Thursday, July 16, 2009

Making Friends




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.

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:48 AM

    Ron,

    Do you think the problem could be jealousy? I've seen the glares that my nephew & his partner give each other when they are introduced to another male individual, whether gay or straight. They also get very annoyed if one of them spends a lot of time talking to that person. It's very much like a straight male/female couple when they are in mixed company & one becomes chummy with the opposite sex. My nephew & his partner don't seem to have hardly any gay friends. They are in their late
    30's & still seem very awkward when attending family functions. They know that many of the older members in the family will never understand their sexuality & many do stare at them as if they have 2 heads. I actually feel sorry for them & probably over compensate because they are attached to me like glue when we're all together. Some people mistake friendliness as an invasion of their privacy which is a shame. They are missing out on some good times with decent people.

    This is life & how boring the world would be if we were all the same. Mike & Glen seem like great guys as far as the comments they make. They do live in a state that is more relaxed & use to other lifestyles. So that makes a big difference.

    Take care,
    Fran

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  2. Read my Email. Too much to say in a brief comment.

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  3. Mike,

    I read your e-mail. You're a treasure. Thank you for your friendship.

    Ron

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  4. Fran,

    I think you have put your finger onto something. I do think jealousy plays a part in making friendship or preventing friendships. You're not the first person to mention that to me. I am so naive that I often miss the obvious.

    I was hesitant about posting that blog about friendship because I didn't want to offend the friends I have made. I value all friendships; straight, gay or whatever. However, it seemed to me once I moved down here to an area with a heavy gay population I would make more friends but it just hasn't happened. My friend Mike (of Mike and Glenn) sent me an e-mail and said he and Glenn have encountered a similar situation where they live in California. So I guess maybe it's not me but just the way life is.

    I got to thinking a lot about friendships after viewing the movie "Boys in the Band Again" a few days ago. The movie isn't really about homosexuals as much as it is about human relationships among friends. Straight or gay, friendship is always complicated and true friendships are hard to come by.

    The main reason I started a blog was to make new friendships and to satisfy my need to write. With you and Mike and Glenn (and I think Jim Rossingale although I haven't heard from him for a long time) I have made new friends for which I am very appreciative.

    I have always found it fascinating that the worst punishment that a prisoner can undergo is to be put in solitary confinement, to have no contact with his fellow human beings. This punishment is even worse than a beating or other physical depravations. Even though we're not in prison but in loving relationships we can still experience loneliness. Writing a blog helps me to alleviate that hunger from my soul. If I can help anyone else become less lonely in this cold world, then I have accomplished the mission I set for myself when I began this blog a few years ago.

    I think we all want to leave a mark when we leave this world. I never did get around to writing that book about my life. Maybe that will happen someday but in the meantime my blog is me saying “I am, he said.”

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  5. Anonymous6:03 PM

    Ron,

    I'm so honored you consider me a friend. I feel the same and you have helped me understand some of the feelings my neice & nephew are going thru. For that, thank you!

    They are good Christian kids & the seculsion they feel bothers me so bad. I just want to hug them forever when I see them. Now some will have a problem with what I just said about being Christian. I know what the bible says but it also speaks of judging others. Maybe this is a test, who knows.

    bigf....that stands for "best internet girlfriend." No, I'm not coming out of the closet....lol

    Fran

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  6. Fran,

    Yes, I do consider you one of my valuable friends that I have made through my Internet blog. If I have helped you in anyway to understand some of the feelings your niece and nephew are going through, then my efforts will not have been in vain.

    You say "Now some will have a problem with what I just said about being Christian." I do not have a problem with that statement or your beliefs. I was raised a Christian (Southern Baptist) and still feel most comfortable in that branch of Christianity. What I have a problem with is the perversion of the Christian religion by some that discounts me as a human being because I am a homosexual. The statement "God loves the sinner but hates the sin" is BS. What I was taught in bible school when I was very young was that I was created in the image of God and God doesn't make mistakes. I truly believe that I, as a homosexual along with my fellow GLBT human beings am on this earth to test the true Christianity of those who claim to be Christians. To me people like Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Senator John Ensign are frauds. They use their family and their claim to a higher moral ground to condemn people like me and yet they do not practice what they preach. Christian hypocrisy is what I hate, not true Christians.

    I do not condemn any religion. My belief is that if practicing a particular religion gives one comfort that is good. Where I have a problem is when one person tries to foist their beliefs on me and passes judgment on my life because they "don't approve." I don't seek nor do I need man's approval for my life. I stated this recently to a good friend of my partner Bill and now he (Bill's friend) won't have anything to do with him because he says Bill lives with the "Devil." That is exactly the type of Christian I have a problem with. This is someone who believes that I am the devil because I don't practice his particular brand of religion which condemns homosexuality.

    This sounds like the start of another blog posting. It's much too early in the morning to get into this. Again, I want to say that I value your friendship Fran and wish nothing but the best for you. This wish comes to you from a fellow Christian. And how I know I am a Christian is because I practice the one true tenant of Christianity "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That's all I need. I do not condemn anyone nor do I tell anyone how to live their lives. All I ask is for them to treat me as they would have me treat them.

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  7. Anonymous9:22 AM

    Amen !!

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