Thursday, July 16, 2009
One of my few disappointments in living in this area of Delaware is the lack of making new gay friends. The Rehoboth Beach/Lewes/Milton area of southern Delaware is supposed to be the gay capital of the East Coast. We are located almost right in the center radius of the Philadelphia/Balitmore/Washington D.C. geographical map. We are a beach resort community without the cold waters and large pebbles of the Provinctown, Massachusetts beaches. Delaware also doesn't have the high taxes of Massachusetts for the brutally cold winters. Thus, one would think that living in this so called "Gay Capital of the East Coast" would be a melting pot of meeting new gay friends. Alas, that is not the case. At least with me, it has not happened. I have made a few gay friends (I can count them on one hand), but after living here almost three years I've just about given up on making any new gay friends.
Ironically, I have made many new friends. Except for that handful of gay friends (Wayne, Paul, Jack, Doug and Bob), all of my new friends are straight. Not that I am complaining. My new straight friends are about the nicest people I have ever met. Some are my neighbors and others are the folks I work with. I have made many new friends from service areas such as our regular restaurant (Zorba's) and our regular grocery stores (Food Lion and Wal-Mart.) Bill and I also keep The Home Depot and Lowe's in business. We've been at those stores so often that the store clerks treat us as old friends. Yesterday (and today) both Bill and I will visit our other favorite service place, The Garage (we both have old vehicles that need servicing.)
Maybe I was being a bit naive when I expected to be greeted with hugs and kisses from my gay brothers and sisters when I moved down here permanently in November of 2006. Actually, I think I was being very naive. Part of the difficulty is that I'm not of the Washington D.C. crowd which seems to comprise most of the gay cliques. From my vantage point (on the outside looking in), this is a crowd of gay folks who have very generous pensions and can afford to frequent the expensive restaurants that I cannot afford. Also, most of these folks seem to already know one another from their previous lives and as I found out many years ago, most gay men (gay women I don't know that much about other than they really stick together and have very little to do with gay guys) stay with their own group of friends. The only exceptions they seem to make is if they are cruising for a sexual encounter and that activity is definitely not on my radar at this time of my life.
So I'm thinking "Is my life less rewarding now that I haven't made many gay friends?" The answer of course is "No." My life is very rewarding. I have a beautiful home and wonderful neighbors. I work at an absolutely lovely hotel with the best co-workers I've ever worked with in my life (and that is no exaggeration.) My boss is a wonderful man even though he's young enough to be my grandson. The owner of the hotel is a generous and delightful man whose only "fault" (if it can be deemed as such) is that he demands perfection from his employees.
The few encounters I have had with meeting new gay people usually starts with the same question "What do you do?" This question hasn't changed since my days of bar hopping back when I was much younger. The"What do you do?" question is invariably followed by "Who do you know?" question. This question apparently is to determine if one fits into the pecking order of the local gay social order. If you don't know anybody, you might as well call for the check and go home because no one is interested in making friends with you. This phenomena isn't unique to the local gay scene, I ran into it when I used to vacation in Provincetown, Massachusetts by myself for many years. I was one of the rare gay men who went on vacation by myself and (with a few notable exceptions) stayed by myself during the entire vacation. I gave up a long time ago trying to break that invisible self protective wall that the gay cliques surround themselves with.
The reason I'm writing about this subject his morning is as a response to an Facebook message I received from two new friends that I have made through my blog. They said they would be delighted to have breakfast with me at my favorite restaurant if they lived closer. Mike and Glenn live in West Hollywood, California so the chances of that happening are close to nil in my lifetime. But it did make me wonder, why hasn't that offer been made to me from any of the local gay Mafia? I do not have the answer to that question.
At one time I thought maybe it was me. Maybe I wasn't attractive enough or maybe I didn't make enough money to qualify. Hey, maybe I wasn't smart enough of (this is one requirement I will never meet) I wasn't "gay" enough. By "gay enough" I mean an stereotypical mincing, bitchy, drag loving queen. That I am not. I'm just a regular, masculine guy who lives a typical suburban lifestyle. Granted, I'm not into show tunes but I do like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
Yes, it will always mystify me why I haven't made more gay friends but I will treasure those few gays friends I have made and my many straight friends. As I have often said, "I have a lot of straight friends, not that there is anything wrong with that." And as for Mike and Glenn of California; I hope someday that we can make that breakfast date. That would be something that I would really enjoy.