Sunday, May 11, 2008

My new best friends:

My new AIDS Marathon training group had its first official all-as-a-group run Saturday morning, and here we are posing triumphantly for our first group picture.

Well, most of us. We ran six miles at our target marathon speed of 9-minute miles. But some of us (ahem) aren't quite capable of sustaining that speed on longish runs just yet, and we clocked in at 9:12 miles. And by the time we crossed the finish line, some of the faster folks had grown impatient in the excruciatingly long wait and had moved on to bigger and better Saturday-morning activities. So they missed the picture.

Which, in a few rambling sentences, sums up my initial impression of our probable group dynamic this summer. I hope I'm wrong, but I just didn't get the feeling that we're going to bond over hours of chatty run gossip and post-run brunches the way last two summers' groups did. In fact, Saturday's post-run group brunch consisted of: me and Matthew and the domestic parter, who is running in a different group. But the brunch still included pancakes, and that's really all you can ask of a brunch.

After we got cleaned up, the domestic partner and I went to his niece's first communion at Our Lady of the Mumbling Pastor in one of Chicago's lovely northern suburbs. I wore a brand new shirt that I discovered was noticeably too big in the neck once I got my tie tied, but I wasn't in the mood to re-think my entire wardrobe, so I probably look like I've been on a hunger strike in all the family photos. After the mass, which featured a parade of impossibly adorable second-graders, we retired to the domestic partner-in-laws' house for food, food, more food and exceptionally delicious cake, followed by a couple hours of Barbies and Disney princesses in the nieces' well-appointed playroom. Because nothing says gay uncles like a couple hours of Barbies and Disney princesses. Even when one of the uncles looks like he's playing dress-up in his daddy's shirt.

Today was going to start with another run, but it was freaking 48 degrees and rainy here in not-so-springy Chicago. AS. IF. So we did Plan B: brunch in Chicago's originally-Swedish-but-now-just-gay Andersonville neighborhood. Then we went shopping in its charming originally-Swedish-but-now-just-gay boutiques, where I found the perfect buffet for our dining room ... assuming the domestic partner and I master the art of shitting money. Then we went to a Mother's Day showing of Mommie Dearest at the architecturally fabulous Music Box Theatre. The event included Joan Crawford impersonators, a Joan Crawford look-alike contest and a performance by The Joans, which is probably the world's only Joan Crawford-themed punk rock band. But I'm too lazy to google it to make sure, so I could be wrong.

We closed our whirlwind day of gay clich├ęs at Sidetrack for a couple hours of show tunes tonight. In between the belting divas, I got to play wingman for a buddy who was working a hunky little Italian in the back bar, which isn't so crowded and loud so you can have actual conversations when you're there. Wingman, as you may know, isn't always an easy job. You have to be cute and interesting and approachable, but considerably less cute and interesting and approachable than your leading man. You have to stay alert and keep on top of the situation in case you have to jump in and play emergency rescue boyfriend at a moment's notice. And you have to know when to get the hell out of the way so you don't get hit by flying sparks. Because collateral spark burns are rarely covered by basic insurance plans. Unfortunately, I don't think there was a love connection tonight, but the hunky little Italian was very nice. And distractingly hunky. Not that I was noticing.

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