Filed under: Musings, S/Alexander | Tags: homophobia, men, minus ned, straight, the boys in the band, white
Straight white men were never been my target audience. Before this blog goes any further, I understand that I just alluded to myself as if I was a soft drink or television program – but those analogies aren’t too far removed from the truth. How many of us, myself included, change the way we behave in certain instances to be liked more, to make friends? In high school, the only time where I had considerable one-on-one interaction with groups of white males, I feared their presence. The white girls found me adorable and the black kids didn’t pay me any attention, but the white boys were the ones who commented on the nascent swish in my walk. They whispered “Faggot” in the hallways, and tried to pick fights with me in class. During one particularly traumatic lunch period, three white men stole my book bag and spun it over their heads, tossing its contents onto the ground, while everyone else laughed. While I’ve managed to forget most of high school, no doubt as a defense mechanism against a therapy bill I am too poor to afford, I have never managed to forget my distrust of straight white males. This all changed recently when I managed to befriend the Boys in the Band.
These boys are not to be confused with the bitchy queens from the camp-tastic 1970s movie. They are straight and white and border, occasionally, on the frat-ish. They all went to school together, or knew people who went to school with the others, or simply were from the same town – in all honesty, their connection has never really mattered that much to me, as their connection to one another seems as divinely ordained as if they were brothers. They finish each other’s sentences, order for each other in restaurants, bum cigarettes from each other’s packs, and live in what should be a pool house together, except for the fact that there is no pool. They spend their days working regular jobs around Los Angeles, and their nights and weekends as members of an up-in-coming blues, pop rock band.
We met months ago in the front apartment, spent some time drinking together, and somehow (against all odds) I managed to make friends with them. I write about it now only because I am surprised at how easy the entire thing went. Our mutual friends fostered our friendship, praising each other’s virtues as if willing us to be friends. From the first moment there was none of that “fear-the-queer” shit that you usually get with straight white men, nor were they the lease bit curious about my being gay. More importantly, I didn’t find any of them personally attractive, which has been the doom of so many possible friendships. Instead, we talked about music, went drinking, and I hung out at their place. They became fans of the blog, with one of the guitar players (at a friend’s birthday party) reciting his favorite lines between cigarette drags. In return, I went to one of their shows, preparing myself for a horrid lie that I never had to tell. They were actually talented, and I bought their CD the next day – the first time I’ve bought music in the last decade.
I don’t know if this post has a point, besides my own curiosity about my own shift. Had I become more palatable, or had there been some change in the personalities of straight white men that I had failed to notice. Sitting across from them this weekend at a bar in Hollywood, I couldn’t help but feel relaxed in a way that high school Stefan would have marveled at. In between cigarettes and beers, we talked about movies and music and I managed a clever sports reference that didn’t make me seem horribly out of the loop. In short, we hung out, and (not for the first time) I realized how far I had actually come.
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