There’s a co-worker of mine, Fred, that’s also a friend. Me, him and Paul form the intellectual elite at my job, often getting together at the furniture desk and talking about geography, animal species and American History.
One day, we were having a talk about the range of foods I eat/cook, which basically comprises of cheeseburgers, pizza and other things that go on to make a small list of nothing but popular American stuff. Him, being taught early on in life by his mother how to cook a plethora of dishes with French names that require bobbing your head and a deep voice to say, asked if I wanted to come over so that he can cook for me and broaden my horizons. I said fine.
He asked me about a time when I could come over, and we didn’t actually settle on a final date until a week or two later (it ended up being last night). I further inquired about how the dinner would go……. and I don’t know why I thought that he meant he would have some of his friends over and cook for all of us. But he didn’t, he just meant he wanted to cook for me.
Superficially, I felt a bit awkward about this. It didn’t help that he’s gay (which I have no problem with). Furthermore, the problem wasn’t with him being gay, but rather that I just felt awkward going to any guy’s house so he could cook for me.
I asked him if he planned on having anyone else come over, and he said “No, not really, but if you want me to ask one of my friends over or you want to invite someone, feel free.” I told him I hope he wasn’t offended by me asking that, and although he assured me he wasn’t, it didn’t assuage the guilt.
Shamefully, (emphasis on the shame), I was worried about people thinking I was gay when I explained that I went to his house so we could have dinner. It sounded like there was some romance implied in the equation.
I’m not saying that I’d go around announcing it through a megaphone, but if for some reason the subject of his cooking, or his house or Manhattan apartments or whatever came up in conversation, I will say that I’ve been to his house for dinner. It’s silly to hide stuff like that, but I can’t help but be annoyed or angered when talking to idiots who think homosexuality is some sort of disease that you get if you associate with someone who is gay. And although their criticism is based on solidified ignorance, they can be pretty bothersome.
At any rate, those thoughts conflicted with the fact that he is my friend, and concern for what others think is what I always reproach other people for having, regarding anything in life. I was just going to his house to eat and be company. If someone else came up to me and said that they didn’t want to go his house for the reason I just said, I’d start viciously criticizing them instantly.
I asked some other people if they wanted to come and for various reasons they couldn’t, but conclusively, I brought my friend Audra over with me. Had she not have been able to go with me, I would’ve went anyway because not going sort of appeared to me like I was ostracizing him, and that’s the last thing I’d want to do anyone.
We had scalloped potatoes with shitaki mushrooms, pork loin and some other kind of seasoned, thin-cut vegetables with sliced oranges and wine. The potatoes, pork loin and wine was pretty good. He then gave us some sort of desert, the name of which I forget how to pronounce and would not know how to spell if I remembered. It was tarts that, instead of being filled with vanilla pudding, were filled with vanilla ice cream, and then topped with whipped cream and strawberries. I’m not a fan of sweet stuff (although I liked the bite I had), so that was Audra’s meal.