“¡Soy un guiri (I’m a blonde-headed, blue-eyed, pale-skinned foreigner)!” HASTY NOTES ON A HAZILY HURRIED MIDWESTERN INTERLUDE (8 Dec, 2009–23 Jul, 2010) After one transformatively transient year deserted in the desert, I had given almost everything I owned away prior to departing only to return stateside with not quite $1,000 in savings. A worldwide financial read more..
HASTY NOTES ON A HAZILY HURRIED MIDWESTERN INTERLUDE (8 Dec, 2009–23 Jul, 2010)
After one transformatively transient year deserted in the desert, I had given almost everything I owned away prior to departing only to return stateside with not quite $1,000 in savings. A worldwide financial disaster, an unforeseen dissolution of friendships, and a wasting away of a way of doing and being had ensued, and my head went from being self-protectively in the clouds to enduring a crashing down – down to the ground, illuminated in the dimness of an insight – a dulled “aha” – that I must make a lulling-layover-of-a-move to the Second City for a few months to work to save. At 27, I was heading to the first metropolis I had ever lived in in the “most American of America’s big cities.”
Plans delayed and dreams practically deferred in Kalamazoo, I was a poster child for a man in reverse culture shock, holding his breath while on his way to breeze through the Windy City. Namibia having delimited the most arduous of adulthood’s ordeals – an undeniable dividing line – I was now demarcated by a Middle-Western transition, about to be a begrudging Chicagoan hell-bent on embracing the lifestyle of a madrileño. Maddened in my erratic mass emails throughout 2009, 2010 approached in my stopover-of-an-advancement and all I observed – while personally stuck – was spiritual stagnancy on the parts of most friends and family.
From naïve rapture to an informed depression, the apprehension was all-consuming as I prepared to command $11.67/hour at a living program for homeless teenagers. From an overwhelming experience of uninterrupted loss in my home state to the existential underwhelm of this urban overture, I was on autopilot – numbed and stunned and future-focused in this interlude – from a mindfulness of an inevitable post-traumatic stress to a mindlessness in neglecting the need for post-travel processing. From my role as Sabbath-miracle-performing “Shabbos Goy” to a community of Orthodox Jews in the center of Boystown, I’d sit myself mid-afternoon on the “L” until I left the only white guy in a car of fellow gentiles on the South Side. In the basement of the shelter, sipping blueberry tea imbued with honey as Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago” blasted from the basement speakers, I would respond to rape victims’ calls and enforce gangsters’ bedtimes – all the while ignoring any red tape and eschewing all clinical tactics. I was myself so raw I couldn’t be anything but real with those kids – so I received the same mad respect I gave. But this was bullshit! I needed more capital.
Seeking African-American lovers on Adam4Adam (“Yes, my name is really Adam”) mid-way through the interval in recompense for Ombalantuan deprivation, and not having saved a damn dime, I stumbled upon an ad for massage. “Well, I can do that!” So I did. And I could. Those zealous mornings, early afternoons, and late nights, and those unforgettable Fridays and Saturdays off, I would zig and zag Chicagoland’s grids, administering what I dubbed “white trash rub and tugs” with eagerly delivered deep-throated endings for $100 a pop with the tips covering my cab tariff. Desperate to hotfoot it out of town for the next leg of the tour, pay-as-you-go phone on the ready, I had fumblingly found a full-bodied, spirit-activating calling in my shaken escapism. I would open mostly snubbed photos of myself in sunglasses in sweat-heavy sub-Saharan heat in a successful effort to seduce one guy every 100 or so in my oft-one-off, one-manned exploit. And, like that, in ten weeks’ time I had conserved over $11,000 and was ready to get the fuck out of there.
But first, a remaining three-week round of homecomings with over half the time spent in regained sleep in the Great Lakes State – the highlight being a much-anticipated ten-year reunion that had me answering, “I quit the social services and I’m taking a plane to teach English in Spain!” to that all-American job-description-as-self-definition question. I mean – Facebook had clued them in on the resulting rest. A claustrophobic closure, and I was out with the nostalgic and in for the neophilic! God bless America, but “¡Viva España!”
IF YOU’RE IN MADRID, THEN YOU’RE FROM MADRID (23 Jul, 2010-23 Mar, 2012)
“I almost raped you!” Javier shakingly affirmed after I’d yanked this self-loathing mound of heated muscle’s meat off until he ashamedly squirted his suppressed load on my seemingly shamelessly yielding lips.
Asshole clenched in my deliriously tight-lipped, full-mooned attempt to complete another two-hour massage during a furious flu season that February of 2011 in my new, run-down 23-meter flat at calle de Regueros, 9 – space heater cranked past 40 Celsius in defiance of an erratic draft – I had crawled on the camilla (massage bed) and opened my mouth to take in one massive portion of manhood.
I’d tease those pollas and pollones españoles (Spanish dicks and big dicks) by testing my hungry tongue around the foreskin to uncover an eager head before easing it down my garganta profunda (deep throat), my nose buried in thoroughly neglected or methodically well-groomed pubic hair, as my bowels gurgled in warning. “¡Me corro, me corro!” (“I run, I cum!”) Juan or Jose or – in this instant – Javier would exclaim as I’d whip a willy out so I could catch its explosion all wily-like where I wanted it. Normally throughout this weak-headed epoch, knees locked, leaning against the wall, I would wait for gentleman after caballero to dress and exit so I could bolt myself to the tiny toilet in an explosiveness I was certain was heard in the hallway.
However, Javier, one of my surly Argentinian gym rats, had jolted himself off the table – picked me up and pushed me onto it – jumping on top of me, threatening to possess and pummel me in one thrust of plundering lust.
I may well have consented except that for a few nights I had been hallucinating, sure a malevolent presence was in my apartment, as I perspired and panicked, on the threshold of death – but day after day I was working through it. Whilst the Arab Spring abutted Southern Europe that bitter winter, a personal revolution had knocked me cold.
So energized by being in my own abode and emboldened by a newfangled enterprise that found me impassioned all day and finished off by night’s end, I labored and licked through this noncommunicably viral enervation in my nigh uncommunicable sleep-deprivation. And as springtide marched onward, I repressed an unspoken rage over ear-piercing children and howling dogs – their godawful high-pitched volts creeping through the cracks of the decrepit door, replacing the crisp currents I successfully had contended with in my unlawful fury.
Unhinged, without a balance or a break, I monotonously unlocked pictures on GayRomeo and used Google Translate to automatically send responses to BearWWW’s audible growls. When I wasn’t titillating men and manipulating their tissue, I was managing prospects as I copied and pasted messages to countless users that were, in truth, spammed introductions to Madrid’s newest masajista (masseur) –
But a limitation of language and infection with influenza were nothing compared to the cacophonous collapse of obsessively, futilely enforced silence. Symptomatic of a socially personalized neurosis and reacting as though vehemently violated, it was a blaring stereo that compelled my feverish frame out of bed and into the interior patio simply to make out a Mid-American “All things go, all things go…” as Sufjan’s acoustics reverberated a vocalized realization that I had to give up all I had put down and make yet another move.
From the third largest city in the United States to the third most populous in the European Union, I had read in a newly-bound Lonely Planet something that was allegedly uttered often that I would never overhear – and, quite positively, not ever came to experience: “Si estás en Madrid, es que eres de Madrid.” (“If you’re in Madrid, then you’re from Madrid.”)
Oh, a passionate country’s provocative capital – with its shield a statuesque bear sniffing up a raspberry tree friends back home kidded was sheltering my honey pot. Life here was finest when lived on the streets of an economically spiraling Spain, and I was intently – intensely – indoors, succeeding in the face of a surreptitious storm. In my American exceptionalism, self-importantly believing I could single-handedly knead out the conceit of the Franco-era’s aristocracy’s queer descendants’ handed-down complacency, fancying myself as dictating democratic principles with firm fingers and dicked depth, I was – in actuality – originally a wide, blue-eyed guiri (street slang for the stereotypical tourist from northern European countries or Anglo-Saxon origin) and a talent out of zealous grit who was all-too-typically xenophobically tokenized in his giddy naïveté.
Between sessions, I would wander those winding streets of vibrant aliveness – detecting arresting architecture and smelling that musky, masculine scent that seemed to stick to the walls while saturating the dusk – projecting onto as much as being affected by purlieu after periphery of over-drawn siestas by day and newfound friends’ insistence over manifold fiestas that unfolded us into a dawn of big-chested transvestites of the drunken night all but chasing closeted bisexuals to force speedy blowjobs on them for as cheap as €20 and – “¡UFF!” – those super hung, drugged-up South American meat heads hustling every street corner of barrio de Chueca (neighborhood of Crooked), capturing lonely hombres (men) who haggled, then capitulated, to a fast €50 ass-pounding after having harbored last-minute hard-ons following a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and – now – Sunday spent playing hard-to-get. I would often wonder at the underhanded dealings and overdoses of human desperation on a given 8am airport run with my white ass packing a butt-load of black money that permitted me to meet Amy Grant in London, greet the beastly bestie along the Amalfi Coast, or even that feat of heading stateside for rotund Midwestern get-togethers over hamburgers and Diet Cokes and West Coast gadabouting with photographs of smiles as contrived as our teeth were bleached.
Dollar-driven and desirously demanding of euro-supplying beef in man-to-man moments by candlelight in the country’s mountain-surrounded desert center that had me scrimping and saving – forever sucking and sometimes mounting to get aggressively fucked – in order to count funds that accommodated a growing drive to go down to Andalucía just to get up to Cataluña. I was physically wayfaring while anything-but-present in a secular society that worshipped the sacred stretched second first and above all else. But to do so, and to store for the big Middle-Eastern and Europe-wide break to come, this struggling child of the Midwestern working classes remodeled himself as a man of the world who – increasingly aware of his countrified conundrum – penetrated each client’s impervious provincialism in a descent into himself. Apart from fascistically domineering mothers and fathers doomed to a declining machismo, these cocked bulls would get horn-grabbed and offer up a low-registered, emphatic “¡Que boca!” (“What a mouth!”) followed by that coveted, conquered “¡Me corro!” with their exotic, yet unequivocally “all-American,” equal.
Man by man, I connected the dots of craftsmanship and desire, and my relationship to fucking and funding overlapped into an understanding of who I was as a native of the States and a so-called “pasivo.” Having felt like a wary trespasser at best (and a rebuffed transgressor at worst) my entire life, I set up shop in an attic studio at calle de Fuencarral, 17. Here, I sequestered myself with all sizes and manner of men in playful pleasure in piso sexto derecha (apartment 6, right). While mega-phoned protestors of austerity measures took their leisure in the plazas and women held heads in hands in muted misery on the metro, I kick started my own ebulliently ubiquitous rebellion in the beating heart of a disheartened nation. If 2009 had fired me up in my desolateness, and 2010 had delivered me to burnout, 2011 brought about bits and fits of in-person effervescence and online fatigue that appropriated into a Grindr-fueled endeavoring.
Once my pick-pocketed pay phone was a grudge forgotten, I abdicated to an iPhone contract and purchased the cherished application. From however-many meters in proximity, I would copy and paste a bilingual “Welcome to Madrid! What brings you here? I came to open my massage studio.” And just like that I had Spaniards, expats, and visitors alike, back to creamed back, for a boca bajo (mouth down), boca arriba (mouth up) wired encounter with the (self-publicized) hottest body-worker-cum-soul-healer in the whole country –
And, at €75 an hour, I was an undeniable indulgence, but as a “First class! First class!” would be exerted as I stroked the shoulders, I would be exalted with a “¡Joder!” (“Fuck!”) or “Your mouth belongs in a museum!” as, belly up and boner exposed, I’d take shaft after shank to their respective bases.
“AHA!” I all but gasped as I fiercely grasped at a frenzied recognition while gagging on one particularly gargantuan, anonymous prick: “I’m caving into what I so craved back in southwest Michigan right here in southwestern Europe! Decent money and daily dick! And they come in one profitable package!”
That deep throat earned me deeper pockets and, ever a man with a plan, I was a lone anomaly of an imperial American liberalism with few words for my skill set – so I employed a Protestant work ethic in the Iberian Peninsula, full-timing it like the first timer I am through Catholic holy days and the day-to-day, night after night – air-headed and warm in my advantageous aerie while heavy-hearted African and Caribbean and Eastern European women were being pimped out for pennies steps away on calle Montera – dawn to dusk, and in all seasons – across from a paid-off police force and alongside dining families actively apathetic in their advantaged avoidance.
Yes – from January’s storming past pained bears as they huffed on their fags and puffed out a “¡Que frío!” (“How cold!”), donned in wetted bath towels outside the bathhouses those first frigid weeks of the smoking ban, as I was heading in for the evening – determined on being hard at work…
…to April’s anxiety-bolstered ambling through the occasional, universal “¡Woof!” as I passed those snooty bearded beauties strutting expressed fantasy selves in the sun-strewn streets as I opted for an inward fate-finding-of-a-foray indoors with reddened cheeks and flushed flesh to lit wicks in “La Furia Roja” (“The Red Fury”)…
…on to July! A year in and I was all in, as every day was exceptional and each night notable as I matched men-loving-men’s overpowered passions in a contained queer collectivism – the essence of which wrought a solid sense of selfdom and eclipsed the ellipses of my journeying with every act of simulated lust for an older generation who routinely filled the air with lingering bacterial breath and frequently smeared the bed with filthy assholes…
…but the culmination that was October! It was unquestionably in the stars that a studded stimulation of love from cautiously conscious countrymen – boyish as they were middle-aged and manly, with the younger stags’ childishness complementing and conflicting with my childlikeness – would find me freely responsive.
But in my status as an outsider who excelled inside, I became the embodiment of that proverbial “stranger in a strange land.” So much so that I could barely comprehend the culture I was in but, rather, came to conclude I could be the better of my own while embroiled in and beguiled by the strangeness of my situation.
So as autumn bled into a verifiable winter and I prepared for a springtime leave-taking, I bull-headedly seized each horned-up man and fit him amid a routine of writing and cafés con leche (coffees with milk) and rituals of strolls through parks and tapas by the palace – then surrendered to those multifold manly trysts as we flipped and flopped off-the-clock, as I was turned on as much by each Manuel and Matías and Miguel as I was to my own ability to manifest more personal rendezvous and professional payment with each passing month in a merging of budget and balance.
As 28 returned Saturn onto 29 and 2011 turned into 2012, the twinkling magic surfaced on my table, over my head, and onto those streets. I was nearly never “Adán” and almost always “Adam”: A gleeful guy draining a phase of life in a gritty city of serious-faced morenos (browns) and rubios (blondes) alike, far from representing its rising immigrant population. The most Spanish of Spain’s big cities was globalizing as it clung to its unique character and cultural identity while I was preparing to rush headlong into a not-so-distant future, heartbroken over domestic possibility as I looked up from my morning paging in Mama Inés Café that fateful Winter Solstice to a macho wreck of warm-heartedness that heatedly deepened into a tumultuous love affair. It was in falling heads and heels for “Jaime” – whose openness was signified in accented, throaty “jota”s and articulated “th – th – th” lisps in my throating of and opening up to him – that I fully submitted to prospect’s pull. My mind sky-high and my spirit crushed – all things know, all things know – I self-heroically, so-humanly heeded my own calling with a budding, bodily wakefulness to how I could will so much into being – with inherited and hand-picked privilege – from a worthwhile vocation to a wild and wooly virility to a worldwide vagabonding…
I was made a man in Madrid. I kept requesting certainty in a culture often resistant to revision and, every time I fell on my hesitant face, I would find myself soaring higher, only more prosperous – personally, professionally, and – ultimately – in some sort of synchronous synthesis.
It was in “la Villa” that I commenced independence-dependent only to be recurrently re-connected through serendipitous taps toward a sense of tribe. From knob-starved to nickel skimping, I allowed for more flexibility to enhance my freedom of being and the sex peaked and the cash flow prolonged. And Almighty Time expanded – in a spacious, Spanish mythical moment that encompassed my American willfulness and relieved me from a primarily puritanical to a purposefully practical adoption of the reality around me as it appropriated with the beliefs I had been bequeathed with.
Years and years of oppugning an impoverished shame over a love for shoved cock – these months and months of hand-held caresses and lip-locked kisses, and that throat-throttled consumption and this bum-banging consummation – well, it all went from being disgracefully personal to graciously, preciously shared. The apocryphally fictional became apocalyptically phenomenally fulfilling as, one-on-one, I made myself vulnerably revered and, man-to-man, we’d lay ourselves wide open for a reciprocated respect. And as my time came to a close in the “Land of the Setting Sun,” wordless conversations compelled me from obsessiveness toward a wisened-to-the-world love.
So I tirelessly learned – all things grew – yes, all things grow! – in feeble flops and fortuitous failures! – how to come into my own as a global citizen and – more pressingly – a man within himself, less uptight and less upright in a laid-back and downtrodden Mediterranean climate. And in its spiritual springiness – in salivated slurps and spasmotic spurts! – I went from labeling myself as a luxury service provider in a financial crisis to a co-creator of a soul-stirring space to place my kind outside of a spreading moral retrograde. From exhausted to exhilarated – simple through-and-through in a sophisticated thoughtfulness of my many advantages and how I can best engage them to maneuver forward for the benefit of my tried-upon tribe – I emerged from this epic epoch committed to cultivating myself and my trade. (It was this wonderment-cum-wanderlust that would find me wayfaring further – from the fortresses of Portugal to the refugee camps of Palestinian territories to the restaurants of Paris. Stay tuned…)
(You may have noticed that the first few months in Madrid – those final ones of 2010 – went missing. At that time I was fried as I fought to be a decent English teacher, and fumblingly faltered – a fresh passion for all things mannish having taken precedent. I will forever be grateful for my purpose-filled time in the social services and the field of international education, and continue to be voluntarily involved. If you are inspired to make a meaningful contribution, or even to simply send a care package abroad, I have former colleagues and students, along with dear friends world over who would benefit from your generosity. Just inquire!)
If your world is enlarged by my website's content, please consider making a donation or supporting my latest passion project.