On Sunday, when Chris and I left the house to get in the car to drive to Port Coquitlam, I noticed a man on the other side of the street, walking a large dog and turning to look at us repeatedly. I wouldn't call what he was doing "cruising," but his interest in us was unmistakable. And when one man shows an interest in another man--that is, repeatedly looks at him, and they don't know each other--then there's a good chance one or more of them is gay.
As we pulled away from the front of the house, I turned in the front passenger seat to look at the man. He was looking at us through the rear window of the car as we drove away, and was that a smile I saw on his face?
All of this helped me to believe that other gay people live in our neighborhood, somewhere, and that Chris and I aren't the only ones, which I found both comforting and frustrating. It isn't easy for gay people to meet each other, even on a social level, and I wondered if the man had a partner himself, and if the two of them felt isolated in a heterosexual neighborhood, and if they'd like to meet us as much as we'd like to meet them. Maybe we'd become good friends and spend time with each other on weekends, going out for dinner, seeing a movie, enjoying walks along the Fraser River.
Chris and I have always wanted to meet other monogamous, gay male couples, and we've been fortunate enough that that's happened--with Chris (my former boss) and his partner Justin, and Steve and Mike (who now live in Saskatoon), and Bill and Lloyd (the older gay couple I wrote about previously). But, as far as having friendships that bloomed into people we could get together with on a regular basis for outings and good times, that hasn't happened, and, to a large degree, that's isolated Chris and me from the rest of the gay community.
I think Chris's and my relationship would be richer if we had close friendships with other monogamous, gay male couples, but I also worry that, despite how secure our relationships are, we might feel threatened in the company of attractive gay men, that one or more might be sexually attracted to each other, and that could signal the end of what Chris and I share, or severely damage it. I don't think this is insecurity talking, I think it's reality. Chris and I don't have an open relationship. In fact, we both defined our relationship from the beginning by our faithfulness to each other. But that's not necessarily the case with other gay male couples, and I would feel very uncomfortable being around them if that were the case.
At any rate, there's a considerable distance between wanting to meet a presumably gay man walking a dog on the other side of the street, and Chris's and my relationship falling apart because we're friends with another gay male couple who like to play around with other couples.
I wondered if the man walking the dog would make a special effort to walk by our house again in the near future. If he'd cross the street next time and walk on the sidewalk directly in front of our house. If he'd linger nearby, waiting for us to leave the house, finding an excuse to run into us and to talk with us. After all, plenty of straight people in the neighborhood have talked to us since we've arrived. It seems to be the thing people do here. Perhaps gay people would do it as easily as straight people would, with none of the hang-ups of encounters on big city streets, the flirting, interested one minute and not interested the next, lots of eye contact--but not a word spoken.
I also wondered if Chris and I made an effort to frequent the neighborhood coffee shop, easy walking distance from the house, we might see the gay man there, dog in hand, eager to introduce himself, to talk about himself and his partner, and how conveniently close they live to us.
The weather's taken a turn for the worse this past week, and Chris is still trying to get used to his new work routine--rising early and going to bed early, so he can get to and from work--so we haven't had the opportunity to be social butterflies in the neighborhood. But I suppose the opportunity to meet other gay people is always there, and, if it's meant to be, we might just find ourselves face to face with another gay male couple, who will make our transition to the neighborhood a little easier, and who will help us feel more like we belong.
The other day, I saw a lesbian couple walk their dog on the same side of the street as the man previously. One of them was unmistakably masculine, in a way that even I'm not, while the other appeared more feminine. I have to assume they're from the neighborhood, too. I can't imagine that they drive their dog all the way from Vancouver just to walk it in a pastoral setting.
If there's a gay male and a lesbian couple in the neighborhood, there have to be other gay people too, right? I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we meet some of them. I look forward to that.