Call Me Coach

This week, on Glee, there was a subplot story line, in which Coach Beiste admits to having feelings for a guy who “doesn’t think of her like that.”  They then presented a montage of scenes in which the guy in question is clearly flirting with Coach Beiste or suggesting a date with Coach Beiste and in every instance she is completely oblivious to what’s really going on.

These scenes were comical, to be sure, and of course, as an outside observer, it’s easy to see what’s going on.  But I started to think about it.  I put myself in Coach Beistes cleats (which wasn’t really that hard to do) and I wondered, “If you’re someone who doesn’t fit the norm of what society thinks a person should be ; if your self-esteem is so low – at least in the area of romance – how likely would you be to be able to recognize the signs?”  I’m pretty sure that I’ve had my share of Coach Beiste moments.  I’ve been completely oblivious to signs when someone was flirting with me.  Add to that, the fact that my Gaydar is shot and I’m in a pretty bad way.

I once wrote a post about lunch with a guy, Kevin was his name – how cute would that be (barf) – who had invited me out to thank me for being such a big help to him in a work related capacity.  He worked for the local University of Phoenix campus and I had enabled him to come set up an information table in our building lobby on multiple occasions.  To this day, I do not know if that’s all that it was.  There’s a realistic possibility that I was on a date and didn’t even know it.

I’ve written more than a few times about Jesse the fire fighter who, apparently, liked my eyes and then never gave me the time of day again.

Enter Brendan.  You might notice that it’s now November and that means yet another round of emergency drills have come and gone.  At some point in the past year, I gained responsibility for the Building Emergency Response Team at an additinoal building.  It’s a small group of people.  My company has an educational theater group that travels around to schools putting on, well– educational theater.

This October, when I requested volunteers to help observe our emergency drills, a few people from the other building volunteered to help us out.  We had a pre-drill briefing at the beginning of that week and Brendan was in attendance.  He was the first person in the conference room and he was very attentive.  I admit, I thought him a little strange at first as he was completely focused on me and what I was saying, something I’m definitely not used to.  He maintained eye contact with me the entire time, something else I’m not used to.  He smiled whenever I looked at him or spoke to him.  Being from another building, he asked me if I’d show him what we’d be doing the day of the drill; take him on a miniature tour of a floor. He followed and stood close when we talked, again always maintaining eye contact.

The day of the drills he came back to the building and was very friendly.  We talked a lot during downtime, and I got a really strong sense of chemistry and connection.  I was sure he was interested in me.  And while the idea still scares the crap out of me, I was interested in him and willing to see where that could go.

We always have pizza for all the volunteers at the end of the fire drills and as I was collecting the critique sheets and letting people know when and where the food would be, he hesitated and then said he was probably not going to stay.  “I have to watch my…” his words trailed off as he gestured to indicate his general torso area, adding “I’m a man on a mission.”

I told him we always have salad too.  “You can just have one or two small slices of pizza and then have salad,” I told him.  We always have a lot left over and if he didn’t come have some he was just going to leave us with even more after the fact.

He thought on this for a moment and then said, “Well.  I was going to skip the gym tonight, but I guess I could go on the treadmill for an hour.  And maybe I could take some home to my hubby.”

I did my best to convey no reaction to this revelation and said, “Yeah, you could do that.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  I’m not interested in getting involved with a married man.  But still…

A week later Brendan signed up for a Safety Training class I attended.  When he walked into the room where I was already seated, he made eye contact with me and smiled and then walked right past me and sat at the other end of the table.  I was disappointed.

The Educational Theater Group is celebrating its 25th anniversary and they had a reception last night.  As part of the Facility Management staff that maintains their space, and as the Emergency Response Program coordinator, I was invited to attend the reception.  There were lots of good reasons why I should go to the reception, and I’m glad I did, but the truth is, I accepted the invitation with the hope of getting to spend some time with and talk to Brendan.  I didn’t see him at all until close to the end of the event and when I did, he was guiding a costumed character around the space.  He seemed really happy to see me and gave me a hug and then…

The conversation fell flat.  I felt incredibly awkward and had no idea what to say.  Before long, they moved on and not long after that, I went home.

And then there’s Ed.  Ed is the supervisor/account manager for our Janitorial Service.  I meet with him most Thursday mornings to do an inspection.  Physically, Ed possesses many qualities I’m attracted to.  He also has a very friendly and outgoing personality.  I like talking to Ed.  I do not like doing Janitorial Inspections.  And he knows it.  But they’ve been delegated to me and so he and I walk a floor and he makes notes of things he sees that need attention, usually catching more than I do, because I don’t know what to look for in the first place.

While we walk, Ed and I talk about random things that have nothing to do with Janitorial Services, and while I do not feel like I know Ed, I feel like we’re friendly.  A month ago, due to multiple conflicts on my schedule, I e-mailed Ed and told him I was going to have to cancel our next few appointments.  He e-mailed me back saying, “Not a problem. I know you’re quite disappointed.”

“Completely crestfallen,” I replied.

Ed and I were scheduled to meet for the first time in weeks today, but he called me yesterday to verify that we were still on and then told me that he had a bid walk for a contract to do this morning and asked if it would be okay to push back our inspection.  I was fine with it.  I’m never disappointed not to have the inspection.  Ed said he’d be at my office at 10:30.

By the time my noon meeting rolled around and I hadn’t seen or heard from Ed, I figured it was a safe bet that our inspection was cancelled.  When I walked back into the office at 1:30, I was quite surprised to see Ed in John’s office.

One of the things that appeals to me about Ed is that he always wears a suit.  No one around here expects him to and he is, apparently, not required to by his employer, but he tells me he prefers to wear suits; and he wears them quite well.  When he and John came out of John’s office, I walked over and took hold of Ed’s arm, found his watch under his shirt sleeve and said, “Well, it looks like it still works.”

Today Ed is wearing a textured, light grey suit, a white shirt and a blue and gold striped bow tie; a real bow tie which he tied himself.  He looked really good.  I had to look at something at K’s desk and he had to finish his discussion with John and then he came over to the counter at K’s desk.  I told Ed he was much too late for us to do an inspection and I was about to go get some lunch.  He asked me where I was going and said he’d walk with me.  I told him I was just going to go across the street and get a sandwich to bring back to my office, and again he said he’d walk with me.

In the elevator, I reached up and moved the edge of his bow tie out of the way to see if it was tied or clipped and he said, “Oh yeah, baby, that’s tied!”  He watched four you tube videos over the weekend to learn how to do it.  I asked him if he’d been hitting the gym (this was a topic that had come up in previous conversation.)  When he said no, he asked why.  I said, “You look good.  You look fit.”  He said, “Yeah.  If you’re gonna wear a bow time you have to walk tall!” (So true.)  Being of Asian heritage, he is not a tall man, but he hides it well.

Ed walked over to the deli with me, chatted with me while I waited for my sandwich and then walked back to my office with me, for no business reason whatsoever.

Many times I have wondered if he might be gay.  Many times I’ve been sure he wasn’t.  I know nothing about his personal or romantic life.  I may be imagining it all, but sometimes when he leaves me, I think there’s some interest, some possibility.  Other times he leaves me and I’m sure it’s all in my head.

Just call me Coach.

Advertisements

Is There A Certain Kind of Store For That?

On the television show Glee, there is a gay character by the name of Kurt.  Kurt has known all along that he was gay and never tried to hide the fact from anyone.  After a year and half of being terrorized by one of the jocks in the school (a self hating, closeted homosexual, in denial) he transferred to another school, a private school with a zero tolerance policy for bullying.  He met Blaine who is also gay and they have become friends, though it seems apparent that the relationship is budding into something more.

Each week I watch as Kurt grows and learns from his experiences and gradually becomes a more secure, self-confident person, able to accept himself as he is and surviving the adversity he experiences.  The relationship between Kurt and Blaine is very special to me to watch because it mirrors something I very much wish that I had.

~~~~~

On the television show 90210, there is a gay character by the name of Teddy.  Teddy is just coming to terms with being gay.  He was an All American Athlete, professional tennis player until he injured his knee.  Blond hair, blue eyes, and a body that goes on for days (what does that even mean?)  Teddy had a reputation as a ladies man, which stood in the way of him having a relationship with, Silver, his girlfriend last season before she finally got over the hype and gave him a chance.

This season has been about Teddy coming to terms with his sexuality and coming out to his friends.  It’s a story that is still being told, but aside from what I see as an accelerated time line, has been very believable and satisfying.

While drunk, Teddy hooked up with a guy name Ian at the beginning of the season and then tried to pretend it never happened, denying any confusion about his sexuality, even to Ian.  Right before the winter hiatus Teddy admitted to Ian that he was gay and that he wanted to be with Ian but needed time, before telling anybody about it.  Of course, Ian agreed, they kissed and one of Teddy’s friends saw them.

A couple of weeks ago, Teddy finally came out publicly, letting all his friends know that he was gay and was with Ian, only to have something come between them and he ended his relationship with Ian.  Last week’s episode saw Teddy sulking and having his ex-girlfriend, now friend-friend supporting him by taking him to do something she already knows lifts his spirits; hitting tennis balls off the roof of some building or other.  Just as Teddy starts feeling better he hits one last ball off the roof and we hear a male voice cry out in pain.  In the next scene, we see Teddy and Silver standing over a guy, dressed in soccer attire, sitting on a bench with an ice pack on his eye.  Teddy offers an  apology, the guy asks what they were doing and Teddy tells him that Silver was supporting him after a bad break-up.  The soccer player tells Teddy that the person must have messed him up pretty badly and before he thinks about it Teddy says, “Yeah.  He did.”  There’s an awkward silence as Teddy realizes what he just said and as the soccer stud doesn’t react to it, and then Soccer Stud says, “Yeah.  Well, I’ve been there,” before writing his phone number on Teddy’s tennis ball and suggesting that maybe Teddy could give him a free tennis lesson “to make up for hitting him.”

In this week’s episode we see Teddy’s friends, Dixon, Navid and Liam talking about going to a girls volleyball game to cover the story for the school news.  Just then Teddy walks in and they shut up.  There’s an awkward moment when Teddy feels left out and the idiots guys feel awkward for having talked about girls within the ear shot of the gay guy.  Later Teddy see’s Silver in the courtyard and they talk about how he feels like he’s out in the cold with all his friends.  Silver scolds the idiots boys who confess that they thought Teddy would be uncomfortable with what they were talking about and that they didn’t mean to be leaving him out.  The idiots guys decide to make it up to Teddy and invite him to hang out.  Teddy agrees without knowing what they have planned only to realize, too late, that they are taking him to a gay bar.  When this is revealed to the audience, my own anxiety level skyrocketed as I imagined being in Teddy’s shoes.

Inside, the bar is full of muscular, shirtless guys dancing and the friends stand dumbfounded, staring at the crowd.  Everyone is awkward, the guys don’t know what to think, and then a guy comes over to them and asks if he can buy Liam a drink.  Liam storms out and stands on the sidewalk outside, as if that’s going to make him less appealing to the gay guys in the area, and soon he is joined by Teddy.  They have a nice little heart to heart in which Liam tells Teddy he’s just not comfortable in that place and Teddy tells Liam he isn’t either.

“This just isn’t my scene,” Teddy says.

“So, what is?” Liam asks.

There is a moment of silence as Teddy looks through the huge window at Dixon and Navid dancing together while the pedophiles guys in the bar watch.  Teddy shakes his head in uncertainty, not disgust, and says, “I don’t really know.  But it’s not this.”  In that moment I can truly relate to Teddy.

Liam and Teddy leave to get a burger and leave Dixon and Navid inside with their admirers.

~~~~~

Heather, as I have mentioned before, is perhaps the one and only person in the world who has taken the time to know me of her own volition.  Deb probably knows me as well as Heather does, but I pay her for that and as much as I’d like to be able to look beyond the business nature of our relationship, I just can’t.  Heather knows me because she wants to.  She wants to take the time to see and understand me.  She wants to know the truth of my existence and not just the flowery, fun, shiny, “happy” side of my life (because she knows it’s not real).

While having dinner on Saturday night, I decided to ask her a loaded question.  I didn’t know how far the conversation would go, or just how useful it would prove to be, but I decided it was worth a shot.

“So tell me,” I started, “what’s wrong with me?”

“Well!  How much time have you got?” she asked, with a chuckle.  “What do you mean, what’s wrong with you? In what context?”

“Socially,” I answered.  “Why can’t I meet people?”

I don’t remember the exact dialogue of the conversation but she asked me for more specifics about what I was thinking and it came down to this.  Stereotypes exist for a reason.  I truly believe that.  The stereotype of a modern-day gay man is one of promiscuity, lecherous even, damn near predatory at times.  I saw a movie once in which one of the characters talked about how sex, for gay men, is like a handshake.  I am not like that.  I wasn’t like that before I knew I was gay and I’m not like that now.  But I buy into the stereotype… Because stereotypes exist for a reason.  And as such, I don’t trust gay men (I mean, I don’t really trust anybody, but for the purposes of this conversation, I don’t trust gay men.)

I know it’s not realistic to compare my life to characters on television or in movies and for the most part I try not to do that, but T.V. and movie scripts are based in some modicum of reality and so when I see things that I like, but which don’t jive with my own experience it’s disheartening, to say the least.

You see it all the time on television.  Gay characters meet in the most ordinary of places under the most ordinary of circumstances and they fall in love and have a relationship, like I would like to have.  Depending on the show their might be some “cruzing”/ “club scene” hooking up taking place but rarely is that where the lasting relationships come from; kind of like reality.  But these guys go about their day-to-day lives and meet each other in the most random and ordinary of circumstances and end up in relationships.  Meanwhile, I go about my day-to-day life which includes an overabundance of ordinary circumstances and I never meet anybody who I know is gay first of all, and with whom I have a connection, secondly.  I never have a moment of realization in which we both realize the other person is “family”.  I never meet a guy, think he’s attractive and have certainty that he’s gay and he knows I am as well and then bond and have anything, whatsoever, evolve from that.

I go to work.  I go shopping.  I go to school.  I go to the gym.  I go to Big Brothers and Big Sisters events.  I go to random training opportunities a couple of times a year.  I may not be a social butterfly, but I’m honestly not a shut in, either and yet, never once have I met someone I thought could be something more and had it turn out to be so.

Heather suggested that I should look into on-line dating.  Honestly, that idea is abhorrent to me, for me. But even if it weren’t, stereotypes.  Exist.  For.  A reason.  What little exposure I have had to the world of on-line gay dating has proved that those men are looking to live up to the stereotype, and I am not.  So I don’t trust it.  I don’t trust them.  And honestly, I’m afraid of them.

Heather says I lack self-esteem…  Well, DUH!  If anybody knows where I can buy some of that, please let me know!

Days Which Should Never End

It rained almost non-stop on Saturday.  I didn’t care.  I got to spend the day with Heather.  I’d have driven through a hurricane for that.  Neither rain, nor sleet, nor the gloom of night, shall keep me from my– wait, that’s something else.  Eh nee way…

It was a great day.  I never get to see Heather and when I do get to see her (which clearly contradicts that “never” statement) it’s usually with other people in tow.  Not that I don’t like the people who come in tow, but it’s nice to get to spend some time alone with the one person on this entire planet who truly understands me and sees through all my defenses and facades to the core of the real me.  We don’t even have to do anything terribly special for it to be, well, special.

I picked her up at noon and we went to lunch at California Pizza Kitchen where we shared a lunch of Avocado Egg Rolls

and Pear and Gorgonzola pizza.

After lunch we went to see I Am Number Four which was a really good movie we both enjoyed a lot.  Heather said she hasn’t been to a movie since seeing Avatar.  I haven’t been to a grown up movie since…  Well, maybe since seeing Avatar.  Well, OK, that’s not really true.  I’ve seen a few “grown up” movies with Lil’B, but I don’t know when the last time I saw a “grown up” movie with a grown up was.  Anyway, the lead actor (Alex Pettyfer) is someone I’ve not seen before that I can recall, but once his hair is bleached blond (it’s part of the story) he reminds me a great deal of a young Ryan Phillipe, which is a very good thing.  Dianna Agron from Glee is also in this movie and does a fantastic job.  Personally, I really enjoyed Timothy Olyphant who always reminds me of Josh Duhamel.  I would say something here about how Timothy is underrated as an actor and deserves to be more famous than he is, but let’s be honest.  He’s good looking and had great hair in this movie.  Whatever.

After the movie we went to do a bit of traditional shopping.  It’s traditional because, well, every time we get together, we end up going to Target, Trader Joes, See’s Candy and TJ Maxx Home Goods.  And that’s just what we did.  After dropping off the purchased cold and frozen items at Heather’s Grandparents’ house we went to a “Billiards Cafe” to shoot some pool together.  We are both fairly terrible so it was fun (I hate playing pool with someone who is pretty good and all I can do is sit and watch them play.)  I ended up winning the first two games and Heather won the third one. And then we went to dinner at Chevy’s “fresh mex”.  We were both fairly stuffed, but Heather had mentioned a place nearby, earlier in the day and we were determined to check it out.

Orange Leaf is a self-service Frozen Yogurt Bar where you go in and get your cup, select yogurt from about 15 different flavors and add whatever, and however much of, the toppings you want.  They charge by the ounce, which has a tendency to be not nearly as good as you think starting out.  I got Chocolate and Peanut Butter Yogurts, side by side, and topped it with every kind of chocolate and peanut butter candy topping I could find.  This proved to be a bad idea as, in the process of eating the delicious concoction, I managed to dislodge the wire on my lower jaw from the back brackets on both side of my mouth.  It doesn’t hurt, but it’s a bit of a nuisance and I’m going to have to get it reinserted.

We had a really great day together and, as usual, I was really sorry it had to end.

Young Girl Don’t Stand So Close To Me

If you’re not a Glee Fan, this won’t mean much to you and you should go find something else to read.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Glee fan, if you are too… Well, read on!

I’m sitting here, doing random non-blogging things and Don’t Stand So Close To Me by The Police comes on the trusty ole iPhone.  Good song.  I’ve liked it for years.

I’m splitting my attention about 70/30 between the task at hand and enjoying the music.  The 30% is tapping my booted toes and bopping my head along with the music.

Suddenly, the 70% is completely distracted from the task at hand with the realization that some portion of the brain (not sure if it’s the 70 or the 30) is looking for lyrics that aren’t there.  Something is wrong.  The lyrics are supposed to be different…

Young teacher, the subject of school girl fantacy
She wants him, so badly, knows what she wants to be
With all the charms of a woman
You kept the secret of your youth…

Clearly, I’ve listened to the Glee soundtrack a few too many times!

By the way, Glee comes back with new episodes on Tuesday!  Yay!