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A Gay Old Time

2004-07-02 - 3:54 p.m.

Saying that I am not looking forward to the possibility of finding a boyfriend when I head out to the San Francisco Bay Are would be a lie.

Now, when I say that, I don't mean that I am looking for the love of my life, or that my first goal upon arriving in Berkeley will be to find a boyfriend, or to get laid, for that matter, and I don't mean that I will be monumentally disappointed if I don't meet anyone in the first year, or first two years, or ever, or that I intend to compromise myself or my career in order to find or keep one, and it doesn't mean that, if I do find one, I will be able to remain faithful, or keep from getting bored, or keep from wanting to kill him or myself in order to get out of the relationship, or that I will even consider monogamy as an option, or that everything will not end in a completely nightmarish disaster that will provide much entertainment for any and all innocent bystanders and the readers of this diary.

I say all this not only to convince ayone reading this, but to convince the tiny little hopeless romantic that lives inside me whom I have been trying to kill for the last half decade, and who has gotten me into trouble more times than I will ever admit.

Yes, I am looking forward to the fact that living in the queer mecca of the United States will increase the odds of me finding someone whom I am attracted to, and whom I can have good conversations with. That's pretty much all I want. Seems like an easy order, but you haven't seen the list of requirements to get that far, and that's nothing compared to the list of requirements tht my friends have for anyone I go out with.

However, as much as I am looking forward to having a boyfriend, I am also looking forward to finding gay male friends, because those seem to be just as hard to come by.

Now, of course I have gay male friends. I can name them for you right now. However, I'm nowhere near as close to them as I am to many other friends who are women of any sexuality and straight men. Also, I made all but a couple of my gay friends outside a gay environment. They were friends whom I met doing theatre, which, I recognize, is considered a gay environment, but it is not an environment that is specifically gay.

I need to put this a better way. Okay, how about this: I can count on my fingers the number of times I've been to a gay club with gay friends since high school. I think I might even manage to do it on one hand. If I do go with one, then I go with one and a whole bunch of lesbians and fag hags. Not that I don't love lesbians and fag hags. I am a hag fag. I am also a dyke tyke. It's just that . . .

It's just that I woul really love to have a group of gay male friends whom I hang out with in a gay male context, and I want to chat with them on the phone and go to coffee shops. I want the Sex and the City experience the way it was meant to be: with a bunch of gay divas.

Back in high school, I kinda sorta had a lot of gay friends. Now, what does that mean? Well, I went to this coffee shop in San Antonio called Candlelight, and it was my haven after I came out to myself and the world. You've heard of Cheers? Well, this was Queers. Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and who you slept with last night, and who you really wish it had been.

No matter when I went there, I found someone I knew. We would hang out on the comfy couches and drink mochas and eat grilled chicken caesar salads and I felt safer than I knew I could feel in the middle of Texas. It was impregnable. The coffee shopw was located down the street from a club where a lot of cool punk bands came to play, and once a group of kids from my high school came in before the show. I decided to take the opportunity for a little payback, and got my friends together to surround them and act as queeny and fierce as humanly possible. You have never seen so many lacrosse players so scared in your life.

When I left for college, everything changed. Candlelight changed ownership and became a wine bar, no one under 21 admitted. Our group fell apart after that. I started hearing about them talking behind my back, saying a lot of shit that I don't need to go into. At the same time, I couldn't find that sort of atmosphere in Philadelphia, certainly not in college. I found a community with my fellow thespians, and as usual I made friends with plenty of the queer women, but I could never find an in among the gay men. As often happens, a lack of understanding quickly turned into animosity, and I found myself avoiding the events on campus for gay men. I would turn up to the political events, and some of te dances, but by the end of my sophomore year I had decided that I simply was not a part of the gay community, and I learned to be okay with that.

Which, now that I think about, is pretty fucking stupid.

I never really got around to getting into the gay scene in Austin. I had one friend here who was at least partially in it, but he fell into that most terrifying of gay cliques: gay country dancers. They all go dancing at this place called The Rainbow Cattle Company that plays bad country music for their two-stepping clientele. I can't stay in there for very long. I come from a heritage that says that country music and queers are two things that really shouldn't mix. That's my problem, but not one I intend to work on right now.

The problem I do need to work on is my fear that every gay guy I have a conversation with is either going to eventually turn on me like my high school friends (except for one notable exception) or will just reject me flat out like the men in high school, and I need to get over it quickly before I make my first official visit to the Castro. I made a good first step last night.

It was Ginger Leigh's final show before going to her tour in Italy, and my second to last chance to see her before heading off to California. She played a fabulous acoustic set with the soulful Ms. Wendy Colonna, and I drank many chocolate martinis (I may have been PMSing). That evening, Ginger and Ms. Cindy introduced me to their friend Skot. At first, I was my usual stand-offish, don't fuck with me queen sort of self. Then I found out that he and his husband live in San Francisco, and realized that here was a good chance to get a good sneak preview of the queer scene. I finally got to talk to him when we all went to a gay bar afterwards, and he not only was full of helpful advice, but told me that I should get his number so that I could tag along when he and his hubby went out on the town so I could get a feel for the place. When we all said goodnight, he gave me a hug and a kiss, and I remembered how great it was to have that friendly affection from another gay man.

I missed that so friggin' much.

My favorite song of all time is "As Cool As I Am" by Dar Williams. No Tori ballad or New Order dance hit can compare. In the chorus, Dar repeats the phrase "I will not be afraid of women," and at the end of the song she sings, "I go outside to join the others. I am the others." What I think she means by all this is that no amount of game-playing or cheating by her boyfriend is going to get her to turn against her fellow women, and that, while boyfriends come and go, her friends will remain. When I first heard that song, I pictured my gay friends and during that last lin, sitting around a table outside of Candlelight, laughing and teasing and dishing and bitching and not caring about who we were going to go out with or go home with, just caring about enjoying the moment. I want to feel those lyrics again, to have a group of queer men to think about when I hear that song. I feel like that order's a lot easier to fill than that whole, "Someone to sleep with who doesn't bore me" boyfriend nonsense.

Before I finish up, two things. First of all, let's all take a moment to wish safe passage to the next world to the legendary Marlon Brando. His talent was matched only by his hotness in his youth and his scariness in old age. He will be missed.

Second, the time has come to start really fighting against those in congress who would deny men and women the right to marry the people they love. It's time to fight the hate mongers with money, and letter writing, and anything else we can to make sure that fundamentalism and oppression do not take hold of our country. The Senate is expected to vote on the Marriage Amendment within a week. Please go to and join in the fight. For Skot and his husband, for me, for America.

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