Addiction is one of the biggest problems of New York City. In this island of 24/7 success we need to be aggressive, we need to fight like a lion in a jungle to survive, and even if we are losing the battle, we have to fake that we’re gonna make it. Due to all this pressure people find many ways to escape from reality, and using drugs - including alcohol - is one of them. Some people need a line to get high, some need to get high to be out of line. But if you wanna enjoy Chelsea, you need to start from the High Line.
Centuries ago, when our civilization was still sober, Thomas Clarke bought a farm with an impressive Georgian-style house and decided to name it Chelsea after the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a retirement home for soldiers in London, England. Thereafter, the Moore family obtained the property where nowadays many guys like Jack are able to share one of the most expensive square meters of Menhattan. Yes, before Hell’s Kitchen this was for many years the place of shelter for the gay community. Then we had Stonewall, fights, revolutions, more stones, more fights, and we ended up with guys showing their butts on social media to get more likes instead of legal rights. The sober days are over.
This is Jack’s story. He is a circuit party boy, and he is looking for love in hopeless places.
The chapters of our lives are usually marked by important events: graduations, promotions, weddings, funerals. But this does not apply to everyone. Jack’s transitions are marked by circuit parties: Mykonos, carnival in Rio, Barcelona festival, Gay pride, Winter Party, White Party, Black Party, the Pick-Your-Color Party, year after year... like in a circle - non stop. Thinking outside the box —or outside the circuit—is it possible to love someone when we are almost always high? What happens when the ecstasy effect is gone?
The spring has sprung and as expected all New York guys wait for the first warm weekend to find an excuse to be shirtless around the city (from Central Park to Pier 45) and this year an electronic music boat will shake the muscle boys out.
‘_Hello guys, look who I’m bringing to the party today… Giselle, yayyyyy.
_ I’ve got Calvin Klein with me.
_ Jack, you are coming, right?
_ Of course, and I got everything, baby.
_ Excuse me lololol.
_ I’m so excited. See you soon guys.
In case you are not a circuit party boy and you are lost in translation: Giselle refers to the top model and means GHB: just a few drops and you will find everyone super hot, you’ll be horny like a rabbit. Calvin Klein is not about your underwear brand but coke and ketamine, you mix both and supposedly you become a super hero.
The party was set. Half of the gay population of NY was there, at least the muscled ones: guys who spend most part of their lives at the gym (it’s Whey too much), guys who waste time with stupid competitions: who is the hottest one, who has more Instagram followers, who is the most popular; lots of “O.M.G I can’t believe you are here”; superficial chatter; fake smiles; snapchat stories to keep people busy and pretend everyone is happy, and drugs…a lot of drugs. That's the only way to reach the parallel universe.
The boat was just about to leave Pier 59 when Jack finally showed up:
_ Hi or high? I can’t believe you almost lost the boat and you live a few blocks from here. Why don’t you answer the f*cking phone? Since you disappeared I was on Grindr trying to find you so I spent hours sending messages to all these horrible profiles.
_ Bitch, please!
They laugh together and hug each other. A short dialogue, a smile and a comfort hug - this is a sample of love.
One long blast and the boat was leaving the port followed by electronic music rising up. All five guys in the group took one pill each and toasted with G water: let the game begin. A couple of songs and all thousands of party goers on that cruise were spiritually and musically connected. Bruce and his friends were experiencing the first stage of the drugs, the boys were like free birds ready to fly, to explore, to love:
‘La da da da da, la da da da da
Da da da
We are searchlights, we can see in the dark...’
__ O.M.G my song! Jack was literally in ecstasy when ‘What about us’ came on. He started to dance like crazy pushing everyone in the crowd when he accidentally hit someone in the stomach. The guy was just about to punch his face when they looked at each other and the world stopped for a few seconds. It was one of those magical moments when we see someone for the first time and we know it's gonna be forever...
… They started to dance, they were flirting like teenagers, smiling with their souls, they were connecting and getting close to each other, they could read their minds without saying a single word. At that point nothing else in the world mattered. It was the real sensation of finding something we wait for all our lives. After minutes of intense connection his “soul mate” took two straws from the bar and asked for his hand:
__ I know this sounds crazy, and it’s also too early for that, but would you spend the rest of your life with me?
Jack said yes with his eyes almost in tears, and then Mr. Right tied the straw around his finger. It was not a diamond ring but it was meant to be real.
Maybe Pink is right—we are billions of beautiful hearts; we are children that need to be loved and no matter who we are, we always picture ourselves sharing our lives with someone special. Unconsciously we keep looking for “the guy” to save us, to support us, a shoulder to cry on if necessary, or someone to caress us until we fall asleep. At the end all we need is the comfort of someone arriving at home and the sounds of the keys at the door: ‘he is back’. This is happiness.
__ Hey, I need to use the restroom. I'll be right back. Don’t move.
Fast forward to the next 30 minutes: the love of his life had already disappeared in the crowd, he never came back from the restroom. And well, we all know the drill. They say circuit party love is forever… or never.
Jack’s dream of finding the love of his life has sank right on Pier 59, the same place where Titanic was supposed to doc a hundred years ago. But in circuit parties when a disillusion happens there are no lifeboats - or survivors. Most people get lost in this ocean of appearances where muscles have more values than brains. Slowly they start to feed their dark side, to kill their essence, to delete the person they used to be (we can’t hang with negative people and expect to have a positive life). The after party becomes a rule, and pnp (party and play) becomes a habit while they believe the addiction is under control. They wait anxiously the whole week for the weekend until the weekend becomes everyday and then: game over.
Written by: Bruno de Abreu Rangel
Edited by: Daniel Franken