Upon opening the predictable, pre-printed invitations, my stomach would knot, bringing back haunted memories of high school PE classes and after-school sports.
“Men to the den, and women to the kitchen,” our hostess would cheerily chirp upon entering her house. After some hesitation, I would limp off to the den “to bond with the boys.”
Wanting desperately to fit in, I would fake some passing interest in the game. The truth was I did not know who was playing, much less how the game was played.
Despite playing third-string right guard in junior high and five years at the University of Georgia, I still did not understand the rules. I only knew the game took forever to play, and when the clock said five minutes to half-time it really meant 15.
Commercial breaks aided by frequent trips to the kitchen for beer offered some relief from testosterone and Budweiser-induced high-fives. In the safety of the kitchen, I could converse with the girls on subjects of real interest such as fashion and food.
When I came out and was divorced six years ago, the invitations to Super Bowl Sunday parties abruptly ceased. Instead, I was invited to a flock of gay-hosted events.
Not only were the food and flowers beautiful, conversation flowed like smooth red wine. Almost always, there was someone to talk about, and on those rare occasions when conversations became strained, I found gay men were quick to amuse themselves.
When the conversation began to lag at a small gathering in South Beach, our host produced a perfect pair of size 11 red pumps from underneath the sofa. We entertained ourselves for hours.
“Say goodbye to football, velvet cakes and keg beer forever,” I said to myself. “You aren’t in Kansas anymore.”