Author’s Note: I’ve waited a couple of days to make sure I wanted to write this, something that having a blog has taught me to do. The drafts folder is filled with a combination of sometimes angry rants, sometimes overly ebullient soliloquy, and sometimes truly indecipherable shit.
It’s that time of year again when everyone except me seems to decide upon some net new standards of living which will govern exactly the first four weeks of the next calendar year. It is hardly accidental that Oprah’s first act as 10% owner of Weight Watchers was to release a commercial about weight loss this week. Some say it is “emotionally evocative” and I say it’s enterprising.
But good on her. Back to me.
I was out and about the other day when I ran in to someone I haven’t seen in several years who I don’t consider an especially terrible person but not someone I care for that much either. More than just a complete acquaintance, at some point many years ago had become a part of the walled garden sanctum otherwise known as a Facebook friend.
They seemed genuinely interested in a quick catch up and asked what had been going on in my life, and I can’t exactly remember how I responded but mentioned my dad, a blog…stuff that if you were just scanning every once in a while you might have seen about me…on Facebook.
Their reply: “Yeah, I had to unfriend you after that last cruise. I just couldn’t handle it.”
“Huh? Handle what? I lost my camera the first day…there were like…10 pictures.” I replied.
Here are the pictures I posted from the cruise…23 of them…
In my mind, however, my fierce ghetto-gurl reared back and with index finger pointed skyward, I read her like the Oxford-English Dictionary,
“The fuck you say? Handle? What you got for handles? Love handles? Handle of dollar store liquor while you drink yourself to sleep handle? Handle like the one that isn’t on the prison door of your life handle? Let me tell you something about handle…”
Apparently she couldn’t handle the litany of “half-naked men” in the pictures I had posted from the cruise. (For the record, we’re only 10% clothed.)
In my mind, I said “#ByeFelicia!” but in reality concluded the conversation politely and walked away. But this has left me pissed off for days.
Here’s why, and let me bullet it out for you:
- I’m a gay man. What I do doesn’t represent all gay men, it represents me.
- We “the gays” endure stereotypes that resound and which we politely forgive from our close friends (yes, close friends, you often lob these my direction). Sometimes we play in to them.
- I have a ton of gay friends in lovely homes nice and not nice, some with kids, some without.
- Some have sex casually, some are religious and more prone to saving themselves.
- We like to look good and because the need for a better than average body type has been predicated upon us by historical public examples which have now become part of our culture, we often look a metric fuck ton (thanks Joe Lessman for this phrase) better than straight people in smaller, tighter clothing many years past heterosexual counterparts.
- Some of us wear a more non-continental style of bathing suit when we are out in the sun, the likes of which would draw no attention outside of a US audience.
- In fact, in many places in the world, nude beaches abound, where nothing is worn at all – straight, gay, whoever.
Here is me, with a group of friends, on vacation. 4 of us are wearing board shorts, the rest a different type of swim wear. Two of us are wearing college-sports team attire, I have a Nike golf visor on. And we are fit, smiling, and happy. We’re certainly fit.
Here is a picture of male genitalia. For the record, I had no idea I had a prepuce (which phonetically sounds like…) or a corona or something that shares the word “vagina”. #TMYK
It’s true, we could have chosen some elastic waist pleated numbers like these, available from a site called 6pm.com (the branding makes me think of the end of my life) for under $20, which even on models, look like shit.
Maybe it’s our fraternal closeness demonstrated in the picture that offended you. Maybe if we had just posed this way or not had a “Little Princess” temporary tattoo it would have been better:
I gladly and happily look at hundreds of kid pics, dog pics, kitchen remodel pics, look how hot my wife is pics, wedding pics, second wedding pics, and many other pics that I don’t especially identify with. Related, I also am (as easily confirmed via my online presence) about a lot more than just shirtless pictures of me in a bathing suit.
But if my “lifestyle” of being on vacation, with friends, in clothing, is truly that upsetting to you that you can’t just ignore it…or better yet, ask yourself the tough question why it bothers you so much and challenge yourself to grow…then unfriend me. Block me. I’m okay with it.
You have 24 hours of safe-harbor to do so. After that, those who choose to do so will go on a special list.
I’ve downloaded my Facebook archive so know my friend list as of today and while I won’t shame those on the special list, you should not expect a lot from me either and I’ll figure out what that means later.
For those that continue to predicate the gay stereotype (even those close to me) – yes, we are more fabulous than you for a lot of reasons.
Yes, we’ve given up some hangups on sex and have aps so we can have it when we want to.
Yes, AIDS may have proliferated here, and it will probably end here long before it does with non-gay people.
We don’t all hate sports, dress stylishly, know how to decorate your house, or listen to “techno.”
We often know how to throw better parties and some manage to moderate drug use with a professional life. I think a lot of this has to do with the diversity of people welcome within the broader community….even when we aren’t always the nicest to each other.
We are as diverse a population as any other, and we don’t deserve the stereotyping or assumptions. Even when favorable.
And when we play in to them its likely because we don’t know how to stand up and say, “no, that’s not me.” And that’s because those my age are just happy to be accepted.
I’ve celebrated you, liked you, challenged and debated you, and in some ways supported you. But I didn’t abandon you, because you were with friends, in warm weather, in a swim suit.
So here are some things you might see. Friends, me ordering a ton of room service in the middle of the night, people watching the SuperBowl missing the sail-away because we were so devoted to the Seahawks…
Otherwise, t-minus 23 days until sail-away and seeing many great friends I’ve missed in the last year. Friends who actually reached out when my dad died. And me posting some pictures.
And if this “living my life and being happy” is all too much for you because of its gayness, then…
24 hours begins now. #ByeFelicia
My New Year’s resolution suggestion for you is: “Learn how to not be a dick.”
(And btw, if you really did like this, please click like — I’ve not asked for this before, but some positive reinforcement really does help once in a while. Here on the blog or wherever. Thanks for making it to the end.)