I went with no expectations, but left a tad disappointed. How is that?
I suppose I did entertain a few "possibilities" in my head before heading to the only gay event in my area of the past year. When gatherings are so rare, there is pressure to make the most of a rare opportunity.
I had known about the potluck for weeks--discovered an announcement online--, but waffled about attending. Five hours beforehand, I rang the hosts and apologized for such a tardy RSVP. No worries, the guy on the other end assured me. I was the fifth to call in the morning and sixty-five people were expected. Sixty-five? Here in a remote area where I can't identify any gays? Of course, the event was open to lesbians and gays and lesbian women are well settled in these parts, but there was a chance of a decent showing of gay men. Surely some would be single and, hopefully--okay, that's getting close to an expectation--there'd be a spark.
I pulled up to a charming home in the marina and felt it was a good sign that parking was a bit of a problem. You don't want to go to a party and find curbside parking in front of the host's abode. Being the hottest day of the year to date, I was faced with the embarrassing problem of a steady padding of perspiration on my forehead as I tried to act cool during initial introductions. Turns out I'd met the host once when we both lived in Vancouver. (A bit awkward since he'd put a bid on a design job on the house that I'd bought with my ex. We went with another person.) In the backyard, a garden party was in bloom. The crowd of about thirty was fairly evenly divided along gender lines.
The first person to introduce himself was a retired gentleman. Very nice, but I got the feeling I just might wind up listening to talk about wintering in Fort Lauderdale for the whole party. Luckily, we drifted over toward another group of men about my age and I met several guys and their partners. Yep, everyone was with someone. I was the token singleton. Were they pitying me? I think, more likely, I was a curiosity. Why had I moved to such a remote area on my own? (If they only knew how many times I'd asked myself the same question.)
One guy talked about how he and his partner were moving back to Vancouver in five days after giving the area a three-year trial run. He was the same age as me and they were tired of the commute; moreover, they simply missed city life. He talked--er, whined--at length and I did my best to keep my mouth shut. You don't show up at a party and try to outdo someone who is knocking the place where all in attendance have chosen to live. Still, it was mighty tempting.
I managed to stay for an hour and a half. If things had been uncomfortable, I'd have vamoosed in less than twenty minutes. The people were very nice and the conversation was pleasant. I never fully relaxed and didn't joke or laugh, but I'm way out of practice.
As I drove home, I looked forward to the warm greeting from my two dogs. Yep, I have become the male version of the batty cat lady. So sad. At least when I go to town to buy a bag of dog food, there's now a chance I'll run into a gay couple and we can exchange casual waves as they pity me once I turn to the next aisle.
That's progress, isn't it?