A great birthday weekend, and it's not over yet.
I had to work on Saturday, covering for someone who was out at one of our weekly street outreach sites. Which was great. Even though I'm "management," I get to have direct contact with our clients, and it's one of the things I enjoy most about my work. And yet another reason why I have the best job in the world. After work, I met up with TopLthrStud4u, who got cheap airfare and a reasonable rate at his favorite hotel, so was up visiting Philadelphia from his home in Jacksonville. We had met once before at MAL after years of messaging back and forth to each other. He's a great guy, and I enjoyed spending time with him, walking through Philadelphia, and visiting Passional, a BD/leather/kink emporium. While at Passional, I made a Very Important Discovery: they have a little clearance bin in the back, where I picked up a vibrating butt plug for $5.81. No really! That's how much it cost! Woo-hooo! (I'm just going to hope and trust that the reason it was in the clearance bin wasn't beause the product was recalled in the wake of several horrible inter-rectal electrocutions or something.) TopLthrStud and I parted ways so he could return to his hotel and get a nap to prepare him from the moveable feast that is the Bike Stop on Saturday night, and I headed back up to Bucks County.
After hanging at Starbucks in Doylestown for a wee bit and getting all kindly uncle for one of the vagabond youth I befriended when I frequented the place, I headed home, packed a bag, made dinner (cream chipped beef on toast!) for my dad and headed up to NYC.
First order of business was to meet up with a man whom we'll call Brownstone, as he's the World's Foremost Leading Authority thereupon (we'll, in the Top 10 anway). Brownstone and I have had an online mutual appreciation society going for years and years now, and finally we were going to be in the same place at the same time, so we planned to get together. We met up at the Factory Cafe on Christopher Street, and talked about architecture, kink, and body building. When the Factory threw us out at 1 am, we headed up to the
Regardless of the Spiegel experience, I think that the leather scene in NYC may, in fact, be tumescent. The New York boys of Leather is rocking the town. Leather Invasion keeps coming up with innovative outings for the cowhide clad, and now I hear that there's a bar opening up at 85 Avenue A called Big Lug ("a men's bar") that has a leather-rubber-uniform thing on Saturday nights. (If I still lived in NYC, I'd be a fixture at Big Lug.) And how cool that it's a close neighbor of the Pyramid Club, ground zero for the East Village Drag Explosion that brought the world Lady Bunny, Ru Paul, Lypsinka, Sister Dimension, and LaHoma Van Zandt. (The uninitiated might not understand why that is supremely appropriate, but you do, don'cha?)
Brownstone was feeling jet-laggy, so he called it a night early. And truth be told, I was feeling none too zippy and peppy myself. And I was starting to dread the drive across the river to Jersey City, where I planned to stay the night courtesy of my Friend and Former Landlord. But luckily, up on the roof deck catching a smoke, I was approached by a reasonably hot man who chatted for a bit, and said the magic words: "I live a few blocks from here." And so, together we repaired to his well-appointed digs in Far West Chelsea.
The next morning, I met up with Brownstone for breakfast, and then we embarked on a brief tour of nice architecture in Lower Manhattan. Too brief, to be sure. We hit the Richard Meier Towers (I was hoping that Brownstone was going to surprise me with ownership of one of the units for my birthday, but no.). And then we headed up the West Side Highway to behold the new building that Frank Gehry designed for Barry Diller at 19th Street. And it's spectacular. Around the back, there's this completely utilitarian windowless building painted white that's surrounded by the Gehry masterpiece, as though by cupped hands. It's so cool.
Brownstone and I had lunch (I know we just had breakfast, but Brownstone has a body to build, so he's all about eight meals a day.) at Bennie's Burrito's in the East Village, which was jam packed with strollers. (I love children, but I could never eat a whole one.)
And then, and then, Brownstone and I parted ways, and I headed over to my Gay Men's S/M Spirituality Discussion Group. We really need an acronym, right? GaMSamSPIDIG, maybe?
We hadn't met since April, so it was so great and much needed to sit in a circle with those guys, get centered, hear what's going on with their spiritual paths, and talk a little bit about my own.
Mostly what I talked about was my current obsession with coupling up. That's spurred, in part perhaps, by getting the Best Job In The World. So much of my previous stress and anxiety have been wiped away, and that's now come to the fore. And, my ruminations on what happened to the once prominent role that SM played in my life. As I expressed it, "Presented with a hot man with whom I had a deep connection, and given the choice between whipping him and curling up with him to keep warm on a cold winter's night, it's pretty obvious to me which way I'd go."
One of our number reminded me of something I know all too well. You've got to let go of the wanting. Because the wanting takes up space in your soul, and until you clear away the wanting, you won't have room for the thing you want. Once I let go of wanting a boyfriend, then I'll be open to having a boyfriend.
It's verrry Buddhist. And verrrrry 'Sex In The City.'
And it's just what I needed to hear.
So after we broke, we repaired to dinner to the nearby Ukrainian Home. My pork ghoulash was wonderful, and the company was marvelous.
After dinner, we said our goodbyes, and I headed down Ninth Street to where my car was parked on Eighth between Ave B and Ave C.
More than any other neighborhood in NYC, and I lived in several, I think of the East Village as my home. I know all those streets, if only because that's where I lived (at 7th and B) when I was new to New York and the City was new to me, and everything was magical, a world waiting to be explored.
Then the drive home. As I was headed for the Holland Tunnel, my BlackBerry signaled an incoming call. It was hot tub guy! I picked up, and heard that wonderful man warbling at me...
"Happy Birthday to you!
You live in a zoo!
You look like a monkey,
And you act like one, too!"
That. Made. My. Day.
And hot tub guy had a proposition: instead of heading for home, how about I come to his place in Philadelphia? We could go nutso tonight, call in sick to work the next day, and spend the first full day of my 43rd year going nutso some more. And, of course, spending the night curled up with each other in bed, keeping each other warm.
But of course, there was one problem: Faithful Companion was waiting for me at home, wanting a walk. I counter-offered that we postpone it until tomorrow (Monday) night. And hot tub guy was game.
So this morning, I brought Faithful Companion to work with me (they love him, of course), and when I get off at five, I'll head down to hot tub guy's lofty abode in scenic Fishtown. He's hard at work as I type planning some kind of Birthday Extrrrravagannnza for me. (Which may or may not include heading to the Bike Stop for Jock Strap Night sporting the requisite jock straps and werewolf masks.)
Y'know, I'm getting my needs met. I've got plenty of love in my life, plenty of people who think of me fondly and often and wish me well. My life is rich, full, and satisfying.
Happy Birthday to me.