Gay dad blogger John Hart tries to make his current life a little gayer.
It’s Saturday and I have the kids all day, dropping them at dance lessons, figuring out lunch and running some errands. While doing so, I cruise for hot guys at the farmers’ market and search out some eye candy at the grocery store. I have to keep the gay in “gay dad” somehow.
There are a lot more heterosexuals, malls, minivans, dance recitals and school concerts in my life now. There are occasional flashes of quips and innuendo with other gay dads we see. But I sometimes yearn for more. Is it too much to hope that my son’s swimming teacher is hot? Fortunately, that wish was granted: a younger, fitter Colin Farrell type. Those were some good classes. For me, at least.
Strange, though, that I long for the gay, because I felt I was done with the scene by the time my partner and I decided to have kids. Clubs, bars, dances, parties, late nights, hangovers, Tuesday blues. I had fun in my younger days, when I had the energy. Once our son came along, however, I wanted to go out. As soon as I couldn’t, it seemed important. Wouldn’t it be nice to be independent once more, to be able to go out to a bar, to meet friends, to meet new people, to stay out late and sleep in? Or at least feel connected to the rainbow community somehow?
At the beginning we tried. We tried to maintain our social life, trading evenings with each other so at least one of us could get out and sometimes getting a sitter so we could go out together. But our son didn’t care when we went to bed; he was awake at the same time every morning.
At first we were invited to the same outings and parties as before, but as we found ourselves sending regrets more and more often, especially after our second child came, social invitations dwindled. Soon we weren't included. And we weren't able to initiate or organize outings or parties as easily, so we weren't holding up our side of friendships and social relationships.
Instead our social life has become more about playdates, for the children. It gives us some time to be a bit social and make connections, but it’s not always the most flirtatious of times. We also make sure the kids are home for bed at a semi-decent time. Our bedtimes aren’t much later, about the time that others are just thinking of getting ready to go out for a fun evening. I now see 5 a.m. as the time I get out of bed, not a weekend time of just falling into it.
Mostly I miss sleeping in on Sundays, of a lazy lie-in and a reluctant decision to finally get up and get going. I’m amazed at how much we accomplish before noon on a Sunday, when we’re heading home from gymnastics lessons and I see sleepy people making their way to brunch. That used to be us.
Part of me feels I'm missing out, and that I haven’t fully let go of a social life, of a gay life. The exhausted me, however, feels like I've been there, done that. I had a chance to go out the other night with a friend who was visiting from out of town. As we walked to a bar I was struck by how many people were out. After dark! Surveying the bar, I noticed that the scene was still the same, except for one thing. Two things, actually: smartphones, first of all. And the fact I didn’t know anyone. My friend, who lives on the other side of the country, knew more people than I did. I stood there, taking in the crowd, feeling a bit old and out of touch, thinking, “Who are all these kids and where did they come from?” That is to say, feeling more than ever like a daddy.