Brrrrrrrrring! Asi, a man I’ve exchanged messages and phone numbers with on Atraf, is calling. We arrange to meet at 6.30 at the Olive Korner. Not for sex, he tells me. I’m unsure why we are meeting, then. He’s Israeli, but here with his older, American husband. They live together in Boston. Maybe it’s just a meet and greet.
I take my first sip of rosé with ice, and a dark, oh, handsome man sits next to me and presses his leg tightly against mine. He is around thirty-five, even better looking than in his photos. He looks me up and down, squeezes my thigh, and says, Let’s go. I ask Marcel to save my drink, and, well, we go. I know you won’t judge me.
He starts pulling at my shorts on the stairs, before I unlock my front door. After months of a seemingly endless, frustrating drought, this is thrilling. After he leaves I take a shower, then return to the Olive Korner. My drink is waiting where I left it, the ice not yet melted.
I chat with the waiters, Marcel and Ayel. Marcel had a blow up with the day chef earlier this week, and they’re still not talking. He’s going for a job at a beach café, where the pay is 600nis a day, double what he gets here, plus tips. It is good money.
Ayel is wiry, looks slightly unhealthy, and calls me Mate. He lived in Australia and Canada before moving here two years ago. Besides working at the Olive Korner, he’s a physicist and a yoga teacher, and is writing a book about the links between the two. This is the most Tel Aviv thing I’ve ever heard. He hands me a joint and we talk about the problems of living here. All immigrants say the same things: burocracy, low wages, rudeness.
Later, Nathan meets me at the Papito. He’s been to the gay centre where, coincidentally, he met Avi and his husband. This is a small town. I’m on what must be my fourth glass of wine of the evening, but tell myself it’s the third. The waitress is rude when I ask her for ice, for the second time. I heard you the first time, she snaps. Israelis, especially those that work in hospitality, it seems, don’t listen. This is frustrating. As if determined to make my point for me, she then asks me three times what I’d said. I repeat myself and she asks where I’m from. I tell her, and she makes a noise that means the English are worse people than Israelis.
She brings a bottle of terrible, white wine. It burns my throat. This is why I want ice, to dilute the acid. Halfway through the bottle, I didn’t say it was too sour for us to drink, although it is not an easy pleasure, I go into the bar to ask for more ice, and she follows me, telling me off for not asking her. She’s in her seventies and is most interested in a tip and is too charmless to deserve one. I don’t suppose I can blame her, but couldn’t she at least pretend? It is almost the last time I go to the Pepito, the next time she is especially rude and I ask the owner how he can continue to employ her, but I have a feeling he’s married to her.
The next day I talk to Motti, who I’ve also met on the internet. At the end of a drought there is a torrent, apparently, a monsoon. Mansoon. He sends me sweet, beguiling messages that must have passed through Google translate. You are cute and cute and enjoy the beautiful hugs of life. And I actively love kissing hugs and blowjob pussy flowing. He signs off with, Well cute I go into a shower and scrub my body a bit from all this day. Google’s algorithms are near perfect, if you ask me.
Do you mind when I write about my sex life? Does it bother you? I want this blog to be read by everyone, everywhere, but it occurs to me that the same countries that would mind the gay bits would, likely as not, object to the Israeli parts, too. Maybe I should make a Venn diagram, with brightly coloured circles for gay tolerant, friendly to Israel, throws gays from the top of tall buildings, and wants to push all Jews into the sea, and see where they intersect.
I have encountered no anti gay feeling here, quite the opposite, but this is liberal, secular Tel Aviv. I think it would be different if I held another man’s hand walking through, say, Mea Shearim, a section of Jerusalem where Haredi Jews live. This is not, you may have begun to suspect, a simple country.
The next day I pass the café at the corner of Frischman and Ben Yehuda. Asi is drinking coffee with a man I presume is his husband. As I say, this is a small city. I make a sort of salute, imagine Janet Jackson in a sequinned uniform, and see the other man ask Asi a question, I presume about my greeting, but Asi simply shrugs, he has no idea. Our ships barely touched as they passed in the night.
Today’s word: geshem – rain – גשם