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a slap in the face

a slap in the face

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Published by Martin Free Ramos
From a collection of writings for "A Cub Amongst Angels" which documents the life, love & romances of Martin Free Ramos as he navigates through the dating world being a Filipino/Spanish/Sicilian , HIV positive, self-identified Bear in his mid-30's, in an oft Caucasio-centric Bear community.
From a collection of writings for "A Cub Amongst Angels" which documents the life, love & romances of Martin Free Ramos as he navigates through the dating world being a Filipino/Spanish/Sicilian , HIV positive, self-identified Bear in his mid-30's, in an oft Caucasio-centric Bear community.

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Published by: Martin Free Ramos on Aug 29, 2010
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05/18/2012

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A SLAP IN THE FACE
By
martin free ramos
Weve all heard the saying, Nice guys finish last. And Ive lamented before, on a social networkingblog I once kept, that as the proverbial nice guy, while I didnt always finish last, it wouldve been niceto win, for a change. Well, as a former track & field athlete, I was trained to learn that how you ran arace was dependent on the type of race you were in. I recently came to the realization that navigatingthrough the often cutthroat world of dating isnt that different.There was once a time when everything I had learned in my life about myself and the people around memanifested itself to everyone I came into contact with as an exuberant self-confidence which manypeople seemed to be attracted to, be it romantically, sexually or platonically. Having just come out of aseven year relationship and with no interest in pursuing anything serious with anybody, for the timebeing, I was afforded the freedom to sail through the dating scene without worrying about any deepemotional investments. Thats not to say I didnt make any deep & meaningful connections withanyone. Quite the contrary! In fact, it was during this time that I began forging some of the strongestbonds of brotherhood with friends who are now some of the most important people in my life. But notbeing in an emotional position to entertain anything more than a platonic relationship allowed me to beas bold, honest & upfront about my feelings as I wanted to be. But as it turns out, once you permityourself to consider the possibility of something more, it changes the game and there are newconditions, and even new emotions, that have to be taken into account. A lesson that took me twoyears to learn, and came to me in the form of a gentleman named Fredric.I met Fredric on the chat site Bear411. Handsome, charming and witty, it wasnt hard to be taken byhim, even though he lived on the East Coast. After months of online exchanges & telephoneconversations, we finally had the opportunity to meet when he came out to LA for a visit in the fall of 2007. Not only was he every bit as handsome, charming & witty in person as he was online, but in thetime we spent together, I was able to see how sensitive, articulate and even adorably neurotic he was.Against my better judgment, I allowed myself to be smitten, but justified it with the fact that this tripwas the first step he was taking in his plan to eventually move here. Now, personally speaking, I wouldprefer not to be in a long distance relationship, nor would I put myself in a position to place my life onhold for someone so as to wait for them to be ready to be with me. So while I let myself get smitten, Ishelved any further exploration of my feelings for Fredric pending his relocation. But in the year thatfollowed, with continued communication via online chats, telephone calls & SMS messages, my feelingsfor Fredric began to grow. A fact I apparently chose to ignore.When Fredric was preparing to return to LA in the fall of 2008, to say I eagerly anticipated his arrival wasan understatement. The sentiment seemed to be mutual, when he and I planned when we were tospend time together during his trip. Since Fredric had other friends he also planned on visiting withwhilst on his trip, his itinerary was becoming busier as his holiday approached. Unbeknownst to me,
 
among the friends he was scheduled to visit, were two of my former roommates & close friends, Isaac &Zander, with whom Fredric had also been chatting during the past year, and had apparently alsodeveloped as a potential romantic possibility. When it came to light that we all knew each other, a weekbefore Fredric flew out, he called me in an effort to ensure there was no awkwardness. After discussingit with my friends, everything was smoothed over and even made for a slight rearranging of some of hisitinerary, giving all of us more time to spend with each other. After all, even though I was exploringthings with Fredric, I had no claim to him, nor did him to me. And just because I happened to know thecouple he was interacting with, it didnt mean I had dibs on him, just because I started talking to himfirst. I mean, we were all adults here. And there was nothing that said we couldnt be civilized abouteverything right? Well, long story short, I experienced jealousy for the first time ever. But even afterall the awkwardness & irritation that ensued, a heartfelt, open discussion with Fredric about everythingat the end of his trip led to the understanding that our friendship was growing and how far ourrelationship could go was still something we were both exploring. Again, against my better judgment, Iallowed myself to continue being smitten by him. I even permitted myself to be okay with the increasedemotional investment I was beginning to feel.In the months that followed, Fredric & I continued communicating with each other. And even aftervarious public expressions of affection Fredric shared with Isaac & Zander on a certain social networkingsite, which stung to see, I would still catch my heart jumping every time my phone buzzed with a textmessage or rang with a call from Fredric. But I believed I had everything under control. After talkingabout it with another close friend of mine, regarding this situation, I came to the conclusion that I reallyhad to just put this to rest for myself and find closure. With so much happening to me in 2009, it wasfast becoming a year of discovery & understanding of the person I was, am and would become, allintermingled with, or as a directly result of, various other personal or romantic encounters. Particularlytowards the end of the year, I was facing so many old issues I thought I had overcome, but found I hadto re-learn how to process those emotions again. But I was also finally learning to see possibilities,which were once obscured by my insecurity and self-doubt. I really had too much, more importantthings to worry about in my life, than Fredric. And just when I thought I was starting to finally getcomfortable with my emotional self again, he texted me. Once again, my heart jumped. Once again, Iwas giddy as a schoolgirl. But as we messaged back & forth, I saw once again why I had to have closurefor myself with Fredric. In fact, he even shared that he was dealing with an issue involving another guy.However, what he was
really 
having trouble with, was how he was going to tell Isaac & Zander, since hewasnt sure how they saw their relationship with him. Hm. He sure didnt have any reservations abouttelling
me
, did he? Ouch.And just to drive that point home for me, after relating the text conversation to some of my closestfriends later that evening, I found out that I put myself in this situation all too often. Apparently, I am
too
emotionally available! And because I always present myself as emotional support for a guy, itautomatically puts me in the Friend category, eliminating any romantic possibility I might have had.Essentially, writing me off before the other guys even had a chance to. I tried to argue. But as theimages of past romantic potentials and unrequited loves flashed before my eyes, I realized they were

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