A good friend, Jo, hosted her annual Christmas drinks this evening. We were work colleagues in years past. A divorced grandmother, Jo has a large number of gay friends who are often well represented at the annual gathering.
My first attendance at the function years ago was revelatory for me. There were workmates at the party I already knew or suspected to be gay but then there were workmates who had totally escaped my gaydar. The 'outing' of the latter category wasn't achieved merely by their attendance at Jo's party, of course. The clincher, so to speak, was how these already seasoned attendees at her parties greeted and farewelled each other with unabashed mouth to mouth kisses.
I was surprised at my slightly shocked reaction to the sight of those men kissing at that first party. After all I was a gay man of many decades standing. I had kissed and enjoyed kissing many a man myself and it wasn't that I hadn't seen men kissing before.
None of these men greeted or farewelled me with a kiss at that first party nor at subsequent parties. Perhaps I came across as standoffish? I grew up as a gay man in an era when homosexual activity was illegal - even in private - so public displays of man to man affection were just not on. In any event I had never been a great one for public touchy feely activity.
Well, that changed today. Nothing else seemed different about today's party so I don't know what triggered the change but it was as though I had been inducted into a club. I was kissed and I kissed in return.
How continental was that? How gay.