Deacon is a 45-year-old financial advisor who lives in the Gay Village.
He says he is “a perfectionist, hardworking, humorless” and that he is “well dressed at all times, with tailored shirts and suits”. His friends would say he is “taciturn, lonely, introverted, intelligent”.
For fun, Deacon enjoys reading detective novels, training, watching movies and traveling.
“Before the virus, I regularly visited art galleries and museums in Europe and the United States,” he says. Deacon has been single for three years and describes his love life as “a barren wasteland.”
I met Ross on a gay dating site. We decided to meet after exchanging several emails. Our two profiles were focused on the desire to share time and experiences. Life can be lonely. A simple, shared meal becomes gourmet. A glass of inexpensive Vinho Tinto turns into Château Lâfite when it is drunk with someone you love. What Ross wrote on his profile clicked with me and my needs.
We agreed to meet on a quiet patio away from the village. I got there before Ross. When he arrived, I recognized him by his photo online. He looked older than his photo to me, with a friendly face and a ready smile. He was about my height, rather fat, with short gray hair. He was wearing a jacket that was too small. He sat down, and mirroring my thoughts, said, “I guess our two photos online are a little outdated…” We laughed. “I guess everyone is lying a little bit,” I said.
I quickly concluded that Ross was real, genuine, and really himself. There was no need to perform or try to impress each other, as people often do when they first meet. With Ross, what you see is what you get. It was a comfortable feeling.
Ross was polite and listened intently. He was curious about my tastes and interests, and he seemed engrossed in my travels and my views on modern art. Ross and I clearly grew up in different worlds: he said he had never visited an art gallery or a museum and that he had never heard of Manet, Degas or Braque. He was not formally educated and led a somewhat island life, but he is not a stupid man. He was educated and informed about his country of origin and its politics. I considered him to be a rough diamond.
I learned that Ross is a skilled cook, a trade he learned as a child in the kitchen with his mother. It rhymed on the preparation of classic French dishes: Boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin… It made me hungry just to listen.
The hours passed. His frankness impressed me. I surprised myself talking as much as he did, about my life, my job, my dog. There was no barrier between us. Ross was decent, straightforward, honest. We were two single, middle aged men hooking up over a few beers. It was simple.