Friends of the Friendless: Part I
I’m curious if what I experienced in moving alone to a new gay urban ghetto is something others guys have experienced, too: the difficulty of making new gay friends.
Remember that “I Love Lucy” episode in which Lucy, thinking she’s been abandoned by Ricky, Fred and Ethel, is taken into the fold of the Friends of the Friendless? Well, after living in Fort Lauderdale for the past fifteen years and a snowbird for a decade before that, I feel, at times, like I’m the President and entire membership of this checkered group. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but after all that time, I can count on one hand the number of Strong Acquaintances and Friends I have here. (And the fingers of my other hand were lost in a fist fucking session gone bad.)
How would I define a friend? Not just someone to wile away the fun times with but someone you can confide in and trust, someone on your wave length but willing to give you a reality check when you need it. Someone to comfort you when you lose a pet or a parent or your job, when you get sick, or who gives you a ride when your car breaks down or you need to get to the airport. Someone with whom you can carry on a conversation without confrontation. Some one you know won’t betray you.
Even though I spent virtually my entire professional career in a “super” people business like public relations, I was never the gregarious sort. Maybe my terrible adolescence and high school years as a nerd and social outsider forever put a damper on my extrovertism. Nonetheless, people tell me I’m personable and a good conversationalist, and not a bad looker – or a bad fuck.
So what’s the problem?
First, it admit that I’ve been looking for friends in all the wrong places, the sex websites, phone apps, sex clubs, baths, bars, any sexual venue where dangling dicks are the norm. Seems in these circles, once the sex is over, unlike in NYC where I once lived and where many a fuck buddy eventually morphed into a friend, guys here move on to the next bod like the butcher behind the deli stand calling the next ticket. I call them “one fuck” wonders. A guy who you rimmed for an hour one night won’t even say “hey” when you run into him at the bar a week later.
As far as cultivating friends on the web like some guys purport to want to do in their postings, I can maybe buy that for men who live closeted lives in the middle of nowhere and whose only contact with other gays is the internet. But I’m not into endless banal e- chatter, (like what the weather’s like in Boise) which most of the out-of town guys who hit me up want to do if they’re not after a virtual sex encounter. (The real jaded side of me wonders how many of them may be sucking up to me to get a free place to stay in SoFlo – a few actually come out and ask.) I need friends in the flesh not over a wire.
Then it could just be Fort Lauderdale itself is the problem, as a few people who have admitted to the same “aloneness” as I experience have indicted. Lauderdale is just one big fuckin’ party town, slash, whorehouse for men where you can pick some guy up in the “Twenty Items or Less” aisle at the supermarket. It’s a town of transient gays here for the sun and the fun who leave when their low end job or sugar daddy dries up, or tight assed vacationers from Michigan and Nebraska who want to let loose for a week before they go back into their gopher holes. It’s a town where commitment – even to friendship – may actually be against the law. That’s why I often refer to Lauderdale as Teflon City. Nothing sticks.
Many people meet people on the job, particularly when the business is gay friendly, but that’s a no go for me since I’m retired. For a while when I came down here from New York, I worked part time as a faculty member at one of the local universities and rarely ran into other instructors, most of whom were married married, closeted, or unwilling to let down their guard. Many times, I graded papers or took a nap between classes in the faculty lounge all alone.
Part II: What I did next ….