Thanks to my immune deficiency, every few weeks I end up on bed rest watching documentaries about gay people and coughing up blood. My room permanently smells like a Halls cough drop, which sounds like a bummer but is actually great since one-night stands always compliment my “clean smelling” room.
Two weeks ago, walking to the doctor’s, I thought, “You know what would be funny? If I ran into one of those English homos I wrote about on VICE at the doctor’s office!” Then, as I entered the line in the pharmacy to pay for my prescription, I spotted Corpus—an elitist asshole, who ragged on my American background and whom I haven’t seen since the article’s publication.
He turned around.
I decided to pretend his glasses prevented me from recognizing his red reflection. I wanted to buy my prescriptions and leave. Although I write confrontational articles, I hate drama as much as everyone else. (Most articles I write send me into anxiety; however, since I believe someone needs to tell the truth, I write them anyways.) He turned around again.
“Are you waiting here?” he asked. I nodded. He turned around and then pivoted. “Do you not remember me?”
“Of course I remember you. How could I forget you?”
Last time I saw him, he made a nasty comment and then formed a heart with his hands Lindsay Lohan’s Samantha Ronson Era style. This time, he waited for me to comment.
“How was your break?” I asked.
“I have tonsillitis. I pulled two all nighters last week.”
“Me too. Now I’m sick also.”
I thought this insipid small talk would last five minutes; the pharmacy asked both of us to wait against the wall for fifteen minutes. Only two seats were empty. I sat down next to Corpus.
We both stared into the distance—lime green walls and rows of off brand pain medications. A polite British boy, he asked me stupid questions; an American hypocrite, I mumbled answered and continued to look at the walls. He waited for me to apologize, and unlike my internet persona, I avoided confrontation, trying to think about gossip magazines for sale downstairs, when all I could think about was whether or not I should apologize, although I believed in every word I wrote.
The pharmacist called his name. He paid for his medications and then walked toward the exit. He stopped and turned toward me. A second past, and then he mumbled, “See you around, Mitchell.”
The vigilante, working class loving writer in me wanted to lift my fist in triumph. I had stripped a boarding school twat of his classic confidence—but that meant I had brought a boy down, a gay boy.
Posh manners and bullshit aside, I’m similar to this boy. We’re white and privileged, but we’re also gay: minorities beat up by homophobes and conservatives every day. Writing that article allowed me to point out class issues with in the gay community, but in the process I hurt people’s feelings.
After I left the pharmacy I lay in bed watching How to Survive a Plague, a documentary about the gay men and allies that banned together to solve many facets of the AIDS epidemic. Our generation of gays lives in the shadow of rights the seventies and eighties gave us. Yes, Congress needs to handle gay suicide and homelessness; yes, marriage rights have yet to occur. But those of us blessed to come from rich (and often white) backgrounds are lucky enough to go to university and express our sexuality. Instead of banding together and reveling in our freedom, we argue about twinks and masc guys, rich and less rich.
Maybe freedom means less people getting along.
Or maybe issues still exist (I pointed out those issues) (at least I think I did), but looking back I’m not sure if my article opened debate or just alienated the community more. Perhaps I should have written it in a different tone? Or maybe I’m a bad person, and the world needs bad boys to point out the problems and hurt people in the process to build a better future. I don’t know. This isn’t an essay. This is a thought post, a piece written in the now that isn’t sure what the answers are. Maybe one day I’ll know.
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image via Flickr user epsos