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Scene & Herd
Room for Squares
by Philip Wong on Aug 15, 2008
Generally speaking, your friends really do have good intentions. That’s why, when people tell me I need to go out more, I know that they only have my best interests in mind. I know they don’t mean to criticize my lifestyle and my choices. They just want me to loosen up and have fun. After all, nobody wants to be alone forever. Or so they tell me. But what if not all people want to “go out more?” What if some people really are just okay with going out “less?” What if not everyone equates quantity with quality?
By “going out more", people usually mean drinking more, clubbing more, dancing more, whatever. Because theoretically, the more you go out, the more people you meet, the more friends you’ll make and the more you’ll be seen, until ultimately you become a part of the scene (as opposed to apart from it). You’ll be “in the scene", so to speak. Like, “in the know.” You’ll know the right places to go and, more importantly, the so-called right people. Sounds logical, right?
I imagine a night in the scene would go something like this. After many attempts at infiltrating the inner sanctum, you’ve finally made it. You know this because everyone pays notice the moment you are seen and heard. Imagine thousands of flashbulbs and your name up on some imaginary marquee at the Café. You walk in and those fears you once had about not knowing anyone suddenly seem like an embarrassing childhood memory. No longer do you need to go up to people; people start coming up to you.
Now picture all of this, night after night. Not only would it be tiring and tiresome, it’d also be drama filled. It’s a curious symptom of the homosexual community that, because we are essentially packed into a microcosm of a few bars and a few blocks, everyone will inevitably and eventually know everyone else. There is no escaping Johnny, who used to date Jamal, who for three nights in a row slept with Jack, who just last weekend was seen swapping spit with Jeremy, who’s having dinner with you right now. Why should anyone want to throw themselves into a scene so already saturated?
The answer to that question brings me back to my friend, the one who told me to go out more. “Go out and meet more people,” she says. “I know lots of gay guys. They’re all hot, but some of them are sluts.” Perfect. Where do I sign up?
You can’t blame her for wanting to help me out, as dubious as the proffered help may be. To a lot of people (both gay and straight), the best part about being a gay man is being able to sleep with whomever you want, no strings attached. Free from the conventional responsibilities of parenthood and family, we feel like we have the license to run amuck with our unbridled passions. It’d only be safe to assume that I, like all other gay guys, must race to keep up with the herd.
Well, guess what. I’m not speaking for myself here when I say “Thanks. But no thanks.” As hard as it may be to imagine, some of us really would prefer a quiet night at home in place of another fruitless night spent sniffing armpits at some bar. It’s not to say that we don’t like to go out, because we do. It just means that we don’t feel like we have to be part of a scene in order to be seen by the right people.
by Philip Wong on Aug 15, 2008