Thursday, August 04, 2005

A.S.S.

It happened again last weekend. I met another gay New Yorker afflicted with A.S.S.

Asshole Saint Syndrome.

These are the New York gay men who rear back, hands to their chest, with an aghast expression, when they realize that despite my being of the right age, despite my having partied in almost every gay ghetto in the country, and despite my historical devotion to nightclubs, dance music and DJ culture, I never attended The Saint, easily the most storied and legendary gay nightclub in the history of the world.

I stand there and watch them become dumbstruck, because for them, I've just become some unreachable person. Because, since I never went to The Saint, I've never danced, I've never loved, I've never laughed, I've never heard music, I've never known joy.

And since The Saint closed all those years ago, apparently I never will.

Hence, A.S.S.

I watch them struggle to make it OK for me not to have gone, saying things like "Well, there were some good places in South Beach too....." And then their eyes glaze over. Once, a man told me that trying to describe The Saint to someone who never went, was like trying to describe the color red to a blind person. "There's just NO frame of reference!" Another man, an online suitor, attempted to close the deal by sending me a stock photo of the crowded Saint dancefloor, with an arrow pointing to one of the thousands of tiny heads, saying "Me!" Because by virtue of his having been a member, obviously he should be MUCH hotter, in my eyes.

The Saint's membership list was virtually decimated by AIDS, no doubt at least partially due to the rampant group sex going up in the balcony. The survivors hold onto their original membership cards or event posters as the gay historic relics they rightfully are. I even know someone who has a tiny piece of The Saint's famous dome, which he hangs reverently on his Christmas tree every year. But the A.S.S. guys also seem to take great satisfaction in having been part of something that YOU weren't, as they make pointed in-jokes to each other about certain moments in Saint history.

And I'm sorry, but if every queen who has told me that he was there, actually was, when DJ Robbie Leslie played "Hold On To My Love", the final song ever played, then that place must have held about a million people.

I'll be honest, I'm sensitive to A.S.S. because it DOES pain me, greviously, to have missed seeing, even once, something that has become bigger in legend than it perhaps was in real life. And I've done all I can to fill in the pieces, culturally. I've followed the careers of Saint DJs that are still performing, attending their sets when I can. I've bought Saint mix tapes, booted directly from its hallowed consoles. I've attended many of the Saint-At-Large parties, pale imitations that I'm told that they are. I even belong to an online discussion forum, where former Saint members routinely bring each other to tears with their shared memories.

But I swear, as Jeebus is my DJ, that the next A.S.S. queen who rolls his eyes at me and gives me that combined look of condescension and pity, when I reveal my non-Saintness, I'm gonna.....continue to feel crummy about it.



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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

What IS a husband?

Yesterday's post about the new gay nomenclature reminded me of something I've been wondering about for several months. When gay marriage finally becomes widespread, how quickly (if at all) will we act to correct each other when we identify someone's significant other?

"There goes David and his husband."

"Oh, they aren't married, just living together."

Will we do that? Will we give those who choose not to marry a verbal downgrade to "just living together", to "just boyfriends"? Gay people have traditionally operated fast and loose with the rules of defining and naming our relationships.

Will there be a sense of relief then, as we convert to straight society's heirarchy of relationships, and start identifying couples as: dating, living together, or married? I think that the implied legitimacy of a legal marriage will tempt many of our people to begin resorting relationships into those separate categories, and I don't know how I feel about that.

I am friends with several couples who have been together for than ten years. I have no idea what their opinions on marriage may be, but I do know that they will always be husbands, in my mind, regardless of what legal status they may assume.

Canada will be the first place we see this play out. I'm hoping that I'm wrong, but I have a strong feeling that a sense of triumphalism will lead our people to start the renaming, almost immediately.


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Monday, August 01, 2005

The Male Mistress

Last year, when New Jersey's governor was going through his "I am a gay American" disclosure, there was a lot of discussion in my office regarding how the press should identify the Israeli citizen with whom the governor had been having an affair.

Was the young man the governor's "lover"? His "paramour"? There were lots of fancy words tossed about, but ultimately our favorite came from our admininstrative assistant, a young girl from the Bed-Stuy area of Brooklyn, who'd been quietly listening from her position in the lobby.

"If the governor had cheated with a girl, she'd be his "mistress", right?" Melinda asked us.

We all nodded.

"Well, since he cheated with a man, I think they should call him the governor's "histress!"

By immediate acclaim, histress became the word. And with the increasing availablity of legalized gay marriage, it's a word that I fear we shall hear again.


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