“Privileged Little Gay Boy” began as an idea for a blog that was, quite fittingly, conceived of at brunch. However, as I began to write the first installment, I developed an acute anxiety about becoming “yet another blog” floating about in the mess of cyberspace. I did not want to enter the already saturated world of the modern, middle-class and cisgendered blogosphere, most especially because—despite my millennial-era narcissism—I recognized that my own middle-class and cisgendered voice was not as really as unique as I liked to think.
My solution has been to thrust my would-be blog upon the readership of The Nass, showcasing my bougie catastrophes and private-school boy predicaments in the hopes that they will, through the lens of my own “post-modern” farce, provide some measure of entertainment. In this series, you will find (mostly) true excerpts of my life told with a healthy measure of self-awareness and all of which are in some way, in the words of Albert Camus, an exercise in “the nakedness of man faced with the absurd.”
The first episode relates my accidental acquisition of a quasi-sugar daddy during my summer in New York City:
The One with the PR Prince
I was, rather unsurprisingly, at a coffee house when my phone buzzed with the text message: “Join me for drinks at the Soho House?”
For those of you who don’t know, the Soho House is one of NYC’s exclusive, members-only clubs with a reputation for attracting young, creative-business types with impressive social resumes and several thousand dollars of disposable income for yearly members’ fees. The sender of the text-message invite was a man whom I had met at a bar the weekend prior. He was of average attractiveness, most likely in his late twenties, and now, I’d discovered, successful enough to have gained membership to said club.
Obviously, I couldn’t say no. There were several reasons why I should have said no (stranger danger; the large $5 iced coffee I had not yet finished; and the dinner date with another man that I had already agreed to later that evening), but my ambition and curiosity would not allow me to turn the opportunity down.
So, tossing the rest of my iced coffee and postponing my dinner date by thirty minutes, I walked the few avenues to the Meatpacking District.
I waited awkwardly—wondering if perhaps Dr. Martens and black-and-white striped leggings were not the most appropriate attire for the Soho House—as my date casually gave the front-desk clerk his name and guested me in. A short elevator ride later and we emerged onto the roof. It was as dramatic as I had hoped; views of the Hudson and Manhattan’s skyline, a large swimming pool and jacuzzi, a fully-stocked and respectably overpriced bar, and packs of young and attractive people.
I thought to myself, more than a bit dramatically, “I’ve made it to where the Pretty People are.”
In all actuality, though, the hype is most of the allure. A few $18 Negronis later, and it had already become just another bar. A bar filled with beautiful and successful human beings, but a bar and human beings nonetheless.
Fast-forward to a few days later, though, and the same man invites me to dinner. After a smug self-congratulations for being charming enough to secure a second date, I accepted. He had been refreshingly easy to talk to at the Soho House, sharing the conversation and even managing to successfully explain his career as a PR prince without too much narcissism.
I picked French cuisine and he picked the restaurant—a well-rated Noho establishment called Le Philosophe. The three dollar signs next to its listing on Yelp made me a bit nervous, but I figured that I could splurge a bit, or at worst order a light entrée to tide me over until I could make a second dinner at my apartment. However, once we were seated, it become quite obvious to me that my date and I were not on the same page.
To start, he ordered a full bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. $40. Then, frog legs, mussels, and foie gras as appetizers to split. $15, $13, $13. At this point, I shut my menu and I decided that I’d enjoy the evening more if I just stopped looking at the prices altogether; my sloppy mental math told that before even the entrée, I’d blown my planned budget by nearly double. The damage, I thought, could not be much worse. So, I went full steam ahead, ordered the duck, and agreed to another half bottle of wine. I even ordered a dessert.
But, even with the aftertaste of my decadent dinner lingering accusatorially in mouth, I still shit myself when the waiter finally set the check neatly on the table between us: $300. Before tip.
Three hundred dollars. I had just (literally) consumed half of my rent. Before tip.
To be honest, I didn’t really believe that I even had $10 on my debit card—let alone several hundred—when I politely offered to split the check. I had led a decadent lifestyle overall during my summer in New York, but this reached beyond excessive and into the ludacris. I envisioned meager meals of cucumber and orange juice (the entire contents of my fridge at this time) for the rest of the month until my next paycheck, or, worse yet for any 20 year-old man of privilege living in the city for the first time, a call to my parents to beg a neat transfer of funds from their bank account to my own.
I came the closest I ever have to believing in God when my date waved off my card. By the time he had tipped, signed the receipt, and ordered me an UberBlack back to my station, I was converted to orthodox Christianity and humming marriage vows in my head.
For the next week and a half, I continued to enjoy the strange platonic pattern begun at Le Philosophe. Each time, he would pick up the tab and send me off to my station in a taxi or an Uber. I never had to supply excuses for why I couldn’t accompany him back to his apartment because he simply never asked; the extent of our physical relationship was holding hands at restaurant or a tight-lipped kiss good-night.
Eventually, he left for a business trip to Dubai. Soon after, I returned to Phoenix, where I half-heartedly wondered whether or not I had spent my final weeks in New York fulfilling the role of sugar baby. Regardless, I know for certain that goose liver pâté and cocktails taste exponentially better when somebody else is paying.