(#5 in a series of people who
changed the course of my life)
Growing up, my closest friends were always girls. As a grown man, my closest, most intimate friends had always been women. I’d like to think that accounts for why I am so evolved and sensitive, having learned from them along the way.
I had some male friends—some of whom I let in and see the authentic side of me. But with precious few exceptions (one?), they all let me down. (See Proverbs 18:24a.)
But not the women. Loyal and true they have remained.
After I came out, I made a few male friends. But nothing would prepare me for the circle of close male friendships I would make once I moved to Dallas.
One stands out in particular.
I mean—how can he not? Six feet, three inches of sartorial and sarcastic fabulousness, commanding a room the instant he enters it, with a heart as expansive as the mighty Mississippi River.
From the first time I met Leslie Frye—Miguel took me to brunch with him and Travis-Lee after my first church service at Cathedral of Hope in March of 2012—I was like oh wowwww this guy is a LOT. But he (and Travis-Lee) had me in stitches the entire time and helped ease the anxiety of meeting Miguel’s people.
I would continue to get to know Leslie over the next few weeks and would shortly thereafter read about him in the Dallas Voice in an exposé they wrote about him being a wedding singer. I might have been a little star-struck.
And then over time, I really got to know him. And I’m still star-struck.
Pretty much without exception, Leslie has been by my side (our sides) ever since. He has helped arrange and furnish our condo. (Heck! He’s the one who found it for us right here in Homo Heights where he lives, too!) He’s gotten us involved in so many worthy causes. He tolerates my jungle of vines on the patio. He’s always buying me stuff at thrift stores and ordering stuff on eBay from China that invariable comes in the wrong size and gives it to me. He helped me pack my shoes for Berkeley. Greater love hath no man….
And then there was Christmas 2012. My first in Dallas and my first without my mother. I had spent much of the month with her in Granbury and we’d hardly decorated at all for Christmas. She passed right before her favorite holiday and we’d spent several days in Granbury, coming home exhausted on the 22nd. By the time we got home, it was almost evening, but there was a warm glow coming from inside. Leslie, along with Mark and Raul, had transformed our home into its proper holiday mode—only more stunning than I could have imagined. I was—and remain to this day—overwhelmed by that gesture.
Leslie was my “no retail” thrift store buddy for an entire year in 2014. (I’d point you to the blog we wrote but we never finished it; but we did make it through a full year without buying any clothing or shoes retail—a lesson I’m so glad I learned as I’ll be returning to the practice for the foreseeable future!)
And as I began to find my footing here in Dallas, besides Miguel, Leslie was always the one beside me, supporting me, watching over me, helping me set things up, and looking at me the way a friend who really gets you does:
He has supported so many of my causes and has partnered with me on so many we’ve done together. I think of so many of the things that would not have gotten done had he not intervened—the Legacy of Love Monument-turned-wedding-cake on June 26, 2015 being one of them. Leslie spent that entire day with me, helping me get ready for the event, hauling the podium, blowing up balloons, standing out in the 100 degree sun helping make sure that monument reflected my vision. And he was there by our side, when everyone else had left, in the torrential downpour helping us take it all down. I have never been more wet. Or more happy.
When it came time to begin discussing my serious consideration of the program I’m headed off to California for, he was the first person in our inner circle I turned to. He did not hesitate to ask me the tough questions, play devil’s advocate, and, struggling to maintain objectivity (he didn’t want me to go) perceived not only the ramifications of my decision but also what my heart wanted. I know that I go with his blessing and that he will remain behind to take care of Miguel and support me from afar. (But he better not conspire with Miguel to cut down all my vines!!)
He’s the idea person.
He’s the stick-by-your-side-through-bad fashion choices-and-good.
He’s over-the-top fabulous and over-the-moon loving.
He’s the give-you-the-Gucci-shoes-off-his-size-14-feet generous.
I have never had a guy best friend before. But now I have one for the rest of my life. No matter where I go or what I do, the essence of Leslie Frye goes with me.
(And also a fair amount of the stuff he found for me at thrift stores.)
How blessed am I among human-kind to have such a friend as this, one that is described in Holy Scripture:
Some friends play at friendship
but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.
6. unconditional love