Meeting people is
difficult for me. By "people" I mean
"boyfriend material." A friend advises,
"For adventure, choose the more difficult
path." It has a certain fortune cookie logic, so I
put it to the test in South Africa at the Out in
Africa film festival.
adventure, I separate from the festival guests and taxi to a
local gay bar. That's where I meet Tristan. Our
drunken gazes catch each other on the dance floor, and
we circle in to talk. He's appalled I'm
"I'm a New Yorker!" he says. "I
didn't come all the way to Africa to hook up
with someone from L.A.!"
don't wanna hook up anyway!"
'Cause you're not gonna!"
He leans in.
"What's your name again?"
sold his multimillion-dollar business and is traveling
the world for a year, an adventure seeker like me. I blurt
out, "I want to have a crazy adventure."
What have you done so far?"
stuff. Went on a safari, petted a lion, got robbed, visited
a lesbian shaman, played with rhino poop, and climbed
up Lion's Head." The music stops. 4:30
a.m. "Now what?" He grins: "A crazy
I spot a sexy
young local text-messaging. "Do you know any after
He glances up.
"Come with me."
He leads us to a
quiet elderly gentleman resembling Bill Gates. "You
ride with Bruce. I'll find more people."
Tristan and I shrug our shoulders. Adventure.
As we climb into
Bruce's Mercedes, I whisper, "It's
amazing the stupid things you'll do because a
cute guy tells you to."
chauffeurs us into the cliffs above Cape Town. We arrive
at an enormous mansion, each window thoroughly barred. I map
possible escape routes as we enter his compound.
The interior is
old Hollywood: oil paintings, velvet curtains, red
carpets up the stairs, and pointy Siamese cats everywhere.
The center of attention is a giant glass table
presenting lines of some drug. A dozen guys drink and
chat sedately. The only girl, Jilly, complains that
everyone's gay. Bruce pours a drink, trudges
upstairs, and passes out.
me, "To adventure."
Argentinean rugby team. Eight muscular heteros tumble
through the door and Jilly leaps to her feet. Herding
them is the texter, who plants himself on the couch
between Tristan and me, still typing away.
navigate the house cautiously. Jilly disappears into the
library with two of them. The whole party takes on an
Eyes Wide Shut quality as revelers pair up
and retreat into the shadows.
Harry snaps his
phone shut and pulls us both in to kiss. It's weird
how many tongues can fit into one square inch. Just
when it gets intense, his phone buzzes and he
vanishes, leaving us kissing each other.
"You're totally kissing a guy from
didn't come to Africa for this." He pulls me
closer. "Climb Kilimanjaro with me."
I'd miss the premiere of my movie! I scold myself,
The more difficult path! Here's your
chance! I could grab Harry's phone and text
home, "Gone another week, climbing
I sigh, "I
can't." Instead we climb to the roof of the
mansion and watch the African sunrise over Table
Three days later
I'm back in West Hollywood in a routinely awkward
social situation: Your friend runs into a friend,
leaving the plus-ones to make small talk.
"Africa, huh? How's the gay scene?"
it's fascinating because..." The cute
plus-one sighs, scanning the crowd, clearly
uninterested in my life story. I cut myself short:
"It's just like L.A."
"Thanks!" He pats my shoulder and disappears
into the swirling madness of my premiere. I hear his
friend reprimand, "That was the director!" He
retorts, "So?" I picture myself scaling
Kilimanjaro and smile. I have picked the more
difficult path. I take a deep breath and step into the