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.