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Looking Recap: Versatility

Patrick wakes up next to Richie and just stays in his own thoughts for a moment. Sunlight is streaming through the windows. Birdies are chirping outside. Everything feels peaceful and relaxed, but Patrick looks slightly anxious anyway, because he’s Patrick. He gets up and puts on his underwear (a short but satisfying butt shot) and stands by the window for a moment in his gray boxer briefs, looking cute but also looking very uncomfortable in his own skin.

After taking a shower, he squeezes toothpaste on a finger and brushes his teeth that way. Though he has obviously been having sex with Richie, Patrick still doesn’t want to use Richie’s toothbrush. He opens Richie’s medicine cabinet and takes a look at a bottle of pills. Then he hears Richie singing in the other room, strumming his instrument. “It’s a bass, it’s the instrument of love,” Richie says, in his light, sweet, semi-serious voice. I know I complained about the use of natural light in the third episode, but this technique works well in this episode because lots of light is actually breaking through now. Maybe this was a choice to signal Patrick’s new relationship, or maybe it just turned out that way when they were shooting; either way, it looks and feels good here.

Richie wants some more sex. “You’ve made me late like six times already,” Patrick says. Richie says that it was only three times: “I’ve stayed at your place three times,” he says. Richie calls his apartment a dump, though it looks very cozy. “I genuinely like it here,” Patrick says, though that is clearly not entirely true. Richie indicates that he is hard again and the camera coyly moves down his chest and stops before getting into trouble. “You have a really nice penis, you have an incredible penis, but I have to go to work!” Patrick says helplessly. He leaves the building and starts walking down the street and then makes a full stop, turns around, and heads back to Richie and his incredible penis. We see Richie going down on Patrick, a visual that is handled fairly discreetly. Patrick gets all uptight when Richie starts eating him out. “Relax, you just took a shower,” Richie says, but it will take a lot more than a shower to get Patrick to relax. Patrick finishes quickly because he’s both nervous and turned on. Richie says that he wants to fuck Patrick, and Patrick seems very scared of that prospect.

They go out to breakfast at a diner. “Did you have pineapple yesterday?” Richie asks, in that deadpan way of his. Patrick doesn’t laugh. He’s worried about what they did. “It’s pretty safe, but you never know,” Patrick says. “You think I’m a puta,” Richie says. They obviously haven’t had much conversation about their sexual habits. Patrick says that he gets tested for HIV all the time. Richie says that his last boyfriend was HIV-positive, but he himself is not. Patrick asks how that made Richie feel at the time. Richie says that he loved his boyfriend, so you know …

Patrick gets all excited when he sees some Goonies-related merchandise and talks about how he was in love with Sean Astin, and he does an elaborate impression of Astin in that movie. Richie admits that he is self-conscious about his teeth, and so Patrick insists on seeing them. Richie doesn’t want to show them, but when he smiles, we can see that his teeth look great; he just has an old idea about them that he hasn’t gotten over yet. The writing here moves from one thing to another in a very realistic way. We don’t find everything out about new lovers all at once. We find things out in dribs and drabs, big things and trivial things getting all mixed together. All information feels equally important.

Patrick is enjoying himself so much that he calls in to skip work, and he lets Richie be tour guide for the day. Patrick admits that he was “chunky” as a kid, and Richie says that he was a chunky kid, too. Richie asks about the first time Patrick ever had sex with a guy, and Patrick tells about giving a hand job to a hairy-chested boy his age on a bus ride back from Salt Lake City when he was 15. He remembers that he was glad the kid finished before they crossed the state line to his home state of Colorado. That seemed important to him at the time.

“I’m not good with silences, just so you know!” Patrick says as they walk in a park. Richie is a very laid-back guy, so he doesn’t mind Patrick at his nervous worst; he just waits for Patrick to settle down and not be so nervous. They go to a planetarium, and Patrick says that it’s like a date Ross and Rachel had on Friends. He says that he wants to be Ross, and Richie says that’s cool because “Rachel was the top” in that relationship.

They circle back to Richie’s request to fuck Patrick. “What is it about my ass that screams out that I want to be fucked?” Patrick asks, disingenuously, in a way that signals that right below the surface of his “annoyance,” he is dying to get fucked and make himself sound extremely fuckable. Richie says that Patrick has “bottom shame,” and Patrick nearly instantly agrees with him. Versatile and flexible, Richie scoffs at online sex categories for gay guys: “How do you know what you’re into with a guy sexually until you’re with him?” he asks. “You’ve got to be adaptable.”

Richie tells Patrick about a Mormon boy he gave regular blow jobs to when they were both teenagers. They tell abbreviated versions of their coming-out stories. Patrick’s wasn’t very difficult, but he still bitches about it. Richie’s, on the other hand, was bad. His father didn’t take it well and still hasn’t adapted to it. But Richie doesn’t complain about losing his father. He has a very stonerlike, Zen attitude to life. And he knows that Patrick can afford to complain about his mother’s minor selfishness but he cannot afford to engage with the idea of his own father at all. That’s life, and that’s his life, and that’s it.

They go to a fortune teller whom Richie favors, but Patrick gets very nervous about it and they have to leave. Given that this woman told Richie he would one day get cancer, Patrick’s nerves are understandable here. There are cultural and temperamental gulfs between Patrick and Richie, but for now their differences are complementing each other, so much so that Patrick gets over his bottom shame and Jonathan Groff flashes his most adorable Jonathan Groff smile when he says that he wants to get fucked … not now, but soon. “You want to fuck me instead?” Richie asks. Patrick eagerly says yes. Gay people suffer to varying degrees when we are teenagers, but the reward when we are adults is a larger variety of sexual options and sexual roles. Patrick has been holding himself back sexually out of shame and fear. Richie is starting to teach him how foolish and conformist that is. And Patrick obviously wants to be taught.

Photo: null/John P Johnson