As someone who struggles with my personal identity and who is constantly searching for the next component to add to my Personality Resume, I had a breakthrough recently over Subway cookies, Italian meats (I can't pronounce), and a chilly 312. Lemme tell ya about it.
So making friends in the city is complicated. If you want to meet people you have, primarily, a few options; work, some type of extra-curricular, a bar, or online. In my experience meeting friends through work is one of the best ways IF you have a job where you come in contact with a large amount of people fairly frequently. Macy's is still the best meeting place for gals and gays this side of the Mississippi - I'd bet my entire collection of Chanel lipsticks on that. But sometimes you sit in a cubicle or behind a drive-thru window (or worse, although I cayn't imagine anything worse) so you try out a book club or art show. Well the snag there is they actually expect you to read the books AND they're almost never about Edward, Bella, Bill, or Sookie. And, as I can vouche, artists are self-centered and want to talk about their OWN creative process and how deeply rooted their painting of a dot goes and how it's a "representation of the societal differences and social class blabbity bloop blahbitty". I'm like, "Dude, I wanna eat this pizza, drink a beer, and talk about scary movies and where to buy good weed." I kid, I kid - I only like romantic comedies.
But if you do want to chat about art, e-mail me. I'd be glad to talk to you about myself.
ANYHOO, that leaves bars - where everyone is wasted and forget your name as soon as you say it. Next, onto the Internet. Need I explain Grindr? I didn't think so.
So I met some people on a job... to keep their identities a secret we'll call them Jim and BJ. Jim and BJ are two gays who recently got married and actually followed through and meant it when they said "we should have a drink sometime!"
So I swing by my buddy's and have some drinks with him and his bf before heading over to BJ and Jim's palace. That's palace - not place. I'm younger and wasn't sure what to expect. I mean, I've seen the good, bad, and fucking crazy at weddings so I didn't know what to expect. The last thing I wanted was for someone to say "Oh hey… didn't you walk around with a light and a bag at BJ and Jim's wedding? Neat…" Then there's the ever popular "Who are you again? ... Aaaand HOW old are you?"
This is NOT because I expected anyone to be a dick-face. This is simply because I have an engrained fear of someone not liking me. I could walk into a room and woo 24 out of 25 and still kick myself in the shins because I didn't get all 25. This is probably because I was made fun of for years, everyday, because I couldn't shoot a fucking basketball in gym class. Unfortunately people don't forget... But everyone that made me miserable got fat. So, in a lot of ways, I win.
Again, I digress - Back to business...
Well I was tickled pink at what happened. I spent the night with gays and lesbians, in a beautiful condo and chatted about everything from peeing the bed, racial slurs, food, whiskey, and wall sconces.
What I love, and what inspired me to write on it, is that over the course of that evening I spent time with a doctor, teacher, photographer, business owner, a painter, a designer (you get it). And - it was fine, which is a lesson I needed to learn. Nobody looked down on anyone else or talked about money, or anything else terribly embarrassing. I realized that sometimes people aren't assholes. Sometimes a person is just that - a person. A person isn't their job. A person is bigger than their bank account.
AND people like to shoot the shit. A lot.
I stress about money and, unfortunately, I do base some of my pride on how much money I'm making. Give me a break, I didn't grow up with money. The parents split and I went to college which I'll be paying for, apparently, for the next 743 years. But I want to wear nice clothes, have a cute apartment, own a car again (at some point) and I'm a shopper, Hontey. And all that combined gets in the way of really doing your life and experiencing the fun and not-so-fun of it and being around interesting people.
One of the things I truly love about being here is meeting and being around people that are interesting and quirky and fun. I've maintained a fairly consistent core group of friends up until now and, sometimes, it does feel like a selfish decision to have left that group to explore a more exciting career-route and meet other folks. It kind of makes you feel like a turd when you say you felt like you "outgrew" somewhere or "just had to get out".
I do believe that a place is only as good as the people in it. If a teacher can talk to me about convincing someone else that HE pee'd the bed and then we can all nosh and smoke cigarettes until 2am, there's no reason why someone should feel like there's nobody out there to meet, be it platonically or romantically.
Long story short:
• go places when you're invited
• never underestimate the power of the Subway
• talk to strangers, ESPECIALLY when they offer you treats
• worry about making friends more than you worry about making more cash. They last longer, they talk back, and they're always good for bumming cigs and shooting the shit.
And, lastly, a big hug to BJ and Jim for embracing my crazy and incorporating me into theirs. May we all end up in straightjackets in Miami by age 85.