Thursday, October 25, 2012

HRC Gala: Gold and Blue

After berating myself for hardly ever making the 12 min journey to San Francisco, this weekend saw us spending the night there again. We were there for the HRC Gala which seeks equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

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 
When we first arrived in Oakland 11 years ago we stayed at their house with our then three little kids. It took us six weeks to find a rental house - the same house we're in now. I'm sure it was tough for them, but for us it was like an extended vacation in their gloriously light and shiny house on the top of the hill. "It's cocktail hour!" Kenny would say after we returned from a long day of house-hunting. And it was all good.

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.

71 comments:

  1. Sounds like an amazing night and you and Kevin looked wonderful playing grownup :0)

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  2. That is a beautiful story, Kenny and Mike are wonderful friends.

    New Blue is fabulous. Good decision on buy.

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  3. I always love how you tell stories Jody, your friends sound lovely. Love your blue dress!

    xo Mary Jo

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  4. What Gene Robinson said at the end?...made me teary.
    You both look sensational as usual and your friends sound fabulous.
    ps vein removal???

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    1. It doesn't work, laser. I tried it before and it didn't work, should know better. I have those lovely alky veins on my face

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  5. How did you get a bruise from removing veins? Were you trying to punch them away?! "Take that, you vein, you" BAF!

    "...I always feel like I'm playing at being an adult" said Kevin "Do you think that every changes?"
    I know the feeling too. I just worry that people notice! :)

    Glad you had a lovely time. Sounds a great party.

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    1. Ha! the bruise will be appropriate for Kenny's weekend's 50th birthday party which is Superheroes. Zap! POw! Thwack!

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  6. Nice tribute to Kenny and Mike - they sound like wonderful friends. You look great in that dress. I always feel like a kid playing at dress-up when I have to go somewhere special and convince strangers that I'm an adult. Once I start knocking back cocktails, nobody mistakes me for Shirley Temple.

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  7. It seemed to be a wonderful evening and you looked great, Farrah hair and all! Wonderful friends to boot! Good for you!
    Love Di ♥

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  8. Kenny and Mike! Cheers to them! What great friends and wonderful people. Oh my gosh you look fabulous in that dress. I often feel like a Fake Adult, I think you're right that feeling doesn't really fade with age.
    Thanks for sharing your evening out and your friends with us.

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  9. Lovely story. The dress is so Halston you look stunning in it, you are as thin as a whippet, I'm green with envy.

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    1. Thanks Tabitha - and for $168 it was beautifully made!

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  10. I always want to be friends with your friends -- so endearing the way you speak of them!! You look stunning in the dress!

    One day we will all look back and wonder why any human being was ever treated differently. That is my hope. Gene Robinson makes me proud to be an Episcopalian.

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  11. Bravo!!!! So good to read...and "Flappy" is such a doll and how fortunate he and Kenny are to have found one another!!!!

    Love to read your Blog!!!

    Julie (PSU classmate of Kevin's, Flappy, Rachel and Amber)

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  12. Great to hear from you Julie all the way from PA. Yes they are so lucky to have found each other!

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  13. Thank you for sharing your lovely story. You look great in your dress and what a stunning group at the table photo. Happy stories about sweet couples always make my day.

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  14. What a great event and what a great introduction to such a lovely couple. Thank you for sharing this event and the message --- who doesn't love a good love story!!!

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  15. What a great night! Sounds like you had a blast! I am fortunate to live in a very gay friendly town so my friends can all live in peace. Even the old fogies don't bat an eye! I love visiting my gay friends...they fuss over me, fetch me drinks, compliment my shoes...and husband doesn't worry they will hit on me lol!

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  16. Fabulous story and fabulous friends. x

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  17. Gorgeous, bet your friends shed a tear reading all that. You look a million bucks in that dress darl

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    1. Gosh, I haven't been called chook since I left Auckland. So feel free to blurt that out to me once in a while.

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  18. Jody, you look beyond elegant. Say what you like but I've always found you to be impeccably dressed.

    Awww...this is such a lovely tribute to your friends. Friends like Mike & Kenny are rare and it's so wonderful to hear how your friendship has gone strength to strength.

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  19. I would have enjoyed seeing you do the weird Angelina J. leg thing :) You look FAB.. the dress, and the shoes.. perfect and isn't it wonderful when they are both comfortable AND pretty?! Looks like a fun evening!

    Have a nice weekend!

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    1. Leslie, yes maybe could make a dance out of the Angelina leg crook thing?

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  20. you look fabulous!!! sounds like a wonderful evening spent with friends..good for all of you!!
    p.s. the laser treatments they have now for veins are amazing!!! simple, easy painless...and no more bulging veins...i got mine removed..happy I did!

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  21. This just touches my heart in so many ways! And I saw Lana's speech online. How brave of her to tell her story! Your friends sound just lovely!!

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    1. Really intriguing person isn't she? She and her brother must be geniuses to interpret Cloud Atlas, a stunning book but somewhat inpenetrable. Can't what to see what they've come up with.

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  22. Jody- Beautiful post! Truly lovely, made me think how tough it would feel to be "broken" as in Lana's words...

    Loretta

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  23. Can't help but read this and think about the facebook viral comment about how Americans can no longer say they are going to vote republican b/c he/she are fiscally conservative without acknowledging that they are denying a fellow citizen rights. I know this post is about friendship and your friends' beautiful relationship and astounding ability to support their friends. But..the election is coming. Support the candidates who support gay rights. Simple.

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    1. Agree - simple. Thanks for this passionate comment - is that Matt?

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  24. Fabulous post Jody and you are so lucky to have two amazing friends!! Have a good weekend:)
    ~Anne

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  25. Thanks for stopping by the blog Jody, your shoes are amazing and the hair looks fab even though it wasn't what you really wanted but with the length it is, I can't see why your stylist couldn't achieve what you wanted xx

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  26. So nice post and blog. You look amazing and the gold pumps look wow.

    Have a nice weekend.

    http://fashiondenis.blogspot.sk/

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  27. You always look lovely in your photos. The Fairmont? How was it?

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  28. How is it possible that you look even more gorgeous now than you did 16-years ago? You are stunning; and I so love that dress on you. Also pertinent...hooray for fabulous (and comfy!) shoes!! :)

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    1. That short haircut never suited me, wish I'd realised it at the time...

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  29. As I've said before Love is Love, and it comes in many different forms.
    You looked wonderful. I love the dress.

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    1. My friend Katie did t-shirts saying " Love who you love". Says it all really.

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  30. I have to say that you looked absolutely gorgeous (regardless of all the comments you have made about your appearance) and that blue is so your colour! Sounds like you two had a great night x

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  31. Great choice on the dress - you look wonderful in it. Seems like you all had an amazing night!

    What a lovely story, and makes me miss SF. I met my husband there, both my girls were born there ... it is such a beautiful 'live and let live' city. We were there 15 years, but now back on the East Coast.

    I find my neighbors out in the suburbs of CT think we're those freaky Californians with an 'alternative lifestyle.' I work in NYC, and my husband stays home with the kids. No one in SF ever batted an eye at that. We're lucky that we can make it on one salary, and we are the ones that get to raise our kids ... not the nanny.

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  32. What a wonderful story, and so well told!

    Since it's become legal in Canada, I've married a number of same-gendered couples. People like your Kenny and Mike. Lots of fun.

    The dress, m'dear, is fabulous.

    Dealing with veins is a vain thing. But knew that.

    Blessings and Bear hugs, anyhow.

    P.S.: OH YUCK! Word verification. Like putting a Democrat into the midst of a Republican gathering. During election year.

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    1. Yes, i know! Sometimes it takes three to four goes. What are blogspot thinking making it so blurry?
      Sorry about that, have thought of taking it off but my computer guys says it will leave me open to viruses.

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  33. I once had some treatment for thread veins on my legs:didn't work either!

    Cloud Atlas was a huge book. How will they fit it all into a movie? Am very keen to find out.

    Hubby and I are just like you and Kevin before a ball: we want to hide and have to make a big effort to just get a move on. You will have to learn how to tie a bow tie for your man. I find it quite sensual to tie my husband's for him and then unloosen it with one gentle tug. Ooh missus, am feeling a bit flushed writing this!

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  34. As a firm right winger and a staunch catholic I suppose I should have the usual cliched views on this subject.I am however an each to his own type person and as for God I would never presume to speak for him.

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  35. New on your blog!
    What a nice story and you look absolutely stylish. Your dress is to die for!
    All the best,
    Anne (Playing With Scarves)

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  36. Looks like a lovely night. You really suit that blue dress.

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  37. Wow Jody, what a great post. You describe Mike and Kenny so well. Great seeing you last night, and hope to see you soon.

    Wonderwoman.....

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  38. This is such a beautiful post. Kenny and Mike sound like amazing friends, and you are lucky to have such great people in your lives.

    *Erin

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  39. Loved reading this, Jody. Good friends are hard to find nowadays.
    Ada

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  40. after a morning of fighting kids & an angry-at-the-world teenager- this is so incredibly lovely to read. i love reading about couples that have stayed together for so long, and have remained so close, loving, supported, and connected. the comment about the elephant holiday ornament really says it ALL. & it is clear that they sincerely love you & your children (i.e. taking them to disneyland!!).

    you look beautiful in your dress- & vanity isn't always such a bad quality to sport. :)

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  41. You look so lovely! Looks like a great event, too. xo style, she wrote

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  42. Playing at being a grownup is spot on - I think we all feel that way most of the time! Your friends look fab - and so do you and Kevin. How great of them to rise above all the crap and remain devoted to each other!

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  43. They seem like a great couple and wonder friends to have in your life.
    You look fantastic as usual!

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  44. Bruise or no bruise (and I know of what you speak)you look stunning. Kevin and Mike sound like super chums and I have something in common with them: I'm married to a Scorpio:)
    Birthdays coming up.
    The dress is perfect.

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  45. You both look stunning - shoes, hair, dress all stunning - sounds like a great night with some truly great friends. They sound like a terrific couple.
    Happy Halloween - it's the 31st here!
    x
    Melissah

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  46. How lucky you are to have such friends! Between wit and generosity of heart these guys must make life so much more fun for everyone.

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  47. a. you look stunning. b. i can totally relate to the energy it takes to get out the door and do something fun (sans kids) c. what a lovely event with fab speakers!

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  48. You looked amazing! I love the dress. Sounds like a wonderful night spent with great friends. True friendship can be hard to come by. You are so very lucky to have them in your life! :)

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  49. what a delicious night. every single detail: amazing.

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  50. How gorgeous do you look and what a handsome couple you make.

    A lovely heartfelt and touching tribute to your great friends.

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  51. "Double wife points, to be spent at another time" loved this and you looked incredible in the rent-a-dress and I want those shoes (they look comfy to me). But the message here is still, and will continue to, resonates with me. The last line by the Bishop was the perfect phrase. One everyone should remember.

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  52. you looked so gorgeous my dear, and it was a lovely and touching post!

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  53. Jody,
    Sorry just getting to this post now, but so glad I didn't miss it. What wonderful friends Mike and Kenny are. You are so fortunate as are your kids to have them in your lives! It's great you support them too by going to events like this.

    Love your dress too. You look adorable 16 years ago!
    xo
    Kim

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