Recently I have been e-mailing with a new friend Tammy, a very pretty lesbian in her early thirties. She lives with a woman but the excitement has long faded and there is a world of women out there, one in particular who makes her heart pound and juices flow. She is not ready to walk away from what she has – the comfort, friendship and emotional bond, but she is also not ready to resign herself to a life of, to use a term, quiet desperation.
As I listen to her story I try to think of words of wisdom and I go back in time – December 1981. A client has a holiday party that was ahead of its time – a warehouse space, top shelf all the way, a harbinger of the excesses that the current decade perfected. What made the night special was the opportunity to be with Karen, a cute little legal secretary I was infatuated with. At this point in my very straight life I had a girlfriend I semi-lived with – Stephanie and I were the proverbial square peg in the round hill, only in our twenties and already playing out the string.
The party had raffles – everyone got a ticket as they walked in the door. My partner, older and supportive of my intentions, joined me as we sought out Karen and as we sat down for dinner we spread the three tickets – ours and hers – in front of Karen, a peace offering of sorts. Eventually they get to the drawings and my partners number comes up – lunch in a famous New York restaurant. Well a McDonald’s gift certificate is always useful. A few other winners and then Karen’s number: a swatch watch, or the equivalent of the day. A few other winners and then we hear my number: two tickets to 42nd Street, orchestra seats, a Saturday night. Primo tickets to the Broadway show of the season.
The evening ends and back home to Steph. Now I should have been quite talkative – a raffle, three tickets, three winners, and one of the best prizes to moi! I don’t say a word. I think she is my girlfriend; we tend to spend our Saturday nights together. And I think I did win these with Karen and to be honest what a great opportunity to extend a new friendship – hell maybe even get into her pants. A balancing act: the existing, albeit not particularly healthy relationship or throwing it all away for the dream. I still remember the back and forth and the way I came to decide. It was clear that the relationship at home had gotten off track and I decided that I would blow the roof off and maybe, just maybe, things would end up back on course. Or possibly we would be blown so far off the tracks that we could no longer ignore the pathology. Either possibility seemed better than where we were, bordering on the quiet desperation. Karen it was.
The beginning of the end of the Stephanie era: it would take another year or so, a long playing swan song but eventually the end came and I suspect we were both much better for it, even if I did not know it at the time. Karen – a wonderful night at the theatre, a friendship which years later I single handedly destroyed: a story for another day.
It all comes to my mind as I think about Tammy and particularly as I think about my relationship with Phil. The last group of posts written for a person who does not read my blog, a pretty silly way of communicating. It is time to talk more openly, to risk putting things back on the tracks or maybe blow them up. Phil and I talk, more than once, no revelations, no magic bullets, but we talk. And an interesting thing happens: we get along better, the sex is wonderful, and there is a sense of optimism.
Sometimes in order to win you have to be willing to lose.