The Plaza in Kansas City is one of the most special places to be at Christmas time. The architecture is very Spanish-influenced, and every building and store is heavily decorated with Christmas lights. It is in every good sense of the term a picture postcard place.
Last night, my lover and I decided to catch the new Bond film at a theater on the Plaza. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner first and, arriving on the Plaza early, decided to go in search of ice cream. Nevermind that we were bundled in leather jackets and gloved up, that I was wearing ear muffs and my lover a silly knit stock cap that makes him look like a naughty elf. It was cold. It was drizzling rain that bordered on snow. My lover had a craving for ice cream, and his cravings must be satisfied.
With the Christmas lights, the rainy snow and the chill air it would have been a magical night no matter what. Being with someone I love and who means the world to me only made the night that much more magical. I reached out and caught his gloved hand in mine, and we walked the sidewalks that way - hand in hand.
Nothing, but nothing, makes me feel more like a man than holding my lover's hand openly in public. Yes, people sometimes stare. We walked past one bar with large glass windows where straight people were enjoying themselves over wine in a beautiful setting, too. I could see the fireplace within burning brightly. But several faces turned to stare through the glass as we walked by. I couldn't read their expressions or their thoughts - it didn't matter.
We found a shop selling delicious Italian gelatto and ordered small cups. My lover had something mixed with Reese's Pieces. I had some flavor called "Wedding Cake." Maybe that was Freudian, though I didn't think of it until just now. A family came in behind us with three small children. My lover and I often share our food, putting small bites in each others' mouths. And again, I sometimes touched his hand or shoulder. I noticed two of the children watching us. The parents watched us, too. Again, I couldn't read their minds. They gave no signs of disapproval.
But it drove home to me an important point once again. In light of the recent gay marriage controversies, many gay people have spoken about the need to "educate" the public about our lives, about what it means to be gay. I'm never quite sure what they mean. The only "education" that matters, and the only "education" that is ever going to make a difference is just to be who we are -- openly and in public.
The most radical act we can engage in is to be in love. And to be in love at Christmas on a rainy, snowy night, bundled in the cold, under holiday lights, is magic and heaven and paradise. It is life-affirming and soul-affirming.
When I hold my lover's hand - that simple act- I know that I have a place in this world, that I have a purpose. Nothing can ever take that away.