still processing, part 1: my hour glass figure

2023-05-06  giovannisgroom

When I land in Berlin on Friday (yesterday), I am going to head straight to see Pauli. We’ve been calling that day ours, since they leave on Saturday (today) for Portugal and won’t get back until I’ve already left Berlin. We will spend the whole day together, not a single plan, the way our relationship has been so far. The one thing I do know is that they will ask me some version of “so what’s been going on for you?” When Pauli and I last saw each other, at the cafe outside Kornerpark in Neukölln, we decided we would be okay with not being people who talked much over the phone. Since then, we talked on my birthday and then briefly in March when I first introduced the idea that I would return to Berlin to see them before starting grad school. Our WhatsApp text thread has been mainly logistics, few updates, some photos of lake water and bleached hair. “So what’s been going on?” I’ve been asking myself for a few days now. This (hopeful) series of posts includes a few things that have come to mind. —— —— —— Table of contents: 1. Crabs, late August until November 2. Chlamydia, late August, gone 10 days later 3. COVID, December 4. Self-diagnosed and induced, an abnormally depressive come down from MDMA, February 5. Strep, March 6. The drag queens and IBS, indefinitely (ah!) It feels important to talk about my health. I would start by telling the story of how I was standing at the wrong boat. The couple messaging me on Grindr used some annoyingly nautical language (what is a stern?) to describe where their boat was docked. I had been in Saugatuck, Michigan for five days with Talia, Sally, and Alex. People told us Saugatuck was “the Provincetown of the Midwest,” a Michigan gay meca. We had our lesbian reunion, watching But I’m a Cheerleader on loop and topping our daily home-cooked meals with herbs from the cottage garden (cottage core, my friends on the internet tell me). Before I finished my road trip from New York to Chicago, I wanted to play Eucher with two Midwestern daddies tickling me, asking me to stay one more night. I was still in the afterglow of Berlin, feeling sexually liberated but watching the hour glass drop a piece of sand into the bucket of my dwindling libido. I had been anticipating my return to the states to be coupled with a return to self-celibacy. How do people fuck living in NYC? How do they look out at the smog-tainted sky and want to be filled with the fluids of a city rat who probably didn’t stop working to eat lunch today? Once one of the married men rescued me from their neighbor’s dock, I followed him onto his dock (typing this on my phone and it keeps autocorrecting dock to dick) and then into the boat’s living room (is this the stern?), his husband sitting on the couch, the awkwardness recognizable by his aversion to eye contact and shifting positions. I performed big slay energy. “Omg Saugatuck, the Provincetown of the Midwest! It’s so cute here. I’ve had ice cream everyday.” Responding very little, they made me feel boring. So I stopped trying, and with what I imagine was an eye roll and hopefully some detectable sarcasm, I asked, “So where’s your bedroom?” The boat was small (you know what they say about small boats), so the full-sized bed just down three small steps tucked into a room I couldn’t even stand up in wasn’t as cool as I thought when I was up late last night chatting with most likely the gym rat looking one. Each step I took towards the bed felt like releasing one more grain of sand through the mouth of the hour glass, more quickly now, in real time, losing the libido, fighting the mental urge to plan a trip back to Berlin, as if that would refill the hour glass. The sex had rules. They couldn’t kiss me, they wouldn’t kiss each other, they had to keep their shirts on, they couldn’t bottom, they could only top if I was riding one of them, at a time, they could cum inside me (um what? how did that make it through the Puritan code of conduct?). At first, it felt kind of hot. The rules felt spicy, kind of subversive to the Good Lord or someone like that. Then, as they were taking turns fucking me, I got sad. They weren’t talking to each other, not even looking at each other! It was as if one of them felt pleasure, they would subdue it, the most present yet unspoken rule of it all. In succession, they both came inside of me. I put on my clothes, left the small boat, and drove to a nearby sandwich shop they recommended. The shop had run out of the chicken sandwich I wanted, so I ordered one of the pre-made hummus sandwiches and sat outside to eat it. I had a three hour drive to get to Chicago where I would sleep in Grace’s unfurnished apartment until she back from Kansas a few days later. When I got there later that night, I shat (shatted?) out their cum and felt a relief that my libido was almost unrecognizable. —— —— Over the next 6 months, I would go on to see more doctors than minutes I spent on that boat. Apparently pubic lice (crabs) is uncommon and providers don’t know how to effectively treat it. Planned parenthood—the provider who was the first to give me the right cream, the right comb, the right do’s/don’ts—told me that in their 10 ten years of crisis STI work in the city, I was their first crabs case. (Chlamydia, in comparison, was a breeze. Some meds and abstinence were prescribed for that.) For me, there is nothing more libido shattering than having little bugs live rent free in and around my butt hole, months going by like a bed bug raid in a Mac-owned Hyde Park apartment. A close second though was finding out months later that I also picked up parasites undetectable to STI testing but shows up in a stool sample test. I had gone to see a Gastro for the first time in my life because for months I had been needing to “go number 2” five times a day, and George diagnosed me with IBS. My hot Gastro who I crushed on from the start told me that Endomilax Nana and Blastocystic Hominis were living in my body for months, eating away at my stomach and causing the diarrhea and weight loss that I kept contributing to other things like eating too much Mekelburg’s or not sleeping enough. Like the affinity I developed towards the crabs at the end of their three month sublet on my body (they are actually kinda cute and really good listeners), I considered the parasites to be drag queens (look at those names, huge slay) and would be sad when the 10 day antibiotic treatment would kill them off for good, the last of my Midwest adventure expelled from my body. A few weeks after the treatment for Strep and when Endomilax Nana and Blastocystic Hominis finally sashayed away, I went on a walk with Amy and told her some of this. I had to pause mid-story thought to rush to the bathroom. My butt doctor said I would know if I have IBS by getting through this parasite treatment and seeing if things still didn’t improve. It could just be me, even without the drama queens. Maybe I am the drama. —— Not even a year later. I’m back in Berlin. I get off the plane, rent a bike from the same place I did before, and ride up to meet Pauli at the Humanity in Action office. At dinner, we barely talk about my health (so much to discuss!). I get the Ginger Limeade because my butt doctor said ginger helps regulate IBS symptoms. On my bike back to the barn Airbnb that is a room in library filled with Susan Sontag and Kant, I partially shit my pants (maybe it would have been fully if not for the ginger?). The options for the night are to go to Berghain or the sex bathhouse around the corner. I download Grindr, and realize I haven’t been on the app since the night I met George. I start to miss him intensely but fall asleep before I can edit my profile: Single, he/they/IBS, looking for Tums, allergic to 🦀