Friday, August 31, 2007
Positively Prohibited
Positively Prohibited

The other day, I was chatting online with this really cute Italian guy, and making plans to visit him. He was tall, dark and handsome, with wavy black hair, a strong jaw, shining olive skin, worked out in the gym two hours a day five days a week, and then mentioned something about being ‘poz’ in the conversation. He got question marks from me on the chat window on that one.
So he drops the bomb: “O, I’m HIV+. Check it out. It’s on my profile.”

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Well, he was right. He hadn’t really dropped any bomb, I’d just neglected to lift the covers and see what was in there, do my homework before venturing into uncharted territory. He’d plainly stated that he was HIV+ there, and had even mentioned it in the conversation.

For a second, I was stumped. I’ll admit it; I didn’t know how to react for a few seconds. I’ve never actually talked with a Positive person before, even though I’ve familiar with HIV and AIDS and taken the test. But no, I’ve never actually come across anyone who’s contracted it, and I’ve certainly not negotiated a hookup with anyone like that. But then, I didn’t want to be the stupid guy who treats him like a leper and drops him like a hot potato either.

So, I asked him how he’d got the virus and how long it had been.

Hunky Italian: “Well, I don’t have AIDS. I’ve been Positive now for about 10 years. My ex boyfriend of three years infected me.”

Of course, that wasn’t it. It turned out, that he suspected his ex of actually knowing about his own Positive status before having unprotected sex with him – something which completely inflamed me.

“What an @$$HOLE!” I exclaimed in my indignation and anger. I mean, here was this completely healthy guy who was just about 35 now, who looked simply fabulous, and he’d been infected by his boyfriend. I recognized how it went, of course, the line with boyfriends – “O, honey, I love you, and I’ve been safe and I would never suggest it if it weren’t safe, and you make me so hot that I wanna do it raw” – hell, I’ve been in that position myself, and regretted/ tormented myself about it later. And while I’d thanked God fervently that I hadn’t ended up in a horrible nightmare as a result of that capitulation, it was clear that this gorgeous Italian had. He was living that nightmare, and yet making do with what he had.

The thing is, back in Bombay, we see AIDS more as an African or Asian disease these days, or hell, maybe a Big City Thing. But it’s shocking how the American Midwest here seems to ignore the problem in its backyard. Some days back, there was a top guy online here who wanted to bareback, when I told him I didn’t have condoms with me. He realized I meant business when I told him to go away and put him in my ‘ignore’ list. (Or else, more likely, he badmouthed me as the prissy Indian bitch to everyone else on the chat room.)

And tonight, I just came back from meeting this young man, who’s all distraught because (a) he listened to his stupid boyfriend and had unprotected sex with him, and (b) he cheated on his stupid boyfriend with another ass and had unprotected sex with him, too. I’m glad he stopped me before we got onto the serious petting, because as you know, I don’t have condoms here either. O, in all probability, he hasn’t contracted anything from either the dumb boyfriend or the dumb hook-up, but he’s rightfully distressed now, and I played the good Gay Counselor and told him he needs to get himself tested ASAP. He says, I was better than Oprah, so maybe I should just chuck my degree programme here and hunt out the television channels. I can see the headline in the Washington Post already: Indian Fag Starts Gay Counseling Centre.

The thing is, I know that living with HIV is a much easier option now than it ever was earlier, with all the medication that’s out there. But it’s still an expensive and wasteful proposition, and I’m amazed why anyone would want to even risk it. I’m an idiot myself, I’ve been down that road, and I know that one moment of imagined intimacy is simply not worth those weeks or even months of self doubt and questioning later – or the years of regret afterward, as in the case of the cute Italian. I’m glad he’s living his life with dignity, hell, he’s even having sex these days (though protected), but o yes, there’s regret, plenty of it. And even though I know I probably sound all preachy right now, I’m simply stunned by this stuff here, because I’ve been confronted with all three cases in the time span of just a week…!

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These cowboys down here need to get their caps on straight!

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Monday, August 27, 2007
Seasoned Sizzler
Seasoned Sizzler

So the other day, I'm having pancakes over at Irish Coffee's place, and we're discussing the kind of men we go for. He's a rice queen, I tease him, and curry's lately become his agenda. He doesn't deny it, but counters it with a "And you go for older guys!"

CT, flinging maple syrup in his general direction: "No, I don't! I'm just looking for cute, smart men who can talk sense and fcuk great. I can't help it, if the majority of those happen to be above 30! I wouldn't mind spooning a clever and sexy 25-year old, you know!"

Irish Coffee, not buying my argument: "Above 30, eh? Liar!"

So I think about it, and realize he may have a point there. He's 45. The Latin Lover is 38. The Manager is 32. The Serious Guy is 35. And the other two grizzlies I've been flirting with online are both on the other side of 40. It seems I do have a thing for older men.

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Cut back to an online conversation with SnowWhite's Stepmother some days back -

CT: "So I met this really great guy who's sweet and amazing in bed, and don't worry, I'm not falling in love with him so soon. He's 45 and works as - "

SS cuts in: "Excuse me?"

CT: "What?"

SS: "How old did you say he was?"

CT: "O, he's 45, I said. So anyway, he's interested in markets and everything and - "

SS: "45."

CT: "Yea... And we went to this great Indian restaurant the other day and I help him choose what to eat, and he's really so much fun to talk with - "

SS: "45."

CT: "Ummm, yea. So we talked about the new trends in India with the car industry and the IT boom and what all of that means here - "

SS: "45."

CT: "You still haven't got beyond 45?"

SS: "Honey, I'll never ever go beyond 30."

Ummm, so there you go. Some people find it strange that a 26 year old would probably find a 45-plus attractive. Hell, I've posted a singularly idiotic theory about gay Shelf Lives here in the past - to which thankfully no one actually subscribes to!

So there are some guys who find it absolutely natural to fall head over heels in lust with older men. Diamond Choker Bachha, for instance, has always had a fascination for older men, and we've teased him tonnes about this fixation earlier. Somehow, though, while I always kinda found older men sexy, coming here to the midwest has seen this interest of mine peak. Maybe it's cuz very few of the clever, sexy men here are under 35 - despite this being a university town. *sigh* Not that I regret falling in lust with the Pepper Brigade - personally, I quite enjoy discussing international policy matters, what movie to watch, what sexual position to adopt, all in the same breath.

And, yes, the sex is great...!

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Sunday, August 26, 2007
Interlude
Interlude


So, last night, I was walking with my date, and then at the entrance of one of the night clubs, this cute blond guy smiles, waves at me, and addresses me by my name. Oops. I have no idea who this guy is, not really sure whether he's gay or straight, if he's gay I must have chatted with him online but I don't recall who he is, and hell I have a date walking next to me so it doesn't look very sensitive of me to start chatting up someone new in front of him... So, I smile awkwardly, wave and move on, after my date.


Am I settling in here? Ummm... yes, I think. *grin*


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Friday, August 17, 2007
Getting OUT There
Getting OUT There

Last night I was online, and met a guy who was there in my LGBT Safety Orientation Session. I didn't recognize him at first, and when I finally did, it was kinda funny. I'd seen him at the gay bar the other night too, as he was the guy chatting with Sweet Older Guy, and I'd been more or less ignoring him then. He spoke to me all of once that night, asking "So are you having fun?", to which I'd replied in a not-very-amused way "What do you think?", and turned away. Somehow, one realizes how stupid one acts/acted only after the deed is done - and I guess it was the same with me. So I see this guy the next day at the LGBT session and then again online, and I felt terribly embarassed. Picture me red. He asked me why I hadn't been dancing that night, and I said because I didn't feel like talking to strangers. "You should get over that", he responded, and I kinda think he's right. I should.

So, tonight, I have a date (sorta) with a guy who might take me aboard his boat. No pun intended there. And this weekend, I'm travelling to a neighbouring city with someone I'd chatted with online ages ago. The emphasis really is to go out there and make some new friends.

Hell, I bought myself new sneakers at Wal-Mart; can friends really be that tough?

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So, the LGBT session was chaired by this venerable ole dyke professor, and we all gawked at and admired her tattoos. She said, her marriage of 22 years before coming out was what she calls "doin' my hard time", and we all giggled at that - the lesbians in the room guffawed, and us gay guys tittered. I got chummy with the gal next to me, a Masters student in Fine Arts, and we've made plans to catch up next week, and maybe go dancing. She's from Cowboy Country and said she'd bring back a hat for me next time she went home. :) I'm torn between asking for the hat or the big snakeskin boots. Both would be great sex-aids.

Getting back to what the professor said, she encouraged us to walk into class on the very first day of our teaching assignments, and make it very clear that in addition to not tolerating any shit about non-attendance and racism, we would also not stand for any homophobic comments. "You don't have to come out, necessarily, but by saying that you won't tolerate homophobia in the classroom, you instantly make the queer students in the room feel safer, and the straight students feel a tad more sensitive."

It's an interesting concept, but I wonder how many queer students there really would be in a class of, say, 20, people. And, hell, even if I don't come out outright, just by making that statement, isn't it very clear where my orientation lies? (Or is that the closeted Indian in me talking?) When I first thought of coming here, I reasoned I'd probably be a bit more open about being gay than I was in Bombay - but this is Redneck Country here, fairly Christian Conservative, so maybe being too 'out and proud' is not such a great idea. And then, there are counter-arguments - like the other guy I chatted with online last night, who's living here and is out, and has been out for almost three years now. There're no maniacs with pitchforks outside his house - yet.

So this is still a grey area for me. And I'm not sure how I'm really going to react. Even if I don't come out and make a statement like the professor suggested, maybe I'll step in with a "NO Homophobia" discussion on a case-to-case basis in the classroom. If I do come out of the closet in the classroom, I'd probably rush right here to the computer lab to change the blog's name. :)

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On a more personal note, I feel midly happy. The ex contacted me last night, having finally realized I was in the States, and wanted to meet up. I told him, I don't think it's a good idea. I'm glad I did so, and I'm proud of myself. No looking back here; the doors have closed.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007
In Need of a Refresher Course
In Need of a Refresher Course

I realized keenly how much I miss Bombay and 'the family' last night. Decided to hit the gay bar in town with the Sweet Older Guy who'd been showing me around and helping me get acquainted with the place, and so I got all dressed up - sexy Benetton tee, skinny jeans and a great cologne. I was ready to rock and roll. So we drove down there all the way, and I showed my passport to the bouncer (o yikes, yes, my passport!) and we were admitted. I think I expected it to be something like the Bombay bars, or at least a bit more chic, but what I got was this long saloon-like room, with a stage in the middle which had a drag show in progress over there. Yep, my first drag show. And I'm proud I didn't wince.

Actually, now that I remember, my first drag show was at a GB party - divas dancing at Velocity, and SnowWhite's Stepmother and I doing our little tango at the back, quite mollified that there were a sizeable number of people watching us boogey too! :) Last night, however, I didn't dance. I downed three beers, enough to get me sodden drunk, as my drinking buddies will tell you, but there I was - immobile and zenlike at one end of the saloon, cradling my BudLite.

What struck me the most was how casually most of the guys were dressed - so many of them were in three-quarters/ cargoes, and so many of them were (blech) fat. And by fat, I mean American overweight, not good ole Indian 'fat'. Possibly, I felt all standoffish in my sexy svelte outfit, but then I also started to feel a bit out-of-place. And then there were the women - loads of them. You don't get to see so many lesbians at an Indian gay party, so I suppose I was a bit taken aback by the presence of all the lesbians. And my own puzzlement regarding lesbians notwithstanding, I did find the large presence quite encouraging - cute, even. Finally, some good-looking guys did stream in, all well-turned out, buffed and great dancers. And yet, there I stood, all wallflower (Benetton wallflower, nonethless) with my bottles of BudLite.

*yech*

I'm not really sure what happened to me last night. CT came a-cropper. Here I was, all gung-ho about the outing, but there I stood all morose and silent in a corner. My friend found somebody closer to his own age to chat with, and I felt even more neglected and sullen. Drama Queen elements began to rule, and I was all 'out of it'. A cute guy, all tall and blond curls and a great dancing body (I know, cuz I'd spied him dancing by himself on the other side of the room), came and stood next to me for ages, before he got bored at my silence and walked away. Hell, even my older friend tried to hit on him and I didn't. Somehow, I was in this weird "I don't want to hit on people, let them hit on me" mode, and though it felt terribly constricting I couldn't snap myself out of it. I thought I'd feel better if I just got on the dance floor, but my older friend doesn't dance, and I didn't want to approach a stranger. (I'm strange that way.) Bumped into Goatee Guy from online, though, and the ten minutes we spent chatting was fun, but then he had to leave. Finally, I decided I would, too. So, I asked my older friend to let me take my jacket from his car and I'd walk home. He agreed, and I think that hit my ego again.

When his friend opened his car for me, so that I could retreive my jacket, she asked me why I wasn't going home with him. "He's a great guy!" she crooned, a bit drunk. I didn't know what to say. That he hadn't asked me? That I didn't want to? I knew that, at least, was a lie. I'd planned on spending the night with him, while heading out earlier that evening. The thing was... somehow, things just hadn't materialized between us. He'd been so helpful showing me around town and helping me get settled in, that I wasn't sure there was much else to talk about between us. We'd had a hurried sexual encounter at his place last week, but hadn't managed to get together privately again - he never asked, and I was too shy to. Last night, before heading to the gay bar, we watched two episodes of Will & Grace at his home in silence. I'm not sure whether we have enough to talk about, though I know he's been very sweet and everything, and I'm a bit attracted to him. Somehow, the attraction element has... faded.

I'm not exactly sure what this post is about. On my late night walk back home, I told myself I'm not going back to the bar unless I find a date/ friend who dances. I miss my dancing friends, I miss my group. I miss Penguin, who slides down onto his knees to do a weirdly funny dirty dance with me; I miss Diamond Choker Baccha, who goes all diva-like with his cigarette; I miss Guppie who's as mad and frentic a dancer as I am; I miss Vivian, who pretends to be all uppity but then gets down to do the steps for the most crass Hindi songs; I miss Flyboy who gets the attention from all the gay men in a ten-mile radius; and most of all, I miss my soulmate, SnowWhite's Stepmother and his jerky dance movements and his attempts (and failures) to not get drunk, and our very own brand of 'dirty dancing'. *sigh*

I need to dance at this place. And I can't dance alone.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007
Christopher Columbus, anyone?
Christopher Columbus, anyone?

Back to basics. Here I am, at school, and while it's not quite the "new cultural experience" that my friend the Traveller told me it would be, it's still... different. For starters, this isn't Bombay. *sigh* But before I get all droppy at the thought of that, as I have been actually for much of this past week, I shall stand right up to attention, and do a quick salut!
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Not quite Disneyland, but what the hell...! So, anyway, what have I been doing since I got here?

1. meeting the other international students. (social me)
2. exploring town. (not bad)
3. house hunting. (groan)
4. going through a whole lot of alarming details about insurance and phone services. (gasp)
5. having sex. (grin)

Class doesn't officially begin till another week or so, and till then, there're more orientation rounds, more 'mingle and socialize' events, and probably more sexual episodes. Given the size of the town though (groan), exploratory activities of both the town and its gay inhabitants will not take very long. Not at my rate. I've decided that American burgers are terribly dry and yechy, so spicy food is the only way to go - enter buffalo chicken wings and Taco Bell. I've also decided to be frugal, seeing that I'm quite broke, really - classic 'Indian Student in Amreeka' Syndrome. I'm supposed to opening a bank account next week, and I'm wondering whether the bank teller will start guffawing in my face when I show him my measly travellers' cheques I need to deposit. (cringe)

Before leaving Bombay, I'd spoken very loftily to Guppie that I'd quite decided to give up One Night Stands, and focus on dating from hereon.

CT, artificial halo blooming overhead: "I mean, even if it's inconsequential dating, just meeting the guy for the first time or something like that - a proper date is a must. At least, a coffee date. And that means, no running home immediatelly after the coffee to get laid. No Sex On The First Date. That's my new rule. From here on, I'm Dating CT, no more ONS CT. What do you think?"

Guppie, smiling, and reaching over to prick that grotesquely growing halo: "You won't last a week."

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Ummm... and I haven't. Met this really sweet guy who showed me around town and helped me to find my apartment, so we somehow ended up at his place on the second day. :) And this afternoon, after recuperating from a horridly debilitaing fever, I decided I needed some feel-good sex. Which I promptly got. Hell, it's the weekend here, so cut me some slack! Especially, since this place doesn't have much of a nightlife beyond Taco Bell! (OK, so I exaggerate to serve my own ends, yawn yawn.)

Next week, I have the cute Chemistry undergrad and the Spanish grad student signed up. :)

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Friday, August 10, 2007
Testing, testing....

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Saturday, August 04, 2007
So Long, Farewell
So Long, Farewell

There's a sad sort of clanging
From the clock in the hall
And the bells in the steeple, too
And up in the nursery
An absurd little bird
Is popping out to say coo-coo
(Coo-coo, coo-coo)

Regretfully they tell us,
But firmly they compel us,
to say goodnight...
To you

So long, farewell,
Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight

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Hmmmm... I do seem to have a Sound of Music hangover...

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Gay Calcutta Chromosome
Gay Calcutta Chromosome
- With Due Apologies, Mr. Ghosh

Back in the homeland, and this time I've been missing Bombay from Day One. The good things have been regular phone calls from SS and Vivian to keep me going, chats with Natureboy about Sex and The City, and some good ole-fashioned hogging! (I can imagine SS pursing his lip with a "I'd be horribly mean to you, but then since you're going away...!" whimper) The men, however, have been few and far in between.

Calcutta is not famous for its cute gay men - the author of this blog being the notable exception.

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Somehow, with the barrage of Sushmita Sens, Rani Muherjees, Bipasha Basus, and even the sluttier Koena Mitras and Tanushree Duttas, the Bong men were left far, far behind, so far behind that no one ever stopped back to look for them. The Bong men, we're just usually the smart and witty ones, the arty-farty ones, who totally lack in the Body Beautiful department. I got hit on online by an otherwise great Bong chap this evening, and when I told him he wasn't my sexual type, he responded with a o-so-hurt "Aa, so you prefer the brawny hunks, eh?" - to which I replied, yes, Delhi's Jats and Punjabis have always done it for me, in a way that hardly anyone else has.

(O, ok, so there was the Mac sailor-boy I'd had just before leaving Bombay. O, and the Gujarati tall boy who liekd getting down and dirty. O, and even the hunky Marathi guy in his Andheri East flat. Oops, and the Sindhi cutestuff in Khar...)

But the point is, with the notable exception of Salsaboy in Delhi, I've never been really attracted to another Bong. The so-called Bong Connection has never happened with me.

So yesterday evening, I went out on a great date with this Multani Punjabi fellow, a dying species I know, and we had vodkas and beer and chatted nineteen to the dozen. The morning before that, I was playing wicked games with a Sindhi muscle-mary I somehow managed to find in the by lanes of the Calcutta chatroom. Tomorrow, I have a coffee date with a NYC Bong boy - but no, since he's spent 24 of his 34 years out of India, I don't consider him a Bong in any sense of the term. Hell, most of my childhood buddies would hardly consider me a Bong. SS for one, though no childhood friend of mine, habitually says I have no "cul-chaar" (culture), as befitting a true Bong. (I like my sex much too much, and I have no fashion sense, he says. :)

So, no, I haven't had much luck with the Bengalis in the city. According to a survey, Bongs account for only 45% of Calcutta's population, and even with those statistics, its gay inhabitants are by and large unpalatable. There was this hunk who buzzed me on Manjam's chatroom, and after ogling his pecs for five minutes, he told me he was Punjabi, recently moved to the city. Then there was another Salt Lake inhabitant who is a Bombayite, desperately seeking doable men. After a brief chat with him, I realized that the IT and Call Centre Boom in Calcutta has thankfully aided its gay fauna - we now have cute men from Delhi, Gurgaon, Bombay, Hyderabad and Bangalore in the City of Joy, all trying their very best to spread some gay cheer.

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With four days left till I leave Calcutta, and only one sexual escapade since I arrived, I'm certainly cheering from the front rows here! :)

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