The Dating Diet: Stranger in My House

By Anthony Paull

Lesbians don't date, they U-Haul. And gays don't date, they haul ass.

Well, that is except for my friend Nathan. He's not living up to the stereotype, and I'm really disappointed. I mean, it's only been two weeks since he met his new boyfriend, Seth, and they're already in the process of moving in together. According to Nathan, it's a super idea because it'll save him money on rent, and well, Seth has a really big dick.

"Yeah, well, so does Lady Gaga," I state. "But you don't see me shacking up with her for it."

Anxiety-ridden, Nathan instructs me to quit joking around and come over. "I need help decorating," he says. "Seth unpacked all of his things, and some of it's really icky."

For once, Nathan isn't being dramatic. Upon my arrival, I find his word to be true. Dollar Store knick-knacks and a large collection of Disney snow globes adorn the kitchen windowsill and the antique coffee table. Plus, Seth has a thing for Wonder Woman comic books, which are to remain in gold frames on the plaid couch until Seth has time to figure out the "wall plan."

"My God, what am I going to do?" Nathan asks.

"Burn the shit."

"Stop it. I love him!"

"Hey, it's your apartment, your rules. He's just a guest until he comes up with his half of the rent, which I'm assuming he hasn't paid yet."

"He's looking for a job. He had some...medical issues. He'll pay next month."

"Medical issues?" I inquire.

"Don't ask me," Nathan returns, trying to smother the comic books with a pillow. "He hasn't said what kind." His green eyes go alligator wide, like the suspense is thrilling. "But I found a bunch of pill bottles in the bathroom. He's smart, pulled off the labels."

"Um, Nate?" I begin, patiently. "That's not good. That's bad."

"Whatever," he sighs. Fluffing this and organizing that, he flutters around, setting the snow globes in different locations, as if that will help. "He's just being mysterious, no big deal. No one said relationships are easy." In return, that's the exact line I cough up when he phones the next night in tears. "Stop it, I'm really scared," Nathan says. "You need to come over and spend the night."

"And squeeze in between you, him and the Minnie Mouse snow globes? Hell to the no."

Taking a breath, Nathan begins mewling.

"Please. He just woke up in the middle of a dead sleep and asked me who I was. Can you believe it? He looked so scared. He couldn't remember my name. He sounded like a freaking hoot-owl. Who are you? Who are you? What's wrong with him?"

"Tell him you're his landlord and the rent is due. That'll snap him out of it."

"Damn it! I'm such an idiot!" he hollers before playing suck-and-blow a cigarette. In-and-out, in-and-out, he struggles for air. "Why would he say that? Who are you? Who are you?"

And me, I have to chomp on my tongue from asking Nathan the very same thing. Just two weeks ago, he was single, smart, daring and going on a casual date. And now, he's knee-deep in despair, ball and chained at the hip. Me, I wonder, how did this happen and why does it happen to so many of us? Why can't we wait on moving in until after the honeymoon? Sure, it's easy to fall for his "best," but why not wait to see him at his worst? What we fail to think about during the fever of a new relationship is how making a fast choice not only affects us, but those that surround us as well.

With the advent of Facebook and MySpace, I have a profile page full of boyfriends of friends of ex-boyfriends all in their finest, fair-weather poses, and I have no idea who half of these people are. If you move a new mate into your house - your life - without doing the math, you're stuck with him, but everyone in your life is stuck with him too. Soon, he'll friend request all your friends, and we'll feel bad for de-friending him when he "forgets" who you are. When Nathan had Seth "removed" from his home for going off his meds, the rest of us cyber-saw the entire act through Facebook, where Seth posted "gee, look at me" pictures of the moving van as if it were all a foggy dream. "Wonder when I'll find Mr. Wonder Woman-ful," Seth wrote.

And only then did I hear from Nathan, who happily phoned saying he's moving on. "I found another guy!" he sang. "You're going to love him!"

"Already?"

"No, you'd be so proud of me. I told him, you're not moving into my house, no how, no way. I learned my lesson."

"Good."

"Yeah, so instead, we're thinking about moving into his place."

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