we had been, invited a number of weeks ago by a friend whom CawfeeMate sees almost annually; for argument's sake, i'll refer to this friend as HowOdd*.Anyway, the invitation was for a 1pm brunch in Queens. no other details (ie. guestlist) were included in the e-mail invite and even while driving there we wondered if it would be mutual friends of CawfeeMate and HowOdd, from the hospital they had both worked at (HowOdd had recently retired). When we walked in, i was immediately struck with the knowledge that, for the 1st time in a very long time, i was the youngest person in the room by about 25 years (with CawfeeMate coming a very close second by being only 7 years my senior). Ordinarily, facts like that don't really phase me; like Nicky Arnstein (and a sponge), i can usually fit in almost anywhere. i've always hung out with a slightly older crowd and have been attracted to/enjoyed the company of older men, so i'm fairly comfortable with the salt-and-peppered hair set. this group, though, was another story. Our arrival was met with the cocktail party silence of a group of people, who already know each other, sizing up the newbies. introductions were made and CawfeeMate and i stood together, nursing our Bloody Marys, till brunch was served. during the 15 or 20 minutes between our arrival and the food observed the following:
- with the exception of myself and CawfeeMate, everyone assembled was either retired or ten minutes away from retirement.
- one man had, perhaps, the worst wig/toupee i have ever seen, bar none in a completely unbelievable shade of red as to suggest Raggedy Andy or Ronald McDonald. within 5 minutes of meeting him it struck me that he was also incredibly pretentious, bordering on obnoxious.
- two gentlemen had obvious dye jobs (c'mon mary, nobody's hair is that black after the age of forty. who are you, Anne Miller?)
- one couple (there were three) looked like brothers.
- one of the guys was a retired figure skater!
- this was the pre-Stonewall generation
- they'd all, obviously, survived the 80's and the AIDS epidemic.
- with the exception of WigMan, they were all exceptionally interesting to talk to, having been "there" and done "that" several decades before i was even a thought.
- we're everywhere and have been forever
- talk of Shirley Bassey, clubs and drag queens transcends every gay generation
*HowOdd was CawfeeMate's supervisor at a previous job and despite their sigificant age difference (both HowOdd and his boyfriend are in their early sixties), HowOdd's incredibly strange sense of humor and CawfeeMate's change of jobs they remained friendly.