In the Bedroom

It was a cold Winnipeg night in February when I first learned what it truly meant to take it like a man. Holding on to the covers for dear life, I lost my virginity to a mister Frederick Davenport. With Paul Walker eyes and a freezer filled with vodka, Frederick was everything I could dream of in a first lover.

The first time we met was at a gay Secret Santa party in December 2008.  (Just incase you were wondering, the only difference between a gay Secret Santa and a straight one is the increased number of premium lubricants wrapped as gifts and jokes about sitting on old mens' laps.) The first moment I laid eyes on him I wrote him off as too good looking for me. Except one hour and two bottles of red wine later, I was sucking in my gut and seducing him with my above-average wit. Two weeks later we met for our first date, and a month after that I cooked him breakfast for the first time.

After two bottles of white wine on an empty stomach, I invited Frederick back to my place to validate my sexual orientation as a gay man. It’s amazing how some men refuse to accept you as a homosexual until you complete the physical act. I am well-acquainted with several of these gays and they are seriously like the Donald Trumps of the queer world. Unless you have an official Certificate of Sodomy you might as well forgot about your citizenship to Gomorrah. For these gentlemen, it’s not enough to dress your salad you need to toss it too.

We climbed the three flights of stairs in to my Wolseley apartment and once we were inside, I asked Frederick to pour us a drink while I took off my face in the powder room. Blinded by the fluorescent light I had to steady myself on the bathroom sink before I fell over. For twenty-four hours leading up to this point, I had starved myself as if I was going in to surgery. I was terrified there might be junk in the trunk (if you know what I’m sayin’) and so I skipped my bran muffin that morning and stayed ten feet away from any food group that could’ve been considered a fibre.

My blood sugar was dangerously low while my blood alcohol was deliciously high. I waited until the black splotches cleared from my eyes, before reaching under the bath mat to remove a spectacular piece of lingerie I had hidden the night before. The sultry clothing item in question was a pair of white CK briefs that featured a totally flattering pouch in the front. Careful not to lean too far forward as to fall in the claw-foot tub, I removed my Joe Boxers and slipped on the Calvin Klein’s. 

Frederick was waiting for me on the couch in the living room when I finally opened up the door to reveal my scantily clad body.

“What happened to your clothes?” he asked with a smirk on his face that indicated he was trying to be funny.

“Take me as I am,” I proclaimed, reciting a lyric from my favourite song in Rent while itsy-bitsy-spidering my right fingers up the wall. 

He stood up from the couch and walked over to the space in front of me. Placing his moisturized hands around my waist, he smiled and kissed me on the lips.

“You are the most beautiful redhead I have ever laid my gorgeous blue eyes upon,” he kissed me one more time. “And your biceps, so strong and powerful, remind me of the Rocky Mountains from where I used to live. I can barely wrap my fingers around them.”

trust me, i was not smiling nearly this big when i was the one about to get stung.I was so weak in the knees I almost fell over, literally. I lost my balance and Frederick had to carry me over to the couch. I played off the incident like he had seduced me but really I just need a cheese sandwich before I ended up in the hospital. I imagined myself to be irresistible in this moment except instead I looked like a comatose alcoholic with an eating disorder.

“Sweet heart,” I gasped, “would you mind getting me something to eat? A swiss gruyere sandwich perhaps, on a multigrain baguette with a dash of Dijon, a dollop of mayo and a sprinkle of thyme?”

“Is a Twix bar ok?” he said, removing the only item of food in my refrigerator.

“I suppose that will do.”

He returned to the couch with the chocolate bar and spread out a blanket over the two of us.

“You’re freezing” he said, taking note off the fact I was shaking.

It was true, I felt like a ginger popsicle and looked like one too. The temperature outside my apartment was minus nine-hundred thousand degrees and inside it was not much warmer. When the landlord first told me my one-bedroom had character, she never told me it was a right bitch. Depending on my apartment’s mood, it would either stab you in the foot with a rogue nail from the disintegrating hardwood floor or freeze you out with its manic set of radiators. At one point I thought my rental was actually trying to kill me with black mould hiding behind the walls; but after a visit from the health inspector and a referral for a good therapist, I learned I was just being paranoid.

Cold I was yes, but I was also shivering because I was terrified. My eggs were about to be scrambled and I preferred them sunny-side up. I had seen the gang-bang shower scene in American History X, and still had trouble reconciling my boyish love for Frederick with Edward Norton’s untimely drop of the soap. The black and white scene had scarred me so much I switched from bar soap to liquid the next day and never went back. As I sat there in my lover’s arms, I was more nervous than a Liberal Party candidate in the last Federal election.

“Do you have a lighter?” Frederick asked.

“In my jacket,” I stuttered, sacrificing my cover as a non-smoker.

Taking the empty candy bar wrapped from my hand, he got up from the couch and wrapped the blanket around me. I closed my eyes and re-opened them to find him in my boudoir lighting candles. Since I didn’t have a set of curtains to cover the window, he ripped down my Y Tu Mama Tambien poster off the wall and taped it over the frozen glass. He took off his sweat-shirt and dropped his pants to the floor before sitting on the bed to take his socks off. When he returned to the living room he hit play on the CD player before crawling under the blanket with me.

“It’s Britney bitch,” played the first track on the album in my stereo.

We both broke out in laughter and for the first time I felt my nerves let up. I quickly bounced off the couch and shuffled through the stack of CD’s piled on my bookcase. Frederick got up behind me and as I exchanged discs I felt his hand trace down the small of my back. 

“S’ wonderful, s’ marvelous, that you should care for me,” lit up the voice of Mrs. Diana Krall.

Ever so gently, he took my hand and led in to my bedroom - and well, I am sure you can find another free website if you cannot imagine the rest.

So I know what you’re thinking right? Did it hurt? Of course it did. There is not enough lubricant in the world that could make a boy’s first time as fun as an afternoon game of slip ‘n’ slide. That said, I was with someone I loved and who respected me the same.

The next morning I woke up with a sore throat that lasted the duration of our relationship. As I searched for a cure in the time we were together, I was tested for every sexually transmitted infection under the sun. In between two rounds of antibiotics for possible strep, I drew blood for three HIV tests and swallowed pills for Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Herpes. Thanks to Western medicine, every time I walked in to a clinic and answered yes to the question, “are you sexually active?” I was treated like a venereal leper, who had bent over in front of every man in the province.

In the waiting room, I opened my eyes to see the young boy Tommy still trying to fit the square block into the round hole. For the first time I wondered whether this was the reason his mother had brought him in to the clinic in the first place.

I was beginning to doubt Meryl Streep had anything to do with the boils bubbling on top of my chest. My memory about Frederick led me to believe my physical ailments were not so much spiritual as they were psychological. After all these years, I was still terrified about Breakfast at Tiffany’s and still didn’t have a clue why. And now here I was again, sitting in the waiting room no closer to seeing a doctor then I was to figuring out I was back in purgatory.  If I was going to find the root of my fear I was going to have to go back further - to first day I came out of the closet.

Here is a sneak peek of the next installment, entitled “Oscar Wilde you bitch, here I come.”

In 2004, I bought my first gay magazine. It was a sunny day in September and I was living in the nation’s capital. I had been out of the closet for less than a month and was nothing more than a baby. With a pashmina scarf wrapped twice around my neck and a pair of polyester pants so tight they cut off circulation below my waist, I took my new sexual identity with me to the bookstore.