This weekend I was reminded that most of my friends are coupled up. Mr. Brooks and CPOS celebrate 20 years this May — twenty years! That’s the homo equivalent of about a century, and they’re only in their early 40s. Mr. and Mrs. Torres over across the street; Big Organ and Nerd Chaser; Funny Michael and Dr. Gerry; JJ and Saira; even relative newcomers Krist and Bad Sam … all of my gays are paired up like we’re boarding Noah’s ark.*
I was at an Easter party on Saturday night when it hit me that, but for one or two exceptions, everyone I knew well at the party was partnered, or at least dating someone else at the party. The only time that usually tends to bother me is if I know that a gathering will be all couples, and then me and maybe one other token single person. I skip pretty much all New Year’s Eve celebrations mostly for that reason — yay, happy couples! Look at you, blissful and macking on your mate at 11:59:59, while the singles who haven’t paired up out of sheer desperation have settled on staring at the floor, pretending they haven’t noticed everyone else has someone to kiss.
I will flat-out admit it: The reason I am going to the gym is because I am going to become the person that Shallow Me would be attracted to straightaway, and that includes developing bigger arms, shoulders, back and chest. (Yay, me, working toward goals, whatever.) But in the interim, while they grow S-L-O-W-L-Y, my self-perception remains along the lines of skinny 40-year-old with an unstoppable bullet train of thought and a Tyra Banks fivehead**. It’s the sort of shit that leads to weeks of 5:30 a.m. cardio sessions AND 8 p.m. weight training AND a spartan diet AND trying to blog AND four or five hours of sleep, until one day I crack, say “Eff this” and sleep in, skip blogging for a week, wear the same clothes day after day and eat meals directly out of drive-through bags.
It didn’t help that when people were discussing the other single guys at the Easter party, the phrase “he’s a mess” came up sort of frequently. And after a while, that overactive brain was thinking: Jesus***, am I a mess, too? The default position is, of course, “Yes, indeed — why would you think you’re exempt from this overarching categorization that apparently applies to every other single person there?” And it kind of spiraled from there, until I was smiling on the outside but constantly excoriating myself on the inside, trying to distract myself by diving into random conversations but knowing that my motivation in joining them wasn’t genuine.
So I started making my way to the door, ready to give up and call it a night, when my friend Rich said, randomly, to his boyfriend: “Sam is one of the awesomest people I know.” I don’t know why he said it right then — and I’ve decided I don’t want to know why he said it right then, either — but it was the perfect comment at the perfect time to help pull me out of the funk I’d thought myself into. (I’m still overanalyzing the aftermath, but the worst of it is gone.)
It was a good reminder, as I posted as my Facebook status earlier this week, that “just because you’re on a self-improvement kick doesn’t mean you weren’t awesome to start with.”
And I have a friend who’s part of a couple to thank for it.
*You may have noticed that I refer to most of my friends (and many strangers) by their nicknames. This is not to protect their identities on the blog; it’s how I have them stored in my phone, and in most cases, how I refer to them. (That includes “Mr. Brooks,” BTW.) It began because I knew like five Michaels/Mikes, and kind of morphed from there.
**Oversize forehead = fivehead.
*** Not addressed directly to The Jesus, as in “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” but rather taking His name in vain, as in “thou shalt not.”