This Eye Looks With Love

There are many things I admire and adore about my friend, Tomato. His ability to read my mind, how he always tells me the truth, his uncanny ability to help other people be their very best selves, his effortless dance moves, his big ol’ laugh that takes up the entire room, and the way he (no matter how much time has passed between seeing each other) always “gets” me.

But I think the quality I most admire about my friend is his absolute authenticity. Tomato was not always the self-confident powerhouse you see before you now. After almost twenty years of knowing one another, we have seen each other through some of the best and worst times. High school graduations, stupid school dances, concerts, late night talks, unfortunate hair don’ts, pool parties, family crises and heartbreak. He was there when I found out my father died and he held me as I cried. I sat next to him at his beloved Aunt Bernice’s funeral. We’ve seen death. We’ve seen life. And we’ve loved the whole way through it.

It was a few years after we’d given up trying to date when he took me out to dinner to share some big news. At first I thought he was telling me that he’d met a new girl but in actuality, he was telling me that he is gay. I’ve heard all the stupid jokes about how I “made him gay” or the curious inquires as to how I couldn’t have known- “Didn’t you guys date?” There have been a few too many times where I have had to shoot a pointed look at someone as if to say “are you fucking kidding me with this?!” because the ignorance and prejudice was just too much. Over the years I have become a passionate advocate for gay rights not just because some of my best friends are gay but because it is THE RIGHT THING TO DO. We all want to love. That’s it. Every single one of us should have a shot at that. Without shame. Without hostility. Without persecution. Tomato found the courage to be who he is and that’s something we can all, no matter what our sexuality, take a lesson in.

I am so grateful for my friendship with Tomato. He is the most alive person I know. He is carpe diem incarnate. He is my lighthouse, my safe harbor, my Madonna in the Cherish video rolling around in the surf. He’s Edie Brickell on a warm summer day driving around with the top down. He’s a surprise party with noise makers and decadent chocolate cake. He’s like Buddha (no, I am not saying you are fat) meets Bette Midler. He’s the deepest belly laugh I’ve ever met.

This weekend is Gay Pride in Seattle and today is Tomato’s birthday. I can’t think of two better reasons to raise my glass in celebration. Here’s to being proud of who you are! Here’s to a friendship that I can’t imagine my life without!

Happy Birthday, friend. You know I love you more than my luggage.

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59 thoughts on “This Eye Looks With Love

  1. This was a fabulous post. Nothing can replace that absolute best friend. I’m so happy for both of you.

    Happy Birthday, Tomato!

  2. Happy Birthday Tomato!

    You have reminded me of my good friend T. I will have to remind him how much I adore him.

    I will be at the Fisher Pavilion (in with all of the non profits) handing out brochures on Sunday… stop by if your going to the parade.

  3. Cute pictures! Such a wonderful post about a close friend. πŸ™‚
    Happy Birthday Tomato!! And have a wonderful weekend!!

  4. What a great post Sizzle, what a great friend you are! Happy Birthday to Tomato, you’re a lucky lucky man!

  5. Sizzle,

    I love to read posts like these and that you guys are such good friends. Never have enough good friends in life.

    Happy Birthday Tomato!

    =)

  6. We all want to love. That’s it.

    that’s been my argument for years. i just don’t get why being gay is seen as wrong.

    ps: you look like a young tori spelling in that picture! from her 90210 days. very pretty πŸ™‚

  7. Happy Birthday, Tomato! Sizzle, you write the most touching tributes…here’s to love and friendship!

  8. Once again, I had a similar thing happen to me – I dated a man in college who is now gay. And I got all the same stupid jokes about me “turning” him. And I’m a huge advocate of gay rights, too. The happiest of happy birthdays to your friend!

  9. Yup, I don’t know which of you is luckier. πŸ™‚
    It’s pride weekend in Chicago too–enjoy!

  10. Tomato is lucky to have you as a friend… When I came out, I lost “friends” and my own mother, who I had been pretty close to, told me that it would better if I were a rapist or child molester because at least then I would be normal… Then she told me I would get AIDS and die and go to hell because that’s what I deserved… We didn’t speak for many years… People have no idea how hard it can be to come out… I wish I could have had a Sizzle when I came out!

  11. Yo! High school pic!

    I think Tomato is cool. Of course, because you have spoken highly of him on more than one occasion πŸ™‚

  12. I love this post, Sizzle. Because I think everyone can relate to knowing someone (or themselves) struggling to find themselves. And when they do, it is most definitely a cause to celebrate.

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  14. Happy Birthday, Tomato! And great post, Sizzle. (On a semi-related note, I recently found my first boyfriend evar on Facebook. He’s gay. But he assured me that it wasn’t for my lack of trying. LOL)

  15. Robb is breaking my heart. Seriously HOW can people be so… closed minded? Maybe I grew up too liberal and surrounded by gays (closeted and flamingly OUT) so it was never an issue in my mind or my family’s or my friend’s… it was just like “ah, well. Another good catch off the market!” πŸ™‚ And I don’t think I have met a gay person in the past decade that has had a ‘bad’ experience. In fact, most of the gay men that I know said that when they sheepishly told their families they were like “DUH! WE HAVE KNOWN SINCE YOU WERE BORN! Pass the potatoes.” πŸ™‚

    I fully support the Pride rallies and such, but it makes me so sad. We shouldn’t have to have these things to make people feel good about themselves – sexual preferences are just a part of life. Things that have ALWAYS existed and always will exist. There doesn’t need to be a Brunette Parade, why a gay one? I wish that the world would just wake up already.

    Much love to you and your Tomato. xoxo

  16. What a lovely post. Tomato sounds like a most wonderful person. I totally agree with you about
    gays, love is love, who cares about gender. Happy birthday Tomato!

  17. Happy birthday, Tomato!

    And I, too, have gotten a ton of “did you turn him?” comments from people about my very own version of Tomato. Which I know are meant to be funny — but mostly, I just think, “um, screw you.” Because I don’t believe anyone can make anyone BE anything they’re not. And maybe, just maybe, me loving him unconditionally was part of what gave him the courage to be…himself. You know?

  18. Happy Birthday Tomato!

    And here’s to a wonderful friendship, I’ll raise my glass to that.

    P.S. It’s going to be a great weekend for the festival!

  19. DAMMIT SIZZLE! I SEE YOU TOOK TOTALLY AWESOME PICTURES IN THE PAST TOO! DID YOU NOT TAKE BAD PICTURES EVER?!? I’M LOOKING THROUGH ALL MY DAVEATTLE 2 PHOTOS, AND THERE YOU ARE… PERFECT IN EVERY ONE OF THEM!!!

    And you’ve exactly summed up why I advocate for gay causes as well… it is the right thing to do. I have too many friends being treated as second class citizens because of who they love, have sex with, and want to marry. When people can be persecuted for who they are, that’s wrong and something needs to be said.

  20. AwwwW! Tomato! It is so great to have such a kind loving wonderful friend! Friends like that are soooo hard to come by!

    I love the pictures you posted!
    DAMN girl! You totally look like Neve Campbell from the movie the Craft!

  21. Happy Birthday Tomato!

    Yanno, Sizz? You have a lot of lifelong friends.

    But then again, they all have you. See? You ARE a really special person.

    You just don’t give yourself enough credit for being the wonderfully quirky, adorably fashionable, obsessively organized person that you have always been!

  22. Great post! Happy Belated Bday Tomato! So I’m looking at the high school photo and I’m thinking…. WTF? Why does Sizzle have a photo of herself with Zachary Ty Bryan (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0117022/ )on her site? Then I realize that in Mr. Handsome Tomato’s younger years he was Zachary’s Doppleganger. Aaaaaah…Bach!

  23. What an awesome dedication to your best friend Tomato! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Enjoy your weekend πŸ™‚

  24. There’s nothing like a good friend who knows everything about you and has been everywhere (physically and emotionally) with you and still loves you all the same. That’s awesome.

    Happy Birthday, Tomato.

  25. What a truly beautiful tribute from one truly beautiful friend to another truly beautiful friend. Happy birthday Tomato! And happy Pride from Vancouver.

  26. You are both very lucky people. Love in all its forms should be celebrated.

    A very happy (belated) birthday to Tomato!

  27. Loved this post for two reasons. One, it reminded me of my sister’s ex. Long story, plan to post about it. Two, I always say “You know I love you more than my luggage.” Did you get it from “Steel Magnolias” or do you just say that?

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  29. ohhhh the memories…they come flying in…

    how blessed we are to be in the company of amazing humans

    happy bday b

    xo
    j

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