Thursday, May 22, 2014


I try to look on bright side. Really, I do. But sometimes there’s a lot of evidence to the contrary.

Last Saturday, I ventured out to an artsy community a mere twenty minutes from home. A ferry-less destination. There, that’s a positive. This community was having a weekend-long arts festival, a big bash with multiple locations hosting artists, musicians and several pop-up food stands. I figured I needed a boost in creativity. Get out. Connect. Feel inspired.

I also figured it would be a great people-watching experience. This is the perfect event to drive the gays out. How nice to feel less isolated. If my life were a movie, this would be the time for me to chance upon a date. Maybe we’d be oohing over the same abstract painting of a pack of hyenas enjoying a Serengeti sunset (or perhaps that’s a bed of marigolds in someone’s garden—that’s the beauty of abstract; describe it how you’d like). Perhaps Mr. Eligible and I would catch a glimpse of one another as we each suppress a laugh as a performance artist tries to blow bubbles in sync with the banjo player. You just never know.

Sure, such an encounter is remote, especially in a rural environment, but this seemed to be my best local shot of the past six months. Go. See Be seen. Wish for a little Meg Ryan/Mindy Kaling karma.

I explored five venues. I purchased pottery. Sadly, a cute guy didn’t vie for the same lovely bowls. I strolled about, gazing at some really awful splatter painting. (Jackson Pollock’s legacy remains intact.) I heard a lame rendition of “Blowin’ in the Wind”. The cuisine was limited to craft beer and perogies. The local lesbian contingent was well represented among artists, altos and amblers. But I was the sole gay representative.

There were a couple of false sightings. I ogled one artist, a talented furniture maker with broad shoulders, a deep tan and salt-and-pepper hair that glimmered. (There’s a fine line between glimmering and greasy; undisputedly, he glimmered—and there was plenty of grease to which to compare. I’m talkin’ about you, Mr. Bob Dylan Wannabe.) And then I saw the occupied ring finger. And the wife. And the two adorable children. Oh, yes. I’d seen the family profiled a few years ago in a local magazine. He was eye candy as much then as now. At least I am consistent.

Then there was a guy shucking heirloom tomato plants. (Is that art? Never mind.) Our eyes met for a moment. I tried to lock looks once more but to no avail. He seemed to stare a little too much to the left. And then I had the sense to gaze over my shoulder. Ah, yes. Silly me. The object of his affection was someone else—a lovely woman with long, flowing purple-streaked hair and a collection of nose rings. I felt only a moment of disappointment. Yes, she seemed a much better fit for the tomato grower. Every such plant I’ve nursed has succumbed to blight.

And so I headed home, with a gurgling stomach, feeling no more socially connected. I felt no vindication in having my isolation affirmed. It’s a good thing I gave it a go. That’s something, right? But, really, how is it possible to have a sizable artsy event with no other gays present? Gays have to be at an artsy event. Bring back my stereotypes! My gosh, as good as it gets, is even more depressing than I’d thought.

This is why I trek onto the ferry again and again. Clearly, this is not where the boys are.


Rick Modien said...

It's absolutely a good thing you gave it a go, RG. I'm glad you did.

I see this a little like what my sister used to say about playing the lottery: false hope is better than no hope.

Great post as always. Imagine the book you'll have written, about a single, gay guy looking for love, when you find the man of your dreams.

Rural Gay said...

Hi Rick.

Thanks so much for the comment. "False hope is better than no hope." Love it! Might just become my new mantra.