It was the morning of an improv gig I had booked in Oberlin, Ohio with my show Happy Karaoke Fun Time. I did what I do when I’m traveling, which is to log into Grindr as soon as we arrived. A man named Ben messaged me. Ben was a stocky, muscular guy whose photo looked the part of a corn-fed farmer bro from the great Midwest (I found out later he was a graphic designer living with his mom). We started chatting, and he was interested in meeting up for a hook-up on my one night in town. We traded pics; I liked what I saw, though he only sent one out-of-focus face pic of himself in a foggy bathroom mirror. I could have pressed for more photos, but I wasn’t being too picky. I was on the road, and I was horny.
He asked why I was in town. I mentioned my improv gig, to which he responded, “Oh, well, I’m hilarious in my downtime.” This seemed a very unfunny statement to me, but I wrote back, “Nice.”
He replied, “Ha yep. We will jive pretty good then.”
We made plans to meet at midnight at my hotel room. I texted him I would open my door “at the stroke of midnight like Cinderella.”
“And I’ll be grabbing Cinderella by the dick,” he wrote back. “Now that’s the plot of a Disney movie I’d wanna see.”
“Nice,” I replied, grimacing at his zinger. “Well, I gotta get off my phone now, with my friends.”
“It’s gonna be a few strokes at midnight,” he tried one more time.
“Great,” I texted and silenced my phone.
I then taught improv to college students for six hours and stumbled exhausted back to the hotel. My fellow cast mates on the gig knew about the hook-up and showed their support for my life choices via a little present. They bought me a vintage gay fetish porn magazine called NUMBERS from 1980. They got it at a local Oberlin thrift store from a woman named Ratsy. Her store was called Ratsy’s. We warmed up before the improv show using descriptions of the various dick picks from the magazine.
Sex was in the air. We improvised a musical entirely about cumming at the site of your own Tinder profile. It was very fun. At the end of the show, a cast mate outed me onstage to the room of 150 college students as having to run off to a Grindr hook-up. I pretended to be mortified she would do that in front of an audience to get some laughs, but I didn’t really care. I love people knowing about my sex life.
I got back to my hotel room as Ben was driving over. I was nervous. I hadn’t had sex in awhile. I showered and meditated a bit on my bed. Then, the knock at the door. I steadied myself, fixed my hairline, and opened up.
Ben walked into my room, hands outstretched. He didn’t look like the pic he’d sent or fit the role of farmer bro I had imagined. He was shorter than his description of 6 feet; I’d say closer to say 5’ 7.” His face was framed with goatee, side-burns, and no mustache that made me think of a rat’s face. He didn’t say “hello” or “how are you.” Instead, he said, “Dude, I’m covered in lube,” showing me two glistening palms. “The cap came off in my gym bag. This is all I got left — what’s on my hands.” I nodded and smiled and thought, “Let’s get this over with.”
He told me that he’d just come back from the gym. It was a mundane statement, but he said it like a sportscaster on TV, like he was announcing a touchdown. We started making out. A couple of kisses in, he pulled away to announce, “Oh, you’ll do just fine,” and then slapped my stomach. I almost barfed.
The foreplay continued as our clothes came off. Suddenly, he pushed me away and said, “Time for me to suit up.” I didn’t understand what he meant until he pulled out a condom. “Suiting up” was his way of saying he was going to put on a condom.
We engaged in coitus and not one minute in, his eyes glazed over, lost in the mediocre sex we were having. He stopped short and squeezed his genitalia to stop his orgasm. “Oh, well now, that was a near one,” he said, like he was reading the last line of a chapter from a nineteenth century novel.
We switched positions. As he picked up the pace, he leaned in to breathe into my ear. He whispered in a sing-song voice, “Cinderella, Cinderella.” I held my breath to stop myself from laughing. I politely said I was ready to orgasm (and end this debacle). We did so, and immediately afterwards he said, “We synced up.” I nodded and smiled. “We came together,” he said. “Yes,” I replied. Then he closed his eyes and said, “Three, two, one…and we’re out,” counting down to pulling out of me.
We cleaned up. As we were toweling off, he told me he had the perfect story for my next improv skit. “You’ll never believe it, but I once had sex with a guy in a parking lot. We went to the Walgreens parking lot but it was too crowded, so we went to the pre-school parking lot. We used my underwear to clean up, so I had to free-ball it at the gym, and these shorts don’t leave much to the imagination. Security got it all on camera!”
“Did security talk to you about it?” I asked, buckling my belt.
“Oh no, they never said anything. But I’m sure they have the footage,” he said, winking for the third time that night.
He put on his jacket and asked where I was going now. I told him the name of a bar I wasn’t going to, so he wouldn’t surprise me by showing up. He said I just had to go to a bar called The Feve. “I’ve had the craziest time there. This one time, an actor from the movie Holes — you know the movie Holes right? — was there. I was egging myself on all night to go talk to him and have a real conversation. But I got drunk and accidentally locked myself in the second floor bathroom. I couldn’t open the door and had to bust down the door to get out. And who do I knock right into into but this actor! Let me show you his IMDB page.” He pulled out a picture of a C-list movie star I didn’t recognize. “It was crazy! I ruined my chance to talk with a movie star!” he almost shouted in my small hotel room.
I walked him out of the hotel. The whole hook-up had lasted maybe 25 minutes. “Let me know if you’re ever back in town. You were a good lay,” he said, giving me a transactional handshake. “Or, you can just text me if you’re ever bored.” I nodded and walked away, feeling a bit sorry for him, but grateful for this story.