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Zach and Sarah (Jessica)

2005-01-06 - 10:16 a.m.

Anyone who can correctly identify the writer of the song whose title I have borrowed (and misspelled) for this entry WITHOUT using google will win my respect.

I have realized that marathoning episodes of Sex and the City is like taking hallucinogens: it could be really good or really bad depending on what's been on your mind lately and what you see after you've taken them. Sometimes a trip can be going swimmingly when you you see something scary or remember something stressful and the rollercoaster ride through your subconscious hell begins. Not that I would know personally, because drugs are illegal and therefore bad and I certainly have never taken any myself and would never recommend that someone else take them.

But yeah, Sex and the City marathons are just like hallucinogens. I was motivated to go on this little trip (courtesy HBO on Demand) after seeing one of my favorite episodes rerun on HBO. It was the one where Carrie turned 35, and as someone about to turn 25 and freaking out about it, it had a lot of relevance. In this episode, Charlotte says the best thing she ever said on the show: "Maybe we could be each other's soulmates, and men could just be these great, nice guys we have fun with." I loved that moment not only for what she said, but because the women weren't feeling good about themselves before and only felt a little better afterwards; it wasn't a revelation, just a comfort. And anyway, I think if more people realized how much love they have around themselves, the pressure to pair off would ease up.

I keep telling myself that.

I happened to be marathoning the second season, as that is the one that HBO on Demand had available. I like this season because we had yet to encounter Trey and Aidan and Richard and Smith and all the other idiots who made latter seasons far less enjoyable. However, in season two we met Steve. For those who did not watch the show, Steve was the damn near perfect man: sweet, generous, vulnerable, strong, steadfast, intelligent, playful, puppy-dog adorable, and owner of a fantastic ass. Now, the writers at Sex and the City did a beautiful thing when they introduced Steve: they brought him in during an episode about dating myths, the stories that we tell ourselves in order to maintain our belief that love is magical and waiting for us to arrive so that happily ever after can commence. This was a cue that Steve--like Bridget Jones's Mark Darcy, according to my undergraduate thesis on pop culture and metanarrative--was a fiction, something that the writer's invented, and that contrary to what women and gay men watching the show might want to believe, there is no Steve out there waiting for us.

At the time, I did not catch that metanarrative cue. Like so many others, I nearly strangled Miranda when she let him go and proceeded to refer to her as the Dumbest Woman on the Planet every time she let him slip away, relieved only in the final season when she finally realized that he was the love of her life. I wish the writers hadn't given her a baby in order to do so--as I have said before, I thought Samantha with a baby would have been much more interesting--but I was still cheering to myself when she finally married the fucker. And of course, I said to myself, "Where can I get a guy like Steve?"

Now, I firmly believe that all of this Sex and the City watching would have been okay had it not been for what happened afterwards. I did something that I really should never do, something I keep telling myself not to do: I watched a gay movie. There are maybe two gay movies NOT centered around drag queens that I've liked. At the moment, I can only think of Beautiful Thing. All the others are about men searching for love and/or sex among cute men, and with remarkable frequency the men say "I love you" after seeing a guy across a crowded gym. I had actually seen a little bit of the movie in question--The Broken Hearts Club--a few nights ago, and quickly changed the channel. However, this time I caught the beginning, and saw that, among the many straight actors brought in to play a bunch of queens, was Zach Braff.

For my newer readers, I have a thing for dorky guys, and Zach Braff is about as dorky as you can get. I have yet to see Garden State because I don't want to strengthen my crush on him. And in this movie, he was gay. He was not a dork, but it didn't matter. He was the bait. I was hooked. I was about to be filleted.

This movie sucked. Not only was it bad, but it played to all the stupid gay cliches that I hate, and by that I mean that all gay men really want to be straight-acting and gorgeous, and that anyone who isn't--particularly if they aren't white--can be objects of amusement but not of affection. At one point, a guy who felt like he wasn't as beautiful as his friends was told, "Not everyone can be gay and beautiful; some guys are just gay and average" and did not deck the asshole who said that to him. This poor guy didn't have one boy flirt with him the whole time, and it wasn't like he was some terrifying monster of a human being. None of this did anything good for my self-esteem. At one point, someone in the movie lamented that the only thing he was good at was being gay, and I realized that I sucked at being gay. I don't look the way a gay man is supposed to look like if he ever wants to get a date and I couldn't care less about wearing the "right" clothes and I tend to feel weird around big groups of gay guys and I don't have a gay posse to hang out with. By the end of the movie, I felt like an ugly, fat, egregiously single outcast from gay society.

Oh, and did I mention the overuse of The Carpenters in the soundtrack, and that the movie ended with "We've Only Just Begun," which my first boyfriend sang to me just after I lost my virginity to him in the backseat of my car and realized that not only did I not love him, but I thought he was an idiot and that I'd have to break it off with him? Yeah, that helped.

So I was in quite a state, and what I needed was a friend. I hopped in the car, drove to San Antonio, and spent the evening with Shkbob, and it made for a fantastic evening. I talked about things that I hadn't been wanting to talk about, things like how I'm at a point where I want to meet someone to do more than just fuck around with, and how I've realized that I really do want a family eventually, and that it's been a long time since I've gone out on a date (meeting at a party and shagging had been my previous modus operandi) and that I'm really fucking scared. While she, being a Samantha to the core, would much rather have great lovers than a great love, and has no desire for children whatsoever, she sympathized with what I was going through. She never gave me bullshit, but she did give me a lot of shit to laugh about. We laughed about our crazy friends. We laughed about feeling fat. We laughed about men who didn't know how to kiss even though they were well into their twenties, not to mention men who didn't know how to fuck. Before I saw her, I was ready to drive myself off a bridge, or at least commit some sort of crime to land myself in prison so I could get laid more, but by the time we'd stopped bitching and moaning and had gotten to our list of Top 10 celebrities we'd like to fuck (Orlando Bloom, Edward Norton, Paul Rudd, Ewan McGregor, Heath Ledger, Hugh Jackman, Eric Bana, Taye Diggs, Jake Shears, and Christian Bale, since you asked), I had stopped feeling doomed. I had a soulmate, and great, nice guys to have fun with would get sorted out eventually.

This morning, I rode home listening to my Happy Mix CD. The song I put on repeat for a while was my favorite song of all time, Dar Williams's "As Cool As I Am." It's about looking for love and not finding it, about getting over jealousy and figuring out who you really are and what you really want, and how even as you keep failing the search, on the whole, can be a Hell of a lot of fun. I used to think so back when I was young and foolish. Now that I'm going to be old and foolish next week, I hope to think so again.

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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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