Rhapsodies of the Barefooted Gypsy

A book about the guys who poofed (chapter 12, rough draft)

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TURKISH GUY

After my fall out with Clayton, I shared my bed with a fair amount of guys. Now, this is not about all the one night stands I’ve had since then. This is not about them. This is about you.

Who the hell are you? Seriously. I mean, I literally don’t know. I can remember the exact date and time I sent you running half naked out of my room. It was the morning just before my birthday. And I’m sure you were out before 9 o’clock. I could even remember that I invited you to come to Lava Gold where my friends and I would be celebrating my 23rd. So, we slept together and I couldn’t remember your name. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is for me? Usually, I would remember some pretty amusing details. The tone of voice–low, smoky, rough, dead sexy. The color of the eye–chalk grey, green with touches of brown, blue with a goldish ring in the center, deep black. I’d remember who started undressing who. Whether it was boxers or briefs or commando. The belt and whether or not it matched with the jeans. The number of attempts before my bra was unhooked. Thickness of chest hair, thickness of hair down there, facial hair and hair everywhere else. No, I don’t have any fascination with hair whatsoever, and that’s really gross! I just happen to have a good, graphic memory. I could close my eyes and be reminded of the scent–musky, old spice, aftershave, sandalwood, fruity, or fresh. The position. And the sex of course. I would remember if it was mind-blowing, or sloppy, or slapstick, or so-so. I would always have a Pandora’s box of snippets in my head that would remind me of the night before. I’m so good and awesome at remembering. And I would remember it all. But not with you. Not even your fucking name.

I’ve been juggling my mind for the last hour and nothing. Not even a letter. Is it Mehmet? Or Erkan? Or Gorkem with that funny-looking ‘o’? I’m desperate. I even googled the top 100 names for turkish men just so I could revive a distant recollection. I thought that reading 100 names would bring you a lot closer to me, but all I got was that fleeting feeling from the night before.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I would take full responsibility of my actions, Turkish Guy. But I would still blame my friends all the same. They told me that I should get laid before my birthday, as if having sex with you before my birthday would later serve me a greater purpose in life. Only now did I realize that my friends were really drunk last night. They must have been listening to Jeremih’s hit single in repeat. And they took the song to heart. Birthday sex, right? Don’t take this personally, Turkish Guy. It didn’t necessarily have to be with you, but you just happened to be there, at the same club, and at the same happy hour.

There was more to it than just my friends ribbing me to catch your attention. I was also in the middle of my three-month backpacking trip around South East Asia feeling this inherent pressure to be young and wild and free. I mean, traveling is the ultimate set up for personal growth, life experience, adventure, and casual sex, right?

It was a technicality. It was given, and easy, and there would be no hang-ups the morning after. We both knew what it was from the very beginning. You and I both knew that there’d be nothing good about it except, fingers crossed, sex. That was all there was. It’s great that we signed this invisible contract to stop bullshitting each other and save ourselves from falling into an allusion that maybe, just maybe, we could start to hang out and see each other regularly like normal people who met in an orthodox way do. We had no expectations, no obligations whatever. We didn’t have to agree not to see each other tomorrow. We knew that that’s exactly what’s going to happen. You would be out of the door. And you wouldn’t be coming back. Not even if you left your wallet. There would be no spooning, no cuddling, no holding hands or any act of false intimacy that would equate to weirdness. We didn’t have to pretend that we were interested in each other’s personal lives. We just wanted to get in each other’s pants and that’s what it was. Simple. Clear cut. No strings attached.

What I learned is that there is an openness that usually happens when someone travels to foreign countries. It’s like a switch had been turned on. The shy becomes the social butterfly, and the lamb is transformed to the lion. I had become more fearless and daring in trying new things during this time. I was in a place where I could be anything and anyone I wanted to be. I could have told you that I’m Vietnamese and you would have believed it. I could have told you that my name is Patrice, and you would have bought it. I could have said that I’m a molecular biologist and you wouldn’t dare question it. I was a clean slate. I was a blank canvass. I was whoever I willed you to think I was. I was a new person and everything else around me was new–the people, the food, the culture, the friends that I met at the hostels, the men! It felt like I was this living, breathing testament of that stupid idiom “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Flirting with that brawny Malaysian guy? What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! Kissing that random drunk Irish guy in Phuket? What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! Fuck-buddying that yummy surfer dude in Bali? What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! I was invincible! I was indestructible! No one would know what craziness I got up my sleeves. Unless I post it on facebook. Which, of course, I didn’t.

You were so in Vegas that you wouldn’t have happened in East Lansing, or in Manila, or in Cairo where I am living right now. You were a result, just like the rest of the other results, of my being obsessed with wanderlust. The only disadvantage playing this whole what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas thing was that you managed to sneak into my luggage on my flight back to Manila. The slightest wind could pull the trigger. I could be walking on a shopping center and smell the same cologne, and all of a sudden what happens in Vegas stays in this shopping center. I could be having sushi for dinner and see a guy with the same haircut, and all of a sudden what happens in Vegas stays in this Japanese restaurant.

So, here’s what really went down between us: you were attractive, toned and fit. I liked the shape of your nose and the grayness that you had in your eyes. I was fuck drunk with my friends at a table, and you were fuck drunk by yourself at the bar in that pretentious, meat market club in Khao San Road. Despite my alcohol level at the time, I still noticed that you were staring at me, like intently. It was the kind that made me feel like you were sizing me up and stripping me naked in your filthy, little mind. Look, let me just put it out there. A creepy looking guy stares at me relentlessly and it would be, at best, awkward, and at worst, insulting. But a hot male piece of ass… well! I decided that the best approach was to glare back. Guys don’t capitalize the staring business, after all. So I looked at you for who knows how long until you finally came over and said hi. That ended our mini game of tug of war and we both knew I was the victor! We didn’t need to speak much after that, we just let the alcohol do the rest. Your hand immediately went cruising up and down my spine and man! That felt really good.

But I did think that you have some serious issues because during the taxi ride back to my hotel room, I invited you to come to my birthday party and you said you didn’t have the money. I wasn’t sure if you were asking me to give you money, or you were telling me that you don’t have the money to buy me a present. To this day, I’d like to think it was just too much alcohol plus your perfect grasp and command of the English language. Right there and then, I wanted to take you back to that club where I met you because we were talking about your financial status. One night stands can’t have a money issue! They can have a penis and an open mind and a body but not this. Damn it, who’d be paying for the taxi?

My alarm woke me up at 8:30 and I remembered that I had an organized trip to see the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew at 9. But I realized that my self-worth and value had gone missing. I must have dropped it at that hookup joint when we were wet-kissing. I looked at your naked, sleeping body next to mine, which looked really edible last night, but now just looked like a grotesque chunk of rotten goat cheese. I thought I was gonna get sick. I felt nauseous just seeing you sprawled on my bed like that. I nudged you with my elbow and told you that the police were coming. That got you out of the door in, like, two seconds.

I spent the rest of that day (the day exactly before my birthday) feeling an all time low. I was demoralized by my own doing. I was shattered into little, sharp splinters and was left scattered all over the place. I was filled with this feeling of emptiness. In the end, I guess it really didn’t matter whether or not I remembered your name. Because it wouldn’t make a difference. No, it wouldn’t. You would still be that random dude that I slept with. You would still be that random guy at that sleazy club that seemed like a good idea at that time, but now seemed like an ultimate mistake. If anything, you were a number–an addition to a list of guys who poofed. However, sleeping with you, Turkish Guy, and being reminded later that I couldn’t remember your name made me realize that I shouldn’t be sleeping with people without context and substance. And that ultimately, I should just stop sleeping with anyone who will make feel terrible and awful and disconnected and left alone afterwards.

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