At 44 I was overweight and in cardiac care (stay with me here - I have to tell the whole story). When I got out, I started a crash diet thing which worked for a while, but by the age of 46 I'd ballooned back up bigger than before, and very much afraid I was headed right back into cardiac care again - or worse.
I knew I had to find a better solution than the crash diet - so I started chatting on AOL in the MuscleM4M room - but the guys in there weren't interested in talking with a fat 46 year old. I noticed a new chat room, OlderMuscleM4M, and found in there a guy named Qtrback. (Hot, I thought - some gay ex-football player...) He was willing to chat with me about workouts & diet & stuff. Eventually, he sent me his picture, which knocked me out - he looked like a Colt model. Waaaay to hot to talk to me. As sexy as he looked, I got a pretty clear idea that if I took the conversation in a sexual direction, he'd be out of there. He did want to help me with my weight problem, though. So we kept talking.
All this time I was in the declining months of an 8 year relationship that had not been working well for years. I just didn't have the balls to end it, and didn't relish the idea of being alone.
Qtrback & I talked off & on for 9 months. I lost weight, and started to pull it together. I also finally ended it with my partner, who moved into the guest bedroom in our house. The atmosphere was not pleasant.
My friends encouraged me to take a vacation down to LA. I had moved up to SF from LA 2 years earlier, while I was crash dieting, and still had friends down there. I figured I could take a long weekend, fly down, get a room at the Ramada in West Hollywood, and get laid. I needed it - bad!
One day I mentioned the trip to Qtrback, and he said "Why not fly here (DC) instead? I could take you to the gym, help you with your workout, work on your diet. It's easier to show you things in person than talk about it online."
It sounded nice, but way too expensive. But for the hell of it, I surfed over to United Airlines while we chatted, and they were running a sale -- $249 Round-Trip SF to DC, if I went the next weekend. I figured if I went, and he was nice in person, I'd learn some stuff and come home the better for it. If he was a jerk in person, I'd go to DuPont Circle, get a hotel room, and get laid. I'd do OK either way. I couldn't fly to LA and rent a car for the weekend for the same money anyway. So I took a chance.
Memorial Day weekend of '99 I flew to DC. Dulles airport has satellite terminals, and you take this elevated bus thing to the main terminal. The doors opened to the concourse, and I saw him standing by a kiosk. I went over an introduced myself.
He acted kinda wierd. He wouldn't look me in the eye when he spoke to me - which is a little disconcerting. He babbled about airport construction and diplomatic license plates and all kinds of stuff as we went to his car and drove away.
Now, understand that I was incredibly worn out. Worn out physically from working and an all-day flight, mentally from my job, and emotionally from living with my ex-. All I wanted to do was get some decent food and unwind. He took me to this Italian restaurant full of smokers and crying babies, and then, finally, to his condo.
I put my bags down and sat on the L-shaped sofa in the living room while he messed around in the kitchen getting water. He returned, sitting on the other end of the sofa.
He said, "You look exhausted. Why don't you put your head on my shoulder and take a load off?"
I thought " 'put your head on my shoulder'? I don't have the energy for some kind of come-on. But then, I AM tired, I could use a shoulder to lean on - what the hell."
So I sort of scooted over, around the corner of the L, until I was next to him.
I leaned over against him, and it felt strangely good.
I kept leaning more & more, until I was lying, face up, my head in his lap. I closed my eyes, and at that precise moment, all the problems of my life drained from my body. It was the strangest, most amazing feeling I've ever felt. A transfiguration of sorts.
Nine months later, in the late evening on Christmas Day of '99, I waited at a gate at SFO as the last flight of the day dumped out into a cold and empty terminal. Almost the last man off was Qtrback - coming to live with me.
It turns out the reason that he acted so strangely in the terminal is that he knew the moment he saw me. He didn't want a relationship. His live was all in order, under control. But he figured it out when I stepped off the tram. It just took me a little longer, that's all.
And to this day I can rest my head in his lap and feel that magic all over again. I think I always will.
And he was never a football quarterback - but that's another story.