It’s 1996 and I’m working in a quiet cafe just inside the doors of a fading gay favorite gym called The Bloor Valley Club. All the members had to cut through my dining area to get to the change rooms or the cardio area, giving me a great vantage point for people watching. In the spring of that year a regular to the gym started to slowly, shyly, order snacks and cappuccinos from me and in doing so, started friendly small talk.
He was a nice guy. We started to talk about books and books into movies and theatre. We talked about music and pop culture and various gossip. We would make comments at the day time TV playing over the bar and confess our secret shames in the love of soap operas. We would shout out answers to quiz shows and try to outsmart each other. He was sharply funny and subtly witty and could smile easily. You can guess where this is leading: after several weeks of chatting, when he inevitably asked me out on date, I turned him down.
Why? Because he had long hair.
He had a slight goatee, stunning blue eyes and was over 6’2″. Because he was a regular to the gym, I noted that he had tree trunk legs and I could get glimpses of chest hair through his workout clothes. But I couldn’t get past the shoulder-blade length hair! His mane wasn’t ratty or look pre-Tyra makeover or anything, it was just long. At the time I was trying to pigeon hole my tastes into a well defined scheme: skinheads and ubermacho tattooed motorcycle freaks. I was so hell bent on self conditioning I couldn’t see myself being with any other type of guy.
I let him down rather inelegantly too. I did let him know I only dated smoothed headed dudes because of a “shaving” fetish I claimed to have at the time. I don’t recall his reaction but I do remember there was an awkward silence after my shot through his heart. I remember him walking away in disappointment.
A week or so passed and I was doing waitressy things, as one does when they work in a small restaurant. The front door opened and down the hallway towards the cafe came a tall, goatee’d man with the slightest 5 o’clock shadow adorning his genetically perfect cranium. Of course, my whoremoans went into overload as time slowed down as he walked towards me like a hot chick in a Michael Bay movie. Yes, it was my “friend”. He had cut all his hair off and had gone skinhead. He. Looked. Amazing.
I know my eyes said “HELLO!” and I think I said, “Hello!” and he leaned in close and said: “This is what you’re missing.”
And never said another word to me ever again.