"My body is mine." short story, (2017).
We met for the first time outside of 12th Street Bart Station. I was running late after going to Safeway to pick up bread and cheese, and he was waiting patiently for me on a concrete bench, wearing an A’s hat, a white shirt, some dark blue jeans and a backpack filled with wine and champagne. He was a cute tall Mexican boy with odd tattoos around his arms. When I arrived, I approached him smiling and hugged him warmly to be kind. This was our first time meeting after our several exchanges on Grindr.
He was new to the area -recently moved up from Southern California - and wasn’t familiar with downtown Oakland. I was curious to know why the transition and ventured to ask. He responded with both hands holding the straps of his backpack as he took a deep breath, “I just need to get away. I needed to start fresh.” I didn’t question him when he decided to share, and so we continued to walk towards Lake Merritt, chatting a bit before we began to settle to on the green grass.
That day was a typical Bay Area summer day: sunny with a few white clouds in the sky and a gentle breeze that you knew would later bite you if you didn’t bring a sweater. Luckily, I had brought mine and I even brought my favorite mexican blanket. It was a thick multi colored striped blanket that I bought in Guadalajara a few summers ago and it’s one of my most prized possessions. Once we arrived to a comfortable spot, we used my blanket to lay on the semi dry greenness that laid beneath the tall trees on the west side of the lake. As we chatted, we drank a couple of cups of wine and ate the garlic boursin cream cheese I bought - a very cliche thing to do on a date even if I didn’t know this was a date - but enjoyed how relaxing it was.
He was a little jittery and reserved at first, always looking around and observing people who passed by, but after a while, he warmed up and gave me his full attention and never broke eye contact as I talked and shared. To be quite frank, I felt a little reserved and vaguely distant even when talking to him -- not because there was something wrong with him, but more as a protection barrier because I knew that he was a cis gay man. There are three things that run through my head when I first meet cis gay men: Are they aware of other genders? Do they know what agender means? And if I told them I was, would they respect me?
We chatted for about a couple of hours until the sun was setting. At this time, the wind started to get a little colder, and I could feel it gently rubbing my back. I started to shiver a little bit, and he noticed and offered to huddle. I knew that his intentions were to touch skin and feel my body, and I consented to it because I wanted to do the same. I covered my back with my sweater and stretched my legs on top of his, sort of in a v shape to be closer and more intimate. We huddled in warmth, body against body, as people passed by roller skating and jogging with headphones.
He then placed his thick arms around my back, rubbing my skin and slowly reached down to the upper part of my ass. I grinned to him knowing what he wanted to do and consented to let it happen fully aware that we were in public space. In response, he pulled my pants down mid-thigh and teased my butt hole with circular motion. I looked to see my surroundings to make sure no one was watching us, and after doing a quick check, he licked two fingers and reached down to feel me.
His hands were a good size - soft and thick, and his fingers were a perfect length. His strokes were initially slow, and his eyes kept looking for approval. And as he saw that I was increasingly getting comfortable with him in me, he started to gain momentum. From time to time, he would relick his fingers to keep my hole luberacted and wet, and with each lick, he added one more finger until there was four inside me, massaging my insides.
By the time he finished, I noticed that I was breathing heavily and I was completely unaware that it was already dark. The lights that circled around the lake were finally lite, and it was a sign to leave and so we did.
We took the Bart to MacArthur station since he mentioned he lived a couple blocks away. It’s always a journey to walk down south 40th St. towards Emeryville, and seeing the juxtaposition of both white bikers riding towards north and the community of homeless people around MacArthur station was a constant reminder of the gentrification and poverty that continues to affect the city.
Even as we got to his apartment, which was a recent establishment with a modern style, reminded me again of gentrification and its evil way of covering up displacement with comfortable luxury. I felt slightly uneasy knowing how much his roommate and him payed to live there, but I decided to save that conversation for later once I had the energy to bring it up.
His roommate hadn’t arrived from work, and so we talked for a bit and watched Bob’s Burgers on the sofa. I was sitting with both legs crossed and my hands placed on my thighs. He noticed that I had my nails painted with a sparkly clear gloss and ventured to ask me, “Why do you paint your nails?” I really hate when cis gay men question what I do or wear when it does not conform to cis gay culture, and in situations like these, I am sometimes forced to expose my gender identity which scares me.
Though I knew that we were both queer from different parts of the spectrum, it would not have surprised me to see internalized genderphobia. And though I wanted to avoid the subject because I was not sure if it was a safe space, I decided to explain. I shared that I liked to paint my nails and told him that I was agender. I don’t recall him reacting in any particular way and to be honest it was very ambiguous to say the least. I assumed he was still interested considering the fact that we had sex a few minutes later.
I always tend to reflect on the image of my body being completely naked and vulnerable with someone you barely know, and especially if that someone is a superficial cis gay man. Within cis gay culture, there is this underlining pressure to have your body at it’s “best” only for the sake of being found attractive. My body in comparison is not muscular or lean, yet I am confident with my shape and curves, with my prickly hairs after shaving and my small stretch marks on both sides of my waist.
After he finished eating me out and fucking me, we relaxed for a bit on the carpet floor and chatted while subtly listening if anyone was coming. He awkwardly massaged my legs for a while as we were laying down, and I began to get slightly tense since my legs were a little prickly. He noticed the change and remarked, “Why don’t you let your hairs grow out?”
I internally sighed, tired by the more questions he had over my body and why I chose to express a certain way. It is always exhausting having cis gay men question your every decision when it comes to your gender. Part of me wanted to leave because I didn’t want to explain while the other part of me wanted to invest in whatever this was because I am a hopeless romantic.
I wanted to slap some nonsense to him and scream that I loved to be soft and femme! That the association of hair on my legs and parts of my body lead to a masculine identity that I don’t entirely identify with (And I would like to add that one can be femme and hairy because there is no one definition and image of femmeness!).
Though he was opened to the fact that I did not identify with any particular gender, cis gay men always lead the discussion to themselves and their pleasures. I knew sooner or later the conversation would lead back to him, and I was not surprised when he asked me if I would be willing enough to let my hairs grow out for his pleasure. At this point in time, my body began to feel numb, and I stood my ground and said, “Uh, no. This is my body and I will do what I want with it.” He was shocked to hear my response and I could tell that he wasn’t used to rejection.
The atmosphere between us was the same and I felt no odd tension -- or at least from my part -- and I decided to change into my clothes since it was getting late. His roommate still hadn’t arrived and he decided to walk me to Bart since it was past 10pm. Once we got to the station, I gave him a hug, payed my ticket and waved goodbye. He waited until I got inside and went up the escalators and texted me once I disappeared into the platform.
He texted: "I had fun. Let’s hang out sometime soon."
I had mixed feelings about replying because I knew I would just spend a lot of time and energy educating, but my inner hopeless romantic kept whispering to reply back and give him a chance. I chose the latter since I love romance and sex, and texted him back agreeing to meet up sometime that week.
As I was riding Bart back home, all I did was reflect on the things that happened regarding my gender and expression. And I was proud of myself for taking ownership of my body and not letting cis gay men’s fantasies ruin the vision of my self. What I do with my body isn’t for anyone’s pleasure other than my own.
And to end this off, I’d like to say that I love my body! I love my small belly, and my perky tits, and my stretch marks, and my small butt and my tight hole, and my prickly legs. After years and years of continuous self-love and accepting my gender, I am not going to let any insignificant cis gay man tell me what to do.
My body is my body! And men need to do better!
*Published in QT Collective, Issue # 6 (Body)
*Published in Chiflada zine (2017).