As some of you know, nearly four years ago, when I still lived in Chicago, I was set up on a blind date while visiting friends in New York. Things went well; my date and I began a long-distance relationship, I moved to New York a year and a half later, and we were married last July. It’s now been almost two and a half years since I made the move from the Midwest to Manhattan for love, and while much of my life is better than it’s ever been, there’s still one void I have yet to fill: I don’t have any gay guy friends in town. I’ve made some girlfriends, my husband and I have plenty of couple friends, but when it comes to the really important things, like karaoke, watching awards shows, and getting an honest opinion on my hair, I find myself in dire need of a few good gays.This is new terrain for me, this not having any gay men in my daily life. I hung out with the theater crowd in college, so I had about as many gay guys in my collection as the sorority girls had pink sweatpants. They were my roommates, shopping partners, hair stylists, and best friends. Sure, I may have even tried to date one or two of them. It was college; it was the ’90s. That’s what 20-year-old artsy girls did (when they weren’t making out with their girlfriends at parties for show).
After college, I moved to Chicago where my bestie — a gay guy — moved the year before. His circle of friends quickly became my circle of friends. For extra money, he tended bar one night a week at a gay bar in Boystown. I’d hang out there all evening getting free drinks and collecting numbers. It was heaven. When things went south with my then-live-in-boyfriend, it was my gays who had my back. Matt loaned me his “Sex and the City” DVDs (he had the whole series); Chad let me move in with him; and Neil assured me my hair looked great when I cut it all off. With them, I was never too alone. They made me laugh, they had me over for brunch, they took me shopping for new clothes. And when I started dating a new guy, there was no guilt-trip like I might have gotten with a group of girlfriends. No one complained that I was suddenly less available for impromptu late-night fashion shows. They cheered me on and reminded me again and again that the best way to get over a guy is to get under another one.
When I met Drew, my now-husband, my gay friends were ecstatic. “Finally,” they said, “a straight guy who gets you.” They loved that he appreciated my quirkiness. They loved his sense of humor. They loved that he was so accepting of them. What they weren’t so crazy about was losing me to New York. But they never complained; they never warned me I was making a mistake; they never told me I should stay. When I moved, they threw me a big going-away party.
When I got to New York, I figured it was just a matter of time before I made some gay friends here. I’d never had problems making them before, so why would it be different now? Plus, I moved to a pretty gay neighborhood. I live right across the street from a big gay bar. There’s a brunch spot around the corner from me with a whole Dolly Parton-themed bathroom! How hard could it be?
Imagine my surprise, then, when after almost two and a half years in New York I find myself with not one single new gay friend. Sure, I still have my guys in Chicago and I visit them and they visit me and we manage to keep in good touch, despite our busy schedules. They even threw me a surprise bachelorette party on one of my visits to Chicago. But it’s not the same. It’s not the same as being in the same city. I don’t have a gay friend to watch the Oscars with next month. I don’t have a gay BFF to go ogle the boys with over brunch in Chelsea. And I don’t have a gay guy to help me pick out fake fur coats at flea markets!
I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I bring brownies to my hair stylist in hopes he’ll invite me to his next karaoke party. I make small talk with waiters about their accessories. I chat up the owners of every home decor shop in my neighborhood. And still … nothing. I’m at the point now where I’m thinking of placing a personal ad on Craigslist: “MWF in search of GM for champagne cocktails, dinner parties, and charades.” Surely, in all of New York City there have to be a few takers. Right? Come on now, the Oscars are less than two weeks away!