Brian Patterson: Repressed Gay Realtor

Welcome! Please, come right in. Yes, Andrew, we spoke on the phone. I didn’t realize you’d be bringing a friend. Hello, Sean. Well, this is New York, and it’s always safest not to answer ads and just show up alone. Granted, Andrew, you knew in advance that I was a man, so you knew you had nothing to fear, sexually. What can a man do to another man – shake his hand vigorously? I can’t imagine anything beyond that. If possibilities exist, I haven’t given them a thought. And even if I had, there’s a world of difference between thought and actually taking action.

Yes, yes, the apartment. It’s had some really interesting past tenants. Just people, trying to make ends meet, with wants and desires. People who, at the same time, were not slaves to those desires, people who didn’t let appetites eclipse other responsibilities and concerns. You know — people.

When I show this place, I always like to mention, just as a reminder, that we’re on the Upper West Side in 2010, not 1950s suburban Connecticut. It’s one of the place’s best qualities. There are a lot of families in the building, but a lot of the women work. It’s not one of those situations where the housewives are lounging around the house in curlers and seducing every last man with tempting aromas of homemade baked goods. Because what do they say about us men? We think about sex seven times a minute? Helpless in the face of womanly temptation? There’s just none of that here. Which, you know, thank God.

Here’s the bathroom. It’s a terrific design. As you can see, the Jacuzzi tub has two seats. Imagine, a seat for your feet!

Let’s say you’ve both had hard day’s at work – I mean, let’s say Andrew put in twelve hours at – what do you do, Andrew? A civil engineer? Really! Well, let’s say Andrew has been working on a design for a new, super-secret machine. And let’s say that this machine will, I don’t know, unlock previously forbidden pleasures. So Andrew comes home, ready for a bath. But Sean is in the bath. Well, problem solved. Andrew, you’ll just give a tap on the door, to let Sean know you’re waiting. Sort of like a “Honey, I’m home,” but between friends. And Sean, you’ll think, “Well, this has been nice but it’s time to finish up and get fully dressed.” And then Sean will leave the bathroom and Andrew will take a bath of his own. And let’s say that tonight Andrew isn’t in the mood to linger, he just wants a quick bath, and then he wants to go out and chat with Sean about how his day went. Well, it won’t matter, because even if Andrew takes a really quick bath, by the time he exits the bathroom, Sean will be asleep. Nothing will happen.

Here’s the TV room. Do you like movies? There are movies that show how in extreme weather situations even groups of men will huddle together for warmth. It’s that survival instinct that helps them to get past the weirdness of clinging to a bunch of other guys. Well, that’s a nice segue, because here’s the thermostat. It’s incredible that we live in a world where technology allows us to control the climate. With a turn of the dial, you can make the place really hot, or really cold, but you could never take it so far that it would qualify as extreme. You could live the rest of your lives in this apartment and no one would make a movie about it.

So, here’s my card, and you’ll notice that my partner’s name and picture are on it as well. My business partner, of course. Partners in crime! Not to imply that the way some people live is a crime. Oh, and by the way, the bedroom can easily be converted into two smaller ones.

Gregory Beyer is a writer living in New York. His journalism, essays and book reviews have appeared in The New York Times.