I did, I really did!
Ok, it was a BBQ. But it was in the backyard of a house and there was a garden, so I stand by the title of my post.
I didn’t go to reminisce with my old friends, more so with the intent of making a naw friend…with someone I’d been randomly running into around town and flirting with – mutually, I believe – for months. You know? Putting a little intent into my life.
Of course, the downside was that he was the host and the only person I knew there.
Well, that and that he lives way out in SE Portland, which is about an hour trek by bus. That was total downside.
I arrive and get a chummy, huggy greeting while chatting with a couple of folks that arrived right about the same time I did. I also handed over the Bullet that I’d brought in exchange for some Bloody Mary goodness and was then left to mingle when my host left the makeshift bar on the front porch to tend to things in the kitchen.
I swayed awkwardly on the porch while swirling my drink as the only other person on the porch busied herself with the modern day equivalent of fluffing her crinolines…checking her cell phone. Determined to force myself out of my semi-elitist social comfort zone, I blurted out something of an inquiry about how she came to be at this BBQ. As it turned out, she knew the host really well having lived as roommates in the past, remained friends and currently shared a part time bar tending gig together.
Did I mention my Bloody Mary was kick-ass good?
After I volunteered that I only knew the host a teensy bit by comparison, the head went back to the phone and I took my drink swirling to the kitchen. There, I lurked in the far doorway and observed the goings on before ultimately being drawn into the talk by the other homo in attendance and subsequently escorted out to the back yard to be introduced around.
The back yard was really nice, my friend-quaintance had done a lot of work on it. I appreciated the urge to nest, especially in a rental. There were raised beds for veggies at the back and from the rear porch a gravel path had been laid through the center of the yard that ended in a circle of benches around a fire pit in the middle part of the yard. The sides we lined with grassy areas and flower beds.
Ah, life in the suburbs.
It really inspired me. But I also know my success rate in maintaining a house with full front and back yards as a single person.
No, thank you.
But onto small-talking and friend-making! Hopefully.
I approached a group of women who were chatting and eased my way into the conversation just as one of their boyfriends joined in.
We all chatted for a bit and then a dog and toddler got unruly, drawing all but one person away from the group. Figuring, “what could possibly go wrong?”, I asked her name.
I honestly can’t recall her name, ATM, which is ok since I generally change people’s names or give them a nick to protect anonymity amongst my audience of literally dozens of people.
That being said, my initial thought at learning her name was, “clearly, your mother wanted a stripper for a daughter” but shoving my EOG aside, I asked what she did for a living, instead,
I had heard mention of how nice it was that she was back in town, gathering she split her time between PDX and LA for work.
“I guess the shorthand is that I’m a sexual identity counselor.”
Back off, you grumpy, old bastard. I’m committed to this…
“And”, gulping my Bloody Mary, “the longhand?” just only now noticing how deep her diaphanous DVF-type dress was cut.
She launched into her vocation enthusiastically talking about how she helps people break out of the traditional two gender/hetero/homo based thinking around sexuality.
I didn’t even blush.
And then I thoughtfully engaged on the topic; asking questions about what her clients tend to struggle with while remembering my own less-than-graceful coming out. We had a lengthy discussion, during which she mentioned her partner here in PDX.
“Oh, you have a…boyyy…”
“Boyfriend, yes, here in town. Well, partner, really. We’re monogamous.”
I mentioned that was cool, not something you ran into much here in the kinkiest town in America these days. I asked how it was, spending so much time in LA. She said it was ok, he had work here so he didn’t go with her – following that up with that not being a bad thing since she had her “poly thing” down there and he wasn’t really into that.
“But I thought you were monogamous?”
“We are! Here in Portland!”
Tempted to indulge my inner curmudgeon and explore the fluid definition of monogamy, I once again resisted. Sipping my Mary and resetting my body language – which hadn’t strayed that far, surprisingly – to neutral, I asked about the poly thing.
“It’s more emotional and spiritual than it is sexual, really.”
Aaaahhh…see what patience can be rewarded with? This was enlightening. Normally, people pursue satisfying their sexual needs first and subjugating their emotional needs in to that end.
This was a refreshing change in mindset.
We went on to chat casually about that for about 20 more minutes. We touched on how people aren’t usually steadfast in their sexual preferences, at least when it came to the binary genders. It was really insightful and interesting.
However, my Bloody Mary had been reduced to melting ice for far too long and this hippily-dippily named woman had a plane to LA she needed to catch, so I excused myself while admitting to my firm Kinsey 6-ness and thanking her for the enlightening conversation.
That was gonna be hard to follow up.
I had another drink and then it was time for some BBQ goodness and some light chit chat with folks around the fire pit. After food, we all gathered on the porch to refresh our drinks again when the conversation turned to games. Feeling kinda buzzed, I opted to take the opportunity to catch an Uber back to the city.
It was a great afternoon. Doing nothing to really diminish the friendly crush I had on my host. Not did the bro-top he was wearing help me not be attracted to him.
He’s a sexy guy, what can I say? But after that afternoon, I also knew he was a really nice and unsurprisingly fun guy to spend time with.
Look at that…personal growth. At my age.