Hello... "Ratbert the Chosen" checking in again after a couple of months (yes, the amazing 24 year-old "man/boy" who remains trapped in social pubescence being:
Two white, fuzzy rodents keep me company at least, although knowing full well it's a rather self-centered relationship ("feed us, human!"). But the stresses of moving into a new area is starting to subside, the weather is clearing, work remains un-involving, it all now leaves room for that ever-present deep question: "When's the next episode of Babylon 5 going to be on ?" (phew, there's the schedule... well, here's another plot point: "Is it possible I will ever find someone with mutual interests, admiration, love, respect, and what-have-you ?" [ah, it's the topic of next week's 'X-files']). Guess that answers everything... good night folks!
I've seen this heading in various forms through the public media a few times, often with a reference to "Ellen", but never as a topic itself (indeed, I'm one of the few people who has not seen the (in)famous episode, nor many others for that matter). I can but imagine how strange it will be possibly 20 years from now saying, "So great we met, by the way, you're the first person I've ever cherished, give me some space... no, really...". I suspect this would inevitably cause some problems. But I also figure maybe for others in this day, under these circumstances, that this same issue may not be that uncommon. A few make comments on it, but no one really describes it. How do they express themselves when they finally do meet someone ? It doesn't seem to be a natural instinct, else I misplaced mine. I miss the opportunities younger people had to work through these sort of issues, because it was okay to be somewhat awkward and trying then, and I respect those that do take the opportunity, regardless of outcome. But by this time in my life, though, most people are all "grown up" and experienced, leaving just us nerds who spent adolescence in the back of the high-school library reading sci-fi novels and computer texts. I would think that finding another person like myself would be much better in at least having some sort of common understanding, but it seems most of them may still be at home playing the pre-release of Quake III for 36 hours straight, at least among those making the same realization. Ah, how I wish I could go back to those days and try again (damn, I starting to sound old...)
I've made a few excursions from south Bay into SF on the weekends, walking 12-14 miles a day around to see the sights: downtown, north beach, the Bridge, Castro, Haight, various parks. Definitely an interesting place, and yet all while feeling somewhat comfortably secure and at home (hopefully not to contribute to my unexpected demise; I still look over my shoulder from time-to-time). But alas, as evening arrives, it's time to go to my real home 45 minutes away (I've always found it so awkward going to a restaurant or live music club alone; it also seems live jazz isn't very popular among the younger crowds anyway). It's at least nice to know there's always something going on at any given time, even if one isn't often too inclined to participate (I just happen to have all the cable channels available even though I only watch about 5 of them regularly).
There is one nightclub I've been going to fairly regularly up there that's fun and easy to blend into. It's not considered a "gay" club, so there's no particular pressure for me. I've only recently discovered the DJ nightclub scene, so it remains an interesting new experience on a weekly basis. During a recent special event there I actually noticed someone (a boy) of interest. He was unremarkable by most standards: boyish while lacking any attempts to accessorize with clothing or behavior, alone and interacting with no one, but overall enjoying the music, lights and essentially there to have fun; basically how I might describe myself on these occasions. We seemed to cross glances a couple of times, but nothing for certain as we kept to ourselves. Over the evening (and next morning), I casually did the stake-out while equally enjoying the main scene. After several hours I finally gathered enough courage to sit beside him in one of the bars and announced myself with a well-prepared statement: "hi." (for me, the amount of effort that took probably equaled that of composing a 3 volume technical compendium on the navigational abilities of the fruit bat, so I gave myself at least a little bit of credit at this accomplishment). The response, however, was equally verbose. Several minutes... I tried a question: "Always this crowded ?".
This actually sparked a volley of about 3 rounds of small talk. Several more minutes... he finally got bored and went to the dance part of the room. Oh well... I sat back and closed my eyes and basically chilled for a while. After a while he came back, told me something that sounded positive (although I couldn't fully understand) and then went back out again. "Could it be possible ?!" A brand new emotion arrived (how strange; like those old school crushes, but the other person possibly being interested in me??) But as I am, I wanted to be careful, take things slowly. This wasn't a very good place to hold a quiet conversation, so I left... well, to go find something to write on, my name and e-mail address (not a phone number, of course... wasn't that daring), on a napkin from the bar on the main floor. He came down shortly after (as if to follow ?), but I didn't want to give it to him just yet, awaiting the "appropriate" opportunity, which was basically when either of us were about to leave for the evening. For about an hour we danced, but we remained separated. Eventually, he disappeared from sight and I never saw him again, the napkin still in my pocket. *sigh* I wasn't sure what to make of it; I stayed for hours after that, looking (I was there for a total of 7 hours!... it also happened to be good music). It was indeed a rare opportunity, happening to be someone who actually reminded me somewhat of myself (and one of my old crushes come to think of it).
I've heard people tend to be attracted to others of similar appearances, mannerisms, and views. Which makes sense, and probably explains why it can be difficult to find someone else of interest. There's the congregation of the jocks, the yuppies, the computer scientists, the counter-culture, various factions of the gay community, etc. and then the strange combinations like socially inept bi- intellectuals with an interest in fruit bats, whose fellowship holds the same collective bonding as the church of atheism. While I never did find out anything about that other person, not even his name, he seemed a comfortable potential. But it was probably likely it wouldn't have gone very far even if we did continue beyond that evening. But I at least discovered having the ability to really care about something to the point of independently trying something that completely foreign and daring, failing, and not regretting it (i.e., this was still a good thing).
I have yet to attend any gay-related organizations/groups. I'm not really sure what I would find that would actually help me, but maybe I'm looking in the wrong places ('zines like Oblivion and The Castro for local events definitely seem to be talking to a different crowd... is there no middle ground ?)
Reading some of the other columns, I see there's a couple of others sharing some of this pain. Trying to reach out is really difficult when I have to type what's on my mind. Too bad you're all so far away, I might actually dare myself to meeting someone. But I'll try harder this month (beware)...
Well, for now let us return to reading more happy stories... enjoy!
Thoughtful insights appreciated...