By Daniel Borgen, PQ Monthly
It is a gorgeous sunny Saturday, and I am marching up and down NW 21st, gathering all the necessary supplies for the perfect date night. The dry leaves crunch under my feet; it’s a balmy autumn afternoon, and I am wearing my favorite purple gingham oxford and salmon shorts, partly a nod to global warming, part outfit workshopping for Palm Springs Pride next month. This is my favorite time of year—I know, it’s yours too: chilly mornings, crunchy leaves, and shorts in the afternoon. Plus, a date night! The world is my oyster, and spinsterhood seems so far away.
The evening I have planned is so elaborate I have to travel to three separate markets; I go to my neighborhood’s newest jewel, New Seasons, which is actually more gay bar than grocery store. I haven’t seen so many queers in one place since Folsom in San Francisco. Scruff won’t stop buzzing, but I am focused on a singular goal: the best, freshest ingredients for a delicious pasta recipe, Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Porcini Mushrooms and Sausage. I select the freshest organic herbs and vegetables, the most delectable looking sausages, Pomi’s zesty strained tomatoes, and offer the requisite hellos and warm greetings to the one dozen homosexuals I recognize. I offer the gentleman I enjoyed high tea with last week my best side-eye.
With my reusable canvas shopping bag packed, I travel down 21st to City Market, where I procure my secret ingredient: which I will not disclose at this time. Needless to say, when you obtain this secret goodie, chop it up, add it to any simmering sauce, and the results are divine. I’m not sure if Hazan would approve or not, but that’s the joy of cooking; gain confidence and you can make any recipe your own. Once you achieve mastery of the roadmap, throw it out, take a chance. Your instincts will guide you. At City Market I select the freshest, most beautiful flower arrangement: Dahlias boasting deep maroons and purples. They’ll look gorgeous on the dining room table. Today I am possessed by Martha Stewart; I want everything to be perfect.
My last stop is Fred Meyer, because this lady enjoys a wine value, and one can’t buy everything at New Seasons, lest one dip into one’s 401K just to stock up on groceries. Plus: there’s a wine sale! Since my recipe boasts mushrooms, I settle on Pinot Grigio for before eating, and Pinot Noir for during (I am no sommelier, so pardon my choices). After I make my selections, it is time to head home and begin simmering my tomato sauce and to make sure my gracious home is suitable for a night of entertaining; I have given myself the day, because I am not trying to channel Sandra Lee.
I have been texting my date off and on; besides Hazan, we have Netflix and “Breaking Bad” on the agenda, and he’s talking about traveling to a local marijuana shop to take advantage of our state’s new pot laws. Though I am not particularly fond of the sweet reefer, I don’t object; I have been known to enjoy a puff now and then. He had a late night with girlfriends last night, and I remind him tonight’s no pressure—it’s easy breezy; we can eat pasta whenever and our beautiful stories will wait for us to summon them. Though I am not known for my patience, I do try.
This is our first time spending time together in some time. About a year ago, we met on Grindr and routinely met for wine and various adult adventures, and though we always got on well, our times together eventually fizzled out and ended. Then, months later, because it’s hard to “break up” and cut off all contact completely when you see each other on your favorite adult social media apps every day, we began chatting again. Just like before, we get along swimmingly, and decide it is time to see each other. It’s a big decision in my mind, and it took us a month to get here. Who knows what might happen! Spinsterhood seems so far away.
Soon, the texts peter out and taper off. He’s getting ready, I’m sure, and I need to get ready too; I’ve got a blouse and a pant to select. I’ll keep it simple: a blue oxford and a steel grey jogger pant.
It’s been awhile since I’ve heard from my date, and the sauce is almost ready. I decide it’s appropriate to send a gentle reminder text. I am sure he hasn’t responded because he’s driving over—he’s adamantly opposed to texting and driving.
Tonight, my friends are going out—they’re headed to a party at :vendetta, and most everyone I know will be there. Can’t tonight, friends, my date is on his way. Yes, date! I’m cooking again.
I serve myself a bowl of pasta; it is among the best I’ve made: rich, tangy, and flavorful. It is high time I have some wine, so I pour a glass of Pinot. Perfect pairing: the domestic goddesses I love so dearly would be so proud. The night wears on, and there’s not a peep from my date.
Tonight, I’ll be watching “Breaking Bad” alone, because my companion ghosted; I don’t have the strength to go out to meet friends and drown my sorrows; tonight, I’ll eat my weight in delicious sausages and treat myself to a beautiful bottle—or two—of Pinot. And fire up the Scruff.
The city is my oyster, and spinsterhood never seemed so certain.
I’m fine, I promise. Writing is therapeutic. Daniel@PQMonthly.com