I think perhaps the worst part of having HIV is the fear and the social stigma. We should remember that HIV is just another infectious disease (like the flu or cold), and it does not define the person. With new therapy, patients are now able to live a normal life span. Hearing from these men really gives a different perspective.
Hot guys do not faze me anymore. You know, those vain and conceited guys that think they’re the shit and everyone will fall head over heels for them. I just roll my eyes when I see all these thirsty gays Like and Comment on their pictures and feed their ego. Come on now.
Back then, when a hot guy messages me or gives me attention and there I was completely in awe and under his spell. Ew.
I would say this semester has been uneventful–thus, my hiatus from touching this blog or feeling the need to spend an hour or two every week to complain about life into the anonymous abyss of the internet–but when I think about it, I think it’s more because I’ve had you these past few months.
I don’t have many (or any) male friends, much less gay male friends. Foucault once talked about friendship as a way of life, and the more time we spend together, the more I think we embody what he was getting at. Homosexuality can be so easily written off as just a series of random hook-ups, of dirty encounters in bathroom stalls or quick glances over the urinals to satisfy that childhood curiosity of wondering what other dicks looked like, but his idea is that friendship is so much more inventive. Gay men loving gay men in a friendship is unpredictable and is not necessarily subject to the same kinds of petty issues that would pop up in the standard monogamous relationship.
I’ve spent a majority of my life feeling anxious about male friendships. All around me, straight males would have their straight male friends and male bonding was obviously highly encouraged (bro-codes and all that were big) but it always took a certain form. What I observed was boys bonding over all these things that reaffirmed their particular type of masculinity; it was about girls (or rather, jokes about women) and video games, and their language seemed to always draw from this very specific word bank (“dude,” “bro,” etc.) and common knowledge of gestures (it has been nearly 10 years since I first had to do that weird male-male handshake choreography thing and I have yet to nail it). So, as you can imagine, I’ve always felt on the outside of these relationships, always forming friendships with females because I was never comfortable with adhering to the mold of (straight) male friendship.
But the gay friendship as a “way of life” yields relations that do not resemble those that are institutionalized. What we have does not look like the straight male friendship I have stayed away from, nor does it look like the fleeting encounters with gay men off of Grindr, Tinder, and all that. Rather, it feels like I have found somebody to join me at my vantage point to observe the world that we live in from a formal distance (even though that means it can seem like we just come off as judging cosmopolitan gays, as we’d like to joke). We are always ready to talk about your interests in urban planning and mine in defining the Asian American experience. We watch The Bodyguard in your room, in awe of Whitney’s youth and beauty. We walk back home together from class, distressed over our occasional boy issues. You share with me the music that you grew up with and we sit together on my couch, knee touching knee, watching hours of YouTube videos of Patti LeBelle, Whitney Houston, and Chaka Khan (but not until after a good hour of listening to Mariah Carey’s live mic feed). I somehow became the first person you called the second after you received a very important call, informing you that you were awarded this prestigious and selective national scholarship that you have spent months working for and we jump up and down outside of Stern, hollering and making these incoherent squeals and noises that probably troubled those business kids ordering from the Halal cart outside.
And when we don’t see each other for 3 or 4 days and serendipitously bump into each other on the street, we can’t help but feel this weltering excitement brewing within us and hug each other (even though we rarely ever touch) because we have missed each other’s company and all that time apart feels odd because our lives have become so intertwined.
You provide so much support, wisdom, and love, and I am thankful for having you in my life.
“It was raining when your uncle died. I remember clutching his small body and crying but no one could see because the rain washed away my tears. It was better that way because the rain hindered the soldiers pursuing us.”
My aunt paused, her eyes looking at me but beyond—searching for memories in a place long departed.
“I was 16 at the time and your dad was perhaps around 14. Our parents had died a few months prior and our eldest brother had left us to save himself. Even though I was only a girl, I couldn’t let my younger siblings die by themselves in that god forsaken jungle.”
She sighed and turned her gaze back with her eyes greeting me with resigned sorrow.
“Your dad carried our bag of rice and I carried the two youngest—one on my back and one in my arms. We had to drug them every day to keep them quiet or else we could have all died. We didn’t mean to kill him.”
Her eyes became wells as the tears began to pool. Not being the most comforting person I settled on a few pats on her hand as consolation.
“He stopped breathing and his hands and face went cold. I wanted to scream but I knew better so I bit my tongue until it bled. I held him and prayed and prayed but he was dead.”
She looked away and clasped her hands tighter around her cup of tea. The steam rising in tendrils as the silence grew. Finally, she spoke again.
“I had a dream that night, that my mother came to me as I was sleeping. She pulled me into her lap and brushed my tears away. I cried and asked my mother to take us away to join her and our father. She held me in her embrace and told me that I needed to go feed your uncle because dawn was approaching.”
Through her tears a smile grew on my aunt’s lips and her eyes twinkled with the slightest hint of joy.
“I woke up and was perplexed but nonetheless with the sky turning grey I walked over to the makeshift grave we had prepared. I pushed aside the leaves we had piled over your uncle’s body and this time I screamed before I could stop myself. Our mother had given us one last gift—your uncle was breathing.”
If I ever start working out I’ll wear a baseball cap backwards and take shirtless selfies on my bed or in the mirror. I’ll post enough to keep you interested but little enough that you’ll want to keep coming back for more.
The thirst followers will flood in by the dozens, hundreds. I’ll get anonymous asks saying how attractive I am and how they want to date me. I’ll post these asks and give a coy reply but really I just want to remind all of you who aren’t already feeding my ego that I’M ATTRACTIVE AND YOU SHOULD NOTICE ME.
Then I’ll get confident and post similar photos to facebook. I’ll get so many congratulatory comments about how buff I’ve become and how hard I’ve worked to get this far. I’ll respond saying it was nothing but secretly relish in the boost to my ego. Old friends/acquaintances will suddenly take an interest in my status updates and such and will tell their other friends later on that they knew me from high school/university/etc and have been friends ever since.
I’ll post lots of body shots on my online dating profiles because how could I not? Personality? Hobbies? Interests? Fuck that nonsense. We’re all here for one reason, even those of you who claim you’re “only looking for friends” fuck out of here with that bullshit, there’s no way you would turn ME down after being so attention-starved on this app for so long.
By this point I’ll probably have an instagram with a couple thousand followers. 9/10 photos will be a picture of me either with food, people I call friends, an animal, or some other picturesque looking bullshit. Hell, I could post a picture of a fucking sweet potato with no context and I’ll still get thirst comments from guys wanting to suck my dick. The ones that will like all of my pictures and comment on all of my social media so that senpai will notice them. Then I’ll hashtag the shit out of everything so that even more people realize how great I am. #gymflow #gayboy #asianboy #hotguys #instagay
lmfao I’m done
No chill but so true
A satirical take on the narcissistic archetype, courtesy of @talkingtothefish. I don’t have anything against people who are proud of their physical self-improvement and wish to share their progress online. But so often it presents a moral hazard to those individuals because better looking people are treated more favorably. With the increased attention and adoration, it’s easy to see how quickly it can go to someone’s head. But I believe we have a responsibility to hold each other accountable, to be judicious in their newly gained influence and to be grounded lest they forget their former, less glamorous status.
Follower Fridays is a series of profiles highlighting members of Gaysian Third Space to showcase the diversity of gaysians in the Community. This week’s featured member is @corsairouge.
Who are you?
If you ran into me on the streets, you’d probably identify me as a millennial male and then proceed to guess what kind of Asian I am. If you had special guessing abilities, maybe you’d say that I’m gay and Christian. So I suppose I’d align myself with a gay, Asian-(Canadian)-American, sometimes Christian, male identity. Like most souls on Earth, I’m eternally searching for what defines who I am, but I think these four markers are what I gravitate towards to form the basis of my identity.
Where are you from?
I am a born and bred Californian. I was born and raised in the Bay Area, and found myself on the sunny shores of San Diego during my college years. Currently I am residing in the OC in the Crown Jewel of Suburbia. I have lived in suburbia all my life–except that one time I studied abroad in Copenhagen–and cannot wait to move out of this place.
Where am I “reaaally from?” You can probably find the remains of my dead ancestors in Guangdong and Shantou in China, but my parents’ and grandparents’ generations were born and raised in Vietnam. I don’t have a strong attachment to either culture, and I think it’s because I feel so far removed from Chinese culture (even though I speak the language) yet I haven’t been rooted in Vietnamese culture long enough to adopt it as my own.
What do you do?
I am a stormwater consultant for a civil engineering firm. No, I am not a civil engineer nor I am responsible for trying to fix California’s drought. Rain creates lots of runoff in cities which then picks up pollutants that can potentially contaminate bodies of water, leading to an adverse impact on water supplies and aquatic environments. My job is to work with cities to make sure their stormwater programs are effective in reducing contamination, and work with clients and engineers to find solutions to managing water runoff in urban developments.
Hobby-wise, I’m still trying to find a hobby I can dedicate myself to, but for the moment I enjoy nature and hiking, linguistics and learning languages, reading, cooking, graphic design, typography, and (Western) calligraphy. Most of these interests are on a rotating schedule where I am strongly invested in it for a week before it dies down, only to be resurrected a few months later in another week-long spurt.
What are you passionate about?
I think my passions fall into two overarching categories: aesthetics and exploring. Aesthetics: design, typography, architecture, minimalism, how cities look and function, the natural beauty of Earth. I could spend all day looking at cities and buildings, design museums, and enjoying nature (especially the ocean and night sky). Exploring: by learning and doing. Learning about cities, cultures, food, music, languages/historical linguistics, history. Doing things like traveling to different cities, hiking, trying foods, reading.
What is your dream job (real or fantasy)?
Years ago, my naive self thought my dream job was to be an optometrist. Then I shadowed one and realized oh how wrong I was. Knowing myself a little more now, my dream job would be a landscape architect. It expands on to what I’m doing now and combines my two overarching passions–aesthetics and exploring. What I really want to do is create cities and streets that preserve nature, while still provide public spaces for people to gather where they can interact and connect with each other.
Ideally though, I would love to be a professional traveler and writer. I mean how exciting is it to be paid, or even just to live life on a constant adventure and write about it to let people know about these wonder (and sometimes maybe not-so-wonderful) places.
If you could change the world with one idea, what would it be?
There’s this Danish concept called Jante’s Laws. It’s a rather austere set of unspoken rules that influenced Danish (and by proximity, Scandinavian) culture, and emphasize the focus on collective society rather than individual self-importance. Basically, each rule is a variation of “don’t think you’re anything special or better than anyone else.” I think the underlying issue of every problem on earth is pride in which one person or a group of people think they are more important than someone else. That or they fear the unknown, and their defense mechanism is insecure pride. I mean, really, racism/sexism/-isms/-phobias is a reaction because of an insecurity or augmented sense of self-importance.
So to sum it up I think people should learn that they are not better than anyone else, and to carry out this idea in action by learning from people around them through speaking less and listening more.