I wrote this piece following a trip I took to Los Angeles with my girlfriend, at the time. On this trip, I met one of my girlfriend's childhood friends, and her girlfriend. They were almost instantly two of my favorite people in the world, and still are. I don't really have much that I can say about it that it doesn't say for itself. Enjoy.
I remember the first time I saw two women kiss. I’m not talking about the kissing you see in Porn, or two women in the throes of drunken ecstasy at a party that belongs in the orgies in ancient Rome, I’m talking about a real kiss. Fairy tales and Disney movies and young girls talk about the latter kind of kiss. True Love’s Kiss. In Los Angeles, the City of Fallen Angels, I saw love, the kind that curls your toes and makes you forget how to operate a motor vehicle. It was love I saw, not between two women (though women they most certainly were), but between two people.
I was not shocked at open homosexuality; my life has brought me into near constant contact with gays and lesbians alike. Many of these people were close friends and colleagues, with whom I spoke frequently on topics ranging between sexuality and the merits and shortcomings of German chocolate cake, and how each affected our daily lives. Nearly every relationship we discussed between us spoke of unrestrained promiscuity, sexual adventures, and drunken hookups (some alleged, as we couldn’t remember them). In short, nothing of any tangible, emotional, depth (It must be said that I was just as guilty of portraying my own relationships in this way). Through all of these conversations a picture began to develop in my mind of the rampant, uninhibited sexuality of the common homosexual, and with it came a regrettably poor impression of the emotional depth and the long-term, committed, relationship potential in what I took to represent the Gay Culture at large.
But then, I met Dione and Jen, two of the warmest, friendliest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. Dione, a law student, interrogated me, a criminal on the defense, her eyes glittering as she watched me squirming in my seat. Eventually I saw her game for what it was, becoming immediately comfortable as our conversation flowed outside of our virtual courtroom. The conversation turned, as it normally does with young people, to sex, and our own differing – that is to say our similar – sexual preference. This was familiar ground: she posited the opinion that having sex with men is “gross,” to which I agreed with an amused smile. This put us on even ground, and from there, the conversation flowed like wine (or, as it turned out, beer).
Hours later I was introduced to Jen over dinner, where I first tried swordfish. Jen is a photographer (the Bohemian and the Lawyer, how literary!) who photographs people such as the band Snow Patrol, and who recently went on tour with Jason Mraz as his personal photographer. She gave my companion and I the Grand Tour of Hollywood, Los Angeles, etc., with commentary along the lines of “This is the famous bar... where I was doing blow in the alleyway while this or that was going on.” Simply fascinating. This was a person I could relate to; many of my stories driving around Salt Lake begin with “So this is retirement home in front of which I was smoking weed….” Her enthusiasm in conversation was infectious, and soon every one of us were sharing things so personal to us that even our closest friends (this was my case, I can only guess about my fellows) hadn’t been told. It was not, as one would infer, the conversation that struck me so vividly.
Dione and Jen are a cute couple. No, that fails to do justice to them; I’ve only once before seen a couple as adorable before. They were cute in a way that a puppy and a kitten cuddled together hope to be cute, and then more. Here was not drunken ecstasy or parental angst-driven rebellion, it was love, the type of which young girls dream and decent men secretly crave. I felt guilty watching them embrace, kiss, snuggle together in bed whispering to one another. I did it anyway. They were in love, a thing I’d lost faith in – not in an angsty, impatient, ill-informed adolescent sense, but the having been through years of an emotionally defunct relationship type. After that, it becomes difficult to believe in True Love’s Kiss, let alone to imagine it. After all that, seeing True Love’s Kiss, in all its humble majesty, was too much to bear. I watched. I may have stared. It wasn’t enough for me to instantly believe all the stories, movies, songs. Celine Dion wouldn’t have said it was “all coming back to me”, but something stirred within me, something I’d forgotten about long before. Something alien but not alienating. They were the same people, my new close friends, but they were far away in that moment.
Past the Land of Broken Dreams and Lost Fortunes, in the City of Fallen Angels I learned that among those in love, I’m foreign, though made of the same stuff, the stuff which dreams are made of.