Thursday, November 10, 2005

Together Alone

When I posted yesterday about buying new shoes I mentioned that we were going to "Sounds Of The Cinema" by the Australian Chamber Orchestra last night. It was a black tie fundraiser for the ACO, primarily for their work in conducting workshops in high schools in less advantaged areas. My bosses picked up the tab for the event at just under $200 a head, including buying us a $50 raffle ticket each (Wingedman: the prizes were all Tiffany), which was very generous. Oh, and we didn't win any of the prizes, but that's OK.

So it was a lovely night. There were silent and public auctions, it was all very glamourous, it was a warm night and the venue was right on the water with a close view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, we all looked fine and there were handsome tuxedo-ed men everywhere...

But. You could sense there was a 'but' coming couldn't you?

I felt something that I hadn't felt for a while and which Michael alluded to recently, the feeling of being alone in a crowd. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed myself. I did enjoy myself. But it was all blah-blah and wife, blah-blah and boyfriend, blah-blah and husband. My 'date' for the evening was one the uni students who does a bit of occasional work for us, she's very sweet and half my age, and although there were jokes about us being 'dates', people insisting we have our pictures taken together etc, everyone knows I'm a big 'mo and so it was all good fun.

Except, I would have liked to have had a date of my own. I would liked to have had a handsome dude in a tux sat next to me. I would have liked to have been introducing my guy to all my workmates and partners, in the same way I was being introduced to them.

I haven't dated anyone for a while. Partly through choice. Partly through having had my social network swing more towards the straight side of the fence in the past couple of years. Partly through having lost a couple of my old bar hopping mates, and therefore not really going out and having the opportunity to meet new guys. Partly through apathy. Partly through dented confidence.

If I was dating someone I would have brought them along, but I have to acknowledge that it would have been complicated. People at work know that I'm gay, but a few of them are very conservative and I'm not sure that actually seeing me with a male date would have really washed with them. None of their partners would probably know, and for me having never met them, I would be uncertain how they would act. They wouldn't really 'know me', and know that the 'gay thing' is just a part of who I am. A big part, sure. There wouldn't have been any trouble, any sort of a scene, but I would have been on alert for signs of discomfort in them, in me, in my date.

If you are straight and you are reading this you might think I'm just over-analysing, some of you gay guys and girls might think I am too. Maybe. If you have ever been the only single in a crowd of couples, or been the only childless person amongst a bunch of friends with kids, then maybe you can relate a little. It can be tough to be the only homo in a crowd though, no matter how nice everyone is. It can be tough enough being the only single in a crowd of couples, let alone being the only gay person. I'm generally a pretty happy guy, and don't really suffer from loneliness as such, but last night I came pretty close to feeling lonely.

I'm pretty proactive about changing things in my life that don't work, and I'm quite emotionally self sufficient. So, maybe a new resolution for the upcoming Summer is called for. Dating.

Eeek! :-)

18 comments:

Michael said...

Call me selfish, but it's a bit of a comfort that you do feel it, too.
I've wondered about your single status a few times. I'm not surprised by someone being alone for a while. It's my default condition. You seem to have blissful domestic coupledom written all over you, though. You'd be all nurturing. ::sigh::
I loved this post from you.

The Other Andrew said...

Thanks my friend. I think I've had my focus elsewhere for a while, is part of it. Inertia too. Plus, if you lose social momentum, like in my case not hanging out with an extended group of gay buds like I used to, opportunities to meet new guys start to decline. I'm no good at approaching guys in bars, and I have the sort of attractiveness that needs to sneak up on you I think. Sort of wear you down, like water on a rock. As I'm ageing I think my first impression is getting to be a little less reliable... :-)

[Fun with word verification: DJGOVRI. Eastern European rapper Dj Govri in da house!]

Bodhi said...

I can think of at least one handsome dude who looks damn fine in a tux, and would have been more than willing to at least be some arm candy.

[Muttering despondently to self]

The Other Andrew said...

Who'd that be Bodes? Why haven't I met this guy? ::wink::

Bodhi said...

Some insane stalker, obviously sweetness, but I hear tell that he's really cute and quite sweet if you do actually get to know him ::wink::

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

doodlebug!

as part of that silly old straight crowd I hate to hear that. as someone who was single for years in the same crowd, I can understand that at least a little. as a former chickie-who-runs-with-the-gay-boys, I also know what happens when most of your gay friends get boys. they get all domestic and never leave the house (at least mine did)! curse them in the nicest possible way!

at least we have nice friends who, for the vast majority, never make you feel like you're single. I've hung with some people who think you don't exist if you're not coupled.

and it's a fact of life that we start calcifying in our social habits as we get older, whittling down to the ones we feel good with and not venturing out of the comfy zone. it just makes it harder and harder.

pecker up, old boy.

oooh errr ;)

Sunshine said...

I'm not comfortable taking Sam with me to my office party. While it's in the name of being sensitive to those who are conversative, it really sucks.

duane said...

I don't think that you are over analyzing at all!!! It is a weird situation to be in, especailly when it is confounded by the fact that not only were you the only gay one there, but you had a date that was pretty much a ruse!! The worst part about us taking a date to a work function, or anything with a bunch of straights for that matter, is that we continually have to come out, which inevitibly makes us and our date feel more uncomfortable. I am really sorry that you felt that way at your function; but I totally think that it was a normal feeling.

As for dating... get back on the horse. You have NO REASON to wait... Trust me, the men will be all over you. And once they get to know you... they will definitely want to know more!

The Other Andrew said...

Thanks pumpkin, could you be any nicer? Seriously. That's very sweet.

BTW, I read your lovely blog entry today about looking after your and James's partnership rights, and your hopes for nuptuals one day. Once the green mist of envy had cleared... (of course, I kid)

Best wishes to you both. Mazeltov!

The stuff about me and my 'date' was mostly a joke on behalf of my workmates, nobody really thought we were trying to pass as such, it's just that we were the only two singles there.

The Other Andrew said...

Sunshine, it's a shame that you can't feel comfortable taking Sam to a work function. There is a huge gulf for some people between 'knowing' you are gay and 'seeing it. It does indeed suck.

I hope things with Sam are stable for you too btw. I've felt for you as I've read your posts about the dramas you guys have been through. Good luck.

luscious loulou said...

I'm feeling you, Andrew.

As the years go by it gets very wearying and becomes just another weight you don't want to draaaaaag around anymore.

"Let me just be who I am."

I wonder if these people are being themselves, the selves that shine and bring light into other peoples lives.

I feel like I must hide my "true light" inside, not out of shame but out of... ::sigh:: just the energy it takes to search for that answering spark. To keep everyone in their comfort zones. Gah.

(Not at work, at work I can shine but socially....)

So, slightly askew from your position, Andrew, is what I am. But still "alone in a crowd": A genetic misfit in silk velvet and leather. ::sigh::

Now this is kind of "stream of consciousness" talk, so bear with me, if you will…

In the straight world, I suppose I qualify as such but that's because I seem to pass some internal register that the straight's have. But really, I'm straight with a twist of something that makes 'em a wee bit uncomfortable so I put on "my act". I tone myself down {like turn down the volume on my passions… down to 6, then 4 when I see that blank(disinterest/nonplussed) look come into their eyes}. It's frustrating and disheartening and lonely…. And boring.

With me, Andrew, because I am gregarious and sunny and witty and always try to make others comfortable, I pass. I can drag conversation out of anyone but... what do they talk about? Gah. The wives ... what can I say without sounding condescending (nothing, I already do just in saying that) and as I get older to listen to this blather gets more and more enervating. (enervating is the "suck all the life out of you" word, right?)

The husbands, well, if they're interesting at all then I get in real close. I'm a toucher and can flirt like nobody's business but ... 1st off, they're married (my moral code) and 2ndly they usually talk about past triumphs/travel/escapades. The future seems to be the rutted road they're on. That's my viewpoint, of course: the rutted road thing.

Although I find that the women usually keep their men close once they've seen me dragging the guys onto the dance floor. I don't want their men except they're usually the more interesting to chat with and flirt and touch. The underlying mentality does not push any buttons.

When I'm bored, I dance. Mind you, when I feel fabulous, I dance as well. So. :P

It can be ego gratifying but also terribly lonely for me to be the entertainment, so to speak.

Single guys with their dates. Same thing.

Over and over, to reach out to people - men and women and testing the air, the rhythms to gauge if what I say will be acceptable. It gets to be like a sock to the gut to make myself vulnerable with what makes me tick, excites me, fills me up with energy... and then to get that disconnect. It tears at a person it does. Chips away at the esteem.

"How can I not be settled down with some lovely bloke?" they ask. "You were made for kiddies and you're such a dahling." Well. Hmmmm.

I can barely explain myself to me, let alone someone who wants me to fit into rigid parameters of what I should be doing/should have done/should do in order to catch some bloke of their choosing.

So this is my journey, I suppose, still. And it can be very lonely. I'd hug you if I was there, petal. Hugging can never be underrated and just feeling the love vibe can fill up some lonely spots for a while, anyway.



loulou

Bit of a postscript is that at these parties (christmas/office/birthday), I do find individuals that speak from their hearts, that see me as me and draw me in to their warmth and they fill me with wonder and entrance me and I'm all aglow. I hopefully see them as they are, as well. Fabulous.

I do have an ego. Maybe I'm boring to some people rather than just odd. Maybe I'm clouded in my vision due to years of the same old/same old. I should clear my internal cache or something. Go in with a new outlook.
Just for the most part, it's me not "feeling it".

I will though. I'm getting there. Step at a time.

Going to different types of parties helps and talking truth and not toning it down so much.

So you, all of you, who accept me and find me and my many passions and humour and loves and flightiness delicious, you don't know how much it means to me. You don't know. (((big smooches and hugs)))

luscious loulou said...

Phew.

That went on longer than I expected. I need a drink.


:D

Bodhi said...

Awwwwww. Delicious indeed.

[[[BIG HUG]]] and **Smoooooch** right back at ya Luscious.

The Other Andrew said...

Loulou, j'adore.

I hear, and feel, so much of what you are saying.

As a bit of an aside, the thing that I find beautiful, is that this medium of the interweb allows us to connect. Such a public medium, and yet it can be so intimate. You can discover people of a similar mind set and share with them, be touched by them.

Of course, were I not so geographically distant from you I'd take one of those hugs (love hugs) and then... we'd dance! God how I love to dance. :-)

Bodhi said...

Ok boys, strike up the band!

[Starts to sing and holds out hand to Loulou]

You can dance every dance with the guy
Who gives you the eye, let him hold you tight
You can smile every smile for the man
Who held your hand beneath the pale moonlight
But don't forget who's taking you home
And in whose arms you're gonna be
So darlin' save the last dance for me

Oh, I know that the music's fine like sparkling wine
Go and have your fun
Laugh and sing, but while we're apart
Don't give your heart to anyone
And don't forget who's taking you home
And in whose arms you're gonna be
So darlin' save the last dance for me

Baby, don't you know I love you so
Oh, can't you feel it when we touch
I will never never let you go
Oh, I love you, oh, so much

You can dance (You can dance)
Go and carry on till the night is gone, and it's time to go
(You can dance, you can dance)
If he asks (You can dance)
If you're all alone (You can dance)
Can he take you home (You can dance)
You must tell him no (You can dance)
'Cause don't forget who's taking you home
And in whose arms you're gonna be
So darlin' (save) save the last dance for me

But don't forget who's taking you home
And in whose arms your gonna be
So darlin' (save) save the last dance for me
Save the last dance for me
Save, save the last dance for me
(Save) Save the last dance for me
(Save) Save the last dance for me
Save, save the last dance for me
(Save) save the last dance for me
Save the last dance for me

luscious loulou said...

Sheesh. I was afraid this would happen. I'm so touched and teary and...

"I'm all verklempt" I even clutched my chest!! and.. well,… you sweethearts! ::sniff::

Okay. Tawk amongst yourselves. I will give you a topic.

Do you feel that your look is iconic enough to be on a Warhol canvas?

….. discuss.

I do. :D No Surprise here.

And Oh yeah, I'll dance wit' ya, Andrew.

bodhi. Perfection again. And I would like to be dipped!

(teary but still tawking) :P

loulou

Bodhi said...

"And I would like to be dipped"

That's a given with me and that song sweetness :-)

The Other Andrew said...

I think my look these days is pretty conservative compared to looks I've sported in the past (I wish y'all could have seen me in the '80s!), but then I'd like to avoid Mutton Dressed Up As Lamb Syndrome.

I've packed on a few kilos in the past year or so, once those are gone, Hello Shopping!

Loulou, in the words of Rougue Traders "You are my Voodoo Child, my Voodoo Child". The exact meaning of that is somewhat hazy perhaps, but somehow I think it fits ok.