I had fallen for another boy this year. A tall, incredibly beautiful Irishman named Cillian. But you know how, at the beginning, you’re never quite sure what your feelings are? Sometimes it is just sex. Even if it happens over and over (and over) again. Anyways, we were sitting along the Landwehrkanal late at night trading swigs of whisky, fooling around and generally driving each other to the point where we’d have to pick a flat. At one point, he stops and looks at me. “You know, in a couple weeks, we’re both going to be at this queer festival where there’s going to be a lot of opportunity to meet some pretty hot guys.” He had dropped early on that he was polyamorous, and I didn’t need him to continue to know where this line of thought was going.
In all honesty, my reply that “Whatever happens, happens,” was half driven by the fact that we’d only been seeing each other for a few weeks, but also that I myself wanted to see what happened and by an overwhelming pressure to be open. Berlin, and by extension its queers, especially its queers, forces you to be open to all sorts of things – and that’s great. There’s nowhere better to experience new things and push the envelope than Berlin. But for fuck’s sake, what happens when you want to hold on to a boy for a minute? I’m not saying forever, but long enough to stop going down everyone else’s dance cards for a while. But it all felt so uncool to say otherwise. And it ended up bothering me when he ran off with others in plain sight of me.
In this city, you must be non-monogamous, polyamorous, swinging-sexy-cool, whatever. Slowing down for one moment with one person just isn’t an option. And as much as Berlin is lauded for its chill approach to life, in the world of queer dating, everything happens in New York minutes. At the same time I was dealing with figuring out I did dig the Irishman, my lesbian friend Lara told me she had burning feelings for one of her flings but that a relationship was out of the question for the fling. Lara then started seeing someone from her artist residency despite her crush. “Everyone’s a slut,” Lara told me as we commiserated over beer, “including you.” A truism for sure. I am. But sometimes I wish I could stop for one hot second to enjoy the guy I’ve got.
I often look at straight couples walking down the street in wonder… not jealousy though. It amazes me that in a city like ours, two people can seem so unassumingly “okay” with each other. And yeah, it does look boring. So maybe I can understand a bit why queers would rather go for the buffet than order a single dish. And maybe being able to find other open-minded sex radicals is valuable enough to sometimes swallow your pride when the dude you’re into is sleeping with other people. And, had I not had to confront Cillian messing around as early on as I did, I would probably be looking for my Irish backstop today – leaving the situation but keeping the border open. I guess I’m an open hypocrite.