LXV. The Guy With The Barong Tattoo

“Too much joy, I swear, is lost in our desperation to keep it.”

– Ocean VuongOn Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

One of my biggest turn-offs is a horrible texter. If I write you an eloquent narrative on how I want you to finger my hole and your response is only “lol,” it’s over between us. According to Buzzfeed, my love language is words of affirmation. And, for once, I can’t agree more with Buzzfeed. This might come as a surprise, but I am a firm believer in the power of wordsAnd before you say anything, I know that my word repertoire is limited to annoying phrases like “bitchhh” and “yasss queen!” But I find guys with an extensive vocabulary to be impossibly sexy. Like… if you can find a way to write a lengthy essay about your mundane breakfast, I will get an instant boner. To me, guys who have a way with their words are incredibly hot.

Unfortunately, it’s not a skill many guys have, and I blame toxic masculinity for that lack of literacy.

After a six-hour drive and constant repetitions of Adele’s 21, I finally arrived in a small town in the East Bay, Northern California. My life after college wasn’t as shiny and glamorous as I expected. Before graduation, I foolishly thought that a STEM degree would be a magnet for six-figure jobs. When I threw that stupid cap in the air, I imagined recruiters would line up at my front door fighting over my cute ass. The reality, however, couldn’t be more different than my fantasy. After graduation, trying to get a decent job was a struggle, and the only kind of jobs I got were handjobs and blowjobs. It was tough to have a respectable career in LA when botox and 10% body fat were part of the job requirements. So that’s how I decided to be stranded in a predominantly white neighborhood, trying to jumpstart my career with a shady tech agency.

Moving to the East Bay, the biggest culture shock for me was not finding a guy rocking six-pack abs within a one-mile radius. The median age of the gays was 35; they mostly had a faceless profile picture and wrote zero Mean Girls quote on their bio. The East Bay gays had no place to host because most of them, I assumed, tried to suppress their wild side or had a wife. A few weeks after moving into town, I had many quick sexual rendezvous in someone’s Toyota at a shady corner of the mall parking lot. On a few occasions, I had to sneak into a guy’s bedroom through the window so his sister and nephews wouldn’t gawk at my iconic ass. Every hookup was spontaneous as most guys were busy maintaining their image as respectable professionals (and, for some, loving dads) in their regular life.

Basically, I was the freshest, most sought-after mistress in town.

Don’t worry, I hate me too

In the middle of my umpteenth attempt at destroying the sanctity of many straight(?) men’s marriages, I met this adorable, muscled white guy on Grindr. He’s around my age, recently got out of a long-term relationship with another man, and was hot as fuck. The curly-haired guy was like a breath of fresh air because I didn’t have to worry about the potential of being a new stepdad to a fifteen-year-old brat. He’s got a charming smile, well-defined pecs, and most importantly, zero wives. According to the East Bay standard, he was a 10/10. 

Our first date, albeit pleasant, was never gonna turn into a best-selling Netflix rom-com adaptation. Sure, he came to pick me up and took me on a cute quick In-N-Out date. We later laid on the stained carpet of my bedroom floor and had thought-provoking conversations about Blue is the Warmest Color. For a first date, everything went well. But getting him to meet me was an exhausting process. He’s one of those guys who wasn’t a big fan of emojis. His texts lacked any form of emotional expressions— deadpan messages so dispassionate that they could be mistakenly thought of as written by a zombie.

“Thanks for the offer, but that won’t help.”

“I’m at the office. What’s up?”

“Can’t meet today. Had plans with friends.”

Perhaps there was a lack of physical interest from his end. Perhaps he didn’t see me as someone worth investing his time for. Perhaps he didn’t have the emotional capacity in his heart for someone new— another broken homosexual who recently experienced the sharp pain of first heartbreak. But I was young and naïve, and I was willing to go to war for this guy. Perhaps if I fought harder, and showed how I was more than just an average bimbo LA transplant, that I had more emotional substance beneath this semi-flawed exterior, he would finally see me as a worthy gem. I was trying to convince myself that I wasn’t just a supporting character in someone else’s epic romance. I, too, for once, deserved to be the hero of my own story.

I have more fantasies in my head than the entire Final Fantasy franchises

My delusion reached an all-time high. I kept bothering this cute guy regularly, asking him what he liked about me how his day was, although his responses were bare minimum. After countless attempts, he eventually agreed to meet me again one day, and I was on cloud nine. He was going to pick me up at my apartment, and I would take him to my favorite Malaysian restaurant downtown. The plan was cute and, most certainly, innocent.

It wasn’t until three minutes before he arrived at my apartment that I received a text from my date.

“So you’re a bottom right? I’m vers, but mostly top.”

I would be lying if I told you the thought of having sex with him didn’t cross my mind. He’s an attractive guy, and I was a young adult filled with raging sexual hormones. But I would also be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t disappointed. I thought by leaving LA, I would detach myself from my former promiscuous lifestyle and had a chance to be a brand new person, redefining what emotional intimacy meant to me. The whole point of me physically distancing myself from the city that psychologically tainted me was for a fresh beginning— a chance to start over.

But it’s only been a few weeks since I moved to the East Bay, and I was already back on my bullshit. Whatever life mantra I was trying to ingrain in my stupid little head went out the door.

“Would love to ride your dick, stud,” I replied with the utmost confidence and little to no self-respect.

My lips’ automatic response to a hot guy when they want to fuck me

The wholesome vibe between us immediately dissipated. The moment my date walked through my front door, I could sense the hunger in his hazel eyes. And no, he’s definitely not hungry for some rendang and laksa. When he unpromptedly removed his white tee, I gasped. His lean muscles were bulging in all the right places with the right amount of chest hair on his sculpted torso. His proportion was correct. Everything about his body was correct.

I was so mesmerized by his body that it took me too long to notice the tattoo on his left arm. The tattoo was of a Balinese Barong, a pattern I saw innumerable times growing up. But before my mind went to dark places, I simply chose to ignore the tattoo. There was no time to contemplate whether it was a cultural appropriation issue. There was no time to worry if the Balinese holy spirits would bear witness to the sin of my homosexuality. At that moment, I had a more pressing issue at hand, as this curly-hair adonis was ready to press his dick into me.

We first fucked on the sofa bed in my living room, the same living room I shared with randos from work. Yes, I knew it was gross and morally problematic, but we’re not here to talk about morals, aren’t we? The moment his 7-inch penis sprung out of his black undies, I immediately dropped to my knees and showcased my oral technique— a form of art I had ruthlessly perfected after years of experience. But I could sense the impatience radiating from his throbbing member as I gradually upped my fellatio game, surprising him with how each brush from my tongue kept getting better and better. My date wanted something more. He was hungry for the main dessert, and I was ready to serve him some cakes, the cherry on top of this delicious culinary journey.

I’m gonna spare you with the juicy coital details for the sake of sounding less cringey

Even after one semi-decent Malaysian lunch and two mind-blowing, back-to-back sex, I didn’t notice a change in my date’s behavior. The curly-haired Adonis still appeared to be as distant as ever; even after he wrecked the shit out of my bussy I poured my heart and soul for this guy. It was as if I was still an outsider to him, even though he had been inside me. 

It wasn’t until one of those evenings when I just did not know when to fucking quit bothering him that he finally confided to me. 

“I’m really flawed, and I’m going through a hard time. And I think I might be bipolar. I’m currently off of my depression/anxiety meds. And every time something remotely stressful happens, I feel like my head will explode and I want to die.” 

It finally made sense to me. I didn’t understand it back then, but I now learn that I was fighting a losing battle from the very beginning of my valiant effort of winning this curly-haired stud’s heart. I tried so hard to insert myself into his life (no pun intended) and be a ray of sunlight when all he needed was a time alone to grow and stand on his own. It wasn’t even my job to “fix” him, and even though I was tasked to do so, I didn’t even have the mental capabilities to aid his problems. I was in my early ’20s, and I didn’t know shit about depression or anxiety. At the time, I thought depression was an overly-used word to convey an intense amount of stress, and a funny YouTube video of a panda rolling on the grass could simply fix that. That’s how naïve and clueless I was about mental health. I guess it wasn’t a surprise that I knew nothing about mental health as, back in the days, I only filled the dark voids in my life with penises and alcohol. 

My early ’20s summed up in one GIF

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from countless trials-and-errors is that everyone’s mental health journey is different. And to quote Mama Ru (yes, I know how cliché this sounds), “if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” When you want to put yourself out there, it’s only fair for the other person if you’re ready and capable of providing them a space in your life. Acceptance of one’s true self only works to a certain extent if they’re not even presenting their true selves. Loving someone when you’re in a state of self-loathing will only result in a burst of that internalized hatred projected towards your significant other, and I think we can all agree that that ain’t cute.

And please, for the love of God, don’t be ashamed to ask for help from a professional if you feel like you need it. It’s not only gonna help yourself but also the people around you. 

And when you’re ready, I’ll be here waiting, in bed with my legs wide open.

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