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Shallow, But Shovelling

2004-06-24 - 2:59 p.m.

It's time to admit a few things to myself, and this journal, and to everyone reading it I suppose.

I'm a sucker for a pretty face.

Every time I see the People magazine cover with Orlando Bloom on it, I lick my lips. Not only that, but a couple of days ago I actually bought it. I'm not proud of it.

For one thing, I feel like having a crush on Orlando Bloom is so banal and unoriginal. It's like listing the Mona Lisa among your favorite works of art. Sure. it's an unquestionable masterpiece, but it's become so commonplace and cliched. You'd feel the need to also mention something by a local artist or a lesser known Chagall painting to let whoever was asking about it know that your level of art appreciation extended beyond what commonly appears on mousepads.

I used to have crushes on lesser known actors who appear in cult films. No one knows who Johnny Whitworth is unless I explain that he was the guy in Empire Records who was in love with Liv Tyler. Most people haven't even seen anything that Nathan Bexton has been in (I fell for him when he played the angelic-yet-Gregor-Samsa-esque Montgomery in Gregg Araki's Nowhere, and certainly appreciated him as the grocery check-out boy in Go and as the guy with one ball in Psycho Beach Party). This allowed me to at least sound a bit more interesting when other people would mention Brad Pitt or Ben Affleck as their big celebrity crushes (for the record, I thought Ben was cute back in the Chasing Amy days, but I have never seen the attraction to Brad Pitt). It was fine to crush on Orlando when he was still only Legolas, but now that we've had Pirates of the Carribean and Troy, he's just as prolific in the fantasies of women and gay men everywhere as Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington. It makes my lust seem so uninspired.

To make matters worse, it isn't as though Orlando Bloom is some major talent. I have no problem talking about my crush on Edward Norton, because he's been in a number of respectable films and is certainly a skilled actor. I could certainly say the same for the aforementioned Mr. Crowe and Mr. Washington. Now, there's nothing that says that Orlando might not have the makings of a Brando somewhere inside--after all, no one saw Charize Theron as anything more than a sexy starlet before Monster--but, well, I'm not sure if you saw Troy, but I hope to God you didn't. It was absolute garbage, the kind of movie that everyone involved should be ashamed of. In the People article, Orlando talks about how he hopes that becoming a hearthrob won't stop him from making risky choices. I had to shake my head and say, "Oh, baby, you're as tempting as sin itself, but playing an elf, a blacksmith who becomes a pirate, and a Trojan prince are not risky choices unless all of those parts were in gay porn flicks."

That's a lovely thought.

So, the flush I feel when I see his face is based exclusively on his physical beauty, and I have to accept that. Okay.

See, the reason why I am so reluctant to admit this is that I have to deal with gay culture, whether I like it or not, and even if gay culture isn't the shallowest culture there is, it is certainly the least apologetic about its shallowness.

Last night I was out with The Lovely and Talented Ms. Ginger Leigh and her Equally Lovely and Talented Girlfriend Cindy, and after potent cocktails at Malaga and a dinner fit for the gods at Cuba Libre and luxuriant chocolate martinis at Halcyon, Ms. Cindy decided that she wanted to go dancing at the gay bar across the street. I wasn't thrilled about this. I love dancing, of course, but whenever I'm in gay clubs I feel like I'm being judged based on my looks, and I never have and never will look like what most gay guys want to go out with, namely Orlando Bloom. I recognize that a lot of this is in my head, but at the same time I've hung out with enough gay men to know that most guys in those clubs keep their eyes roving and scanning for potential lovers, and when they are in groups they have no problem talking about exactly why they aren't interested in the various rejects.

Some of them are even nice enough to tell you, to your face, even when you haven't spoken a word to them or even looked at them, what you need to work on in order to have hope of getting a date. Trust.

Of course, not all guys are like that. Generalizations are ridiculous; I know that as well as anyone. My problem is that there are enough of them out there to make me nervous about going to gay clubs, and when I do go I usually take a group of friends and try not to talk to anyone outside of my group. If someone talks to me, I smile and will engage in a conversation, but as soon as it's over I'm back to the dance floor or to the table that my friends are at.

Now, when we got to the gay club, there was no one on the floor and the music was sucking more balls than the entire population of the bar had that given week. The ladies went out to dance, but I was missing Nasty's on Monday nights. The ladies then started dancing with two gentlemen who were intoxicated in the extreme, leaving me . . . on the floor . . . by myself . . . really wishing I was invisible.

Particularly when one of the intoxicated men in question was introduced to me. He was certainly friendly. A bit too friendly, in a please-take-your-hand-off-my-chest-sir, sort of way. When Ginger asked if I wanted to go with her to get a drink, I was extremely relieved.

That's when I saw the bartender.

Now, in addition to being a sucker for a pretty face, I am also, as readers of this diary are no doubt well aware, completely crazy about nerdy guys. I was reminded of this myself when I saw The Decemberists on Tuesday night and they performed a new song about a boy who really sucked at sports. Don't think that didn't make me love glasses wearing, Victorianist Colin Meloy all the more, because it did (I got his autograph after the show and managed not to propose marriage to them, which I consider a monumental feat of self-control. Of course, I also spent quite a lot of time staring at Goat Grrl's strapping new boyfriend, who was not only built like a Greek God, but nerdy enough to like The Decemberists. Anyway, back to the bartender.

He was very pretty. And kinda nerdy. Sigh.

Of course, attractive male bartenders in gay bars, regardless of sexuality, are hit on with staggering frequency and tipped with that in mind. In fact, a number of straight men have tried to work exclusively in gay bars for that very reason. This bartender, who may have been either gay or straight, certainly seemed to have the attention of most of the bar, including the boy next to me, who was . . . I don't want to say swishy, because that's prejorative and I really hate self-hating homophobia, so I'll say that girlfriend was a fierce diva, and damn proud, and more power to the bitch! Holla! That's better.

When Cindy came over, she asked the bartender if she could wear his nametag, and the fierce diva impressed by her ballsyness. The diva turned out to be named Michael, and I have no problem mentioning that in this diary because, of the estimated 12.5 million gay men in America, 7.8 million of them are named Michael. I'm not kidding. I knew so many Michaels at the gay coffee bar in high school that I had to give them all nicknames to keep track. There was Long Hair Michael, Short Hair Michael, Natalie Merchant Michael (he looked like Natalie Merchant, what could I do?), Crackhead Michael, Pedophile Michael (who was 30 but tended to date boys between the ages of 16 and 20), and Michaels I can't even remember. So there's no chance in Hell that this guy will know that I'm talking about him, because I'll just say I was talking about the other other other other other other other Michael.

Anyway, over the course of his conversation with Cindy, Michael began talking about the kind of man he was looking for. He was apparently looking for a Mexican boy.

At this point the corner of my eye started twitching, because I knew I was not going to get out of this evening without being severely embarrassed, or offended, or both. I gritted my teeth and decided that, if I left the gay bar, I was letting the forces of gay shallowness win, and I wasn't about to do that.

Michael went on. He wanted a tall Mexican (there are approximately 16 of us, total), with a big uncut dick, whose parents had run across the border. It was really making me sick, truth be told. No one is more in favor of interracial relationships than I, but I do think that fetishizing a race is at best a mistake. This is what Michael had done. He wanted a Latin lover, a bullfighter who was hung like a bull, a cholo of his own choosing, and the part of me that wanted to slap him was being held back only by the part of me that was hoping to God that Cindy didn't point out my height and heritage to this guy.

No such luck.

I'm going to say this right now to everyone and hope that you pass it on to everyone you know: never do that. Not with me, not with anyone. It seems to be a particular problem when dealing with gay men. Far too many people who aren't gay men assume that any two gay men will want to fuck or date one another, and all they have to do is make an introduction. This never works. Never set up gay men, especially me. Here endeth the public service announcement.

After Cindy pointed out that I very well might be the intelligent, tall, well-hung Mexican of his dreams, the guy laughed in a good-natured way and I blushed so hard that it hurt. We chatted in a friendly way but it was clear when our eyes met that both of us found this far more funny that enticing.

At that point I turned away with a pained expression and my eyes met the bartender. We shared one of those Moment of Absolute Absurdity looks and it lasted just long enough for me to get my hopes up. It tends to, in such situations.

We headed home afterwards, and on the way back I wondered if it was worth it to go back sometime to see if the bartender was there. I don't know what I'd say, though. "You're pretty, and look like you might be a nerd, and I think we might have had a moment, do you want to go out sometime?" Not so much.

I don't know what all of this comes down to. I guess it's that maybe I need to accept the fact that I, like most humans, am attracted to pretty people, and that regardless of what I or anyone else thinks about my own prettiness, there's nothing wrong with putting the moves on someone you're attracted to, even if you have as little game as I have. And as long as I don't shoot somebody down who might be intelligent and interesting because they don't look the picture I have in my head of what the perfect guy would look like, and as long as I don't go out with a good-looking guy who's boring or evil just because he's hot, then I'm doing okay.

Okay. That might work.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have an Orlando Bloom photo I need to stare at for a little while.

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The End - 2005-02-11
Let's Go on With the Show - 2005-01-30
The Curse, and This Bee's a Keeper - 2005-02-01
Sisters Lolita and Matronic Explain It All for You - 2005-01-31
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