I am living a life postponed.
On the verge of my 30s, when considering myself a tight young thing is fast running out of the realm of possibility, I have discovered that I have been in hiding for too long.
Like a subterranean rodent scurrying through narrow passages and bleak tunnels, I only surface when I feel I absolutely need to. I will leave my hovel to collect food and nourishments. On the occasions when I feel the need to experience physical intimacy, I will find some wayward soul and drag him back to my hole in the ground. Having my way, I will dismiss him immediately so I can return to my life of solitude.
For the last five years I have lived as a hermit and this is a role I no longer want to play.
It wasn’t all for nothing, though. I attribute my greatest personal growth to this time. However, it is high time to remove my head from my ass and get on with it.
I have to find some way to reintroduce myself to the world above my hole in the ground. In particular, I want to rejoin Vancouver’s fabled gay community. I want and need to start dating and to create a circle of friends.
Gone are the days when awkward, drunken one-night stands are enough to appease my desire. I actually want to discover another human being and develop a mature, stable and successful relationship.
Trouble is, I am not even sure if a “gay community” truly exists. By definition, according to the Webster’s New World dictionary, a community is a “group of people living together and having interests in common.” Considering the only thing we all share is a mutual attraction to members of the same sex, I have to think we are more diverse than the word “community” would suggest.
Not that I am a stranger to the scene. Before I became a shadow, I attempted to become part of a community. Oddly enough, I found I had very little in common with my brothahs, or at least convinced myself so. Even now, as I write these words, I am beginning to reconsider my entire position on the topic.
Maybe I made hasty judgments that had no bearing in reality. I might have convinced myself that I was incapable of connecting with other homos simply out of fear. It makes sense. What other demotivating factor could make me run for the hills and abandon the land of the living?
The time has come to implement a concrete plan of action. How can I best become a fully functioning, living, breathing gay man in the 21st century?
Do I submerge myself in the culture? Do I seek out a posse of friendly homos and integrate myself into the social order? Do I go to circuit parties, join a gym, and place an ad on some meat marketeering website?
Damn. The fact that I have to ask such ridiculous questions proves I have some way to go.
A few nights ago, I tried throwing myself at the wolves. Forgoing the instinct to just take baby steps and keep my guard up, I went to Celebrities for the first time in ages. Arriving unfashionably early, I stood among an increasing swell of men. Every minute, a new cluster of beautiful men littered the dance floor.
At a slight five feet and seven inches and possessing a slim (almost invisible) build, I found myself overwhelmed in the presence of such unbridled testosterone. These creatures seemed to tower over me, immaculately groomed and exuding a confidence that was lost on me.
While my senses reeled from the man candy, cigarette smoke and the thumping bass of neo-dance music, I realized I had taken a drastic step. Perhaps not the healthiest environment in which to reintegrate, but a lively display of possibility and incomprehensible elation.
The energy in the crowd lacked the rank bitchiness I had become accustomed to. Now my reference to the gay community would no longer be limited to my own biases. In this sense, the night was a rousing success.
Of course, I refrained from making eye contact with anyone. It was hard enough maintaining composure without catching anyone’s eye. I remained on the sidelines until the club’s closing hour and headed out.
Aside from an acute attack of sexual frustration, I felt a sense of quiet relief. While there is still some unchartered terrain to cross, I look forward to whatever surprises, upsets, humiliations and triumphs I may face coming out of hiding.