Every new year I am required to tell a story of hope and dreams and love and belief.
The story of my most memorable new year’s eve ever.
Back in the winter of 1995 I was living in Nashville, but visiting New York for the holidays. My friend Dan, who resided in Manhattan and worked for a major corporation, told me one of his co-workers was having—in his words—a “huge” party at his house.
“You need passes to get in,” Dan told me. “I have passes.”
Who was I to argue? I trudged into the city, and a bunch of us—Dan, Paul, Mike, Steve—met up for the big event. I can’t really explain this now, but I was actually wearing a Peyton Manning orange Tennessee jersey. All the other guys were dressed nicely, and I looked like, well, a lug.
We walked to the address, which was a stone’s throw from Times Square. To get to the building, we had to show our passes to the police, who guarded the entrance with one of those long blue barricades. They let us through, and we took elevators to the penthouse. We knocked, met Dan’s co-worker and entered his amazing apartment. We were the first ones there, so we looked around, taking in the bountiful food, the bottles upon bottles of alcohol. I was 23, and my hopes were high. Booze. Food. Women. This was going to be a great night.
Gradually, people began to arrive.
Another two guys.
Three more guys.
If I recall correctly, it hit us all at the same time—we were at a new years party for gay men.
I suppose, from a single-dude-trying-to-meet-the-ladies standpoint, I was a tad disappointed. But, really, I wasn’t. Here wasa truly unique, truly eye-opening, truly … cool experience. So we stayed. And chatted. And ate. And drank. My friend Paul got kissed (he’s reminded of that quite regularly). My friend Mike blurted, “Well, since we’re here, I’m gonna mingle!” With five minutes remaining in 1995, everyone headed out to the balcony. The night was clear; the lights brilliant. Someone handed out miniature bottles of bubbly, and as the clock ticked down, I stood and watched an ocean of gay men making out all around me.
Paul, my pal, has long said that everything in life is “about the story.”
I couldn’t agree more.