Tuesday, November 5, 2013
I was walking around Aliso Viejo tonight - another one of Orange County's truly upper class cities where the number of police per capita is competing for the nationwide high and it where distinguishing your white Prius in a forty acre parking lot packed with countless other white Priuses (Priusi?) requires a divining rod - and walked passed an older couple exchanging sweet words. I only caught a bit of what they said, but essentially he was asking if she wanted to get serious or dive backing the dating pool. She laughed and he smiled and I gather she seemed somewhat smitten. I glanced back and saw the embrace and all was perfect in the world for them, and I suppose by extension the rest of us as well for what is happiness if not contagious?
Not far from that very spot I realized that I once had a rather lovely kiss. I was on a date with a boy from another school, a set-up to be honest and one in the summer following my senior year. I couldn't tell you his name if you waved a blank check in my face, but I can tell you he wore a black leather jacket with a powder blue cotton hood as his left canine was slightly snaggled in way that made his smile beyond endearing. A mutual friend had insisted we meet up and we both had agreed.
It was 2001; social media didn't really exist yet and dating sites were still a place where only the lonely or the crazy-stalker-murderers went to find love (or a victim in the case of the latter). In addition, being gay was still taboo, especially if you were eighteen in Orange County where conservative republicanism runs rampant and 100,000 parishioner-strong MegaChurches are the norm. Meeting another gay person who lived openly (I didn't at the time) was unicorn rare. A set-up was perfectly acceptable and likely the only option for high-schoolers at the time.
We called and chatted once or twice and eventually agreed to meet. I can say he was cute and recalling that I thought I wasn't cute enough. He was convinced otherwise and I found this novel as this was only my second date ever. I wasn't sure what to do or to think though I know I was trying too hard all night.
He took me to coffee and though we technically saw a movie we didn't watch it, choosing to hold hands and whisper through the entire film instead. Afterwards we talked about college plans. I was leaving for Northern California soon and he would go to one of the middle states where it snows. I remember this because I dumbfoundly admitted I had no idea what the hell wellington boots were and required an explanation.
There was no second date. I was going to college far away and so was he. What was the point? It wasn't discussed, just understood. Why bother fouling up a good time.
We then decided to share an ice cream cone. He picked pistachio because he asked what my favorite was. So we just sat on a bench in a dark and very private corner (which it was at the time before more shopping was built out) and licked the cone in quiet. Then he looked at me and we kissed. And I'm sure my blush was even visible in the dark of that incredibly shadowed park on that very warm night where the sky was inky and only a sliver of moon slipped out from out from beneath it all.
Strange that I remember his jacket and the moon but his name is still gone.
We kissed a little more and the ice cream melted in my hands. It was still 2001 and public displays of affection were terrifying, exhilarating, and radical for gays at the time. I was scared but still happy to both give in and give the world the finger. (Take that world.)
He escorted me to my car like a perfect gentleman a little while later, pecked me on the cheek and walked away. My hands were sticky the rest of the night from the ice cream and I had to use a wet rag to get the traces of sugar off the steering wheel.
Sometimes I still think of that date when I eat ice cream, though the memory is always present if I nibble it from the top of a sugar cone.
Best of luck to those two I saw. I hope the kiss he gave her was amazing.