The Second Closet
Emmett Honeycutt on Showtime's Queer as Folk used “F*** them all” as his catch phrase, and probably something akin to his life philosophy. Stereotypically gay, with stereotypically gay fashion sense, and stereotypically flamboyant in his mannerisms and speech, I was underwhelmed by Emmett on the pilot episode of Queer as Folk. He was the token queen on another gay show written for straight people; the new Jack McFarland.
Because I rarely watch TV on TV, I tend to watch shows in phases, where I become obsessed with the show until there isn't any show left to be obsessed with. I watched the first 4 seasons of Lost in a period of roughly three weeks during winter break of freshman year, and went through considerable withdrawal waiting for new episodes to be produced. The phase in which I watched Queer as Folk in its entirety, (breaking only to go to the bathroom and eat something covered in salt every few days) I was simultaneously accepting and rejecting my own homosexuality. I knew I was gay; I dealt with that freshman year. I was now openly gay, but also leaving all the “gay” parts of me in the closet. I hid ABBA albums in the back of my armoire, afraid my friends might find them. I intentionally bought baggy clothes that I didn't really like, intentionally spent as little on a haircut as I could and intentionally pretended to be repulsed by Bette, Babs, Liza and Madonna. If I was gonna be gay, I wasn't gonna be gay gay. Emmett was the embodiment of gay gay. He hooked up, wore pink and said words like “splendid”.
It wasn't until he had that little stint in a “straightening out” therapy program in the middle of the first season that I began to feel for him, and consequently became attached to gay Emmett. During this plotline he attempted to go straight by joining a defacto cult he though would make him happier. Basically, a zealot from the cult who had “discovered the light” (went 'straight') found Emmett when he was particularly weak-hearted. After his influence, Emmett began to play the same game I was. We both began buying boring clothing, talked about saving ourselves for the right person, and he went as far as putting his hair in a god-awful comb-over. I became really frustrated with Emmett because he was trying to be someone he wasn't. Of course, my own hypocrisy didn't occur to me. I wasn't a hypocrite, after all I had already come out of the closet; I had stopped denying who I was the minute I changed my status on Facebook from straight to gay. It certainly is a ridiculous thing to deny who you are, I thought, as I forced myself to watch the Superbowl and like it. At least I wasn't going on fake dates.
In a later episode, after trying to have sex with a woman he was dating and finding no pleasure in it, he returned “home”. The Roxy-esque gay club welcomed him and his gay lifestyle back. With a flamboyant wave he greeted his friends decked in eyeliner, a deep v-neck and highlights. I don't think I've ever felt more relieved. Gay Emmett was back, and I was in love with him. I also couldn't help but feel a little jealous. He knew who he was, and made no excuses for it.
Even though I had come out, I was still making excuses. I can’t change the fact that I like men, but I sure as hell can force myself to watch football. My attitude was a lot like Emmett’s, except instead of trying to be straight, I was trying not to be myself. Now, I've at least put my ABBA albums back on the shelf. Sadly, I see a lot of people who haven’t come out yet- not come out in terms of being gay, but come out of their own self-imposed closets- the ones that make them put on ten pounds of makeup to feel pretty, or force them to drink alcohol and do drugs to attract friends. These teens get so caught up in their own closets that they forget their future after high school is what's really important. I'm not saying I'm done finding myself. I do think, however, that (learning from Emmett's example) I don't feel the need to apologize for who I am anymore. Everyone has a closet to come out of, and those who deny it only show how deeply buried they are. Its a scary thing to do, throwing open the door and walking out into the light where everyone can see. Honestly, though, what would be the point of wearing a deep v-neck if no one could see it?
Good? Bad? D:
So here's my Creations submission, and also my common app essay (bahaha i know XD). I tweaked the ending a little to make it more college-essay-ey, but feedback would be wonderful. (Yes I have a douchey title)
This afternoon I was driving out of my boyfriend's neighborhood, heading home. The top was down and I was pretty much the epitome of fabulous. Madonna was on the radio, and everyone was jealous. So jealous, in fact, that they couldn't help but say something. A man (probably 20s or so, though it was hard to pinpoint his age because of his rolls of fat and week old 5 o'clock shadow). I do have to admit it was my fault, the stench of his cigarette made me turn my head in his direction, and I often forget how threatening round cars can be to college-age-or-possibly-older men. "How do you like driving a chick car?" he said. He sort of slurred "chick" so I wasn't sure if he said "shit" or "chic", but when I said "What?" he repeated himself. "You know you drive a chick car right? Its a chick car and it sucks". I really wasn't sure what to say. My first instinct was to stand on the horn, but then I realized that it probably wouldn't be as witty of a comeback in reality as it was in my head. "...I love my car" I said. My initial emotion was anger. Who was this beige-jeep driving asshole to tell me that my car was a "chick" car?! I mean honestly, he probably wouldn't even be able to drive it, considering the coordination it requires to drive stick shift eludes most toads, which is what he most closely resembled.
After redlining in a probably vain attempt to show him that despite my car I am a "man" when the light turned green (though all it probably did was use more gas than necessary), my next emotion was confusion. I wasn't sure what prompted him to tell me that my car was a "chick" car- I certainly wasn't about to sell it because he disapproved. Did he feel the need to assert the masculinity of his beige Jeep Liberty over my VW Bug? Was he jealous that my car was nicer than his, therefore he felt the need to downplay it as something a "man" would never drive anyway in an attempt to mask his secret, inner desire to own a new beetle convertible? Was he drunk?
My next thoughts were no longer related to him, and more to my car. Why was his Jeep Liberty more masculine than my Bug? Purple dash lighting and flower vase aside, my car has plenty of masculinity about it. Black leather upholstery, Silver metallic paint, a manual transmission and 2.0-liter engine are all things that, for a compact car, I would consider typically "masculine".
Maybe small, round cars are inherently feminine; most muscle cars are pretty unnecessarily huge and squared-off looking, and those are generally considered masculine. On the contrary, I wouldn't consider the Volvos of the late 1980s particularly masculine either, and there wasn't anything about those cars that wasn't unnecessarily huge and a square. The mini cooper (another "chick" car) also has large, round headlights. But so does the Jaguar E-Type. After I got home, I searched the outside of my car thoroughly, and I swear to God it doesn't have a vagina anywhere. Why is it a "chick car"?
Even If I am to accept the fact that my car is feminine, why does that make it "suck"? In kindergarten, I learned that you could add "like a girl" after any verb, and it makes it an insult. You throw like a girl, you kick like a girl, you eat like a girl. All very grave insults for a young boy to hear. The ultimate taboo in American culture is becoming in any way like the opposite gender. Not that it much matters; my car is still fabulous.
I love my car. There isn't a single thing about my car that I don't love. First of all, everything about it is round. Not just the steering wheel, and the cupholders and the obvious things. Every single thing is round. The shape of the car is roughly three intersecting half-circles. The gauge cluster is a circle. The radio is an oval. The headlights and taillights are circles. Not only that, its a convertible. With my car, I can walk out of the shower with completely saturated hair, and by the time I reach where I'm headed, my hair is dry and perfectly tousled like a douchebag european model. It absolutely HATES reverse (I've spent 15 minutes once trying to push the stick into the reverse position), It never starts when I'm running late, and I'm pretty sure the cupholders are more for decoration than actually holding cups. Basically, God created a manifestation of me in a car, and that car is (if you hadn't guessed) a VW New Beetle Convertible.
The group leader however decided that in order to "keep the proper perspective", the students needed to be in their dorms by 7:00 so that they could enjoy a quiet evening of soul searching and reflection in lew of actual fun. This creates our central irony: a group of eligible college kids on spring break in Boston, surrounded by exciting nightlife, spending a Saturday night in a room with their thoughts. If this isn't some form of modern flagellantism, I don't know what it is.
My sister later discovered the "proper perspective". You see, noone is supposed to have any fun, God forbid spend any money or indulge themselves, because how could they after spending an entire day serving meals to people who are unable to join them? Quite apparently my sister doesn't have the proper spirit for the trip; rather than listening to these people's heart wrenching tales of loss and hardship, all the while inserting nods and sympathetic moans in the appropriate places, she (being the defiant rebel she is) decided to ask people about their opinions, what they thought about social and political issues, and actually discuss with them.
Having discovered that these people, like every other person in the world, were capable and thinking, openly declared to the group that she does not, and will not, pity them. This, as he discovered, flew in the face of the purpose of the trip which was to make connections with those less fortunate, to support and comfort those in need.
I'm going to be completely frank and say what a load of egotistical bullshit. Here we have the perfect missionaries, going forth to solve homelessness and squalor through comfort, support, and personal connection. Who is the beneficiary? Obviously the homeless person, who is going to walk out of the mission with a new sense of self, having been provided support and comfort from a wealthy, college educated youth who can completely relate to their problems of poverty, disease, and job discrimination. Meanwhile, the missionary gets to go back to college after his or her week of "soul searching" and "perspective" getting with further reason to take note of how uncharitible, self serving and unlearned everyone else is. This reminds the missionary of how charitible, selfless and dutiful they are, having taken a piece of their great fortune and bestowed it upon the wanting, wayward masses, truly a great and noble deed. Shall we forever hail the alternative spring break missionaries for foregoing their nightclubs, gelato, and pizza out of awareness for these pour, unfortunate souls.
The missionaries have no self serving motive here whatsoever. No ego stroking or head inflating involved there. Purely comfort, support, and perpective getting. Meanwhile, my sister, the rebellious, insensitive jerk, actually talks to these people like they're thinking adults, challenging their ideas as well as her own, and then going off sinning with her gelato, pizza and debit card, coming home without any perspective or anything gained. Truly, I am disappointed. My own sister.
I just got off the phone with my sister, who is currently in Boston doing "alternative spring break" which means she goes and serves 2 meals a day along with a group of students from her college, all the while mingling and chatting with the homeless and less fortunate. This, as I would imagine, would be an extremely depressing way to spend spring break were it not surrounded by probably one of the most fun metropolises in the entire United States. I've been around the U.S a pretty great deal, seen a good share of its cities and I can't remember having as much fun in Chicago, Houston, or New Orleans as I did in Boston. Thus after a long day's emotional wear, having served meals and heard stories of drug abuse, fall from success, disease, and any other misfortunes and victimizations you can imagine, my sister looked forward to spending the evening at Quincy Market and other nightlife hotspots in Boston.
"With hard work and determination, anything's possible" -Anonymous
I bet you're pretty glad you left that unattributed, smart ass. Thomas H. Palmer, I'd be watching my back if I were you. The world is populated with hard working, determined people who try, try, try again and never get what they want. A year and a half ago now, $44,103,525 were raised to prevent Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California from passing, while $38,766,260 were raised to support it. The people of California voted, and the measure passed with 52.3% in favor, 47.7% opposed. 12,433 hopeful students applied to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year. 1,533 were accepted. Over 700 people auditioned for the theater program at DePaul University this year. 40 will make it. Probably 10 or 15 guys tried out to be in the spring one-act play at my high school this week. 2 were cast. I was not one of them.
I'm sure there are those reading this who would argue that I am a successful performer (I was cast pretty well in Neon Mirage and Love's Labour's Lost, two of my school productions), however anyone who looks me up on SpeechWire would see that such an argument is regrettably false. Though not to say I haven't come to terms with it; at first not seeing my name on the lists of who qualified to final rounds was difficult, eventually it came to the point where hope just wasn't something I had the capacity for anymore. My best friend, Lily Zhu (who has only not broken once this season) would probably be telling me not to say or think such things. The fifty some other speakers in extemporaneous speaking who didn't make it to semi-finals at DGS last weekend could probably sympathize a little better than she can. It becomes pretty clear unsuccessful people will always be the majority, and hoping that you fit into the minority gets pretty tiring after a while.
So, when we look at today's question "How can unsuccessful people prevent themselves from jumping off bridges?", we can see... sorry. Old habits die hard I guess. And no, Mark Schmidt, the answer is not three-fold. The difficulty is that we live in a culture where being successful is the epitome of glory. Even Bill Gates, who successfully became the world's most famous nerd, is glorified. I'm not advocating a Harrison Bergeron-style egalitarian culture by any means; people should strive to put forth their best even if it isn't as good as the guys next to them. Basically, the only thing for us unsuccessful people to do is keep moving forward.
After checking the cast list today, and following a brief episode of emotional hysteria, I checked my pulse. It was still there. I was still breathing, and my room, though certifiably a disaster area, still surrounds me. Just because today sucked doesn't mean tomorrow isn't coming. As painfully optimistic as it sounds, there will be a tomorrow. Even though my words may never be interpreted by high school impromptu speakers, I leave you with a prompt:
"When looking up at the stars becomes too painful, look down at the pavement. Its a lot easier to see where you're going." -Scott Olson
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" -Thomas H. Palmer
There I sit, watching this weekly event unfold with dread in the southern endzone as part of the marching band. It was probably the second quater, because we weren't allowed to sit with our friends until after the first half. Anyway, I overhear some freshman saxophonist behind me say the G word. I get that initial rush of adrenaline, but then tell myself to calm down, that its no big deal, but I can't help but keep an ear open and listen to what they're talking about. He was talking about how he couldn't believe "those gay people" have pride parades, and how he wants to go to the parade wearing a shirt that said something offensive with the word "Faggots" on it. I don't remember specifically what it was, but it was pretty bad. I turned around and said "Uhm, You'd probably get shot...". I admit that this is probably and exaggeration (though it has happened), but I had to say something. The thing that amazed me though was when the trombonist a row behind me said "A gay guy wouldn't have the balls".
Excuse me? Who threw bricks and stones at corrupt, homophobic police officers after a bar raid in New York? Ever heard of the Pink Pistols? I bit my tongue. Ignorance like that can't be cured by an angry activist junior's shouting. I turned back around and wondered how anyone could be that ignorant, and wear it so proudly. Then, as if by God, the animal-skinned lemon came flying through the field goal, and came about a foot within hitting me in the head. My question was answered: High School.
Let's take a look back at the football-cheerleader culture our high school encourages. Varsity football players are the epitome of testosterone and "ballsiness" in arguably every public high school. Is this really "ballsy" though? Don't get me wrong, I could never play football the way they do, but how much courage and tenacity does it take to do exactly what a fervent high school culture wants and encourages, surrounded by an entire team of guys who support you? What about the performer on speech team, who at the state tournament may stand and perform alone on a stage in front of an audience of hundreds or even thousands? Or the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered teenager who, in spite of his antagonistic family, "friends" and high school, is willing to be proud of him or herself and express it?
In an effort to maintain reality I'll say that the thought of getting tackled by the offensive lineman at my school terrifies me. In that sense, I am not nearly brave enough. I am brave enough to perform a speech for an audience and a judge that they may not agree with, dress in drag on stage in front of an audience filled with my teachers and peers, and proudly tell people that I am gay. Which one takes more "balls", I will let you decide.
Isn't High School wonderful? After all, it is the "Best four years of our entire lives" (quote Dr. Brierton at my Freshman orientation assembly). Dr. Brierton, I feel terribly sorry for you that these years were the best of your life. Last night was the second of many personal hells: A varsity football game which I was (regrettably) required to participate in because of marching band. These are weekly events in which a large portion of the Warren student body comes out in blue and gold on their clothes, hair, faces and sometimes painted proudly on their chests as a testament to their super-fan mania status; all to watch 22 men dressed in tights running around and jumping on top of each other for possession of an animal-skinned lemon. Who doesn't want that? Especially when accompanied by the Devilettes, who proudly demonstrate their sexualization with provocative choreography and mini-skirt uniforms that broke the school dress code six inches ago.
Before watching the show, I was disgusted and extremely critical of the Gay community because of the sheer hedonism that characterizes Boystown, (in the show) Liberty Avenue, and other Gay communities where gay people live openly, and thought that if we as a community were to get anywhere this was a problem that needs to be corrected. After the show, especially the last season, however, I realized doesn't that make me as horribly judgmental as the homophobes? I mean, who the fuck am I to tell people to go home and find a hubby?! While no, you probably won't be able to find me in the back room of Steamworks, if that's what you want to do, and the kind of lifestyle you want to live I say go right ahead and don't apologize for it. I realized that my error was in how I was looking at "the gay community". We aren't a people. We are people. Just like everybody else, we are individually unique, our only unifying factor is the fact that we all hop in bed with people who have the same parts as us, and even that isn't entirely consistent. So if duct taping your groin, putting on heels and lip syncing to Judy Garland, or going to a club every night, snorting cocain and having anonymous sex in the back room (or both. at the same time?) is what makes you happy, then I say do it and do it proudly. Just the same, if you feel content tieing the knot and raising kids, that's what you should do. Gay pride isn't a community thing, its an individual thing. Its not sweeping pieces of myself under the rug because other people find it unpleasant to look at. I say Brain Kinney was exactly right. No Apologies. No Regrets.
There were other epiphanies that I reached because of Queer as Folk, but I can't remember them lol. I'll probably edit this post later once I remember them. Anyway, here's a few quotes from the show I really liked. (I know this makes me like... mega-dorky, but whatever. no apologies, remember?):
"Mourn your losses because they are many; Celebrate your victories because they are few" -Debbie.
"My house has many rooms. I occupy but a few. The rest go unvisited." -Lindsay
"Stop looking at the shell and see the pearl" -Emmett
"Without them [bad memories], how do we appreciate the good ones?" -Melanie
"This way, every time you open a drawer, you get a surprise." -Debbie
I highly recommend the show if you're looking for something decent to watch, and you don't mind being bludgeoned over the head with homosexuality (and plenty of sex). The characters are really deep, well rounded and well developed. The acting is extremely convincing and the drama is sincere. Don't worry, there are plenty of straight people and the most adorable lesbian couple ever. The best part I think is that the ending was satisfying. It tied everything up together, and didn't leave me with the "dammit, its over" feeling. While I felt very emotionally attatched to just about all of the characters, I didn't feel like it was unfinished, ya know?
So, I just finished the last episode of Queer as Folk (the US version of course). Let me just say, how amazingly well that show was written and put together. Every part of the show had a purpose, and it was equally critical of Gay people as it was straight. I highly recommend it. Anyway, I just noticed how after watching that show and finishing up the last season, how profound an effect it had on the outlook of my life and different opinions I had previously held.
I kind of need to vent for a bit, and seeing as all of like... 1 person actually knows this blog exists, it seems appropriate. Anyhow, on Monday of this week was my sister's culmination of overachievement, the absolute peak of win. She got inducted into the 2009 IHSA Academic Team. Gag me with a spoon. Like, no for reals I love my sis and I want her to do awesome at everything and I always have. I just never thought it would be so hard to be happy for her. Like, I don't think its jealousy, just honestly when I got home from the awards banquet thing I logged into powerschool and it definitely equalled suck. Comparatively atleast. I know you're gonna say "stop comparing yourself to your sister. you're different people". Definitely easier said than done. It doesn't help that we share a lot of the same friends, and people always mistake us for twins, and then they get all "So do you run awesome?" then I have to say "no, I don't run awesome." then they're like "what sports do you do?" then I say "I don't". Believe me, I've been through the dialogue several times, and you'd think that it wouldn't be a big deal, or atleast I'd be numb to it by now, but the "I don't" part only gets more embarrassing each time. Yes, I know I too have accomplishments and I too can blossom into a valuable and productive member of society. Everything I do is qualitative though. I don't have hard numbers to say I'm awesome, and the numbers I do have are mediocre at best.
Don't worry, I'm not blaming the cosmos for my mediocrity. I take full responsibility. I don't do homework on a regular basis, I slack off a lot, thus I get As and Bs. The troubling part about it though is that when I do really apply myself, I still get screwed by the semi-flaccid dick of mediocrity *cough Speech Team cough cough*.
Basically, my sister's awards banquet was her and 25 other student athletes being recognized for their awesomeness. They all had to be involved in atleast 2 IHSA sponsored school activities (sports or otherwise). All of them had like 5.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale or some shit and were the star quarterback or got most valuable runner all four years of their high school career (a.k.a my sister. though I think she had a 4.6 gpa. but still). It was cool having my sister be one of the top 26 of the 300,000 some odd kids that qualified, but the entire evening basically was one giant "Scott, you will never be this good", which I'd like to believe otherwise, but lets be real. To make matters worse, my sister got accepted to every college she applied to. I know that most out-of-state schools are going to be a stretch for me, and god fuck it I'm talking about college again.
I've recently been telling myself to live life in phases, not looking back regretting or looking forward waiting. Just enjoying the part of my life that I'm living now. Which is harder than it seems. Anyway, moral of the story It would feel awesome if I could look back on something I've done and be completely satisfied with how it turned out. Buh now I feel like shit. I'll post later.
ehh...i want to call joey >.> maybe later.
talk about bored, i want to like...murder somebody just because it would entertain me for a short while >.> . My mom is being sorta bitchy. She wants me to like...do...work. (a.k.a chopping up some tree they cut down) which is eww. So I'll probably avoid it some how.