Billy Francesca: Advice From an Idiot
By Billy Francesca
It’s been a busy summer in stilettos, from Provincetown to New Orleans, living it up along the way! In my travels to and fro, I started thinking about adjusting to life in gay arenas, which made these questions pop.
Let’s give this a shot. I recently moved to Los Angeles from Middle America, and I was very excited to finally be in a city, where, I figured (or I guessed and hoped) that life would be easy and at least more gay friendly. People are nice—don’t get me wrong—but I’m male, I don’t have six-pack abs or model looks. And I knew only a few straight friends when I moved here. It’s getting a little lonely at the end of month one. Any advice?
My Dearest Oklahoma Hopeful! Welcome to Lala Land! It takes at least a few months to adjust and maneuver through the waterways of any Gay Utopia, whether you’re in WeHo or The Castro, Hells Kitchen or Key West, moving to a gay Mecca doesn’t mean that you’ll be in a gaggle of picture-perfect Facebook post-ready laughing buddies, or always at a pool party. It just makes those things possible with a ton of other homos. But that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
You don’t need a six pack or model looks to find friends (but I would be lying if I said it doesn’t help in online dating). It took me several months to really find a good group of friends, many of whom I’m still friends with after more than a decade later here in WeHo. For me, the ticket was nightclubs.
And while I’m never going to tell you to stay away from nightclubs (my nights are fabulous—Sundays at Here, Rasputin on Saturdays, and HOTROD and LipTickler at Micky's), I know it can be true that a bar or club isn’t always the ideal place to find new friends. A trick? Duh. Someone to dance with? Hell Yes! But close friends? It’s possible, but you’re lucky if that happens.
Doing things outside of the nightclub is a quick way to meet people. Some advice that works for dating also works for finding new friends. Are you into sports? Even kinda? The dodge ball kids in West Hollywood are wonderful, and you don’t have to have abs of steel or be able to climb a rope in a gymnasium to join! The AIDS Walk is coming up here in L.A., and charity work in any city is a wonderful way to help your community and meet people. Down on the West Side they play volley ball every Saturday, and if you don’t want to play, sit in the sun with a smile on your face, a volleyball will roll towards you at some point. Grab it and say hello!
You will find all the colors of the rainbow here, as you will in many homo havens. Life in a new city can sometimes make us shy away even more, but you really have to try and put yourself in situations where you can meet people, you will find friends, drinking buddies, beach bums, the whole nine yard! And if you see me out in town, you better introduce yourself! Cuz Sugar, I know everyone!
How can I get my friend Off Grindr when we are hanging out? He’s on it 24/7, at the gym, at lunch, at the movies. It’s working my last gay nerve.
Quality Time Calls
Hey Quality Time Calls, this is a non-stop issue with boys from Boston to Seattle! I’m sure you have asked your friend to slow his game when you’re spending time together. If not, start there.
How about only hanging out in a dead zone? No signal? No problem.
This tactic is a toughie, some of my own homegrown psychology. Sometimes when people don’t notice their own creppy behavior, I mirror them. It’s childish, I know, but often self-involved people have no idea they’re brushing people off, and tend to pay attention only when they are the ones being cast aside. Hopefully your friend will notice when you can pull the it’s-not-so-nice-being-ignored card, and flip that script. If that doesn’t work, open a fake profile with his mom’s photo and when he’s next to you, text him to “get off the app and enjoy your friend and Cobb salad.” That’ll fix his wagon.
DARLINGS, thanks for the questions! This Idiot has seen it all and is here to help answer all of your life-in-the-big city woes. (I’ve lived in Boston, Provincetown, Italy, Miami, San Francisco, and now Los Angeles, but I know something about the country too. Try me.) Are you struggling with some weird thing your man does? Is urban gay life eating you alive? Are you wondering how many piercings are too many? Are you seeing weird shit happen to your queer friends, something that you need a second opinion on? So ask! I love sharing experiences, laughter, and our mistakes, so we might learn from them together. Keep them coming at [email protected]. XO BF