For better or worse, I’ve always been a solo act. That’s my nature, and it took an extremely special exception to induce a temporary deviation from that state. It seems unlikely to me that there will be a repeat anytime in the foreseeable future. Hence my (very polite) rebuff to a (very well-meaning) coworker who suggested I start dating and sampling all that exciting gay nightlife in Winston-Salem.
As far as I can tell, the sum total of Winston-Salem’s “exciting gay nightlife” consists of one big disco that doubles as a venue for drag shows on Friday nights. In short, it’s every Southern ghetto queer bar I ever hated in my twenties and thirties all wrapped up in a package that fills me with nothing but fatigue and a sense of impending doom now that I’m in my forties. Having spent a supremely miserable couple of hours in a smaller version of the same bar about six months ago, I can tell you that this scene appeals to me only slightly more than that vacation in Libya I’ve been dreaming of for so long.
I’m a little torn right now. I’ve never in my life felt as alone as I do right now. I have some very good friends in my life and they’ve been a really big help to me in the past few months. But they’re not here. There’s no one here to listen to me talk about my insecurities, my regrets, and just how shitty I feel about everything that’s going on in my life right now–and it’s not just the breakup. No hugs, no crying on anyone’s shoulder, almost no human contact at all. I speak to my parents and my coworkers all the time, but only in the most superficial way (see first paragraph above) and always through my brave, happy face. In fact, I haven’t even told my parents about Mark and me yet, for a number of reasons. And yes, I understand that I boxed myself into this isolated little corner.
To be honest, a big part of me sort of wants to be alone right now. It’s hard work talking about this stuff and it also opens me up to having to listen to other people’s stuff. And I need to feel a little self-absorbed right now. But yeah, I need to build some local friendships.
The last thing I need in my life right now, though, is to be hanging around late at night in some wretched queer bar of the damned, sipping a Coke, choking on bad cologne smells, and listening to some of the worst music ever recorded.
What I probably need even less than that is to be “dating”. I never enjoyed that when I was voluntarily single and I don’t imagine I’d find it any more appealing now that I’m involuntarily so.
Not, mind you, that I expect to be fielding many offers to begin with…