I’m totally out of the gay loop. I don’t know crap about what my fellow homos are up to.
I feel like some sort of gay free-lancer, that every once in a while lands in a circuit party and doesn’t really know what the hell is going on. I always get bored and go home wondering what that was about.
I’m so bad with keeping up with the gay updates that only about six months ago I started shaving my testicles. It never occurred to me that it was mandatory behavior to get laid in Manhattan. I had no idea what a K-hole was until Rick—my ex-ex-ex—explained it to me. Incidentally Rick is the “ex” that sent me to therapy twice a week.
Then there’s Fire Island. When I was first introduced to The Pines by David—my ex-ex—he took me around explaining the tight schedule: the late beach show up; the tea time at the Pavilion; when to cook dinner, when to do drugs, and when to hit the Meat Rack for a moonlit rendezvous. It sounded too complicated for a vacation, so I passed.
I don’t do drugs so I’m a downer when it comes to hanging out with A-listers. I never know what the drug of choice is, how to get it, how to use it, etc. I’m the perfect subject for an episode of “Queer Eye for the Queer Guy.”
I came to this city as an adult, and it took me a few years to figure out how to relate to the gay community. Straight people have it easier. My friend Beth moved from St. Louis to a little town near Princeton. She happens to be Presbyterian, so she baked a batch of cookies, showed up at a Sunday service, and she was instantly welcomed.
When I first got here I assumed that to be an active member of the community I had to build up muscles and party skills. The graduation ceremony was to be featured in one of those photo collages of HX. It seemed like the only way to relate to other gay guys was through the Pines or the parties. The Center looked like a creepy place for losers who couldn’t hook up in a club.
Rick—the ex-ex-ex—inadvertently helped me to overcome my prejudice against the Center, when, years ago, his demise made me start 12-stepping in Al-Anon. It saved my life and helped me realize that there was more than one gay scene in New York. I discovered a wide range of circles and activities that range from Bible studies to tantric sex. I’ve met fantastic people at the Center. Sure, I’ve also met some creeps, but don’t we meet them in bars as well on a regular basis? My social life doesn’t revolve around the Center anymore, but it helped me realize how diverse the gay and lesbian community could be.
A couple of weeks ago one of my “gay lifestyle” consultants, Daniel, delivered disturbing news. According to Daniel, all his party friends that had been doing crystal for the last year or so are either dead or in rehab. It always breaks my heart to see good looking guys—or anyone for that matter—go to waste, but even as an outsider I can understand the lure that drugs have for the gay crowd in New York. The party scene still is the most visible part of our community, and people go to any length and expense to feel like they belong.
This is the deal: I came to New York because I was looking for an open society based on tolerance where I could question the rules that I grew up with, and find other people who had the same goals. We, as homos, are naturally prompted to question society at an early age, so I don’t understand why we are so eager to conform to the dangerous and complicated set of guidelines imposed by the A-list.
The same as we spread the word on how to get Chinese Viagra, or the benefits of mixing Oxycontin with tooth-paste for a cleaner high—I just made that up, so don’t try it—we have to spread the word on all the fun things we can do that don’t involve self-destruction. Yes, we all have the need to belong to a group, but there are plenty of groups that we can join, and even more groups than we can create because we live in the most diverse city in the world.
Isn’t that a wonderful thing?