|Me and Kevin at the 'do at The Fairmont|
|These shoes are actually comfy ( it's all relative..)|
After a mess of organising kids and babysitter at home, by the time we checked into the hotel I was exhausted. Truthfully, the hours before a ball you are tempted to order room service and spend the evening in your room watching back-to-back movies. But we roused ourselves and put on our fancy duds.
This was the first outing for New Blue (the rent or buy dress: I bought) which I had forgotten to hem, forcing me to do a weird Angelina leg crook all night to avoid tripping up. The hairdresser had spent an hour teasing my hair and trying to stick it in a chignon before giving up and settling for a limp Farrah arrangement. And the reason for my weird head-to-the-side look is that I have a huge bruise on my cheek from trying to get rid of veins (didn't work). Vanity, thy name is Jody. Excuse the photos - we only took a couple and none of them were that great. Phew!
Kevin did his usual tortured half hour of trying to tie a bow tie before settling for the ready-made one. Fair dues, I did not say a word. (Double wife points, to be spent at another time...) "However many times I put on a tuxedo, I always feel like I'm playing at being an adult" said Kevin "Do you think that ever changes?" I am older than him by five years and he always looks to me for sage advice. "No" I said.
The impetus to get out the hotel door are our old friends, Kenny'n'Mike. They always brilliant company, always with the snappy asides - sometimes bawdy, sometimes esoteric. They look after us, fuss over us, spoil us rotten, help us with the kids (even taking the kids to Disneyland one year because Kevin and I are not the Happyland types) and are forever on our kids' emergency lists. How many times did they pick up Cy from nursery school after he'd fallen from a tree or climbed over a fence. They are never complacent in a social gathering however dull the company and always make the effort to get a laugh out of everyone, even when it's at their own expense.
I know for sure as a gay married couple they are the target of mean-spirited looks, sniggers and derogatory remarks - to their faces and behind their back. Insidious and invidious things they have to put up with in a day that we don't. But in the 16 years I've known them, I've never heard them feel sorry for themselves or bitter, even if they feel it. To me, that everyday generosity is true bravery.
|Mike, Kenny, me and Kevin|
You would have to travel far to find a more devoted couple. They call each other at least 15 times a day, just to say "Hi howareya"....they do everything together including visiting relatives, they've been together for 20 years and married for more than four. Their wedding day at the San Francisco town hall was a wonderful day for all of us. Of course there are no illusions: "Let's face it: we're both Scorpios" says Kenny "We can be a bit bull-headed."
Kevin met Mike at university where they were in a fraternity together and I met them first when I was six months pregnant with Harley and they flew to visit us in London. I had to make even more trips to the loo than usual, they were so pee-your-pants hilarious.
|In London 16 years ago, me six months pregnant, meeting Kenny and Mike for the first time|
|Mike (far left) and Kenny (far right) last month at Kevin's birthday|
|Our friend Kevin and Mike with Jackson and Harley at Disneyland, 2010|
As we walked into the HRC Gala, me doing my weird Angelina leg thing, we showed Kenny some groovy elephant holiday tree ornaments on sale. "Mike and I always look for tree ornaments together" said Kenny "I'll have to wait till he's here."
The speakers that night were inspirational. Lana Wachowski, the critically acclaimed director of The Matrix trilogy and the new movie Cloud Atlas who is famously publicity-shy, opened up about her journey as a transgender woman. She tearfully spoke about her inability to fit in as a child and her suicide attempt during high school: “…without examples, without models, I began to believe voices in my head -- that I was a freak, that I am broken, that there is something wrong with me, that I will never be lovable.” She spoke also of the incredible support of her wife.
|Lana Wachowski speaking|
Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop, had a simple message. Various churches will continue to say what they want, he said. But God knows his own mind. He loves all of us.