Very First Date
I REMEMBER WHEN I first officially "came out of the closet." The year was 1993 and I was 22. I started going to the local Latino nightclubs, and that was such a shocking experience for me because I've never seen so many Latinos in one place before. After being in the closet for nine years, it felt as if a ball and chain was finally lifted off my back. I felt a sense of freedom that I've never felt before, and to think just a few weeks ago, I thought I was the only QV person in the world.
Back then, Deep House was the musical style of choice, and I remember it like it was yesterday: the tribal drums of La India's "Love and Happiness," the dreamy ambience of Jaydee's "Plastic Dreams" and some diva wailing, "In my house! In my house! In my house!"
For a QV guy who has just come out of the closet, not only was going to a club scary enough, but learning how to pick up on guys was incredibly intimidating. I became nervous any time a guy would give me eye-to-eye contact, and I turned away whenever one would take an interest in me. I soon found out that I didn't know how to talk to guys on a more than friendship level. I often came across to them as if I wasn't interested in them, even when I was very interested. It was as though my mind was saying, "He's cute...talk to him," but my body language and nervous demeanor would make them turn away.
I remember there was this one guy I'd see every so often at a club, and I thought he was very cute. I'd heard his friends call him "Andy" so I knew that was his name. Whenever I'd see him, I'd get flushed with excitement like some 12-year-old teenager who had just seen his favorite teen idol. Mind you, I was 22 years old at this time! I really wanted to meet him, but I was too scared. I had never done it before, and I didn't know how to do it.
Weeks would pass and every chance I'd get, I'd go to the same club, for no other reason, but to see Andy, or at least, go with the hope of seeing him.
One time, Andy caught me looking at him, and I got so nervous that I quickly turned the other way. I just couldn't look at him straight in the eye. I felt as if he was reading my mind and knew that I liked him-and, unfortunately, that made me feel pressure. In my mind, the only way to relieve that pressure was to turn away and ignore him.
I went home that night kicking myself for not, at least, giving him a smile. "Why did I get so nervous?" I kept saying to myself. "How am I ever going to meet a guy if I can't even look at him?"
After everything was done-after recording a greeting and after my ad appeared in the paper, I found myself checking my voice box frequently. The first day, I didn't get any messages, but to me, that was alright. I was just glad to be doing something that would finally connect me to other guys.
The next day came, and throughout the day, I checked my box again and again. Later that day and to my surprise, the voice box operator said, "You have two messages. Press 1 to listen to the messages." "Wow, this is cool," I said to myself. I pressed "1" and the first message began: "Hi, my name is Anthony. I'm 23 years old, 5'10", 155 pounds, dark hair, brown eyes, light complected, work out regularly, down-to-earth guy. Give me a call at...."
Excitedly, I listened to the next message. It was from a guy named Michael, and he said, "Hi there. My name is Michael. I am Hispanic. I live by myself-not into the scene. I enjoy going to the movies, staying at home, reading. When you get a chance, call me at..."
Having listened to the two messages, I felt pretty happy. Just knowing that there were two guys out there who wanted to meet me--and possibly date me--was overwhelming!
Since Anthony was the first one to leave me a message, I decided to call him first. I picked up the phone and starting dialing, but suddenly, I became very nervous--so much that I couldn't finish the call. I hung up the phone.
I found myself saying, "What do I say to another guy? I'm not prepared. I've never talked 'this way' to any guy before." It was scary.
I pulled out, once again, a pen and paper and wrote down a bunch of questions-questions I would ask, in case, we ended up in silence. I wanted to sound cool...just like how I talk with my straight friends, but at the same time, I wanted to be open with myself and let my true feelings out without sounding stupid.
Later that night, I took a deep breath and reached for the phone again. I dialed Anthony's number. After only a couple of rings, someone picked up the phone and said, "Hello." I nervously said, "May I please speak to Anthony?"
Then, the guy responded, "This is Anthony."
I hesitated a little, but then replied, "Hi, Anthony, this is Julio..the guy from the newspaper personals."
"Oh, hey!" he replied. "Glad you called."
I glanced down at my list of questions, and started to go through them. To my surprise, we ended up talking for over thirty minutes, and towards the end of the conversation, I gave him my number. I asked him to call me the next day.
When I hung up the phone, I sat in my room, just smiling and thinking to myself. I was thinking how I fumbled with my words a few times, and how I sounded nervous, but overall, I felt proud that I, at least, got the courage to call.
The next evening, Anthony called me. He asked me if I had eaten, yet. I told him, "no" so we decided to meet later that same evening.
I quickly took a shower, put on some clothes, and splashed some cologne-and before I knew it, the doorbell rang.
When I opened the door and caught my first glance of Anthony, I was pleasantly surprised. He was average height and very light complected with dark hair. He reminded me of a Latino version of Noah Wylie, and I thought to myself, "Not bad."
We greeted each other with a smile and a handshake. Then we walked over to his car and headed out to dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant.
At the restaurant, I couldn't eat comfortably. My mind was going crazy, and I couldn't help but think this was my first date ever-with another man. A few times, the conversation fell to silence, and once again, I fumbled with my words.
After the date, Anthony dropped me off at home and I felt relieved. It was a simple date, but to me, it was a lot of pressure. And while, romantically speaking, nothing evolved from my date with Anthony, it was a start for me. It was a new step into the world of dating.
From that day on, I started going out on more and more dates, and learning what to expect from them. I became less nervous and more confident in myself. I learned that the key to dating, and even asking guys out on dates, was to just relax and be myself. Of course, that was easier said than done, but in time, I learned that with dating, there was nothing to be scared of.