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JJ Wienkers

Sea outside the bowl.

It is the informed consensus of marine ecologists around the globe that overfishing is the single biggest threat to the health and sustainability of our oceans.

A fact supported by a plethora of credible. orgs, a concern rarely disputed by anyone but the likes of those in denial of global warming – resolving this issue is a cause that we had all best promote.  And quick.

Thankfully, however, there are plenty of proverbial fish in the sea.  In fact, considering the abundance of available ass, it would not be far-fetched to hypothesize that the dating pool is consistently underfished.

“Well I’m fucking TRYING,” many singles may retort, aloud. “Gawd damn it, am I trying.”

Alright.  Okay.  Settle down.  Most of us in the ‘unattached’ demographic do understand the importance of making ourselves actively available.  That only by opening up our hearts and minds and schedules to new ideas and new adventures will we have the opportunity to meet the greatest assortment of people with whom we may align almost perfectly.

That’s not the problem.

The problem is that even when we readily embrace the necessities of productive dating, we tend to remain exponentially more desperate to get back out of the current.  Thus, the moment someone in this higher class of potential prospects accepts our offer of dinner, dessert, and doggie style – we often glom onto them like a limpet, transporting ourselves from the water fresh with options and into the limited confines of a fishbowl.

There we languish with the idea of them.  Lusting after this creature that, usually, we don’t yet know all that much about.  And because all we can truly see is our infatuation magnified in the reflection of the glass, they grow from reasonably eye-catching goldfish to magnificent, full-sized MERFOLK.

Perhaps they could be our merperson, eventually.  A metaphor meant to signify the magnitude of the catch, not ascribe mythological status to the mature, emotionally evolved and highly compatible lover.  But it is just as likely that each new crush will reveal themselves to be the human equivalent of a Siamese fighting fish – aggressive, occasionally self-destructive, and territorial – or a gloomy guppy who needs time to float alone near the coral castle while he or she focuses on themselves.

Regardless, few relationships can thrive under such an intense and isolated focus.  We must give one another room to breathe and space to appreciate what the other can bring to the tank.  In doing so, we are not required to date other people, but…WHY NOT?

No matter how much tail we do or do not reel in at once, no matter how many duds we will inevitably have to flush – there is definite joy and certain enlightenment in exploring the sea around us before that freedom is gladly forgone.

You know how everyone else knew I was gay? 1:5

My favorite part of any live sporting event was the snippets of music they played during time outs and in between quarters.

Also, I was paying more attention to my nachos than the cheerleaders; but prior to puberty that was really just how everyone else knew I was (baby) fat.

Go – (athletes who also play for my) TEAM!

Shoot me down, already.

Straightforward rejection used to be much easier to come by. Then Al Gore invented the Internet and Mark Zuckerberg revolutionized social networking. Now, more and more romantically charged requests are going unanswered.

One week later and still no reply. No acknowledgment during open gym, last night, either. We were on opposing teams, but he could have approached me with an explanation after the last whistle was blown. An excuse, at least.

I certainly wasn’t going to say anything. Especially not after I nailed him with a dodgeball when, unbeknownst to me, someone else had already tagged him out.

Greeeat, I laughed to myself. He’s going to think that was on purpose.

It was. What better vindication than inflicting mild physical discomfort on those who have scorned you? I was aiming to seem less obvious, though. Then again, subtely has never been my forte. Nor my predilection.

Give it to me straight, gay boi(z). Either you’d care to accompany me on an innocent hang out with date-like overtones or not. I know we’re a complicated species. Each of us with our own storied emotional make up and irrational quirks. But if “It’s not you, it’s me,” applies, then please – say it.

However copious your hang ups, or minimal your attraction to me might be, a concise brush off is always preferable to cryptic silence.

Pretty like a girl.

Intrigue sparked behind the eyes of an obvious lesbian woman as we walked towards each other down a long hall. Her face fell when we met in the middle. My scruff dashed her dirty dreams.

A wet dream come true.

Late night Tumblr browsing tends to draw my hands away from the keyboard and onto a different laptop. Yesterday evening I hit the jack off pot. A discovery about which every sexual being fantasizes. A nearly-naked Polaroid of my college crush, Spruce Davis.

I considered emailing the blogger to ask if he is the original photographer. If he tasted that treat labeled “Yummerz,” himself or simply re-posted it from another site without attribution. He appears to live in France, where I know Spruce currently resides. And he looks equally as emaciated chic and ennui inclined. I suppose I could inquire anonymously, but I think I have my answer.

Prior to graduation, I would have been très jealous of the artiste behind the lens. Whomever it may be, they have captured in an instant what I spent three years hoping to develop. What I began to long for before I even truly acknowledged that my loins burned hot for boiz.

“Tiffany Michaels?” My Multimedia and Popular Culture professor called out the first day of my sophomore year.

“Here!” An enthusiastic hand shot up.

“Adam Drecker?”

“Here.” He mumbled.

“Spruce Davis?”

Spruce…I began to scribble rapidly in the upper right hand corner of my notebook…Davis.

“Spruce Davis?”

“Oh!” he giggled. “Here! Sorry!

He was whispering to his neighbor, but my attention was rapt. I was not going to miss an opportunity to put a name to this striking face. A name I subsequently typed into the Facebook search field – on a routine basis for the next year and a half. My spirits fell and my cock deflated the moment I discovered he had tightened his privacy settings. It wasn’t long, though, until both sprang back, raging harder and more hopeful than ever before.

After a semester abroad, my friend Chelsea returned to Minneapolis the autumn of our senior year. While she brought no trinkets in her suitcase, she had a better souvenir programmed into her phone. Her best friend over in Europe, Tess, quickly became an integral part of our stateside circle. A kindred spirit, we clicked immediately. The fact that she shared a lease with Spruce Davis was just icing on the Funfetti we’d often munchie out on.

“Feel free to invite your roommate,” I’d offer whenever we made plans.

“I’m trying,” she’d always return my smirk; but it wasn’t until after Martin Luther King Jr. Day that even the briefest of introductions were made. Time was ticking fast. And as our days on campus grew numbered, so did my chances at making a pass for a piece of long unrequited ass.

Or so it seemed.

“HEY!” A greeting rang out behind me, the morning after another Valentine’s Day spent numbing our hearts with sugar and our brains with a bowl.

I squinted through the snow reflected glare. “- Hello – OH!” I nearly bit the icy sidewalk. So surprised was I to bump into my obsession serendipitously, much less have him initiate conversation.

“Hold on a second.” He spoke into his phone before holding it against his chest and smiling at me. “How are you?

Great, actually,” a smile erupted between the bulk of my scarf and the fur of my trapper hat. “Yourself?”

“Oh, gosh, busy; always busy, you know? Hey, how great was that cake, huh? Thank Gawd for Tess, right? She cut me a piece before she left.” He took a sharp drag from the cigarette burning between his red, gloveless fingers.

“Ah – Yeah!” I tried to keep up. “Delicious alternative to sex.”

“I know. But, ugh.” He frowned exaggeratedly. “Alone as usual.”

Really? I grinned mischievously, a discordant response.

“But I had to work late anyways; so,” he waved his hand dismissively, “no big deal!”

I nodded slowly, searching for a way to prolong Cupid’s belated gift.

OhmyGAWD! He remembered his phone. “Hello?! Brittany?! Sorry!” He grimaced exaggeratedly.

“Go, go! Get back to your friend,” I took a step away. “Nice bumping into you though. You should really come over sometime.”

“Oh yeah! I hear you guys like to,” his voice dropped to a stage whisper, smoke people up.

“Yes,” I laughed, “we do enjoy spreading the love.”

“Then I’ll definitely be over,” he smiled, his eyebrows rising in sync.

I would have preferred my effervescence to be allure enough, but a bubbling bong worked for, now manic, me.

“He stopped me. While he was on the PHONE. I wouldn’t have even seen him!” I recanted my triumphant encounter for the 17th time. “I don’t want to get my hopes up; but it’s gotta mean something. Right?!

Hmm – my now roommate began, mockingly contemplative. “I DON’T FUCKING KNOW.”

No one ever will. Not after what happened the night he finally did touch his lips to my – paraphernalia.

“We can drop you two off,” I offered as we stood outside of First Avenue, Minneapolis’ downtown danceteria.

“Mmm,” he nodded, exhaling a cloud of smoke as he glanced over to the curb where a sweat drenched Chelsea and Tess stood on the lookout for a cab.

Or – I struggled to thrust a hand down past the waistband of my jeans.

– Ah – His eyes flit frantically back over towards our respective roommates.

“You could come home with me.” I arched my eyebrows and brandished a condom – yanked from within the tight confines of my boxer briefs – between my thumb and forefinger.

Perplexingly, he did not accept. That night I passed out alone. My crush, however, was not put to bed. Alternately, it remained strong enough for me to stake my credibility and score him a job as a server and caterer at the restaurant where I worked. A desperate move, I now know. Yet, it was reason enough for him to accept my offer of a ride home after a bar closing shift. Not just that, but as we had to walk to my house first, he crossed the threshold once again.

I did lure him with bud. Sure. Okay. But with the two of us alone at my kitchen table, logic and self-respect were the last things on my mind.

“It’s-s-s so–oh–oh co–oh–oh-old,” he stuttered through chattering teeth.

“I know. I’m sorry. There’s no insulation. But we just cashed this pipe. So, it’s going to be a bit before I can drive.”
I could barely contain my euphoria at such an airtight delay.

“Ug-g-gh.” he shivered. “Do you have any gloves?”

“Here, wear these,” I grabbed a mismatched pair of oven mitts off of the kitchen counter behind him. “Oh my Gawd! Stay there.”

Giggling gleefully, I retrieved a Polaroid camera from my room.


I had done it. I had immortalized my most intense infatuation (then, to date) via my beloved medium. There were only 36 photos left in my stash and no more packs of the deceased film in any store’s stock. He was worth it, though. He was worth the $1.00+ a shot. My affection, however, of that he was not.

As that photo developed I realized I could finally allow my lust to fade. I’d already begun to accept that nothing tangible would transpire. We’d been Facebook friends for months. And now that he was forever part of my Polaroid collection, too, I could wean myself from a distance.

I would have preferred the Tumbled shot to my own. Still, I am in digital possession of them both. More importantly, I hold the knowledge that while I’m not necessarily better than him, he was never any good for me.

Plus, even though he looks better than ever, so do I. And – living in France, I imagine the hipster musk I knew him to emanate has only grown more pungent with expatriatism. Scruffy, oui. Stinky, non.