C and I went to dinner at a thai restaurant, and planned our night–if a peanut were to talk to us, then the other would ask to get a drink or go to the bathroom or dance. If we were trapped in talking to someone, our *sign* to the other was to put her hair into a ponytail and await rescue. We made rules: no double drinking, and no shots.

Since nobody else was home besides us, we blasted some music and proceeded to get ready. Then we walked to 24th to catch a cab. In the cab ride over, the cabbie turned up the club music he was playing on the radio so loud, that c and I looked at each other; amused and w/nervous anticipation.

We arrived at Wish and made our way in. It’s been a while since I’ve gone out with the intention of meeting someone, so I had to force myself to scan the room and make eye contact. When we entered, we were instantly greeted by a very tall, potentially attractive guy, and his buddies. They stared at us, but as is typical of boys here, didn’t make a move. So we moved on–towards the back of the bar.

After scoping out the surroundings, we found a small space nestled between 2 groups of guys. C squeezed her way in, and even though the guys from both sides offered me more room to sit, I chose to sit on the ottoman across from C. Now that we were in place, C and I attempted to look as if we were having the times of our lives–which meant a lot of smiling, giggling, and outright laughing. Soon, the boys were making their way back towards us. Unfortunately, there was a cluster of peanutty guys who kept staring at us, even being so bold as to sit down next to me. I ignored hard, looking away and trying to stare out the window whenever possible. Fortunately, it was also at this time, that the guy sitting next to C struck up conversation. Turns out we were sitting with a group of boys from the Coast Guard. That’s right. First time back in the saddle and we meet up with men in uniform. God that is so hot. I’m not ashamed to admit that a man in uniform (armed forces) will make me weak in the knees every single time.

The guy talking to C was really cute. Now that I think about it, he kind of looked like a really hot version of Lance Bass, but trust me, he had that certain je ne c’est quois about him. Blonde hair, blue yes, blinding white smile, and oozing confidence–not in a sleezy way, but in a genuine, affectionate, I know what I want kind of way. Hot. Plus, you could tell he was really built (C attested to this later when she “accidentally” touched his stomach and discovered he had rocks for abs) but not in an overly top heavy gym rat sort of way. Bc C and Lance were situated next to one another, they ended up chatting most of the night, while I tried to brush away the peanuts who kept swirling around us. Lance kept mentioning that his friends were arriving, and I was praying to god there was a lil sumpin sumpin w/in his friendship pile to keep me entertained the rest of the night.

When his friends arrived, I wouldn’t say I was necessarily disappointed, but they were standing all the way at the end of the table, not really engaging in convo. One guy with glasses, who I thought was kind of dorky, finally made his way towards the ottoman across from me. He sat down and eventually started talking to me. At first, I was like, great, C gets to talk to this hot guy, and I get to play wingman the whole night. Awesome. Well, I don’t know what they teach these boys in the Coast Guard, but either these guys are 2 of the best players I have ever met in my entire life, or they really are that smooth. Charming as hell, these 2. If they had told me to jump off a bridge, I think I probably would have considered it.

The guy with the glasses, I’ll call him Dusty, was pretty fucking smooth. He had me convinced, anyway. It’s just that quality about a guy–the x factor–that you don’t get in this city. I mean, he was so natural and at ease, yet flirtatious without being smarmy. I usually don’t like it when guys are touchy feely with me–putting their hands on my leg for emphasis, etc, but from him…it worked.

Me, C, and Lance, convinced Dusty to go to the dance floor. Lance took C’s hand and led her there, I followed Dusty, who kept looking over his shoulder making sure I was close by. Dusty claimed he couldn’t dance, but he was doing pretty well for a white boy. Lance–oh god dear Lance–that boy could move. At one point during the night, I lost sight of Lance and C and then Dusty took my hand and held it while we danced. Again, I usually don’t like the hand holding thing b/c I reserve that only for someone I feel really intimately about, but with Dusty, it just worked. What’s more, it was so nice to feel that–feel my hand in his–and feel my body so close to his.

At the end of the night, they started playing slow songs, and Dusty and I started joking around, dancing like we were at prom. We ended up slow dancing really close, arms around each other, and talking quietly to one another. I should say that there was nothing overtly sexual about our encounter–it was all very innocent and sweet, and I kept thinking how rare that moment was bc even when you have a bf, dancing is never that way. It truly felt as if we had met at some high school dance, clicked, and wanted to dance the rest of the night. So we swayed back and forth, even when the music stopped, and I have to admit, it felt so amazing to be standing so close to someone that you could feel the warmth of their body next to you. It felt nice to look up to someone who was smiling at you, who didnt have this look of hunger in his eyes, just a sweet I’m glad to be here with you too sort of look. That’s the kind of memory that will make me smile over and over again.

We all exited the club. There was this one waitress (who had given us a lot of fucking attitude, who I called her bluff, and then who became our BFF telling us she had our back whenever) who kept thanking us the entire night. Thats right you thank us. If we’re happy, then our boys are happy, and if our boys are happy, then the waitress will be happy.

Outside the club, the coast guard boys asked us if we liked to play pool. Lance told us there was a place on Divisadero that was open all night where you could play pool. God Im so fucking naive–I actually bought that one. We all packed into Dusty’s pickup and drove to this elusive pool hall…whiiichhhh turned out to be Lance’s awesome bachelor pad. Holy crap, I don’t know what these boys make, but their place was so nice. Kind of 1960s lodge, but so awesome. There were 2 decks, at least 2 fireplaces, winding staircase, chandelier…and of course, the pool table. And everywhere we turned–coast guard stuff. coast guard trunks. coast guard posters. PICTURES OF GUYS IN THEIR UNIFORM. We were dying inside. DYING.

It was hard to replicate what we had in the club in this setting. Its not like Lance turned the lights down low and then offered to show C his room. Everything was really casual, and we were all just joking around and being sarcastic as always. C had told the guys earlier in the night that she was a garbage woman, and that I was SFPD. The whole night, they were trying to grill me on what kind of gun I carried and what was my rank, etc. All in good fun though. I love these boys. They were able to play along and give me twice as much shit back.

I should also mention that there was an extra guy there–K–who didn’t have a girl to keep him company–so it was all very awkward in the sense that C and Lance had paired off and me and Dusty had paired off. Still, we had fun, but its not like I could really kiss Dusty or anything–especially in Lance’s house. Plus, they were actually very genteel about the whole thing–perfect hosts. They were still affectionate, but in a playful way–like when we were playing pool, they would tease us and come up behind us to demonstrate how it was done. All in good fun.

Around 4:30am or so, everyone seemed to be getting a bit tired. I convinced Lance to play the guitar (HOTTTTTTTT OH GOD). I kept play fighting with Dusty. K came out of the woodwork and gave us playful attitude. And then we were all sitting around, waiting for a cab (Lance called for the cab btw…hot). I didn’t want to say goodbye, but I knew it was inevitable. Lance would be leaving for flight school in 2 weeks, and in less than a year, Dusty would be in DC going to grad school. I started to get really sad bc I knew that most likely, I would never see them again. In my head, I was okay with that bc it had been such a fun night, I got to meet a great group of guys, I got to feel that closeness with someone again, and it all happened with men in uniform. My heart, however, was scrambling frantically to find a way to make it work–as it always does. I had alreayd played out all the possible scenarios in my head, and I mean, had we been younger, Im sure we would have all exchanged phone numbers and all pretended that we would meet up again, but the truth is, I think we all didn’t want to ruin what we had that night. I think it was better to leave it the way it was, on a high note.

And so that’s how we left it. We all said goodbye. Lance walked us out. Dusty and K got into their pickup and went back to Alameda. And C and I climbed into a cab to go home.

In retrospect, I wish I had been a little more in the moment, and a little less reserved. I wish I had been a little more forward, and a little less sarcastic. I say this not with the hopes that the outcome would have been any different–but I would have liked to known what it was like to kiss Dusty. I think C would have liked to have known what it was like to kiss Lance. I should have held Dusty’s hand longer, or maybe even just sat closer to him.

But I guess these are the things you think about when it’s too late and the moment has long since passed. There always seems like there could have been something more that I could have done.

On the other hand, maybe too much would have ruined things as they were. And as they were, things were pretty damn good.

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