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Love Los Angeles Style
by Thom Fowler

I’ve been dating. Its not something I generally do and this was sort of accidental. While we aren’t yet in that “I’m only supposed to be having sex with you” phase, I managed to perhaps contract (or have an outbreak of) genital herpes and found myself at a Free Clinic getting swabbed partially for me and mostly for him. And it wasn’t just herpes (which it might not be, the doctor tells me) but getting tested for every STD swimming from person to person along canals of body fluid to assess the damage, or lack thereof.

I went through a similar thing with a past boyfriend who ended up making me feel like I was the unclean one because I had frequent sex and he did not. He grew up fairly conservative so in his estimation I was a slut. In my estimation, I had a healthy libido that I indulged (safely) as often as possible.

This one isn’t throwing the “slut” terminology around too much since we were having sex from the beginning and then sort of broke all the rules about casual sex and somehow connected.

This is the new getting serious. Used to be a token, a memento, a formal declaration were enough. I gave two vials of blood to take the next step and determine my eligibility for a healthy partner. We had “the conversation” about past sexual partners, sexual habits and it eventually came down to “what are you going to change now?”

He had me, I had to make a decision whether I was really considering grafting him in or I was just skipping through the tulip field. And I was just telling him on the orders of an older, wiser, friend. Having to really act on sexual responsibility was not as hard as I thought. I just told him that I may have contracted herpes either recently or in the past and was having my first outbreak because I know he’s interested in “more” and I wanted to give him as much information as possible.

And I thought that it was pretty unfair of life for me to find someone that I can relate to and then throw me a disease affecting the most important part of any relationship. Isn’t coupling all about protecting the sexual relationship?

I was a little scared because even though I wasn’t ready to put the boyfriend leash on him, I wasn’t ruling that out as a potential future condition resulting from our present behavior.

I had to remind him that we weren’t at the exclusive partners phase and if we were just dating and dating other people then he should just assume that I’m probably having sex also.

He was understandably angry, but more because he felt like “every time he gets something good, it gets taken away.” And if that didn’t melt your heart, you aren’t human. This guy is either the best con man there is or he really likes me. I have a hard time believing the latter. This is LA – land of opportunistic vampires and I’ve got nothing to offer him but a little compassion and understanding. (That’s not the ONLY thing, but the only thing fit to print here.)

He should go get tested for all the things I got tested for, just to be fair. And he has a similar sexual history so he’s got to lay his DNA on the table for me to poke around in and determine if failing health, cancer or insanity or things I’m going to want years from now.

The last boyfriend who did this to me actually walked me to the clinic and sat in the reception area while I had blood taken. No, that relationship didn’t last long. I just couldn’t be with someone with a morbid fear of sex.

This new boy is much more practical and after deciding that this was merely something that needed to managed, not run from, he called around for me until he found a clinic and then he washed AND folded my clothes.

Relationships make me nervous. I’ve not had good experiences with them and I get more accomplished when there are fewer people involved. This one is pulling me in and he is an unlikely choice. I’m a complicated person, better left alone by most people and I’m never sure what I have to offer anyone. And whenever I’d made that leap and let someone get too far in, it has always blown up in my face.

So I tell him what I’m afraid of. That in a month, he’ll turn into a monster that I will then have to slay, in the process losing some small, but important, part of myself. My older, wiser friend said, “look at what he does for you. Maybe that is him and you aren’t seeing it.”

So I’m not looking for a relationship. I don’t need one and I’m not sure if I want one, but there it is, forming underneath my nose while I just keep showing up. We are getting all the compatibility issues out of the way and getting right down to “show me your diseases” with the assumption that if we are going to let this become something that we need to look at the cards we are holding now.

The mystery of it is only enhanced by the practicality. We are old enough to have gone through our stuff. He’s had a long term relationship, I haven’t so he’s already got a little hole to fill whereas I’m exploring new territory. We aren’t “there” yet but what comes after changing your sexual behavior for one partner?

Even if this doesn’t work out, I can at least say, “it was a catalyst for some important life lessons, ones I didn’t want to learn but I’m probably better off for it.”

Oh yeah, and Rivers Cuomo of Weezer was hiding out in the corner of a birthday party we crashed at Eskandalo Boutique on Cahuenga. Open Bar! Techno! Rock Stars!

Josh Evol and Steev of Death By Death (DeathXDeath) were in town on their whirlwind tour of LA. I elided with them at about day two – the Travel Lodge chapter. At the party, some guy leaned over and shouted in Josh’s ear. “There is an ACTUAL rock star over in the corner.” Josh and Steev are pretty rock star without actual being rock or stars..

Rock Star is the nickname we gave Kurt Harland, lead singer of The Information Society. VH-1 may not be wondering where he is now, but he somehow wandered into our little San Francisco Techno-Tribe a few years back and while he hasn’t been humbled by his current obscurity, he puts up with us teasing him about his Rock Star status. Back when I used to drink, I ran into him and his girlfriend Katie Miranda at one of the then thriving Goth clubs and spent a good 20 minutes explaining exactly how much I loved them (Katie and Kurt – not the band). And now I get teased mercilessly. “So Thom, do you still love me.” No Kurt, No I don’t.

Pretending to be a rock star is a life path for some in LA. I got wind of a card based role playing game called Superstar Avatar by Scott Levkoff’s company, Aesthetic Science, that is designed to be played in a metropolitan arena. I’m trying to figure out how this is different from the “real” Los Angeles. My favorite card, “You’re a supercharged sex-bomb that’s ready to blow.” That’s got to be good for the old self-esteem. The rumor is that MTv is considering designing a reality show based on a role playing game. Again, how is this different from reality programming on MTv now?

So I leave you with this now poisoned piece of pop culture – “I wanna know, what you’re thinking … there are some things you can’t hide.”


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=593
originally posted: 06/27/02 05:54:01
last updated: 06/27/02 07:13:05
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