Sunday, December 11, 2005

Fresh Meat

So I just got home from a party tonight. Earlier this evening, I was a high school freshman trying to get ready for his first senior party. Anyone know what this feels like? I was way nervous!

I've been making some friends at one of the weekly discussion group's that I go to at the GLBT center and our group was invited to an annual gingerbread party. I thought it'd be fun to go because it'd be a great opportunity to connect again with alot of the guys outside the formal group setting. We usually hang out at a coffee shop each week after the group meetings. The party would be another way of getting to know some of the guys a bit more.

I typically experience these kinds of 'gay' social venues with my buddy or my closer circle of friends. We go out for a drink or two at a bar or go dancing at a club and usually the buds dress me up a little more gay than I'm used to. I have horrible fashion sense and the guys fix me up with some of their own clothes or they make some slight adjustments to what i'm wearing so as to make me a tad more appealing. One works on a sleeve, the other tugs at the shirt, another is evaluating which pair of jeans I should wear. They work their magic and I ask, "Am I hot now?" and they reply with their, "Heck yeah!" 's and I wonder if its true but I take their word for it and we're all good to go. But this time, the buds weren't coming with me to the party and I had to get ready all by myself! Yikes . . . .

This afternoon, I was already imagining what i'd wear tonight. I'll wear the brown khaki pants with the black belt and the brown long sleeved button down collared shirt and the brown dress shoes. I'll iron the shirt and i'll look spiffy. The party starts at 4pm so i'll plan on going about 8pm. I was going to time my arrival when I knew for sure another friend from the group was going to arrive so that I wouldn't have that weird uncomfortable feeling of not knowing anybody. As the early evening passes, I call this friend who tells me he's not arriving until after 10pm. What the -!

Gosh darn it. What if I don't know anyone else there? I wonder if some of the other guys from the group will be there. What if they don't come? But maybe I can meet someone new. Maybe I can just choose to be outgoing (I typically do this - make a choice to be social despite my natural introverted personality) and start up some casual conversation and maybe I'll end up making a friend or two - or better yet, someone who may find me interesting enough to date. Okay, so I can do this. Anxiousness fills my mind as I take longer than usual to get ready - stall!

So I iron my shirt and take my shower and begin to do all of my personal hygiene stuff. I got a haircut earlier today and had my guy buzz the sides short and take just a lil bit off the top so that I could still slick my hair forward then spiked in the front. Nicely gelled. Time to get dressed with what I had planned. No, that's not gonna work. The buds would never have me go out like that! I flip through the hangers in my closet sifting through shirt and pant combinations. What in the world am I supposed to wear? What will others be wearing? I had it all planned out but that's been scratched. I hear the assuring voices of my buds as I'm alone in my closet and I settle for the blue jeans, black belt, and brown shirt that I ironed. This will do. I guess. Yeah, it'll do. The buds would have me roll up the sleeves. No, further - roll them up all the way up to the biceps. My bud always says don't be afraid to show off the guns. I roll the sleeves all the way up and I feel uncomfortable as I look in the mirror. Oh yeah, i'm supposed to leave the top two buttons undone so that some skin shows. Oh goodness! This looks way gay! Too gay! I laughed out loud looking at myself. There is no way I can go out in public looking this gay! So I pace between my bedroom and the bathroom looking at the mirror in doubt. But then I remember that i'm going to a 'gay' party. The buds would say I'm hot looking like this. I guess that means i'm ready to go.

I leave my apartment walking slowly down the stairs thinking, "I can't believe i'm going out like this on purpose!" A year ago, i'd go out making sure I looked straight enough. Now, i'm going out making sure I looked gay enough. What a journey!

So I drive to where the party is - on the way, I try to psyche myself into getting ready for the party. I don't know what to expect. The only sure thing I could expect would have been my friend arriving at the same time but that changed. As butterflies ram the sides of my stomach, I imagine what the house will look like. Who will be there? Will there be people outside? Will I know them? What will they think about me - about the way I'm dressed? Will they think I look gay? Oh no, i look too gay! Oh yeah, they're gay too. Will they think i'm not trendy? Will they think I dressed silly? Will they think, "that guy has zero fashion sense"? because they'd be right! Oh gosh, how about my hair? No. I'm okay there - cute hair. Whew! Are my sleeves up too high? I worked out at the gym today with my trainer and my biceps are kind of bulging - so my rolled up sleeves are tight. But the other night I was out with my friend at a bar and he was complimented on his arms and his sleeves were rolled up the same way so maybe i'm okay. Wow, maybe i'll get complimented. Oh goodness! Butterflies!

I found the place. This is it! Wait, is this the place? Did i read the address wrong? I see Christmas lights and decorations but all the other houses in the neighborhood have the same thing. I don't see anyone outside. What if no one is here? What if i'm the only one that showed up to the party? Maybe i'll park and stay here inside the car until someone else arrives. What's on the radio? I decide to call my brother for no apparent reason. Just stalling. Brother is doing fine. Hmm, what else can I do? I'm bored. Okay, let's go inside now.

Whoa, i'm going inside! I walk up to the front door and greet another person leaving the party. I'm at the front door and I see people through the window. Do I knock? Do I ring the door bell? Do I just walk in? Gosh I hate not knowing what's appropriate. I'm such a nerd. What if he opens the door and doesn't recognize me and asks what i'm here for? Oh goodness, just do it. I knock. I ring the door bell. I try the door knob to see if it's open. Good, it's locked. I'll wait for them to answer the door. I'm welcomed in and I greet my way through the living room and kitchen. Don't know anyone so far!

Ah! Finally someone I know! Huge hug! Outside in the back are lots of other people I know. Whew! Okay, i feel much better now. I can do this. Let's do the whole social thing. Um, people look kind of dressed up. No one else has their sleeves rolled up this high and tight. I'm talking to people and I see their eyes looking at my arms. I see them looking at that spot where my two top buttons are undone. Oh great! I look like an idiot!

Conversations continue and I'm a social butterfly - talking and joking and smiling and stuff. Good show. Fake it till you make it. Feel comfortable. Feel happy. Feel confident. Okay, i can do this. Do i really look like an idiot?

Then the compliments started coming. I feel the eyes watching me. Wait a minute. They. . . they're . . . I think that some of these guys are . . . flirting. What the - ? Wow this feels kind of nice. Maybe I don't look like an idiot. Maybe they're checking me out. Whoa, this guy is checking me out. He just winked at me! The guys are cool and everything. There are lots of guys I know from the group and we're just hanging out. Casual compliments - "you are cute for an asian!" (Remember my issues?) Chills. Wow, people are agreeing. Hmm. How do you do this? I don't really know how to react. I continue the casual conversations with various guys - some are flirting, some are not. I try to change the subject. I crack a joke in nervousness but the flirty ones like it even more - "you're so cute," they'd say. Wow, people are standing pretty close to me. Close proximity! I wasn't feeling overwhelmed or anything. It wasn't like I wanted anyone to back off. Well, I did but I didn't. It's just that, I've never had this kind of attention before. For me?! I kinda like it and so i'm sort of flirty back but I don't want to really "connect" with someone tonight so I back off from being flirty. Oy. An older guy who notices what must be going through my mind pulls me aside with some helpful explanation. "You are what we call 'Fresh Meat'."

Oh! Okay. I get it. Interesting. The night progresses and I manage to elude some of the advances made and I begin to have some redeeming conversations. I got to know more of some of the guys from the group. I was still able to talk freely about my faith as it came up naturally. Some of the other guys believe in Jesus, some of them have a faith background, some don't at all. It really wasn't an uncomfortable subject. Besides, it wasn't the only subject. There was talk about boyfriends and how they met and occupations and common interests. It was all very fun connecting with people. I even decorated my own gingerbread man (and ate him right away). I decided not to enter mine in the contest - the others were pretty creative (and some humorously explicit).

By the end of the evening, well past midnight, my feelings of being a freshman dissipated and I was quite comfortable chatting the night away. It was actually kind of fun to see the vultures flying overhead when I first arrived. They definitely helped me to get over my insecurities! Regardless, I got to connect with some friends and I had alot of fun. I think the buds would be proud! =)

Is there anyone out there that can relate to any of this craziness?!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Eric,

I was laughing so hard at this! It wasn't that long ago that I was in the exact same predicament. You get used to it... I promise! Before you know it, you'll be the "old pro" at these social gatherings making all the new guys nervous. Thanks for the laugh... :)

Anonymous said...

^Above posted by Vizionary (aka Nick from GCN)

JJ said...

Oh man, Eric, I wish I could have been there... both to help allieviate some of your nervous, and to admire your fine-ass self! I'm sure you looked good.

Glad to hear the night turned out so well, and I look forward to hearing about other such nights.

Eric said...

LOL, Nick and JJ you're both so encouraging it's awesome. Thanks!

Oh and uh, JJ, so you'd "admire my fine-ass self" eh? does that mean you'd go on a date with me? *wink* I promise, for our first date we won't go out to watch mud wrestling! I'll be the best romantic beau you've ever met and i'll treat ya like a queen!

btw- i finally decided to put my photo up in my GCN profile...you may change your mind about the 'fine' comment. =P

JJ said...

Ha!

We can be each other's beards!

...and thanks for nixing the mud-wrestling, but I'd like to put a big "no!" on all forms of wrestling actually. :)

Steve said...

Hi Eric,

What a great story! So sweet of that "old-timer" to clue you in to the situation.

Good for you, having the courage to be yourself and talk about your faith at a party.

So, now are you starting to see how this gets very complicated, very quickly?

Steve

Eric said...

yep Steve, you're right. it can get pretty complicated. i'll admit that i liked the attention but it's kind of like a seduction of lust isn't it? talk about collision!

so here's the thing. if i believe that being gay in a committed context is not what was being referred to in scripture, then i have to also accept that lust in any context is still not acceptable. so this should give me a lens for how i'm dating.

i think also that this applies to a straight context as well. a pretty young girl with all the boys eyeing her probably feels the same way.

fortunately, many of the vultures at the party left and i was able to have conversations of substance and enjoyed the party.

E said...

I've more or less reached the same conclusion you have - that I'll probably have to step out in faith and find out firsthand whether or not God would actually condone my pursuing a relationship with another guy.

At the same time, I'm totally not into the club/party scene (even the kind you describe) and feel like I'm a bit too old for it in any case. Too bad gay Christian gamers are so few and far between. :p

Anyway, good luck. I'll be interested to hear what conclusions you reach from this experiment.

Angel said...

:::tapping foot impatiently:::: And a picture of you for this party is *where*? ;)

I'm glad you went and had a good time :)

Eric said...

Ha Angel - no photo of me at the party... =(

however, there is a mug of my wanna-be hotness on my profile over at GCN (gaychristian.net link on left) - my screen name is justintyme777 (shhh don't tell anyone)

i'm toying with whether or not i should put my pic here on this blog. wondering how much more anonymous i want to be here (or don't want to be)

there's something freeing about choosing not to be anonymous - but i still have to discern wisdom because of potential backlash for my public ministry. pray for me about this subject! thx =)

Eric

jory said...

Eric
yeah I know exactly how you felt that night. In fact I walkd around the block before I rang the bell to get my courage up. That night