“Love is like the measels; we all have to go through it. Also like the measles, we take it only once.”
-Jerome K. Jerome
Beige is New York’s longest running and legendary gay night at B-Bar on Tuesday nights. To call it a gay night per se, would be a misnomer. To the casual observer, it’s a mix of gay and straight; Upper East Side and Alphabet City, club kid and wall street wunderkind, and everything in between. But to those who went regularly, like me, beige had no hard, steadfast rule. The beauty was in the ambiguity.
After Sunday brunch, Christopher and I made plans to meet for drinks around 1030 Tuesday night. He, of course, protested about the late hour. I reminded him that we were getting older, not dying.
As we walked up to the door, two young gay boys stood on the corner impatiently pacing back and forth. “Where is she?” the lanky one who was rocking a fedora asked.
“You should know. She’s your hag!” the shorter one quipped. I felt my fingers tighten, and my hand suddenly make a fist.
As we waited for the doorman, Derek, to take care of some people ahead of us. I said:
“I resent the word “fag-hag.”
“Then what would you classify yourself as?” Christopher asked as he pulled out his Blackberry to send a text message to Alfredo, who by my request, was asked to stay home in order for us to have a night out. If love was indeed like the measels, Christopher had the worst case that I’d ever seen.
“I don’t know. I like “fagnet,” I said pondering the newly coined phrase.
Christopher looked up from his phone utterly perplexed. “What the hell is a “fagnet?”
I cleared my throat as if I were a professor about to give a lecture, “It’s a woman of any sexual persuasion whom gay men gravitate towards.”
“And how is that different than a fag-hag?” he asked still unconvinced.
“A “fagnet” has gay guys obsessing over her. And a “fag hag” obsesses over the gay.”
Christopher and I burst into laughter simultaneously. It felt like old times, familiar; like home.
“And who shared this pearl of wisdom with you?” he asked while still laughing.
“I don’t know. Some drag queen standing outside of BBQ on Eighth Avenue.”
The line finally had opened up, and I was certain Christopher and I were set to hit our stride once again. We immediately hit the bar and ordered a round of drinks and did a lap. We found a perfect spot under a tree lit with Christmas lights in the patio/garden.
We sat and bullshitted for about twenty minutes and he intermittently texted with Alfred. I did the best I could to ignore it and downed my vodka and soda. I was ready to hit the bar for yet another round. The night was just beginning and the music was getting better and the crowd cuter. The lines of beige were beginning to fade, or at least so I had thought.
“Do you mind if I take off?” Christopher asked out of nowhere while staring down at his phone.
“We just got here less than an hour or go!” I said as I heard my voice raise.
“Farrah, I have work tomorrow,” he said. I felt my face drop.
“But you always had work before. You’ve pulled all nighters and shown up to the office drunk. What’s the problem now?” I said irritated.
“The problem is that I’m not twenty-five anymore and I’ve moved on from this.”
“This? You mean our friendship?” I asked, afraid to hear the answer. The blurry lines of beige suddenly had become more rigid.
“No. Not at all. But our friendship doesn’t have to be all about being fabulous and social,” he said.
“Wow. That’s never how I’d describe us.”
“Look, I’m tired. It’s been a long day. I love you, but I just want nothing more than to go home and lay in bed with Alfredo, and pass out.”
As Christopher spoke, I saw the two guys that were standing outside an hour earlier with their girlfriend. I stared at her. She laughed. She looked at them with so much joy and pride. I felt like going up to her and telling her to run, she’ll only be heartbroken in the end. But I didn’t, because that was my journey, not hers.
“Okay,” I said trying to sound a bit more civil.
“I’ll talk to you on i.m. tomorrow,” he said and kissed me on the cheek. “Are you staying?” he asked.
“Yeah, I think maybe just a bit longer. I’m sure I’ll end up seeing Daniel here,” I said and faked a laugh. “Bye honey. Tell Alfredo hi.” And off he went. I never saw Daniel. And I didn’t order another drink. I just sat there under a September Christmas tree, alone.
If love made you leave your friends, I never wanted any part of it. I loved them too much.
Maybe I didn’t totally mean it. But it’s not like you can only get a little bit of the measels, you either get it or you don’t– much like love.
I walked out onto East Fourth and Bowery and hailed a cab. As if it were fate, when I sat in the back of the cab, Sade’s “By Your Side” was playing. It was enough to send me into tears. And it did. God, I hate being such a baby sometimes.
As I dug into my purse looking for a kleenex, I found something that I hadn’t seen before. It was a business card that read, *Justin Holcomb. Damn. Even I was impressed that the hot guy from the subway had managed to slip his number into my purse in between picking up my tampons and me ready to dial 911 on him. This was certainly interesting and unexpected to say the least.
I sure hope I’m not coming down with something…like the MEasels.
(*name has been changed*).