Newbie In The City

So, during my first week on the job, my coworkers took me to a nice little Italian restaurant downtown. The gang, which consisted of me, two other guys and 10 women stood in line waiting for a table. After a while, I felt like I was waiting in line for a ride at Disney World. The question was which ride? Could it be "Pirates of the Caribbean" with Johnny Depp mannequins hidden throughout, or maybe I was in line for "Space Mountain?"

As soon as the hostess paged us, I realized the ride was none other than “It’s a Small World.” Out of all the gin joints in Nashville, I saw him, Eduardo. He was the guy I first met here in Nashville; the guy I sent walking out of my hotel room in his underwear because he had an STD. (See last month's column if you need catching up.) When I first noticed him, I quickly acted like my shoelace was untied. While down there fumbling with my shoelace, I prayed to every God imaginable.

Unfortunately, my prayers went unanswered. The hostess took us across the restaurant and seated us in the back corner. As she smiled and said, “Your server will be with you soon,” to me it sounded like “Today, you will meet your doom.”

My mind went spinning. Eduardo was coming to the table. I could act like I had a urinary track infection, but with my luck I would end up with one. How can I hide? What would he say? Would he do anything to my food? Would he out me to my coworkers? And then the real question hit me, “How small Is gay life In Nashville?”

While growing up, mom use to tell me, “Never piss in your Cheerios.” Did I just do that? With all these questions racing in my head, Eduardo asked me what I wanted. I should have said, “A get out of hell free card." Instead, I asked for lasagna and attempted a southern smile, while in the back of my head a voice kept telling me to beware of what he might due to the food.

After about 20 minutes, Eduardo brought out our meals. Everyone loved the food, and he ended up being a great server. Was I just being paranoid about the entire situation? I left Eduardo a big tip, maybe because I felt guilty or maybe to say thank you for not outing me to my coworkers.

Little did I know that in the upcoming weeks, I would run into Eduardo again at the gym and yet again at the bar. Maybe life in Nashville is like a Disney ride, like “It’s a Small World” or “The Haunted Mansion” where every turn reveals an old trick or flame standing on the corner. I really hope it doesn’t turn out that way.

Instead, I want to be waiting in line for "Space Mountain," where I am in the dark on a lot of what is happening in Nashville's gay scene, yet there are still millions of points of light out there to illuminate my life and help guide me on the right path.

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