26
Jun
10

because i’m the kinda girl who takes a straight white man to meet a bunch of black gays…

I took my very heterosexual, very white friend, Rob, to an all-black, all gay barbecue last weekend.

Now, before you conclude that I hung Rob out to dry, please be advised that I did consult one of the two hosts about the okay-ness of him accompanying me. It went like this:

Me: “Mark, will it be okay if I bring my friend, Rob?”

Mark: “Sure. Is he gay?”

Me: “Nope. And he’s white.”

Mark: “Mmm. I think he’ll be okay. I mean, we’ve got a keg. Straight white boys like kegs, don’t they?”

Me: “Every one I’ve ever known.”

So, it was with an excited heart, and a nervous Rob that I trotted out to Loudoun County for the barbecue.  

Now, while I, of course, described the party’s potential happenings in painstaking detail, and absolutely alerted Rob to the overall uber-gayness of the event, I may have neglected to mention that the party would be all black.

Bygones.

****

“Don’t act funny.”

When we arrived I introduced Rob to everyone that I recognized, and mapped out the lay of the land. Just as I suspected, nothing but immaculately attired, fresh tapered good looking man-loving men everywhere I turned.

Upon entry, Rob’s face definitely bore that look one gets when he’s unaccustomed to being the only minority in a space (Remember that feeling, black people? Remember ages ago when we used to feel self-conscious about being the only black person in a room—you know, before we realized that it was going to happen on and on ad infinitum for the rest of our natural black lives?).

Now, Rob is something of a beer aficionado, and given the generally high alcohol volume of the fancy beer he traditionally drinks, he’s kind of a two beer per night kinda guy.  But, recognizing the expression he wore, I asked, mockingly, “So—what are you thinking? Two-beer kinda night?”

Laughing  softly, he looked around and said, “Um…. I’m pretty much going to drink as much beer as I can handle.”

So, I inquired as to the whereabouts of the keg, and Mark directed us to the patio where Rob’s salvation awaited him.

As he was filling his cup, I noticed a quartet of cute boys assembled around a table, smoking, and talking amongst themselves. I introduced myself and Rob (I should point out, that while I’m generally quite social when I have a mind to be, I was especially social on this particular occasion. Standing around and skulking in a corner is a luxury the bringer-of-the-white-man can ill afford) and we relaxed for a bit, taking in the gay scenery.

“I thought you were hungry,” said I. “You should eat. Looks like there’s plenty of food.”

“Yeah,  I am pretty hungry. I’ll get something,” he responded.

“Well, let’s go in and get a plate.”

Rob tensed a bit. “Maybe I’ll hold off for a sec. I don’t really have to eat.”

From the corner of the patio, the tall man with fantastic eyebrows, who’d introduced himself as Matt, called out, “I thought you said you were hungry.”

Rob, confused and surprised, stuttered a bit, “Well, I mean, I’m not really…I mean, I am, but—“

Matt was not in a state of mind to brook any refusal. “You just said you were hungry. And she said you were hungry. You think there’s something wrong with that food?”

Rob tried to put his words right, “No, I just—“

“Then go get you some food then. What are you trying to say? Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that food. You better go get you some food. Don’t act funny, now. Don’t act funny.”

I looked at Rob, and tried my best not to laugh. He just exhaled, dejectedly.  “Yeah. I can go get a plate. I’ll go get a plate. Let me just get another beer, first.”

It wasn’t until a few hours later that we learned that Matt had catered the event.

*****

“Fooler, I think….I think these might be—greens?”

Back inside, Rob and I talked to fellow party goers. I could see that the beer was loosening him a bit, and I felt less compelled to glue myself to his every movement.  Rob surveyed the generous spread of food lining the countertops, and began to compile a plate. I made the rounds and also relaxed. Bringing him had been a good move. He was an easy, go-with-the-flow kinda guy; even when said flow was black and overwhelmingly gay.

A few minutes later, I found him, full plate in hand,  biting into what looked to be an eggroll.

“How is everything?” I asked.

“Really, really good,” said he. “Hey, I think I found something you can eat. These eggrolls are really good, and they don’t have any meat in them.”

“Oh, yeah?”  I said, inching closer. “What’s in them?”

Rob extended a half eaten eggroll, when my heart stopped dead in my chest. A confused furrow adorned his brow. “I’m not really sure. It’s either spinach or…I mean…”

I could hear my heart, again, only now it was thumping loudly between my ears.  I deliberated about whether it was best to tell the truth or remain mum.  Fuck it. The motherfucker’s here. Welcome to my world, White man.

“Rob, I think, that they are definitely not filled with spin—“

“Fooler, I think….wait…I think these might be….greens?” Rob stood there, examining the half-eaten article, slowly coming to the realization that Matt had masterminded perhaps the most unbelievable—and apparently delicious—fusion of Southern (black) cuisine and Asian cuisine mankind has ever known.

“Yeah, homie. Those are definitely greens,” I said, shaking my head.

“These are really, really good,” he repeated, before downing what remained of the eggroll, and helping himself to another.

Jesus Christ, I thought to myself. Everything anyone has ever said about black people anywhere in the world, at any time, ever, is true.

I watched Rob slowly and almost systematically eat and love every single thing on his Dixie plate.

Everything anyone has ever said about white people anywhere in the world, at any time, ever, is true.

****

“ ‘I try hard to fight it/no way can I deny it…’ “

Everyone who attends parties or frequents bars or clubs knows that, as the night begins to wind down, the motivation behind music selection shifts. While the beginning of the night is spent trying to get people hyped up, and the middle, focused on maintaining the momentum, the end is generally something of a free for all. The end of the night is where shit gets really good. The dj is under less pressure, and he can be a little more experimental with his choices. He can whip out the classics, the oldies but goodies, and be confident in his belief that the audience will appreciate his moxie, his defiance of the mainstream.

And you know what happens when the dj plays that magic song? Thaaaat’s right. Everyone closes their eyes, extends their arms above their heads, and sings at the top of their drunken lungs. And that’s the sweet spot at a party. The drunken group belt-out.

Now, in my humble experience, a good shut-it-down song at a predominately white venue is some 80s rock gem, like “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi or “Don’t Stop Believin’” a la Journey.

And for the traditional predominately black venue—I think we can all agree that a solid dose of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly  “Before I Let Go” gets the job done.

Right.

Hearken back to the part where you recall that I was at an all black, all gay barbecue.

Now, shame on me for letting my guard down.  Prior to this point in the night, I’d drunkenly reflected–as I often do when at all-gay events—what a shame it was that people were so bigoted; that if everyone would stop prosthelytizing or agendizing, or fucking hating for one second in time and just open their eyes, they’d see that who you choose to fuck has nothing to do with who you are as a human being; that this barbecue was like every barbecue I’d ever attended in life (only in a fancier space, with no girls, and men whose freshness-of-edge-up defied all heretofore known bounds of logic). People are people, I’d naively concluded. Gay, straight, in between—it makes little difference in the end. We all do the same shit.

But eight melodic words pouring in over the speakers brought me back from my ideological reverie. Eight little words put black gay smear all over my beautifully sentimental rose-colored lenses.

“Can’t explain why your lovin’ makes me weak…”

“Oh.fuck.no.”

Before I knew what was happening, Coco, Taj, and Lee Lee, the most regular-looking trio of broads to ever top the R&B charts, who’d tauntingly provided the soundtrack to my romantically-tortured adolescence, washed over me.

I began to panic. This isn’t party music! This isn’t shut it down music! This is a ballad! This is an early 90s ballad! We’re at a party! This won’t stand!

I looked accusingly at my friend, Michael, who’d been drunkenly manning the ipod-of-steel all night, and who I’d earlier narrowly saved from pushing “play” on a particularly gospel-ly Kim Burrell selection.

But his hands were remote control free. Everyone’s hands were remote control free. I saw this clearly because everyone’s hands were extended—-above their heads.

Everyone’s eyes were closed.

The keyboard lulled into a delicate pianissimo and gave way to Coco’s exasperated, emotionally-tormented alto.

But I only had to endure her arguably not-so-hot voice momentarily.

Because just then,  the clouds parted, the heavens opened, and a lo, a chorus of gays sang along right with her, rhythmically swaying as if their black gay lives depended on it.

I can’t.

Surely someone will turn this off, thought I.

Nope.

Didn’t happen.

No one even made a move to change that shit.

And then it hit me. Oh, fuck! Rob!

I’d left him on the patio.

I hurriedly opened the glass door, and there he stood, tall, straight, white, unmoving—

Amidst a backdrop of arms raised, eyes closed, gently swaying, sangin’ ass, gay ass blacks.

I approached. “Hey. Ummmmm. Errr. Uh. Yeah, I don’t really have an explanation for this.”

Is there an explanation for this?”

“Right,” said I. “Um. No. I mean, this usually happens, yes. But, uh. The SWV is new to me.”

“They’re singing all of the words,” said he.

“Yeah. Yeah they are.”

“And there are a lot of words.”

“Yes. Yes there are.”

I looked around us, then. I looked at our patio counterparts. I listened to the whole party stop everything everyone was doing just to slow bop and sing to this one monkey-ass song, that had, at some point, endeared itself to all of us during our youth.

Smiling, I looked at Rob before downing the remainder of what proved to be a bottomless cup of red wine, and said, “God, I love black people.”

Fin

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5 Responses to “because i’m the kinda girl who takes a straight white man to meet a bunch of black gays…”


  1. June 26, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    I like to “mix things up” as well, so I love merging folks from a wide variety of backgrounds. But I would have told white dude about the racial makeup of the function, so he wouldnt have been shocked. I just would have done it in the car on the way there, lol.

    L

  2. June 26, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Again, blogging gold. Thinking of who will most enjoy this read so I can forward the link.

    I have to disagree with Lola though. No one ever warns/informs me that I’ll be the only Black person at a party, so I don’t think a disclaimer is needed in reverse either. I mean, it would be rather awkward of him to decline the information once being given that tidbit. Wouldn’t it?

  3. 3 Jiro
    June 27, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Damn those eggrolls sound good…

  4. 4 sourpatchkid
    June 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    “I hurriedly opened the glass door, and there he stood, tall, straight, white, unmoving” – HA! such an awesome recap. and for the record, i have a “God, I love black people” moment at least once a week.

  5. July 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Wait, since when do black gays drink out of a keg?


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