“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.” -The Winter of Our Discontent
I’ve been thrown into the gay end of the pool.
I just arrived at a party that my cousin invited me to in the hills. It’s at a gorgeous house with an even more gorgeous view, packed with gorgeous gay men… or at least ones intimidating enough to pull off hot by proxy. Standing there, watching them chatter and play around the pool, I pull the pink plastic sunglasses off my face, trying my best to feel less out of place.
“There you are,” my cousin Clark says, noticing me standing at the house entrance. “Here I am,” I mutter before deciding how stupid my words sound. “This is Chase,” Clark says, introducing his co-worker to me. “Nice to meet you,” Chase says. “I think we’ve met before,” I say, by which I mean we have definitely met. I’m a little disappointed he doesn’t remember me. I always wonder in these situations if it’s better to just pretend you don’t remember either. As I shake his hand, he looks at me a little sideways before someone else greets him, then he’s gone.
“Can I get you a drink?” Clark asks. I try to work out the mathematical formula in my head to figure out the maximum quantity of liquor I can consume but still be safe to drive by the time I leave: no less than three hours here without an excuse to bounce, factor in the probable alcohol ratio of the mixed drinks, carry the one… that equals one very strong vodka tonic and a beer to chase with later.
After he retrieves me a drink, Clark talks to me for another ten minutes and introduces me to so many people that I can’t manage to hold onto a single one of their names. I think to myself, This is L.A. Can’t people just hand me their business cards? It would make all of this a lot easier.
I take another sip of my drink, hoping it will chill me out. I don’t know what it is about drinks, but having that cup in your hand—at first glance, an utterly useless prop—is a better weapon to fight social awkwardness than the actual liquor in it. Read the rest of this entry »