I have written before about expectations as applied to the lead up to the first sexual encounter with a new date. But in this world of technological dating, we are often left with an entirely new brand of expectations – the first face-to-face meeting. These virtual expectations, whether good or bad, can actually keep us from enjoying things as they truly are.
In my previous entry I wrote about fate and how it was taking me to Brighton, England for Gay Pride and more importantly, to meet a boy that I had been talking to every day for the past three months. Yes, three months! Talking to includes: texting, sending videos back and fourth and Skyping. I would like to put on the record that while there were some flirtatious messages, there was nothing that I would be too embarrassed to show my momma. This was a first for me!
So by the time I hopped on that Virgin Atlantic flight across the pond, I thought I knew every detail of his being. I knew the meanings in his different laughs. I knew his little side smirks. I saw the sadness in his eyes when he was telling me about his father’s open-heart surgery. “I know him so well” I told myself. I did not allow myself to account for the flesh. No, you dirty birds; I’m not talking about sex, yet. I’m talking about him as a real three dimensional human being.
When the bus pulled up to the stop in Brighton, I saw him approach and I breathed a heavy sigh. There were no camera tricks; he was just as handsome as he had seemed online. Yet there was something about his demeanor, something about his posture that I didn’t anticipate. I realize that is a weird thing to comment on, but it was his posture. I couldn’t help honing in on it - his shoulders were slumped and his chin jutted far out. It took everything I could muster not to straighten his back and push his head into alignment.
I can only imagine what you are thinking of me now. Here is this stupid git, who won a trip to fly half way around the world to see this guy whom he has had a virtual relationship with for the past three months and he can’t get past his posture? Ridiculous, I know. But really, it was more than that and hand to explain. He simply was not what I expected him to be. He quickly became affectionate - handholding, arms around the shoulder, somehow always touching me. Yes, we had known each other for a while but I needed a little time before we progressed to the next step.
I was tentative the first time we actually laid down together and cuddled but I am so glad I did. When it was just us lying in bed talking I found that virtual guy I fell for; I remembered his smile and his laugh. Then he whispered in my ear, “Never let anyone make you feel less because you are positive.” Cue heart melting.
So maybe he isn’t exactly as I expected him to be, but who is really? As soon as I accepted this and accepted the fact that I may not be what he was expecting I was able to allow myself to enjoy the time with the entirety of the person he truly is, not the virtual person I thought he was. It is weird how the anticipation of a thing and the image of that thing your mind has created can destroy any joy of it if it doesn’t live up to your expectations.
I have mentioned many times before that I have very mixed feelings of Pride festivals. Sometimes I feel in New York, Gay Pride has just morphed itself into a huge circuit party where the only point is getting fucked up and hooking up. So my expectations for Brighton’s Pride were along those same lines. I am surprised to admit that it was quite amazing.
Let me explain. Gay pride in Brighton was not only celebrated by “the gays.” No, the entire town was there and were a part of the celebration. All the events promoted a sense of community not just within the gay community but within the town.
Ok, now let me get to the good stuff. The parade was just like any normal parade, but when it finished everyone watching tacked on to the end, almost like the last drag queens were the fucking pied piper drawing all of us to our doom. In this case our doom would be the festival grounds. They enclosed a large park and upon entry I felt like I was going into Wonderland.
The first thing that caught my eye were the carnival rides. YES! There were multiple big top tents: one for dancing, one for a cabaret that had drag performers, and others for concerts food, beer, merchants, and even a bear tent. This is so opposite to NYC where we have a parade and then a dance at the pier. That’s really it. I really feel that Brighton Pride is a community celebration that we are sadly missing in New York.
Sadly, after the Pride festivities I had to fly back home. The boy and I waited for the bus hand in hand. My departure quickly became the stuff of cheesy romantic comedies - the coach driver and a bus full of anxious passengers on their way to Heathrow waiting on me as we got in a couple more kisses. Then as the coach drove away, he waved at me fighting back tears and that image made tears come to my own eyes. Stupid git!
During the Brighton Pride there was no expectation of anything more than what we were. Why, we even called each other “weekend boyfriends.” Now back across the pond, we still talk to each other every day but we know the reality of things. There are a few things I have learned on this trip (yes, I feel like this is the after-school special portion). First off, he has given me hope. Hope that someone special is out there, whether it is that British boy or not. And most importantly, never let my expectations of a thing ruin what the thing really is.