Monday, March 31, 2008

He doesn't know it yet

On Sat Spouse & I decided to try out the new Ledo's Pizza that just opened near us. It was after the lunch 'rush' so there weren't many tables occupied.

After being seated by the chunky hostess we were greeted by a young guy who introduced himself as Scott and said he'd be taking care of us today. He wasn't particularly good-looking, but he was handsome enough. He asked if we'd ever eaten at Ledo's before and we explained we'd eaten at 2 Ledo's locations back in VA and liked it, so we gave this new one a try. He asked where in VA so I told him the Columbia Pike location in Arlington and the Leesburg Pike location in Falls Church. He asked because he was from VA and had worked at 1 of the VA locations, although neither of the 2 we'd visited. I asked him where he lived in VA, and when he responded Spouse reminded me that was close to where my cousin lives. When Scott smiled he instantly became at least 50% more handsome. Its amazing how smiling can really change some people's appearance!

Scott took our order (we knew what we wanted before we sat down) and when he returned with our drinks I asked him what brought him to DE from VA. I assumed he would say something like college. He said his relatives have owned a beach house for years and that his immediately family came to stay in the beach house a lot during the summers. He liked it here so much he moved here when he graduated from high school last year. He started living at one of the many campgrounds near the beach. When it got too cold to stay at the campground and the management turned off the water for the winter he and a friend moved into a "place" (he didn't specify if it was an apartment or what) in Laurel.

He went on to say that he worked at the Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse when he 1st moved here. I commented that when it was being built I wondered who would want to eat at a Japanese Steakhouse at the beach. I thought tourists would choose one of the many seafood restaurants over a Japanese Steakhouse when vacationing at the beach, but that I'd been wrong. The parking lot is always full at Tokyo. Scott offered that eating dinner around the hibachi grill was like dinner and entertainment, so it appealed to vacationers, which then made sense to me. He explained that he left because of the tip sharing policy; he just couldn't bring home enough to pay the bills.

I noticed that Scott looked directly at me and Spouse when talking to us, and that he possessed the composure and decorum of someone well beyond his 19 years. He spoke to us almost as peers, even though we are more than twice his age, and it didn't feel at all inappropriate. I didn't get a gay 'vibe' from him, neither did I get a particularly straight 'vibe' either. He wasn't flirty or forward, just very open with us.

He excused himself to check on our pizza, and after he'd walked away Spouse looked at me and said "He's totally in love with you."

"What???" I asked.

"He's totally in love with you, although he doesn't know it yet" he added. "He doesn't realize he's gay, which is why he doesn't quite understand why he likes you so much. But he's in love with you."

At first I found this hard to believe, but Spouse is a therapist and has an amazing ability to accurately 'size people up' in seconds. He's proven this on many occasions and is never wrong, so I have come to trust his assessments.

Naturally I was flattered that a 19 year old would find me, a 44 year old, attractive. But I am often mistaken for being younger than I am, thanks to good genes and clean living. Spouse is mildly annoyed that people always assume he is older than me, despite the fact that I am 8 months older than him. I tell him that people may think I'm younger, but they think he's more handsome.

Another potential contributor to my youthful appearance is my hair and the way I was dressed. My hair is cut in a 'fauxhawk' like this: but mine has blond highlights. I was wearing jeans and a graphic short-sleeve T over a long sleeve T, kind of like this:
(photo snagged from Flickr) Fortunately this doesn't seem to look out of place on me.

When Scott returned with our order we chatted with him some more, while waiting for the pizza to cool. Turns out he works at Ledo's during the day and another, higher-priced restaurant at night. He began telling us about his favorite entrees and desserts at the other restaurant, and once again we were surprised by his maturity, even in his food tastes.

After settling the check Scott thanked us for coming in, and we thanked him for the great service and interesting conversation. We wished him luck dealing with all the tourists this summer, and he thanked us and encouraged us to come to Ledo's again as well as the other restaurant. He was never flirty or inappropriate; he just sounded sincere.

When we got in the car Spouse said "You know, he's going to remember this. One day soon he's going to think about talking to us and hope he sees you again." I knew what he meant. I remember working in a retail store as a young closeted gay man, meeting customers whom I thought might be gay and hoping they'd come back to the store again. The thought that I might be that for Scott, even though he didn't know it yet, made me feel special.

Crush du Jour: Mark Feuerstein

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dinner Party

My blogger buddy Doug tagged me with this meme. I don't do memes often, but not wanting to disappoint, I decided to give this one a try. This was hard for me, as I could think of so many to feature! But here goes.

1. Pick a single person past or present who works in the film industry you would like to have dinner with. And tell us why you chose this person.

Bette Midler. Why? Well, she's Bette Midler for starters! She's beautiful, she's a talented singer as well as actress, and she's one of the funniest people on earth in my humble opinion. With over 30 film and TV credits, I think she'd be an awesome dinner guest.
2. Set the table for your dinner. What would you eat? Would it be in a home or at a restaurant? And what would you wear? Feel free to elaborate on the details.
The dinner would be at my home, because I live near the beach, which seems appropriate when you think of her film 'Beaches'. I'd wear my new jeans because they're the only pants I own that actually fit, a colorful button-up shirt, and my black leather blazer. I'm not trying to be 'fancy', but that leather blazer looks dynamite and I just don't have that many occasions to wear it. Plus, I've seen Bette wear a black leather blazer before so I think she'd like it. Rather than 'dinner' per-se, I think I'd serve a selection of appetizers instead. Hummus, kalamata olives, hot spinach and artichoke dip, roasted red pepper spread, garlic and eggplant spread, and bruschetta. I think Bette would appreciate the variation from the expected. We'd eat at the vintage formica table in the kitchen rather than the dining room, as it suggests a more casual and intimate setting.
3. List five thoughtful questions you would ask this person during dinner.
Which performance has made you the most proud?
What role would you have loved to play but didn't?
If you couldn't be an actor or singer, what career would you like to pursue?

Who are the friends you spend the most time with, and why do you like them?
Do you recycle?

4. When all is said and done, select six bloggers to pass this Meme along to.

Stephen Rader at Are You There Blog? Its Me, Stephen , Tornwordo, J*O*E, cb, Dirk, and Christopher. Wow, 6 seems like a lot of folks to tag.

5. Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre, so people know the mastermind behind this Meme.

There you have it.

Crush du Jour: Colin Egglesfield

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lesson of the day

Okay, I'll admit that there's not a whole lot going on right now with me, which means no good stories for the blog, which means I default to photos. So here you go. Click to enlarge. Enjoy.

Sniff sniff... "Well, hello there!"
"Hmmm, you're not very responsive are you?"
"No matter, I can be responsive enough for the both of us!"
"Oh yeah... Who's your daddy?"
Lesson of the day: No matter how funny you think it will be, don't give Viagra to your pet or any other animal. It will only frustrate them and cause them to hate you.

Crush du Jour: Paul Vandervort

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Questions that haunt me

Can you cry under water?

How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

Why do you have to 'put your two cents in', when it's only a 'penny for your thoughts'? Where's that extra penny going to?

Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they 'slept like a baby' when babies wake up like every two hours?

Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do doctors leave the room while you change out of your clothes? They're going to see you naked anyway.

Why is 'bra' singular and 'panties' plural?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane ?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?

Why do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune? (Bet you just tried singing those two songs to make sure.)

Why do you you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?

Crush du Jour: Neil Patrick Harris

How to spot a gay terrorist...

I thought this was hilarious!

Osama Bin Shoppin, the gay terrorist.

Crush du Jour: Gabe Kapler

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


After Easter 2 days ago, I've been thinking again about prayer.

"Religion is for those who don't have the courage to deal with life on their own" I once heard.

But I was raised in the Jehovah's Witness religion and was taught to pray often. "If you can remember how many times you prayed today, you didn't pray enough" I learned. And it wasn't those memorized prayers either. As a JW we prayed 'original' prayers, straight from the heart. And with all those 'extra' prayers I said requesting a cure for my homosexuality, I had probably prayed more at the age of 30 than most people will pray in their entire lifetime. Indeed, I am no stranger to prayer.

But when my faith was stolen from me as a result of my 'coming out' and leaving the JW religion, I stopped praying for a few years. I felt like God belonged to religious people, and I wasn't religious anymore. I felt like I was 'on my own' for the 1st time in my life.

Later I met a fellow volunteer at Food & Friends, an organization that prepares and delivers free meals to home bound people with AIDS, who changed my mind. We worked side-by-side every Mon evening for months and something he said caused me to learn he was a Catholic priest. He wore regular street clothes and seemed too young to be a priest. He was also gay. So 1 day I asked Don if he would mind talking with me about being gay and being a priest.

We met at a little hole-in-the-wall vegetarian cafe that was quiet enough to talk. Unlike everything I knew about Catholics, Don stood in sharp contrast. I explained to him how I'd been abandoned by my family and friends when I came out, and that I felt disconnected from God, as if my relationship with Him had been hijacked. He told me that God loves us all the time and wants us to love him too. We also talked about scriptures that are commonly used to view gays as sinners and Don shared some ideas that put these texts into perspective. When I left that meeting with Don I had an entirely new outlook. I started praying again.

I decided to visit the church were Don belonged. He was just one of several priests at the large church. I really couldn't connect with the Catholic mass and its rituals and chants.

I decided to visit the MCC (Metropolitan Community Church) which I knew to be run by and for the GLBT community. This was a much better fit. I attended regularly for over a year and sang in the choir. But when I moved, just prior to meeting Spouse, the church was too far away so I stopped attending, but continued praying.

Spouse & I began attending a Presbyterian church in 1997 that was "welcoming to everyone with faith and with doubts" and really felt at home there. The pastor was a strong influence on the small congregation that was changing from a dying, senior citizen church to a small but growing church for all ages. Spouse & I served on various committees, I sang in the choir, and we were happy there for several years until the pastor retired. Although very nice and seemingly competent, the replacement pastor was very different and the Session (the group of decision-makers for the congregation) decided to shift its focus a bit. We began to feel less and less connected to the new mission of the church.

About the same time the Religious Right and Fundamentals had basically given Christianity a bad name. In the news it seemed everywhere we looked there were sex scandals, embezzlement scandals, churches refusing to allow out gay people to take communion, child molestation accusations against multiple Catholic priests, and even within the liberal Presbyterian faith a ban on out gays serving as pastors, deacons, and elders passed. Spouse & I had had it. We stopped attending church and I stopped praying.

Its been a few years now since we've been to a church and I've enjoyed the ability to sleep in on Sun mornings. But sometimes I miss the feeling of being connected to a larger community, a faith community where I can feel I am a part.

Spouse says he has never stopped praying and feels he is still a very spiritual person. For some reason, I don't seem to feel that way unless I attend church. I doubt we will resume attending a church until something changes for us.

Crush du Jour: Tim McGraw

Monday, March 24, 2008


Spouse & I both had Fri off work due to Good Friday, and spent the day doing a mixture of necessary household chores and fun stuff, including going out to lunch together, something we rarely do. Fri night we met the 'usual suspects' for our regular Fri night dinner.

Sat morning we packed a bag and the dog and headed back to VA. We were supposed to visit with our friends Liz & Robert Sat afternoon, but they called to say their daughter had a high fever, and since Spouse had been fighting sinusitis all week, we thought it best not to be exposed to whatever was giving Rachel the fever. With our afternoon plans squelched, we wound up visiting with Spouse's mom for a while and then watching TV with her for a few hours. Boring! I tried to get Spouse to agree to an unplanned visit with our former neighbor, but he didn't want to. We took the dog for a walk, and then Spouse's sister and her kids came over for a while, which helped break up the day.

At 5:00 we picked up my aunt Mary and went to dinner at Del Merei Grille in the Del Rey section of Alexandria. I have been missing their tasty food. Spouse and his mother both got meatloaf, my aunt Mary had salmon, and I had Southern Dim Sum. Its not really called that on the menu, but since I love their side dishes so much, I just ordered 3 side dishes (macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and cheesy garlic grits) as my meal. My aunt Mary came up with the moniker Southern Dim Sum. We all really enjoyed our food and had a nice visit at the small but elegant restaurant.

After dinner the 4 of us returned to Spouse's mom's house where Spouse's sister and her kids were waiting for us with 3 dozen hard boiled eggs and egg dye. We all sat around the kitchen table and used crayons and dye to create our edible Easter masterpieces. It was the 1st time I'd ever decorated Easter eggs. Everybody had a good time. Spouse's sister and the kids went home and I dropped my aunt Mary off at her place at 10:00.

Sun morning Spouse & I slept in while his mom went to church. In the early afternoon we picked up my aunt Mary again and joined the rest of the family over at Spouse's brother Louis' house. We had a nice time talking, eating, and laughing. I had forgotten our camera so I have no Easter pics to share.

Spouse & I dropped my aunt Mary off, picked up our bag and our dog, and headed back to DE at 8:00, arriving home at 10:30. We both took today off work, in anticipation of possibly staying in VA Sun night, but decided to come home in order to have a relaxing day off at home.

We slept in this morning, ran a few errands, went grocery shopping, and did some laundry. I have my work out this evening, which may be harder than usual due to all the candy I ate yesterday!

Thanks to everyone who enjoyed my last few entries about how Spouse & I met, and our 1st couple of dates. I appreciate your comments! Hopefully this will inspire some of you to share your stories of meeting your spouse/boyfriend/husband/significant other. And if you're single, perhaps you'll share some of your funny/horrible/amusing/bewildering dating stories on your blog.

Several of you were disappointed my stories didn't include when we 1st had sex, and I replied privately to some of you. My reason for not including this info is to respect Spouse's desire for privacy. Some of our friends read this blog and he prefers I not share intimate info here. But I will reveal to anyone who is interested that our 1st time having sex was after date #4. Yes, that's right bitches! For us it really was about feeling the connection, getting to know one another, and feeling that we'd each met someone very special, so the 'hot, sweaty sex' you guys anticipated simply wasn't our focus, so it came in time.

Crush du Jour: Colton Ford

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Meeting his friends

Meet some of his friends. It was really flattering to be invited on 4 dates within 6 days, and it gave us lots of time to talk and get to know each other. But somehow this “meet some of my friends” invitation seemed a little intimidating to me. But of course I agreed to it.

I knew Very Handsome Guy had an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a graduate degree in Social Work. I knew that most of the friends he’d talked about were friends from college. So Saturday night after dinner it was going to be me, the 32-year old guy with a high school diploma, VHG and 6 or 8 of his friends from college all with graduate degrees.

I didn’t know what to do to prepare for this. I mean, its not like I could ‘cram’ for a graduate degree.

I decided that VHG liked me enough to introduce me to his friends, and if they are his friends, hopefully they'd be nice like him. So I met them, and they were all nice, but I felt inadequate most of the time. In fact, it would take a few years before I could stop feeling like ‘less’ than them. It wasn't their fault; it was my own insecurity.

The next day, Sunday, Very Handsome Guy asked me if I would be interested in going to some real estate open houses with him. He had been considering buying a condo or townhouse and thought he might get an idea for what was out there by walking through some open houses. I told him I’d love to, and confessed that I used to walk through model homes, even though I had no intention of purchasing, just for decorating ideas.

Visiting open houses became our Sunday routine for several weeks. One Sunday in July (about 2 months after we met) we were inside a house that I thought was not worth considering. At some point in the home’s history some walls had been moved, creating a very awkward floor plan. The stairs going to the 2nd floor were inside a 1st floor bedroom!

Since all the houses we toured where older homes, most of which had lots of charm and character, Very Handsome Guy asked me what I thought of this particular house. Not wanting to sound too opinionated I said “Well, its not what I think that matters; its what you think. You’re the one who’s house hunting.”

His response stunned me. I believe you could have knocked me over with a feather when he said “Well, I want to know what you think because I'm hoping you’ll be living with me, and I want you to like it.”

There it was. He’d said it. He’d crossed the line. No longer were we just two guys having a good time dating and hanging out together. He’d basically just asked me to move in with him.

Really, I’m not sure why this was such a surprise to me. In reality, we’d already begun living together, just not officially. The week after our ‘4 dates within 6 days’ we’d begun staying overnight at each other’s places. Most of the time I’d stay at his place because after work I’d stop by my condo for a change of clothes, then meet him at his place about the same time he’d get home from work. Gradually I began bringing more than one change of clothes so I didn’t have to stop by my place every day. In reality we were already living together, but since I still had my place I guess it didn’t seem the same as ‘living together’.

So I told him the truth: I didn't like the house. So we continued looking until we found a house we both felt comfortable in. It wasn't our 'dream home', but it was a great start.

3 months later in October we both moved out of our condos and into a house we picked out together. The following month we hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner, which was attended by his parents, sister, brother-in-law, their two children, two of his three brothers, his sister-in-law, and two of our friends. We’ve hosted Thanksgiving for his family, my aunt, and countless friends every year since then.

The end.

Crush du Jour: Mark Webber

Friday, March 21, 2008

Our 3rd date

Friday I arrived at the Mexican restaurant at 5:30 and waited for Very Handsome Guy in my car so we could go in together.

5:45 and no VHG. 6:00 and no VHG. Despite all reasoning to the contrary, my fragile ego again began constructing several valid reasons why he was standing me up. This time I told myself to stop it. ‘There’s probably a logical explanation' I told myself. 'I’ll wait until 6:15 and if he’s not arrived, I’ll call to see if he’s left a message on my answering machine at home’. (This was before the prevalence of cell phones.)

Finally at 6:10 he sped into the parking lot, hopped out of his car, and ran over to mine to apologize. A client had gone into crisis so he had to stay with them until the person could be hospitalized. He knew I was waiting but had no way to reach me. He had called the restaurant but was told no one matching my description was in the restaurant, because I was in my car. We chuckled about it and went inside the restaurant.

Dinner started off as expected, but I was soon dumbfounded by the strange coincidence that next followed. A couple was seated on the other side of the partition and as I heard them chatting I realized it was my childhood best friend and his wife – both of whom are Jehovah's Witnesses who are taught to shun people like me who leave the JW faith.

How could I be comfortable on a date with them so nearby? Its not like they were random people I used to know from the church. It was my childhood best friend!

The restaurant wasn't busy so our food arrived soon. As we were finishing I reminded VHG that I had promised to show him where I lived. I hoped this reminder would keep us from lingering over dinner, increasing the chances that my former best friend would discover me on a date with a man on the other side of the partition. Not that I really cared what he thought of me anymore, but I didn't really want to provide gossip fodder if I could help it. Plus, our 3rd date hardly seemed the time to explain the whole ‘ex-JW thing’ to VHG. So, we paid the bill and left.

VHG followed me back to my place, and I showed him around the condo. He was impressed because I had a color TV and cable! (It was 1996, and his social worker/therapist job meant he had a hand-me-down black and white TV and no cable.) We sat together on the sofa and talked for a while, and I resumed the ‘interview questions’. Since VHG was a therapist I suppose he figured out I was interviewing him because I really wanted to get it right this time, and he played along like a good sport.

Having finally exhausted my 'interview' questions and feeling closer to VHG by the minute, I decided to tell him that I left the JW religion 3 years earlier, and that my family and former friends who are JWs no longer had any contact with me. I also told him about my childhood best friend and his wife in the booth on the other side of the partition, and VHG was very understanding.

Then he asked what I was doing over the weekend. I told him I didn’t have anything particular planned so he asked if I’d like to get together for dinner on Saturday evening, and then meet some of his friends for coffee afterward.

Meet some of his friends. It was really flattering to be invited on 4 dates within 6 days, and it gave us lots of time to talk and get to know each other. But somehow this “meet some of my friends” invitation seemed a little intimidating to me. But of course I agreed to it.

Tomorrow: Meeting his friends

Crush du Jour: Paul Telfer

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Our 2nd date

Wednesday evening I followed the directions to Very Handsome Guy's condo, and he buzzed me in the foyer door. I rode the elevator to the 6th floor and walked down the hallway to his door and knocked. He opened the door and smiled. He showed me around his place, and then we left for dinner.

We had a tasty and delightful dinner at a table on the sidewalk in front of Café Dalat. I love eating outdoors! I’d never had Vietnamese food before, but I liked it a lot. It was a lovely spring evening; warm but breezy. There just seemed to be something in the air; some different kind of energy I wasn’t used to, but I liked.

After dinner we returned to his place and talked for a while, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, I began asking a few of my ‘interview’ questions.

"What would you say is your biggest weakness?"

"Tell me about your favorite day."

I had learned from my first relationship that it was unwise to think with your heart only and not use your head. My first partner and I had so little in common, we should have known the relationship was risky. To avoid making the same mistake, I asked Very Handsome Guy my ‘interview’ questions to determine our compatibility. I suppose at the time I thought I was being more subtle than I actually was, but years later we both laughed when he reminded me of the 'interview' questions on our 2nd date!

We had a very nice and relaxed time, both at dinner at at his place. There didn't seem to be any big, unanswered questions looming overhead. ("I wonder if he likes me, or REALLY likes me?"). There was the usual excitement of getting to know someone with whom you feel a connection, but there was also a sense of calm and a feeling that this needn't be rushed.

As I was preparing to go home that Wednesday night, Very Handsome Guy had a question for me.

“Do you want to get together again, later in the week?” he asked.

“Sure.” I replied, not even considering this time if I sounded too excited.

“How about Friday?” he suggested. This time I was not surprised by his suggestion of yet a 3rd date within 5 days, and I agreed without hesitation.

“Friday is great” I replied. “Do you want to eat someplace near me, since you work nearby anyway?” I suggested.

“Okay." he answered.

"That way I can show you my place, too." I added.

"Great. I usually work until about 5:00 so I can meet you at 5:30.”

So we agreed to meet at a Mexican restaurant at 5:30, and then talk at my place afterward. I confirmed he knew where the restaurant was, and after a kiss goodbye I said "See you then!"

Tomorrow: Our 3rd date.

Crush du Jour: Jordan Carlyle

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Our 1st date

The next morning after showering and having breakfast I called Very Handsome Guy. We talked for a 1/2 hour or so and then he invited me to meet him for coffee that afternoon. I accepted and had a permanent smile plastered on my face as I unpacked my boxes of stuff… the stuff I had just moved out of my former partner’s house… 2 days ago.

‘Am I on the rebound?’ I asked myself. ‘What happened to my plans to date and go to parties and hang out with other single gay guys?’ I didn't have answers to these questions, and it didn't seem to matter to me. I’d just accepted a coffee date with Very Handsome Guy, a guy with whom I really connected, and I was going on that date. I’d just have to figure out the answers to those questions some other time.

It was very cool and rainy when I arrived at SoHo Coffee House, on time. Since Very Handsome Guy wasn’t there yet, I sat at one of the few small tables in the tiny place and waited. Several minutes passed and my fragile ego began fabricating multiple reasons (all my fault) why he had thought better of it and was standing me up. But a few minutes later I saw him through the large window, running up the sidewalk in the rain. When he came inside he apologized for being late. He couldn't find a parking spot, which is typical in the city. We went to the counter where I got a large cup of coffee and he ordered a hot cup of tea.

We returned to our table and I started the conversation by asking him what a therapist and social worker does for the County. He tried to explain what he did and the context into which his duties fit, but I was distracted by his sweating profusely. He kept wiping his forehead and face with his napkin until he finally had to excuse himself and go to the restroom.

I interpreted this behavior as acute nervousness. I thought that he was just really, really nervous about this coffee date, now that we were no longer under the cover of the dim club lighting or the alcohol. But later I came to find out that he had gotten heated up from running several blocks in the chilly rain, then came inside the heated cafe, and was sipping a steaming hot cup of tea. He just couldn’t cool down! So when he went to the restroom it was to splash cool water on his face and neck. I still prefer my romantic interpretation over the factual one.

After finishing our drinks and talking for over an hour he suggested it was dinnertime and asked if I’d like to have dinner with him. I readily agreed and since the rain had let up, we walked a few blocks to the Dupont Italian Kitchen and were seated at a table for two by the window. I wonder if any of the passers-by saw the two of us, knew we were on our first date, and smiled. How could they not? Our food was tasty, the conversation felt easy, and the atmosphere was cozy. He introduced me to tiramisu.

After dinner we walked to his car since it was closest, and he drove me to where my car was parked. We both said that we’d had a nice time, and I began to wonder if there was some sort of gay etiquette that dictated which of us should suggest getting together again. In straight dating it is understood that the man suggests the desire for another date, but what about in gay dating? Fortunately I didn’t have to wonder for long.

“Do you want to get together again, later in the week?” he asked.

“Sure.” I replied, hoping I didn’t sound too excited or desperate.

“How about Wednesday?” he suggested. I was a little surprised, since it was already Monday night. I thought he was going to suggest Friday night, but was happy he appeared to like me as much as I thought I liked him.

“Wednesday works for me” I replied.

“Since you like ethnic food, do you want to go to this Vietnamese place near me called Café Dalat?” he asked.

“Sounds great. I've never tried Vietnamese.”

“Okay. Why don’t you call me when you get home from work tomorrow and I’ll give you directions to my place, and we go together from there?” he suggested.

"Will do."

With no more words to say, we looked into each other's eyes for a moment, then leaned across the center console of his car and kissed for the 1st time. I felt as though I'd been reborn.

Tomorrow: our 2nd date.

Crush du Jour: Campbell Brown

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How we met

Years ago when Spouse & I began attending a church, in an effort to get to know us better many church members asked us how we met. Spouse hated saying that we met in a bar, even though that was the truth, so I told them we met while doing volunteer work. Then I'd chuckle and say, "Well, not really. We met in a bar."

Call me a romantic, call me a sap, but I love to hear the stories of how couples met. This made me think that I should share how Spouse & I met. What follows is a portion of a larger story about my life, coming out, and personal growth. Here's the part about how we met, which takes place in May 1996. Later I'll tell you about a few of our early dates. Here goes.

As I prepared to move out of Wolf's house, one of the things I wanted to learn was how to date. Since I really hadn’t dated anyone before getting together with Wolf, I looked at this time in my life as one where I would go out on dates and learn how to be comfortable, have topical things to say, and hopefully not scare guys off with ‘filler conversation’ about my upbringing in the Jehovah's Witness (JW) religion. In fact, I remember going through all the personal ads in the weekly gay paper and circling the ones to which I might possibly respond. ‘I’m going to date and make single friends and go to parties and just have fun being a single gay man’ I thought to myself. But that just wasn’t meant to be.

My friend Billy agreed to go to Ziegfeld’s with me Saturday night to see the drag show and dance. Since we lived on opposite sides of the city it made sense to simply meet at the club. We had such a great time watching the fierce drag queens and dancing between the two shows that we decided to go back and do it again the next night. Sunday I met Billy again but he didn’t stay long. He said he felt like he was coming down with a cold and thought he should go home. I decided to stay, but I felt a little uneasy there by myself. I was used to being at clubs with friends, having someone to talk to. Rather than leave, I decided I’d try and meet some new friends.

I saw a small group of guys watching the drag show and commenting about the costumes. After 3 or 4 of the performers' frocks featured fringe, one of the guys said there must have been a clearance sale on fringe at the drag queen store, and the rest of the group laughed. They seemed harmless enough, so I inched over a little closer to their cluster and listened in. Eventually I was close enough for them to notice me laughing at their comments. I inched a little closer and thought of something witty to add, so I did. They laughed with me and I felt I’d infiltrated the group. They asked my name and then introduced themselves. It worked – I had someone to talk to and hang out with while the show continued.

When the drag show ended and the dancing began, my new group of friends was still talking and laughing. I learned that one of the guys named Jim was moving away and that they had all been at a going away party/cook-out prior to coming to Ziegfeld’s. I explained that I'd come with a friend who'd gone home sick but that I’d wanted to stay.

Then I noticed this very handsome, dark-haired man with a mustache/goatee walk up to my new group of friends. They introduced us and we shook hands and exchanged verbal greetings. I still remember the first thing I thought when I saw him: 'Wow, this is the most handsome man I’ve ever seen in my life!'

My new group of friends decided it was time to dance, so we all went out onto the dance floor together. I noticed one of my new friends pulled out a small, brown glass bottle from his pocket, unscrewed the cap and took a snuff from the bottle before passing it around to the others in the group. I smiled but shook my head ‘no’. I was pretty sure whatever they were snorting wasn’t legal, and I wasn’t going to get mixed up in that. I began to doubt my selection of this ‘harmless’ looking group of new friends. But I noticed that the Very Handsome Guy also declined the bottle of poppers, giving me additional reason to migrate towards him as I danced.

The DJ began playing a disco re-mix of the theme song from the TV show ‘The Love Boat’. I couldn’t help but smile and chuckle in appreciation of his good taste and humor. I was about to curtail my amusement and try to act more ‘cool’, but quickly decided against it. For too many years I had censored my behavior to try to please other people. So I just let myself go. I reveled in the great re-mix and danced liked no one was watching. When I saw that Very Handsome Guy was watching me, smiling and chuckling for no apparent reason, I confessed without remorse “This is a great song!” to which he replied “Yeah, I love disco music.”

Not only was he gorgeous, but he liked the same music I liked. Not long afterward the DJ played a special re-mix of “Dancing Queen” by Abba, probably because the movie “Muriel’s Wedding” was popular, and I looked at Very Handsome Guy and said “I love this song!” I thought this was a ‘make it or break it’ comment; either he’d think I was a total dork for admitting I loved “Dancing Queen”, or he’d blow me away by thinking it was funny or cute. But at that moment I was only concerned with honesty. If me liking "Dancing Queen" turned him off, so be it. His reply? “Me too!” I was pretty sure I’d met someone special.

When one of us suggested a break from dancing to cool down, we found out a little more about each other. He told me he was a therapist and social worker for a nearby county, and I told him I lived in that county. He was duly surprised, since most DC area gays are unfamiliar with anything outside the Beltway. I told him I liked ethnic food, and he said he liked living near DC because of all the different ethnic restaurants. I agreed and told him there were many I hadn't tried yet.

“So how do you know Jim?” he asked me.

“I don’t. I mean, I didn’t before tonight. I just met him and the other guys here, tonight." I answered. How about you? How do you know Jim?” I asked.

“I just met him, too. My friend Casey invited me to go with him to Jim’s going away party. I didn’t have anything else to do, so I went. Afterward we all ended up here. Since you were talking with them when I walked up I thought you were friends” he explained.

“When you walked up and they introduced us, I thought YOU were their friend!” I concluded.

We both laughed at the unusual way we’d met. Everything just seemed to be too good to be true. I felt like pinching myself to be sure it wasn’t a dream, but immediately dismissed the idea because it seemed so cliché.

Later on a portly guy with glasses and salt-n-pepper hair emerged from the back room where the go-go boys dance. He walked up to Very Handsome Guy so I figured he must be Casey. (We’d completely lost track of Jim and my other new friends.) Very Handsome Guy introduced me to Casey, who explained that the go-go boys were on break now, and that he was tired and ready to go. Since they’d ridden together Very Handsome Guy agreed to leave. But before they did, he had a question for me.

“Umm… do you want to… exchange numbers?” he asked with some difficulty.

“Sure” I said calmly, trying to contain my inner excitement. He grabbed a cocktail napkin and a pencil and wrote his name and number on it. For some reason, I clearly remember asking him if the ‘e’ at the end of his last name was pronounced or if it was silent. He said it was silent, and so I said his name out loud. It sounded like magic. I still have that cocktail napkin.

“What are you doing tomorrow?” he asked, since tomorrow was Memorial Day Monday.

“Well I just moved yesterday so I guess I’ll be unpacking boxes… unless I get a better offer” I said. I immediately regretted it, fearing it sounded too forward and flirty, but there was no way to take it back. I just hoped it didn’t cancel the offer he seemed about to make. Fortunately it didn’t.

“Well, why don’t you call me tomorrow morning. Maybe we can talk or go for coffee in the afternoon or something” he suggested. I knew right then and there I would call him the next morning.

“Okay, that sounds good. I’ll call you tomorrow.” I said with a smile. “Nice meeting you!” I said to Very Handsome Guy, and then repeated the salutation to Casey with far less enthusiasm.

Tomorrow: Our 1st date.

Crush du Jour: Mike Ruiz

Monday, March 17, 2008

In honor of St. Patrick's Day

...I thought you'd enjoy seeing a little "green". Images may be clicked to enlarge. (Don't you wish everything in life was that way?)


Sat was a beautiful day! It was bright, sunny, and warm; in the 70s. Spouse & I had no specific plans for the day so we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

First we took Jordan for a walk around the neighborhood, then we dropped her off at the house and we continued walking. We walked across the canal bridge and down the road to the bay. We saw lots of other people walking, some wearing shorts, some walking dogs, all enjoying this taste of spring.
We sat on a bench and looked out at the water and passing ferry for about 15 minutes, then walked back home. We always talk a lot on these walks which is nice. Round trip its about 1 1/2 miles, so it wasn't a big deal, it was just nice to be outside and get a little exercise.

When we returned to the house I decided to work on a project I've had in mind for nearly 2 years. Prior to moving from VA I pulled 3 wooden cornices out of my neighbors trash, knowing they could easily be reused either as cornices or shelves. They looked something like this:
On Sat I pulled them out of storage, used my neighbor's belt sander to smooth them out, and then painted 2 coats of semi-gloss white paint on them. I'm going to attach them to the wall and use them as display shelves, like this:
The cornices were free, the left-over paint was free, I bought a replacement sander belt for my neighbor for $4.82, and I estimate I'll spend another $5. for the L-brackets to hang the shelves. Not too bad for under $10.

Sat evening we picked up our buddies Craig & Mike and went to dinner at Serendipity restaurant, on the Indian River. The back of the restaurant is all windows so you can see the river from every table. We arrived just as the sun was starting to go down, and had a gorgeous view to compliment our meals.

I started off with a chocolate covered cherry martini that was tres fab! Spouse and Craig & Mike just drank water, the kill-joys. For dinner I had chicken and eggplant parmesan with angel hair. It was delicious, but too much to finish so I brought the left-overs home. They will be my lunch today. Craig & Mike said they enjoyed their meals too, and we had a very nice time getting to know them a little better.

Sat it was in the 70s, but today it was 36 degrees when I walked Jordan at 8:30. I guess that bit of spring we enjoyed on Sat was just a tease.

Crush du Jour: Jay Hernandez