Just Be Cool

Hello Mr. Magazine - - NEWS - Text by Matthew Har­ris Illustration by Lie Dirkx

Randy Hunt had snakes.

Randy Hunt wasn’t his real name – it was his name on Gmail. But I only re­al­ized it was fake af­ter we slept to­gether a couple of times. He told me his real name, but I for­got it. We usu­ally just called each other “you.” “You” and “You.” I be­lieve this was Shake­speare’s orig­i­nal ti­tle for Romeo and Juliet.

Af­ter we had sex, he’d tell me about his work, his par­ents, his snakes. Or, about los­ing them.

“I was at Pride,” he said. He’d gone to a club on Church Street to show off his 16-foot python. The boys passed around his snake while buy­ing him shoot­ers. It is very hard to tell this story and not make it sound like I’m talk­ing about his pe­nis.

Af­ter an hour, Randy drunk­enly stum­bled down the bar’s steps. “My first clue that some­thing was wrong was when I no­ticed my shoul­ders were weirdly… light.” Back at the bar, the mus­cle queen bar­tenders were clutch­ing each other. They pointed be­hind the counter. Amid boxes of empty bot­tles, there was the python, coiled up like a thick yel­low lasso.

Our snake chats were thanks to Craigslist. This was back when I was too poor to have a phone with Grindr on it. I was in­ca­pable of Grind­ing – I could only do some Craig­ing. I had also just come out of a long-term ob­ses­sion with this guy, Adam.

Adam was ba­si­cally my teen dream. He was mys­te­ri­ous, well-dressed, and had a rag­ing coke prob­lem. I’d read his Face­book sta­tus up­dates as if I were in­ter­pret­ing song lyrics. I ached to fig­ure out why he’d posted, “It’s really hot out.” (Was it code? It didn’t feel that hot. Was he ac­tu­ally telling ev­ery­one that he was really hot for me?) I guess my frenzy showed be­cause af­ter a few of my more gushy mes­sages, I fi­nally got a gen­uine, heart­felt re­sponse. I don’t re­mem­ber the other five hun­dred in­cred­i­bly pleas­ant words of his email, but I do re­mem­ber the line, “Matthew, I’m sorry. I never said that I liked you.”

Af­ter Adam, I re­solved to be cool. Cool guys were al­ways busy look­ing fit, feel­ing bored, and sam­pling awesome bon­ers. They didn’t worry about some­thing as un­cool as hav­ing their feel­ings hurt. (I guessed – I was bas­ing all of this off porn.)

That’s how New Matthew of­ten found him­self Craig­ing af­ter get­ting very drunk at bars. With enough al­co­hol to forget that I looked like a rum­pled mup­pet, I’d mash out ads for guys. They were usu­ally short and filthy – the ads, not the men. Well, not al­ways. My main fo­cus was that the guy be near me, as I was very in­tox­i­cated. There was a drunk­en­ness count­down: af­ter 20 min­utes, drunken Cin­derella would go from refreshing her­self at the Craigslist ball to col­laps­ing into a snor­ing pump­kin.

One of th­ese nights, Randy con­tacted me. His pho­tos were cute – sus­pi­ciously so. I was a 30-yearold grey­beard who was too em­bar­rassed to send shirt­less pho­tos. He was an adorable, dol­phin-like twink – you could prob­a­bly roll marbles down his cum gut­ters. What was his story?

That first time Randy came over, he brought

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