The handsome thirty something guy, who I’ve seen out and about as a popular and charismatic force in the gay community for years, boldly and dismissively ignores me when I happily nod a good morning to him at the bike racks out in front of the gym. Instinctively, I know that there could be a multitude of reasons for that rudeness – lack of caffeine, a problematic day that, now that his work out his over with, is weighing heavily before him, a head that is overwhelmingly lost in some ear worm tune that he can’t, frustratingly, eradicate from his consciousness. Or, and most likely of all, he is simply an attitude graffitied queen who perpetually wears his asshole-ness as the flavor du jour. Understandably, all of these options are analytical reflections of him. None of them, I know, personally, should affect me, yet….
….immediately I’m thrust, emotionally, back to those decades disappeared high school days. Those four years spent doused in the perfume of being lacking in what so many of the others around me determined was worthy seem so long ago – and they were – yet they are ever present.
It is why at 53, horror films still hold such a sway over me. As a young man, dealing with the daily rigors of rejection, I connected fully with the genre’s glorious outsiders – Carrie, Halloween’s Laurie Strode, Friday the 13th Part 3’s Chris…even The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy, my first love, was definitely a stranger in a strange land. Those characters helped me understand that there was power in my otherness. They proved that there were benefits to not being the king of the pride – surviving the night being primary among them.
And over the years, I have done more than just survive the night. I’ve thrived. Yet, a simple gesture can take me back there – to that feeling of not being deserving, of feeling unequal, ashamed. So, on that recent day, as that old familiar awfulness overpowered the pit of my stomach, I defiantly loaded weights off and on the racks and bars…while giving silent thanks to those celluloid entities that I not only recognize myself in, but who also gave and gloriously continue to give me hope. The Carrie’s, the May’s, they are lifesavers and proof why the horror genre, which is often given a less than reputable rap in film society circles, is ever so vital and so, so very important.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!