This Saturday I was the best man in my friends Beckie and Mike’s wedding. Overall, it was one of the more low-key affairs I’ve attended and been a part of. It was maybe ten minutes long. The bride wore blue (almost TARDIS blue!), her brother officiated, and the wedding processionals were both songs by Christina Aguilera that I arranged for two violins.
The reception was also low-key and started about an hour after the wedding, with an open bar and beautiful weather for sitting outside while we waited. Per tradition, I delivered the opening toast, which ended up being a two-and-a-half page essay that included mentions of the United Nations, evolutionary biology, and an excerpt from The Little Prince (which I’ve quoted on this blog once before). Surprisingly, it was relatively well-received, and the bride has even titled her Facebook photo album from the wedding “The United Nations of Mike and Beckie’s Wedding”!
It was also an emotionally difficult weekend for me to get through, partly because it came barely a month after Jason and I broke up (the bachelor party happened the week of the breakup), and almost everyone was there with their spouses or significant others. Aside from me and the maid of honor, everyone there in the wedding party was coupled. Even the one bridesman was there with his boyfriend Roy, who took all of the wedding photos. So I was constantly being reminded there of how single I am, and of how incompatible I am with most gay men my age, so I came away feeling less confident that I’ll ever find a guy to marry.
Eager to get away to get some emotional room (and so that the middle-aged women wouldn’t keep trying to make me dance with single girls—apparently they didn’t understand what “gay” means), I left the reception early to visit a friend of mine. He’d texted me earlier that evening that only eight people had come to his birthday party, and his husband was out of town, and I needed some cheering up too so it was rather perfectly timed for both of us. I ended up feeling much better for the visit, and we had a great conversation that got me thinking about the qualities I want in a future husband, which I’ll write more about later.
Another element that made the wedding weekend difficult was running into the last person I was expecting or wanting to see—Seth, the guy who broke my heart on my birthday in 2011. Last Wednesday I was attending an LGBT networking event at a local restaurant where Seth is apparently a bartender there—a fact that nobody thought to mention to me. I arrived at the place, and was saying my hellos and ordering a drink when I heard someone say my name. I turned around, and there he was, looking sheepish and slightly surprised himself. I’m not sure what the hell possessed him to speak to me when I’ve made it clear that I want nothing to do with him. Probably the same thoughtlessness that allowed him to intentionally ignore the fact that he knew I was in love with him so that he could keep having sex with me. (Very convenient for him. Not so much for me.)
It was an inevitable moment that I’d been dreading. For its size, the Twin Cities is a relatively small place; and for the gay community, it’s an even smaller world. So that he and I would run into each other, or even possibly date some of the same people, was bound to happen.
My reaction to seeing Seth there was to respond with a curt, “Ah,” quickly turn away, and pretend I’d barely noticed him. It was the same tone I’d used when seeing him a few weeks after my birthday in 2011, when I’d snarled “What the fuck are you doing here?” at him.
I spent the evening ignoring him, which was difficult as he was behind the bar for most of it, often chatting with some of the cuter guys at the event. I found myself wondering how many of their numbers he’d managed to get, and how many of them he’d be fucking soon. Part of me found my jealousy after over two years ridiculous and hilarious, but his presence there made it difficult to concentrate or even think.
When the event started to wind up, I closed my tab and left as quickly as possible. I was about halfway home and at Starbucks when I realized that in my haste I’d left my card. Fortunately, I had my tablet with my Wallet app on it, so I was able to pay for my beverage; but it did mean I’d have to go back. When I got there Seth was on the phone. I walked past him to find someone to ask about my card and was waiting for about a minute to talk to another bartender when Seth walked up with my card and handed it back to me, saying quietly, “Here you go, David.” I had the twin impulses to say something snide and cruel in response, but also to get as far away from him as possible. So I hissed a “thank you,” and virtually ran back to my car.
So that was the Wednesday before the wedding, when I was already feeling lonely and undesirable, and there was Seth, looking handsome and charming as ever.
The theme of my romantic life is that I can never fall in love with anyone who is able to love me in return, and vice versa. And seeing him last week when I was feeling single, miserable and pathetic was another cruel irony of coincidence.
All that loving must’ve been lacking something
if I got bored trying to figure you out.
You let me down. I don’t even like you anymore at all.
– Fiona Apple