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Pop Op: Teaching the rookie new tricks

They say idle hands are the devil’s playground … so in the wake of my breakup, I am looking for something to keep mine busy.

Fortunately for me, I have a new friend Jacob who recently came out and that’s just the kind of project I need to be working on. I figured maybe if I do a good job, I can keep him from making some of the same mistakes I did … and it got me to thinking; do we all make rookie mistakes?

Flashback

Always on the hunt for something new and different to do on a Friday night, my friend Steve and I heard that there was a grand-opening party for Andrew Christian’s new store in West Hollywood. The mix of hot models, sexy underwear, a DJ and drinks to help open the wallets of shoppers seemed too good to pass up during the early hours of a Friday night.

We brought along our friend Jacob after he informed us that he always wears Tommy Hillfiger boxers.

“Tommy Hillfiger?” Steve exclaimed.

“I haven’t worn those since I was in college and dating girls,” I added.

“That was so like 10 years ago!” Steve continued.

“Um, make that 14 years ago for me,” I pointed out. “We’ve got to do something about this stat.”

Strapped

Nothing sells underwear quite like a cocktail server showing off the goods while providing you with drinks. In LA, most models work catering, anyway, so for the guy who provided us with wine, I assumed this was just multitasking for him. I was looking for a pair of shorts to wear to volleyball, but having an issue with leg length. Meanwhile, Jacob was checking out the underwear options and came upon a selection of designer jockstraps.

“Do people really wear these?” he asked as he held up a sporty looking mesh jock.

“Jockstraps are hot,” Steve immediately said.

“You aren’t really gay until you’ve been banged in a jockstrap,” I added.

“I’ve never been banged in a jock …” Jacob noted. “Have you?”

“This isn’t about me,” I said dodging the question. “This is about you!”

Cloning

The next morning, I slept in and fixed myself a great breakfast while feeling I had done a good deed for a gay newby the night before. We had successfully purchased some great underwear for Jacob and I felt like he had learned an important gay shopping lesson.

Unfortunately, not everyone agreed and I got the message first thing in the morning when my friend Marcellas sent me a text warning, “Leave Jacob alone! Don’t ruin him and change him into some Weho clone!”

Hotdog

Saturday night I followed up a crazy workout at the gym by meeting up with my friends Jacob, Sean and Ryan at Fiesta Cantina for some pre-dinner happy hour cocktails. When our conversation turned to where we would be going for dinner, I felt like I had to address the elephant in the room … or more specifically the “woman” dressed in a hotdog costume who had been dancing on the corner the entire time we had been drinking.

“Do you think she’s advertising something or is she just trying to get on the next season of RuPaul’s drag race?” I asked.

“Is there even a place that sells hotdogs around here?” Sean noted. “And by hotdogs, I mean the kind you eat.”

“As opposed to the kind you find between buns?” Ryan added with a smile.

“In this neighborhood is there a difference?” I said, not resisting the chance to take the joke farther. “I’m wondering if that might actually be a real woman, though, in the hotdog outfit.”

“Trust me, I am pretty sure that is a drag queen,” Jacob said looking her up and down one last time.

I smiled and pointed out, “Just because you see a big wiener doesn’t mean that she’s a drag queen!”

Stockholm syndrome

After spending our Sunday playing volleyball at the beach, Ryan, Sean, Jacob and I once again found ourselves finishing off the weekend at Saint Felix, a gastropub that serves small plate meals and full flavor cocktails. I was both figuratively and literally held captive in West Hollywood by one of their signature cocktails, the Stockholm Syndrome - a refreshing mix of Sapphire Gin with muddled mint, strawberries and rosemary.

“I wore my new underwear to volleyball today and they really kept things in check,” Jacob shared while he was enjoying a cucumber cocktail.

“You wore those for volleyball?” I admonished him. “You need to save those for when you need to bring your A game. Lord, we have so much to teach you.”

“Why are you so worried about teaching me these things?” Jacob asked earnestly.

“Because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did,” I explained. “And trust me, I’ve made a lot!”

Perfect fit

When we are newly out, we all want to fit in and while clothes don’t make the man it doesn’t hurt to have a good base layer. The thing is, it’s what’s underneath that counts, and now I am not talking about underwear.

The mistake most rookies make is thinking it’s a lot easier to become a clone and blend in with the crowd.

The problem is, if we do that too much we become a prisoner of the world we live in. We might trick ourselves into thinking that it’s what we want … but if you want to be happy you have to learn to be comfortable with being yourself. That might mean dressing up like a hotdog or playing it fast and loose in a jockstrap.

Regardless of what you’re wearing, though, it’s about finding what position you want to play in the full contact sport that I like to call gay life.

Travis D. Bone is a Los Angeles based writer and a graduate of the University of California at San Diego. After spending 13 years in San Diego where his journalism efforts earned him a San Diego Press Club award he took his chances on moving to Los Angeles to become a television writer. Now he’s working in finance for a studio, so that didn’t turn out quite the way he expected. On the upside he’s still writing, still single and still living it up splitting time between Los Angeles and San Diego. In short he’s got a lot of stories to tell.