Some days surprise you and remind you about the value of being open to possibilities.
For me, that time was yesterday. Finished with an all-day class as part of my Masters program, I wanted to get outside. Scratch that. I needed to get outside and away from my computer, to get some sun on my skin and wind through my air. So off I went, ending up in D.C.’s Dupont Circle, a primo area in which to people watch and sit idly by on a bench or the grass,
My plan was to loaf around at the fountain for about 15 minutes and then get going to the gym.
I settled in, though, and found myself in the wake of a bridal party. A bride, in a sparkly white mermaid dress, and her suit-clad groom were surrounded by family and friends snapping pictures left and right. The bride and her mom posed. Her and his father stood shoulder to shoulder. Then the whole crew lined up, high school yearbook style for more shots.
All the while, eyes everywhere were on the couple and their entourage. Some comments were snarky, asides and banter under the breath about their crowded choice of venue. Most gawked and awwwed.
A seemingly intoxicated middle aged woman, sitting on a man’s lap, interrupted the photo session and yelled at the happy couple, “Hey, hey.” It wasn’t the most elegant of ways to get their attention. But when she had it she let them know that she’d just gotten hitched as well. “Yay to brides,” she continued.
There seemed to be a circle of love in the middle of the park and then admiration at that love and other couples in the loving spirit as well. The sentiment made me smile.
Then, I overheard a young-looking man and woman sitting beside me plotting and whispering. What did they have up their sleeve? Not sabotage I hoped to spoil this sweet moment.
As the bride and groom began to gather their things, concluding the photo shoot, the man and woman made their move.
“Can we take a picture with you?” they asked. The bride looked at her groom, paused for a second and then obliged. The foursome squeezed together and grinned at the iPhone camera.
Soon, I was mostly sitting solo in front of the fountain. The bridal party was likely off to the after party, chugging down alcoholic concoctions and biting down on shrimp. I wasn’t ready to leave, so I took out a crossword of spring-themed clues.
“Are you doing a crossword?” a voice posed in my direction.
It was a cute brunette male with the brightest green sneakers I’d ever seen sitting with another male friend and what seemed to be a mini picnic.
“Yeah,” I said, holding up the New York magazine as unnecessary proof.
My new friend offered to help me on some answers. I scooched over 10 feet to sit closer. A few minutes later the crossword puzzle was set aside, only four answers written out on the page, and a Vogue was sitting in its place. Jimmy and I were clicking, perusing photos and chatting about our shared histories in the area.
Then two more men joined our posse—including Jimmy’s slender, leather jacket-wearing boyfriend.
Of course. The best pick-up in years and it was from a gay man.
Alas, I continued spending time with the most engaging group of guys I met in quite some time. Our loud laughter—and a few of the guys’ wafting cigarette smoke—must have served as a beacon calling over others, because a stringy-haired man in all dark clothing appeared before us. He demanded a cigarette and thrust himself into our circle trying to score an invite to get drinks with us.
Oh no. The brush-off for unwanted male attention is not my forte. But my gays handled it, piping in that I was coming with them; he was not.
“We just met you, and she’s been sitting with us for a while,” they broke it down to him. “You’re a stranger.”
“Stranger danger,” I mumbled.
“Yes, ‘Stranger danger,’” they repeated back to him.
And we were off. It was a very different sort of love that I found that day. But everyone needs some romance bodyguards once in a while.