A gay man of a certain generation
Like what I was telling a friend last night, I am now a gay man of a certain generation. I grew up in the pre-Internet, pre-Grindr/ PR, pre-Pornhub/Redtube age. It was the ‘90s and the gay rights movement was at the cusp of going mainstream. But still, finding gay porn then much less representation in the media was like searching for water in an arid desert. At that time, seeing two men cuddle on MTV or in any movie for that matter (which may seem corny today) would send my heart fluttering. It didn’t matter if the gay characters were just relegated to the fringes. What mattered, to me at least, was that they were there. I would go around bookstores and video rentals (oh god yes, we used to rent out movies instead of downloading them) sniffing for gay content. I was also a hoarder of magazines from Details to Rolling Stones to the occasional Vogue (though I wasn’t much of a fan) and whenever there was a gay celebrity talking about his or her experience I would read and re-read the article. When I learned that Michael Stipe was bisexual I became an instant REM fan. And apart from REM (and Pearl Jam, Natalie Merchant, E-Heads, etc), one of the cassette tapes (cassette tape!) that I always had in my backpack was the soundtrack of Boys on the Side. I was obsessed with Indigo Girls’ Power of Two. I would listen to the lyrics over and over again and was utterly convinced that, yes, life can indeed be multiplied by the power of two. A life can grow simply by “loving well.” I would listen to the song and fantasize being in a truck (truck talaga!) with Mike Stipe on our way to someplace happy. After forgetting about the song for years I listened to it again this week. I couldn’t believe the nostalgia! It was like looking at my 16 year old self still yearning for, well, not so much as sex but for romantic love! I’m turning 38 this year and I had gone through the full mile --- the hook-ups, the orgies (yes, orgies), the tempestuous relationships and the PnPs --- and looking back at my young self was such an odd sensation. I couldn’t believe that I felt deprived of the most basic human right, which is to simply love. I also couldn’t believe how naive I was. Boy, was I naive! Now, I am ambivalent about anything romantic and I am more than okay to sail through the rest of my life with just my dogs (but this is just me because ending up gay and alone in old age shouldn’t be considered a norm and that this belief shouldn’t be included in the gay narrative anymore). I liked reliving the sensation of having that yearning again, that need to be with someone but I also know now how stupid it was to throw oneself in a relationship armed with nothing but passion and romanticism. But though I no longer believe in romantic love per se (read: Walang forever. Haha.) I would still like to embark on a project (which I hope to do this year) that is all about gay love. I certainly hope I would have the energy and the time and money to pursue it. After all, though we are seeing more and more representation in the media, much has yet to be done. Anyhoo, now if you excuse me I’ll just sit back and listen to the Indigo Girls again and daydream about Mike Stipe and I going on a romantic camping trip.