Things to notice:
The hair. I loved it when my hair did that stick-up-and-floop-down-over-my-eyes thing. It was actually pretty long, and it gave me something to swoop my hand through in a dramatic front-to-back motion. Although I’m pretty sure this fancy little ’do came with a weight line across the back, which made every ’90s homosexual and pre-metrosexal look like Dorothy Hamill. Or at least Lauren Tewes in her pixie-cut period.
The ring. Those of you who read even one gay rag in the 1990s probably didn’t escape the cultural hiccup dramatically called the Band of Infinity, where every homo with 30 (or so) bucks and a marked lack of judgment got a dentable stainless-steel ring individually numbered in a valiant attempt to unite us through the power of counting. But it totally worked; I feel closer to all of you for having worn it.
The watch. In the years before our mass entitlement to cell phones, people kept track of the time through little clocks they wore on their wrists. Crazy!
The shirt. Maybe it was a ’90s thing. Maybe it was an Iowa thing. But boy, was that minty green County Seat piqué polo shirt boxy and shapeless. With the sleeves held out like that, it looks as wide as it was tall.
The décor. No, I have never been in the habit of living in a Monet painting. Nor have I been in the habit of coordinating my minty green County Seat piqué polo shirts with my watercolory wallpaper. This picture was NOT taken in my home; it was taken in a Minneapolis hotel room on Jeff’s and my first vacation together. If I remember correctly, the cultural high point of our trip (after the Mall of America, of course) was Tony ’n’ Tina’s Wedding, a goofy and altogether hysterical participatory musical at which I developed the mother of all migraines. Poor Jeff had to drive me back to the hotel the moment the show was over and sit quietly with me while I lay in the dark hoping for a swift death. Most. Romantic. Trip. Ever.
The face. Oh, yeah. This is a picture of my patented Monkey Face™, which I have used to amuse children and alienate adults for decades. But it has saved me millions on hostess gifts.
You won’t be hearing much about him for a while; he left me this weekend. But not left left me—he just took off for a four-week business trip.
Before he left, we logged some quality ice-cream-and-hand-holding time on my couch (note to self: it’s hard to eat ice cream with one hand) and strolling-and-hand-holding time in Boystown and socializing-and-hand-holding time at Dance for Life followed immediately by tearing-up-(a-little)-and-hand-holding time on a bench in Millennium Park—all in an attempt to reassure ourselves that 1) we are, in fact, overdramatic 12-year-old girls and 2) we’ll have a nice reserve of great memories to hold us over until he gets back.
Dance for Life, for the uninitiated, is a one-of-a-kind sampler of works by every major dance company in Chicago, staged each year to raise money for AIDS organizations from here to Africa.
This year’s program featured Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s heartbreaking “Kiss” by Susan Marshall. I had seen “Kiss” a couple years ago and was profoundly moved by its story of love and separation and passionate infinity—not to mention Arvo Pärt’s haunting “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten,” to which it is performed. The piece features a man and woman in jeans and white T-shirts, suspended on two ropes. They kiss, they push away, they orbit, they heave and collapse under the emotional weight of their symbiosis and whatever is driving them apart. And in the end, they embrace and spin as one into fading darkness:
The metaphor for me as I sat in the dark holding hands with RDG on Saturday night—only five weeks into whatever we have going but on the eve of him leaving for a month—was a little overwhelming. I cried. And I could hear him crying as well.
Which means … well, it means a lot of things. And all of them tell me that four weeks could very well end up being a tiny little blip in a very grand scheme.