"Do you hear that sound? That's your yarn...it's crying"~ Magenta Sequins

Monday, September 28, 2009

Gays of Future Past

anyone who knows me can probably attest that, when it comes to my looks, i'm not a "blow my own horn" kinda guy; if anything, i've been told (by CawfeeMate) that i have more than a few body dismorphic issues. this is, conservatively speaking, a pretty fair assesment of me. having grown up with a weight problem and other issues, i'm usually very uncomfortable and unhappy with how i look. i seldom believe the odd compliment i may receive, and it's extremely rare when i feel young, handsome and/or thin. yesterday, though, i felt all three at the same time. i owe it all to being in a room of eight older (55+), overweight, unattractive gay men at a brunch hosted by a friend of CawfeeMate. call it "schadenfreude for the vain".

we had been, invited a number of weeks ago by a friend whom CawfeeMate sees almost annually; for argument's sake, i'll refer to this friend as HowOdd*.Anyway, the invitation was for a 1pm brunch in Queens. no other details (ie. guestlist) were included in the e-mail invite and even while driving there we wondered if it would be mutual friends of CawfeeMate and HowOdd, from the hospital they had both worked at (HowOdd had recently retired). When we walked in, i was immediately struck with the knowledge that, for the 1st time in a very long time, i was the youngest person in the room by about  25 years (with CawfeeMate coming a very close second by being only 7 years my senior). Ordinarily, facts like that don't really phase me; like Nicky Arnstein (and a sponge), i can usually fit in almost anywhere. i've always hung out with a slightly older crowd and have been attracted to/enjoyed the company of older men, so i'm fairly comfortable with the salt-and-peppered hair set. this group, though, was another story. Our arrival was met with the cocktail party silence of a group of people, who already know each other, sizing up the newbies. introductions were made and CawfeeMate and i stood together, nursing our Bloody Marys, till brunch was served. during the 15 or 20 minutes between our arrival and the food observed the following:

  • with the exception of myself and CawfeeMate, everyone assembled was either retired or ten minutes away from retirement.
  • one man had, perhaps, the worst wig/toupee i have ever seen, bar none in a completely unbelievable shade of red as to suggest Raggedy Andy or Ronald McDonald. within 5 minutes of meeting him it struck me that he was also incredibly pretentious, bordering on obnoxious.
  • two gentlemen had obvious dye jobs (c'mon mary, nobody's hair is that black after the age of forty. who are you, Anne Miller?)
  • one couple (there were three) looked like brothers.
after my initial shock/knee-jerk-bitch reaction relaxed and wore off (or perhaps the 2nd Bloody Mary kicked in) we sat around talking and i learned:
  • one of the guys was a retired figure skater!
  • this was the pre-Stonewall generation
  •  they'd all, obviously, survived the 80's and the AIDS epidemic.
  • with the exception of WigMan, they were all exceptionally interesting to talk to, having been "there" and done "that" several decades before i was even a thought.
  • we're everywhere and have been forever
  • talk of Shirley Bassey, clubs and drag queens transcends every gay generation
after a while the mood transitioned from uncomfortable to surreal. it was like looking way into the future (like in Spice World or that episode of AbFab) and seeing my friends...in their sixties...sitting around eating bagels, lox and ruggelach remembering the "gay nineties"...

*HowOdd was CawfeeMate's supervisor at a previous job and despite their sigificant age difference (both HowOdd and his boyfriend are in their early sixties), HowOdd's incredibly strange sense of humor and CawfeeMate's change of jobs they remained friendly.

No comments:

Get Free Shots from Snap.com .