I really should be studying right now. My trading licenses – Series 7 and 63 – expired and I have to retake the exams again. (S7 is for General Securities Representation and S63 is for Agency Sales which are basically NASD memberships yadda yadda yadda.) But, instead, I am again putzing around online, alternating between reading my fave blogs, googling (or stalking?!) my ex’s on myspace and falling back on my netporn subscription as a convenient diversion. (I used to be a Sean Cody fanatic until they went anti-Mac on me; now I settle for Randy Blue. I always wonder how they come up with these site names. They seem to be a distorted version of nursery rhyme characters. Is Randy Blue a distant cousin of Little Bo Peep?!) I know it reads a little bit like multitasking (of the quite unproductive nature) which is kinda how I rationalize these wasteful indulgences. But, really, this is just my normal scatter-brained, ADD-afflicted self operating as usual. I know my self well enough to realize that I have a focus issue (among a lot of other things in a very long list that is better saved for my overwhelmed shrink.) That’s why, today, even more than not strapping myself down in reading my work stuff (and as an overstretched tangent to this topic,) I am ruminating at how I have been strapped to someone for almost a year now, scatter brain and ADD notwithstanding. After all, Tim and I will be celebrating our first year anniversary tomorrow.

I always kid (myself and my friends) about how I would run away in the opposite direction if I saw (an exact version of ) me at a bar. I wouldn’t hook up with myself (since 2 bottoms certainly don’t make a party) and, even more, certainly wouldn’t date myself. I don’t need another scatter-brain with a neurosis for drama and a hypothalamus on overdrive. I already had that before with Carter (since he was basically me but psychotic) and I know where that got me (which is basically anywhere than where I’d rather be). (Read A Year and a Day from Jan ‘06.) I guess that’s why I’ve always been attracted to older men and the qualities that they stand for – stability and groundedness and deep self-awareness (or maybe ‘cause my first bf was just older than I was – and Jewish! — and I believe first bfs are like childhood abuse – they mark you for life. Hot Jewish men now always get me wet and bothered.) I find someone who knows what they want and lives to pursue it directedly very sexy. Tim was all these qualities when I met him and I find it amazing that he’s remained with me this long (since, relative to my usual 3-month timeline which I’ve resignedly called expiration dating, this is very much long-term,) despite my propensity for self-indulgent drama.

Are we rushing to NJ to get married? Certainly not. Are we buying His and His towels? Far from it. (I’ll shoot myself if I end up like one half of some old gay couples who go all matchy-matchy.) Are we moving in together? No. I’ve thought about it and have rejected the notion and, no, we haven’t talked about it. Are we monogamous? No. I’ve thought about it and have rejected the notion and, yes, we have talked about it. Are we still having hot sex and enjoyable dinners? Yes and yes. I think these matter so much – to rekindle the spark of the third date in the hundred and third and still reassuringly feel the heat – in keeping a relationship. But I also know that sustaining a long-term relationship isn’t simply about holding on to what’s hot. The mundane counterpoints to the sexy (like getting it on in bed) and the sensual (like sharing candlelit dinner at Craft) equally matter. Being comfortable in leaving a toothbrush in each other’s apartments and sharing worn-out flannel pjs on cold winter nights as well as knowing the bf’s hectic weekday and crowded weekend schedules are subtle milestones that become especially poignant in hindsight post-break-up. More than two bodies melting together, it is two lives comingling seamlessly and less selfishly, slowly, that irons a relationship out from being a mere seasonal fling to a much longer-term commitment.

I once asked a straight ex-colleague of mine, a nice preppy boy from Connecticut who was dating this chick for over 2 months then, if they were monogamous. He said yes. I asked him if they actually agreed to it. He said no. He just knew. (Hetero mating rituals are so alien to me they might as well be doing it in Mars.) It seems, for straight folk, the assumption is that you’re monogamous until you talk about it and break it. (Yet, I know so many straight boys who cheat on their girlfriends.) For gay men, the assumption is that you’re not until you talk about it and agree to it. (Now, cheating for gay men in an open relationship is quite a murky topic since, on one end, there already is a given free pass.) But, regardless of the distinctions in this parallel, what this affirms is that so much depends on what lies unsaid. There is a deep chasm of the unknown in every relationship and the bridge safely through it is made up of words. Communication, as much as it is cliché, is key and the challenge is in knowing what to say. A day into a year with Tim, I realize that we still have a lot of things to talk about. What I can happily say now though, as I grapple with the exact words for my wants, is that I still want to continue the (if not begin certain) conversations.