“How did you two meet?” I literally do not remember. I think people will assume I’m lying because I don’t want to say Grindr or something. But honestly, I have no clue, and also, we met in 2015. Our first date was three years ago, at D.O.C in Lakeview. It was the cutest first date spot. Sadly, it’s also now closed. When I was single, I never wanted people to notice I was on a first date. I would try to avoid the awkward points. I would try to make it look fluid, like we’ve known each other our whole lives. Just two old chums catching up over wine…. Not gay at all. That date, in 2015, was no different. I remember leaving that date, and saying goodbye in front of the Target that had just opened. There was no goodnight kiss, just an awkward hug, and, ‘hope you get home ok.’ At that time, in 2015, that was the end of that.
Over the course of three years, Matt and I somehow kept in touch. Sporadic text messages. It wasn’t anything noteworthy, and honestly, there was probably a good year and a half we didn’t talk at all. Sometime late in 2017, my friend Christy’s boyfriend was trying to convince me to move to the South Side, ‘it’ll never happen, unless you find me someone out there to date.’ ‘I only know like one gay guy, what’s your type?’ I listed off my preferences. ‘Actually, he sounds like he could be your type… his names Matt McNally.’ I laughed, ‘not all gays know each other, but I do know him.’ In December of that year, I text him, ‘I’ll be on the South Side for Christmas. We should meet up.’ ‘Maybe, I’m kind of busy, but let me know what you end up doing.’ I took that as a no. I made other plans. Christy and Bob had just moved into a new house and I planned to hang out with them, and out of nowhere my friend Christy, ‘You should invite, Matt?’ I paused, ‘really?’ I sent the text, and that night, he spent more time talking to Christy’s boyfriend than me.
In April, I noticed him nearby on Snapchat (I know, it’s a little stalker-ish but why do you think that option exists?), ‘You’re in the city? Come meet up, I’m out with friends.’ ‘I’m already back on the South Side. You’re too late. I’m off next weekend though.’ ‘I can’t, I have to go to Orlando for work, but you should meet me there.’ ‘Ok. I probably could make that happen,’ I expected him to bail. Who would actually show up? That would be ridiculous.
A week later, he took an early flight out, ‘I’m here, and coming up.’ ‘I’m laying in bed watching Live with Kelly and Ryan.’ That morning, he jumped in the second bed, and we ordered room service breakfast, and watched morning television before I had to go to work. We somehow skipped ahead to breakfast in bed, and now I need to run off to work. That night, we went out for tapas, some basic chain restaurant in Orlando. After dinner, ‘Do you want to have a nightcap?’ I’ll always ask, and I’ll add in, ‘I can go either way.’ Lies. Of course I want a fucking nightcap. We went for that nightcap, and over the course of five more and three hours we talked about life, our families, our friends, our histories, our travels, and about him ghosting me all those years prior. That night, at some touristy martini lounge in Orlando… click. “So, where did you two meet…?” I met Matt six months ago today, a little after 11pm, sitting outside, drinking martini’s at a bar in Orlando, Florida, making snarky remarks about the trashy group sitting near us.
I chased him on and off. For three years. I do not know why, but I do not regret it. Something felt right… even in 2015. A few weeks into dating, ‘You know I’ll never be one of those people in a Facebook relationship, right? ‘ He quickly replied, ‘Oh, me either. Don’t even send that request.’ I’ve told myself, I am not one of those people that will put my relationship into the social media atmosphere, and yet, here I am. I went back and forth, do I post this? Do I even write it? He’s going to hate it. Here’s the thing, I created this to connect, and tell stories. He’s a part of this story now, and honestly, this is a much better story than, ‘I don’t remember…’