My new friend and I hung out on Saturday. We had a pleasant time, but weren't really able to do most of what I had in mind. The weather was too shitty and that put a kibosh on pretty much everything. I did take him to the nude park which I frequent, with the intention of just showing him around. I knew no one would be there, due to it being winter, and the rain... Oh and the construction going on nearby. Yeah, it seems the construction which has been going on with the nearby freeway overpasses has caused the crews to use the park as a staging area. The entire area that I wanted to show him was fenced off, so that was a total bust.
We ended up heading out of there and just goofing off and hanging out, for the most part. We went to Target to do some shopping (exciting, I know) and the Seattle Art Museum. It was almost like a weird date.
During this whole time, we did talk about a lot of things. The topic of guilt came up and I explained that when I was young and more religious, I used to feel a ton of guilt about even the slightest of sexual things, like masturbation. When you add the fact that I'm gay to the mix, the guilt and shame was overwhelming. And, as I explained to him, I was only a lukewarm Christian, who went to a non-denominational church a few times as a kid. My mom believes in God and Jesus, but really doesn't know much about the Bible. So, I was raised to believe, but didn't fully know what I was supposed to be believing, I guess. In his case, he was raised as Mormon, which offers far more guilt trips for sex-related transgressions than many other religions. Well, except for maybe Catholics and Muslims, I guess. All right, most religions are rather uptight. At least the mainstream ones, anyway.
We did try a few boundary crossing things, like me putting my hand on his leg, which he said he was fine with. We even tried holding hands, which he also acknowledged he was "Surprisingly okay with." I pointed out that we were driving around Seattle at the moment, though, where that sort of thing would be largely accepted.
At one point in the late afternoon we attempted to take a nap in the car. For a while we were just sitting there, and as we were talking I was stroking his hair. He liked that. So did I. I enjoy doing that.
Later on we got some Starbucks, because, well, I have an addiction, and then we headed on home.
Today, which is the following Monday, if you're reading this on any day other than the day this was written, he and I were texting. We're supposed to go to this Tantra thing this-coming Saturday, which is sort of discussion group which sort of incorporates yoga with sex... and has a bit of a spiritual Buddhist element to it. I'm not sure if it's my type of thing, but I'm going, if only just to check it out. We also signed up for one in a couple of weeks and I noticed that he had added a "+1" to his RSVP for that one. I thought he was referring to me, so I let him know that I already submitted my RSVP, so he could remove the "+1." He then explained that he might bring someone along. It sounded odd that he would suddenly decide to bring someone else along, so I started asking a few questions to see where things stood. I asked him if he still wanted to go with me, and he said that he just figured it might be cool to bring along someone else, but he wasn't even sure who, yet. This told me he was looking for a buffer person.
A couple of weeks ago he tried to invite me to hang out with him and a gay friend of his, which I thought was weird and then he explained that this friend is into him, and that I'd be sort of a buffer, or distraction, or something. Now it seems that he was needing someone to keep me away from him. So I pointed out to him that I understood what he was doing, and that he didn't need to. He only needed to tell me that what was going on was making him uncomfortable, or that he wasn't interested, or whatever.
I asked him, straight out, "Do you want this to just be a platonic friendship?" which is the way he had described wanting his friendship to be with the other guy. He confirmed that that was the case, and I told him that was fine, and that I would respect his boundaries. He also explained that he liked the hair rubbing. To which I replied, "Friends don't rub each other's hair. LOL."
I chastised him a bit for not telling me, in the moment, that things were getting awkward, because now it makes me feel bad that I was probably bugging him the whole time. He told me that "Well, I wasn't totally opposed at the time, but I feel more clear about the matter at the moment."
Early this morning, while I was sleeping, he sent me a message saying "I'm learning a lot from being around you, I hope you know. " While I'm glad to hear that, I'm not really sure what I'm teaching him. I don't feel particularly confident about any of this. I do feel like I've made a friend, and I value that. But I feel like a fool for having gone about things in this manner.
[Edit: Immediately after I posted this, he replied to tell me that what I taught him was "How to be 'normal' ...Natural."]