Thursday, July 09, 2015

2005 - 2015: Goodbye to the Old Life

It's safe to say that today, I am not the same person I was 10-15 years ago.  At the turn of the century, I joined a gym for the first time and rather quickly developed a rockin' bod.  The muscles grew as did the attraction and attention I was suddenly getting from other guys - guys I would have heretofore put beyond my grasp.  This led to a huge boost in my confidence which allowed me go places and meet people I previously would not have dared.  I still had the same personality, it's just that it was now easier for me to make friends.  Shallow as it sounds, the muscles gave me a social life.  For a period of about 3-4 years, I traveled all over the country to dance clubs and dance parties, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone.  I met people all over the place, some of whom I am still in touch with today.

Me and Poodle, July 9, 2005
My last big night out like this was Saturday, July 9, 2005.  I had traveled to NYC to see my friend Poodle and his partner Jeff.  At this point, I knew I would be moving to Chicago soon and I wanted to see Poodle before relocating, since NYC is much easier to get to from DC than Chicago.

Poodle and I met a few years earlier on AOL.  I was living in DC and he was in Jersey City, NJ.  It was November 2001, just two months after the attacks.  People still weren't going out much at that point, rather using AOL as a social outlet.  Now and then in life, you'll meet someone who you just instantly connect with, and that was Poodle for me.  His real name is Michael, but I gave him the nickname Poodle.  I have no idea why.  But it stuck.

We eventually met in person 4 months later at the White Party in February 2002 in NYC at the Roseland Ballroom.  It was love at first sight.  He was the best friend I'd apparently had all my life without knowing it.

So back to 2005, I had taken the train to NYC the day before, arriving on Friday, July 8th.  I had spent the remainder of that day just shuffling around Times Square.  The following day (Saturday), I reconnected with Ex#2 who was living in NYC at the time.  We went flea market shopping in Chelsea and had (read:drank) lunch in some little bar on 8th Avenue.  That evening, though, I met Poodle and Jeff for a night of dancing at Roxy.  A Saturday summer night in an NYC danceclub was not the most hopping place, and we expected that.  Most of the dance crowd was out on Fire Island, Montauk, or The Hamptons.  But I remember we had a very fun night.  The music was great and we really enjoyed dancing with each other and inviting in strangers to join us.

During the night, Poodle and Jeff got separated from me and we couldn't seem to reconnect.  At some point they went home and I stayed and talked to some people.  At around 4AM, I walked back to my hotel.  I knew then that life was going to be different.  This was not the life I wanted to continue to live.  In fact, it was one of the reasons I wanted to leave DC altogether.  The party scene had lost its fascination for me and I wanted to give it one last hurrah with my closest friend before bidding that part of my life good-bye.  I was 39 years old and looking forward to a quieter life in a new city.  Having been involved with several someones through the previous 8 or 9 years, my goal was to move to Chicago and spend my entire 40's as a single man.

And we all know how that turned out.

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