Saturday, October 08, 2011

Unexpected encounter

Lots of thoughts bouncing around in my head, but not that many for public consumption – if you get private time with me then you’ll get to hear it.

I had an extremely rare instance of unexpected private time with someone for the first time on Wednesday night. The circumstances started Tuesday night, which was a leadership team meeting for Open Love NY at Murray’s apartment on the Upper West Side. We welcomed Linda to our leadership team and covered our major issues, planning the holiday party and setting some goals for 2012. It was late when we finally adjourned and Leon hurried me out because the elevator had arrived so I left my scarf on Murray’s couch.

Since he had given me an Open Love NY t-shirt to exchange for a size larger, we arranged to meet the following evening at Pleasure Salon, which is kind of like Poly Cocktails, but sexier. It’s held the first Wednesday of each month at Happy Endings lounge in Chinatown. I got there early and chatted with the organizer, Patricia (whom I’d met at Diana’s barbecue party a while back) to see about doing some kind of co-sponsored event.

I also saw Jen there and chatted a bit with her and promised to make one-on-one plans soon. I bumped into Aiden, who holds the distinction of being maybe the fourth or fifth person I’ve ever kissed in my life with romantic intent (this was at my first Cuddle Party in October 2007 before their gender transition).

I made the exchange with Murray and was about to leave when Beth (from House PNJ friends) came in and greeted me. It was her first time at Pleasure Salon, and she wasn’t feeling very comfortable there, so we left together to do some grocery shopping and have dinner at the usual café on Grand Street. We talked about being shy and socially awkward and relationships of course, and our own versions of "failed experiments" over the years. Thankfully she’s not a picky eater even though she was raised in a Jewish family, so we got to share my favorite clam and sizzling chicken dishes, plus snow pea shoots with garlic.

My boss Lori always makes fun of me because when we first met two years ago, I described myself as “painfully shy.” So every time she learns more about my personal life, she throws that back at me, saying I’m being disingenuous describing myself that way. Like the fact I’m the leader of a 700+ member group, or that I’ve attended play parties.

But what I find is that people see a very different person at events like Poly Cocktails than they might see when I’m alone with them. I talk about personal things and I listen much more intently. I talk more, to keep up my end of the conversation, rather than hang back and let other people jump in and introduce new topics. I’m much more daring in what I say to one person than I would be in a group.

But of course I’ve also grown up a bit from two years ago. Two years is a long time for a 7-year-old. I’m much more comfortable with myself and confident with my interactions with others. It’s good to see and recognize this.