PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Saturday, February 12, 2005

VH1: Behind the Fag Hag

OK, so you know I was raised in the utter sticks, but did you know I was raised by hippies? Hippies who got fired from their social worker jobs when my father tried to start a union? And we lived on a quasi-commune in Iowa, which goes over like an iron dirigible when you're talking about a sheltered conclave of conservative, religious people who really don't want to think about anyone being different from them?
Oh, yeah. Well, all that happened. Oodles of stories, my own personal Kafka novella. Raised without television and indoor plumbing until 9th grade. (And then, we only got the toilet. Dad didn't get a tv until a couple years ago. Now he's Mr. MacDaddy Plasma screen. Go figure.)

So, my father being an artist, we spent summers travelling to art fairs around the country. I saw all sorts of people.... all sorts of art..... all sorts of highway. I still remember that bizarre mix of being 10 going on 32. My dad and I walked by a couple of hippies in Madison, Wisconsin, and I said, "They're smoking pot!" And Dad got all wigged out, "How do you know what pot smells like?" Uh, Dad. You may have stopped smoking pot, but I still figured it out when I was like, 6. You didn't label me precocious for just learning how to read, duuuuude. :)

Anyway, as we travelled the country, I met a wacky wonderful lady, also an artist, who introduced me to my "Uncle Michael". Uncle Michael had a partner (I don't remember his name) and Uncle Michael was a dentist. And had been married, and had a 12-year old daughter. A daughter he couldn't see, because his wife had custody, and a gay man could never be fit to be a parent, and why not, it was the early 80's and gay men hadn't even started spreading the plague yet. I was apalled that he couldn't see his daughter. And that, dear friends, is when one of my bright flames of justice burst forth inside of me. (pun intended!) All through college and beyond, I have attracted gay men the way a 60-watt bulb on a humid summer night attracts bugs. Even now, and I don't know if it's my style, my size, or some pheromone I emit, but most gay men just click right onto me, like a Lego snapping into place. And ooooh how I adore it. I used to frequent the gay clubs with some regularity, and enjoyed the freedom/lack of pressure those places seemed to provide. How can you go wrong with great dance music, and no pressure to meet your life partner? You can be outrageous and it's accepted. You can be bitchy and you get crowned with a tiara. You can even kiss them and never have to wonder the next day if they're going to call you again. Because they will. I realize people find it easier to hate what they fear, than to work through their fears and find tolerance, but easy doesn't equal right. I only have to think about Matthew Shepard and my heart grows so heavy, that such hatred and violence exists in the world, towards individuals I consider as close or closer than family. But I shall not end on a sad note. After all, there is still much dancing to be danced, and parties to be impeccably hosted, and gossip to be shared.

To all my wonderful gay friends, I toast you with a raspberry champagne cocktail. With a cherry. And an umbrella. And a twist. With plenty of lipstick on. (Would I toast you any other way? I think NOT.)
posted by PlazaJen, 10:45 AM