Pride Month — The hostess-free party

I lived in a three-bedroom house with nine residents in Davis in the early 1970s. It was a student house when I arrived, but with my non-student presence, it gradually changed into a rooming house for wayward musicians and malcontents.

Still, we roommates were very democratic when it came to making house decisions. Our college team tennis player friend moved out, and we had a room for rent. Two lesbian women — Sally and Donna — applied, and we picked them. They were great roommates who cleaned up after themselves, paid their rent and their share of the bills on time and never caused any problems.

At a monthly house meeting they asked if they could have a party. Some roommates were opposed, but eventually we all agreed since any one of us could have a party, they should be able to have one, too.

The day of the party finally arrived and Sally and Donna made sure the house was extra clean for their guests. They purchased food and drink and everything seemed ready to go. They left about 5 p.m., and I thought they were going to pick up some last-minute item they needed.

About 6 p.m. their guests began to arrive. The first was a young man sporting fire engine red lipstick who proudly proclaimed he had made the trip from Sacramento to Davis on the bus dressed in drag and no one noticed he was man. He was so proud of himself and his accomplishment. It was a first for him, a personal best of sorts.

The guests kept arriving, and by 7:30 p.m. the house was packed with our roommates’ friends of every imaginable variety in the gay community. But Sally and Donna weren’t here. I was concerned, so I began asking the guests if anyone knew where they might be.

One of the guests finally laughed at me and said, “You mean you don’t know?”

“Don’t know what?” I asked.

The guest then explained to me the new thing in the gay community was to hold a party at your house for all your friends, but you don’t attend. You invite your guests enjoy your place and party ‘til the cows come home, but you’re not there.

“Isn’t that cool?” she said.

“You’re kidding me.”

Nope. This was the new way to have a gay party these days.

I pulled my keys out of my pocket, locked the door to my room and headed for the bars downtown.

The next morning as they cleaned up the mess, Sally and Donna apologized for not letting us know they wouldn’t be attending their own party. They feared if they had told us that we wouldn’t let them have the party. Besides, they said, this is just how it’s done these days.

They told me their guests said they had a wonderful time.