I used to go to this Thai buddhist temple and it wasn’t for spiritual practice reasons. Every Sundays, they served Thai food to raise money for the temple. I even joked and called it the “Thai restaurant.” One day after eating at the “Thai restaurant,” I received a message from a stranger on myspace.com. No one uses that anymore, but it was the hottest trend between Friendster and Facebook eras.
Ron sent me a message saying “it’s a long shot, but were you at the buddhist temple yesterday?” He apparently saw me there and I guess stalked me, just like any normal person would do an extensive google search when you meet a hot guy. We decided to meet in person.
Ron is same age as mine, white, about same height, slightly pudgy, and hair long enough have a man-bun. I think a guy with pony tail in a man-bun is so gross.
He had such a passion for Eastern traditions and identified himself as a buddhist. He valued living a simple life and devalued materialism, which clashed with queer culture of having the newest iPhones and designer jeans that cost as much as rent. With his enthusiastic taste of east, I suggested that we try every Asian restaurants as our date venues. We had Sushi, Chinese dim sum, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Malaysian, Indian and Thai (not at THE “Thai restaurant.”)
I usually confuse friendship interest with romantic relationship interest so I had to carefully examine my interest in Ron. I did have strong feelings for him, which immediately turns into fear of rejection paralyzing my efforts to take it further. Ron wanted to be in a relation but I was not ready.
Few months went by and I took him to a gay bar. During the time of my ambivalence, he cut his hair and lost weight. Suddenly, I was very very attracted to him and I could not hold back my feelings any longer. Whether it was booze or being around horny gay boys, I cornered Ron against a wall and started to make out with him. This elevated our relationship to sleep-overs. He lived in a tiny garage-turned-into-an-apartment by the beach. Again, very simple lifestyle, which is very different from my life of living in a luxurious downtown apartment. Although we had such a different lifestyles, I began to appreciate him more and more. Plus, it was just so nice to cuddle at night.
It was Valentine’s Day and he took me to a paint-your-own pottery glazing studio, where I always wanted to do. He then bought me an orchid plant for the pottery I painted. I thought ‘this is the best Valentine’s date ever!’ I was proud of myself to let go of my irrational fears and enjoy the possibility of not being rejected.
There is a time every relationships will experience first disagreement and we were no different. Ron really wanted to go to a strawberry festival where they have rides, fried foods, and lots of screaming children. This is not an appeal for me at all, but Ron insisted that we go together. I continued to refuse and he became upset. He said the strawberry festival is very important to him. He also lectured about importance of compromise in a relationship. He gave me an example of how he had no interest in going to the gay bar, where we first kissed, but he went anyways as a compromise. I still didn’t go to the strawberry festival.
Few weeks after that I was seeking his support from a dilemma. I had an amazing job offer but conflicted to accept because there would be a salary decrease. I expected him to be supportive, but Ron judged me. He thought I was being shallow because money was the decision making factor to take a great job opportunity.
After these two incidents, I noticed our phone calls shorter and less frequent than usual. When I confronted him about it, his response was “that’s an accurate observation” then he broke up with me.
I did end up taking a that job offer and the very first project at my new job was a program contract with Ron. Awkward!!! During the project planning, we maintained our professionalism and I tried not to bitch slap him. We maintained friendship and Ron told me about a new guy he was seeing. It turns out they were hanging out around the time of the festival.
We kept in touch for many years as friends. One day, I talked to Ron about an interesting experience when a hot guy who was in a long distance relationship flirted with me then invited me over to his place. Although we didn’t have sex or even kissed, something about cuddling with a guy who has a boyfriend made me feel weird. Ron had his strong opinions about my behavior. Ron said that that’s considered as cheating and I was “the other guy.” Then I confronted him about when we dated and how he was seeing another person at the same time. He then corrected me that we were never in a relationship.
Ron and I had very different value systems. Although it validated my irrational fears of rejection, I did enjoy the few months of bliss with Ron. I am not a buddhist, but I appreciate concepts of selfless gestures, non-materialism, and non-harm to others. I just didn’t appreciate Ron being so judgy.
I told my friend about Ron’s importance of strawberry festival and my friend started labeling seriousness with strawberry-festival-important. “Stretch after running. It’s strawberry festival important!”