Girly Men

Dominik Valvo by Dominik ValvoI spent this past weekend woefully analyzing the old, tired, and over-debated subject of femininity versus masculinity – specifically, the notion that two effeminate Gay men can't or shouldn't date each other.

Friday found me at home with two close friends watching a double-feature – The Naked Civil Servant and An Englishman In New York. Both of these documentaries deal with the life and times of Quentin Crisp, the flamboyant, flaming English Gay man who spent most of his adult life making a public statement on the nature of homosexuality and the perception of effeminate homosexuals in society.
The look in his eyes remains a vivid reminder of the cruelty of the human tongue and the cowardice of the human heart when it is overruled by other people's opinions.
Saturday found me confronting the issue head on with the visit and extended stay of an old friend, my quite confused (and much younger) friend Alex. Alex wanted to come over and get drunk and cry. He had just been unceremoniously dumped by a guy he had been dating because, as he puts it, "the guy thought I was too fem because I started voguing in his house."

After discussions that lasted hours and a Saturday night visit that didn't end until Monday afternoon, I was able to make Alex realize certain things. The most important of which was that the guy he had been dating was not acting entirely of his own free will. I very quickly recognized something from my own past in his situation.

When I first started dating, I met a very sweet and very handsome Puerto Rican guy. His name was Willie. Willie had recently arrived in New York after having spent much of his childhood in Puerto Rico. In New York, Willie was staying with straight Dominican friends that he had met in Puerto Rico but had relocated to New York. To say that I liked Willie was an understatement. I was captivated by his beauty. He was the rare green-eyed, blond haired Puerto Rican with full, rosy lips and a devastating gaze. Despite his unnaturally haunting physical appearance, Willie's outward beauty was no match to his inner one. He was a soft-spoken gentle soul totally devoid of malice who was completely oblivious to the spell his striking beauty cast on those around him. And he was totally enthralled by the mere thought of being my boyfriend. So we dated. We dated until that one fateful afternoon when I introduced Willie to the crowd I socialized with at the time.

Now, Willie was effeminate. But not in the way that some Gay men are purposely, almost overbearingly, effeminate to make a point or draw attention. Willie was effeminate in a natural, almost innocent way. However, the vicious little circle of street-hardened, teen-aged queens that I hung out with back then only saw a terrifying stereotype that made them stop and question their own masculinity and reassess their cunty ways. No sooner had Willie taken the bus back across the bridge to Manhattan when they commenced to "read". Reading, the Gay art of verbal camp, is a devastating weapon when we are teenagers (and some fully grown Gay men are still reduced to sniveling basket cases when pelted with the small kernels of truth flung from the barbed tongues of reading queens).

Well, the rest of this story is pretty obvious. Although I halfheartedly tried to defend Willie, it became evident that to date him would subject me to the disapproval of my social circle and expose me to constant ridicule. My reaction was to disassociate myself from Willie without an explanation. I didn't even bother to call him again. He called me. I instructed my mom to tell him that I was not home. It was a tactic that I would employ over and over again during my teenage years and even well into my early twenties.

Willie did make one silent attempt to approach me. He walked past my college on a bright, Spring afternoon knowing that I would be sitting outside on the steps of Thomas Hunter Hall (I attended Hunter College in New York City). I saw him walk towards me. He saw that I was (as usual) entertaining a retinue of friends. I saw the look in his eyes. Those flashing, jade-green eyes would usually send shivers of ecstasy racing up the spine of my back. But Willie silently understood that to approach me while I was commanding the attention of my fans would have generated total indifference on my part. He looked down as he walked past me and then looked back at me quickly just before turning the corner of 68th Street & Lexington Avenue.

I am forever bitch-slapped by my own conscience whenever I think of Willie. Especially now that I realize that I prefer a slightly fem man to one who lives his life role-playing his masculinity. It is a realization that, to quote Quentin Crisp, the great, dark man doesn't exist. We are homosexuals. We are Gay. And we are meant to fall in love with each other and not with fake copies of heterosexuals.

[Alex, baby, the next time you spend three days in my house you had better take a bath or I will personally strip you naked and throw you in the tub.]

[Image credit: Dominik Valvo]


Thomas said...

This is so true

Lea said...

There are many differences that we encounter in a relationship that's why meeting someone new and blending in them is not so easy process.

gaybitchslap said...

Lea you just raised an interesting point.

And it's one I've been working over in my head for the next (second) post simply because this same friend I was referring to received a call from the guy who dumped him. He called to explain and apologize.

Watch for that post.

Lea said...

Yeah sure, I'll watch out for that next post..