Archives for posts with tag: Connecticut

Bearded Straight Man

1.

Holding onto the past. Cluttering up the present.

2.

I saw athlete Jason Collins on the TV. He was being interviewed by Oprah.

As I listened to him tell his story I thought a great deal about other people I had known who lived as adults in the closet.

Collins was not involved with a woman when he came out.

He was single.

For those gay men who are married or engaged to women when they come out the trauma this causes the woman cannot be underestimated, yet somehow their trauma is ignored.

The woman from Connecticut hoards craft materials she intends to use. She never uses it. Her house is uninhabitable.

Her husband left her for another man.

A lie is revealed. The life of the lie is shared. Often those who have lived unwittingly with a liar also feel that they have lived a lie.

My important gay writer friend mocked Collins ex girlfriend Carolyn on Facebook.

He made fun of her for ‘not realizing’ Collins was gay. Not realizing that she was living with a lying sociopath?

My friend is a gay man who has had sex with women and dated women yet he can barely disguise his misogyny.

Like so many gay men he is, whether he likes it or not, a separatist.

Carolyn is an intelligent, kind and articulate woman who was duped by a liar.

I listened to Collins wondering how this man was cast as the hero?

He’s not the first athlete to come out of the closet, many women came before him and some men.

The Collins cocktail of gay, black and startlingly good-looking is somehow more intoxicating than remembering that Martina Navratilova had come out decades before.

Collins hopes that his coming out will ‘make it easier’ for others to do the same yet… it seems unlikely.

Is his coming out really a coming out at all?

He will only really know how it feels to ‘come out’ once he is back on the team.

At the moment he is cushioned by celebrity and an American media fascinated by his ‘bravery’.

Is he brave?

He is not a normal black kid from the ghetto.

He is not the normal black kid at the local church.

He is not a kid. He is not normal.

Celebrity assures him of that.

If you identify as LGBTQ then every coming out is circumstantial.

There will never be an easier time to come out because most everybody wants to fit it. To fade away. To avoid the glaring spotlight even if that spotlight is no longer hostile.

No one wants to say: I am different. Not today, not in America… where individuality is scorned.

Jason’s parents look suitably loving on the TV. They know they’re going to ‘love him no matter what’, they’re going to ‘get through it’.

I wonder sometimes what the expectation is for those new, enlightened parents who suddenly have a gay son or daughter to dote on.

Judging by those who now look sweetly at me and my partner whenever I am brave enough to hold onto my lover in the street… their reaction may have changed but the feeling I have remains the same.

They look at us… like I look at a particularly fluffy puppy. “Ah, how sweet.” They want to say. “How fucking adorable.”

I know they want to stop us and tell us how fucking adorable we are.

Those people who gawp and smile supportively are just as irritating as those who glare disapprovingly.

I don’t want you to have an opinion about us as we walk in the street.

I have no opinion about you.

Jason Collins coming out also poses questions about others who have not come out sooner.

I mean, If Jason Collins can do it… why can’t you? Why is it an issue? How could you not tell us the truth?

But Jason Collins has The President, ex President Clinton (the DOMA signer) the President’s wife Mo to congratulate him.

They are ‘proud’ to call Jason their friend.

Well, Jason Collins and those other gay people I allude to… they are adults. They came out as adults.

They can control the outcome.

They are ‘straight acting’ there was ‘no clue’, no tell-tale fabulousness, no lisp, no prepubescent flamboyance.

He was never harassed, he was never told ahead of time what he was before he knew himself.

Jason Collins comes from a ‘close and loving’ family.

Like other gay men who came out late in life… if their family was so close, so loving…why couldn’t they come out sooner?

What did they think they would lose?

The closer the family the harder the riddle.

The fantasy that one has for ones children, the perfect future… the wedding, the christening… cannot include a same-sex partner?

Well, no… not if you have invested in the lies your adult child told… again and again.

Lied to those very same people who now bathe you in their unconditional love.

Obviously, my ‘coming out’ as a teen… was very different.

Having no real option… was all at once a blessing and a curse.

I was brought up in a different age.

My coming out was an act of terrorism.

I threw it at them like boiling water and told them to get used to the burns.

3.

Meanwhile, there’s a teenager in Northern England struggling with his decision to reveal the truth.

He saw me on TV and sought me out.

He told his family he was gay… face to face.

He told his friends on Facebook

Tonight he told everyone how miserable he feels. How dark this place is.

Jason Collins has not helped him. He does not have the President of the United State to support him on Twitter.

Feeling different, facing a new world… not as an adult but as a child.

Things don’t get better… because he now has the prospect of British parochial gay life and all that entails.

He has predatory men to deal with at the local bar, he has rampant desires that remain unfulfilled.

I think he regrets not waiting.

It’s a big deal coming out when you’re a poor kid a long way from the big city.

It always will be… however many athletes steal the limelight from boys like him.

There is a week of mayhem to report.  A week of extraordinary conduct.  A week of moving back east.

Connecting with AA, meeting a man on the street whose face I never tire of.

I can’t show you his face.

Only in NYC.

Then, I meet a woman who KNOWS all about my film.  I mean, she knows the story like an urban myth.  But it’s not a myth.  It’s the sad truth.

“Oh, I know this story,” she said.  Her eyes sparkling with anticipation.  “I think he’s my friend on Facebook.  Yes, look…”  she pulls out her smart phone and there he is.  I push the phone away.  I shouldn’t be looking at that.

“What was he thinking?”  she roars with laughter.

Women love my film.  It confirms everything they think they know about men.  The injustice of men.

Dead five-year olds.  20 of them.

The children are shot dead by a crazed, entitled white boy.  The little bodies buried this week.  Lined up against the wall and executed.  You know they didn’t have a clue.  You know they did as they were told.

I thought about the little dog facing the lethal injection.

A horrific pendant: ten Afghan children are splattered into the mud by a drone.

Somehow their little brown faces are missing from the media.  Somehow the little white children in Connecticut are worth more.

This week has been all about mental illness and guns.   The mild wet weather.   The poem.  The fiscal cliff.  Obama.  That’s PRESIDENT Obama to you.

We asked you to vote for him, now he’s letting us down all over again.  Surprise, fucking surprise.

I saw a man being mugged on the 5 train.  Into Manhattan, a stealthy, tall, nimble black man rips an iPhone 4s out of an asian man’s hands leaving him with his ear phones on his head.  The rest of us sat amazed.

The white people urged him to call the police but he said, “I’m already late for work.”

I’m buying a parker.  It’s lined with blood-red shearling.  Like the monkey they found in Ikea.

Dinner in the neighborhood, dinner at the Mercer Kitchen with Courtney, dinner at the Standard Grill with Brock.

Dinner with Cristina who I have not seen for 30 years on the floor of her palatial Upper East Side home.  It was as if all those 30 years just melted away.   That we were friends again from last week.  Funny, compelling, brilliant, beautiful Cristina.

Dinner with new gay AA friends in cheap diners.

Dinner at Mary’s Fish Camp with Benoit.  We stop at Boxers (gay bar) on the way home.  There’s nothing for us.  Benoit peels off leaving me on the street and as I wait for the green light a handsome green eyed man says hello.

At first I wonder why.  Why is this stunningly handsome 27-year-old man saying hello to me.

Then we’re in Barracuda kissing each other.

I’m wearing that huge fur hat.

I can’t kiss him any more.  I can’t suck any more spit out of his mouth.  I can’t look into his green eyes.

I am so overwhelmed by him I walk through the rain until I am soaked to the skin.  Wondering how it happens?  Wondering how it ends up like this?

All the way home I’m humming Nature Boy to myself.

In the morning my room smells of damp fur.

I left LA last week (July 2nd) though it actually feels like months ago, so much has happened.   I flew into JFK with bags and dog and chaos.  He was waiting for me and whisked me off to a beautiful house set in perfect woodland and rolling lawns.

We ate and walked and talked.  I never tire of listening to him.   We have done our fair share of soul-searching these past few months and now it is time to have a few laughs.   I know that at the back of his mind he worries, that he is not truly free.

I loved the countryside and delightful clapboard houses on the border of New York and Connecticut.

In distant, very white upstate town Katonah there were two very black gay men from the Caribbean eating a light lunch.   They were the only black people for miles around.

 

Two days later we were in a taxi back to JFK and onto one of Air France’s spectacular Airbus A380.   The huge plane was almost empty!  Deciding to fly on July 4th was a great idea.  Taking off over a million 4th July firework parties.  Fireworks exploding all around us.

The first part of the journey was not without drama as we managed to get delayed for 3 hours by a bomb scare at JFK.  The entire airport emptied out just minutes before we were about to fly.    We were herded outside and sat around smoking cigarettes and drinking water.   After a couple of hours in the sun we stampeded back into the building directly onto our planes and landed in France 6 hours later.

It is delicious to be back in Europe.  Away from the tangled life I have left behind in the USA.   Once in Paris we checked into Mama Shelter in the 20th, seconds from the cemetery Pere Lachaise.  We loved it!

 

Although I smuggled the dog into the hotel-actually we had no need as dogs, we later found out, are allowed.   The food and service were excellent.  The only vaguely irritating thing was the Internet wi-fi connection which was linked to their rather modern but baffling Apple TV.  Apart from finding it impossible to get on-line their sophisticated interconnected system meant that the TV remote would also remotely control our lap tops..hmmm.

It is so easy to concentrate on what is wrong in life or in others without noticing how beautiful things are.  The staff at the hotel were gorgeous and we drooled over them everyday.

First day of Couture shows in Paris.  We had lunch with William Stoddart at Hotel d’Amour near Pigalle.  Gosh that area has changed so much!   When I lived there with Claire Sant it was ghastly.  Last week it was wonderful.   The weather has been gorgeous everywhere we have been.

The beautiful Edouard joined us afterwards for coffee.  We had dinner with him the night before and 6 others at Italian restaurant.   Very pretty German model who was obviously rooting for Germany in the World Cup..she was tall and womanly and intelligent.  We talked France’s ignominious exit from the competition and sneered at the British teams pathetic attempt to get into the last 8.

 

Three days in Paris followed by a train ride to Calais and a ferry to Dover after a short taxi ride home to Whitstable we were sitting on the beach eating venison burgers and the travelling companion couldn’t believe how beautiful it all was and complained that I had underplayed how Whitstable really is.

 

Today there are warnings that old people may overheat.  We are going to take a train to London.

I am sitting writing this from my room overlooking the sea in Georgina’s home in Whitstable.   It was my birthday yesterday.   The day started well enough with coffee at Dave’s deli catching up on gossip and drinking his perfect latte.   I left the companion in bed.  He is not really a morning person.  We met my mother for lunch at Wheelers where Mark Stubbs the chef there continues to surpass himself-this time with delicately spiced soft shell crab.

I really had no desire to see anyone other than who was at that table.  I am certainly not interested in tangoing in front of 500 people like an eastern European gypsy.    My mum and Georgina bonded over their hatred of Asylum Seekers.  My mother pointed out that some asylum seekers were pretending to be gay so that they could stay in the country.  If it’s not the Mexican’s it’s the Eastern Europeans..there always someone to blame for never having enough.

I thought that the fear of others getting something for nothing was an American phenomena but no!  It’s British too.

After lunch Adam took my picture as part of his photographic Whitstable project and his lovely mum cut my hair.  We sat in their lush garden drinking lemonade and lusting after his gorgeous, recently tattooed, diver brother.   After the pictures were taken we walked the couple of miles home up the beach.   I have never been so happy.

When we got home the companion had a drama unfold which he needed to deal with.  When he finally tore himself away from the Internet we sat in the garden and ate dinner with Georgina.  We ate huge organic pork chops that I managed to burn on the bbq.   After dinner we sat outside the Neptune pub with Barry and other drunksters.   The dog was tired and lay on the beach and fell asleep.  The night was balmy and the sea lapped lazily over the shingle.

This morning I woke at 6am and walked the dog up to the harbor.  He loves it here.   The Greens who own the Oyster Company scrawl unfortunate notes on black boards all over their property.  Don’t do this and don’t do that. Those black boards used to be charming now they just look vicious.

Some people like to get their own way..I am one of them.  When you finally meet your match, as I seem to, it can be less than comfortable.  I am trying to be sensitive to the needs of others but I am a stubborn old fool.

As for him..the traveling companion..he’s finding his feet and I am finding mine.

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