October 9th, 2005


Tuesday night

Traffic was sparse on the 405 during rush hour last Tuesday, a sure sign in Los Angeles that it must be a Jewish holiday. I made a note while I was passing the Getty Museum up on the hill to my left that this would be my first trip into the land of 818 since my return to Los Angeles, and my stomach clenched; not from petty snobbery or fear of the Valley, but rather the anxiety I always feel when I’m about to step into a room full of virtual strangers.

Every Tuesday night, a group of men as dedicated to watching television as I am, converges on Dave and Jason’s swanky condo for an evening of food and flickering images. I’d met Dave a few times before, have been reading his journal for a few years, and I also knew that Sean would be there. Sean’s been a friend for a while, too. It was everyone else, the ones I didn’t know, that made me flinch before I rang their doorbell.

The second I walked in, though, I was instantly at ease. Everyone was warm, and welcoming. Jason was in the kitchen, making something that smelled delicious, and I grabbed my caffeine-free Diet Coke and plopped down on the couch. Soon the room filled with men, each one bearing a bag of food or soft drinks, and we went through Dave and Jason’s TiVo menu, watching Arrested Development before we tried to make it through The Night Stalker, and then dinner was served.

Being the new one in the room, the house rules were that I would be first in line, and I heaped on the food, took my seat, and waited for everyone to settle before the big event, America’s Next Top Model. Watching this show, arguably one of the best reality shows ever, with these guys was almost a contact sport, if smartass talk was physical. When I used to watch the show with fabulist, I’d robotically say, “You’re on your way to becoming America’s next top model,” along with Tyra, a phrase she uses up to fifteen times per episode. Joe would roll his eyes and laugh, which only encouraged me to continue the practice.

On Tuesday night, I found myself in a room full of men who, in unison, repeated the same phrase as if it were the Pledge of Allegiance. I smiled, imagining Joe’s response, and happily chanted right along with the group. I felt at gay home. I long ago gave up my gay card having thought that it’d been punched one too many times, and I retreated from gay men as if I weren’t one of them. I checked out long before Billy left, and since January 21, 2002, I’ve hunkered down to the point of barely acknowledging any sexuality beyond attending the infrequent bukakke party or gangbang . It just seems easier, sometimes.

Thank you e_ticket and zombietruckstop for encouraging me to come over, and thanks to fidgetcub for a fantastic meal. I apologize, moroccomole, on behalf of a friend of mine for his misplaced bad behavior, and it was great to finally meet you, uncle_james. It was also great meeting djmrswhite, possibly the best DJ in town, at least from what I’ve seen of his playlists. I really dug meeting teelo and it was great seeing bobaloo, who'd I only met once a few years ago at a midnight screening of The Apple. There were so many other super great guys there whose names I’ve forgotten, but I hope to see you all again soon, and most of all, thanks for letting me feel gay again.