The Gay Lebanese Singer, His Wife, and I

Alright, so here’s the deal — my knowledge of Arabic music is about as extensive as my understanding of quantum physics – zilch, nada, goose egg! I’m not exactly the music’s number-one fan, you know. There are a couple of singers I can manage to listen to for a song or two, but then my ears start screaming for a Britney timeout. Don’t get me wrong, I might not be a fan of their vocal gymnastics, but those singers, oh, those singers!! They can be a whole lot more interesting than their tunes. Like this one time, I ended up snuggling in the muscular arms of a Lebanese celebrity, right under the nose of his wife. Now, how’s that for a plot twist?

Arak Attack
Living in Beirut, my life’s been like a seesaw, bouncing between yawn-inducing routine and hold-on-to-your-hats kind of adventures. I’ve also become a pro at dealing with power outages, vanishing water, and, let’s not forget, dates with closeted mates. But one thing that still throws me for a loop is the Lebanese love for Arak.

These folks don’t just sip Arak, they guzzle it like it’s going out of style, especially during their never-ending eight-hour weekend lunches. After a few rounds, the world starts to wobble, and things get a tad blurry. That’s exactly the state I was in when I met the singer during one of these marathon munch sessions. A few hours in, and there I was, getting a bit too cozy with him at a friend’s place. The two of us alone, with his wife sitting outside with the rest of the guests, I felt a hand patting my back then going down to my butt. Was it him, or was the Arak playing tricks on me? Hang on, let’s rewind a bit…

Belly, Botox, and Billboard Hottie
Lebanese weather has a mind of its own, like tossing in a sunny, spring-like day smack in the middle of winter. So there I was, on one such day, heading to a friend’s seaside lunch bash. Being the punctual North American that I am, I was one of the first guests to arrive, still baffled by the Lebanese love for fashionably late entrances.

Slowly, the party started filling up – a businessman with a belly rivaling the Mediterranean, his wife who seemed to have sampled every plastic surgery menu in existence, a so-called minister who turned out to be a bit of a clown in a suit, a handful of newly-single ladies on the prowl for a hubby, and then… in walks him, arm in arm with his wife.

I’d seen him before, maybe on Instagram or some billboard, but let me tell you, the real deal is way hotter than his photoshopped, airbrushed pictures.

Game On!
The moment we shook hands, my gaydar started buzzing like a beehive. Of course, we gay men are known for our optimistic outlook. It’s like we instinctively assume every drop-dead gorgeous guy we meet is on our team. Maybe it was his lingering smile or the flirtatious glances he kept shooting my way that had my heart bouncing.

In the meantime, the table was groaning under the weight of an endless stream of Lebanese cuisine, and conversations swirled around like a merry-go-round, with the help of unceasing rounds of Arak. The minister was blabbing on about politics, managing to sound as clueless as a goldfish at a calculus convention. The businessman, as round as a hot air balloon, was tossing around economic theories that would make a toddler snicker. And the ladies were cackling like hens, trading the juiciest tidbits of gossip about the latest divorces and scandalous affairs.

In the midst of all this chatter, the singer sat there like a golden statue, barely uttering a word. I think everyone was a little starstruck, trying to hide it by babbling more than a group of gossiping parrots. And there I was, the amused American, happily munching on my food, drinking my gin basils, and sneaking peeks at the celeb eye candy across the table. Our eyes kept meeting in a deliciously naughty dance of looks. And then, he strikes up a conversation with me. Game on, gents!

Arak Antics and Amorous Advances
So, he kicks off our chat by telling me about his trips to the States (even San Francisco, folks!), and inquires about my Lebanese exploits. We’re chattering, joking (mostly about my hilariously rocky adjustment to Lebanon), and it’s like we’ve landed in our own little bubble, oblivious to the rest of the table. His wife, perched right next to him, chimes in occasionally, but she’s clearly more invested in the table’s sizzling gossip.

As the Arak continues its merry journey down my throat, nature calls. Excusing myself, I weave my way to the bathroom, the Arak having staged a successful coup against my sobriety. I’m thinking a cappuccino would be a lifesaver right about now. After answering the call of the wild, I splash some water on my face, admire my reflection in the mirror (Mom-certified handsome, mind you), and prepare to return to the battlefield.

But lo and behold, who do I run into? The singer himself, apparently next in line for the loo. Our encounter felt like a tango, eyes locked, breaths intermingling, the gap between us rapidly shrinking. Then, bam! A pat on my ass. He was feeling me with his strong hands. I could even feel him squeezing. Is that him? Oh yes, unmistakably so. As he starts getting more handsy, I look down, nerves jangling like Christmas bells. Then he whispers, “call me,” before disappearing into the bathroom. Talk about leaving a guy high and dry… or in my case, drenched! If the Arak had me dizzy, this encounter sent me spinning like a top, or a bottom in my case.

Sundown Shenanigans
I wobble back to the table, and things are suddenly as awkward as a penguin on a dance floor. Thank heavens for the calming sunset! Everyone’s well on their way to Drunkland, their eyes starting to droop in anticipation of the inevitable post-feast nap. He reappears at the table, sporting a devilish grin that has me melting like a popsicle in the sun. But wait a minute, his wife’s started giving me some serious side-eye. Is it the Arak playing tricks on me? Nah, it’s time to skedaddle.

Like any two new “friends” (nudge nudge, wink wink), we exchange phone numbers. I bid my adieus and head back to my apartment, with him dominating my thoughts. Him. What is it about him? Is it his fame? Nope, couldn’t care less. His talent? Sure, he’s got a voice that could charm a cobra. Or is it the way his hand snuck up on me like a stealthy, steamy ninja? Or maybe I’m just a sucker for closeted mates. Either way, what came next was a whole different ball game.

A Date with Destiny…and a Razor
I despise post-booze afternoon siestas; they usually leave me feeling as fresh as a week-old sandwich. But this time, as I groggily peel my eyes open, I’m greeted by a text message. From Him. He wants to rendezvous tonight. The message is already 45 minutes old, and I momentarily panic. He might think I’m playing hard to get, but then again, he’d (hopefully) seen that I hadn’t been online. Amidst these jumbled thoughts ping-ponging around my hangover-addled brain, I quickly tap out a response: “Sure.” I asked if he had a preferred meeting spot.

Chugging water like a camel at an oasis, I try to hoist myself up just as my phone buzzes again. “Great. No, come to my house. I can’t be seen out.” Oh, right. Mr. Celebrity can’t risk a public sighting. Fine by me. His house equals an express lane to his bedroom, or so I hope.

I down a cappuccino like a shot and head for the shower. In a move as cheesy as a double-stuffed pizza, I crank up his music while getting ready, even going the extra mile with a thorough below-the-belt grooming session. But wait a minute, we’re definitely doing it… right?

Designer Disappointment
Being the American foreigner must make it more comforting for closeted mates, especially the famous ones, to hang out with me. It’s like I’m their personal secret keeper, ready to whisk their mysteries far, far away. I rock up to his house, decked out in my finest Gucci shoes, Dolce & Gabbana clothes, and smelling like a million bucks thanks to my Armani cologne.

He welcomes me at the door with a hug that’s as warm as a fresh batch of cookies and plants a kiss on the side of my neck. I melt faster than butter on hot toast – that’s one of my ‘melt spots.’ I follow him through his swanky house, straight into the living room, and… surprise! His wife’s sprawled on the couch, eyes glued to the TV. She gets up, flashes me a smile, and gives me a hug. This is the woman I saw just a few hours ago. How bizarre. Hold on… his wife’s here? Guess we won’t be playing ‘hide the salami’ after all.

Three’s a Crowd, Right?
He uncorks a bottle of top-notch red, and there we are, the merry trio, chit-chatting about music, business, Lebanon, Uncle Sam’s country, and his wife’s wild conspiracy theories. But inside my head, the math isn’t adding up. Did he really cop a feel earlier, or was that just my Arak-addled brain playing tricks? Was it accidental? Nah, the neck peck from earlier is a neon sign flashing ‘good trouble ahead.’ But what about the wife?

As the night matures and the wine keeps flowing, he starts getting more touchy-feely, right in front of his wife. Is this some kind of ménage à trois in the making? ‘Cause Lord knows, I’m about as interested in women as a cat is in swimming. Major turn off.

Maybe it’s time to bow out and accept this bizarre, befuddling evening for what it is. I rise, thanking them for the hospitality and bid my adieu. But before I can make my exit, Mr. Celebrity steps in, inviting me ‘upstairs’. Oh, it’s a threesome, for sure. Except… his wife beats a hasty retreat, practically sprinting to the door, saying goodbye and leaving us alone. She’s leaving us alone? Poor Dickson’s brain is doing somersaults.

Bedroom Blunders
Alone at last, he guides me by the hand, leading the way up the staircase. His maid is busy tidying the living room, and I follow along. Sure, it’s steamy, but confusion is clouding my mind, and that’s not my favorite cocktail. As we step into his bedroom, Mr. Celebrity begins to take off his clothes, oozing confidence as if he’s already scored.

But my confusion’s starting to snuff out the spark. I make an attempt, a feeble one, to question him about the whole ‘wife in the living room’ scenario. But he silences me with a kiss. And what a disappointment that was – the man can’t kiss worth a darn. Well, let’s hope he’s got other talents.

Mr. Celebrity is so up his own rear that he’s actually admiring his own body’s reflection in the mirror during the action. Seriously? What a turn off. I am not a big fan of show-offs in the bedroom. My emotions are a whirlwind of confusion, disillusionment, exhaustion, and drunkenness. We don’t even make it to the main event, thank heavens. Luckily, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to speed things up, and they work a treat on this sucker.

Mission accomplished, but there’s still the nagging issue of the wife. I mean, I’m North American, we’re programmed for logic, aren’t we?

Post-Coital Conundrums
Mr. Celebrity, who’d definitely earned an F in the boudoir, wasn’t up for a chit-chat. Actually, he seemed to be politely hinting at my exit. Suddenly, he was as talkative as a monastery of monks on a vow of silence. Fine, I was more than ready to leave, but I was still itching for the full story.

As I sauntered back to my apartment, I mulled over this guy. Could it be that he and his wife have some sort of understanding or arrangement? Is she a hired woman like that my Lebanese lover had? Really, it’s none of my business, and I shouldn’t be passing judgement. But being the incurable romantic that I am (and hopelessly gay to boot), I can’t help but wish life were less complex for my fellow gay men. Can you imagine a world where one’s sexual identity, such a fundamental part of who we are, is accepted universally? Now that would be a world less confusing, and undoubtedly a much better place. And for all of us out there, life’s explorers and closeted mates magnets, there’s no sense in attempting to untangle the mess we find ourselves in. Instead, enjoy the opera of life, even if some of the tunes are off-key.

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