Sunday, July 09, 2006

So which are you? A stud or a houseboy?

So which are you? A stud or a houseboy?

Thus goes that famous line from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf when, as the evening wears on and the booze really kicks in, Martha looks into the eyes of that charming young man from the math department and challenges him to show his true colors.

Well, for gay men or at least this one, the question gets even more complicated. Yeah, I’d probably be pretty damned happy being the stud and I have felt I was for short intervals but then woke up or looked in the mirror and that little fantasy was over. The houseboy thing never appealed to me as an actual scenario – on either the giving or receiving end. I can dig the whole power shift thing, but not when it’s your way of keeping house 24/7.

So what “type,” what scene, what kind of guy do I really want? Sometimes I think it’s worse in San Francisco -- sort of the Disneyland of gaydom -- that we “silo” (Christ, here I go using that noun as a verb as so many management consultants do these days) ways of life and call them a community. There are quite a number of them, but I really have a problem warming up to any of them.

So here is a list of what I don’t want or want to be: a bear (a.k.a. fat, but then I guess it would be difficult to market Lazy Sow Weekend on the Russian River were they to be more accurate in their representative mammal), a leather daddy, a twink, a pierced and tattooed goth punk (or even a clean cut guy with any tattoo), a sissy, a drag queen, a hyper intellectual (though I have been accused of being one, but I don’t want to fuck myself), a cowboy, a hyper butch or “real guy.” So what do you get when you take away all of those “types” from the gay male population? One would think next to nothing besides winos, wackos and nerds (which I don’t want either). Actually I think you would find that the majority of gay men are probably eerily normal or vanilla but will often put on the guise of the above mentioned scenes because they think that’s what they are supposed to do.

I’ve lived in San Francisco for a decade and find myself less connected to gay life than I ever have been in any city I’ve lived in or spent extended time in. I was much more in the stream of gay life when I lived and worked for an extended time in Toronto, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Kansas City, LA, New York (in both Brooklyn and Manhattan), Dallas and Seattle. I feel there are niches and integration of gay life in all of those places that just doesn’t exist in San Francisco. I really struggle with this and keep trying to be more positive about the supposed gay utopia that exists here. Will someone please tell me where it is? I don’t even feel that there is a gay community here or at least one that I feel comfortable in , and I have lived in some of the most conservative, provincial places in the world and some of the biggest, liberalists most cosmopolitan ones. Yeah, I've heard that they have this big event in late June, but isn't that something for people in Barstow to come to when they get bored with NASCAR races on TV?

What is it about gay life in San Francisco that I find so noxious? Is it because it was so over-hyped that once I got here there was just no way it could live up to my expectations, which weren’t that high to begin with. Or was it that the real gay community existed in the ‘70s and then it went away. And of course many of the lights dimmed permanently during the Holocaust of the Reagan years. (Yes, I am pointing a finger of blame there, so be it.) Or maybe it never was there. I have often felt I came late to the party. Or as I was told by this pathetic queen I once got hit on at the historic Gene’s Bamboo Lounge on Pine Street in Tulsa, “Honey, there ain’t nothin’ left here ‘cept the crumbs in the bowl.”

Cynincal, cynical old bitch you are welcome to say. And I really don’t want to be. I want to connect with gay people more or even enjoy actually date them (!!!!! Some of my friends will likely say reading that last line.) Well, I've been accused of being a serial dater, and have not gone more than six weeks of being "single" since i was 14, but I'd really like to do it with enthusiasm fora change. But how? But where? Eh……done that so many times. How many of those friggin’ “coffee dates” or “don’t call it a date, call it a meeting” things can I endure? A meeting? Do I want to spend my fucking free time in a meeting? I want to spend my free time fucking, thank you very much, and, no, not just that. I really lost count of how many of those internet hook up dates I’ve been on but I would say definitely in the three-figure range, easily up to 250. Ninety-five percent never went to step two. Or there may have been sent or received an “Although you are certainly attractive, intelligent, and seem to be such a nice guy….” e-mails. Or the absolute worse, “shortly after seeing you, I reconnected with someone I’d not really clicked with before and on this reconnection we realized that there is something there we to pursue, so I am even taking my profile off the net.”

And the bar thing, yeah…It’s sort of like fast food. I feels so good at the moment but you really regret doing it the next morning, but those drive throughs are so convenient and nobody knows about it except you and that person who gives you that big juicy piece of meat. But the second it’s over you do the walk of shame and can’t wait to take a shower so no one suspects it ever happened.

Church? Yeah, right. I'm actually a sporadic Unitarian, but I really don't get too horny looking at a size 42 ass wedged into a pair of size 38 khakis bought at Mervins while singing bland, lethargic hymns. Though I’ve done some Buddhist/New Agey things and it’s usually about as much fun as going to a whiny AA meeting (or what I perceive them being like, ahem)

So, back to the question. Who do I want? Someone reasonably sane but not too much so, that enjoys time with me but doesn’t want to spend the entire weekend with me. That would be cool with being apart for six weeks. Reasonably handsome and makes me feel that I am at least just a little bit. (Liar, I want him to make me think I’m a lot better looking than I really am, if only because he says so.) And probably preferably someone that doesn’t work in the food service or high tech industry. Lack of addictions is great too. Though Mommy-addiction is acceptable since I am the classic Jewish mama’s favorite

And what do I want to be? Who are my role models? Well, when I think about it I really can’t list that many t men. So do I want to be a woman? I have never, never wanted to do drag and hate even watching those drag shows. I would consider it an act of desecration to shave my legs (though I’m not opposed to other parts). And I also don’t want to fuck a woman. Well, maybe once just to see what it’s all about, but then I’d probably feel really guilty. But there are a lot of women I really want to be as long as I don’ t have to be a woman or look like a woman. If I could still be me and channel them, if that makes any sense, I'd be in heaven.

A case in point is the movie that so far is the best release I’ve seen this summer – The Devil Wears Prada. No, it’s only a so-so movie, but it is Meryl Streep’s creation of Miranda Priestly that has to be my favorite character in a long, long time. Smart, cool, successful, confident and, as we learn about 3/4s in very, very vulnerable. On one hand I would never want to work for this woman, but when I think of the people who have really made a difference in my life, and that I admire more than anyone else, it has been Miranda-like women. Women who never raise their voice, never swear, but put the absolute fear of God(dess) in you. Women for whom perfection is acceptable and expected, doing your best is reason for dismissal. The same qualities in a man, really turn me off, both in a working situation or even as sexual fantasy. (I never get turned on by the pornos set in a boot camp with some chest thumping sergeant belching out, “I said to get down on your knees and lick them boots, boy!” I’d be the one to correct him for misuse of a personal pronoun.)

But a woman like that does turn me on in a weird, non-sexual way. And, at the same time, does turn me on sexually not by her but by the fact that I have past muster with her and can now say, “Kiss the ring,” to the world. I am now a stud, and every other guy is my house boy.

And, as I creakily ease into my 50s, I increasingly would like to be that character. But, Christ, how does a man, gay or straight, channel all of that?

Big, big questions. Tiny, hard to hear answers. Or to use one of my old mantras -- so many men, such little minds.


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