A colleague from work had a birthday party recently. Excerpts from conversations between me (M), my gay friend (G), the lawyer who hit on me (L), a female friend (F) and other random people (R1, R2, R3...). It was a great night.
R1: Is that your boyfriend?
R1 gestures toward my gay friend.
M: No, we just work together
G: So, if I didn't tell you I was gay, would you think that I was?
M: Um, I definitely had my suspicions.
He sounded really disappointed.
M: I think it's great though! I mean really, there's very little overlap in the Venn diagram of males who would be attracted to us. It's perfect. We can be each other's wingperson.
R2: So, that's your boyfriend over there?
R2 nod in direction of my gay friend.
M: No, we just work together.
F: What were you guys talking about?
G: That we're both single.
F looks to me.
F: Are you looking for a man or a woman?
F: Oh, so man, but say you met a girl and she was really pretty?
M: Uh, no, still just a man. I think I am sort of unidirectional on this one.
F: Oh. Too bad. You know, I saw my ex-girlfriend in the market the other day.
Verrrry interesting. This particular friend is involved in a serious relationship with a male currently.
M: So people around here seem to think you're my boyfriend.
G: Really? Why?
M: I don't know. We 're almost like a bad joke: "The nearly-divorced girl and the gay guy go to a party..."
R3: So, is that guy your boyfriend?
Points to my gay friend.
M: No, we just work together.
L: Interesting music, eh?
Lawyer immediately takes the seat next to me on the couch.
L: I'm (he said his name... I'm embarrassed that I don't actually remember what it was).
M: Nice to meet you.
L: So, you know the host from...?
M: Work, actually. You?
L: Cousin. You from here?
M: No. I just moved.
L: Me too. May.
L: This is a great city. Good choice to establish yourself here.
M: I'm actually planning to go back to [my hometown] in a few years.
L: Oh, that's a great city, but the work opportunities for me aren't very interesting. Much better here. You really should stay here.
I was puzzled as to how this stranger's career should have any bearing on my life plans.
L: We should go out sometime with our host and his girlfriend. What do you think?
This catches me totally off guard. I think it was a legit double-date offer.
M: Uh, sure.
I was so stunned. A polite version of "I'm not sure you're my type" would have been more appropriate.
L: It really has been a pleasure meeting you.
M: Thanks, that`s nice of you to say.
He puts his hand on my leg. I like my personal space. He was a little too comfortable. This was not just a friendly tap on my knee...
L: So, why did you move here?
M: Oh, you know, change of scenery.
I figured a "change of scenery" sounded better than "found out my husband was looking for a new soulmate and decided to skip town."
L: Well, it was SO great meeting you tonight.
L: You getting to know the city here?
M: Yeah, bit by bit.
L: You know, the bar scene is so different here than where you come from.
Next few minutes we discussed bars, then:
L: It REALLY has been a pleasure spending time with you tonight.
I'm not sure anyone has ever been happier to meet me than this guy! I don't even think he had been drinking very much.
M: Uh, thanks.
His hand found its way back to my leg. I did not encourage this.
L: I'm going to go smoke outside. Why don't you come?
M: Oh, I don't smoke.
M: Never had a cigarette in my life.
L: Come outside.
L: Ok, well it has been REALLY great spending time with you tonight!
Back to the dance floor
G: Who's your new boyfriend?
M: He's not my boyfriend.
G: Seriously though, good for you! You were just like sitting there and effortlessly attracted a guy. Good work!
M: Thanks. He's a lawyer. Nice enough guy. The smoking thing is an issue.
G: Did you make out with him?
G: Why not?! Oh wait - the cute guy is back! Ok, we can't touch or be close, I don't want to give him the wrong impression! I hope he's not straight...
Overall, it was such a great night! I got to know some of my work colleagues better. Had some nice wine. Danced. And, though I am confident the lawyer is not my soulmate, it still felt great to be deemed so attractive by someone I had just met. I'm really glad I went to the party rather than deciding that it wasn't really my thing (which, strictly speaking, is probably true - but this is a year of pushing beyond my comfort zone).