|Plus ça change, plus c'est les mêmes ours
||[Mai. 29., 2018|11:18 am]
Bear Pride is still dead, Bearfest is basically stillborn, but the Mem Day weekend traditions live on. Sort of.
I didn't go to any parties all weekend. I didn't really go out in the evenings at all. I considered it Saturday night after a leisurely supper that stretched past what would've been my bedtime on a school night but I still ended up in bed (alone) before midnight. I also didn't make it anywhere near the IML host hotel or the leather mart. Last year it just seemed so sad and there wasn't anyone there I was anxious to meet up with.
Saturday was the event at the baths that Miss Cleveland and BigBones dragged me to last year. It's still a shadow of its former self. I had lunch with the lads, who were leaving for Santa Fe the next day, and didn't arrive until about 2:30. Used to be if you came that late, there'd be a line out the door. Now there was a bit of one, but it seemed as much due to the doddering nature of the attendees as anything else. Not auspicious.
I wasn't expecting anything of the magnitude of last year's Flying Pig, which was good, because the one daddy who really grabbed my attention wanted nothing to do with me. I attempted to do something with a local who I've been promising to nail ever since HiBearNation, but the scene got too weird and I fled. I was beginning to question the wisdom of even coming, but eventually another local who I'd fooled around with back in...February? coaxed me up to his room and we had a pretty enjoyable time.
I left with a warm glow, but that faded the instant I got home and discovered the destruction wrought by my plant-hostile condomates. That plus the late dinner made for a terrible night's sleep and an anxious morning waiting to confront them. That all worked itself out better than I'd hoped for, but it left me physically exhausted (from four hours gardening on by far the hottest day of the year so far). Still, I was determined to go to the beach and I did.
Supposedly, there was an official "Bears at the Beach" event being organised, but again so haphazardly that as I was preparing to leave hours later, I ran into two guys visiting from Milwaukee who'd been there all afternoon and never managed to locate the gathering. I'd very quickly found my way to the Rogers Park Bear Crowd, who were arrayed in their usual spot. There were a couple new faces and I quickly made time with one of them. We goaded each other into diving under the water and would have stayed there making out in time-honoured Hollywood Beach fashion if it hadn't been so gosh-durned cold.
So instead I took him home. Not immediately, of course. I still wanted to greet some other friends and faces, which I did (most awkwardly the Clueless Furball just as I was leaving), though it was so crowded that I still missed several people I'd really hoped to see. He was an out-of-towner staying with mutual friends, and they were pleased to have him off their hands for a few hours.
We spent at least three of those hours in bed, which despite the circumstances came as a surprise to both of us. He had an honesty and vulnerability which was touching and refreshing. (Despite being two decades my junior, he's already seen some of the shit gay life can dish out.) Eventually we had to eat so I took him to Nori, which was completely off its game, and then walked him to the el. On the way there, he struggled to put into words what the day had meant to him I realised that I'd been for him what men like Flying Pig had been for me; after all these years, the daddy hunter has become the daddy.
I hope I followed the campsite rule with him. At least I saw him the next day and he didn't seem broken up or clingy. That was at Sidetrack, which finally had a glimmer of its past glory. I credit a past Bear Pride chair, who actually got people to come out. I managed to start conversations with at least two different people by telling them, "Facebook wants us to be Friends."
Now three years ago at the Farewell Party, something happened that I never wrote about. It involved a hot man and a basement apartment in Portage Park but it ended badly for reasons that were mostly my fault. It had occurred to me fleetingly that there was a chance I'd run into the guy again and fortunately, when I did, it wasn't until after my second drink, so it happened quite naturally: he checked me out, I checked him out and walked away, then I went back and said, "I think I know you".
He didn't recognise me at first and there was no Aha-Erlebnis where it all came back to him. I shared some details, he surmised some others, and we left it that we'd arrange to have a proper date and hash it all out without the distraction of disco and alcohol. Only after I was back at home did it occur to me that he might have been lying, that he might not want to get together again and was only putting me off. I don't think that's likely, but past experience has taught to me expect anything, so we'll just have to see how this all goes.
All in all, it felt like my expectations were pitched about exactly right. I had some moments of intimacy without getting too attached, I was gregarious without (I think) being obnoxious, and I've made the transition back to ordinary life without (I think) coming down with anything awful. Twenty-four years of this nonsense and I've finally got it about figured out.