I'm the sort of guy who'll meet you outside. My favourite is to catch up over a cup of coffee. I like having private conversations in public spaces. It makes me feel a part of a larger world, while allowing me to carve my own little niche in it.
Today, I realised how separate my home is from my social life. My best friends - guys I've grown up with in school - have been to my place just a couple of times. Most people have never even entered my house. I never had sleepovers or pyjama parties or all night movie sessions. I've never hosted a party at my place. However, I've done all this in other people's houses.
For me, home constitutes a very personal space. I've long carried two distinct personalities - one at home and one outside. My belief is that entering one's home is like entering another realm. Amongst friends, I think this carries special significance. To enter a friend's house indicates a certain level of trust and belief in the relationship and in the other person.
I've always been in awe the first time I enter somebody's house. I'm amazed at how much faith that person has in me to allow me into his/her house and to see and partake in his/her most cherished, intimate possessions. Art on the wall, cushions propped on the couch, a messy bedroom, clothes on the backs of chairs, the colour of the walls, some curio on the table-top, the knick-knacks on the bathroom basin - everything adds colour and depth to the person. He/She is allowing me to get close, to know them more intimately, and that is a thrilling development in the dynamic between us.
At the same time, I've been a very nervous host. I've also been a rather poor host, unsure of how to behave at home with friends. I'm always making sure they're ok, they've got stuff, they know where the bathroom and its light switch are, they aren't found wanting for anything. It's like my friends are entering a world that is entirely mine and one that I am proud of, and in my desire to introduce it to them in the short time they spend there, I go overboard. I am an intense person, an all or nothing kind of guy, and the intensity really comes through when I welcome friends home.
So, if I haven't thrown you off out yet, then come on over and pardon this curmudgeonly host.