I first saw Pete around April of 1998 at a Friday night club in Toronto called Tang. I was just getting over a difficult breakup at the time and enjoyed going there for the great music and mixed crowd. Gay, straight, whatever – everyone just had a good time with none of the attitudes and pressures that usually came with gay clubs. It was this mix of orientations that made me unsure when I first saw Pete with his friends. They all looked pretty straight and didn’t seem to be talking with the other people I knew from the gay crowd. But I just couldn’t ignore this guy. The way he danced was the first thing I noticed - he had lots of energy and seemed like he was actually there for the music instead of a potential one-night stand. He also had that masculine, easy-going look that I really like in guys. I had a sense there was something really special about him so I got my courage up and started to move towards his group. When I thought Pete made eye contact, I stepped even closer. He looked my way and I smiled and said “Hey”. Seemingly oblivious to my greeting, he looked away and continued dancing. Well, I got the hint and went to talk to a friend. My night wasn’t ruined (there are other fish in the sea, honey), I figured he just wasn’t interested.
Soon after that I began looking for a new job and was offered one by a company in Detroit. I needed a change so I decided I would take the plunge and move back to Michigan where I had gone to university. That weekend, I went out to celebrate at a club called Joy where I had spent many Saturday nights. Around the middle of the night (well actually closer to 3am) I noticed Pete through the fog looking as hot as usual in baggy shorts, a T-shirt and his ever-present Nike cap. I was dancing with a couple of my friends and remarked to one that I thought Pete was really hot. “Oh, that’s Peter. He’s a really nice guy.” “I think you should introduce me,” I said. We left the dance floor to track him down but he was nowhere to be found. Foiled again! But now I knew his name (it actually happened to be my favourite!) and I was more hooked than ever.
I moved to Detroit the next month but often came back to Toronto to visit my sister and hang out with friends on the weekends when I would occasionally see Peter at the bars. I was still very interested and, the eternal optimist that I am, kept thinking that maybe something would happen some day. That “some day” turned out to be American Thanksgiving. Having just broken up with another boyfriend I had gone to Tang just to dance and have a great time, not necessarily to meet someone. And I had been going to the gym for a few months so I was feeling like a new person. Little did I know that a huge, life-altering event was just hours away . . .
I don’t think I even noticed Pete was there until I literally ran into him. DJ Aubrey Richards was just starting to get into the trance portion of the night and I was completely caught up in the music. I turned around to take a quick break and WHAM! there was Peter looking right at me! I guess I was a little startled because all I could manage was “Hi”. And since I really had to get to the washroom I told tell him I’d be right back. When I returned to the dance floor I noticed Pete talking with Craig, my friend who had first told me his name – what a small world! Pete and I hit it off like we were old buddies and stuck together for the rest of the night. My first surprise was when he told me how old he was (33). I had thought he was a lot younger, but to my delight he was my “ideal” age. I was a little worried about the Detroit - Toronto distance, but it didn’t bother him at all. Back at his place we talked until the morning and we were so comfortable so instantly that I remember thinking often “Did we just meet?” I had known from the first time I saw him that we were meant to meet. After that night, I knew that he was meant to be my life partner.
Since I have absolutely no recollection of the first time I met Brandon (not a very good opening to the story of our life together!), let me start with the first night that I remember meeting him: Friday November 27, 1998. Like Brandon, my club of choice on Friday nights at that time was Tang because the music and the mixed crowd were such a refreshing change from the usual gay scene. Also like Brandon, I couldn’t determine which “team” he and his friends were on. Ultimately, the same traits that made his orientation hard to peg were the ones I looked for most in a partner – masculinity and a complete lack of self-centeredness. He also had that mannish-boy aura about him that I love so much. And the fact he looked a lot like a straight friend I had been in love with in high school didn't hurt matters either. Needless to say, I was smitten. When he finally said hi to me not only did I know that he was interested but it was also clear that he was self-confident - another huge plus in this city of insecure queer men.
It was when our mutual friend introduced us that I first heard the cute boy’s name – Brandon. We were inseparable for the rest of the night, dancing till the club closed. I’ve felt a surge of excitement when meeting a man before but never have I experienced such an instant sense of comfort. When we left the club together I felt none of the anxiety about what this person was thinking and what they expected from me. I had a deep seated sense that we were going to be together for a long time. The fact that he lived in Detroit didn’t even phase me. I actually found it amusing as I had had a serious relationship with someone else from that same city just a couple of years prior! The first night together only reinforced this feeling of connection. We stayed up until long past dawn talking more like life-long friends than recently introduced strangers.
Later on Brandon and I would frequently marvel at the difference between the people we were prior to our meeting and at the time of our first acquaintance. We were well aware that if we would have met just a few months earlier we likely would not yet have been at the right stage in our lives for the relationship to work. Maybe there is truth to the belief that everything happens for a reason – maybe the many past heartbreaks in my life were in preparation for something worth all the pain.
Page last updated October 06, 2013