24 May 2009

Counter-protest / Not that there's anything wrong with it

  • May 24, 2009

Counter-protest / Not that there's anything wrong with it


A friend of mine insists that I seem really gay (despite this friend being female, and us sleeping together).
As evidence she questioned someone I had just met, who agreed that whatever I was, she doubted it was straight.
As I found this more than a little strange, I proceeded to ask other people if they thought that when they first met me.
Responses mixed, but I was surprised to find some people agreed with their assessment.

The reasons I got included: that I seem comfortable with myself and others, comfortable in my own skin (mind you, I was in my own home at the time), and that I am not a sleazy slimeball.

I definitely consider those both to be very positive (and, I like to imagine, accurate) things to say about me, but it leaves an absolutely terrible implication for like, all straight men everywhere. 
Like, (aside from gay guys and me), they are all fake, all of the time (or at least around women), always trying to show off or prove something, I suppose, or one way or another acting (presumably for the chance to have sex with everyone they meet).
I have a lot of trouble believing that.

Having an inside pass, I do know that this is terribly common.  Disturbingly common.
But if it is perceived to be universal...
Perhaps this is why nice guys finish last.  Women perceive guys who are just regular, decent human beings as all being gay.

When I was younger I used to believe that everyone is naturally bi, and it is only social conditioning that makes us suppress it.  I was raised in an extremely liberal household by an openly bi former hippy who was totally honest and through in education on all topics. 
(A note for the anti-sex-ed folk: nothing can make sex less appealing to a young person than hearing about it in detail from one's mother.  Statistics show that repressive communities have a far higher teen birth rate.  I on the other hand waited until 21, and then only because the other person insisted).
I grew up not just watching but participating in the gay parade.  It was a while before I understood that a certain anonymous alcohol recovery support group was not in fact specifically for the LGBT community.  Many of my best childhood memories was of Camp Lavender Hill, where every kid was from a LGBT family.  So I was open-minded.
Then I got the opportunity to test the theory.
Turns out I was wrong.
It just doesn't do it for me.
Not at all.
Even years later, I tell myself I "should" be more open-minded.  Nothing can make me lose interest in sex faster than watching gay porn.

I am neutral on the gender tests I have taken, and I'm proud of that.  I may act effeminate by this society's standards - mainly because I am totally oblivious to the standards.  I probably wouldn't act the way I am "supposed to" even if I knew, but the truth is I don't.  When I think about it, I don't see what I could do that wouldn't be a blatant caricature of what it means to be Manly.  I think of flannel, a big belt buckle, beer, and slapping women I barely know on the ass.  I think of constantly challenging other guys to frivolous competitions and asking total strangers for her number on the sole basis of her being "hot".  Who does these things?  How can anyone take them seriously? 

On the Kinsey scale I am all the way over to the right.  I can recognize when a guy is cute.  I have kissed a few guys.  I have even gone much further than that once.  And it all causes exactly zero erotic response for me.  Even when there is a physical response from the physical stimuli, its just not sexy (and yes, I don't know how this isn't common knowledge, but the physical and mental responses are totally separate things, and it is entirely possible to have either without the other.  They generally tend to be associated, but they are separate things.)
I may be sensitive, caring, introspective, open with my feelings, honest and not at all manipulative; but the thing is I REALLY like having sex with women.  I mean, a lot.  If I could find a partner to match, we would spend at least a few hours each day on it.  I just can't even put it in words.  I walk around a college campus, a beach, some special event, all these incredible girls walking around, ohhhh, on a hot day, skin showing, dude - I can't even write this without driving myself crazy.  Remembering race day last week for example.  I could melt.  Melt onto her.  Melt into her.  Her too.  Screw all my convictions and preferences about partnership and commitment - look at that girl right there, her face, that curve where hip meets waist, firm little belly, that smile oh my god I want that girl...
That's what makes me straight.  That, and when I see or think about two guys that way (or one and me) my deepest reaction is I feel a little sick inside, (which, incidentally, allows me to understand homophobia.  Sure, they are bigoted jack-asses who buy into what some book written thousands of years ago tells them to believe -  but ultimately homophobia comes from a raw emotional place, just like for the pro-life people).

On race day I could understand people who didn't know me assuming I was gay, given the circumstances.

The Bay to Breakers, you probably know, is an annual running race is San Francisco which is unique in that it is simultaneously a legitimate competitive race in which people fly in from all over the world to compete for $74,000 in prize money, and a moving festival/party with giant floats, free alcohol, public nudity, and all manner of silly costumes.

This was my 3rd year competing, and as always I combine the two elements by actually running the course, but not wearing traditional running attire.  Its the one time a year I don my stripper outfit - silver swimsuit and a bowtie.
I hoped to beat last years time by 11 minutes.  To improve on last years haphazard practicing I started training earlier, made a schedule, kept a log, and made sure to begin my recovery earlier (I started last years race sore).  I trained smarter - but not harder.  I skipped on rainy days and never made up for them.  I did do one long run (11miles), but I never matched last year's 4 repeats on the 300ft-in-one-block hill near my house.
In the end I beat my old time but only by 30 seconds.
On the plus side I ended the race with very little soreness or pain, and for the first time had the strength and energy to walk around, see costumes and meet up with friends instead of just lying in the grass for an hour and then going home like last year.

As I began walking back the way I had come I noticed some of those "God Hates Sinners" people with their giant signs and bull horns who come out to every public party type event in San Fransisco.

And I got a spontaneous idea for a simple counter-protest.
No words.  No sign. 
I, dressed like a male stripper, still listening to my MP3 player music, stood near them, and began to dance. 

Fun.  Life.  Free. Joy.  Dance.  No one gets hurt.  How can anyone say dancing and enjoying a beautiful day like this is something God hates?  God invented all this. 
I just happen to not being wearing a lot of clothes.  Hell, humans invented clothes.  God puts us here naked.  I'm not even gay.  I'm not Catholic either.  (Catholic is in the largest font on the list of things God hates).  I think my implication was understood because all the people passing by began to cheer and wave and take pictures - which must have confused my Christian friends, as I had come from behind and they had no way to know I was there.
Eventually they turned around, and said something I couldn't hear over my headphones, and tried to move away from me a little.  Then I went on to put on another show near a different set of the same group a little up the road.  I was told by a couple people that I was their hero. 
I was just happy to make people's experience of passing by the hate filled religious fanatics a more positive and entertaining one.
I'm thinking, maybe a worthwhile annual tradition...

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