HELL: I swear, I didn't inhale
I had just left the National Ballet of Canada and was living at home with Mom for a few months to get back on my feet and start classes at the University of Washington in Seattle. I reconnected with some old high school friends and started hanging out with them when I wasn't working at my boring retail job. My friend Kristi, who worked as a server at a local restaurant, told me she had a cute gay co-worker she could fix me up with -- was I interested? I said "sure" and met them the following weekend at a local sports bar.
Naturally, he and I left the hetero sports bar posthaste and headed to a local gay watering hole for a drink. We got along well enough. My date, whom I'll call Brad, was cute and seemed interested in me. After we finished our drinks, he asked me if we could go "pick something up" at the home of a friend of his. I agreed, although running an errand on a date seemed weird.
We drove to a bad part of town and I was instructed to remain in the car while Brad retrieved the mystery item from his friend. I locked the doors and kept a nervous lookout. After about five or 10 minutes, I saw Brad sprinting toward the car. He jumped in and we squealed away.
I thought his behavior was strange, but I was only 21 at the time and no red flags rose in my mind. Then Brad asked me if I wanted to park somewhere and "hang out." Thinking he might want to make out, I agreed, as he was good looking and I hadn't gotten any action since leaving Toronto two months before.
So we found a secluded rural spot, pulled off the road, and started chatting. Then Brad said, "Hey, do you want to get high?" I thought he meant was I interested in smoking pot, so I said, "Sure." He fished a white rock out of his pocket and proceeded to put it in a pipe, light it up, and smoke it. I was floored. Red flags were waving at full mast by this point. I'm thinking, here I am, miles outside of the city, trapped in a car with a blind date from hell who's smoking crack!
I politely declined, but Brad insisted. As he was my ostensible ride home, and because I didn't want to cause trouble, I agreed. I turned away from him so he couldn't see that I didn't actually inhale. I mimicked his "I just took a hit off a crack pipe" mannerisms and handed the pipe back to him. He finished the rest and then asked if I wanted to "get busy." I told him I wasn't feeling well and that the hit had given me a headache. Miracle of miracles, he believed me and said, "Yeah, I got a headache my first time too. No big deal, dude."
I thanked my lucky stars when I made it home safe and sound. The moral of the story? Never trust your friends in food service.
-- Andrew Roth
Somewhere Between HEAVEN and HELL: I'll try anything once
Since the age of 10, I'd always considered myself a lesbian. The thought of having sex with a guy made me dry up faster than a puddle in Death Valley. Ironically enough, it was while I was surfing the Web looking for good lesbian writers that "Matt from Atlanta" first messaged me. (Remember the good old days of ICQ random messaging before the whole thing became a Viagra and Net cam commercial?)
Matt was great: He loved Noam Chomsky, Douglas Copeland and even Tori Amos, for god's sake. We had amazing conversations for three months ... and then the inevitable "sex life" questions came up. I have to admit that I sorta kinda told him I was bisexual, which I know wasn't fair. But Matt was so different from most guys I knew, not a "guy-guy" at all, that he was making me reconsider my all-girls club. As for Matt, he was a straight 20-year-old virgin, crippled by his Catholic upbringing.
A year into our correspondence, I was invited to visit Emory University to audition for its music program. Naturally, I had to meet the guy.
Oh, he was charming: a good dresser, intelligent, humble. And absolutely gorgeous. He took me out for coffee, we rented a video, and then we went back to his apartment. Needless to say, I made out with my very first guy that night while watching Juliette Binoche in "Blue." By the time I left town, I was smitten -- in spite of myself.
February was coming up, and with it that dastardly holiday where everyone has someone but you. I was all set to eat a ton of chocolate and feel depressed, when guess who called me to say he was driving nine hours to come see me? I was nervous. I mean, I'd never even seen a guy naked before, and I was pretty darn sure my cunnilingus expertise wasn't going to come in handy. I lied to my mom and said I was staying with friends, and then booked an oh-so-romantic getaway at a cheap hotel.
Yes, I had my first sexual experience with a guy in a cheap hotel. Rating? Not so great. Intercourse didn't do a thing for me, and he had no clue what to do with the rest of me. Emotional chemistry can make up for a lot, but not everything. While meeting Matt had proved to me that guys were a possibility, sleeping with him made it clear that they weren't a probable possibility. I saw him off the next morning and tried to work out the best way to tell him that I was, at heart, a dyke.
We didn't get a chance to talk for the next few weeks -- he was away at an internship program in D.C. and never near a phone or a computer -- but he finally called me when he was back in Atlanta.
"I've got something to tell you," he said.
Oh God, I thought. He can't be about to say the L-word, can he?
"I met ... well, I met a guy."
I almost cried from relief. We laughed and had a great conversation about how sex with each other had cleared up a lot of things, and to this day, we're still friends. Good ol' Matt -- somewhere between heaven and hell.
HEAVEN: Last night a DJ changed my life
In October of 1996, while away at college and out at the bar, I ran into a big jerk whom I had once been very hung up on. We had an ugly verbal exchange, and afterwards I went straight home.
I had left my stereo on tuned to a station I did not regularly listen to. The overnight DJ sounded lonely and was asking for requests. Feeling sorry for myself and still angry, I requested a song that always made me feel better. The DJ and I started chatting and while he seemed nice enough, I lied and told him my name was Nora (My name from Spanish class.) He played my request and sent it out to Nora.
I began listening to that station regularly and would call and request songs once in a while or try to win concert tickets. I would chat with my DJ friend for a couple minutes, but it never crossed my mind to meet him.
One day I came home from school and heard another voice on the radio in his time slot. Thinking he'd quit, I called and asked the new DJ where he was, explaining I was a regular listener. The new DJ told me my DJ friend had been in a horrible car accident. He had hit a Peterbilt truck head on and had miraculously walked away with only a couple scratches. The new DJ asked what my major was and when I told him TV and radio broadcast, he asked if I wanted to come see the station and consider doing an internship there. I already had my sights set on an internship somewhere else, but to be polite I said that maybe I would.
A couple of weeks later, one of my roommates kicked me out of the house so she could have some "quality time" with her boyfriend before Christmas break. Almost everyone I knew was already home for the holidays, and I needed a place to spend the evening. Even the university library was closed! Desperate, I phoned the new DJ at the radio station and said I would be stopping by to inquire about that internship. At the very least, I figured I would get a laugh out of it, maybe a free beer or two, and it would make for a good topic for my column in the university newspaper. So, I made the 45-minute drive over to the station.
I walked in and met the new DJ, who turned out to be very nice and well-mannered. Standing behind him was my DJ friend, who hadn't known I'd be stopping by. I hadn't expected him to be there, either. We were introduced and I got this funny feeling in the pit of my stomach like something life changing was about to happen. I was uneasy about dating and not looking to meet anyone, but I felt an undeniable connection. While the new DJ gave me a tour of the station, my DJ friend followed us around like a puppy dog, asking me all kinds of questions about my life. We started talking and four hours flew by. He walked me to the door, and I stuck out my hand thinking he would shake it. Instead he quietly asked me if he could hug me -- I didn't see why not since we just had an incredibly deep and honest conversation about everything imaginable. It was the warmest hug I had ever received in my life.
On the drive home, I listened to him on the radio, and in between songs he would say things like "If you are driving on Route 64, be extra careful" and "If you just left a friend, be sure to call them when you get in and let them know you got home safely or they will be worried"
Two days later, he drove to see me. We talked for hours and had our first kiss. OK, we had about four hours of kisses.
The next morning, I stopped at a gas station for the 200-mile road-trip home for the holidays. As I was pumping gas I realized that his radio show was blaring at the gas station. He came on the air and talked about what a great day he was having because he had just had the greatest night of his life. Then he played all of my favorite songs as I drove out of town and out of the listening area.
We have been together now for over six years. I graduated in May 1998 and moved back to my home state. After a few months of doing the long-distance thing, he moved in with me. He has gone back to school and we intend to get engaged as soon as he graduates. We are content raising our two cats but can't wait to tell our future kids the story of how we met.
And get this: He still has the little slip of paper on which he scrawled "Nora" and my song request.
-- NTD, New Jersey
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