Saturday, October 15, 2016

Not Being Selfish for Once

Jimmy asked me if I could refer his recently graduated little brother to jobs in media.  His current start up gig was abusive and he had enough.

I reached out to some old coworkers on Linkedin and within hours Jimmy's brother got a phone call, in two days he scheduled an interview and within the week he went in and got the job.

I spent about an hour and a half adding industry jargon to his application answers to secure his spot.  His ideas were there, I just developed on them.  I prepared him for the interview by telling him what he should expect and how to approach it.  He was very qualified - his experience, his interest and the timing was right.  When a media agency has a spot, they fill it fast.   When he got the job I felt this amazing feeling of accomplishment.  This older brother mentorship that I've been lacking even though I have a little brother that needs guidance himself.

With my little brother, I feel useless.  His interests, his goals, his life approach is completely different than mine.  No advice I could provide would be helpful or would even resonate with him.  Theater production? Voice acting? Online gaming?  I wouldn't even know where I would begin to guide him and feel awful and selfish for being such a terrible older brother.



We're as different as can be.  6 years a part.  But these studio pictures will always be a part of what we do together.  In the end, he'll figure it out.  He's finally feeling the pressure to leave his bedroom and accomplish something.  I have a theory that dragon mom and helicopter dad never existed in my house because their oldest (me) figured out everything on his own and left the nest immediately.  With my brother present, the family is still physically together. He's home taking care of our parents and grandpa which is more impactful than my twice a week Facetime with Mom.

Dad's 60th Dinner

I feel as though my brother can really provide my parents with that happiness that I can't provide.

What is that Asian American dream?  Successful kids, beautiful grandchildren all living together in Silicon Valley.  Early retirement?  Large Christmas parties with children and noise.  What life did my parents expect to have when they moved to the US?  It certainly wasn't this.

While Facetiming with Mom, she basically told me how she's watching Grandpa die in the hospital/nursing home.  His kidney was acting up.  She grew sad and saw her future in him.  "It feels so lonely."    To my mom, blood comes before anything else and a "gay family" just means friends - people who you can't really count on to grow old with you.  Loneliness seems to be something that my life facilitates: living in Los Angeles with my boyfriend + never being able to provide her grandchildren.    And maybe that's why there's little to no pressure for my brother to leave the house.  Him and his girlfriend are welcome to live the townie life - get local jobs and provide my parents with a larger family.  It's his job to provide that heteronormative American dream.  And what am I doing? Selfishly gallivanting in Los Angeles like Peter Pan collecting lost boys; more friends, not family.

But at least I helped out someone's family and start jumped their career.  For that moment I felt like I was being helpful and not selfish.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Dating Friends


In my quest to being independent, I defaulted to going to Echo Park Lake to spend time with myself.  I had a picnic blanket, a book and a warm LA day.  I had exhausted my contact list and said to myself that I need to learn to be alone - finally.  I found a spot and enjoyed watching a lesbian couple play catch with a softball.  I noticed two gaysian boys sitting a few meters away who turned out to be my friend Jon and his friend visiting from Australia.

My effort at solitude was foiled and I was relieved. We talked about family, life, the difference between Australia and the US, relationships and the Aussie recommended the book "The Course of Love by Alain de Botton.   He shared a quote, "he will need to learn that love is a skill and not an enthusiasm."  The author also talks about how when we hurt our lovers, it usually isn't malicious but because we are hurting ourselves etc. etc.

This is something that we should be aware of.  To this Jon said, "well Chris, I feel that you're pretty self aware."   Maybe too aware as I talked about being 90% extrovert to the group... again. I expressed interest in the book because reading isn't a group activity.

The Aussie also talked about "The Family Law" which is the Aussie version of "Fresh Off the Boat" It's based off the life a Chinese-Australian who's basically the gaysian version of David Sedaris.  OF COURSE I became interested.

==

I ended up having dinner with the Aussie without Jon where we walked about 2 miles to get a burger because these "real" city people really love walking.  He got nostalgic and recounted 2 years of his life being lonely in LA.  He lived without a car, he jumped from house to house never having a lease.  He always had a book and sunglasses in a bag. He was free, but his time in LA expired.

As we got to know each other, I said to him that sometimes I feel like I miss dating.  The uncertainty.  The art of flirting, but playing hard to get.  The science of overthinking and over calculating.  The feeling of being attractive, valuable, wanted. The balance of obsessing and being cool.  The frustration of eventually asking, "what are doing?!" I don't play video games, but I remember that I enjoyed playing the dating game because it made me feel human.  But maybe not as much as some of my friends who are notorious serial daters.  Some folks seeing 5 different guys casually within a week and others in many 1 year relationships back to back.

"Oh god.  You're not missing much."  The Aussie responded in his mesmerizing accent.  He told me a few horror stories, but the point is at 33, he has no more time for that bullshit.

At the end of the night we exchanged numbers and email and I basically walked him to the door of his AirBnB.  For a moment I humored the thought that I had just completed a really nice "date" where the conversation was fluid, the feeling of getting to know a stranger was present, and a connection was made beyond finding commonalities like going down a checklist.

It's a problem when your dating pool is the same as your friend pool and you have to constantly question if the person was just being friendly.  Which I always am because #extrovert.  It's also a really tiny pool.  A friend of mine was dating two guys who then turned out to be friends.  Terrible.

But of course, it wasn't a date.  Two things have to happen for it to be a date - someone treats and you don't talk about your current boyfriend Jimmy for about a quarter of the time.  As we separated, I started to think about which thirsty friend of mine would like him the most and how I now have a housing option in Australia!

He texted me this morning with a selfie in front of the taco stand we talked about.  If this was following a date, then he just threw the ball into my court and it was up to me to respond or reject. I humored my imagination and I began to feel this false "enthusiasm."  This could potentially be a back and forth, overthought ambiguous exchange that takes so much time and energy and that most single people in their 30's are tired of having to do.  But of course, he was being friendly, just as I was and I jumped out of the hypothetical.  I switched over to Jimmy's text window and told him that I'm bringing home salad for him.

He responded gratefully and lovingly, "Thank you babyy!"   Like he does... every time.   




==

I re-read my post about sex positivity in the gaysian community and man, do I sound uber naive.  About 10 of my SF friends participated in Folsom this year.  Not just spectated, but actually dressed up with harnesses and skin.  What a sheltered bubble that I live in.

Living for my friend's heels