Thursday, March 30, 2006
Many gay men place a high premium on designer, high end purchases. Material goods take on far too much importance for some people. The more extreme and absurd examples are when a person is thought to be of lesser moral or social value because they don't "dress properly." My favorite Dragapella group, The Kinsey Sicks, even have a comic song called "Wear Names." Heaven forbid you don't fit the standard body types or sizes, as you cannot find designer clothing and are therefore doomed to being a social outcast. As if personal worth can be measured by income, fashion sense, or pricey trinkets...
As a...full-figured and voluptuous creature, I loathe a true label whore. It's one thing to own a really nice shirt from A&F or Armani. It's another to own nothing but, and look down your nose at others who cannot afford or otherwise acquire "hoch couture." Maybe I'm crazy, but I just can't see judging people on the basis of how they dress. I've known some well-dressed asses, and some amazing people who couldn't put together an outfit to save their souls. I don't claim to be a fashion plate myself, but I can color coordinate, accessorize, and I do think I clean up nicely. (Proof to be shown soon, when Squid has her pics developed from the Bear Dinner.) Much like the gym bunny or body nazi, they're shallow and vain creatures...and not worth the time of any of my fabulous readers! ;)
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
- I got to see old friends, including Judy.
- I got to sit at a table with some amazing (and fun) people...and made new friends.
- I got to watch people meet Brittany, and be as amazed by her as we are.
- I got to watch Brittany's eyes bug out as she took it all in...and began to realize that people are amazed by her.
- I may have a line on an agent...an old friend of mine who used to work for GLAAD.
- I learned that the Foundation is VERY close to having a speaker's bureau up and running...and will be talking to them more about it VERY soon.
- I got to give my card to several influential people, and may have made some invaluable contacts.
- I may have convinced several people from Denver to come up for AIDS Walk.
- I didn't get to say "hi" to Freddy as planned...but Nuclia Waste was on the job, and his hate didn't go unchallenged.
- I watched the Foundation raise $109,000...and that's before the door proceeds and online auction.
- I got to hear Judith Light and Robert Disiderio speak...and cried at the power and conviction of their words.
- I got to spend some time with Craig...talking very frankly and honestly.
- I may have secured a serious chunk of money for the RRC, courtesy of the MSF...and the money from Elton John's concert.
- I got to meet Logan (Matt's brother) finally.
- I was reminded of why our work is so important, and that there are a lot of amazing people doing it every day.
- I met a boy...and it looks like it's going somewhere.
I'm already looking into what it takes to be a table captain for next year's dinner. I already have 4 people who said they'd come with me. Start saving your pennies, kiddies. Tickets were $150 this year...and it's worth every penny. You'll want to be sitting at the cool kids table...MINE!
Monday, March 27, 2006
His name is Dayo. He's Serbian. As in...has the cutest accent! And he's cute. We met Sunday night at the Beer Bust. Then he followed us to Charlie's so he could talk to me more. Says he was watching me from the minute I walked in and had to work up the nerve to talk to me. Are you kidding me?! He asked me if he could take me out on a date. Dinner. Movie. It'd be a first for me. So I said "Oh yeah." So he's coming up here Saturday. He works for Comcast. He's in a gay and lesbian choir. He does karaoke two nights a week. He lives with his parents, as his income pays the bills. Their place is at Monaco and Mississippi. He bowls on Wednesday nights. I talked to a friend who knows him a little. Says he's a nice guy, not a tramp, and I should go for it. I'd already decided that all for myself, but it was nice to hear it confirmed. So in short...I'm giddy!
Thursday, March 23, 2006
I am actually looking forward to seeing Uncle F again, and saying hi. I do SO hope he remembers me. If only I still had my wings on hand...but you better believe I will be wearing my halo! And I will be including the one Dawn gave me in Casper. "By your powers combined, I am Captain Plan...er...Captain Angel!"
Monday, March 20, 2006
This was the 3rd staging of "The Laramie Project" I have seen now. I cried just as much. Some things were a little different, though. This staging was done "in the round," meaning that there wasn't a stage per se and the audience sat on all four sides of the open "stage." Stage III is the community theater group in Casper, and Matt was a part of it when he lived there. Many of the people in the cast knew Matt or had been in plays with him, and very few of them were "professional" actors or people with much theater experience. They had albums in the lobby with clippings and photos from all the previous shows Stage III had done. Matt was, of course, in some of those albums. The cast was about 30 people, two to three times the size of most TLP casts. The director said "I didn't want to tell people 'no, you can't be a part of this particular show.'" It was the last night of the show, and we were invited to the cast part after...which devolved into karaoke. I called it quits at 3am. ;)
It was interesting to see the different nuances of a third staging, as well as my reactions to it. I reacted more strongly to some things, and less so to others. Blocking, lighting, inflection, characterization...I notice all of these things more now that I have other shows to compare/contrast it with. All of the casts have done an exceptional job, though I think the script brings out the best in a cast and director. You don't take on TLP unless you are passionate about it and want to do the best job possible. I went with Meg, Jen, and Rob...and was glad to have company for the show again. I'm not sure I'd want to see it alone. It was WELL WORTH the trip to Casper...even with the SHITTY drive back home last night. (They closed the roads about 20-30 minutes after Margaret and I got back, and while Meg and Jen were on it. We're all home safe and sound, though.)
Denver this weekend: I can't wait to see Judy again, and I'm VERY excited to be attending the Bear dinner for the first time. I'm also VERY excited that I'll have company from UW. Woohoo Squid! It'll be a more sedate weekend, but that will be quite welcome, I think. And I'll get to go to the beer bust on Sunday, which is always a good time...and prime dating opportunity for me! Cross your fingers, kiddies!
Ah, raver bois - a veritable buffet for chicken hawks (more on this species in an upcoming post). They are few and far between here in Wyoming, and are rarely seen out here. We have a shortage of underage clubs, so they will find random raves in the middle of nowhere or drive long distances to reach places like Rapid City, Billings, Denver, or Salt Lake. Club drugs are VERY popular with raver bois, including X, G, and K. Cocaine, meth, and prescription drugs like percoset, darvoset, valium, etc. are also common, often to the point of excess and serious dependence. Please understand - I'm not trying to be judgmental about drug use. I'm of the opinion that there is a fine line between recreational substance use and drug abuse/addiction.
What's interesting to me about raver bois and chemicals is that it's often used as an escape mechanism, especially here in Wyoming. The drugs aren't being used to enhance what is already going to be a good time out dancing, hanging with friends, etc. They are used AS the good time. They can only enjoy themselves if they are not sober. It's certainly not a problem unique to young gay men, or gay men in general. For raver bois (and circuit boys, too) I think it's connected to the pressures society places on conformity and heterosexuality. The substances become an excuse to escape from the stress and strain of hiding your sexuality, "toning it down" in public, or fitting into an "acceptable" role.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Nature-channel-esque humor aside, there are countless body nazis out there. There is a serious body image issue in the gay community, particularly among gay men. We're obsessed with having perfect bodies and looking young forever. Collagen and Botox are sweeping through the gay-borhood like a joint Cher and Madonna tour. Gay men are hiring age and beauty specialists, and personal trainers must make fortunes off of us. Anyone who doesn't look like they just stepped off the cover of Men's Fitness migh as well have a third arm if they step into a gay club. The rampant popularity of online dating sites like Gay.com and Manhunt hasn't helped much either. Men cruise around the websites looking for other pretty people for hookups, one night stands, and friends with benefits. "No picture, no profile - no private" has become a nearly universal decree online, indicating that nobody is willing to talk to you without a full profile and picture. While this started because of security and privacy concerns, it's now about only talking to the pretty boys online.
Why is this? Why are so many gay men obsessed with being the perfect physical specimen? Have we learned nothing from the decades of discussion about body image for women, eating disorders, and magazines at the grocery store checkout aisle? I'm of the opinion that part of the gay male obsession with youth and beauty is because of the pressure we face because we buck the norms. Men aren't supposed to date other men, aren't supposed to cry, and certainly aren't supposed to be feminine in any way. Being a woman is a bad thing in our society, after all, though it is slowly becoming less so. So if we become the most macho, muscled, and masculine specimens of manliness possible, we're somewhat more acceptable to society...and to ourselves. If we can make our exteriors closer fit the ideals of Atlas or Adonis, maybe - just maybe - people will ignore the fact that we date other men and aren't Ward Cleaver. Society said gay is bad because this is what a gay person looks and acts like; gay men responded by becoming more outwardly perfect.
Monday, March 13, 2006
On a recent trip to Denver I encountered two gay men and a lesbian who made me (and two of my friends) very uncomfortable. We were all sitting in Cheeseman Park enjoying a picnic lunch and the sun. The trio of venom, as I have come to think of them, began to cut down anyone and everyone who walked or drove near us. Now, I'm not above commenting on the occasional fashion felony or horrendo hairdo. But this went on for about 45 minutes, non-stop. And it was every single person who went past. It left us wondering what they said about us when we weren't around.
These are what I refer to as "snooty gays." They have decided they are much better than everyone else, and have no problem expressing that, though not always to someone's face. They often turn on their own and begin shredding other queers. "He forgot all-important purge part of the process." "Girl can't dance at all...how can she be gay?" They focus on dishing and trashing, and are not the nicest people to be around...unless you're part of their "in" crowd. Think high school cliques...with cocktails. They can be found only in the trendiest of places, will only wear all the right labels, and have very little time for anyone with whom they are not already friends. It's best to be gay, but only a certain KIND of gay. Ugh!
We have all engaged in humor at someone else's expense. Most of us tease each other, though there are boundaries we don't cross. And we don't do it ALL the time. It seems to me that it takes a lot of energy to look down your nose at other people so completely. And just imagine what it must do to your karma!
Thursday, March 09, 2006
As regular readers know, I am trying to establish a career as a professional speaker. I have my 4th paid speaking engagement scheduled for April 5th, at a high school in Washington DC. The Georgetown Day School has over 1000 students and is pre-K through 12th grade. I'll be speaking to the high school classes, grades 9-12. During their pride week. You heard me...a high school with a pride week! They have a version of a GSA, but it's the school itself that hosts the pride week. They have a section of their website dedicated to diversity, are participating in the DC Metro Middle School Student Diversity Conference, hold a 9th grade diversity seminar, and have won national awards for their efforts in diversity education. The times, they are a changin'!
Back in my day (I feel and sound SO old when I say that) this was unheard of. Even in the larger metro schools, they didn't put this much attention on diversity. Now I realize that this is a private school and so it's a little bit different environment, but still... I can't imagine having gone to school where I felt comfortable coming out before I left for college and was 4 hours away from home. I can't imagine what a difference that might have made in my life, or in the lives of so many of my friends. Don't get me wrong, I've learned not to regret the pain and struggle of growing up in the closet. It has a lot to do with the person I am today, and I'm happy with me!
I used to ask myself, if I could have gone back in time and made myself straight, would I have done it? It would have been a lot easier, that's for sure. I likely wouldn't have been suicidal in 9th grade. I might have been more outgoing and social in school (those who didn't know me back then are sometimes shocked to learn that I wasn't my boisterous, social butterfly self in high school). I might be happily married with kids. In high school, I knew I wanted to be straight. Now, you couldn't pay me enough to change who I am, and my sexuality is an integral part of WHO (not what) I am. Today the answer is no, I wouldn't make myself straight.
But what if I could go back and change my environment, making it more accepting and welcoming? Making a place where I could have come out in high school, along with several of my classmates I have since learned (and for some, always hoped) aren't exactly at the straight end of the Kinsey scale. How would that have affected the person I am today? It's a much more challenging question for me, and one I don't think I have an answer for...yet. So I have a question for my readers:
Is there something about yourself, your family, childhood, school, etc. that you wish you could change? How would that change the person you are today? Is the change worth it in the long run? Flex your gray matter, and leave us a little insight as a comment.
Monday, March 06, 2006
All is well in eyeball-land. Well, it's on track. See, with far-sighted people they intentionally over-correct the problem, as the vision will slide back a bit. So for now, distance vision is blurry! I know...from one problem to another! But this is normal, and is expected. I'm within legal limits to drive, so I can get around (though night driving I'm still seeing a lot of halo). Over the course of the next couple weeks my distance vision should return to normal. I'm noticing the differences on a daily basis already! Today is better than yesterday, which was better than the day before. It's amazing the difference a day makes. ;)
In other news...my schedule continues to fill up! I'm working on final details for the speaking engagement in Washington DC at a high school...April 5th it is! I just have to book flights and it's a done deal. :) I'm heading to Casper on the 18th of March for their production of "The Laramie Project." It's not a paid deal, and I don't even think they're wanting me to speak before or after the show. They just want me there as a VIP. Free tickets, dinner before the show, and maybe even a free hotel room! It could be worse, ya know. ;) And the 25th I should be down in Denver for The Matthew Shepard Foundation's "Bear to Make a Difference" dinner. Celebrities make and decorate teddy bears. They auction them off. They also auction off other prizes too. Formal event, $150 per plate (my ticket is comp'd), entertainment by Alec Mapa. Who knows what kind of connections I'll be able to make for jobs, etc.