Photo by Brett Jordan/Flickr
Once upon a time a twenty-two-year-old “friend of mine” made a big mistake. For fear of embarrassing the author of this blog, the identity of this “friend” shall remain confidential. But I’ll give you a hint: It starts with m, ends with e, and only has two letters.
Usually the voice of reason among his colleagues, “my friend” is the saintly, ladylike type who rarely curses, always carries reusable bags to the grocery store and never sits with his legs open. He doesn’t smoke, drink, or stay up past 10:00 PM… on weekdays; as is the case with monogamy and all morals, weekends don’t count. Being the control freak he is, it comes as a surprise that he broke the first commandment of break ups: Thou shalt not share a roof with thine ex. Every time “my friend” reveals his living situation, people cock their heads and raise an eyebrow (and sometimes even spit in his face). But he merely closes his eyes in a confident smile (not to mention he gets off on spit), and shakes his head to reassure yet another friend that there is nothing bizarre about living with the last man whose heart he broke. And the smile remains convincing a good part of the day, too. That is, until he gets home and his ex-boyfriend’s new boyfriend, Johnny, welcomes him wearing nothing but a smile on his face and flip-flops under his feet.
Johnny is a science student who went halfway across the planet on a visa just to attend USC – poor thing didn’t know any better. The only reason he goes by “Johnny” is because his Chinese name is impossible for most Westerners to pronounce. The first thing that “my friend” noticed was Johnny’s height – at six-foot-two-inches, he’s the tallest Asian man he’s ever met. He’s also the first nudist.
Despite the not altogether unpleasant sight of all six-foot-two-inches of Johnny’s nude body, having to see the naked guy your ex replaced you with on a daily basis is hardly desirable. That’s right. The problem isn’t that “my friend” lives with his ex; the problem is that he broke commandment number two of break-ups: Thou shalt also not share a roof with thine ex’s new exhibitionist boyfriend.
This is the perfect time to clarify that I am the guy who broke both these commandments, and if you hadn’t already figured that out, there’s definitely something wrong with you. But, I digress. My predicament started out quite innocently. Bill, my ex, and I had a nice relationship of nine months (or nine gay years, for my straight readers), the last part of which was spent living together. He was an older man who showed me the secret to monogamy and compatibility: lies. Things ended on relatively good terms, though. We both loved our studio apartment in Koreatown way too much to give it up over something as silly as breaking up, destroying each other’s hearts, and being intimate with other people on the bed we still shared. Plus, I figured, I’m the younger one in the relationship and if anyone’s going to find a new boyfriend, it will obviously be me.
Indeed, a few months later the inevitable introduction to the new boyfriend occurred. Sadly, it was Bill’s and not mine. Johnny, the exhibitionist USC student, is the perky, smiley type who’s always in a great mood – that, and he is skinnier and taller than me and wears better clothes. Obviously, it was hate at first sight. And like the bitter ex that I was, I smiled big and disingenuously.
“What kind of films do you like?” he asked me in a slight Chinese accent, just to make conversation.
I answer with something I’m sure he won’t know, not because I want to make him look like an ignorant childish fool, or anything like that. “I like anything by director Pedro Almodovar; I love Spanish films.”
“Oh, I love him! That and anything with Penelope Cruz,” he replies with surprise. “My favorite movie is Volver.”
I’m shocked, “You’re kidding! That’s my all-time favorite!”
Bill sees we’re having a good conversation and attempts to join, “Oh yeah, Penelope Cruz is hot. She was good in Frida.”
“That was Salma Hayek, Billy,” I reply without looking at him. “What other movies do you like, Johnny?”
“Well, I would say fantasy flicks, but ever since Pan’s Labyrinth I’m a little spoiled,” he replies with a smile of complicity.
“I feel the exact same way!” I say. “Billy, why don’t you get Johnny and me a few drinks?”
Ever since then, Johnny has been quite fond of me and I of him. So much so, that when he had a falling out with his roommate and needed place to stay, with no hesitation I told Billy it was fine for Johnny to stay with us – for a few weeks tops. The only problem arose when Bill and I realized that sleeping on the same bed was no longer appropriate. Thus began the negotiations.
“No, you two stay in the bed,” Johnny tried to be a gracious guest.
“No, that’s not right! Not when you two are the ones dating,” I reply.
Billy was also trying to be nice to me, “Why don’t you just keep the bed to yourself?”
“Oh yeah, I’ll sleep in a Queen size bed while you two cram into a couch? I don’t think so!” I said firmly.
And then, things took a turn for the scandalous. Johnny winked at me and said, “Why don’t the three of us sleep on the bed?”
At first I thought the boy must have been kidding. But when he didn’t clarify he was joking, I did it for him, “Ha, you are a funny guy! You two keep the bed. That’s final.”
After I relinquished the bed, the courtesy ended. For the next two weeks, all I heard before bed (or should I say couch) was my ex and naked boy fucking shamelessly behind the curtain that divided the studio apartment into a bedroom and a living room. At least I learned that curtains don’t block sound very well, especially moaning: a scientific fact that stops being interesting rather quickly.
To Be Continued