I’m usually really good about doing my research before making a big decision. Now, we’re not talking scouring the papers for the coupon that will save me 25 cents on that exorbitantly priced bottle of lube (try Target’s store brand), but I’m known for at least a little due diligence.
When I made the call to move back to Kansas City after 13 years in Washington, DC, now that was no small decision! I had lived my entire adult life in the nation’s capital and the concept of living somewhere else was, quite frankly, a little scary.
I wasn’t concerned about living in Kansas City, but more about “living” in Kansas City. How would I make friends? Where would I hang out? Would I meet a boyfriend? (which really translates to “Will I get laid?”) I came out in DC and, for good or bad, was established. I knew where all the bars were, attended the gay networking functions, and was a fixture in the community.
This move was no small change! Fortunately, I connected with the right people in Kansas City fast. Serendipity, ships passing in the night—I’ll never know. But had that connection not taken place, I might have been doomed to a social life limited to karaoke at Missie B’s!
What I learned from my new “friend” was that Kansas City has more than its share of gay bars—more per capita than most smaller cities. But, the “scene” in Kansas City is centered around the fundraisers that all get scheduled within a few weeks of each other each Spring. It turns out that Kansas City is a town with a cause…well, lots of causes as long as there is a party involved and that where the MEN are!
There’s HIV/AIDS housing, health care services, meals for the homeless, anti-violence, gay rights, the list goes on and on and on. And, in Kansas City, each cause is obligated to throw two to three fabulous parties to raise funds. I’m not sure how many regulars on the fundraiser “circuit” have actually delivered meals to homebound AIDS patients or passed out blankets to the homeless, but I suppose we all make a difference in our way. So we’re raising a glass to remember all those who have fallen. It seems strange, but at least needed funds are getting to those most in need.
Yes, if you’re looking for some of the city’s most eligible bachelors then you need to be on the “circuit.” You’re most likely to find a handsome, fit, successful man who looks great in a tux at one of the many events of Kansas City’s gay mating season.
This year was no exception, as hundreds of gorgeous men donned black tie for the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) Dining by Design. Imagine a convention hall converted into the sets of some of the film industry’s greatest flicks. From Titanic to Moulin Rouge to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, each themed table was completely over the top! Plenty of prospects to be had there!
If black tie isn’t your thing, try the Union Hill Parties, a series of festive open house parties in that cute hilltop neighborhood to benefit the annual AIDS Walk. It’s more casual and offers a peak into some of Kansas City’s fabulous homes. Many of the hosts are straight, but there are always a couple of gay homes that are completely over the top! My experience has been that if a boy can decorate, he probably takes pretty good care of himself, too.
If art is your thing, then Good Samaritan Project’s Corks and Canvas party might be your thing. It’s a mixed crowd, but still a great way to meet men while sipping wine and perusing the silent auction items. If you’re really lucky, you might land one of the local artists who regularly donate pieces to the auction. You might even end up with a custom piece for your wall.
One of the biggest parties of the year is Bloom!, an annual benefit for the Kansas City Free Health Clinic. This year didn’t disappoint as the party celebrated cowboy themes made so popular by the movie Brokeback Mountain.
Your odds are always going be good at one of these events, but if you really want to narrow things down, go to the patron parties. In most cases, for as little as $75 – $100 above the standard ticket price, you can buy a ticket to the patron party, an exclusive party usually held a few days before the main event. Let’s just say the odds of meeting an eligible Kansas City bachelor go way up at these events and even if you don’t meet Mr. Right, you’re probably going to enjoy lots of great food and wine.
But, gay mating season has passed, hasn’t it? True, all of these events happened within a narrow window in the Spring, but fortunately, Kansas Citians like their parties (and they’re all for a good cause, remember?). Over the next couple of months, plan to attend some of these events:
Good Samaritan Project’s A Gourmet Dinner – Moulin Rouge (June 10)
kicks off the summer fundraiser season at Country Club Congregational UCC. If you’re a foodie, then the colorful French menu will provide the inspiration for conversation with that intriguing potential date seated at your table. For information, go to www.gspkc.org.
One Voice (June 24) is a new benefit for the Heartland Men’s Chorus at the American Jazz Museum in the Historic 18th and Vine District. This event will feature a performance by R&B diva Oleta Adams and will benefit the chorus and the Paseo Academy for Performing and Fine Arts. For tickets, go to www.hmckc.org.
The Gatsby Party (July 15) will celebrate the Kansas City Free Health Clinic’s 35th Anniversary with a “Roaring ‘20s” cocktail party at KC Magazine’s fabulous 2006 Home of the Year. For tickets, go to www.kcfree.org/gatsby.
One of my favorite events is Corroborree (September 8), the annual fundraiser for SAVE Inc., Kansas City’s HIV/AIDS housing agency. The Kansas City Zoo serves as a unique and appropriate setting for this Australian-themed party. If the weather holds out, this is definitely one of the most fun parties of the year! For information, go to www.saveinckc.org.
So where did the events of gay mating season get me, you ask? Well, at the 2005 Corks and Canvas, I did happen to meet a wonderful guy and we dated for eight months. Not bad for one night and I’m not sure I would have had the same result if I had opted to hang out at one of the bars instead. And besides, it’s all for a good cause anyway.