Saturday, November 01, 2008

Cocoa, Candy & Contemplation

Most people use Halloween as an opportunity to put on their mask and present to the world whatever most ghoulish or delightful thing that their imagination can muster. It is a time for many to be seen temporarily as who they want to be in the moment, not necessarily who they are.

This year I chose to use Halloween as an opportunity to do just the opposite. I was invited by Cocoa Conservative to his Halloween party. I accepted not because I didn’t have anything else I could be doing on a Friday night but because I knew a social event at his house would be attended by those people who he really considers friends. For many years I have often thought that to be one of the best ways to unmask someone and see who they truly are – get a good look at their friends.

So tonight, I sat out with a mission and it was accomplished. As bare as I have ever seen him, there he was tonight. Mixing and mingling with party guests. I was most intrigued and ironically most engaged with the people there who seem to have known him the longest, the people from his hometown. They were good people and our interaction was upbeat and flowing. The same can be said about his two colleagues from work.

But on the other side of the room; there seemed to be the other side of him. A side I wasn’t really interested nor engaged with. Oddly, it was the group of Black gay men. I knew a few of the faces, only one name and not even he and I know each other so much on a more than cordial basis. There was no shade but there was no love.

Funny thing is that last night when I contemplated my friendship with Cocoa Conservative it was his straight side that I wondered if I’d mesh well with. I actually find that more comfortable and even more desirable.

The goal of my attendance of his party was to unmask him. I suppose I got two for one. In the end it seemed on several levels it also helped reveal more about me, who I am and how I see myself and others in the world.

Ultimately what I think saw though in one very concise thought is that he is just as human as I am and I am just as human as he is. Silly as it sounds, until I saw him without that mask on tonight, I don’t think I’d realized that before. That means a lot to me. As we do with Halloween candy, I’ll have to do with this, sit back and suck and chew on it for a while.