Episode IV: The importance of being JJ
// JJ Brewis

The winter months bring with them an alarming set of side effects. For me, I find winter the loneliest season, despite the holidays, and I’m sure many can relate. Who doesn’t want a warm body to keep them cozy through the cold season? This winter, despite a mostly loveless and lust-free year, I ended up dipping back into the dating pool, likely a hopeless endeavor, to shake the winter blues.

It had honestly been a while. The last time I had a boyfriend, it was disastrous, and so I was reluctant. Most of last year ended up getting sucked away in a vortex of work and travel, and disappeared before I realized it. But nearing the end, just as the Vancouver rain was hitting its peak, I reactivated my online dating profile, and before I knew it, the games had begun. Again.

My first foray back into the world of dating was with a spritely younger guy named Neil. A 21-year-old UBC student who lived in Ladner, wore a purse, and jizzed over the thought of Joanna Newsom, he was certainly not my type on paper whatsoever. I was skeptical, but we met for coffee and ended up talking for hours. There were certainly some strange social moments, such as when he slightly freaked out that I had more Tumblr followers than him, but he reassured himself by realizing his Twitter presence was more prominent than mine (Ugh).

He was silly, yet educated, and I was attracted to him despite the fact that his tiny frame made me feel like a complete beast. We saw a lot of each other quite fast, with dinners and live bands filling my already hectic schedule. They say you make time for what matters to you, and this felt right to me. On our third date, we ended up seeing a DJ at the Electric Owl, where I met his two brothers and their significant others. In most circumstances, this would have easily been filed under “way too soon”, but it felt mature and accomplished, and I liked that we seemed to be on the same wavelength.

We saw a lot of each other over that month. The night of our last ‘date’ felt a bit strange. We ended up at a party with a bunch of his friends. The group of younger gay guys, whom, I had been notified, had all dated or slept with each other, were actually a lot nicer than Neil had suggested. “They’re not really my friends,” he said. “It’s just a keeping up appearances thing.”

Despite obnoxious conversation about how “Katy Perry really can sing” and watching the room full of petite men call each other fat, I had a good time, and felt oddly satisfied when Neil introduced me as his “boyfriend”, despite never talking about it beforehand and only dating for a month. It was nice to meet a love interest’s friends. Over the past few years, anyone I’d seen had been such a brief encounter that it had never gotten to that point. He had already met everyone in my social circle, and taken up a near-obsessive attachment to my best friend Shannon, which we later realized was possibly due to her Internet infamy on Reddit earlier in the year. He’d been to my house to decorate for Christmas, with my mother and sister both fawning over him, and he’d been totally cool with it.

We left the party to head to his house in Ladner for the rest of the evening, and ended waiting at the River Rock Casino for 90 minutes. I ended up getting into terrified visitor/protective boyfriend mode on the bus, not realizing Ladner was a bit of a ghetto, and the bus riders sitting behind us had visible guns in their possession and were discussing blowing each other’s brains out mid-route. In the midst of it, Neil’s bag opened, and his notebook fell out. I picked it up off the bus floor, and he quickly snatched it out of my hand with fury. I wondered if the gangsters behind us were making him nervous, but this type of behaviour was quite unlike him.

We got to his house, and went to bed around two. Around four, I woke up to him getting out of bed and putting his clothes on. “Where are you going?” I asked. He seemed panicked, distant, and I could tell he was being shifty. He told me he thought he may have mistaken his work schedule and was going to drive to his Starbucks to see if he was opening. I lay in his bed, feeling something really uneven in my heart, and, despite knowing better, I went into his bag and pulled out his notebook.

I scanned through to the last page he had written on, on which I found the words, “I had drinks with two friends today. I tried, but I just couldn’t tell them I have a boyfriend. Something feels wrong.”

The friends he had introduced me to were a lark, and the friends he mentioned in this book were his besties. This was very bad. I was far from home, lying by myself in the bed of someone younger than me; someone who I cared about a lot more than he cared about me.

I tried to get back to sleep, and he returned an hour later, crawled into bed without waking or touching me. I didn’t sleep the rest of the night, and in the morning when he drove me to the skytrain, I could sense that he knew something had changed. He hugged and kissed me goodbye, and I felt dirty even doing so, not even fully realizing what the problem of the situation was. I had bought us tickets for a play which was two nights later, and he ended up bailing via text, which ended up us mutually ending the entire thing, also via text. Pathetic.

“Fuck that shit,” Shannon said. “No more younger guys. You need a nice older man, someone who has necessary gratitude.”

I had to agree. It wasn’t really Neil’s fault. I was different at 21, and the 20s are a huge learning time for what you want, and what does and doesn’t work. I was actually fine with the split up until I ran into a mutual friend who greeted me with a bleak, drawn-out, “So … how are you?” I was legitimately fine, and questioned his tone.

“Oh, I ran into Neil. He told me what happened. I’m so sorry.”

It turned out Neil had told our friend that he “had to break up with me” because I had come on way too strong. Really? Really. He, who threw “boyfriend” around early, and without discussion. He, who insisted on seeing each other a minimum of four nights a week. He, who couldn’t go a few hours without texting or talking. “Figures,” Shannon said. “21, man. You’re too good for this shit.”

The thing was, I knew it just as much as her; not that it doesn’t feel good to have your best friend go to bat for you.

Besides, we were off to San Francisco, the gay mecca of Earth, in just a week. If previous travel experiences with Shannon stood for anything, I was about to get up to some trouble. Sexy trouble.

JJ Brewis is quite possibly the keenest member of our editorial staff. He has been writing columns on various topics for the Courier for three years, and is now revisiting his most successful theme: relationships.

//JJ Brewis, columnist
//Graphics by Lydia Fu

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: