A PRIDE Month Essay by Alan Yount

            His profile said that he looked like “Hugh Jackman’s younger brother”—“dark hair, green eyes, square jaw”—and he did, indeed, look like Hugh Jackman’s younger brother. He was gorgeous.

            I got to his place around 1:15am. He met me at the door to his building and led me up to his fourth-floor, walk-up apartment. It was sparse and hall-like, long and narrow, and the only windows were in the front and back. A kitchenette stood opposite the door, a bathroom at one end, and, I assumed, a closet at the other. An elevated sleeping couch sat in the middle, opposite his computer.

            “Would you like something to drink?” he asked. 

“What are you having?” I asked.

            “I’d have a beer. Want to split one?”  

            I’d had enough to drink already. At dinner earlier with my boss and two other women from work, I drank more than my share of before-dinner drinks and with-dinner wine. Undeterred, I told him yes, and he pulled a ‘tall boy’ of Miller Lite out of the refrigerator. He took two cracked, white ceramic coffee mugs off a shelf and filled each with beer.

            He leaned in and kissed me. I had told him that I like to kiss. 

            “Wow!  No wonder you like to kiss. You’re good,” he said.

            We kissed again as we fell onto the sleeping couch and arranged ourselves, me on top of him. 

            Unfortunately, Hugh Jackman’s younger brother was just okay at kissing. But . . . he was handsome. And I could tell that his profile pictures were accurate as I ran my hands up and down his body, feeling the knot of muscles in his shoulders, the taper of his waist, and his full, firm hips—he had a beautiful body. Under different circumstances, he’d be a keeper, even though the kissing wasn’t the best. You can’t have everything, right?

            “So, what are you doing out so late tonight?” he asked, pulling away from my embrace and taking a swig of beer from his mug.

            I followed his lead and brought my mug to my lips, swallowed, and answered, “I was out with the girls from work tonight. We drank a lot and talked about how stupid men are. Made me horny.” I took another swig, thinking, and lonely

            “Lucky me,” he said.

            Right, I thought. You’re lucky to have some 51-year-old man kissing you and running his hands all over your beautiful, 30-year-old body. Let’s be real. Keeping my thoughts to myself, I just said, “I’d say I’m the lucky one.”

            We continued to talk. For some reason, I liked talking to him. Maybe he was better at conversation than he was at kissing? Maybe he preferred talking to me, hoping to delay the inevitable, sex with me?

            He noticed my wedding ring. “Where’s your other half?”

            “Out of town. Out of the country. I don’t do so well unsupervised.”

            “What’s he like?  Is he a good kisser?”

            What difference does it make? We’ve been together for 21 years—”

            “Twenty-one years?!  That’s a long time. Impressive.”

            Impressive? Then, what am I doing here, lying on a couch in a seedy, fourth-floor, walk-up apartment, drinking beer, kissing, and, hopefully, having sex with another man?  “Yes, I guess it is. But, unfortunately, it does take a bit of the ‘sexiness’ out of it.”

            After some more rolling around, kissing, and drinking beer, I told him, “I’d like to see your chest.”

            He stood and peeled off his polo shirt, raising his arms over his head, holding them there, in the air, showing off his torso. A light fur covered his chest and stomach. He had shaved to accentuate his pecs and abs, something I had tried to do on numerous occasions without success. 

           He really does look like Hugh Jackman’s younger brother.

            I removed my own shirt, and we fell into each other’s arms again. His chest felt good against mine. His kissing seemed to improve. We remained in that arrangement for some time, the buzz of the alcohol and the frisson of sexual tension quieting my nagging thoughts and insecurities. 

            “Can I take my pants off?” I asked. Then, saying what I meant, “Really, it’s your pants I want off,” I reached for the button on his jeans and began to undo it. He’s not wearing underwear!

            “Hold on. I’m going to go put on a pair of briefs.”

            He disappeared into the room at the end of the apartment and returned in a pair of silky boxer briefs, and we fell, once again, into each other’s arms. I returned to running my hands over his body, feeling his ass—“awesome ass,” his profile had stated—under the silky shorts. 

            We pulled apart and looked into each other’s eyes, and I realized that we weren’t going to ‘do it.’  I was never going to see, much less feel, his naked body. I wouldn’t even allow myself to reach for him under his briefs. Why? What’s wrong with me?!

            I left after two hours and fifteen minutes, only leaving the $250 for one hour—$270 counting the $20 tip I gave him. A rather chaste, ‘first date,’ experience, albeit an expensive first date. With no hope of a second date.

            I walked out into the SoHo night, 3:30am, and put my hand in the air for a cab. As I stood on the empty cobblestoned street, a Super Moon reflected in the puddles at my feet, that unsaid feeling of loneliness, which had been at bay, crashed in around me. 

            I thought of my evening with the “girls,” my evening with Hugh Jackman’s younger brother, and syllogisms:

Life is a lonely experience.

I am alive.

I am lonely.


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