Friday, February 26, 2010

Le Gars de Chocolat Chaud, Part 2

Coffee Break

We found ourselves at Starbucks. It was my first time ever there and one of a handful of times at a café. Toni, on the other hand, had grown up with coffee since before he could remember.

There was always something about cafes that I found alluring. Coffee houses in Utah (even corporate coffee places) have a stigma attached to them of alternative culture mostly because drinking coffee is a form of rebellion within Mormonism. However, my attraction to this atmosphere ran deeper. It encompassed the smells of boiling water, cream, coffee and chocolate; the jazz music humming just under reasoned, polite conversation; the range of possibilities as one noted every flavor of Italian soda, tea, and high-brow desserts; and finally the intellectual air in which one was free to discuss politics in civility or write poetry alone at the table in the corner.


We sat next to each other in two comfy armchairs. They were comfortable enough to know that they weren’t any good for our posture as we enjoyed the drinks I paid for.

“Are you sure you don’t want a taste?” he asked. “It’s the first coffee you’ve ever paid for.”

“Honestly, Toni, I do but I don’t. You know… I love the smell, but I just don’t… I’m fine.”

He giggled at my admission that I was curious about coffee.

“You’ve seriously never had a drop? You’ve been to South America and seen the world’s finest coffee, but still no?”

I lightly shook my head and rolled my eyes, blushing slightly. To diffuse my blushing, I took a sip of my cocoa and returned my attention to Toni as he looked out the window at the falling snow.

“Alright. Someday, though,” he said. He then segued back to a previous discussion on philosophy, his favorite subject, “So you’re still Mormon. How does that work?”

“Sometimes I prefer not to think about it. I’d like to live my life and have everybody else mind their own business.”

I was a little surprised I’d put it quite like that, but it was the truth or the beginnings of it. Yet I was enjoying the evening completely.

Toni cafe“I mean the last guy I dated was Mormon,” he said. “You all deal somehow. It just seems like so much. No coffee, no beer, etc. Even tea and tea is definitely good for you.”

“It’s a little more complicated than that.”

“Is it really, GMB? You’re in a position where you can’t have everything you want and be happy.”

He was right. Everything I’d read or felt told me that one day I’d have to choose the gay part or the Mormon part and that it was only a matter of when.

“I’m not really sure what I’ll do.”

“But what happens when you do make a decision and your family tells you its the wrong one? What do you do the-then?” he stuttered slightly. “Will you stick with the decision or go back?”

Under other circumstances, I would have been defensive or felt violated somehow. It was clear that something was wrong. His ex had battled the Gay/Mormon dichotomy and Toni’s heart was the casualty.

“Ash just couldn’t handle it. His family came down on him for everything. For drinking, for having a boyfriend, for not going to church. He still drinks and doesn’t do the church thing, but I got left out of the p-picture,” he said, taking a deep breath. “I stutter sometimes, by the way.”

That moment wasn’t any revelation about the future for me. I’d been through the possibilities hundreds of times in my mind. I hadn’t thought about how that might effect the guy in my life at that point.

“That’s why I don’t date,” he said. “Things aren’t resolved. I’m not ready.”

“Oh,” I said in reflex. “I’m here for you.”

It wasn’t the date I thought it was. (It wasn't a date at all). I guess he wasn’t really interested after all and just needed friends. He wasn’t the prince showing up to sweep me off my feet. I was left to wonder, though if he was the one that needed saving.

End, Part 2.


Mister Curie said...

"Coffee houses in Utah (even corporate coffee places) have a stigma attached to them of alternative culture mostly because drinking coffee is a form of rebellion within Mormonism"

That is hilarious, coffee houses are alternative culture?!?! I've never been to a coffee house in Utah (I guess it was too much rebellion for me at the time).

The gay mormon paradox is intriguing. I honestly don't know how some of you do it. I couldn't be gay as long as I was believing Mormon.

Silus Grok said...

Many — I'd suggest most — don't do it. But some of us do. This is GMB's blog, so I won't hold forth on how I do it. But it's possible. It's starts with recognizing both aspects are really and truly who you are … and then not denying either.

C.J. said...

Silus, agreed. Of course, this is from the outside looking in, since I'm not gay, but I fail to conform in my own ways. I think, really, at some point, it's about reclaiming definitions for yourself--regardless of what a bunch of self-righteous, homophobic, anti-Constitution jackasses say at church, according to Jesus, anyway, belief is all about a personal relationship with God--and nobody can tell you how to have that.

Anonymous said...

So what is the deal with coffee and Mormons? When you reject all other religions as false you tend not to care what they do and as a result I don't understand the thing with coffee (or tea and beer for that matter)

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

@Mr. Curie: I was talking to a co-worker this week about coffee houses and how her husband won't go into the fair-trade place here because it's a different group of people.

As for the paradox, it takes its toll. There's quite a bit of friction there in the next series.

@Silus: Along those lines, Cole really appreciated the insight you had to offer the other night. ;)

@C.J.: Sadly, it took me a long time to accept that rather than trying to snap together two puzzle pieces that don't initially seem to fit.

@Ethan: As for coffee and Mormons, there is a commandment regarding health called the Word of Wisdom (prohibiting the consumption of alcohol, coffee, tobacco, etc.). It is def. a shame to look down on others for different religious beliefs, but I'd say it's more the fault of the people than the actual ideas (in this instance).

Anonymous said...

hmm ok then
yeah it is at times

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