Let’s Be Frank: The Diary of a Divorced Gay Dad
It was an unseasonably warm and balmy December afternoon, as the plane touched down in my hometown of St. Louis. Holiday weary, I was still extremely excited to visit, especially with my little guy in tow. He is a stellar travel companion – for a person of any age – and was eager to see his hundreds of relatives. His face was cemented to his iPad for the entire trip, so when we were in safe range, I discreetly turned on my iPhone. I perused my favorite apps in their usual order – which sound like some twisted version of Santa’s reindeer: Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Tinder, Scruff, and finally Grindr. Everything was stagnant except for good ole’ black and yellow, which was blowing up with messages. I had forgotten what a joy it is to travel to another city, hop on the Grind, and be overwhelmed with “Hey, what’s up?” repeatedly for hours. We disembarked the plane, I logged off, and focused into reality – which was about to become skewed for the next several days.
Once at my parents, my niece and nephew stole Briggs away into toy paradise, and I caught up with my dad, stepmom, mom, and stepdad with a nice old-fashioned game of Cards Against Humanity. A wine-filled hour passed, and just as I played my favorite card (firing a rifle into the air while balls deep in a squealing hog), my phone vibrated. It was a Grindr message, but it wasn’t the usual “Hey, what’s up” shtick. I excused myself from the table and decided to actually answer back – something that never happens. Within minutes I was swept up into his charm, but had to end our chat so I could continue kicking my family’s ass. I returned to the table, watched Briggs run by at lightning speed, and suddenly realized I had lost my concentration. My head was dizzy with possibilities as it hit me that technically speaking, I was on vacation, and also technically speaking, my kid now had 4 extra sets of eyes watching him. If I wanted to, I could meet this man out for drinks. So later on that evening, that’s exactly what I did.
I was thrilled to find that Uber was available, so after putting together a questionable outfit (I had limited clothes and had no clue I would be gallivanting), I ordered a car. The whole house had been asleep for at least an hour, as the black Nissan rolled up to my parent’s curb. I got in the backseat, greeted the driver, and then my nerves completely took control of my body. By the time I arrived, I was at a level 7 on the anxiety scale, and was grateful I had worn a dark top to disguise my growing pit stains. Regardless, I felt confident and marched inside the semi-crowded pub and went straight to the bar. I ordered my usual Tito’s & tonic and hopped on my phone to see where the hell he was. No reply. Wait five minutes. Still no reply. My head started getting dizzy with new possibilities – that I could potentially get stood up. I felt like some sad character in a B holiday movie – making a long trek back home, getting excited at a love prospect, and then having my hopes dashed. When suddenly, under a wreath of white Christmas lights and a Pabst Blue Ribbon sign, a 6’6” hunk walked into the door. We locked eyes and quickly my character became a lot less sad.
An hour and two more drinks later, and we were flirting and laughing and talking about our hometown. It was all very familiar to me and comforting. Reluctantly, I ordered an Uber and he walked outside and waited with me. When we were alone, he turned to me, swept me up into his giant arms, and gave me the kiss of a lifetime. We’re talking a “Rom-Com Top 10 Kisses of All Time” kind of kiss. Yeah – be jealous. I did not want to leave, but knew it was the right thing to do, on many accounts. Once I got in the car, I looked back at “Mr. Big” waving bye, and knew I would see him again. The next day. And again the day after that. And again ...
The trip turned into a mélange of spending time with my family and then nightly trysts with Big. I was on point and centered from start to finish every single day. My days consisted of touring my parents’ and grandparents’ and cousin’s homes, in between which we would hit a kid’s museum or my favorite local dive. At night, I would quietly get ready wearing the same exact outfit, and then settle in for a passionate evening with Mr. Big. My parents noticed a change in my mood by the second or third day, and were relentless in teasing me, in a loving way. My dad even wrote me down on the scoreboard as “6F6” when we went bowling – something I will never live down (and secretly love at the same time). The trip was amazing, weird, fun, sexy, and exciting. And then it all had to end.
Leaving was of course a little more tearful than expected. On top of saying goodbye to my wonderful family, I was also saying goodbye to Big. He comforted me with the words, “We are adults and anything is possible,” which gave me hope that perhaps we would meet again. It was a slam dunk return home for the holidays – both me and my son were wearing smiles from ear to ear. As for Mr. Big and I, well that story is still being written, so perhaps it will be continued …