unpleasant... although in real life I haven't hardly thought of it since he left.

And so, not really wanting to write any more about it but not wanting to leave you guys hanging, here goes:

When I got up from hugging Sean (about three minutes after I started), I said goodnight with a quick horn honk grab of the front of his jeans. When I did, he was completely hard. Not only was I no longer cootiefied; I was hard-on inducing. I said, "What's that?" and he said, "You can grab it again if you want." or something like that so I quickly horn honk grabbed it again then left the room.

When I got back upstairs, I started doing the math. All I could think was that there was a guy downstairs, who cost several hundred dollars to fly out to California, who'd made me feel like shit the entire day, who now had a hard on. At the very least, he could get in the hot tub. I'd get to see him naked as payback for the flight and mental anquish. (Hope you understand what I mean here? If I flew one of you out here, there would be no obligation, implied or otherwise, to get naked in the hot tub. However, Sean made me feel like I was a leper all day long and not because he didn't like me... the least he could do to apologize was get in the hot tub, naked. "I'm sorry I made you feel that way. Let me make it up to you by showing you how comfortable I really am, how much I really do like you." Know what I mean?)

So, I went back downstairs and asked him if he wanted to get in the hot tub. He did... and when he was there, he was like a wild boar. (Larry was just inside in the bedroom, passing on the whole hot tub deal.)

Anyway, Sean would have done anything and everything I would have let him. I kept him at bay, with only a peck kiss and some admittedly intense hand-driven play. Finally, when I realized that he was either going to get something sticky in the hot tub or get out, I said it was time to get out and the two of towelled off. He went downstairs and to bed.

The next day, he said he still wanted to go home that day. So I called Delta airlines to find that their flights were all sold out. The only one with a slight possibility was the 4:40PM flight. And so, I told Sean the info and gave him the option of either going to the airport or going to Knott's Berry (as it was a clear sunny day). He said he'd rather go to the airport and try his chances.

We got there two hours early to be put on the front of the standby list... only to later find out that the flight was overbooked, and he didn't get on. During the wait, when it looked like he wasn't going to get on, I asked him if he didn't get on, would he rather go back with me to just hang out until his ticketed flight the next day or would he rather stay at the airport. He said he'd rather stay at the airport. Considering that any flight after the one he didn't get on wouldn't make the last connecting flight for the day in Salt Lake City, I was amazed. Best case scenario, he could get the 6:30PM flight to Salt Lake City and then stay there overnight until the next flight to his final destination airport took off late the next morning. I'd had it and said something like, "Considering I'm the worse of the two evils, staying at the airport or hanging out with me, I think I'm going to leave." And I left. I haven't a clue as to whether he got home or not.

I just don't get how someone could hate himself that much and still function. It would seem that instead of forever turmoil, either the Mormon side or the gay side would win out completely. I mean, why covertly have sex with guys (which Sean said he'd done on several occasions... another reason I thought I was the leper) and then spend days feeling miserable, repenting for it. I see now that by going to the airport and camping out, he was repenting. To him, that was saying, "See, I'm really not gay. I'd rather stay at the airport than be around them."

You can do a lot of things to me and I'll look completely past them... but you can't make me feel bad about myself when the problem is not actually me, but you. I just won't stand by and let myself be treated that way... no matter what the reason.

And so on a slightly tangental sidenote, I've determined that the Mormon religion is the worst American religion for screwing up gay kids. Catholic, Baptist, Methodist; they're all far less detrimental to gay youth.


Like I said up there, I'm tired of writing about the Sean deal... mainly because this week has been

Last night was Katie's birthday party at Ed DeBevic's. When I talked to Erik earlier in the week, I invited him and his boyfriend. Yesterday morning, when I got to class, I invited Eyelashes *, a girl I met this semester. She seemed really koool from our in class conversations. So koool, in fact, that three weeks into the semester, I wrote her:

Hey there... it's me Justin!

Anyway, after class today, I was thinking, "She is really koool. There's definitely somebody who I'd like to get to know better." and so, I'm writing this e-mail just to let you know that your personality is very much appreciated in this school of clones. You definitely seem to have substance... something SOOO lacking in most people. They're always afraid to say what they mean and instead walk around pretending to be something they're not.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that, and suggest that perhaps we could hang out sometime outside of class. Lest you get the wrong idea *grin*, I should probably tell you straight off: I'm gay... and "married" for about a year and a half now.

So, anyway, just wanted to let you know that I thought you were cool. *smile*

Have a great weekend,

She wrote back saying that she thought I was cool, too, and that we should definitely get to know each other better.

That was three weeks ago, so yesterday, realizing that the party would be a perfect place for us to get together and hang out, I invited her.


But when class ended, Eyelashes said that she was hungry and was going to get something to eat. I asked her where then asked if I could come along. The two of us went to the Commons then upstairs to a restaurant I never even knew existed, The Cafe Upstairs (I think).

During the course of the meal, we exchanged dating war stories and basically just talked more intimately than we could in class. Still, it's been so long since I've made a new friend, it was great to talk one-to-one with her and I could tell my listening to her story was much needed on her part as well. When lunch was over, she gave me a hug and we walked in opposite directions. A few seconds later, I heard "Justin!" and turned to see who was calling my name. It, of course, was her, fifty feet or so away. She yelled, "Get that huge smile off your face." She knew I was replaying her detailed, very sensational dating life in my head. That was koool.


After finishing my Multimedia Authoring class at 5PM, I fought traffic to get to the house before quickly preparing to leave for Ed DeBevic's. Before I left the house, though, the phone rang.

"Is Larry There?"
"No... Rich?"

It was Rich, Larry's ex- from a long time ago. Larry'd actually talked to me on the phone when he was Instant Messaging Rich via AOL earlier in the week. Larry'd asked Rich if he wanted to come over and Rich had suggested tentative plans for Thursday night. The phone call to me was to confirm that I wasn't in class or had plans. Of course, that was earlier in the week, like Monday. As Rich hadn't called back to say that he was coming, both Larry and I'd assumed he wasn't. After all, Rich came over once before then said he'd call the next day at 10:30AM, only to not be heard from again.

So, anyway, he called, and I asked him point blank if he was coming over. Basically, he said that he was a little apprehensive about coming over and part of him really, really wanted to sleep and he was going to spin class so he didn't know how tired he was going to be afterwards and he had a lot of studying to do but another part of him wanted to get in the hot tub. Long story short, he said he'd be at the house at 9:30PM.

So, I called Larry to tell him the news and then hurriedly headed for Ed DeBevic's. I got there at 7:05PM, thinking all the guests would be waiting around clueless, but only Val had beaten me there.

Next thing I knew, Eyelashes had arrived, then other guests, then Erik. The three of us ended up sitting down on the end of one table with Larry's music industry friend Kathleen. We all talked about various things and I harassed Eyelashes about the story she'd told me earlier in the day. It was just koool, hanging out and such.

As 9 o'clock rolled around, though, I had to head out. When I parked my car in front of the house, I realized the truck parked in front of me was Rich's. He was still inside, so when I got out, he got out and the two of us came inside. We yaked about stuff like school, cadavers (He's in medical school) and life in general. When Larry got home about twenty minutes later, the three of yaked some more then headed into the bedroom.

As I said before, Rich had said he was coming over to get in the hot tub. Knowing that and know that he was apprehensive, I figured that was still the "plan." Instead, the three of us ended up laying on the bed, fully clothed, hugging for a while. One thing led to another and we slowly got undressed. And, it was really koool. I mean, there are all types of guys out there. Complete horndogs to asexual guys. With someone like Sean, he's ok to play with, but there's no other connection there. The potential for some other connection never even existed. Like I told him and like I wrote here, I wasn't expecting (or even thinking the possiblity existed) for a relationship. He was just here for the weekend and I thought it would be fun to "play around" with nothing too intense (or too special for that matter) happening.

But Rich is someone special. He's not a horndog, humping everything with three legs. In fact, when Larry asked, he said he hadn't even been on a date with a guy since the last time we saw him. There's such a difference between having semi-anonymous sex with someone and feeling guilty about it afterwards and refraining from sex with guys altogether because you're having trouble dealing with it. I mean, both Rich and Sean have a lot of issues they need to deal with... but Rich is handling it SOOO much better.

And so, Rich, Larry, and I were naked on the bed. As opposed to that didn't-even-want-to peck that I let Sean have, I was full on French kissing Rich. I wanted him to be happy. I mean, his happiness mattered to me, not to fulfil my own ego but rather just because I wanted to make him happy. That is a great feeling. And I wanted him to know that my kissing was sincere: I told him that I hadn't kissed anyone like that since the last time I'd kissed him (which was totally true). (Oh, and just in case you're wondering: Larry was taking care of Rich in much the same manner... although in a slightly different place )

Around 1AM, Rich got dressed, had a piece of cake, then left. He asked if we'd be home around 3PM the next day (today), and we said we were looking forward to seeing him again. No one felt used, no one felt guilty. In fact, no one even came. It wasn't really even about sex. It was about closeness to another human being... and that's why it was koool.


February 21, 1998 - Saturday


Every now and then, I write online about how I'd like to make some new friends, and every now and then, I get an e-mail from someone living here in LA who found the web site and would like to meet.

Back in December, just before my birthday, I got a letter which read:


I wanted to let you know how much I admire you for your courage and your willingness to show others that gay men can be just like everyone else.  As an undergrad, that turned into my mission at school as well.  My effect did not have the nationwide and worldwide scope that I am sure you are achieving, but I like to think that I made a few bigoted people a little less homophobic and ignorant.  I have since moved on and just graduated from law school and am working in Santa Monica now.

Thanks again for the inspiration. If you would ever be interested in grabbing some dinner and chatting, I would love to meet you.


I must not have written back because the day before my birthday, I got another letter which read:

Happy Birthday.  I am not sure if you got my last e-mail. I would love to take you out for a birthday coke or something.  Hope it is a great day -- I admire all you do for young gay people (as well as gay people in their mid-twenties like me).


And from looking at my outbox now, I see I eventually wrote back in the beginning of January. He responded to that letter about a month later (February 6th). So, after more than three months of "trying to meet," I asked if yesterday would be good and Eric said that it would.

So, yesterday morning I headed to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. I got there about a quarter 'til noon, or fifteen minutes early, so I wandered around the area, before sitting down on the curb near our designated meeting place.

While I was sitting there, minding my own business in the sun, a homeless guy walked over and started talking at me... then yelling at me. "Why wouldn't you take my order? Why wouldn't you take my order?" I tried not to look at him, but he got so close and so enraged that I started to worry that he was going to physically lash out at me. Not really feeling like getting assulted by a completely dirty homeless guy, I stood up and started walking away... and he started walking behind me, yelling all the louder, with more vehemence. People were looking and he just kept getting louder. I felt like everyone would think I'd done something to him and then I decided if he didn't stop within the next couple of seconds, I was calling the cops.

I walked so that I was out of his sight and hoped he'd simply go away. I didn't hear any yelling, but I figured for sure when I peered back around the corner, he'd be there ready to attack. But I had to be where Eric and I'd agreed to meet. He surely wouldn't find me hiding out from the crazy homeless guy. And so, I went back near the curb where I was originally sitting and stood there... much too aware to sit down and relax.

And then appeared another guy. He said something like, "Geez, I saw him like totally come out at you..." and I said how I hadn't a clue as to why he picked me to yell at. He said something else about the homeless guy and then I responded.

"Now this guy is talking to me for no real reason," I thought. And then I thought, "No, wait. Maybe this is the guy I'm meeting." Surely a non-homeless guy wouldn't just come up to me and start talking... and talking... and talking. I mean, he didn't say "Justin?" or anything when he started the conversation but maybe he just recognized me from the photos online.

As the conversation went on, I started comparing the details of who I was meeting with the guy in front of me. He wasn't short, he didn't have a goatee, and he looked nothing like the .jpg I'd gotten as an e-mail attachment. This was just another freak, talking to me for no reason (well, perhaps to hit on me), and Eric wouldn't recognize me, even if he thought I was Justin, because I was with someone and I knew he was looking for a guy by himself.

But I had no clue how to get away from the non-homeless guy. I said something about how I was meeting someone so I had to stay in that area but then when the homeless guy started walking back in my direction, the non-homeless guy said, "Let's walk this way." I was trapped. A for sure crazy homeless guy coming from one way: A maybe crazy, certainly persistent non-homeless guy sticking to me on the other.

And then another guy said, "Justin!" He didn't look anything like the digital photo, wasn't short, and had no facial hair, but he knew my name, so it had to be him. I said, "Eric?" or something like that and shook his hand. We said something about going to eat and left the non-homeless guy there.

Turned out the guy who knew my name was indeed Eric, the guy I was meeting, but I'd confused his e-mails with another guy's, actually a guy named Aaron. Aaron, a guy who lives in LA and who has tried meet me for a long while now, had mono and therefore couldn't meet me when he'd originally written. In the hub bub of this week, I didn't go back over my e-mail to figure out just exactly who Eric was. I'd really figured that he was the short guy with the goatee who'd had mono. In fact, I was certain of it.

So, amazed at all that had happened in the past fifteen minutes and still taking in the fact that Eric wasn't who I thought he was, we walked down the promenade to eventually end up at a deli.

And well, the most telling thing I can say about our conversation is that I can't really remember many of the details. I do remember that he said he was a practicing Mormon (which set off warning bells for obvious reasons), but I also remember that he seemed remarkably well adjusted and that it was so nice to meet someone who was interesting and normal. I remember telling him that having had a few of these random net meetings under my belt and after having met more than my share of "peculiar" people (several of which you haven't read about here), it was great to meet him. I mean, he was cute and normal... and attractive. I mean, he was I've-thought-of-him-several-dozen-times-since-then attractive... and he wasn't even red headed.

It was a unique experience actually. I mean, there was honestly no flirting whatsoever during lunch, but the chemistry was so strong that after he went back to work at around 1:15PM, I spent about twenty minutes in the card shop on the promenade, trying to find just the right card to say "Thanks for lunch."

After perusing the store thrice over and not finding anything that wasn't "straight off the shelf" impersonal, I happened upon a card in the Art section. It had a miniature handmade fabric tie pasted on the front, which related to our lunch happening on a casual day, with no tie required on Eric's part. It cost $8.50, so I thought a bit about paying so much for a card, then realized no other card would do and I'd looked over the store way too much to not buy anything.

On the way back home, I could think of nothing besides Eric... and I knew he was thinking about me too. I kept going over in my head, "How can I let him know that I had a great time at lunch without spoiling the need to send a card?" I eventually decided to call and leave a quick message. I said something like, "Hi, this is Justin. I just wanted to call and let you know I had a really nice time at lunch."

When I got home, I checked my phone to find no messages had been left... but then I checked e-mail and found:

Thank you so much for meeting me for lunch.  You truly are a great guy -- even better than I thought from the web page.  And cute too, though I knew that before we met.

Please give me a call sometime and we can go out and do something!


I did notice one thing odd about that message: When Eric and I said goodbye, he gave me his business card and said his work number was on it. At the time, I wondered why I just got his work number... but now I realize, it's probably because of the Mormon/roommate thing. I'm not into playing "You don't exist."... so I really hope that's not the case.

So, that notwithstanding, I've thought about Eric a lot... the way you think about someone when you're smitten. This morning, I practiced what I was going to write in his card, eventually getting the layout just right to say "Tie or No Tie: Either way, having lunch with you again would be koool. -Justin" I've been so bewitched, in fact, that this morning, on the drive to the ranch, I started thinking about everything and actually got nauseus while eating.

Yet that work-number-only/Mormon thing is screaming Red Alert!!!... especially now that I'm thinking about it.


It's amazing how much I've "calmed down" about Eric since I wrote that entry. I guess seeing it in text I realize that I'm vesting a lot of myself where the odds have yet to be determined. I know part of the thrill of any new friendship/relationship is the not knowing, but I guess my self-defenses are kicking in to say "Hold on there, bud. Just wait a bit before going too head over heels." I mean, there's nothing worse than having someone reject (i.e. no longer talk to you), not because of something you did wrong, but because he can't deal with the gay thing. It's like you're being punished for something you had no control over. Of course, I realize I'm seeing every possible outcome, including the worse possible one, but I guess I'll just have to wait to see if I'm wrong... which I really hope I am... 'cause before I really thought about it, I was having an amazing time.


Maybe I'm the crazy one... now I'm thinking that perhaps I imagined the whole chemistry thing.


One of you guys, Charlie, wrote to say, in part:

Don't worry to much about the work number thing.  Being a lawyer, he probably spends ALOT more time at work than at home. I know its easier to get ahold of me at work rather than at home.  It was actually rather trusting of him to give you his work number rather than a cell #, or a beeper or something. :-)

I hope he's right... but either way, it's nice to hear.

By the way, if you have a comment, go ahead and send it my way. I really don't get that much e-mail... and if you say anything substantive (i.e. something besides "Thanks", something I can reply to) I'll almost certainly write you back. The address is justin @ koool.com (Take out the spaces.)


February 22, 1998 - Sunday


Well, I was basically just going about doing my homework and such, not really thinking about anything particular, when I got a call from Amanda. She asked me a couple computer related questions then I told her about my week. By the end of the phone call, I was (err... "am") extremely anxious to get a response from Eric.

Actually, on the drive home from the ranch, I'd decided I would send him an e-mail saying, "Don't read the diary. Nothing bad. All good. But just don't read it. The reason will be obvious within the next 24 hours." Of course, I would be referring to the card I mailed Saturday... but he wouldn't know that. Now, I still want him to get the card before reading the diary, but I don't want to wait to find out what he's thinking... especially on the off chance that the card doesn't arrive until Tuesday.


OK, I got it. I wrote:


Justin Personality #1 (The cerebral one) says:
     "Don't read the diary... not yet.
      No, nothing bad. All good. Just don't read it yet.
      The reason will become obvious shortly. :-) "

Justin Personality #2 (The impatient one) says:
     "OK, like he said, don't read the diary now... 
      but if by the time you get ready to leave the office
      today, the reason still isn't obvious, go ahead and
      check it out. Goto the page (blah).com/life/98feb2.html#February21 
      to get right there. The suspense is killing me."


At worst, I should know what Eric's thinking by tomorrow evening.


Of course, Amanda and I also talked about how this whole deal fits in the grand scheme of things. I mean, just because I haven't written it here doesn't mean I haven't asked myself, "What are you doing?"

The answer, of course, is "I don't know."

Amanda, being married herself, can relate to the duality of wanting both the security and the thrill... wanting to date yet wanting to have someone who's all yours. I think we all can relate, but I think it's something we, for the most part, all deny. We tend to think everyone is either married or single... with the married people totally loving marriage, totally hating the newness of meeting people and encountering new situations, and with the single people all seeing marriage as their goal. But that just isn't the case.

A recent passage in a book I was reading for my research class really stuck out. It said:

It seems unfortunate that so much of adolescents' energies must be spent in cultivating skills that service them only at one point in life -- in playing the courtship game. These skills and habits may be impediments to happiness in later life. The 'love of the chase' may linger after marriage for both male and female, making married life less content.
Coleman, James S. 1961. The Adolescent Society. New York: The Free Press.

Except for the now dated "only at one point in life" remark, that statement written in 1961 is still completely true. There are things about "marriage" that I love. There are things about it that I hate. I mean, I honestly think that marriage is koool... but in my perfect world, I wouldn't be married yet. That said, I honestly wouldn't make a different choice about moving in with Larry if I knew then what I know now. Everything happens in life for a reason. I love Larry and want to be close to him for the rest of my life. I know that without a doubt... but I honestly don't know if that means being his husband.

See, when Larry and I are talking to someone and I use the word "married" to refer to us, he always comes back with, "We're not married. You're not committed enough to be married." And although I don't think I've ever said, "You're right," I know he knows that I know he's right.

I'm not going to get into all the specifics here... but basically, I'm only 22 and unsure what I want out of life, romaticwise, jobwise, otherwise... I think that's why, especially from your viewpoint, I'm still out there looking, waiting for that knight in shining armour, who part of me knows doesn't exist.

Life is complicated, with relatively few pigeon hole classifications that work. I don't know why we all fight to see it otherwise. Perhaps because of the inherent human need to see order in a world full of chaos. In fact, I know that's why. We want there to be order. We need order... but take a half empty salt shaker and put pepper on top. No matter how many times you shake it, the pepper and salt will never be ordered again... we are constantly moving to a state of chaos. That's what high school physics taught me.

So, no, I have no brilliant answers about what I'm doing. All I know is that I'm being honest as I can.


One final thing then I'm signing off for the day... do you guys have any idea how complicated (yet great) it is to write your thoughts for the world and those around you to see? It's frustrating, limiting, and completely liberating all at the same time. I know with 85% certainty that Rich, who incidentally didn't call Friday but did call yesterday, will read this. I know without a doubt that Eric will read this. I know that Larry can read this whenever he wants. Without writing for any of them, I'm writing for all of them... they're my audience, and you're my audience, and I myself am my audience. The experience of balancing everything is so painful, so tedious, yet so invigorating all at the same time. It keeps me honest, non-exaggerating, and forthright. There is no bull in my life: That's certain. But by writing everything here, I say things I would almost never say directly to someone. I wouldn't write on and on to Eric, telling him how much I thought about him in such details, but at the same time, I know he's going to read it here. It's so amazing. I'm expressing myself at a level not feasibly possible otherwise. It's is yet it isn't. How could something be both yin and yang? I mean, for example, that remark a few paragraphs ago, "waiting for that knight in shining armour." I didn't include "red head" in that remark as to not exclude Eric. Stuff like that. It's everywhere and no where.

And I am thankful...


February 23, 1998 - Monday


Well, it's a new day and yeah, I did check my e-mail this morning, looking in particular for a letter from Eric, but I'm not going to vest my entire day in it. One of you guys, also named Eric, wrote to suggest I put on "a little feigned indifference," but that's just not my style. Sure, I was cuckoo for cocoa puffs Friday afternoon but I'm pretty much back to my normal state of mind now. The times when I was "lost in my little fantasy world" were driving to the ranch by myself, when I had nothing else to do or think about, and right after I retold the story to Amanda. Although it may appear that way here, I'm not thinking about him non-stop... but yes, it would be great to find out that Eric thought I was "koool" but if he didn't see me in that light, that's ok, too. Seriously, it is. I think mostly I just want to know how he saw me.


OK, I admit... that was my semi-attempt at feigned indifference. It was all true, but I did downplay my interests a bit in hopes that if I'd "come across as being an emotional leech" (like e-mail Eric said), I could perhaps regain some dignity and not scare Eric off entirely. But that's the past... because... I got e-mail from Eric.

In a word:


Eric wrote:

Good morning Justin,

Thanks for the e-mail and the card  (I'll let you know when I get it) :-)  You were definitely not imagining the chemistry at lunch.  I felt it too.  I had a hard time concentrating on work Friday afternoon.  I kept wanting to pick up the phone and call you.  And I thought of you this weekend as well.

Don't worry about the work number thing.  I admit that part of me said, don't divulge too much on a "first date;" Don't take that big of a risk. Of course that is pretty funny considering everything you divulge.  I believe that you would be discreet with my unaware roommates.  Mostly, it is true that you can reach me at work easier than at home.

I am really looking forward to our next meeting.  As far as I am concerned, it cannot be soon enough.



So now I'm on a plane with Larry and Katie, heading to Orlando. How I got here will forever remain a mystery.


March 10, 1998 - Tuesday


The last 24 hours have been pretty darn busy. Last night, Larry, Katie, and I arrived in Orlando and picked up the rental car before driving back to the airport to pick up my mom.

Once we all were here in Florida, we drove to the hotel to check in before heading back out to have dinner at a restaurant called Hulihan's. The restaurant, itself, was nothing noteworthy, but our waiter was one of the few gay people we've seen since arriving here. It would seem that this Orange County has more similarities to the California Orange County than the obvious sunshine, and well, oranges.

Anyway, we had dinner then went to the grocery store then came back to the hotel and went to sleep. It was after midnight when we got back and the day started early with packing, so I didn't get a chance to upload what I'd written above on the plane.

Today was spent at Universal Studios Florida. I thought Florida was the sunshine state, and therefore didn't pack but one long sleeve shirt... and it wasn't the shirt I wore today, so the first purchase after the tickets was a Universal Studios sweatshirt.

Arghhh... I'll just be honest, I'm having trouble getting back into this. The danger of trying something new is that you just might find out that it's better... the same way that I realized life without school is better after being forced to take a year off for financial reasons. I mean, before I had to take the year off, I didn't know what life without school was like: I'd been going for as long as I could remember. I've been writing this journal so long that I honestly didn't remember life without it. Don't worry. I know I will get back into it. Too many of you guys wrote telling me how much it helped you... it's just going to take me a few days.

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© 1998 Justin Clouse


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