"Let's go to Vegas," Shelley said.
"Sounds good to me," I said. "I've got a booty call in Vegas."
Does he still live there? Last time we talked was five years ago, and considering how much I've moved around since then, I don't take it for granted that anyone is going to be in the same place I left them.
Does he still want to have sex with me? I'm kind of really a dude now. Just how heteroflexible is he, anyway?
Do I still want to have sex with him? What if he's aged badly? What if he weighs five hundred pounds and has cut his hair short?? He is American, after all, and that seems to be the done thing for American men.
And for fuck's sake, is he single this time? Oh god, what if he's married?? People our age are doing that in droves, what if he's one of them?
...More to the point, how the heck do I get in touch with him?
I don't have his phone number. I don't have his email address. I used to catch him occasionally over AOL Instant Messenger, but I haven't used that in years. I can't even facebook-stalk him because I don't know his last name.
I am officially the worst internet stalker ever.
Aha! Mutual friends! Surely Spam will know how to get in touch with Wil, or barring that, know his last name. It will be a little awkward, because my friendship with Spam was always strained by the fact that he had a crush on me and I had a crush on Wil, but I'm fucking shameless, I'd do it.
Me: "Heeeey, Spam, old buddy old pal! How you doing, long time no see, great to hear from you, hey do you know where Wil is these days?"
...Except I don't know Spam's last name either. gdi.
Aha! I bet a yearbook could tell me his last name! ...Except I can't find mine.
So, like a creeper, as soon as I was allowed to operate a motor vehicle again after surgery, I drove down to my old high school and asked if they had archived old yearbooks available to the public. I explained the situation, sort of, leaving off "...because if I can track him down, I am going to climb him like a tree."
"Certainly," the secretary said, as if that were a perfectly sensible request. "Let's just hope he got his picture taken, ha ha."
...Motherfuck. He didn't. As soon as she said that I knew he hadn't. Because he'd spent most of high school trying to keep his non-custodial parent from finding out where he was living -- that's why he never went by his real name (he wasn't born Wil, and he wasn't born Will either), that's why he dyed his hair for a while, because 6+ feet of buff redhead tends to stand out (that was when I was still seeing him from afar, and I noticed the change but didn't know the reason for it), that's why he was paying rent for his own apartment at eighteen -- of course he hadn't done something like sit for a yearbook photo.
And indeed he hadn't, though not for lack of thorough checking on my part. I found Spam, which at least told me that I was looking at the right year, but Wil was nowhere to be found, and after the third pass I gave up. Club pictures? I hazarded. But, as you may have guessed, he wasn't really the club-joining type.
Aha! Junior year!
...No luck. Was I looking at the wrong year, or had he skipped his junior picture too? Man, just going to the school to check the yearbooks was supposed to have been my last resort, what am I supposed to do now? I did get Spam's last name, yes, but that is going to be so fucking awkward--
Oh hey, there he is. I'm looking at the yearbook from his sophomore year, before I ever arrived at the school. His last name puts him at the back of the alphabet so I nearly missed him, and good lord he looks so young. He's fourteen or fifteen, gawky the way he never was when I knew him, and I have a disorienting moment of vertigo when I realize that it's been over ten years since we met. I'm not used to having lived long enough for anything in my adult life to have been ten years ago.
(If I could step back in time -- to one of those many moments when I was an awkward 14-year-old glancing after the hot senior that I never expected to even talk to, let alone get naked with -- I would give myself a wink and a nudge and say, "Don't worry, you're going to shag him when you're twenty-seven."
And I think I would have gone, "What the fuck?"
Like, why the wait?? Also you realize that is like, literally a lifetime away? And why the hell am I still going to be TALKING to anyone from high school when I'm twenty-seven?
"Oh yeah, and you'll be a transsexual too.")
But there it is. I have his last name. I can facebook-stalk him, and I do. According to facebook he is still living in Las Vegas. He's working a job that's entirely corporate and unmemorable. And he is still so fine. His facebook photo has him in a business suit, and he's less gaunt than when we were in high school, but his hair is longer than ever, past his shoulders now.
("Like a pretty, pretty princess," I told him later. "GDI," he said, "WHY DOES EVERYONE CALL ME PRINCESS?")
So I send him a facebook message, making the awkward first overtures like, "hiiii this is Gabriel, but you would know me better as--", hoping that he actually uses facebook and isn't going to find this message in December, the way I would. I give him my phone number, and tell him to text me.
A few days later, we're talking like we never left off.
I can't stand the catching up that takes the form of "So what have you been doing for the last ten years?" "Well, I've been...", because it turns life into a set of goddamn bullet points. Try to maintain a friendship like that, and every time you see them is like a deposition.
So we don't try to get caught up, we just throw each other back into our lives in media res and hear about any important developments as they become relevant. I'm back from Japan. I'm a dude full-time. I got top surgery. He works a lot. He considers Vegas home these days. Neither of us are good at dating. Threesomes happen to me the way car accidents happen to him, improbably often but with no lasting damage. I'm moving to California with my BFF. He's married to his straight roommate.
("A few years ago he got laid off and ended up taking over the domestic stuff around the house -- cooking, cleaning, doing laundry. Being the wife, basically. And I was like, If I'm going to be supporting your ass, I'm going to get the tax write-off for it. Nevada had just legalized domestic partnership laws, so we went down to the courthouse and got registered. These days we don't get the financial benefit for it anymore, but there hasn't been any reason to get divorced."
"Hah. Did they make you kiss him?"
"No... that might have been a deal-breaker if they had.")
Catching a few messages during breaks throughout the day, after work, all day during Pridefest. I'd been wary of going to Pridefest, because this time last year I was in the first throes of infatuation with a boyfriend, now an ex-boyfriend, that I was absolutely crazy about (emphasis on crazy). My happiest memories of him are from Pridefest 2011, when we spent the day completely wrapped up in each other -- and I wasn't sure I could handle flying solo at Pridefest 2012, with those memories in the air. Furthermore, since I don't crush easily or often, there had been no one in the year since to take the edge off that break-up... until now.
I have a crush again, and it's so much fun.
Eventually we organized a time to talk via gmail's voice chat, which I was pushing for because I wanted to determine in advance whether I was still going to be attracted to him. In the past I have proven to be extremely fickle with my affections, and I didn't want to get his hopes up if I was likely to arrive in Vegas and go, "....Oh, hmmm, you don't look much like your facebook picture anymore." Hey Shelley, is it cool if I sleep on the floor in your hotel room?
I also wanted him to get a good look at the new and improved me, complete with new-and-improved man voice, so that he'd know what he was getting himself into. He'd confessed, when we were texting, that he was having a hard time remembering to use the new names/pronouns and was asking for my patience in advance. I said I wasn't surprised; he'd never met me as Gabriel, so basically he was trying to apply male pronouns to his memories of the very female creature I'd been, of course they weren't sticking. I give a lot more leeway to people who knew me before my transition.
And frankly he could call me whatever he wanted, so long as I got to trip him into bed.
(An interlude about Wil's roommate:
When we were hammering out the logistics of the roadtrip, and dancing around the subject of whether this was going to be a sexytimes visit or just an old-friends-catching-up visit, I eventually worked up to asking whether I could stay at his house. The better to shag him silly for three days straight.
(And though I have Shelley's complete blessing for this, I still feel like kind of a heel for abandoning her in Vegas for a booty call. I have violated the sacred code of "bros before hos".)
Wil said he'd have to ask The Wife.
Huh, weird, I thought. It seemed like a no-brainer -- an old friend is going to be in town, who would make them get a hotel room rather than letting them, if nothing else, crash on the couch?
Well it turns out that Wil still has a propensity to date psycho chicks, and after a bunch of crazy business, he's not allowed to bring women home unless he clears it with his roommate first.
The other stumbling block would be that his roommate, although Wil swears up and down that he's not, is kind of textbook homophobic. Despite being married to a man. He would have been Not Okay with Wil fucking me in the next room if I'd been a cisguy, buuuut~! he's also the kind of guy who doesn't believe that trannies are really men, so it's ALL GOOD! :D Sure I can stay at their place! Sure I shag his roommate blind! I have his complete blessing!
I'll be curious to see if he still feels that way after he's met me.)
So we webcammed (this is the future and we are living in it, isn't technology amazing?), and established that we both still find each other extremely fuckable.
I said upfront that if this turned out to be too different and too weird (and too gay) for him, then he could bow out at any time, I wouldn't be pissed off. Disappointed, sure, but not angry -- he's mostly straight, I'm not a girl anymore, and so if I've taken myself out of his dating pool, then that's a shame but it means I'm doing it right. And he needed to know that, because he's the guy who's historically not been good at saying no.
So I told him that, and he told me,
"Dude, I have been in love with you since high school."
....Oh. Oh. Well in that case. :3
Vegas, July 25th. Mark your calendars.
Brave New World
(they always said that sex would change you)
- A Booty Call in Vegas, Part II