It was Gary’s straight friends at the beach that affectionately dubbed him “Gay Uncle Gary”—which immediately brought to (my) mind the token gay-uncle-wedding-guest. The gentleman that thirty years ago was the subject of whispers, abruptly broken stares and shaking heads at second cousin Susie’s wedding—who now holds center stage at many a nuptial, stealing the thunder from countless brides; a better dancer, a better dresser, the authority on style and sarcasm.
But my friend Gary is no token anything, he is not a symbolic gesture–he is a profoundly multi-dimensional man, business and art smart, sexual, funny, serious, and in position to become the unofficial sheriff of his community. He’s a fine friend to the butcher, the baker, the gallery owner, and the boys at the produce stand—the ones that dubbed him “Gay Uncle Gary.” A chameleon of a man, really; a man who can change his colors to suit his environment yet every one of those colors is authentic and true to who he is. I’ve known Gary since 1980, when he was hired as a host in the restaurant where I worked as bartender, and he’s been my confidant and friend ever since. He gave me facials prior to my own wedding, he gave me job leads, he gave me his apartment and his beach house for solitude and for sex, he gave me confidence. We once met at a disco in Spain which was quite amazing, but it was one of those blackout evenings in my drinking career and I can’t tell you much of anything that went down—but I know Gary has tales to tell. He shared dozens of detailed stories with me about his sexual liaisons, he told me to trash my hidden sex toys when things were dicey in my marriage, he told me to write erotica, he told me that he has always wanted to make up for a botched make-out session we experienced ages ago. I had absolutely no recollection of making-out with Gary, but apparently it was on his mind when I recently visited him at the beach—when he invited the boys from the produce stand over for a late night party. A party where Gary offered the men and the opportunity to make-up for our failed attempt at love-making.
This was not shocking to me (I perhaps know too much about Gary’s wants and needs) and frankly, I found it extremely flattering that he thought a sixty-seven year old woman could entice and arouse a couple of young men (although I did). What was more bizarre was that the evening went into high gear at the produce stand (after the karaoke bar), a large tarp over a large frame, a bright space on a dark highway, lit by hanging bulbs and wired people. Where gay uncle, his gal pal (me), and a half-dozen almost hillbilly types, did drugs, drank, danced, hooted and shimmied down rows of cantaloupes and tomatoes. I’ve partied in a lot of unusual places, but never a produce stand. Such an odd scene that I most likely will never forget. An hour or so later, four of us wiggled into Gary’s car and headed back to his place—and the handsome, young man next to me in the tight space of the back seat put his hand on my thigh and stroked me up and down and over and over. I had no idea what to do or say. Can you imagine? This was amazing, this was fuck me or not. This was the something I had not experienced in decades. Yes, I could have easily given in, yes, my legs were tingling and my tongue was circling my lips. But I held his face and kissed him and said no thank you. And immediately wished I had not.
The party continued for hours. Gary prompted me, he encouraged a threesome, foursome, but never encouraged anything more than joyous sex. I was absolutely curious but could hardly hold myself up any longer and said goodnight to my new friends—secretly wishing that back seat boy would come to my room but he didn’t. It’s difficult to express how much fun I had that evening; I partied like I was 20 something and it was wonderful. But it’s even more difficult to express how I felt the next morning—elated, buoyant but exhausted, fuzzy yet perfectly aware of what went down and what didn’t, happy to be the old fool deep in the love hangover well. My darling Gay Uncle Gary, giving me and the produce boys a fantasy that would delight for months. May you all be so blessed to have a Gary at your wedding—and clearly, a Gary and in your life.