Thursday, March 1, 2012

My First Romantic Experience

When I turned 18, I started to be set up on many, many "blind dates". Set ups were the norm in the orthodox world. Either a friend of mine, or a friend of my parents was always telling me "I have a girl that would be perfect for you." Between the age of 18 and when I started to come out at 26, I must have been set up on over 80 first dates. The vast majority of the dates were boring. The dates that weren't boring, were scary. Whenever I felt things progressing "positively" I would get very nervous because in the back of my head I knew I did not want to end up with a girl. I would think to myself "if this relationship works out, I will never get the chance to be with a guy." I would therefore always find a reason to break up.

At 26, I started to come out and wanted to start meeting guys. Of course, I did not know how to go about this. As far as I knew Jerusalem did not have a gay bar and I did not know any gay guys that I could ask. Luckily, my friends Ariella and Dan had many gay friends. When I told them that I was looking to meet guys, they were able to tell me about the most popular Israeli gay website, Atraf. With their help I opened an account and started to meet guys. Of course, as anyone that knows Atraf will tell you, this is not a place to find romance. It is mostly a hook up site. So at 26 I found my life lacking any romantic experience whatsoever. While hook ups can be fun, I am the type of guy that is looking for romance.

At the end of June 2011, I finally left for my dream trip in Vietnam (I will write more about that trip later). On the way I had a 24 hour layover in Bangkok. So while I was there I set out to find some yummy Thai food. The staff at the hotel I was staying at recommended I go to a restaurant in a specific mall. When I got to this restaurant there was a waiter standing in the entrance to welcome me who spoke a decent level of English. This waiter (we will call him R) was very beautiful and obviously gay. Through my lunch I flirted with him a bit and he seemed to be flirting back. At the end of the meal I paid and went to walk around the mall for a little bit. I kept thinking to myself, "I have one day in Thailand, try and make the most of it." 

I worked up the courage to go back to R and ask him if he would show me around the city after he was done work. He agreed! I sat down and talked with him for a few more hours while he finished up work. Afterwords we walked back to his place so he could get changed. He asked me if I wanted to go dancing, or go eat, or what. I told him "I don't care what we do, as long as I get to spend time with you." He blushed and seemed kinda nervous. I again decided to work up all my courage and I leaned in and kissed him.

We than left R's apartment and walked holding hands to a near by bar. There we had some food and drink and met a few friends of R's. We held hands and kissed throughout the meal. The whole experience of being publicly affectionate with a guy was exhilarating. Living in Jerusalem, I never imagined being able to hold hands with a guy while walking in the streets or kiss another guy in the middle of an outdoor bar. Afterwords, we walked around the city some more holding each other and talking. We ended up spending the night together. In the morning we ate breakfast and than I walked him to his bus stop. When his bus came, we kissed each other goodbye and he left.

While I only got to spend an afternoon and a night with R, it was very romantic and I will remember it fondly forever. I felt emotions that night that I had never felt before. I got a burst of self confidence. I no longer thought that I would end up alone or have to settle. I had just had a romantic evening with a beautiful Asian guy. For the first time I thought that maybe my fantasies could some day become reality :)

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