Friday, December 25, 2009

Saga of Seattle

Boys Make My Palms Sweat

So it was the final morning with Johnno—a Christmas gift of sorts—but we still had to wait and see if the infamous gift would make an appearance. I spent the morning repacking our suitcase-aka Big Red- before Johnno even had a chance to shower I was so eager to get on with the next leg of the journey.

Eventually Siobhan arrived with her oldest son, back from his father’s house, and all was left to do was wait for the parents to arrive. I spent my time preparing snacks for the gift exchange to come since I didn’t want any excuses for us to have to stay and linger. Johnno kept an eye on me as I bustled around the house and prepared everything to hit the ground running.

His mom and dad finally showed up with gifts in hand and we sat down for the gift exchange. I sat as far away from the family scene as much as possible and waited to see how things would play out. Turns out having a grandson to open tons of gifts means that the focus is strictly on him and Johnno and I were able to exchange our final gifts with little to no fanfare. I was also touched when Siobhan gave me a gift herself and felt guilty that I didn’t have one for her.

But instead, I decided to help her out by setting up her son’s new television and Play Station 3 while the family swapped gifts between the older kids. While I was trying to make the wires work, Johnno was handed to wrapped gifts and told they were calendars—one for him and one for ‘someone else’. The gift fiasco avoided, I spent my time watching video games in the boys’ bedroom while the family hung out in the living room.

It worked out well.

Then it was time for Johnno and I to be dropped off at the Seattle ferry to meet up with his friends in the city. I was a bit sad to say good bye to Siobhan—she was really amazing and reminded me so much of my mother and brother combined that I was a bit nostalgic for my own family. But after a quick hug—which surprised us both—Johnno and I were off with the parents. As I watched the woods fade away, I held Johnno’s hand and felt myself start to relax as his mother tried to convince me that I should love the Pacific Northwest. She was very subtle about her intentions there.

But eventually it was time for the final good bye and I managed to hug Johnno’s mom and shake his father’s hand instead of riding Big Red down the gangplank to the ferry. In the end, it could have been better and less confusing but we survived as a couple and it did make us stronger. Plus now—the first visit is out of the way.

I spent the ferry ride just feeling all the tension starting to drift away as Johnno made small talk. I could tell he was eager for me to meet the boys, Pikachu and Jonathan, which made me a bit nervous but in a different way. Because the truth is, I usually don’t make friends with other gay guys easily. I’m not sure what that is about but I knew I would be trying really hard since I knew how important they were to him.

Plus he has had to deal with my friends for 11 months now.

There was two other things that put me off about meeting the boys; one is that Johnno, Pikachu and Jonathan have a podcast they do once a week and I had been talked about on the show multiple times which was akin to being on a reality show and meeting the staff at the wrap party. They know all about you but you don’t have any idea who they are.

The other part was that Pikachu and Johnno had dated years ago. It wasn’t a grand love affair by all accounts but between meeting him and Brad—I had spent a notable amount of time with boys who had seen my boyfriend naked. And while I like to think I am not competitive—broomball and ex boyfriends bring it out in me. Which I think amuses Johnno but I also think that is because he won’t ever really meet any of mine. Exes, in my life, tend to be like fashion trends—you did them and groan a little when you see pictures of yourself with them.

That aside, I was more than ready to drink, hold hands, and kiss with Johnno away from his parents and their prying eyes. Pikachu met us at the ferry and we were off to Capital Hill—aka Boys Town. I sat in the backseat of the car as Johnno and Pikachu caught up during the drive through the city—I could feel myself nervous and tired but ready to just sit on a couch and just observe for a bit.

We arrived at the boys’ apartment—which was cute and very West Hollywood like—were Jonathan was busy cooking Christmas dinner for us. The place had a fun kitschy feel to it—with S&M reindeer, tasteful nude artwork and garish Santas sprinkled through out—and I was quickly had a drink made of Crown Royal and cider to wash away the cold. I was amused as I watched Jonathan and Pikachu bicker over dinner as Johnno which made himself home by breaking out the Wii.

The boys and I bowled while Jonathan made like a housewife with the food prep in between bouts of showing off his various china and flatware collections. I could see why Johnno had liked Pikachu but could also see how Jonathan and Pikachu made more sense as a couple. They were very amusing in their ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ relationship.

Dinner ended up being delicious and served up on tv trays with the best china while we watched ‘French Cooking’ with Julia Child. It was kind of like being in Brini Maxwell show—goofy and witty with plenty of drinks and laughter to be had. After awhile, I began to cut back on the drinks, I just couldn’t keep up as the boys continued with shots and beer and wine. It was very much an adult gay boy’s night in.

But Johnno was eager to show me all his former bars and haunts so after dinner we put Pikachu to bed—he had to work the next day—while me and the two J’s ended out into Boys Town. I was a bit worried that I wasn’t dressed for a night out, I can be very LA without meaning too, and I don’t really hang out in Boys Town type place very often. But heading out with two eager and buzzed boys makes it easy to be relaxed and I couldn’t help but feeling like showing off a little bit as I held Johnno’s hand.

The first bar he took me too was kind of a bear bar but with out all the leather and sneers—the novelty of the place was the way they made their drinks. Johnno had warned me that the drinks were made for ‘big boys’ but I kind of laughed off the description. But I was wrong—the drinks were thick and strong and made me gald I had slowed down hours before.

(If you want to know how strong—grab the largest glass in your house, pour 80 percent vodka, a big handful of ice, then garnish with tonic. Seriously people—how was that legal?)

Afterwards we continued our way down the strip, stopping in all the various bars on the way. There was the average ‘just hang out with pop music and pool tables’ bar, the pretentious hipster bar which more LA than ANY bar I had been in, then the weird hybrid bar with bears and daddies and a pop dance floor. It was funny to hear Jonathan’s descriptions of every bar cause he hated them but Johnno would then defend them while I would just hang behind and hold his hand with one and my drink with another.

It was a good time and nice to be in the gay environment after all the family time.

Eventually we headed back up the hill with both J’s buzzed while I shivered in my non winter coat. But Pikachu had made up the bed for us and I gladly tumbled into the warm sheets. Even if I had to wait for Johnno to pull himself together post all the cocktails.

But that night I spent while in his arms and was happy that I made the trip. This is one of few moments.

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