re: As middle aged gay spoilers
Posted by: BruceinIthaca 04:02 pm EDT 03/20/17
In reply to: re: As middle aged gay spoilers - NewtonUK 01:35 pm EDT 03/20/17

Well, as a relentlessly neurotic and annoying gay man myself, I can tell you I felt the character's pain--and the kind of isolation from other gay men he experienced. So many people assume that gay men all are part of one big, singular social group. For many of us, particularly introverts, the whole bar, club, or even general social scene can be difficult to navigate, and having a friendship circle comprised primarily, even exclusively, of straight women is far from unknown--such men may feel less judged on things like looks by their female friends and the absence of sexual tension can make such friendships more possible. I was fortunate--in my late 30s I found someone who has been happy to be with me--neuroses and annoyances and all--for over 20 years. And a friend of mine is fond of quoting the old saying, "There's a lid for every pot." Dan Savage took some criticism some years for asserting in one of his columns that some people are probably destined, despite their desires, to be "singletons" forever, and, while this sounds brutal, his point was to suggest that this did not mean that such people did not have value nor that they could not have happy and rewarding lives. I do think the phenomenon, while it obviously affects all populations, may be particularly acute among gay men, where youth and certain standards of physical attractiveness can be even greater impediments for finding happiness with anyone who does not meet certain expectations. I expect that we are seeing Jordan at an existential "tipping point," on the verge of his 30s (Jurassic in gay years, at least in some subcultures of gay male life)--and the play leaves open-ended whether he will remain alone or will find his "lid" later--whether he will also adjust what may be too rigid expectations (or too superficial ones) about who would make a good mate for him (someone who may share his love of historical documentaries, perhaps, who may not be the "right" physique or "age" bracket is out there--but how to find him?). But the terror of not knowing "how" to move forward in his genuine quest for love and connection felt real and poignant to me. And I am facing turning 60 this October--but I remember feeling as Jordan did and that is one of the reasons I found the play moving, funny, and poignant. It is slight in form, yes, but Glick and the company made me care about these people. I teach undergraduates and I see them trying to make connections. I went to a restaurant a few weeks ago and our handsome young waiter worse a rainbow bracelet (this is in small-town, even if enlightened Ithaca). I complimented him on the bracelet and he said, with good cheer and pride, that he liked to raise awareness about his sexual identity. He revealed that Ithaca was a tough place to date for him (and he was any gay men's image of youthful attractiveness), as he had never gone to college and there were few ways to make connections outside of that, beyond online sites, which were not his "thing." He was very sweet and warm--would make a great boyfriend for many people--but felt somewhat at a loss in a town where the minute possible men around his age he met in any of the downtown bars (none of which are identified as gay bars--we have no such places anymore) found out he had gone straight from high school to the service industry, they lost interest in him. I hope that young man finds someone worthy of him--he seemed like as good and loyal a person as one could ask for. So, while the form of SO is rooted in sketches (not unlike "The Heidi Chronicles"), it still is getting at human heartache.

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