Learning Lesson from Black Gay Couples

Theory: In order to win in this game of love you must study it.

Practice: Befriending and hanging out with more couples.

A good friend of mine invited me on a Sunday morning to visit the National Museum of African-American History & Culture with a group of friends and himself. After the cultural partaking we, a group of five Black queer male professionals,went to Boqueria on M Street in the District. Over an assortment of bacon, pan fried potatoes, with Black hands quickly scooping up mini pancakes, and lush lips sipping unlimited mimosas the usual chatter persisted; we spoke of traveling, those of us not familiar with each other gave the usual banter informing the others about our careers, how we ended up in the District of Columbia and where we grew up. Boys and men came up; anyone that’s in his late 20s and early 30s living in a metropolitan area of a big city with a heavy concentration of Black and other colored Gay/Bisexual men knows the difference must be noted. Two of the men at the table were in committed relationships. One in a commuters relationship (I’ve trademarked it).

Being one that travels for a living, I’ve rephrased the term Long Distant relationship, because it seems to have a negative connotation to it already planting the seeds of difficulty in the couples or the couple-to-be heads.

They laughed when they talked about their significant other, the smiled, they mad awkward faces; they cursed and lauded heir love all in one humorous quip.

After brunch, we road to MGM Casino in Maryland. We were there to celebrate a friend of theirs who had just made partner at his law firm. Friends and family were in a private room with champagne and finger foods.

There was a child, a Black boy who was happy to see recognizable faces and giving them hugs with the kind of happiness only a child can. I’m an introvert unless I’m intoxicated and I didn’t have enough mimosas at our previous location so I sat back, watched and admired. Ear hustling I started to recognize peoples relationships with one another. It quickly came to my attention that the honoree was there with his long term partner and the gleeful child was theirs.

My eyes stayed on them as a collective. I wanted to watch how they interacted; I needed questions answered: where they truly happy? Were the smiles and physical touches of affection authentic? Did they seem to pay attention to one other in a room full of loved ones? Could that be me one day?

Many of my friends have had relationships– some successful some a match made in hell. But I’ve never been consistently exposed to Black gay couples.

You want to be a writer you find a circle of peers who are talented writers. You want to own a Fortune 500 company you network with successful business owners.

I just think to become successful at queer relationships one may want to study first hand and enjoy being around Black gay couples.


“It’s the holidays, where is your man?”

During this winter season I had “to get upon my knees and ask god to see me” to let me know I’m worthy to be loved by those that I love. I asked the universe to show me affection the way I’ve tried to hand out favor to others. Not only is the winter plagued with holidays like Thanksgiving and Kwanzaa, but right after the New Years celebration is my birthday. “I put a brave face on,” during this time of year, because it is difficult to get through. The holiday season and my birthday “are killing me”. It’s a lonely time. I’ve always been a bit of a loaner. At this point, I can’t really tell if I’m a self imposed renegade or if I’m just not the type that melds well with others (I can be defensive); I do think it’s the latter. 

And now I travel for a living and now I’m almost 28. And now more than ever connection is important — romantic or platonic. I’ve most definitely hit that age where seeing brothers with babies, cousins engaged, friends with “new home signs”, and hearing mothers ask when are you gonna settle down fucks with your psyche. I know everyone’s path is different and I know not to rush into anything with anyone for the sake of having something, but I can hear the voices of these animals in my head poking and prodding at me like “Nigga, when you gonna get this shit together.” 

I haven’t tried to fuck the Birthday Blues away; I’m pleased by that. 

I remember (well I think it was) 2011 when I was at OutWrite Book store in Atlanta, Ga off Piedmont and 10th (which is not defunct and has been replaced by a restaurant by name of that same intersection) with a close friend for the book signing and discussion of When Love Takes Over, Darian Aaron‘s first book. I stood up all of 22 years old with a moderate fashion sense and asked something of the sort:

I’m getting up in age. It seems after 27 black gay men aren’t finding love. Should I just settle down with a boy I’m gonna meet now? I’m almost expired. 

The older gentleman in the crowd, well above 27, laughed at the notion of my ridiculous claim. 

But your late 20s feel like quick sand. And just when you’ve mediated and you think you’ve found peace and understanding. You slip a little more and your faith in yourself and your future and your abilities are tested (mostly internally). Maybe I’m still too young to understand myself. I need to find the space where I can see myself in a positive light without achieving the labels of “cuffed” for the holidays or the “successful” son who can host Thanksgiving dinner, because when I do this I think I my life will naturally expand to include the things that I’ve worked for and are meant for me. Happiness is not always the next destination nor holiday or birthday. 

**some quotes and paraphrases are lyrics courtesy of Redemption by Dawn 

A Date on World AIDS Day

The last time we went on a date was 2008 maybe 9. Maybe I have an affinity for the past. I write period pieces about slavery and the civil rights era. On average, I think I keep in touch with more exes than most people. Here we are 2016: he has asked me on a date. Those were his exact words: date not chill.

I remember I met him when I was at Hampton University somewhere between a freshmen and a sophomore. He was a little dark, a little chubby, a little navy seaman. Now he’s retired and I’m bachelor degreed. He’s gotten more muscular and I’ve gotten a little thicker skin clearer. But there was always a certain symmetry in his face that I’ve been drawn too. With the baby weight off it’s a little more pronounced.

We’ve fucked in the interim. There was passion and lust and unbeknownst to him (probably) a little trepidation before, in the midst of, and after he act. But there’s a certain symmetry in his actions. I let my feelings be known he takes action. I said you haven’t taken me out on a date and day’s later he asked me if I wanted to go out on a date. I enjoy a man like that. I reveal in a man like that. I could honor a man like that.
The date: December 1st World AIDS Day. I don’t remember when I told him I was HIV positive, but I do recall telling him several times (because I kept forgetting I told him) and he told me to shut up, because he already knows.

A date; I can’t think of a better way to honor myself, others that are diagnosed with HIV, and those whose mortality has succumbed to the disease.

Before The HIV: Part 4 of 4 (Origin Story)

I wonder if he’s shouting Black Lives Matter now. I wonder if he’s protesting the senseless murders of Black men (and Black women). I know I rarely say it. I haven’t bought into it. I haven’t surmised how much I truly believe the statement when I’ve placed my own mortality on the line several times. Still, I wonder if Black lives matter to him now. I wonder if the statement only pertains to Black men slain by enforcement officers — if it does that’s fine by me, no animosity at all. Causes should be specific, plights are. I wonder how politically and socially conscious he is.

blacklives matter.jpg

It’s not that Black lives didn’t matter back in 2010 when we helped one another contract the disease, but obviously we cared a little less for our lives than we’d like to admit.

Things change rapidly. Though we weren’t in the midst of the 1980s rapid discovery and explosion of HIV/AIDS, 2005s mentality of the virus was nothing like it is in 2016. I remember back then if you met someone online there was very little exchange about HIV/AIDS status. Of course websites like A4A had a drop down menu that let you include your HIV status: positive, negative, unknown or it could be left blank. But rarely beyond that tidbit of information did men flat out ask one another. Fast-forward to 2016 (and in a testament to mattering more) plenty of men (if I haven’t gotten to it first) will ask me my status (and I love  it).

 The act of mattering to one self is a very internal feeling that is shaped by external forces whether they be government, media, faith, or family. On the surface my act of unprotected sex was the naivety of adolescents — I’m a young Black invincible gay motherfucker (imagine it in a Samuel L. Jackson cadence and tone).Under the surface I was condition to not matter to myself. I can’t speak for him.

I met him online the summer before my Hampton freshmen year. I fell quick and hard, hormones raging for this 6’3″ brown skin older boy with the legs of a soccer player and dick like the trunk of Snuffleupagus. We dated all freshmen year. We broke up all freshmen year. We reconciled all freshmen year. We fucked all freshmen year in my lone freshmen room (my roommate found out I sucked big black dicks and in some misguided notion thought I’d regress back to baby dicks requested to move out). We fucked raw all freshmen year. I fucked others all freshmen year. I fucked others raw, at times, and I fucked others protected, at times, all freshmen year.

The most annoying question I repeatedly get since having HIV is “how did you get it?” I can’t recall anyone ever asking me “are you okay?”, or “are you mentally and emotionally healthy regarding it?”. Do I matter? Do Black lives still matter? I’m not sure how I contracted it. Well, the real question that they want to know and some do ask “do you know who gave it to you?” It never mattered to me, so why does it matter to so many other people. Nosey no empathy having motherfuckers — I say. It seems once you’ve contracted the disease you become an alien and according to what people have said to me once they know, I now know extraterrestrial lives matter but not my black one.

I understood the Emmy nominated production that is Beyonce’s Lemonade right away. I don’t matter to the world, but why am I also being betrayed and disregarded by the man (or men) I love? After freshmen year, I didn’t think I was coming back to Hampton so we ended it. I don’t recall the reason why I didn’t want to go back or didn’t think I’d be able to. We knew long distance was not logistical for us. However, we kept in touch through penis pictures and videos. About 6 months before the semester was to start I found out I was indeed returning to HU (the real one) and I proceeded to tell him. He said we would pick up where we left off.

He didn’t mean the monogamy or the relationship, but instead the back and forth. I wish I could say I remember it like yesterday, but I don’t. Somehow he told me; it could have been by phone call, email, plane or train. A week before I was to trek back to HU (the real one) he had confessed he was in a new relationship.

I still carried on with him my whole sophomore year off and on. Sex. Unprotected fornication. He was mine first. The first boy I swore I ever loved. Sex. Unprotected fornication in their home. He was mine first and he said I’d be his last. Swore he’d break it off. Some first year psych major may say I didn’t hold myself to a high standard, because I didn’t value my own self worth. I didn’t value myself enough to demand to be the only one in his life or have protected sex; if he was fucking me raw they must have been fucking raw and seven years later I think to myself who wasn’t he fucking raw. I guess Black lives didn’t matter.

I can admit: I haven’t cared for living for some time now. I didn’t care before the HIV and haven’t shifted my self-worth post diagnosis. I admit I’m a 27 year old insecure and suicidal Black gay male. I go off and on meds, even though I know that could create complications and lead to death. Hell, recently I almost overdosed on prescription drugs and alcohol, full disclosure: it was not my intent, but when I woke up in my car on the side of the road at 5am vomiting I couldn’t help, but think why I couldn’t have just died instead. I hypothesized (and I’m probably not the only one) that until Black gay men really internalize the feeling of worth, value, of mattering HIV/AIDS will never be a thing of the past for the Black community.

It was (guesstimating) maybe 5-7 months after we stopped having sex that I was diagnosed. It was (guesstimating) 3 years later that we both confided in our statuses to one another with no anomosity. No questions of how it was contracted just two Black men now making sure we were both okay, making sure we knew we mattered with honesty.

When the Atheist and Christian Met on a Date

While pessimism tells me things would be easier, experience tells me this is doomed.


All of three minutes into our conversation about atheism and religion,  three minutes of which I made sure I was pleasant , he says “I’m sure you’ll get over your atheism.” Against my better judgment, I didn’t make him walk home. I, in a most staid tone, expressed to him how ignorant his statement was.  How dare his Florida-swamp-ass tell me my beliefs, no matter how far removed from American idealism, are erroneous; I can’t believe he had the unmitigated gall. If I was Jewish or Muslim would he have said the same? Did he view me as some Neanderthal, because he deems I don’t have the conscious space to digest religion? I could have gone Nat Turner on his ass; I should have gone Nat Turner on his ass.

Men are always wary of me when I tell them I am atheist, as if I just sprouted eight eyes and six legs. There are three types of men when it comes to this matter: those that will only seek to spread my legs, those they will spread their arms and those that think they can spread my mind. The latter is the worse. Their brain in sync with their mouths begin to twist and torque with rhetoric and questions trying to dissuade their uncomfortableness by asking belittling questions and making belittling comments, all the while making my dick limp and my eyelids heavy. I do not mind speaking of religion on dates, just make sure you give me the tact a dog is due.

The problem that I have with dating Christians is not the religion, that’s a different bone on a totally different elephant. I have a fear of falling in love with someone then being forced to prove I love them more than I love myself and my convictions, through some arbitrary ritual of gathering in a building to praise a mythical being and with the use of overly exerted egos place hierarchies in our society based on skin color, gender, and sexual practices to name a few; not to mention every first Sunday, we must pretend grape juice is blood and a wafer is flesh, sort of like that fake McDonald’s kitchen with the fictional microwave that heated up the plastic meat and buns —  although, I thought “when I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

Okay, maybe it’s on the same elephant.

Queer Web-Slinger on the Dating Scene

I was about to commit some serious web-slinger action.  I must have been Peter Parker to his Mary Jane, because there we were at Joes on Juniper, the Sunday of Black Gay Pride, and he saw through me the way  a kid at Easter see’s through cellophane. At the table next to us were the actual goodies in the basket: lighter, taller (I suppose), larger in frame, I would argue just as handsome, and, according to Mary Jane, masculine.

Flash Thompson sat at his table blatantly flirting with my friend. Now, I could tell the punk (yes punk) was intoxicated, but if he thought I couldn’t tell what he was doing behind his Ray Bans, he was sadly mistaken. Mary Jane has acknowledged that we have an ‘attraction-friendship’; that’s his coined term, not mine; so, I wondered why he would even entertain Flash Thompson –Like shut that shit down, nigga.

I thought about kicking Flash Thompson’s ass; after all, it would be easy with his sloppy drunkin’ ass. I could put on my Spidey outfit: black and blue spandex; my ass would look great in it. Mary Jane wouldn’t be able to look through that thickness. Oh, but yes, I would be in Spidey outfit; imagine me on top of Joes from Juniper shooting a web to the Loew’s hotel parking deck. I’d swing down and my foot would land, POW, right on his jaw.

How dare Flash not think that Mary Jane and I could be together? I’m not unattractive. I have a decent athletic body.  Per previous paragraph, I’ve informed you my ass is thick. Maybe, it’s that Mary Jane and I didn’t exhibit any chemistry, or maybe that punk was just brave.

He had on a hat, a white shirt, those Ray Bans, some dark colored shorts and some ordinary shoes. I remember the fuckin’ drunk actually spit on me during a fit of laughter, as the host was first showing us to our seats. I should have totally KA-POW’D him. I recall Mary Jane, perhaps in some conscious pride, state how “Tops are always trying to talk to him.” Of course I looked at Flash Thompson, now Mary Jane being a novice, I had to school him. I asked him why he thought our table neighbor was a Top. Of course, he went straight to the wardrobe, as if Noah didn’t top Wade. Me, überconsciously, decided to denigrate the nigga by pointing out his obvious femininity; me hoping that would be a deterrent to me being put on the shelf like some Disney puppet. My nose would grow, if I said I was upset with what I did; now, I’m not proud, queer men attacking one another’s masculinity, or lack thereof, is pathetic, but I in all my Peter Parker-ness I was desperate. I would have done anything to halt this kismet occasion. For goodness sake, we weren’t on a double date, but we were on a four something.

Flash Thompson eventually, left, nothing became of their encounter, at least not in my presence. I had thought, now Peter Parker can take stage . . .

Just then, it happened in slow motion, his cell phone came out and a hundred Flash Thompsons in a five mile radius popped up on Jack’d.

Hopes to floor –Splat!