I never had a huge stable of friends and the majority left our economically- depressed town after university for work. In that pre-Facebook and e-mail age, I lost contact with most of them. It didn't help that I moved constantly and lived in five different provinces in my 20s. (but it was a wonderful adventure!)
Throughout my marriage, life was a social whirl but mainly centred around the lives of our three kids, their friends and their friends' parents. In our 14-house cul-de-sac, there were some twenty kids around the same age. We parents were deeply involved in each others' social lives and we shared countless fun times together great and small, but everything was child-centred. I was too busy to seek friends outside of that convenient circle.
But all the kids are adults now and mainly moved on. Many former neighbours have downsized and moved, some to different parts of the country. I still see my former neighbourhood friends a few times a year but now it takes a 45 minute drive to pop over for a coffee .... it's not as easy as chatting over the back fence!
I now realize that I was actually friends with the wives rather than with their hottie husbands. I was just 'one of the girls.' This was another sign of my latent gayness and it now makes friendships a bit more challenging.
Is it possible for a gay man to be casual friends with a straight, married woman while secretly lusting over her straight husband with whom he is not friend? Tricky!
But now, my kids have become quite independent (two of them own their own cars) and my divorce drama is winding down. So for the first time in decades, I have the time to develop some friendships and this week, there have been numerous developments in this department:
1. A close teacher colleague who is my age and her hottie Australian husband moved into their new home this week just a few kilometers down the beach. She invited me over for a visit and I plan to reciprocate. I'm fairly sure that we will continue to socialize to some degree although not as "A-list" friends.
2. Yesterday, I went for a 2-hour wilderness hike with a guy I hooked up with last February. At that time, he wanted to pursue an LTR but I declined. We are quite incompatible sexually and he is a bit too negative for me.... a real stick-in-the-mud! But we had a fantastic time on our hike, sharing food and countless stories about the local gay guys.
3. I have fairly regular coffee dates with several gay friends who I will never hook up with but whose company I enjoy, including the Dave, Ethan (my trans man friend) and Jamie, my former student who used to jerk off while thinking of me. But it's time-consuming meeting them all separately so I'm thinking of seeing them all at once, maybe over dinner.
4. There will be an initial meeting in September to start a local Gay Man's Choir. I can't sing worth beans but I hope to join anyway.
5. I haven't seen my closest childhood friend for two years as we were both busy with our respective divorces. We've been friends since the week of our birth in 1962 and lived in adjacent houses throughout our childhood and teen years.
Todd phoned to say that he was recuperating from a motorcycle accident (which I hadn't heard about) which resulted in a cracked pelvis and a the installation of an artificial hip to replace one shattered in the accident. Horrible! But he needs a friend to visit and I'm going over there today.
So, I do think I am making progress in my goal of making friends. Having friends will help a little bit in easing my sense of isolation which I've been feeling lately. But what I really need, I think, is a special man in my life.