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Saturday morning.

Sometime around 10 a.m. Sinclair came into the room where I was sleeping and began attempting to nurse me back to life with coffee. Unfortunately, before we went to bed the night before, not so many hours earlier, the three of us drunkenly polished off the last of the cinnamon rolls and were forced to eat sub-incredibly-fabulous breakfast foods that normal people, who had never had these cinnamon rolls, would find perfectly fine.

Eventually we all started feeling and acting like the living kind and started to get ourselves together enough to head out. Today we were off to JessHeIs’ Bye Bye Boobies party and fundraiser. We gathered up ties and shirts and dresses and shoe that were then all hung in the Outback with care. We grabbed several different vessels to fill with water in an attempt to un-pickle ourselves from the night before.

Although I was dragging a bit I was terribly excited to get there. Tonight I was going to meet a whole slew of bloggers that I follow daily and have been oh so excited to meet.

After some serious traffic issues along side apocalyptic rain showers (that never let up) we arrived. I got out of the car and saw some dude walking towards me with his hand out. JessHeIs shook my hand, threw his arm around my shoulder and within two seconds I felt like we were old friends.

I went inside and BOOM, there they all were (and the blogger name dropping bomb begins…) Leo MacCool, Freedomgirl, Tina-cious, JessHeIs, Sinclair, Kristen and I were all of a sudden just standing in a room together like normal real life human beings. My mind went from excited little sparklers to big huge explosions as I tried to connect this online world to these faces in front of me.

I read them everyday. I check in with them and comment and care about them. I wait for their next post like I wait for Violet to call me from work. It makes my day. And when Jess asked me how Fraidy and the little guys were doing I did a back flip in my brain. This collision was amazing to me. It was so weird and so wonderful.

For some folks, I think the ability to connect these worlds might be a little easier. But for me, I have never ever had a relationship with someone online and online only. And to make the previous statement a bit truer, until I met these folks I hadn’t formally realize that I had relationships online. Really important relationships. I still haven’t totally grasped that people even read this blog, and less than a hand full of people I know even know about this space. And yes, Violet and I were long distance for a long time, but I met her in person first. We had already kissed and taken walks together – and then came the distance. This was just totally different.

Before the party we all went to pizza together. (I ate a piece of clam pizza by the way. Supposedly Jess’ part of the world thinks this is normal? But if you are like me and think this is just a terrible and strange and most likely VERY BAD idea, fair enough. We understand each other. Ditto, friend. But I tried it anyway and it was actually really good! Jess laughed at me as my face went from, “Oh god, this is not going to be ok,” to “Damn clam! Way to taste delicious!”)

At dinner I sat next to the lovely Freedomgirl and as she and I started talking about life in general, we couldn’t help but to stumble upon a lot of information we already knew because of things we’ve written. She’d start talking about something and I’d say, “Oh ya, I’ve read about that.” And this kept happening. A few minutes into dinner Jess said, “Dudes, we already know everything. We’re gonna run out of stuff to talk about in 10 minutes.”

As the night continued, eventually, I started realizing how to separate the person from the blog. It started to feel obvious the more we talked. I started to realize that the differences are (and tend to be) in the subtleties: Things you can’t read through a typed font, things you can’t express or share with letters, things you can’t know without watching it happen or without watching it being told. There is an intimacy in hearing the voice, the inflection, watching the body language. In person, there is a back and forth, a give and take.

Jess has an easy-going, brotherly demeanor and one of my favorite smiles. Tina is just as easy-going and funny and so gracious, with eyes that are almost hypnotic and full of expression. Leo has a gentle and brilliant delivery and her humor is subtle and quick and witty. Freedomgirl’s timing in her speaking is absolutely mesmerizing, it rolls you in. Sinclair has a delicate kindness and intentional endless caring, that comes through in everything she does and says.

The details fill in differently in person. The same story now has sound, a personalized tone, a laugh, eyes, gestures, body language. And just the telling of the story now has a shared context. There’s an energy created simply by being present together. And we were all present and we were all together.

After pizza we all headed back to Jess and Tina’s house-turned-blogger-hostel to get cute and shmancy for the party. Ties were tied, lipsticks were applied and then blotted and then applied again and again, hair was brushed and sculpted, suit jackets were buttoned and off we were.

The torrential downpour of rain had not even slightly let up. It was some of the hardest rain I had ever seen. The driveway had turned into a small lake and had everyone’s feet totally soaked through. And if it weren’t for our instantly flawless coordination of our magical shield of umbrellas we would have been a really hot crowd gone quite soggy in seconds. But we had umbrellas, a lot of them, and each other. So, while the rain did what rain does, we did what we do- we covered each other until it was safe.

We got to the party around 9ish, all of us dry (minus our feet) and looking like a hot little group of fabulousness. The music was blasting, the crowd was mingling, the drinks were flowing, the jello shots were rainbow colored and the cheetos were unnaturally orange and tasted perfect.

As the night progressed, eventually everyone was dancing to loud, faggy-clubby queer music that the DJ kept seamlessly rolling (while in between songs she had some girl plastered up against the wall with her mouth – go DJ, go, yo.) At one point, the sexy, smooth Sinclair busted out a hot little drag show to Faith by George Michael. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of friends that Jess and Tina have collected along the way in their life and I was totally impressed with the entire situation.

The next morning I woke up at Casa de Jess n Tina to the smell of fresh coffee and quiche. We all sat around the kitchen table, some of us feeling a bit perkier than others, and I had my last meal… for now anyway, with some truly remarkable people who double as some of the most important people in my life.

The sun, the day after the party of course, was shining as bright as a summer’s day and the sky was as blue and clear as the ocean. So before we all went our separate ways, we went outside, for the first time without umbrellas, all together, and took a group photo.

We gathered our things, and I hugged each real person, and said goodbye… for now.

Cue in fabulously perfect theme song…

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(now that you are totally taken by Jess, like I am, if you happen to have an extra dollar or two or fifty or more and want to help a really amazing guy get where he’s going, your donation towards his top surgery is a really big deal and your donation is a really big help. CLICK HERE TO DONATE DIRECTLY TO JESS. Thank you!

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