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Love Walter:  Romance Is My Day Job

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Dear Walter,

 

How did you find love? And what makes you an expert?

 

-Still Single


Dear Still Single,

 

Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”

 

If that’s the case then romance is my day job. My relationship experience is a collection of mistakes alike Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency—a culmination celebrated by a “basket of deplorables.”

 

Every love story starts with the beginning. Blood, sweat, tears and cum seep from me after each failed relationship or casual tryst. Like most gay kids, I modeled my relationships after my parents with a little glitter.

 

I watched the shout-matches, drink tossing, and physical altercations popularized by reality tv.

 

Once, my step-dad threw his ring out the car window. He smoked his cigarette dressed in a denim outfit while we searched for the gold band in a field of weeds that reached my knees. I was nine.

 

I wish I was there for the wedding to see what my mother saw in him. He arrived one Saturday afternoon with all his stuff in black garbage bags.

 

“Hey, kids this your new daddy.”

 

No thank you. My previous father figure was a bald drunk with a mouth marked by expletives, beer, and missing teeth. Father of the year. I wasn’t in the market for a new one.

 

This one played video games, cleaned the house and made us split sandwiches. Why did we have to be subjected to her poor choices in men?

 

I hated my childhood. I immersed myself in fantasy, crushing on male best friends, evading any questions about my sexuality. I never had any gay examples to follow.

 

Don’t be that punk bitch in art class in tight jeans and makeup. Don’t wear lip gloss, shake your head or have a limp wrist.

 

A few years later, my mother and stepdad separated because he cheated on her with a co-worker at a job that she got for him.

 

We celebrated.

 

I stood at the top of the steps as he walked out on us. Progress. I took what I learned from my imperfect models and ruined my relationships.

 

The 2000’s —a decade of discipline— where I harnessed sex to manipulate my boyfriends. I was the antithesis of easy—a prude. Some spread rumors because I wouldn’t sleep with them. That damaged my self-esteem and reputation. So I drank instead:  Operation Inebriation.

 

My first boyfriend cheated on me and that set the precedent for my subsequent relationships. I entered courtships with my defenses up.

 

I’m not that innocent. I danced in bars on windowsills and made out with strangers in cars. Oh, the joys of debauchery in my twenties.

 

But on the other side of the coin. I’m a hopeless romantic. I still believe like Mariah Carey on a good morning, drinking splashes. I’m also like Mariah on a bad night, stumbling across the stage, lip syncing to past hits.

 

I may have imperfect relationship models. I’m still discovering new ways to love.

 

I leveraged this experience and found someone new. And I hope you do too.

 

Love,

Walter


 

Walter Reed

Walter Reed is writer and advice columnist on love, lust, and life. Romance is his day job. Read more at LoveWalter.com. Follow him on Twitter @ LoveWalterHQ

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