2018 Retrospective

Summary: An intense, complicated, tender relationship with Kevin dominated most of the year, ending with a period of refocus and doubling down with Daniel.  More responsibilities at work and more Obamacare market upheaval. Many board game nights and happy hours with friends old (Sean, Jon, Aaron) and new (Adam–the human rainbow unicorn who stampeded into my life).  Continued growth and joy from Allan’s dance classes, and lots of fun dancing the night away on a boat, at Coachella, Europe, and in SF (where I met Kylan!).

Daily Average Score: 6.4 (9% of scores under 5).  Generally comparable to the last time I did this (2014), though I feel like I have since reduced the variation in my score and that i had some pretty low days this year.  But still generally happy. Some really dark days during the Kevin breakup.

Life Dashboard:

  • Relationship (3/5; 25%): Kevin, among other things, helped me realize that I deserved more from the relationship and that Daniel and I had grown apart (in some ways intentionally so to reduce the stress of the relationship on top of his work stress).  Optimistic for the future and the course correction. We also settled in and got a lot of new furniture for our new abode, which was maybe a net increase in friction, though also included moments of victory and teamwork.
  • Friends (5/5; 25%): I consider myself incredibly fortunate with friends this year.  Had a lot of fun with prior friends (notably Sean, Jon, Aaron) mixed with a guest cameo from Mark and two new people who I clicked with exceptionally well (Adam and Kevin).  I also had the pleasure of partying with several other friends, including the infamous twinks and Curtis. Friends come and go (including Mason, Mark, and Adam), but I was lucky to have a crew of fun, funny, interesting, supportive, and smart people around me.
  • Recreation (4.5/5; 20%): The third cruise continues to still be fun/interesting/challenging, as were a smattering of parties including a party in London and various parties in SF.  Coachella was epic in scale and a great adventure with friends. I felt growth in hip hop, which still brings me great pleasure. Continued to explore and play board games (though probably hit my peak in terms of interest).  Discovered a love of succulents.
  • Health (4/5; 10%): Generally avoided my quarterly colds, but got a nasty sinus infection in November and an unstoppable cough earlier in the year that would wake me up in the middle of the night.  Some neck and back stiffness. A renewed motivation with lifting and looking a bit better than normal. Experimenting with intermittent fasting.
  • Work (4/5; 10%): New responsibility with a new report and new subject matter to familiarize myself with and a chance to grow as a manager.  Potentially losing motivation and potentially underpaid, but also at a job where I’m appreciated and with a manager who I have a lot of fun with and two reports who I enjoy working with. One of the new hires is hilarious and my relationship with Jennie has also deepened.  A busy period in the summer but hopefully emerged unscathed and well regarded. A recruiter reached out to me with an interesting job, but I decided that I was happy enough with my current job that I wouldn’t apply… which is generally a good sign?
  • Family (4/5; 10%): Some pretty successful trips with family (Taiwan (grandfather’s funeral), Yellowstone/Grand Teton, Thanksgiving in St. Simons and Jekyll, Family Reunion in SF) and generally still maintaining good relationships.   Difficult for my sister and I to figure out how to handle the post-divorce and increasingly-difficult mom as our patience dwindles, though my relationship with my sister is better than ever.

Top Moments:

  • Coachella (adventuring with friends, great musical discoveries, Beyonce and art installation epicness, searching for and finding Kevin)
  • Cruise (the weird, epic social experiment; new friends (Curtis!); partying)
  • Random SF parties, including Halcyon (basic but successful t-dance); Horror Story (Bendela’s purple crown); and especially Comfort and Joy (Adam dancing with me and being my wingman for Kylan and reveling in making him jealous)
  • Europe (especially Bletchley Park and tapas and time with Daniel)
  • Finally getting new furniture, nine months after moving in and living in a half furnished apartment
  • Watching Eighth Grade / other nights with Kevin
  • Stolen glances from the freckled, blue-eyed camp medic
  • Running around the Exploratorium with my nephews and having them call me Uncle James

Other Things that Happened:

  • Gay Life
    • Rupaul’s Drag Race entering the gay zeitgeist (viewing parties, Halloween costumes, heated discussions on favorites)
    • Gay hangouts still include numerous Moby Dick happy hours with Thai House to follow
    • Gameboi enters the mix, with expanded frequency and geography (to the much more temperate Origin)
    • Folsom/Magnitude with Daniel H and Kevin; NYE at the Mayan
  • New House
    • Trying to find a neighborhood restaurant and becoming despondent before settling on Laksa
    • Interior decorating, picking inspiration images, browsing through endless online art galleries, and forcing friends to choose their favorite parts of the house
    • Smart-homing the house with Nests and Google Displays and Google Minis and the semi-infuriating SmartTint installation, where I demonstrated that I have no patience for details or precision
    • Discovering a love of succulents, including the evocatively and very kawaii-ly named bear paws
    • (Trying to fall in love with but then never wanting to return to) Dolo
    • Epic housewarming (and ensuing noise complaints)
  • Other Hobbies
    • Board game night frequencies hit a peak, often hosted by me/Jon as a convenient excuse to drink and hangout with friends
    • Notable games include a particularly enjoyable night with the experiential/experimental game This House is Haunted, the incredibly polarizing but incredible moment-making in Tortuga 1667, Brian’s crossword with everyone’s names as clues, the rise of Decrypto as the Codenames killer, Drawful and Overcooked entering the fray as popular video games
    • Falling in love with GoBike and bike angeling
    • Escape rooms including Omnescape in the east bay and the very premium, very well done Roosevelt Room at the Palace of Fine Arts with Sam, and the very technologically advanced Royal Caribbean escape room.
    • Taking a hiatus on Family Style (the game) but getting really deep into podcasts about game design, the board game industry, and board game reviews (including Board Game Barrage and Shut Up and Sit Down)
    • Experimenting with but generally failing to enjoy pot
  • Friends
    • Kaiser alum group (Kathy and Colleen!) gets engaged and married in the period where Daniel and I are still engaged; copious photobooth photos and thousands of discussions on ways of saving money, including concreting and sourcing flowers from Costco
    • Mason moved away to New York (but also visited twice and took us out to Flour + Water)
    • Mark returning from LA, a semi-awkward re-integration with my life, a fancy birthday meal at House of Prime Rib, to end with a surprise trip to Australia with no return ticket in sight.
    • GLG frequency/attendance/enjoyment hit a record high
    • Adam and Kevin soaked up most of the new friend bandwidth and squeezed out some others.  
    • Aaron still providing thoughtful and insightful feedback and consistently winning the award for best game night enthusiast.  
    • Curtis was the surprising friend from the cruise, with a huge smile, great zingers, and hilarious storytelling.
  • Trips with Daniel
    • Daniel showing up to the airport and saying we would have to cancel our trip to Europe due to passport issues; doing a staycation instead of our failed Europe trip and having a hilarious time with Corey in Vallejo
    • Maryanna camping trip and the epic return of Spyfall
    • London (Bletchley Park, museums, partying at Vauxhall, Borough Market, Natural History Museum, Everyone’s Talking about Jamie, British Museum, Design Museum, the Tate Modern, Carnaby/Kingly Court)
    • Barcelona (Tapas/Pintxos, Sagrada Familia/Gaudi overload, Pull&Bear, twinks, L’Aquarium)
    • LA (DTF, ambitious 7AM New Year’s Day flight, Decrypto with Paul/Chris/Lawrence/Aaron)
  • Family Trips
    • Taiwan trip for Grandfather’s funeral and corresponding rituals; reuniting with cousins as adults with children
    • Yellowstone trip with family (Old Faithful; Grand Prismatic Springs; Artist’s Point; Norris Geyser Basin; Grand Teton) – Exploring thermal hotsprings and navigating annoyances with Uncle/Aunt
    • Hosting Emily (cousin) in SF and biking across GG Bridge with Daniel into Sausalito for the first time
    • Atlanta for Thanksgiving (Evan/Lauren’s baby!  Gay HS reunion; St. Simons/Jekyll Island)
    • Christmas for family reunion, including Sunny (dumplings for days; hugs from Jacob and Peter and shouting Uncle James or Uncle Daniel; Exploratorium)

People Shoutouts:

  • Adam – We met through a passion for EDM and dancing, and he won me over with a knowing smirk, endless berating, and Beyonce-inspired army surplus outfits.  The kind of guy whose energy can turn something pleasant into something uproarious. He has redefined my expectations for funny people and get me to laugh just by looking at me.  The kind of friend who can support you with an understanding ear, a cheerleader miniskirt, or a baseball bat. Incisively observant with a huge heart. He’s helped me understand myself better and inspired me to take chances and experimenting with being a larger than life character in the spotlight.  His perfect attendance record at GLG has invigorated the group and allowed me to connect better with Jon and many others in my life. He has had me rolling on the floor more times than I can count–at myself, at him, and at others. #yako713 #wraithclapsback #bombcorpsdaddy #boysamiriteladies #sunandmoon #nevergetoverme
  • Kevin – We met at Black Xmas and ended things over ramen at Ippudo.  Complicated and intense. Exhilarating and tender. Big heart. Big eyes.  Made me feel special and believed in me. Got me to use IG. #[whaleemoji] #[dolphinemoji] #dontbeweird #fatalisticfridays #YDI/#YDI.  Taught me how black looks great and made me listen to a lot of Post Malone. Taught me how to do my hair and how to >_> (irl and electronically).  Showed me all the best boba and ice cream shops in the city. Gonna miss him staring at me with those huge eyes of his and him wrapping his arms around me and rolling around and being ridiculous.  I despise the L-word but the intensity approached it.
  • Sean – We may ironically call each other besties, but he continues to be one of my closest friends.  I am always impressed by his ability to listen, be goofy with me, provide helpful advice on friends, relationships, the job, and life.  A friend who can consistently hit the trifecta of Jamesian conversation pillars (humor, ideas, people/emotions), which is pretty rare and impressive.  #BoS

Music:

  • Coachella (Louis the Child, Marian Hill, Alison Wonderland, Beyonce (+Destiny’s Child), Kygo, Ekali, Party Favor, Snakehips, Cardi B, Jamiroquai, Post Malone [SZA])
  • HARD Summer (Party Favor, Snakehips, San Holo, M0, Petit Biscuit, Virtual Self)
  • Concerts (Above and Beyond, Benzi, Lost Frequencies/Don Diablo [Adam], Ferry Corsten/ATB at Dreamstate SF)
  • Pandora stations (Louis the Child, Marian Hill, Bakermat, Prince Fox, Justin Caruso)
  • Podcasts (Reply All, The Indicator, The Weeds, Board Game Barrage, Planet Money, The Game Crafter, Okurrr!, Food 4 Thot, Why Oh Why)

Themes/Thoughts/Questions:

  • Hip-hop: It’s been really rewarding to see growth my third year of going to class regularly; I’m can generally pick up the  choreography by the end of the class and confident/coordinated enough to tape myself. More comfortable with the feminine movements and face-pulling/personality.  In 2019, I hope to work on my extension and control and sharpness.
  • It’s okay to not be best friends with everyone forever (prompted by conflicting weddings of old and new friends).  Don’t stress over being a bad friend. To quote Tai, people drift together and separate, like water hyacinths drifting down a river.  Friends come and go (like college friends, or Adam/Mason/Mark moving away)
  • A friend committed suicide.  What are your responsibilities if your friend is suicidal?  Are you a bad friend?
  • I don’t have the bandwidth to accommodate new friends.  It is unlikely I will try to integrate into a group as a +1.  Understandably, many other people don’t want to integrate into my group as a +1.  Certain friends only work in a 1 on 1 context.   
  • Emotions are important to understand and form the lens with how we perceive events.  I enjoy spending time with people who seek to understand, describe, and explain using emotions.  Spent part of the year learning how to empathize with the emotions of those who disagree with me.  
  • Emotions can be totally detached from facts and reality.  You can be totally convinced that certain things can define your happiness when they really won’t.  
  • Started the year losing a bit of control in terms of alcohol but curbed that problem as the year progressed #highfidelitymemories #midnightalarms
  • An inflection point in the relationship; before I was giving Daniel more and more space, which resulted in increasing our momentum toward leading separate lives.  But i’m going to try to hold him to a higher standard (job permitting–which is also hopefully getting less stressful) and be more thoughtful and try to grow together.
  • The apex of my board game hobby, as I run out of storage space and explore most of the hobby and get existential about them.  I seek to play games that deepen relationships and create stories and lasting memories. Heavy games that could be played against a computer simulation are lower value.  
  • While board gaming, the importance of narrative equity (e.g., doing things “for the story”) even if it isn’t the right move.  And how board game players need to be “good” skill-wise, but also “good” as in able to make the experience fun for everyone.
  • Queer Eye inspired me to dress better, and then I proceeded to buy a lot of too tight clothes.  Now trying to buy clothes that fit my chic skater aesthetic

Random Icebreaker Questions:

  • When have you thought life was going best for you?  (The v2 version of “when have you peaked in life?” due to some technically correct but ultimately unsatisfying answers)
  • You were supposed to go on a trip with a significant other, but your significant other can’t make it at the last second.  Do you still go?
  • If you were to visit a city, let’s say London, and two guys were equally attracted and into you, but one was from London and the other was from SF, which would you choose?
  • How is appreciating natural beauty different from appreciating a beautiful body?  Why is one regarded as noble but the other regarded as lecherous?
  • What do your friends value?  
  • Are board games not creating meaningful interactions?  Why play board games? What makes interactions with friends meaningful?
  • Why are some people popular?
  • What makes people funny?
  • Cruises force you to ask yourself what you enjoy in life. What do you want, how you will achieve it, what choices will you make for that week?    
  • If you didn’t have to work, would you still choose to work?  If money weren’t an issue, what would you do with your time? How would you create meaning in your life without work?
  • What makes someone good at conversation?  What makes someone compelling? What is conversation for?

TV (some spoilers):

 

  • Vice Principals (S1-2) (a genre-buster with some moments)
  • American Vandal (S1)
  • Travelers (S2) (what a disappointment after S1)
  • One Day at a Time (S2; quite a disappointment after the first)
  • Ru Paul’s Drag Race (All-Stars 3 (Trixie (Bendela, the true winner) (Shangela, the second true winner)) and S10 (Aquaria, the fashion queen who was surprisingly funny))
  • Blue Planet (S2)
  • The Challenge (Final Reckoning (Ashley’s $1M)
  • Survivor (Ghost Island (Wendell (Reality TV’s version of Donald Glover wins in a jury tiebreaker against the bad cop Domenick) and David vs Goliath (Christian the robotics scientist wins over America but is backstabbed by his partner))
  • Veep
  • Altered Carbon (well produced and handsome lead but slow pacing with a complicated plot)
  • Broad City (S4)
  • Black Mirror (S4)
  • Handmaid’s Tale (S2)
  • Westworld (S2)
  • Queer Eye (Jonathan was incredibly charismatic and Tan convinced me to buy clothes that fit me)
  • Pose
  • Killing Eve (my favorite!!!  I am in love with Jodie Comer, Sandra Oh, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge)
  • The Americans (Final Season; escape to Russia)
  • Counterpart (slow-ish but incredible premise)
  • Bojack Horseman (S5; free churro; Mr. PB’s Boos; second favorite Bojack season)
  • Better Call Saul (S4; Jimmy sells burners)
  • Atypical (S1-2; season 1 especially)
  • New Girl (S5-6; underrated for a network sitcom.  Perfect for falling asleep)
  • Insecure (S3)
  • Haunting of Hill House (so slow and not compelling)
  • Superstore (S1-4; INCREDIBLY underrated and an incredible show)
  • Black-ish (S5; the divorce arc)
  • iZombie (S4–the zombie secret is out and Seattle is precariously half zombies.  Major is evil!!)
  • Barry (S1; drama/comedy whiplash)
  • The Office (S9; final season)
  • End of the Fucking World (quirk-tastic)

Movies:

 

  • Game Night
  • Coco
  • A Quiet Place
  • Happy Death Day
  • Primer
  • The Incredibles 2
  • Eighth Grade
  • First Purge
  • Mission Impossible: Fallout
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • Oceans 12
  • Battle of the Sexes
  • First Man
  • Jumanji 2
  • Upgrade
  • Overlord
  • Searching

Board Games (and some video games):

  • Jackbox (Drawful; Murder Trivia Party; Quiplash)
  • Chameleon
  • Splendor
  • Dinosaur Island (KS Exclusive!!  Officially my most expensive game. Semi for Mason but he moved.)
  • Azul (+cruise story)
  • Junk Art
  • Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective (omg lol.  polarizing/not what I wanted)
  • Tortuga 1776 (polarizing!!)
  • True(r) Colors
  • Hardback
  • Clank!
  • Codenames Duet
  • Bergnein
  • When I Dream
  • Werewords
  • Pictomania
  • Secret Hitler
  • Arboretum
  • Ethnos
  • Idle Ants
  • This House is Haunted
  • Broom Service
  • Cryptid

  • Overcooked

  • Mario Party (for Switch)
  • Decrypto
  • Tragedy Looper
  • Terraforming Mars
  • EXIT and Unlock!
  • Sagrada
  • Spyfall
  • Forbidden Desert (I decided I don’t like co-op games, especially the Forbidden series)
  • Expanse
  • Between Two Cities
  • Magic Maze (loses to Overcooked)
  • Kingdomino (+Age of Giants Expansion) / Queendomino (the friend who is trying too hard)
  • Boggle
  • Bohnanza
  • Dice Forge (gimmicky but fun)
  • Beat Saber
  • Splendor
  • Spice Road (Golem Ed)
  • Star Realms
  • Happy Salmon
  • Escape games at Palace of Fine Arts Escape Games (Roosevelt Room) and Omnescape and Escape from AT&T Park and the one on the Harmony of the Seas
  • Illusion
  • Flamme Rouge
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the 2016 election write-up you desperately have been waiting for

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i’ve been taking a calligraphy class!  the class itself has been not lifechanging, but it has been fun learning something new and having a creative outlet.  this is my homework from this past week; the slants (especially the t’s) are a bit of a mess and there are a couple of oddly shaped characters (and some really greatly shaped characters!).  but i’m also learning, in a world where computers can be perfect, it’s sort of the imperfections that make calligraphy interesting.  (hah!  i would say that.)

calligraphy class this past tuesday (11/8/16) was a bit hard to concentrate.  class already is a bit light on content, and with the election results swinging from the direction of a hillary win to a trump win, it was hopeless concentrating on the spacing and rhythm of the writing.  though, i do have to say that practicing the same two letter combinations over and over again was perhaps more enjoyable than going to an election party, where a pretty incredible election upset would have led to an undoubtedly somber vibe.

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SNL – Election Night (both a funny and insightful sketch imo)

the results the day after were, of course, heartbreaking and scary and angering.  i came across a piece the day after that mentioned that, when obama moved into the oval office, he got a new carpet with 5 quotes on them, four from former presidents, and one (pictured) from MLK (though it’s paraphrased and misattributed and originated from an abolitionist).  an appropriate sentiment to guide us through the next couple years–perhaps a minor setback for now but we have to believe things will get better in the long run.

it’s been quite an emotional, crazy week (for us and the nation)! my election “hot takes” and not so hot takes:

  • just like we would have needed trump to concede for a peaceful transition of power to heal this nation, we need to concede and work together.  not doing so would be hypocritical and petty.  rooting for trump to fail is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.  i am especially respectful of democrats who try to find solutions with trump instead of doing what the republicans did to obama and lead us through another 4 years of obstructionism.  and, to quote matt yglesias of the weeds, also very respectful of the nevertrump republicans who now have to work with him.  life is messy, and the high road often sucks.  the vindication and smugness of trump crashing and burning perhaps is not worth it.
  • i’m sick of the blame game and the infinite “what we missed” pieces.  i’m sick of monolithically defining and stereotyping donald trump supporters (i don’t think it’s obama’s fault, but can you really blame the white lower/middle class for not loving the last 8 years?  not sure if calling people “racist xenophobes” is going to sway any minds… i mean, talk about the vocab word of 2016).  i’m sick of the idea that we didn’t need to empathize before the election, and now we do.  i’m sick of the idea that we didn’t know racists were in america, and now we know.  i’m sick of the narrative that the democratic party was flawless before, and now inherently broken (and vice versa for republicans).  a mis-estimation of polls by 5% in 5 states (or, a lower than expected turnout) should not have the earthshattering implications that everyone is reeling from right now.
  • who has ever had an enjoyable conversation with someone with differing political views?  and, asked more rhetorically, how do we create more productive discourse about something so important in our lives?
  • from the bleeding hearts of keepin it 1600 (politics-focused podcast hosted by obamabros in a nonapologetic, passionate fox-news sense. never have i heard the word “CRAVENLY” exclaimed so many times with so much intensity <3), we have got to stop thinking of the election in terms of “red team vs blue team, we lost this round, let’s win the next round.” which is important in a couple ways, but to me, it’s more about the over-polarization of politics that has come to dominate the “echo chamber” of facebook.  we need to stop “crying wolf” over everything (like–you can’t say trump will be the worst choice for the president ever, and then complain about how pence would be worse).  for all my liberal friends that complain about inexcusably biased conservative news stories, stop sharing the same deluded, unreasonable liberal news stories and cherry picking the stories that work for us!  again–someone has to take the high road.
  • i admire hillary’s grace, passion, preparedness, and temperament in a vicious election against a vicious opponent with unending, unfair attacks. i despise trump’s values, his “fake it till you …file bankruptcy and make it someone else’s problem”, his ego, his inability to apologize or take responsibility, his blatant self-interest and track record of taking advantage of those unprotected by society, his petty bullying and name calling.  but–i also don’t want to conflate being a great guy with being a great president.  correlated to a degree, but there are checks and balances, and i think our discourse would benefit from more policy discussion than emotional intensity of these personal attacks.
  • yes, i believe that trump’s policies are flimsy, unrealistic, and will likely hurt his supporters more than clinton’s policies.  i’m trying to gauge what i’m most concerned by, in descending order: foreign policy/nuclear proliferation, supreme court, environment/climate change, institutionalized racism/etc, exacerbation of wealth inequality.  and you know what, it’s still okay to be optimistic and believe that trump is really a moderate at heart and will hire educated people and that he will change course once he’s elected.
  • i am concerned about “emboldened” trump supporters (factoid: post-brexit has seen a noticeable uptick in hate crimes).  but, hate crimes were still a problem under obama, and would have continued under clinton.  it has always been a problem and we can’t use trump as a scapegoat for everything in a post-11/8 world.  a personal aside: while i’m really worried for victims of hate crimes, i also empathize with the less overt but still damaging experiences/”microaggressions” faced by women/minority democrats in red environments feeling silenced and like second class citizens.  being gay in a christian high school definitely did a number on me, and i cannot thank my (gay!) (bible!) teacher enough to unequivocally tell me that i should get out of georgia as soon as i could. (and–if anyone has ideas on donating time or labor to a helpful defender of these people, daniel and i are in the market for ideas!)
  • i don’t like that the lesson of the 2016 election (and, to some degree, obama’s elections) are that inspiration and making promises you can’t keep make a better candidate than well informed, well researched policy substance.  we should all listen to the weeds!!!!
  • some silver linings: 1) a republican president with a republican congress is in some ways better than hillary facing an obstructionist congress.  there certainly are good republican ideas (case in point: obamacare is not perfect!  the tax code is impossible (and in many ways regressive but that is probably not a republican plank)), and the degree to which we can actually pass laws with a republican president might be better than another 4 years of bickering gridlock.  (might!  i said might!) 2) historically, midterms tend to swing the opposite direction of the presidential election, so this could work out well for democrats in 2018!

life’s 3 accomplishments

someone asked me for my three biggest accomplishments in life.  my response:

i know it’s cheating but i’m going to go with thematic life change accomplishments:

1) running a half in 1:34 (7:11 pace).  probably the most “accomplish-y” of the 3, it’s a damn good time that i’m really proud of myself for achieving.  but more generally, taking vanity more seriously (half facetious), training at running and achieving my goals, exploring many other types of exercise and overcoming my fear of the gym/bros, and being more comfortable with the way i look. 

2) doing dance marathon (a 24 hr dance fundraiser).  not really that impressive on the face of it but a lot more reflective of my personality transformation, where i was scared of everyone at high school and avoided dancing at all costs.  i learned the value of being silly and approaching people and being effusive.  just like being an RA, i would have never guessed in high school that i would have been that person in college but i loved dancing/being an RA and the person that it allowed me to be.  i still continued to be awkward well after college but it was the first big step that got the ball rolling.  

3) gaywakening.  loosely defined as the 6 month period where i went from never having been to the castro to circuit parties with a gay majority of friends.  i had just broken up with then boyfriend, i realized i was still totally uncomfortable with my gayness and really wanted to make that a priority.  and it’s really paid dividends, discovering my “authentic self” and connecting in a deeper way with great people (especially daniel) and having a lot of fun with them (i’m including partying in that one). 

honorable mention: placing really well in some puzzle hunts, incl first in a couple.  relatedly, writing my own puzzle hunts and HBFS.  super fun and proud and rewarding.  

OKAY.  you?

———

(i also was put on the spot and asked what my biggest mistake in life was.  oof, awkward/tough.  perhaps a blog entry for another day.) (but i do have my canned very, very elaborate answer to biggest regrets in life.)

2014, a retrospective – peaking

i have this favorite genre of questions, which are “seemingly innocuous but deeply personal,” with the question that started them all, “when do you think you peaked in life?” it’s a great question, but as to why it is is a topic for another entry.

before 2014, for when my life peaked, i probably would have chosen 2006, my sophomore and junior years of college.  i had just met bristin, and i was overwhelmed by love for my friends (brijigrestaja <3), i was exploring this whole new side of me, between getting my first boyfriend and my passion and energy for dance marathon and successfully getting an RA position, all things i would have never pictured myself doing in a million years.  i was doing well in school and, though i didn’t know what i wanted to do after school, the world seemed like it was full of possibilities.

subsequent years were less enjoyable or less life-fulfilling for various reasons… imperfect job or friend status or dating/relationship difficulties or confusion or whatever.

but 2014 was really great!!!  i’m in a job that i generally enjoy that i could see myself staying with.  i have a boyfriend that i love incredibly and we have too much fun together.  i developed a really deep friendship with mason and also met some really great new friends, specifically, sean, josh, and colleen.  i had generally good health and successful passings of actuarial exams.  a lot of fun events.  anyway, i would say that 2014’s theme was peaking–a great amount of satisfaction and accomplishment and fun.  but, as they say, what goes up must come down.

one of my things i tried out in 2014 was that i would rate each day out of 10.  below is a distribution of my results! (5=a neutral day, 10=one of the best days of my life)

2014 day distribution

a couple things to note:

i realized that it can be difficult to reconcile when i SHOULD rate a day very highly and i have pressure and expectations to view the day very highly (EDC?) and really spontaneous days that happen to be awesome.   like, this list tends to pick up a lot more ordinary events and can drop bucket list items.

the “score of the day” also suffers from some law of averages that really great moments from a day can be cancelled out by really bad moments of the day.  in which case that day wouldn’t be that notable?  when it should be REALLY notable for two reasons.

2015 is already shaping up to be a much worse year.  my friendships are basically getting wiped out–mason is getting a job, which has meant much less time and availability to do things together.  sean and colleen are both leaving/left my company, so i see them much less regularly.  and my relationship with josh perhaps burned too brightly in the beginning.  job wise, the attainment of my FSA has been great but emptiness inducing in a way–not really sure how to harness extracurricular energy or how to best use/be productive with my spare time.  and i think the stability of a 3 year relationship with daniel and 1 year of living together has made keeping the relationship new and fresh difficult.  like 2015 is almost half over, and i’m pretty sure i’ve had <50% 8.5+ days that i had last year at this time.

it’s weird reading about fights after the fact.  i remember how passionate i felt at the time, but they also feel so insignificant in retrospect.  maybe i will do an entry listing all the fights we had, lol.

BEST 5 DAYS OF 2014 THAT I WILL REMEMBER FOREVER

  • 4/12 – beatbox with josh, jon, mason
  • 6/28 – spectacularly beautiful and fun wedding with one of daniel’s former coworkers
  • 6/29 – wine tasting, goofing off in napa, and french laundry
  • 7/12 – spontaneous sunday adventure to alice’s and half moon bay ritz carlton and shell collecting
  • 9/21 – hangout day with mason and coherence and mac n cheese round 1

reasons why i would have

  • fights with daniel (~40%)
  • sick/feeling crappy (~30%)
  • annoying/irritability by circumstances/friends (~30%)

days exceeding or equal to 8.5/10: loosely defined as days where i felt really satisfied and the day was memorable and special.

  • 1/10 – passed actuary test
  • 2/8 – meeting of kyle/jesse/josh and mason/wayne/jon officially
  • 2/9 – fried polenta, hottubbing, and prisoners
  • 2/15 – dillon, jordan, dan, and bear at mezzanine
  • 2/21 – paint nite with coworkers
  • 2/23 – farewell house dinner at commercial with zak hazen
  • 2/26 – run club in the rain followed by hottubbing
  • 3/14 – lunch with angeles/kathy/sid and hh/mama ji’s with jyoti and boaz
  • 4/8 – david’s funemployment party and cafe dancing with john
  • 4/26 – DASH6 lemonade puzzles with jon, brian, rob
  • 5/3 – dinner at angeles’s oakland place with jyoti/boaz and alicia/her lawyer date
  • 5/11 – nice ordinary day of climbing, friends, great tv, good food
  • 5/14 – daniel being charming, great tv, and run club
  • 5/17 – jon’s housewarming on the floor
  • 6/3 – banh mi, josh, and wc cheesecake with rachel
  • 6/7 – sound factory with bear and mason with prepartying
  • 6/12 – college reunion, starcraft, cosmos finale
  • 6/14 – 22 jump street, taco bell/kfc dinner, daniel getting into solar max 2
  • 6/16 – game night at bear’s, where daniel and i each won a game of 7 wonders
  • 6/20 – EDC with trap and the crew incl jon, justin, mason
  • 6/28 – boozy hh and red jade with josh, jason, regulars
  • 7/5 – prepartying and beaux to dj haute toddy
  • 7/13 – kome birthday dinner!
  • 7/19 – dj haute toddy at qbar with jesse’s friends
  • 8/2 – santa cruz camping trip with KJJ and wayson and sean and brian and jon
  • 8/9 – preparty at patrick’s and bootie with colleen and angeles and others
  • 8/15 – never neverland at the armory with brian, jon, ravi
  • 8/26 – spontaneous state bird provisions with dallas and colleen and the magnum
  • 8/30 – meeting up with ravi and dancing at beaux
  • 9/1 – unboxlove frisbee golf wagers and outerlands
  • 9/2 – gogi time test celebration with coworkers!!
  • 9/9 – a really fun, advanced dance class to jeremih
  • 9/12 – fun work hh and fun castro hh
  • 9/13 – mr. s with josh and harness shopping and beaux dancing with ravi
  • 9/20 – ryan’s wedding and folsom
  • 10/8 – bali, danshui, biking, wine in taiwan with daniel
  • 11/1 – hangout day with mason and lobster mac n cheese and sunshine
  • 11/16 – helping josh move and unikitty costuming and lego party late night chat
  • 11/23 – trap city at f8 and extreme dance chemistry with random girl
  • 11/29 – yosemite tent disaster and hike and campfire drinking and pizza
  • 11/30 – serial and daniel birthday kome
  • 12/18 – mason phd celebration at umami burger and mission chinese and black mirror
  • 12/20 – atl gay scene and kimball house with anthony and mom’s dumplings
  • 12/31 – sean’s NYE party and colossus with daniel after

2014 in numbers

  • dancing – 21x
  • happy hour – 22x
  • glg – 22x

TV (bolded are favorites)

  • sherlock
  • happy endings
  • enlisted
  • chuck
  • blacklist
  • elementary
  • house of cards
  • survivor
  • helix
  • hannibal
  • looking
  • the Americans
  • orphan black
  • cosmos
  • the challenge (battle of the ex’s 2)
  • veep
  • orange is the new black
  • fargo
  • the comeback
  • you’re the worst
  • so you think you can dance
  • leftovers
  • bates motel
  • bojack horseman
  • silicon valley
  • transparent
  • happy valley

movies

  • prisoners
  • lego movie
  • veronica mars
  • how to train a dragon
  • neighbors
  • cloverfield
  • 22 jump street
  • snowpiercer
  • edge of tomorrow
  • guardians of the galaxy
  • divergent
  • coherence
  • wolf of wall street
  • sunshine
  • American hustle
  • gone girl
  • maze runner
  • grand budapest hotel
  • interstellar
  • mr nobody
  • theory of everything

trips

  • atlanta (jan 2014)
  • pinnacles (may 2014)
  • vegas/edc (june 2014)
  • yosemite w/ family (july 2014)
  • santa cruz beach camping (aug 2014)
  • taiwan (oct 2014)
  • yosemite with wayson/jon (nov 2014)
  • atlanta (dec 2014)

new friends

  • ravi
  • jesse/kyle
  • josh
  • sidney
  • sean h
  • andrew h

games

  • adventure capitalist, civclicker, and tons of other clicking games
  • diablo 3
  • hanabi

milestones

  • moved out of commercial (feb 2014)
  • told mom about daniel (summer 2014)

something that happened in my life – the french laundry – june 29, 2014

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i feel like french laundry definitely hit the dollar threshold that requires a blog entry, so… here goes!

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definitely stole the clothespin.  though i think everyone does.

daniel and i had a wedding in napa and were staying the night, so we did our prior planning and decided that, since we were “in the neighborhood”, that we would go to the french laundry! yes, one of only eleven restaurants in the united states with three michelin stars and consistently ranked as the top or one of the top restaurants IN THE WORLD, that french laundry.  but okay, first, let’s get this out of the way:

OMG how was it?!?!

so i wish i could write something like this:

And so began the unforgettable, intimate, beautifully orchestrated dinner that has remained one of my and [Daniel’s] most treasured shared memories. That, in fact, it even managed to register as such in light of the incredible number of cocktails and wines sampled throughout the evening is further testament to Thomas’s uncompromising vision. From the gin-and-tonics (concocted with housemade quinine), accompanied by a delicious signature amuse-bouche of “oysters and pearls,” through to the finale, a trove of impeccable chocolate truffles, we felt ourselves to be transported, a lone table in a sea of balletic servers. Delectable morsels arrived in waves over the course of the five hours, never interfering with the intimacy of our tête-à-tête—rather, the beautiful food and wine seemed to amplify the joy my daughter and I were taking in each other’s company. via

but, as jyoti pointed out, we don’t really have a refined-enough palette to appreciate the difference between a $30 meal and a $300 meal. like the $300 meal is better, but probably not TEN TIMES better. (as of writing, the cost is $295/pp (which includes gratuity but not tax.) (BUT it turns out it also includes coffee after the meal, so… drink up!!))

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Amuse bouche: Gougère and Salmon Tartare Cornet

Pâte à choux filled with warm aged Gruyère mornay sauce. Very light pillows filled with a slightly salty crème which still showed the typical aged Gruyère flavor. A rather classic French start to the dinner and for us a kind of palate cleanser for the coming dishes.

One of the signature amuse bouche’s of the French Laundry. The cone had a buttery and soft texture with some sesame seeds. The salmon was almost pate-like with a delicate taste. The bottom tip of the cone was filled with some crème fraiche to give it a slightly tangy finish.  via

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“Oysters and Pearls”
“Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar

Perhaps the most written about savory course at the French Laundry and one of the few courses which are part of nearly all tasting menus. Even though we wanted to experience the French Laundry as a whole event we were looking forward to finally try this dish – and it didn’t disappoint. The creamy and rich sabayon laid the foundation for the dish and the tapioca supported this richness with its texture. The perfectly cooked oysters had a wonderful sweetness whereas the quenelle of caviar provided the right balance of saltiness. It’s easy to understand why this dish has such a reputation as being a showcase for Thomas Keller’s cooking as it is a perfect combination of texture, flavor and creativity. The use of a mother-of-pearl spoon to serve the dish fits perfectly into the picture. via

the buildup.

after we decided to go, we had to make reservations, which proved difficult. i’ve heard concierges can do it without breaking a sweat, but we decided to call in. reservations are released exactly 2 months before each day and you have to call a number that you cannot get through. daniel and i both continuously redialled (daniel holed up in a conference room with the land line and his cell phone), and on the 33rd minute (i had given up after 30 minutes), daniel got through!!! though he was only able to get a 4 person reservation (they honestly don’t have a large number of 2-person tables).

choosing the other people to go with was somewhat difficult; we considered a lot of factors including:

  • how much we liked them/how comfortable we would be with them/how close we were
  • people who would appreciate the niceness of the event and had experience with fanciness
  • people in a stable relationship
  • people who made sufficient amounts of income where the french laundry budget is not their entire food budget for the year
  • people who had a car

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jyoti and boaz posing in the french laundry garden

we ultimately settled on jyoti and boaz! who we don’t spend a lot of time with, but who we both really like and were a great fit otherwise. jyoti had always told herself she would treat herself to french laundry if she passed her bar exam, so it was a nice belated celebration on that front as well.

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Garden Bean Salad
K&J Orchard Peaches, Oregon Cèpes, Marcona Almonds and Crème Fraîche

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Squash Blossom “Porridge”
Toasted Pine Nuts and Shaved Australian Black Winter Truff
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(they billed it as a “truffle centric” dish and brought around truffles in a humidor and then shaved it in front of you.  it was weird.)

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Salted Butter and Bread from Bouchon

ways i would describe the food:

delicious. i mean, everything tasted good. i would have happily, happily eaten 5x sized portions of every dish. though, boaz pointed out that nothing really tasted super intense, that the flavors were generally very understated (“balanced”!??!). like there is nothing as obvious or with the taste intensity of a costco hot dog or a costco slice of pizza with a side of ranch dressing. or jalapeno poppers. i guess that was the most surprising part.

tiny. french laundry was a nice thematic continuation of the afternoon of wine tasting, where tastings that i would have drunk in one gulp i would separate into the tiniest of sips, spreading it out for 10 minutes. pieces of meat i would have happily thrown into my mouth, i now sliced into delicate pieces, trying to savor every moment.

against the exhortations of our brunchmates, daniel and i made the most of the omelette bar and gorged ourselves before dinner. because, cmon, no matter how many courses they serve (let’s go with ~8, excluding desserts/amuse a bouches), no fine dining meal will ever make me full. and if there’s anything that would make me feel worse about spending >$300 for one meal, it’s spending >$300 on one meal and still feeling hungry.

interesting. there was just such a wide array of ingredients and cooking styles. various types of morsels and mushrooms and truffles. oysters with tapioca balls and caviar (as jyoti put it, “slimy balls”). wagyu steak, lamb, sea bass, chicken, abalone. a mushroom gravy. a spinach puree. some really unique textures of food. other things i’ve never eaten before, certainly never prepared in that specific way.

beautiful. plating for each plate was so unique. the colors. perfect fried cubes of chickpeas. butter shaped like a beehive. the tiniest of flowers placed onto a dessert. a 3D tendril of chocolate. a garlic puree in a fried pastry shaped like a flower. a quail egg cooked over a perfect circle of potatoes. okay, i’m sure someone from the food network would do a better job explaining, but those were some of my favorites.

technically impressive. all the meats were cooked perfectly. there was this sort of weird eggplant soft cheese jello thing that was… something.

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Sautéed Fillet of Mediterranean Loup de Mer
Preserved Green Tomatoes, Garden Radishes, Sweet Garlic “Barbajuan” and Tonnato Sauce

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Pacific Abalone “Poêlée”
Garden Carrots, Toasted Cashews, Cilantro Shoots and Sweet Curry “Ragoût”

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Four Story Hill Farm Poularde
La Ratte Potato Purée, Brentwood Corn and Morel Mushroom “Blanquette”

the service

so the service was…. interesting. i’m actually intrigued about the demographic that goes to french laundry. what percentage of people are insufferable and snooty, what percentage is a major foodie, what percentage is new money trying to impress a date, what percentage is just random riffraff who happen to stumble into french laundry and maybe shouldn’t belong (us).

in any case, it feels really stuffy. they are definitely warm, but they are not terribly funny or likely to laugh heartily or crack jokes. they are ridiuclously attentive, in a way that makes me uncomfortable (but in general a sign of good service, i think). they speak in a very calm, cool, understated inside voice. the server to diner ratio must be about 1 to 4.

i guess i was just surprised that they didn’t notice that we were of the last demographic and they didn’t tailor their service to be a little more informal and jovial… but i guess that would be unbecoming.

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Herb Roasted Elysium Fields Farm Lamb
Crispy Chickpea “Panisse,” Garden Cucumbers, Moroccan Olives, Romaine Lettuce and Spiced Tomato Conserve

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Charcoal Grilled Japanese Wagyu
Short Rib “Rösti,” Chanterelle Mushrooms, Pickled Ramps, Creamed Arrowleaf Spinach and “Steak Sauce”

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Springvale Farms “Landaff”
Brooks Cherries, Charred Eggplant, Sweet Pepper Essence and Watercress

irreverence

i was telling sean that i was going to french laundry that weekend, and he blinks a couple times and pauses and looks at me and goes, “….. james… you do realize that that place is expensive, right?…” (because i am by far the cheapest member of the oakland lunch group.)

lol, boaz had apparently left his dress shoes at home and only had sandals and socks, and we were FREAKING OUT because french laundry has a strict dress code. while they were freaking out in the cab ride over, the cabbie was yelling at them about how they needed to get their act together and how they were disrespecting the best restaurant in the world and what was wrong with them!?!? we flanked him going inside so they wouldn’t notice his shoes.

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changing in the parking lot at the outlets before heading over

it was really great going with jyoti and boaz, though, in the sense that they were both very excited about the event but also didn’t take the experience too seriously and weren’t afraid to laugh and poke fun at some of the more ridiculous aspects of the event.

two of the highlights include the waittress talking about how a dish included “the hunter of the sea” (aka sea bass!?) and jyoti made a comment about how “it was certainly no chicken of the sea”, which even got the waittress to laugh.

later, daniel had chosen a baguette from bouchon bakery and carefully buttered the insides and put the two halves back together. the waittress came over, and goes, “a butter sandwich! i’ve never seen something quite like *that* before!” in a sort of ambiguously judgmental tone. it was sort of ridiculous and hilarious and we got a lot of good mileage out of that. OKAY you had to be there sorry.

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“Assortment of Desserts”
Fruit, Ice Cream, Chocolate and “Candies”

the experience

i knew daniel really enjoyed the symphony because he had brought me to the sf symphony once early on when we were dating. i later got these tickets for me and daniel to go see the sf symphony, who was performing at an outdoor stage, which was …. a very different experience, despite the performers and music being the same. attending the symphony hall felt a lot more special—people were dressed up, everyone listened with rapt attention, the concert hall was beautiful. that’s when i realized that, while the music was nice, it was the whole package of the experience that really made the trip worthwhile. 

so my go to answer about “how was french laundry” is that it was a great experience that i’m really glad to do once in my life, and i encourage everyone to do it once, and that i wouldn’t go back again. it felt very special, and it felt very fancy, and it felt unique. and that’s the sign of a great experience!

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they personalized the menus for us!!!!  how crazy is that.  and they gave us an “opera cake” (tasted like a tiramisu) and daniel turned the stick into celebratory candles. 

major aside, for those of you keeping score at home, daniel and i got two separate dishes for two of the courses, so the number of photos doesn’t match the number of dishes you actually receive.)

the value/”was it worth it”

so at french laundry, the idea of “marginal happiness per dollar spent” metric was born. where does spending your money get you the most happiness bang for your buck? my answer: almost definitely not going from a $50 meal to a $300 meal. or a $10 bottle of wine to a $100 bottle of wine.

good happiness value with daniel: (we mostly talked about big ticket items)

  • EDC (~$1,200 vacation)
  • driving at a race track

good happiness value with james:

  • getting appetizers
  • buying something new/decadent at costco

not good happiness value:

  • staying at a $300 hotel vs. a $150 hotel

it might be helpful to split activities into “big ticket” and “small ticket” items. and generally you can’t factor in close-to-free items like “cuddling” or “watching a tv show” or “going to the gym”.

OTHER PHOTOS FROM THE WEEKEND

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photos from the wedding, a very nice event held at durham ranch.  a former coworker of daniel’s was getting married. 

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animals in the thomas keller garden

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goofing around/glamour shots in the thomas keller garden.  LOVE the guy-leading-the-girl shot

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the ever so classy menage a trois vineyard.  1) it’s actually a very nice winery to go visit, they have ladderball and bocceball and cornhole and a nice outdoor area.  2) it’s actually sort of funny because menage must drive 100% of the customers into the door, but they sort of treat it is as their bastard child and i think the salespeople have much, much stronger incentives to push their other labels over menage.  poor menage 😦

love in theory vs. love in practice

Love in Theory

Love is unconditional and eternal. Love is durable and resilient.

You treat the ones you love the best because you treasure them the most. You do your best to earn their love day in and day out. You worry about their feelings and you spend the most effort on making them happy.

You ignore misgivings and apologize for the small things because being with them is worth it because they are what gives our lives meaning.

They bring out the best in you and you bring out the best in them.

Love is putting another’s needs, desires, and happiness before your own. Love is the ultimate act of selflessness.

Love in Practice (Sometimes)

You hold your loved ones to the highest standards and cut them the least amount of slack. The people who hurt you, frustrate you, anger you the most are often the people whom you love the most.

Love means never having to say you’re sorry. Love means that when you’re mad at them, you don’t have to hold back.

You bite your tongue with friends and coworkers and strangers, but you don’t bite your tongue with loved ones, because they can handle it. Because they’ve seen worse. Because they’re stuck with you. Because love is unconditional. Because you are beyond pleasantries. Because they are an easy target. Because you want to hurt them the way they’ve hurt you.

Love is a bank where if you withdraw enough funds and treat them bad enough and ruin enough nights, they will stop loving you. People only love people who make them happy.

Love fades away. Excitement becomes dull. Novelty wears off. People stop treasuring love and start taking it for granted.

Love is a Paradox

We are willing to move mountains to win someone’s love, yet we stubbornly refuse to budge an inch during an argument. We will sacrifice everything for those we love, yet we can be resentful our whole lives over a moment of errant insensibility.

Love is a paradox. Love is vowing to treat them the best, only to lead to moments you treat them the worst. Love is trying one’s best, but also being unbridled from the need to try at all.

Saying “I l— you” is regarded as momentous, but I am always skeptical that the speaker really understands the basics of human nature–how the feelings are but the spark of a bulb before potentially burning out forever. 

You are not given love. You are not entitled to love. There is no lifetime pass for love; you have to earn it every day.  Engage.  Try.  Give.  Apologize. 

The idea that love is not susceptible to a rough patch, a bad fight, or a better prospect is reserved for fairy tales and rom coms. We are all selfish animals, and we quickly forget about an intimate past, dwell on a noxious present, and fantasize about a perfect future.

founding gaystotska, the gay separtist nation

it was at my 27th birthday party when i finally had to confront the truth; the gays and the straights had separated like oil and water, with the gay guys in the kitchen and dining room (the bar!) and the straight people in the living room and deck. and it was then that i realized that gay people didn’t really want to spend time talking to straight people—that i didn’t really want to talk to straight people anymore. (luckily all my straight friends are grandfathered in 😉 but in all honesty it has become increasingly difficult to keep in touch with my straight friends outside of one-on-one hangouts…)

in college, i only had gay friends by happenstance. now, i only have straight friends by happenstance. (the tipping point was probably right after party cat was dismantled and i had my gaywakening.)

it’s difficult/unsustainable to keep up with people who aren’t friends with each other (which is probably one of best things about being in a clique). in some ways, it’s sort of like real time strategy games; it’s easy to have 100% gay friends or 100% straight friends. or you can skirt dangerously at the 50/50 equilibrium with both friend groups perfectly balanced. but if you have slightly more of one, it generally is just easier to tip to one end of the spectrum with a few straggling one-off awkwardly-attends-your-birthday-party friends (OMG yes millions of exceptions). i feel like this applies to cliques as well; if you’re part of two cliques, one will likely win out over the other.

anyway, i digress.  every once in awhile i hear this phrase: being gay doesn’t define me. i think of people as more than their sexuality. and it can be offputting to deal with people who do identify primarily by their sexuality.

there was a time when i used to strongly believe that statement, through college and the beginning of my professional career; now, i would probably say the opposite. 

why do gay people love to hang out with each other? here are some reasons why it’s less likely for gay people to be friends with straight people and more likely to be friends with gay people:

gay topics of conversation. there are certain go to gay topics (and gay terminology) that every gay guy is well versed (!) in. this includes working out, eating habits, gay dating, hot guys, and gay sex. man, gay people love talking about guys and sex. and, again, given the small gay community, there is likely a lot of gossip. discussions about weekend activities and venues are all things that your gay friends likely all know intimately. sometimes i start talking to straight people and honestly they sometimes hang out at totally different places and watch different tv shows and it can be hard to know what is an easy conversation topic.

the gay experience is something we all have in common. more generally, we all have the shared experience of being gay. it’s no different than people of the same race hanging out together, or people who do the same activities or work in the same industry or were part of the same frat or grew up in the same area or are part of the same religion or socioeconomic class tend to stick together.

being gay is a lifestyle, and shared experiences make for an automatic sense of community and rapport and belonging. so many gay people have gone through their lives hiding and lying and feeling abnormal, and the gay community provides a welcome change from the rest of our past where we’ve felt scared or lonely or abnormal or silenced.

i was at a wedding recently, and there was an older fella who was being friendly (in a wedding way, not in a creepy way), and then he made a comment about my boyfriend and then it all clicked why he was being so nice (unfortunately not because i’m a good or fun dancer). and then we became instant friends! and we talked about how pride was that weekend and how we were missing out, and how he was worried that he would be the only gay person there and how he was glad to see us, and how he once saw the groom as a boy call a waiter “gay” and how he scolded him for doing so, how he had been married to a woman and had kids. it was so easy! i can’t imagine trying to find stories of equal relevance with a straight stranger.

because love and sex are life’s greatest motivators. things people would never do for their friends, they will do in a heartbeat if it gives them a chance at sex or love. not to mention, there is a strong networking effect where each gay person can introduce you to exponentially more gay people. nothing in life is more distracting than looking forward to a sexual encounter. people will move mountains to get a first date with a crush. nothing can throw someone into a state of depression like heartbreak. especially if you’re single and/or ready to mingle, hanging out with straight people, especially going out with straight people, suddenly becomes much less alluring.

networking. the gay community in san francisco is, at the end of the day, not a huge community. (yes, pmc, you can be vindicated.) for every given gay person that you meet, there is a very nontrivial possibility that you will see them again. there are only so many gay venues and everyone is friends (with benefits) of friends (with benefits). and that makes interactions with every gay guy you meet infinitely more fulfilling than any interaction with a straight person. everyone is a friend of a friend, and having a familiar face in a crowded bar can be immensely comforting.

senses of humor. somewhat controversially… i think gay people are funnier than straight people. *hides from the boos*. though it sometimes works against the community to have the predominant senses of humor be this mix of catty, sarcastic, sassy, shame-y, sardonic, double entendre-y rapidfire. okay, put less controversially, there are many different flavors of straight people, and there are comparatively fewer flavors of gay people. and if you like those flavors/learn to thrive in those flavors, then you will like gay people more. (OF COURSE it should be said that i know many incredibly incredibly funny straight people as well.)

——-

interesting factoid: definitely a great “seemingly innocuous but deeply personal” question to ask a gay person why they think gay people only like spending time with gay people and using it to understand their motivations and values in life.  (thanks to sean STK, pmc, josh, mason for participating in my psych study.)

my… 28th birthday is coming up this weekend!  and… i’m still not sure if i should have a separate gay table and a separate straight table.  (okay AFTER THAT WHOLE ENTRY a lot of straight people will actually be coming on sunday :|)