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Homosexuality Jumps the Shark

2003-10-20 - 2:14 p.m.

So, I think I'm about done with the whole gay thing.

Well, it's kinda tired, don't you agree? It's so . . . mainstream. Ellen has her own talk show. The Fab 5 are on every NBC sitcom in desperate need of a ratings boost. Britney and Madonna have become the new Bennifer. It's just been done to death, darlings! We now live in an era where Anne Heche's popularity drops after she comes out as hetero. What next? Kelly Ripa dating kd lang?

I mean, I have always loved being a trendsetter, but this past weekend I found out about yet another pair of boys from my graduating class who are picking out his'n'his oven mitts at William Sonoma. This makes well over ten percent of the men in my high school, and I went to a very conservative, Republican private school in central Texas that was full of Bible-beaters and people who voted for Dubya more than once. All I think I'll need is one more high school jock trading in the confederate flag on his pick-up for a rainbow sticker and you'll be able to find me at Hooters. And I won't be there for the wings!

Okay, okay, shut up, I'm still the good little radically queer boy that I've always been. However, I will say that I LOVE Spike TV. It does nothing to make me feel like a man, but it has Star Trek: TNG, Blind Date, and the work of mad genius that is Most Extreme Elimination Challenge. Also, they feature out actor Ian McKellan prominently in their ads for the GQ Men of the Year Awards. So now I can not only say, "I watch Golden Girls reruns on Lifetime . . . does that make me less of a man? (Insert defiant eyebrow raise)" but also "I watch MXC on Spike TV . . . does that make me less of a woman? (Insert another defiant eyebrow raise)."

I think the defiant eyebrow raise is the main reason why I haven't reacted appropriately to this news. The correct response would be to be happy for these guys, to be proud of them for finally overcoming their fear and admitting to themselves and the world who they truly were. Keeping an eye out for them at gay clubs in Austin and SA wouldn't come amiss either. However, with every new addition to The Family, my defiant eyebrow raisings and the raisings of the past seem more like empty gestures, which is a real shame because I always felt my eyebrows are among my best features.

The Defiant Eyebrows first got their workout my senior year of high school when a carelessly thrown-away note was fished out of the girl's bathroom wastebasket (yeah, I don't know either, and I had to live through it) and passed around the Senior class. The good news was that all of my good friends, which included the president of our class, who had the unassailable power of those popular because of their personality (the fact that she had more money than God probably helped, but trust me, this girl was very cool), knew my little secret before this little incident, giving me tons of support. It actually wound up being a good thing, because I felt a lot more comfortable with myself and I was old enough, well-liked enough, and tall enough to not have anyone want to beat the shit out of me. I wound up closer to a lot of people afterwards, both the ones who stood up for me on that day and those who I had to make understand that hating gay people meant hating me. No, not RuPaul, not Elton John, me.

Of course, those I heard sniggering about me as I passed got a taste of The Defiant Eyebrows. I learned to give glares that held within them the lines: "Hath not a gay eyes? Hath not a gay hands, organs, dimensions, great accessories, martini glasses? Prick us do we not bleed, tickle us do we not laugh, play Madonna do we not vogue, wrong us shall we not cut you down with icy witticisms?"

Of course, as fun as it was to deploy the Defiant Eyebrows, it's rough to have to, especially when you have to do it, say, when your parents and theirs are around. But I had to do it, and I had to talk to the people who were willing to dismiss me as a faggot or a sodomite because it was better than the silent treatment. I forced a lot of people to do a lot of reconsidering that year, and I did it all with one lame ass scrub of a boyfriend that I kept around for a month or two and a lot of gay friends who whispered about my weight more than the straight kids at school ever whispered about my sexuality.

Then I find out about all the guys in my class, and the ones before and the ones after, who would meet up in the locker rooms after practice and do the kinda team building exercises you only hear about in online porn. And don't ask me how I know that.

Actually, there is a funny story about how I know that, sorta, because there was this one night in college when a friend of mine and I both had big papers due but we spent the evening on the phone looking up our names on Google with naughty words, and found porn that had our names in it. We then felt the need to read the porn to one another over the phone. Good times. And also, never do that if you don't want to be scarred for life.

That's part of why I'm pissed. I'm pissed that I had to go in every day and fight while they got to go home together and shag. It bugs me that, had I just stuck with sports or hung out with the popular crowd, as I was starting to do when I was in 8th grade, I would have wound up losing my virginity to a team captain, and would probably never had to deal with the sneers of the homophobes until I hit college. I would have been protected by a wall of silence made up of multiple varsity squads.

So the question is: would I go back and change it if I could?

Hell no. Yeah, it might have been nice to spend my teen years having secret liasons with the defensive line-up, but I would have gotten bored and angry very fast. I would have wanted to hold a guy's hand in the halls, and I would have wanted to kill the ones who called nerdy kids faggots. Or worse, I wouldn't have been that way, I would have been like them. I would have been so full of fear at discovery that I would have run from, or worse attacked, anyone who reminded me of who I was.

Just like those guys ran away from me like I was the Gay Gestapo.

I think that might be the reason I am so bitter when I get this kind of news. It's never the sweet nerds or the cool rebels who come out, except for, well, me. Guys who were cool with me in high school seem to be as hetero as they come. So far it's guys who spent high school acting like imbeciles and jerk-offs that are now within my dating pool, guys who might still be voting Republican even if they're out. Just once I'd like to here about a guy coming out that I was actually attracted to at the time.

Until then, I'll hope that the high school guys have changed in case I ever run into them at Oilcan Harry's. If they haven't, I'll just tell them I came with my girlfriend.

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