Wednesday was a difficult day.  Things had been so hectic for so long that Thanksgiving had taken me completely by surprise.  I sat in front of my PC unable to concentrate.  I had multiple projects to complete, emails to return, coding to test, and a pile of dishes in the sink.  But I had no interest in any of it.  I guess I was a bit depressed.


Yet I knew, sadly, that I was not alone in feeling that way this time of year.  Gay men and women especially can find the holidays difficult.  Indeed, some research suggests that we are more likely to be depressed in general.  Think about it, we're confronted with a constant stream of anti-gay messages, often from people we respect, sometimes from people who only appear genuine.  We do our best not to internalize such thinking, keeping in mind the ugliness and disdain that motivates it, but sometimes it's a challenge.  Then, each year, we have to sit down for a ritual that includes digging deep to reveal what we're most thankful for.  No matter how great we might think our lives are going, no matter how much we believe we've accomplished, some at the table will likely disagree with our assessment simply because we're gay.


It was understandable, then, that I agreed to meet Dan at the Double Trouble Bar when he rang me up.


"Hey there, 'Reason to be thankful'!" Dan greeted me.


"Someone has been reading OTM!" I said with a bit of a smile.


"Yeah, well it's kinda hard to ignore it when you insist on spamming your damn newsletter to all my mailboxes!" Dan responded while drinking a bubble gum martini, the house drink.  The Double Trouble's bubble gum martin was a light pink brew, a gooey centered gum square replaced the former olive and it rested in a disturbingly large glass which warped Dan's face at each sip.

"There should be a bill against you," I nudged.

"Awww, yeah, could it be Bill Moyers -- simultaneously pressing up against me and documenting our lovers' knot," Dan responded with relish, adding a little bubble gum pop at the end.

During the course of our conversation, Dan revealed that he was a bit depressed, too.  This was new information, as Dan LOVES holidays.  On Independence Day he dresses up as Uncle Sam, right down to his red, white, and blue thong.  For Christmas, he cooks an elaborate and unpalatable dinner for his entire family, including his extended gay family.  But it seemed it was all pretense, a mental trick to help him get through the holiday.


After a couple of beers, I leaned into Dan and said, "You see that guy at the bar?" He nodded.  "He's been giving me the eye."


"What?"  Dan said dubiously, "The hotness at the bar?  I didn't see anything."


"He's shy.  You're making him nervous."  


"Yeah, right, you'd like that to be the case," Dan responded.


"Well, we'll see."  At that moment the guy I had pointed out started to leave the Double Trouble and I followed.


After about fifteen minutes, Dan rang my cellphone.  "What took you so long?"  I asked. 


"Did you talk to him?" Dan asked.


"Him? Them." I responded, "He had a buddy outside."


"What?" Dan asked, his voice building higher then falling off at the end.


"Well, they don't call the bar Double Trouble for nothing," I said.


"Home of the bubble gum martini," Dan finished, adding a little bubble gum pop.