I am not a gingerphile; meaning that I only have an exclusive and particular interest in sexy men who are red of hair. However, as we approach the St. Patrick’s Day holiday with fanfare and celebration, I consider it apropos to make tribute to my ginger romances – not only because Ireland happens to be the country with the second highest percentage of gingers in its population (roughly 10%), but also… they’ll likely be out in full force on Sunday and you should know just how great ginger men are.
Conceivably, I may have the luck with the red headed men, in terms of mutual attraction due to a bit o’ Irish blood in my own heritage, which may also explain why I occasionally see a red hair or two amongst the black fur in my beard and along my hairline.
Thank you great, great grandpa Daugherty for marrying into our family!
Turns out gingers aren’t uber populous in Seattle, though I’m surprised since they need not be concerned about overexposure to the sun in this city; at least 10 months of the year. Who are these guys and how did I meet them if they don’t abound as frequently? Three in a row seems more than a coincidence.
George and I met a little less than two years ago at what was supposed to be a gay speed-dating event for biking aficionados in Seattle sponsored by Hub and Bespoke, a clothing and accessories store for bicyclists. Just a couple of days before the event, featuring socializing over pints at the Nickerson Saloon followed by 5 minute bike rides (cute right?) with each same-sex cyclist, all the participants received an email from the shopkeeper saying there were not enough people therefore the event was cancelled.
I, for one, wasn’t too bummed out as I didn’t have a proper bike I felt could keep up with most of the avid cyclists and their $1000+ tricked out specialty bikes. One of the male daters fortunately emailed back the owner of Hub & Bespoke mentioning how he was still interested in getting together with the other guys for a happy hour.
Being from out-of-state, Scott was having a tough time making friends in Seattle (as is the norm for most non-Seattleites or transplants) craving at least some form of social outlet rather than to let it go down the drain. After the formality of BCC messaging previously signed up guys from the event; directing them to email Scott if interested in getting together – an outing was scheduled at Quoin, a small casual bar in Fremont. I knew I would be running late due to a previous commitment, but nevertheless informed all the guys that I’d be glad to join them on a weekday evening.
Upon arrival I became the fifth and last member to join the party. We chatted about cycling in Seattle and bike laws… and… the cocktails… we were drinking. Needless to say, no one caught my eye nor was the conversation very stimulating.
George nonetheless was polite and engaging throughout the affair with bright crimson hair that was wavy and firm like the high-pile rug I just bought at IKEA paired with an enduring smile framed by a well-trimmed copper beard. I told him I’d be down to go on a bike ride sometime thinking to myself only as friends when he offered an outing on a future day.
At the end of the evening, George, Scott and I found ourselves outside on the sidewalk exchanging goodbyes. I had driven my car from Eastlake where I lived. Scott and George both rode their bikes; George living just a bit west in Ballard and Scott on Capitol Hill.
At this point, the two cyclists were flashing their steel with one another – comparing bikes. Scott had a snazzy Shimano with all the trimmings of a modern racing bike while George busted out his fixie claiming how he was such a “hipster” for riding a fixed-gear, which he bought on Craigslist and repaired with his own two hands. I snorted a humorous retort more for the fact that George had already shared a bit about his background hailing from Wisconsin painting himself as a slightly geeky computer science undergraduate and small town chap. Scott joined in poking fun at George’s ironic hipsterdom citing other facts that simply did not equal hipster. We all exchanged numbers agreeing to perhaps get together for a ride when the weather was nice better. I offered Scott a ride home, which he gladly accepted as the whisper of rain progressed to soon become a shout of it.
So… I took the other guy home actually, with his bike in my car.
Just a courteous offer of transport to a fellow cyclist.
Two evening later I had gone out for dinner with friends and received a text from George with an invite to Sunday brunch the following day. Sure. I thought. This is a “just friends” brunch after all and I want to make more riding pals. I agreed on the time to meet with him then continued the evening with my two very close gal friends. What was supposed to be just a chill dinner evolved into a rager of a night complete with jager shots and dancing. Oh, Veronica and Stella… whenever we hangout it’s like three tornados who come together to form one crazy cyclone.
Sunday morning comes and I’m hung over, just hating the fact that I’d agreed to go dancing with those chicks when I should’ve just gone home. I get the text from George at 930am.
Hey. Where do you want to meet up for brunch?
Ugh! I’m so not down for this brunch right now, but I don’t want to flake. I told all those guys at the happy hour how I was a rarity for a Seattleite and actually show up to things.
George suggests a greasy spoon of a restaurant in Ballard where he lives. As he doesn’t drive a car I’m in more of a position to easily come to him then he is to me. I meet George at this dive bar, which serves breakfast items. It’s not a restaurant – key difference.
I give him a hug hello and we proceed to look at the menu. Being so hung over I simply can’t handle the smell of the cigarettes in the place suggesting we go elsewhere immediately.
We turn the corner a couple blocks down and get seated after a small wait at the Hi-Life Café. First thing we both order is a coffee. Then George asks for a Bloody Mary. Ahh, I could sure use one of those! After learning more about George’s honest Midwest upbringing and getting a combination of food, caffeine and alcohol I start to think to myself,
This guy is a good guy. Open yourself up a bit because you never know what can happen.
Upon finishing brunch, we walked around the Ballard Farmers Market sharing more with one another. This is also where we came up with our first inside joke about women and sea salt caramels and having a hard day, which we still refer back to today. Later, I checked out his boat by the pier. What followed was a boyfriend experience for several months morphing into a friendship for the better.
Every year in Seattle, the Gay City Health Project throws a garden party fundraiser called Eden. This is where I met Weston.
I’d attended the party the year before to see what the fuss was all about since I’d known about the hallmark summer social for years prior to finally checking it out.
When I arrived this particular year I was greeted by shirtless flower boys in sarongs who were selling tickets for one of the raffle prize packages featured in the main drawing room of the estate. I wasn’t even sure what the prize was, but muscles and sarongs have an easy way to convince you that you need whatever they are selling, so I opted for just one ticket.
You can’t win if you have zero tickets.
Once I completed my purchase, I decided to take in the panoramic views of Puget Sound from this stunning oasis of a home along the cliffs of West Seattle. Encircling the house was a large deck where stations displayed the featured silent auction items for the guests to bid on. Upon perusing the vacation packages, art books and gift baskets with specialty foods and wines I decided to make my way back instead bumping into Weston.
He was one of the Gay City volunteers overseeing the silent auction – helping people to understand what came in the packages as well as encouraging them to make their bids. Weston approached me inquiring if I had made any bids trying to ascertain what items I had the most interest in. In a very objective yet natural fashion he got me to talk about myself, where I was from as well as this blog I was going to start writing about dating and relationships.
Likewise, I asked details about him, picking up on the fact he was originally from Oregon having moved to Seattle just over a year ago. Weston wore a black v-neck sporting a blondish shaved head yet a full and lush reddish beard on his visage. I told him I thought it was a unique trait I found striking and attractive.
He described himself as a “daywalker” – one who has red hair but not pale skin nor freckles. He enlightened me how folks with his peculiar gingerish traits could move easily from Seattle’s cloudy atmosphere to places like California or Hawaii without worry of burning in the sun. I snickered at the term understanding the reference to the TV show, South Park. We built up great rapport right away. Although he needed to be on point for the other prospective bidders throughout the evening, I’d pop back to the auction items intermittently to chat him up further.
When Weston finally “came off shift” as a volunteer, we had a moment to tour the vast grounds of the home finding a path that lead from the waterfall garden entrance around to the lower terrace directing us to a path along a ravine. There was a setup of large stones right under the deck, which easily could seat two people. Here, we found an opportunity to take in the partially obstructed view of the sound while observing the sun break through the trees in the ravine. My heart was beating fast and I had one of those nervous feelings in my gut – the good kind. It was here as I stared out at the giant evergreens that my decision to ask him out firmed up.
But he beat me to the punch inviting me out sometime. Now, when you spend as much time as I did trying to find that opening and get pleasantly surprised with mutual intent by the other guy, it can be a very cool thing. And I made it clear my answer was YES and had he not asked, I would have done so right there.
Our running joke now was that when we met I didn’t bid on him (auction items), but instead gave my money to the flower boys.
On my travels in the south I made my first stop in New Orleans to participate in the Superbowl Festivities as well as the Mardi Gras celebrations, which annually bring thousands of visitors to the most unique city in the United States. Kyle and I met initially online as we chatted looking for other gay friends (or maybe more) in the Big Easy. He himself was a tourist coming down from Chicago, IL looking for a break from both the bone chills of the Windy City along with his typical work routine. In the online world, multiple conversations are constantly occurring all the time, quite often with conversations that lack depth and content; fraught with sexual innuendo and more often times – direct requests for things that take me out of my comfort zone.
But Kyle was different. He engaged me, wanting to know more about who I was, why I was in NOLA and what was the present state of my life. I explained how I was exploring the prospect of relocating to another city outside of Seattle as I had lived here since I was a boy whereas he posed questions causing me to critically think about my overall situation. This guy was emotionally intuitive, a bit on the shy side, but a kindred spirit… someone whose acquaintance I had to make as guys like him stand out from the day-to-day conversations I’ve had in Seattle.
I volunteered my phone number after chatting for a day or two; he eagerly reciprocated in addition to consenting to rendezvous during one of the city’s famous parades. When we met just outside of the French Quarter for a beer, he made sure to remind me to look for the redhead in the glasses. So I went to meet him at the restaurant bar. There was this immediate connection when I saw him. We hung out. We had a great time. And I knew that even though we lived in different cities, I’d made a lifelong friend, though romantic attraction resided there as well. Yes, that’s an entirely different story.
Like I said before, I’m not on the lookout for gingers per se nor have I limited my playing field to only redheads with freckles. Three times now – I have been charmed by three wonderful guys; red of hair. Who knows what the future will bring? But I will say this… these men are some of the most effectual people I’ve ever met and should I meet another ginger again, it will be with a soft spot in my heart and arms wide open.
Happy St Patrick’s Day! Make sure to kiss and hug your gingers!