Monday, March 14, 2011
Husband: "How do you like the throw pillows?"
Other husband: "They look nice on the bed. Aren't they from the sofa in the living room?"
First husband: "Yeah, I'm all about trying new things."
Trying new things? I can still remember when "trying new things" meant cycling down a volcano or jumping out of a plane or doing body shots off a go-go boy's abs. When "trying new things" means the temporary relocation of home accessories, you are middle-aged.
(By the way, if you want to know when you're gay - it's when you're a man talking about throw pillows. The whole sex part is beside the point.)
However, it's always nice to take a vacation from your own mid-life crisis to watch someone else's, so last night Neil and I went to dinner at the home of some relatively new friends. We don't know them well, so stopped along the way and picked up a nice spring flowering plant. We figured, you can never be sure if people drink (though, if they didn't, we probably wouldn't be going back) - or what they like - and home decor is either too specific ("Oh. Art Deco. How...ummm...lovely.") or too impersonal (think: scented candle or picture frame. To me, the picture frame is the gift card of impersonal gifts. It says, "I refused to put any thought into this, whatsoever.")
It was, however, a thoroughly enjoyable evening - even if the guest list could have been pulled directly from an updated version of an Agatha Christie novel. To wit:
Our hosts: an eyeglass manufacturer (don't chuckle - there's serious dough in that business) and a real estate broker (can we say it? When did everybody become a Real Estate broker? There are now almost as many shows about real estate brokers as there are about chefs - and the vast majority of the people watching them are in a one-bedroom fourth-floor walk up, eating Frito's on the couch.)
A single friend: There's always one, right?
A straight couple on their second marriage: You know the drill, right? He's become a metrosexual at fifty-ish, with the black cashmere sweaters and the closely-cropped hair. (I'm sorry, but if I see one more straight guy in a pair of $300 jeans, a knit pullover and blazer, getting his nails buffed, I'm going to barf. What's hip about a straight man dressing like he's trying to pick up a 19 year old Mexican boy?
Ladies - life lesson here: he may not be gorgeous, but he's relatively good-looking, and you can forgive a lot when you're wearing Manolos and shuttling between a house in town and two acres in East Hampton.
And trust me when I tell you that you can have sex once a week with a person you're not particularly attracted to. I like to call that "my 20s." And no one ever gave me shoes or real estate.
They also brought their fourteen year-old son.
To the gay dinner party.
Can I say I felt a little Awk. Ward.
I know - I homoeroticize everything or make everyone gay - but this kid is gay, gay, GAY. You can say I'm reading too much into the sibilant "s"s, or that I don't know much about today's teenagers - but I have to believe that a fourteen year-old boy who watches Project Runway and likes clothing design and draping is less interested in getting your dress off, and more interested in putting it on.
The lesbian couple. Not the motorcycle-butch kind, or the lipstick-edgy-sort-of-punk-rock kind - they're the sort of sporty-athletic kind. One is a tennis-playing lawyer who likes to travel; the other works in real estate and was a little more withdrawn - playing with the dogs and helping in the kitchen.
Wow - ok - so this is where it gets a little weird. (I know - 'cause it wasn't weird enough already.)
I did not expect someone closer to thirty than twenty who was going to make me forget I was married. This was a man - not a kid - impossibly good looking in jeans and a henley and a whole Abercrombie thing going on. Taking the semester off from school, he seemed more house manager than "kid you hire for the summer to cut the grass." Neil and I will spend most of our Sunday morning joking about him, but either one of us would secretly and eagerly trade our eastern European cleaning woman in a heartbeat.
Though - truthfully - I wonder how I'd feel about sharing my house with my husband and another man. I remember that relationship mathematics of any number higher than 2 always - ultimately - yields the wrong answer. You might be able to work your way through the equation, but can't get to the QED. At first it sounds kind of hot; then it sounds kind of liberated; then it just seems scary, because the singularity of just having that one other person that you are in love with - and who is in love with you - seems so inviolate. That the issue is less the sexual intimacy than the emotional intimacy of 2 - just you; just one other. A relationship is like a secret; only two people know it; only two people get it, and it loses its potency in numbers; dilutes its strength.
I know - all this is really none of my business.
Besides, I probably need to stop entertaining myself by sitting in the corner with the pretty girl in the expensive shoes, making fun of people.
Yeah. Like that's gonna happen.
Posted by Eric at 10:00 PM