I kind of have a date. Or I have a kind-of-date. Whichever it is when you have a culinary gathering for your natal festivities and invite a girl you've been trying to get together with for a while. I don't know if it's technically a DATE date, but it serves the same general purpose, so I'll go with it.
Backstory: Here's where it gets complicated. Feel free to skip it if you like. Pardon my rambling, this is all exciting for me and I know people who'd like to hear the gossipy bits.
This Girl (call her Iris) whom several mutual friends have told me I should get together with. I know that she's (a) single and (b) gay, which eliminates the two major reasons why girls are usually unavailable to me. Being the proto-stalker I am, I looked up her profile on Facebook and basically, she's a big ol' geek, like me. And she ain't bad lookin', either. So after the couple dozenth repetition of "You should really get together with Iris," and constantly seeing her around at the strangest places (like Waffle House at four a.m. and a local Mexican restaurant the day after getting back to school, among a ton of other incidences) and wondering if Someone was trying to tell me something, I bit the bullet and sent her a message on FB asking if she'd like to hang out sometime.
The main friend we had in common, Chuck, informed me that she doesn't check her FB or her school email (to which FB reports) very often. He said he gave her my phone number. I waited around for a week or so with no response, and figured that meant "no thanks."
Now, my roommate Maureen (whose boyfriend Mercer knows Iris) knows Iris' best friend, who told her that Chuck was not necessarily in Iris' good graces at the moment (truth be told, I'm sort of annoyed with him as well, for various reasons) and that it was likely that she'd just ignored him. So Maureen asked her to pass the message along again, and so about two weeks after I sent the original message I got a reply saying of course! Iris would LOVE to hang out sometime! here's her e-mail, and her deviantArt site, which she checks often! and her room number if I'd like to stop by anytime! (She writes really girly. I'm not even including the smileys.)
(Maureen chewed Chuck out for screwing things up. He implied that it must be my fault somehow. He is now officially banned from matchmaking capacity, because Maureen is really scary when she's mad. I've seen it. Don't piss the bubbly little blonde girl off if you want to keep your head.)
So I e-mailed her asking about schedules and gave her my screenname, and she IMed me later while I was away so I got hers. Thus establishing something like five routes of communication. Ah, technology.
Anyway, I was going for coffee during midterms with Maureen and my friend Helena and she happened to be online, so I asked her if she'd like to come along. Alas, it was midterms, and she was busy. (I was too, at that point, so I didn't blame her.) Maureen has made it her mission to Get Me Laid, Or At Least Pretty Close To It, so she suggested (read: browbeated me into) setting up a group thing that I could invite her to. Given that my birthday is fairly close, I decided to throw myself a pizza party and sent her an email inviting her, to which I got a "Count me in, I'm glad we finally get to meet!"
So. Yay. ^_^
Before all this happened, I had no idea that relationships between two people would involve so much strategy and networking on the part of so many other people. It struck me during all this how... social dating is. It's not just about the two people involved; all these social connections are intertwined based on who knows who and what their relation to each other is. It's hard for me to conceptualize, being someone who builds friendships one by one, but there it is in all its six-degrees-of-separation glory: society.
In this sense, gay marriage bans can be constructed as an attempt to exclude gay people and their relationships from the community, partly to delegitimize them, since relationships outside the general social network and the auspices of legal obligation can be seen as less "real", and partly to make it harder for them to exist at all-- I wouldn't have known Iris even existed were it not for the people I knew that did know her, and it wouldn't have gotten to even this tentative stage were it not for the encouragement and social support of my friends. (I was frequently threatened with bodily harm for being waffly on sending the invitations.)
It was hard for me to take the initiative. Part of it is just my extremely ingrained introversion; it's hard for me to reach out to people period. I frequently say that I make all my friends by accident. Part of it is also, frankly, women aren't socialized to make the first move. I just got tired of sitting around waiting to be noticed.
As well, I was/am concerned about the repercussions of having what will almost certainly be a relationship closeted from my parents. Lying sucks hardcore, I'm really, really bad at it, and I've developed an attachment to the Quaker idea of integrity (blame Peterson for making me into a wannabe Friend) as an ideal for me.
I dislike the implications of going against their stated policy of not wanting to "financially support a gay lifestyle." Up until now I could just say "well, I'm not doing anything really gay, like, oh, dating a woman, so I don't feel overly guilty about being out since my actions are basically congruent with their expectations otherwise." If I end up dating a woman, though, I have to deal with this.
And outside Teh Gay Issue, I love my parents. I mean, they're sending me to college sans loans, they bought me a car, they get antsy when I don't call home frequently enough... if I wasn't gay, there wouldn't be a problem in the world. If I don't push the issue, if I stay in the closet for their peace of mind, everything functions fine. I wonder in my more insecure moments why I have to fuck everything up by being selfish enough to insist on my sexuality.
Which is, I suppose, the sticking point. All this material and emotional support-- essentially, my parents' love-- is predicated on the assumption that I'm not "being gay." Am I willing to risk that? What matters more to me: being gay, or being part of my family? Obviously, it sucks that this even has to be a choice, but this is indeed how it stands unless my family has a radical change of heart. Or unless I magically wake up craving penis one day. (Ask Hans-- penis is, at best, something that can be overruled by extraneous factors, like friendship and/or sheer lonely desperation. It's not exactly a selling point for me like, say, boobies.)
When I had no prospects, it seemed like I was going to go crazy because I was beginning to consider that I might never have any. I almost want to say I sent the original message because I subconsciously believed that I was going to get rejected anyway, so it wouldn't matter. Now that this might not be the case, it looks like I'm going into reflexive self-doubt about the whole thing.
I'm almost worried that outside of just being a weirdo whom she might not like anyway, which is indeed a distinct possibility, I might subconsciously sabotage things just so I don't have to deal with the questions.
This... feels real to me, in a way that even dating Hans didn't. It's hard to say what I mean.
I guess I feel like crap for feeling happy, essentially.