Thursday, October 18, 2007

Black And White Pictures Of Each Other


In high school, most of my male friends were gay, not out, mind you, but most assuredly of the love that dare not speak its name, at least not in Mineral Wells, Texas in the late eighties. It wasn't that hard to hide -- this is the decade that embraced George Michaels as a straight man in his teeny-tiny white shorts dancing with his old school chum in video after video imploring us "to wake him up before you go go." I spent a fair amount of time sitting around exquisitely decorated bedrooms of my buddies, talking about movies and art and whether Morissey was superior to the The Cure. One of my friends said that we should call ourselves "the funsters" (if this wasn't a tip-off, I'm not sure what would be) even though all we ever did was dress up, take arty black and white pictures of each other, and pick out ensembles to wear to Captain D's when we got to go to the big city of Ft. Worth. I said we should be "the gloomsters" (given the music we were listening to, those dreary longing-filled songs that sound so good now -- just like big Texas hair and Members Only jackets -- here taste gives way to nostalgia) but that never stuck. The funsters it was.

My straight male paramours were of two minds about my friends. While understanding instinctively that they provided no sexual threat, they also understood that they would be sized up under the funsters' ever-watchful eyes and often found wanting. That guy is a jackass, one of the funsters would proclaim about Boyfriend A. I miss Boyfriend B, one might lament. He could do cartwheels. (I often dated gymnasts in those days and their athletic prowess awed the funsters.) I can do a cartwheel, I'd exclaim, but they did not care. I'd been doing cartwheels for years. No one gave a rat's ass even when I learned to do back flips. But I couldn't complain. I had great friends who would sit around and talk. I never had to do anything to impress them; they accepted me completely, my total dorkiness and all. As for back flips, those would come in handy later -- as I got older and my romantic relationships demanded more time and attention, sacrifices that I would have never imagined making in my younger, idealistic days, I'd think back to the back flips, how hard they were to learn and how if you didn't keep doing them, you'd lose the skill completely and have to start over from the beginning.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones." Stephen King

Cocktail Hour
Drinking memoir suggestion: Waiting for Daisy Peggy Orenstein

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

8 comments:

Brian in Mpls said...

I am going to have to defend the cure in that battle

Charles Gramlich said...

Sometimes I think writing is like cartwheels. Even when I practice it every day it sometimes seems like I'm having to relearn, and each time it gets harder.

Whitey the Bear said...

Back flips are cool. I do them off of a beech in our Woods just outside of Boone, in Michigan's northern lower peninsula.

Ropinator said...

Your sexual orientation can be easily hidden indeed but I don't think it is wise to judge a person about that. As my Hungarian teacher said who cares Edgar Allen Poe was alcoholist etc... but he was a great writer.

Herman Northrop Frye said...

His booze problem was rough on his cats.

George Costanza said...

When I was in law school in Lansing, Michigan I used to work out at the local YMCA. One day when I was running on the indoor track a young redhead started doing cartwheels next to my lane on the infield. She introduced herself as "Gail." She also said that her stepfather often asked her to get beers for him out of the fridge. She asked if I was a student at State and if I was going for a swim in the pool after my run. I said I was going for a swim and that I would see her in the pool. It looked like we'd have the whole pool to ourselves. She looked to be about 15 ans. I think she wanted me to make her a woman. Naturally, I left immediately for the lockeroom and then my car, leaving her wondering where I went.

Ann Coulter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
whitenoise said...

You can like Morissey or the Cure and be a straight male. I have nothing against gay people, some of them make the best art, musical or otherwise, but the music isn't theirs exclusively.

It seems kinda funny in retrospect, but I was oblivious to all of that in high school. In my early twenties, I discovered that one of my computer club buddies was gay. I tried to carry on as if nothing had changed, but he could sense my discomfort and pulled away.

To this day, I'm embarrased about that and regret the loss of the friendship. I like to think that I'm an open-minded, tolerant person, but somehow it just completely changed the nature of the relationship.

We all do backflips for relationships romantic or otherwise, but some of us never master the move.