Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

05 August 2011

Thanksgiving in August: Dan/José/Patrick

My relationship with each of these three men probably deserves its own post, but, then, none of them is going to think it is odd that I post about them all together, so here goes.

I met José and Dan at a meet-and-greet for new graduate students in 2008. I only remember José at this event, though, truth be told. I was highly focused on two things: an attractive lighting designer named... okay I've forgotten his name (David?) and a new management student named Stephen (I would later date Stephen for several weeks but that's another story altogether.) What's even weirder about this is that there are two other people I plan to write about for this series who were at this event as well, but I remember David and Stephen primarily – two people who, as it turns out, became much less important in my life. Isn't it odd how sometimes the people on whom we are focused become less important in our lives and people to whom we haven't been paying attention at all become some of our absolute favorites?

I want to relate a memory from the time I met José briefly because I know he hasn't heard this story and he is going to shake his head if he reads this. After I met José I had to have a conference with my friend Ryan. As always, Ryan and I were on the lookout for more gay graduate students and we couldn't figure out whether José was gay or not. The confusion was due to two pieces of evidence. 1) He specifically referred to visiting a gay bar in New York (and he was a New Yorker, which is already kinda gay, let's be real.) and 2) he referred to his "fiancé". Now, in writing the words fiancé and fiancée make a gender distinction. But the words are obviously interchangeable in conversation. On the way home from this meet-and-greet Ryan and I went back and forth. But he said fiancée, we said. He must be engaged.
No, no, we said. He said that thing about the gay bar.
And then it came to me. Ryan, I said. What if he meant that his fiancé is a man? People are saying that nowadays.
Ryan was horrified. No. No.... He couldn't have.
And then we both mimed gagging.

I already immediately loved José, truth be told, but I hadn't realized how much I was going to love his fiancé Patrick. A year or so into their time in Tallahassee, Patrick started cutting hair and I started to go to him for all my haircuts. I was his first male haircut (!) and we would have the best times at the "saloon", chatting about nonsense and history and summer and the desert and Los Angeles and times gone by and the world outside of Tallahassee.

Dan moved into my house in his third year of graduate school and my fifth. I can remember his trepidation when he moved in. My previous roommates had been women and gay men and Dan asked me Are you sure you think this is a good idea? I was sure. And I was right.

His first day in the house Dan went outside for a cigarette and I said Did anyone ever tell you smoking is bad for you? and he retorted Did anyone ever tell you gay people are going to Hell?

Dan was an awesome roommate. We helped each other and talked about our relationship drama(s) and we shared meals. Many nights we would sit together in the living room, both of us working, both of us quiet, silently supporting one another, and then audibly supporting one another when we needed it.

My favorites times of the 2010-2011 school year at FSU were spent with José, Dan, and Patrick. The three of them were closer than I was with any of them, but when we hung out together it was the best. We all teased each other mercilessly, drank pitcher after pitcher of Yuengling, and smoked (I mean, I didn't smoke, but they did) cigarette after cigarette at Poor Paul's Pourhouse.

These three were my perfect respite from studying for my comprehensive exams, able to talk over my head about lighting and other design elements, but also willing to engage me by discussing dance pieces and pedagogical strategies and the value of theatre in our everyday lives. I am so grateful for what they gave to me at this time in my life. I know without doubt that my comprehensive exams and, indeed, my entire fifth year in graduate school would have been infinitely harder without these three men in my life. I would never have made it without them and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Also, I'll see you three guys in New York as soon as I move there. Can't wait to hang out with you again.