Thursday, February 17, 2005

The origin of my infidelity

It's hard to believe now but I was monogamous for the first 5 years of my relationship with boyfriend number 1. There was almost an incident with an ex-boyf but in the end we didn't even touch each other (we just watched each other wank), so I think it's fair to say I managed monogamy for 5 years. Before the relationship started I had enjoyed the standard gay lifestyle of sleeping with lots of different guys, but once settled with boyfriend number 1 that was all behind me.

Surprisingly perhaps, it wasn’t the arrival of the internet which triggered my downfall. I’d been an investment banker since before I met boyfriend number 1, and it was on a business trip to New York in 1994 that the important event occurred. Of course New York has changed a bit since then. In particular there’s been the big crackdown on ‘vice’ which Major Giuliani instigated, however Giuliani had only been elected the previous year and when I visited the crackdown hadn't really got going yet.

So back in 1994 I arrive in New York early on Sunday evening, to be in the bank's New York office for the whole of the following week. I know my colleagues will take me out on one or two nights, but the rest of the time I’ll have to make my own entertainment. For this purpose I had noted down the names and addresses of a few New York gay bars from a copy of Spartacus, the worldwide gay guide which me and boyfriend number 1 had at home in London.

When visiting New York from London I think its important to stay up late, to give oneself a reasonable chance of sleeping through the night and beating the jet-lag. So after I check into my hotel, I hop in a cab to one of the bars on the list I brought from London. Its a bar called Splash on W 17th Street. While I’m there I don’t talk to anyone except the barman, I just drink a single beer and have a look around. So here it is, a sample of gay New York City. After the beer I go back to the hotel, but on my way out I pick up a copy of the free gay listing paper HX.

Back in the hotel I read through HX. When I get to the back there are the sex listings: saunas, sex clubs, porn cinemas, arcades, phone sex numbers, all the usual stuff. The thought sticks with me and later in the week, rather than going to a gay bar on my own and not talking to anyone, I think it might be just as good to go to one of the sex venues and not talk to anyone. I am confident in my self-control, if anything is going on I’ll just be a voyeur I decide. Otherwise I’ll just watch the porn to get ideas for better sex with boyfriend number 1 :-)

I select an arcade called the “Banana Club” in midtown, “where Bananas meet other Bananas”. I take a cab, go in, and pay my $11 entry fee. Inside everything is very dark, all painted black, loads of winding corridors leading round in circles connecting rooms with varying levels of darkness, with a few screens showing hard gay porn in the open spaces. Apart from me there only seem to be a few other guys around. I guess that I’m a bit early.

Looking around by the light of one of the screens I can see that one of the other guys is gorgeous. We look at each other and I walk on. As I continue walking round the different rooms, I occasionally see him. We catch each other’s eye once or twice. Eventually I sit on a bench to watch one of the porn screens, and soon this other guy is standing there looking at me. I catch his eye again, he smiles at me, and finally I smile back. That, there and then, was the crucial mistake.

Slowly he comes and sits down next to me. I turn to look at him, and can’t help smiling at him again. He puts his hand on my knee and I know I’m lost. He looks so lovely. We start kissing, and soon he puts his hand on my crotch. I reciprocate. To use the American terminology, we end up jacking each other off!

I didn’t feel very guilty afterwards either. I knew I still loved boyfriend number 1. Now, over ten years and hundreds of men later, I still love him. But back in 1994, that was the event which made me realise that I’m not very good at monogamy.


Anonymous said...

I know this post is way in your archive and you may not even read this comment, but I have to tell you that 'Splash' was somewhere in NYC that I had some interesting moments... with a guy who was in a relationship with someone he'd been with for 5 years!

The almost coincidence tickled me, so I thought I'd drop you a line.


GB said...

All comments welcome ziggy, even ones on very old posts like this one :-)

Splash in NYC is still there, but I think its more of a dance club now, instead of the bar with wall to wall cute boys that it was about ten years ago!

GB xxx

Yellow said...

A comment on your history may not necessary be very intriguing, but what you think creates your own experiences.

From monogamy to infidelity, there is a way moving on to monogamy (same but different this time) if you choose to. You have the choice, you can choose not to go visit a club because you want to stay clean for a relationship.

Not suggesting open relationship or as such is something 'bad', but it is a choice of living one's life! :)

Law of attraction...

Zhou said...

Hi Gb,

Enjoyed reading this piece very much. I have been secretly read your blog for a while, i think i came across your blog because of your Jane Austin piece, which is excellent writing about Austin, very engaging writing style. Moving from Chicago to New York, it makes always wondering about the city's gay life, in new york, monogamy is almost impossible, every corner you turn, you will see some super handsome guys, so in a way it is very natural. However, the danger about infidelity is really about making it as a habit.

Once this sexual behavior turns into a form of habit, i believe one lost something really important...

Anyway, i enjoyed reading your story, especially your love story with Boyfriend T, i can sense from your writing you loved him very much, reading him reminds me of my ex boyfriend in Chicago, but i am glad to see you are in a new relationship again. You make me almost want to date a British gentleman lol:)

PS: Splash closed a few months back, but you should come back to NYC sometimes soon, happy to meet you up too, you seem like a really wise man:)

GB said...

@Zhou thank you very much for this comment :-). I think I missed the corresponding notification email that I would have got. Reading "… Boyfriend T, I can sense from your writing you loved him very much" makes me feel sad because I feel that my relationship with him could have lasted much longer. Nonetheless, as you say, I'm in another relationship now. I've been with boyfriend K for over a year now, so that's good :-).

I haven't been to NYC for a couple of years, but I hope to visit again either this near or next!

GB xxx