Being a Man; Booty Shorts to Banjee Wear
In line with Friday’s On Blast question that addressed the generalizations and stereotypes made about gay men, it occurred to me that one of those generalizations is that gay men would like to be women. I’m not blind to the segment of the gay population that has gender identity issues or genuinely feel they were born into the wrong body. However, in my case, I’ve always LOVED being male. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the beauty of a woman and even admire their curves; the magnificence of pregnancy and their ability to create a work-of-art with their make-up when they choose to. None of these things would have me switch teams – even for a moment. As a man I have the ability to be a rough-and-tumble man today, while feeling fey and sensitive tonight. Outside of an injury, it isn’t likely that I’ll bleed for a week each month and I was born with the natural toys to keep my partners and me busy and satisfied. Whether I choose to wear baggy jeans or my see-through camo shorts, I still like pulling them off with masculine appeal. I’m not trying to appear feminine whether I wear layers of clothes or virtually nothing at all. I wouldn’t shop myself as the most masculine man, but I’m in no way looking like the picture of androgyny. Being a man is not something I accept as a default of birth, but a part of me I celebrate daily. It’s who I am and who I love to be.
Yesterday NYC celebrated Pride with all the hoopla and fanfare appropriate to the city that started it all. Over the last 10 years-or-so, my friends and I will attend the festivities, but will show-up well after the parade has ended to avoid the high-time crowd and the sweltering temperatures. Last night a group of us took to the West Village and partied with folks we hadn’t seen in quite some time. I wore a black ensemble that can only be described as gymnast-meets-shameless-freak. Some said the ribbed v-neck muscle tee and rowing shorts left nothing to the imagination, but hey, we can’t all have great imaginations. My most memorable moment was when I was cutting through the crowd at the Monster (an old Village haunt) and I heard someone yell out my name and turned to find myself face-to-face with an old high school buddy. We hugged and shared an awkward peck on the cheek before spending the next 20-minutes catching up on where we’ve been the last twenty years. Yeah, it had been twenty years since we last saw each other. Odd as it may sound, I found myself checking him out to see how he aged and wondered if he was taking the same exploratory glances at me. We exchanged numbers and will be hanging real soon – especially since his boyfriend appeared a bit uneasy with our walk down memory lane. The kicker-of-the-night moment came after I was asked by a straight friend who attended the festivities, if I ever dated anyone outside of the Black race. I thought about it and laughed at my quick, “no,” response. Five minutes later I was pinned between a Puerto Rican and an Asian guy, Bringin’ Sexy Back. Hey, we weren’t dating. I guess the only draw-back was my 3 a.m. arrival home, followed by my 6 a.m. wake-up call.
True Love Is Forever
“I’ve been blessed. Hold onto those people [you love] because it’s wonderful to have someone to share your life with.” This is what 91-year old Gus Archilla says about his 62-year relationship with 88-year old Elmer Lokkins. The couple’s celebrity stems from their commitment to the gay-marriage debate here in NY. The two met in 1945. As I read their story in the NY Blade I was touched by the length of their relationship and the excitement they both appear to maintain about each other. They say they started out living together, then traveling the world together and finally married in Canada. The story pulled at my heart-strings and also answered questions many gay-marriage opponents have about the longevity of gay relationships. At a time when I question whether true love is attainable and wonder about my own romantic future, the story of Archilla and Lokkins renewed my hope for life paired with someone who I can share a mind, body and spirit connection with.
One quirky mention in the love story of Archilla and Lokkins is that they never went to gay clubs or bars and that they were very selective about the folks they brought into their circle. Gus even goes on to say (with a laugh) “All we had to do was grow old together.”
Do you believe that the secret to a successful gay relationship is said couple’s alienation from the gay community?
Keep passin ‘the open windows…