Picture it: 7:30 on a Saturday morning. I’ve been up all night trolling Grindr and Scruff and Jack’d without much luck. And I’m doing what most guys who’ve been up all night partying, but not having sex, are doing: watching porn, a little arts & crafts, and cleaning our apartments.
This is not an unfamiliar scenario to me, and on this Saturday morning I was prepared to do the usual: take a Xanax, shut off the porn and grab a couple of hours of sleep before getting up & carrying on with my weekend.
While wrestling with the child-proof cap on my Xanax prescription, the notification tone letting me know that someone ‘tapped’ me on Grindr pinged. Against my better judgement, I figured “What the hell? I’d been up this long, what’s a few more minutes.” I know the Xanax will wait for me; boys on the other hand, not so much. My suitor had a rather grainy profile picture that lacked much detail or definition. His profile was kind of sparse and his other pix, while non-remarkable, were equally as vague but they seemed legit.
A thin profile and questionable pictures would normally be red flags but I was in no position to be choosy. What did I have to lose at this point? Since early evening, my standards dropped by the hour, so by 7:30 in the morning…you get the idea. And don’t pretend you haven’t been there. Besides, I was horny, the apartment was spotless, and porn was already playing–it was kismet. Unlike the usual song and dance, a few texts and suggestive emojis later, he was on his way. That is the way all hookups should happen; I want sex, you want sex, my place or yours? Done.
[Sidebar: I don’t know what it’s like in your city, but in New York, it’s become a side hustle just to find a blowjob. Believe it. The reason? Screenname ‘AlphaMasc’ doesn’t want to commit to meeting option B because he’s stalling for time, waiting and hoping that option A will say ‘Yes”. Until then, ‘Alpha-Masc’ strings along options B, C and D until option A has either said, ‘No’, is busy or has signed off completely. By then, option B has caught on to the ruse and pursues other interests, while C has given up and gone back to sleep and D is no longer responding. The result is that ‘AlphaMasc’ is left with blue balls, wasted everyone’s time and no one is getting laid.]
Any-hoo…within minutes, after stepping out of the shower, he buzzed, right on time. His name was Gabriel. Thankfully, he was much more attractive in person than in his grainy profile picture. A picture he must have taken and uploaded at the airport since he was still in the same clothes and carrying luggage. We exchanged pleasantries. He had just arrived to New York from Mexico. Fortunately, his English was better than my Spanish.
When it comes to hooking up, I’m not one to spend much time on foreplay. I ration that we’re two men, meeting for the expressed intention of having sex, so let’s cut to the chase. Gabriel was way ahead of me. Before I had locked the door and asked Alexa to dim the lights, he was bare-ass naked and sprawled across the sofa, with the sort of “Man Eater” look you might expect to find in the eyes of someone just getting out of prison. To say that Gabriel was thirsty is an understatement, but he had a damn good reason why.
“Before we start, I must to tell you something,” he said.
My pulse began to quicken. “What have I done?” I thought. “Who did I invite over?” I casually scanned my apartment for a make-shift weapon if necessary. “Could cuticle scissors pierce the skin?” I wondered.
“Okay, what is it?” I asked, hoping to sound a little more confident than I was feeling.
“I haven’t been with another man in almost ten years,” Gabriel answered.
“Wh- what? Why?” I responded.
“Because I’m a priest. Does that surprise you?”
“No. I was raised Catholic so it doesn’t surprise me at all. But the fact that you haven’t been with another man in almost 10 years surprises the hell out of me.”
“Does it bother you?”
“Not at all. You’re a grown man, your business is yours. I have my own shit to deal with.”
“Good. I feel better to lift that from my chest. One question more, you party?“ he asked.
“Does the Pope shit in the Vatican?”
With that, Gabriel proceeded to unload a virtual pharmacy of illegal narcotics from his toiletry bag.
“In Mexico, the clergy have no problem from security.”
As if he was unpacking fresh produce from Whole Foods, he casually displayed at least an ounce of crystal meth, several ounces of GHB, a quarter bag of weed, rolling papers, a one-hitter, poppers, powdered MDMA, a 30-day supply of 100mg prescription grade Viagra, 2 Caverject epi- pens, a handful of Xanax, a LOT of cocaine, a silicone water bong, a butane torch as well as an assortment of cock rings that rivaled the selection at my neighborhood porn shop. Clearly Gabriel was not your ordinary, run of the mill, cock sucking priest. This cat had skillz.
A zillion questions ran through my mind, begging to be asked, but I kept my mouth shut. I wasn’t about to fuck up the chance to sample from this pu pu platter of free drugs that fell into my lap, delivered by God! They say the Man works in mysterious ways, but this is some shit. Go ahead, Jesus, take the wheel, I’m ready.
Gabriel filled the bong, I grabbed a Caverject pen and set up two shots of G with an OJ back. 20 minutes later we were both sky high and swirling our faces off, having a really good time. The sex was intense. The Caverject delivered a porn star hard on that wouldn’t quit, and Gabriel didn’t seem to break a sweat keeping up. To his credit, that bitch took dick like a champ! I don’t know what his off-season regimen was but on game day, he was ready. The entire experience was not only physically satisfying, it was great for my ego. This man hadn’t been touched sexually in 10 fcking years; no matter what I did, I was an X-rated superstar.
As the intensity of the drugs began to subside, waves of quiet tenderness began to float themselves between crests of fiery passion. Drenched in sweat, dehydrated and exhausted, it felt good to stop moving and thrusting and pounding and just…be.
“Can I say something to you?” Gabriel asked.
Laying side by side, I pulled his body into the Little Spoon position and quipped, “Of course. This is a judgement-free zone.”
With that, Gabriel let out a deep exhale and told me his story, the story of a young boy who wanted nothing more than to please his father. Even if it meant selling his soul to the devil and becoming a man of God.
Born in a small town outside of Mexico City, the youngest of three boys, Gabriel was the one son who most desired his father’s acceptance.
“Perhaps because I knew that I was the least likely to get it. We were not close, but my culture, it is common for young boys to emulate to their fathers. He was everything I wanted. He was a proud, powerful, macho. He had respect. I was none of those things. The one thing I knew I was, was gay. As most parents do, soon, my father learned my truth. In Mexico and for my family and village, being gay was not an option. It would bring shame to me, but more important, to him,” he insisted.
“I was raised under a drug cartel’s umbrella. I knew no other way. I understood the cartel way of life, for it was my life. I was the son of a cartel officer. There was no longer a welcome place for me within my family or within my village.”
Ironically, Gabriel’s polyamorous drug-trafficking father was also a devout Catholic.
Gabriel’s family offered redemption from his homosexuality in one of only two ways. Gabriel could join the military and become a soldier which was in all actuality a precursor to becoming an enforcer for the ‘family business’ or he could join the priesthood and become a man of God.
“For me, the military was never a consideration. To this day I struggle to make sense of the mentality of my people. A mentality that would praise me for killing a man and yet shame me for kissing one. So there was but only one choice.”
The details of how Gabriel found his way from a small village in Mexico to a 5-story walk-up apartment in Hell’s Kitchen rivals any parable you’ll find in any bible, sacred scroll or golden plate. Unlike most of my experiences listening to biblical tales or religious folklore, I was actually enlightened. Enlightened to the power and strength of the human spirit. I found a new understanding, previously beyond my comprehension, of just how far one person will go to gain acceptance from another.
There is an innate desire within all of us to belong. Everyone needs to feel accepted, and in Gabriel’s case the need to be accepted and acknowledged by his father was so necessary that he vowed to spend the rest of his life trapped in a prison self-deprivation.
What is it that warps our minds into thinking that we need someone else’s validation to be happy? Something happens to us (everyone) in our formative years that tells us that we aren’t good enough. And that thought, that we aren’t good enough, is what keeps us living small. How many times have you neglected to try something new or brushed aside the chance to follow your dream, or stopped short of asking out your latest crush because that voice inside told you “you weren’t good enough”?
Hundreds, no, thousands, sorry, millions of people every day, such as Gabriel, sell their lives out feeling like they aren’t good enough just the way they are. A tragedy that is so easy to spot in others and yet hard to see within ourselves. Imagine the paintings that will never be painted, music that will never be written or inventions that will never be built, all because the talented minds behind them think they aren’t good enough.
But here’s the thing: You ARE good enough. You always have been. Don’t let your self-worth be defined by someone else. There is no one on earth exactly like you, who can do what you can do, the way you do it. Take pride in that. Recognize the uniqueness within yourself and within others. I have never known of any person’s life that has been damaged by supporting someone else’s.
Every day brings with it the opportunity for re-invention. Who do you want to be?
Thank you for reading. Until next time….. RyanRockfordNYC@gmail.com