X is one of my closest friends and is a gay man. We’ve known each other for years (since high school) and we’ve seen each other at our best and worst. I love him dearly. But I hate going out with him.
X is a sexual predator: not in the illegal sense, but rather in the sense that every interaction is a potential sexual encounter. This is the lens through which X views the world: there are women and there are potential sex partners. I’ve discussed it with him multiple times over the years, and his outlook and behavior have not changed. I’ve learned to live with it, and placed some limits and demands on him as a result. For instance, when we go to a restaurant, I make him sit facing the wall or position him so that his line of eye site is limited to the fewest people possible. Otherwise I find myself largely ignored as he scopes the surroundings for potential prey. The worst experience? Try going to a gay bar with him: not only does he ignore you, but the wait staff will as well. It is hard for a woman to get served in a gay bar.
X took me out recently for my birthday. We walked to the restaurant Saturday evening and I found myself contemplating the Palm Sunday services at my local church. As I rambled about the festivities, I realized he’d broken stride with me and was busy flirting with a young hottie on the street. This continued on the way to the restaurant various with men he’d make eye contact with: that knowing gaze and sizing up of one another. At dinner X flirted with the wait-staff and eyeballed the crowd for cute men. I said something about it to him, and his response was of the “wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity” ilk.
There is no jealousy in me: I’m not a stereotypical fag-hag, hoping to change him. I have no need to be the object of flirtation or affection. But I couldn’t help but feel that just for once, I’d like for someone to wave palm fronds because I walked in the room…
We all want to be honored occasionally and to not disappear into the crowd. I am not one among many: I am one; singular; someone to be celebrated, even if just a little.