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How Gay AM I?

2004-11-11 - 12:31 p.m.

The last few days have been pretty good. I got an OK on my crazy take on the Pearl Manuscript for my paper (I think it was written with women in mind, at least to a greater degree than scholars would normally assume). I got a good grade on my Midnight's Children reception paper. I did my third and final presentation for my intro class (I have presented on Roland Barthes, Ferdinand de Saussure, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Jacques Derrida's writing on Jacques Lacan, making it a near-full sweep of Francophone post-structuralism's greatest hits). Then, yesterday, I got the news that a class on Milton has been added for the spring semester! All this from me being a whiny, spoiled brat who won't shut up until he gets what he wants! And best of all, it will probably get moved so I can still take the course on Bollywood! I've still got my fingers crossed (which makes typing a bitch) and am knocking on wood, but next semester could shape up very well. I suddenly have far too many classes that I want to take rather than too few.

And I'm listening to the first Le Tigre album. What's YOUR take on Cassavetes?

Being in such a good mood, I will write an entry at the request of my beloved sister. See, we had a little chat the other day--where she told me of the troubles of my dear Ladykat81, to whom I say, "We'll get through the next four years together!"--and we discussed an old friend of ours, Craigy-Poo. Craigy-Poo came out of the closet his senior year, after I had left Penn. This came as a shock to very few people, especially me. The year before, I was leaving a party and doing a round of good-bye hugs and kisses (something that, Lolita pointed out, only gay and Latino men do, and that gets me coming AND going), and when I got to Craigy-Poo the little kiss on the cheek became a big kiss on the mouth, and not at my instigation. I probably should have stuck around and helped him unlock that closet door, but the timing, perhaps, was not right. Besides, the difference between sleeping with the closeted and sleeping with the bi-curious is that the former needs the trust of a relationship, and at the time, it was not my thing.

Anyway, fast-forward to a few days ago. My sister mentions having seen him, and found him to be FLAMING, which was entirely a compliment coming from my sister, and from me. I said, "Well, you know, that's a natural part of the life-cycle of the average homosexual. Within the first two years out of the closet, you get REALLY flaming. I mean REALLY gay. Then, after a while, you ask yourself the important question: 'How gay AM I?'"

She said I had to write an entry on that. Hope she's enjoying it so far.

Yeah, it's really weird to be gay at the moment. I grew up thinking that things were going to get better, that it was only a matter of time before we managed to convince the majority of Americans that we were people too, that God didn't hate us and that we deserved to be treated as equals. Gay characters were appearing more and more on television and were being watched. Just last year, in the midst of the Bush administration, sodomy was taken off the books as a crime. But last week showed me that we had much farther to go.

Which sucks, because I feel like I'm in advanced, graduate level queer studies, full of translicious genderfucking and polymorphous pomopansexuality. And half the nation hasn't even signed up for the intro course. It's really hard to explain queer theory to someone who still uses the word queer prejoratively.

One of the reasons I came to Berkeley in the first place was to be on the cutting edge of queerness. I mean, Philadelphia and Austin were both okay in terms of being a place to be gay. There were threats, and even occassional bashings, but you knew that most people didn't really care what you did and probably wouldn't object to you getting married and having a kid. I wanted something more than that, though. I wanted to learn the ins and outs, so to speak. I wanted to see what was possible in a place where the queerest of the queer had gone for decades to find a home.

The problem is that I haven't done anything yet. I mean, first of all, it's so good to be queer in Berkeley that no one even goes into the LGBT Center here. The community is so pervasive that there is no community. There is no need to stand up and be counted, because there are too many to count. You can't see the homos for the queers.

One of the unfortunate effects of this is that my gaydar no longer works. Everyone here is way too comfortable with their sexuality. I'll be flirting with a guy for an hour and then find out he's straight. I won't give a guy a second look and then discover that he has a boyfriend. I'm used to getting some sort of signal. The airwaves are too jammed right now for me to hone in on a single one.

Worse, so many guys I know here are in committed relationships. Remember, this is the city in which people actually got married for a few precious weeks. I've been feeling very Bridget Jones lately. I feel like the singleton surrounded by a number of smug marrieds, or at least people with the potential to be smug marrieds.

If I start beginning this diary with alcohol units and a measure of my weight, please hunt me down and kill me.

I know what I need to do. I need to get out into the city more. I need to actually go to gay bars and gay clubs. I did go dancing to a gay club, and I had a great time. I need to find that fag hag I met a while ago, particularly since she seems to have a penchant for purple hair and recreational drug use (something HORRIBLE that no one should EVER do). I came here to have a gay old time and I intend to. How gay am I? Apparently, not gay enough. I need to be a bit more gay. Right now I feel like a medieval anchoress, and while I may think Julian of Norwich is a beautiful writer and theologian, I have no desire to emulate her.

In the meantime, I am willing to go back and teach Intro to Queer People: Gays are People Too. There are a lot of Craigy-Poos out there who need to go from surreptitious kisses to full on fabulosity. And Queer-Eye isn't going to get them there.

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previous - next

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
Cowboys and Medievalists - 2005-01-30

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