Photo: HBO/John P. Johnson.
Ah, the joy that the bubble of a new relationship brings. Life is lighter. Days are brighter. And, missed obligations bring elation rather than stress. You've found someone who refreshes you; gets you to confront yourself. Each opportunity to make your secrets someone's truth presents the opportunity to reinvent and reclaim a sense of personality normally put aside for the sake of day-to-day living. It's humbling, endearing, and downright scary, but for the weekend or so you spend in bed together, it's bliss.
That's where we found Patrick and the meet-cute that's actually turning out to be cute, Richie, this week. In an episode akin to that one Patrick Wilson Girls episode, the development of Looking's main character is restricted to a single day in his life — which is okay, I guess. Perhaps, I'm jaded against the no-holds-barred kind of day Patrick and Richie shared, or maybe I'm just not into their entire relationship, but this week felt like a digression of a plot, which was looking up last week. Though, applause is in order for Michael Lannan's sex-ploits this time around. Finally, the show that was so prudish when it came to gay sex showed gay sex in a way that only an HBO show could. A tasteful, completed blow job — good one Lannan; one small step for Looking, one giant leap for an audience that's likely not as accustom to seeing two men engage in some casual fellatio.
Speaking of small steps and giant leaps, how semi-adorable was Patrick and Richie's lil' jaunt to the planetarium? Maybe it's just me, but planetariums are wondrous places. (I might also be partial to them since I used to believe the Hayden Planetarium was named after me.) Anyway, the whole cute factor in Richie's "I'm not telling you where I'm taking you on the day you played hookie from your adorable boss" date was almost too much to handle. It's not that it was negative but too close to real life. Of course, he has a mystery place, and of course the whole day will be spent learning about one another — a.k.a., their sexual pasts and coming-out stories. Now, those things are great and incredibly important for any conversation — friend or boyfriend, but it's a tired trope. Richie's revelation that his former boyfriend was HIV positive got my attention, but it was cast off so casually for the sake of cute that I didn't have time to process what followed.
My roommate and I had a discussion last week about the decreased threat HIV presents to today's generation of homosexuals. No conclusion was made, but I had to staunchly disagree with him. And, Looking's brief exploration of the topic kind of proved it. The threat is just as high as it was during the crisis, only we've pushed it back in the closet where it's hardly discussed. But, whether we admit it or not, it lingers in the back of our minds after every sexual encounter we might have (or, in Patrick's case, don't have). There's an innate sense of its possibility that's arresting, but, as I've heard before, let's not talk about that because it's too depressing. Sigh.
Instead, let's have a day and explore the town and ourselves. Let's talk about our aversion for anal, and figure out who's the top and who's the bottom in Ross and Rachel's relationship on Friends. Let's literally go to the stars, tap into some spirituality, and maybe — just maybe — let the guy we kind of maybe like explore places of our body that are scary and painful. And, if we're lucky, we'll break out of our bubble with the confidence to show our new love off to our parents. Or, if all else fails, impulsively buy a pack of Goonies cards.