I like lost souls: shy, uncertain, newly-out. I like to draw them out of their shell, show them the sights and sounds of the gay community, find the jewel in the rough.
Of course, sometimes it backfires, like with the Ugly Guy Makeover. And Comic Book Guy.
I met him through a mutual friend in April 2004, a couple of weeks after the Worst Date in Florida History. He did not look like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons -- he was in his 30s, a little taller than me, with an athletic build, a hairy chest, wavy red hair, and a beard that for some reason got shaved off between our first and second dates.
Definitely a lost soul -- cute, but with passions guaranteed to turn off the horniest Cute Young Thing at the Manor.
1. Family. Comic Book Guy was an an actual Florida native -- he had parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, and a 100-year old grandmother, all within a 20-mile drive. In fact, 50% of his conversation involved an upcoming birthday party, graduation, recital, play, or something for some relative.
I read a few comic book titles -- some Ducks, an occasional Archie -- but I hadn't paid attention to the Marvel and DC multiverses for years. It was...complex. Infinite Earths, the Death of Batman, the rebirth of the Silver Surfer, The Avengers, the Justice League, crossovers, reboots...my head was spinning.
Naturally, I accepted his invitation to the premiere of The Punisher, although I had never heard of the character.
Comic Book Guy showed me his collection of comic books and memorabilia, including the letter he received from Stan Lee of Marvel as a teenager, when he complained about a storyline with the Hulk being nearly raped by two flamboyant gay stereotypes. The notoriously homophobic Lee laughed it off.
We sat on the couch and listened to music -- yes, they were torch songs -- and kissed and groped.
Then abruptly, Comic Book Guy stood. "Well, it's late. Thanks for a nice evening. G'night." He practically pushed me out the door.
I gaped in surprise. In Florida, you always engaged in physical intimacies on the first date. Occasionally a guy might want to "take it slow," but that required an apology, an explanation, and no kissing and groping.
So I chalked Comic Book Guy down as "not interested." But he called me the next day and asked me out again.
"Maybe his lover is out of town," my housemate Barney told me. "He's waiting for him to get back, so you can 'share.'"
"No -- he wouldn't be kissing and groping me if he was waiting for a lover to come back."
"Maybe he didn't clean his bedroom," Yuri suggested.
"Well-- maybe. But the rest of his house was spotless."
Wait -- you definitely always had physical intimacies on the second date. I couldn't even think of an excuse not to.
"All I can think of," Barney said, "Is that he's a pre-op transsexual who doesn't want you to know that he's still got a vagina." (The term transgender was not yet common.)
"Hmm -- wouldn't you discuss that before the first date?"
"You should, of course. But sometimes people don't."
"I met a transsexual guy the other day," I told Comic Book Guy. "Born female. He was taking hormones to lower his voice, but he still had his female sex organs. Very nice guy, very hot."
"I don't get transsexuals," he said. "I mean, it's ok if that's your thing, but I'm a man who's into men."
Ok, not transgender. Then why was he keeping me out of his bedroom?
Back to his apartment to watch The X-Men on DVD. More kissing and groping!
It was time to push the issue.
"I'm too tired to drive all the way home," I said. "I'd better spend the night."
Comic Book Guy looked doubtful. "Well...I can set you up on the couch."
"Come on -- this is our third date. You definitely, always, absolutely get into the bedroom by the third date. Isn't it about time?"
"Well--ok. Let's go."
He took me into his bedroom. It was spotless. But the air conditioner was booming at full force. It must have been 50 degrees.
"I like it cold to sleep," he explained. Then he turned on a cd player full of torch songs.
"Cold and noisy?" I asked.
"I can't sleep without music playing."
"Great -- always a good idea to get depressed before you drift off to sleep."
Then he turned off all of the lights. With his room heavily curtained, it was black. I could see nothing at all.
I hate utter darkness! It makes me think that I'm blind!
"Um..couldn't we have a night light? What if I need to go to the bathroom?"
"Oh, no, I can't sleep unless the room is completely dark!"
"This is definitely not going to work!", I thought.
I could hear him taking off his clothes in the darkness. Then he was taking off my clothes. I hugged him -- more for warmth than for affection -- and we fell onto the bed. He drew a thin sheet over us.
"Would you please turn down the air conditioner? I'm freezing!"
"No -- I can't sleep with it hot."
"Then turn off the music! It's depressing!"
"No -- I can't sleep without it."
"Well, can you at least turn on a light so I can see you?"
"No -- I like the dark."
I might as well make the best of it. Sighing, I pulled down his shorts and reached for..
Something tiny. Microscopic. The smallest I have ever seen -- or rather, felt.
That was our last date.
I feel bad: Comic Book Guy probably thinks I dropped him because his size was inadequate.
No, it was because of his cold, dark, noisy room.
But wait a minute -- he never called me back.
Maybe my size was inadequate for him!
See also: The One Time a Guy Has Criticized My Size; The Darkroom Bait and Switch.