Obscurity Knocks

Earnest, empathetic, industrious, unpretentious, gay Virgo in Milwaukee with a great life, amazing friends, and a wonderful family.

Friday, July 06, 2007

All because of a chocolate chip cookie

If there's a gay Mafia in Milwaukee, Jim J. and Jerry T. are the leaders. No question about it. They know most of the gay guys in Milwaukee between the ages of 25 and 55. I'm not entirely certain how they do it, because so far as I know, they're not big bar people. Jim has a job where he is connected to lots of gay guys, and both of them seem to attract other gays like moths to a flame. Part of it is probably the frequent savvy entertaining they do at their uber-trendy downtown condo. I met them through Brad, who used to work for Jerry. Jim and Jerry are very nice guys and fun to hang out with, although I don't spend as much time with them now as I used to. The reason being that in the almost three years that I've been single, they have yet to set me up with anyone from their large cadre of gay friends. That sticks in my craw, although I've never said anything about it. In any event, Jim and Jerry are kind enough to host a Fourth of July party on their rooftop deck. From that vantage point you can see at least 20 different fireworks displays all around Milwaukee. It's a fun and happening party, and they pull out all the stops with respect to drinks, ambiance, and hors d'ouvres. This year they had a large plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies. I'm never one to pass up a chocolate chip cookie or a brownie, so I helped myself to one of these yummy treats. Soon after picking up the cookie with a napkin and enjoying my first bite, I noticed a gaggle of eight gay guys, all in their "required" uniform of tight t-shirt, tight jeans or plaid shorts, and flip-flops. They looked aghast at me. How could I even contemplate eating a chocolate chip cookie at a trendy party? That's just not done. I overheard one of these clones say, "Can you believe he's eating a chocolate chip cookie?" He said it with a tone I'd use if I saw someone snorting cocaine. I just kept walking away from them and went into another room. I decided that eating a chocolate chip cookie in front of those kind of gay guys is the equivalent of serving casseroles (aka "hot dishes") at a party hosted by Episcopalians - it's just not done. The things is: I really don't care. I could never date a guy who would be embarrassed by the fact that I enjoy a chocolate chip cookie. It's not like I'm overweight or anything. But evidently these gay guys subsist on bottled water, vodka, and an occasional salad, and think that all other gays should follow their lead. That's definitely not for me.

In spite of these mean gays, I had a fun time at the party and appreciate Jim and Jerry's kind invitation. It was fun to catch up with Jim and Jerry and to hang out with Barbie, Chad, Michelle, Kat, and Sarah French.

(Desperate) dating strategy

After consultation with Ruben, I ordered these "calling cards" from Vista Print. Yes, it's a bit desperate, but I know that I want to be in a healthy and loving relationship, so I reckon I have to be proactive about finding a guy. I'm carrying the cards with me most places I go with the exception of work. I've given out about 15 so far. Unfortunately, only one guy has responded, and that guy said that he had a boyfriend. Nevertheless, hope springs eternal.

Mid-year dating report

Now that 2007 is more than half over, I thought I'd post an update on my dating life. I've been on dates with four guys so far this year. At this stage, only one shows any inkling of promise.

1. Glenn. I met him on Yahoo Personals in January. He had a very interesting and eclectic history: currently working on a degree in counseling psychology, formerly played drums on a cruise ship band for a number of years. Based on personality, I was interested. Unfortunately, I felt no physical chemistry with him. I could not imagine kissing him, let alone anything more. Nothing against Glenn, but I just wasn't feeling it. Plus he lives with his parents at age 34 or 35, and that doesn't earn him any points. I certainly wish Glenn all the best.

2. Jay. I also met him on Yahoo Personals. Like Glenn, Jay had an interesting history, working for about five years in residence life positions in higher education, mostly in Southern California. Then he changed careers completely and was just finishing up a class in massage therapy. It would be a nice bonus to date a message therapist. We had a nice coffee date, but I don't think that either one of us felt much chemistry. I think it was mutual that we didn't want to pursue things beyond the coffee meeting. I'm of the opinion that you can't force chemistry when there's none there. I hope that Jay finds much success in his message therapist career.

3. Jason. I met Jason over a year ago through Friendster. We had a friend-of-a-friend connection owing to the fact that we both went to college at Marquette. We had our first date in May 2006. I'm known to be a tad high-strung, but Jason makes me seem like the picture of serenity. I was amused and smitten by his handsome looks and intense energy. We had two other dates in late spring/early summer 2006, but then he sent me an email saying that he was not in a place where he could handle a relationship. Fair enough, I thought, and better that I found out after three dates than after months of dating. At least he was honest about where he was in his life, and I appreciated that. Then in March of this year I came across Jason's profile on Match.com. Based on his profile, it appeared as if he was looking for a serious relationship this time. So I sent him an email saying hello and asking if he wanted to get together for lunch sometime. We met for brunch about a week later, and it was our best conversation to date. I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered so much about me after almost a year. He recalled specific details about my job, family, and favorites. He had also made much progress with his career, living situation, and workout schedule since we last spoke. Thinking like something might be happening, I went home from brunch feeling rather happy. Soon after I arrived home, Jason called me to ask if I wanted to go for a walk. We subsequently took a two hour walk on a warm sunny spring day in Milwaukee. Again, I thought that this gesture on his part showed real promise for the future. Next we agreed to meet for dinner. We had another pleasant conversation over dinner at Cafe Hollander. So much so that on the way home, I tried to kiss him. He said that he wasn't ready for that yet. I was slightly dumbfounded given what I perceived to be his intense interest in me, but I found solace in his use of the word "yet." Jason then contacted me not too many days later asking if I wanted to grab dinner that evening. I already had plans, so I suggested meeting one night later that week. We agreed to do just that, with a scheduled date at the Cheesecake Factory at Bayshore since that was on his way home from work. We both showed up at the appointed hour, but Jason forgot to tell me one important thing: he brought a friend along. This friend was also a gay guy. Assessing the situation, I figured I had three options: (1) grin and bear it through the dinner and be as civil as possible, (2) make up an excuse about why I needed to leave the restaurant immediately, or (3) ask Jason what the f*ck this was all about. As my good friends would willingly tell you, the Steve of old would have picked option number three. However, I'm trying to be more mature and wise. So I selected option number one and figured I'd try to figure all of this out. Obviously Jason was trying to send me a message, one that was received loud and clear: he wasn't interested in dating me. After an excruciatingly long dinner, I wasn't 100 percent sure what the deal was with the friend. At first I suspected that Jason was dating this other guy, but neither one of them gave any indication that they were a couple. Then I wondered if Jason was trying to set me up with his friend. That could have been the case. The friend was definitely a nice guy, but he wasn't flirting at all with me, and I wasn't interested in him in a romantic sense. Mostly because the friend is closeted, and I don't have much patience for guys who are closeted as I inch toward my mid 30s. So I endured the dinner, listened to Jason talk about some hot guy at his gym, and did a slow burn. But I kept it together, was civil, even nice, and said my goodbyes after dinner. I haven't contacted Jason since that whole episode, although I'd love to tell him off. Again, the Steve of old would have felt compelled to communicate in a scathing way with Jason, but I figure what's the use? He obviously isn't interested in me, so I move on, with yet another flake to add to my dating history.

4. Jerry. I'm embarrassed to admit this: I met Jerry on Manhunt. Yes, the lowest and dirtiest gay site out there. Most of the guys on Manhunt aren't looking to date, let alone find a boyfriend; they're seeking instant gratification, which seems to be the theme of 21st century living. In any event, we started chatting, the conversation was not sexual at all - thank goodness - and we agreed to meet for dinner in a few days. We had dinner at Harry's, a restaurant where I've had many fun meals over the years. It was without question the best first date I've been on in almost three years. I felt an immediate physical attraction to Jerry, who is handsome, cute, and has a great smile. He's an excellent conversationalist, but was also a bit nervous, which made him even more attractive in my eyes. We seemed to click throughout our conversation, so much so that when I asked if he wanted to get ice cream at Lixx after dinner, he readily agreed. So far the only problem was that Jerry lives in Chicago and I live in Milwaukee. But he just began a consulting assignment here in Milwaukee that will last for at least a year, meaning that he's here Monday-Thursday each week, then back in Chicago for a long weekend. Since the dating pool in Milwaukee is virtually nonexistent, I figure there are far worse things than dating a guy who lives in Chicago. On my way home I was cautiously optimistic. Then about ten minutes after I arrived home, my cell phone rang and it was Jerry calling to say, "I just wanted to let you know that I had a great time tonight." Needless to say, this call made me feel happy and excited about where this could lead. After that, we tried making plans, but I was headed out of town for eight days, he had to make a business trip to Britain, and he seems to lead a very active social life in Chicago. So we had no success in scheduling anything, a proposition further complicated by the fact that he's only here in Milwaukee Monday-Wednesday nights. A couple of weeks ago I decided to chalk this up to a nice guy, but too many obstacles such as the Milwaukee-Chicago distance and particularly his active social life - one that he's evidently not willing to make room for me. Then a few days ago he emailed me asking if I was free for dinner on Tuesday. The email said how much he enjoyed our prior dinner and said he was looking forward to seeing me again. After consultation with Ruben and Nate, I agreed to meet him on Tuesday. So we'll see what happens. My expectations are low, but you never know what might happen. I'm definitely open to the possibility of dating Jerry and letting him into my life.

Final British Columbia photos

A few final photos of Sara's and my trip to Vancouver and Victoria. Whale watching and bicycling through Stanley Park were the highlights for me. I think that Sara's highlights were the B.C. wine and buying her new purse (featured in these photos) at Roots.

A really old tree

While bicycling through Stanley Park, I came across this huge and old tree that was felled in a wind storm in December 2006. An 800 year-old tree. That's pretty impressive, although also a bit sad that one wind storm can take down an 800 year-old tree. I stood for a while contemplating all of the historical events that occurred during the lifetime of this tree, as well as how my own life was just a tiny fraction of the life of this tree.

Butchart Gardens

No tourist can leave Victoria without a visit to The Butchart Gardens. The gardens are more than 100 years old and today they employ about 50 full-time gardeners. It was impressive and beautiful. The highlights included a large sunken garden, a rose garden, and a Japanese garden.

Whale art sculpture at Abigail's

This was some kind of whale art sculpture at our hotel in Victoria.

Whale watching

While in Victoria, Sara and I went whale watching one morning with the Prince of Whales (love the pun) people. I forgot to bring my camera, but these photos from the P of W web site show the exact zodiac boat we were on and the red suits we wore. A zodiac boat can really move fast. Our group was fortunate to find J Pod, a group of about 40 orca whales. It was a real thrill, particularly since the whales came quite close to the boat.
I sat next to the man I want to be my husband. Unfortunately, I don't even know his name. He was about 30, my height and weight, with beautiful dark blond hair, cerulean blue eyes, and a soft-spoken voice that made me melt. He grew up on Toronto, but has lived in Halifax for the past few years. He has an undergraduate degree in marine biology and knew all sorts of interesting facts about the whales that he was kind enough to share with me. After working in marine biology for a while, he realized that it's difficult to progress beyond the job of being a whale watching boat driver and guide. So now he's finishing up a doctoral degree in food science and technology specializing in beer. I think he attends Dalhousie University in Halifax, but am not sure. He was attending a convention of beer brewers in Victoria doing some networking and trying to learn more about job opportunities for when he finishes his degree. Given his field of study, he was familiar with Milwaukee and this city's role in the beer industry. I was entranced for the full three hours not only with the whales, but with my new friend. We had some nice conversations, but then the whale watching experience ended. Chances are he's straight, which is why I didn't give him my contact information. A boy can dream, right? Just thinking of him makes me smile, although I wish I could see him again. But alas, I don't even know his name. Halifax Guy, if you somehow come across this post, please email me!

Abigail's Hotel Victoria

Sara and I stayed at Abigail's Hotel in Victoria. It was a charming bed and breakfast hotel. The breakfasts were so tasty and filling that we skipped lunch. I've been a fan of kir and kir royale since visiting France a number of years ago. Sara enjoyed her first kir royale at Abigail's.

One evening we enjoyed a bottle of B.C. red wine while playing Yahtzee on the Abigail's patio. We played three games, and the overall winner is still in dispute. I had the highest point total over the course of the three games. But Sara had the higher score in two of the three games. So we both claim to be the Yahtzee champion.


Yes, Victoria is a touristy city. But it's also beautiful and worth visiting. Here are some photos of (1) the Victoria Harbor with Empress Hotel in the background, (2) fountain outside of British Columbia Parliament Building, (3) statue of Queen Victoria outside British Columbia Parliament Building, (4) another of fountain outside of British Columbia Parliament Building, and (5) high tea at the Empress Hotel, which was a real treat in spite of the high price (about $50).

Sara and I enjoyed walking around the harbor, a fresh halibut fish fry at Barb's outdoor restaurant, an informative tour of the B.C. Parliament Building, and exploring the city.

Tea included: cucumber sandwich, salmon sandwich, chicken curry sandwich, egg salad sandwich, scone with strawberry jam, fruit tart, chocolate dessert, and other delicacies I can't remember at the moment.

Ferry to Victoria

This photo was taken on the ferry trip from Vancouver to Victoria. It was a beautiful day and a gorgeous trip.

Sara's red wine tour of British Columbia

Sara had numerous glasses of British Columbia red wine, usually Pinot Noir, each evening of our trip. Here she is enjoying a glass of the good stuff. Except for two evenings when I had local beer, I joined her in the tour of British Columbia red wines. Following a few glasses, we found this countdown clock to the 2010 Winter Olympics which will be held in Vancouver.

Favorite restaurant in Vancouver

Michelle SD's favorite Vancouver restaurant is Zin. Sara and I loved the Water Street Cafe in Gastown the best. We ate there on our first evening and enjoyed the meal so much that we returned again on our last night. Water Street Cafe had excellent fresh fish, crab, home made pasta, and a mighty fine flourless chocolate cake.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Sara and I visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver. I wasn't afraid at all of walking across the bridge, which is 135 meters long and 70 meters above the river below. It was a bit of a rush, actually.
Following our visit to Capilano, we went to Grouse Mountain and took the gondola to the top. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't clear the entire time we were in Vancouver, so we lost any view as we moved through low clouds at about 1,000 feet. Evidently the view is stunning on a clear day.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden

Sara and I visited the Dr. Sun Yet Sen Chinese Garden in Vancouver. While attractive, it did not meet my already-low expectations. I guess I got spoiled visiting the beautiful Japanese gardens when I went to Japan in 2000.

Stanley Park

While in Vancouver, Sara and I rented bicycles and toured around Stanley Park. It's one of the most beautiful places I've been fortunate enough to visit; I fell in love immediately. Vancouver really has its act together with this amazing rainforest park. I enjoyed it so much that on the final day of our trip, I did another two hour bike ride in the park while Sara went shopping.

Vancouver trip

Sara N., a high school friend from New Berlin, and I spent a week in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. It was a wonderful trip to a truly beautiful part of the world. I could easily see myself living in Vancouver, provided I could (a) get a decent job there and (b) obtain legal permission to live there since I'm not Canadian. The climate is definitely preferable to Milwaukee with mild winters, little or no snow, and spring coming much earlier. In addition, they don't get the intense heat and humidity that we get here in Wisconsin in July and August. Case in point: this weekend it will be in the 90s with high humidity here in Milwaukee. That doesn't happen in Vancouver. I'd also point out that the people in British Columbia seem even nicer than people here in the Midwest. And there were lots of cute guys. Are there any nice gay guys in Vancouver want to date me?

Latest Abby photos

My niece is getting bigger and more fun all the time. Abby is now 5 months old. The light blue dress was a gift from Uncle Steve.

Jennifer E's birthday

Here is a photo of Jennifer E on her birthday. She brought the gang together at Twisted Fork to celebrate the occasion. Jennifer E has a number of signature sayings. "I'm tellin' ya" is probably her best-known saying. It can be used in response to almost anything someone might say to you. "Did you hear that Bush gave clemency to Scooter Libby?" "I'm tellin' ya." "Paris Hilton is taking acting lessons." "I'm tellin' ya." "Steve still doesn't have a boyfriend. "I'm tellin' ya."
Another Jennifer E saying is "I'm gonna kick [pause] your ass." And when she says it, she means it. Jennifer E was in the Air Force for years. If I'm ever in a bar fight, I want to be right behind Jennifer E. Lord knows that she would be much, much more effective in a brawl than I could ever be.

Michelle SD and Ro's boat

Michelle SD and her husband Ro bought a boat last year. I never made it on the boat in 2006. Fortunately, we did not have a repeat of that in 2007. They took me on a very nice cruise on the waters of Milwaukee a few weeks ago. Captain Ro and First Mate Michelle are a great team. They have also won a prize in the past for "Best Sri Lankan Cooking Team."

Nate meets Abby

Nate met Abby, my niece, when he visited Milwaukee earlier this summer. In this photo, Abby is wearing a dress she received from Michelle.

Nate palm reading again

Each time Nate visits Milwaukee, he is inevitably asked to read the palms of my friends. The palm reading typically occurs after the consumption of numerous alcoholic beverages. I don't put much credence in palm reading, but my friends sure seem to enjoy it. I won't let Nate read my palm since my biggest fear is that he'll say, "you're never going to find a man." Plus he already knows all of my secrets. Here is a photo of Nate reading John M.'s palm.