Sunday, February 1, 2009
My Star Buckaroos
When I relocated last fall I quickly went in search of community. The bigger city made “coming out” a little easier because it allowed me some anonymity. It eased my self-consciousness. I was able to be discrete in the workplace but still meet gay people and have friends that I wasn’t afraid to know my “deep dark secret”. Finding a community of people with a common sense of self was more important to me than dating. Romance comes and goes with the phases of the moon but real friendships are enduring and meaningful. You have to ask yourself, “After the hot date breaks up with you, whose shoulder are you going to cry on? To whom are you going to bitch about it?”
I met a group of guys through a mutual acquaintance at a local club. They are my support system, the potluck group, the supper club, the movie buddies. As Ms. Kathy would say, “my main gays.” They have certainly been a surrogate family while I make this transition. But lately, I have found myself in a new phase of my metamorphosis. I’m no longer saturated with the insecurities of the first few months. I’m gaining the confidence to approach strangers on my own without introductions. I’m beginning to step out of the crèche and totter around on my own gay legs.
I’m becoming aware that the shiny newness has worn off of me. My main gays are no longer amused at the novelty of the “new guy”. I can feel myself being pushed out of the nest and expected to stretch my wings. I’ve garnered more than one disapproving look lately when an attractive potential crossed my path and I didn’t act on it. (Its so gross having to learn how to date at forty instead of fourteen.) I’ve seen the frustrated eye-rolls when my buds have gone in pursuit of their own conquests and I’ve intrusively tagged along rather than letting them have their space. I’ve even been targeted by some more fearsome glancing daggers when I’m seen as competition for a perspective’s attention. Whew! I was really unprepared for those. (Note to self: Don’t bogart the hotties).
So, recently I’ve made an effort to expand my circle of friends. I’ve reached out to people I’ve met on my own, face to face, no introductions. I was spied by a group of fellas at a local Starbucks. I was flying solo, reading my paper, minding my own business. The finely tuned gaydar of more proficient gays picked up on my status and invited me into their breakfast circle. It didn’t take long before I warmed up to their special blend of caffeine and conversation. They’re a bizarre mix of Jew, Muslim, professors, professionals, and one hillbilly newcomer (myself). Their seven o’clock outing to Starbucks is a ridiculous substitute Sunday-school. It’s gay church at its best.
I knew that eventually my practice of being an early riser would pay off one day. Nothing feels better than to start the morning off with a big jolt of caffeine and a huge dose of laughter that makes your sides hurt. While I love Waffle House (as you’ve read in previous posts), Starbucks is a little classier. It’s a whole lot more low-fat and carb-free. Its also more fun when the sass comes from your companions instead of the waitresses.
After today I’m ready to play a little more of a full-court gay game. I have a B-team now. I have my starters and my back-up. How appropriate for Super Bowl Sunday. I apologize for mixing my basketball and football metaphors. What am I supposed to know about sports anyway? I’m gay, right?
Photo Credit: Jerine at Flickr