Nine years ago, I worked at a software company in San Francisco.
I got the job through a temp agency and quickly converted to a full time role I probably didn’t deserve. Being an office manager wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I did enjoy spending my time blogging, writing Yelp reviews (I had just become “Elite”), and gossiping with my friend Sonny about my dating and drinking life.
I lived for going out, meeting new people, networking, and documenting my adventures on the internet. I used Blogspot at the time, and I thought my mishaps were of the genius variety. I was certain there was more for me than a job at a front desk in SOMA, but I wasn’t quite sure how to get there.
So I went out. A lot.
To fill the work day, I obviously needed a work crush. When you’re 25, what job is complete without a work crush as a distraction? I vividly remember the cottonmouth feeling of arriving on Bagel Wednesday after a long night out in the marina with my friend Mary, sweating out vodka and maybe even tacos, preparing the breakfast delivery for a team of data security engineers and executives. I’d toast a bagel for myself, feeling partially sick as I swallowed my coffee, only to see him walk into the office kitchen.
I immediately became much too chatty, telling him all about my escapades and hinting at inviting him out with us. He was a gentleman- a Kennedy type from Austin with an MBA- and I was certain he would see past my childish antics, realizing I was a serious writer and potential rising entrepreneur. I mean, didn’t he see my Yelp reviews?
Nevertheless, I would go back to my desk, and Sonny would swing by and cheer me up. He, on the other hand, adored my drunken tales of Chestnut and Fillmore Street, Taco Tuesday at the Bluelight, and which Ivy League school my latest conquest was from.
“You have special powers,” he would say. “Men love you.” I was extremely pleased to hear this from a 40-something gay man.
“So why doesn’t he come out with me?” I asked Sonny. He just smiled.
“He’s far too vanilla for you.”
I had never heard this before.
2010 was the last year I thought my reckless drinking and behavior was somewhat normal. I was also in deep denial. However, Sonny’s comment struck a chord.
I may have entered the decade thinking there was something wrong with me; and there was. Obviously, the Kennedy-esque work crush wasn’t interested in a hard partying 25 year old. Nevertheless, thanks to Sonny, I discovered that maybe he wasn’t what I wanted, either.
I may not drink or go out looking for men these days, but I will never lose my quirks. They’re what makes me me.
I entered the decade thinking I needed to change for other people, but I’m leaving it knowing that the only person I needed to change for was myself- and no matter what I became, vanilla wasn’t meant for me.