I joined a gay men’s tennis league the moment I moved to Cambridge. I wondered how the league would go, given that I do not hang out with many gay men in my daily life given the racism and internalized racism, femmephobia, and unaddressed emotional baggage I have observed within some of that demographic. Since I started playing almost a month ago though, the tennis matches have felt like a fun way to play different styles and meet new people in a casual way. The other day, one of the guys I beat – a married man – started texting me after the match. Our texts grew flirtatious, and soon enough he made it clear that he wanted to [REDACTED] my [REDACTED].
We made plans to meet this upcoming Thursday to hookup. Overall I felt fine about it, because he made it clear that he’s in an open relationship and I didn’t see myself getting attached to him beyond the hookup
even though he may be the most confident top I’ve met so far, at least over text. Still, a part of me sensed some underlying dread within myself, a slight uneasiness that I found difficult to name in the moment. After sitting with my feelings for a little while, I realized that since moving to Cambridge, I have spent more time than usual interacting with men than I did prior to my move.
Once I realized this time allocation I sat with my emotions and recentered my values and goals. One of my favorite parts of myself includes my ability to fill all of my needs without a male romantic partner. Here’s a list of things I like in my life and how I fulfill them that I jotted down this evening:
Emotional intimacy: myself, my closest friends and close friends and other friends, giving back through clinical work, blogging, reading, etc.
Physical intimacy: myself, occasional men I may hookup with
Someone to buy me sweets and novels: myself, also one of my bffs once bought me a literal big box of Jeni’s ice cream for my 25th birthday so that satisfied that desire for life and also a gift card to a local Boston bookstore for my most recent birthday so
A sense of stability: myself, my closest friends and close friends and other friends, my values
Financial security: myself, especially once I get my PhD in May 2023, and one of my bffs offered to let me stay at her place until I found my footing if a financial crisis strikes me
Indeed, this random man could have ghosted me and I would not have cared at all because I complete myself. I have my goal of helping others and I take tangible steps to do that every day, regardless of men. In fact, not caring about men has helped me a lot in life, by empowering me to think about how to aid myself and my community instead of how to appeal to and shift my body to meet the male gaze.
Before writing this post I went on a self-reflective walk around the area I live. The temperature had cooled down to a nice 70 degrees after about ten hours of consecutive rain. I listened to “Pop!” by Nayeon, “Feel Special” by Twice, and “Ring the Alarm” by KARD and thought about my life and what I want from it. I decided to cancel the hookup, not because it wouldn’t have been fun or because I felt that the hookup itself contradicted my values, rather, I just didn’t feel like sleeping with the guy anymore so I decided not to. I bought myself a cookies and cream milkshake and came home to write this post and share it instead.
How do you navigate the role of romance in your life? Or, how do you try or not try to fulfill your varying needs with multiple sources? General reactions to this post? My residency starts this Thursday so wish me luck yay! Until next post.