When you create a blog focused on a crazy decision to live as a single gay man where there are no other single gay men, it can be a constant reminder of a part of life that’s not working.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. When I moved from Vancouver seven years ago, I wanted to step off the treadmill. I felt like I was putting in a lot of work and getting nowhere. I was tired of wasting time idling at traffic lights. I longed for a night’s sleep, uninterrupted by sirens.
Hindsight is a humbling thing. I don’t yearn for the sound of sirens, but my move may have been extreme. Perhaps the answer wasn’t going from the city to nowhere; perhaps I was just supposed to try another city. Victoria? Toronto? Ottawa?
I know now that I was not alone in feeling alone in Vancouver. A month ago, the Vancouver Sun ran a series on how disconnected residents are. They don’t reach out to one another. They don’t even nod or say hello in passing.
To hammer home the point, the newspaper published a story two weeks ago about the struggles of singles in the city. The focus was on single straight women, but I took liberties to apply their woes to single gay men. I certainly don’t see any evidence to the contrary.
So I got things half right in leaving Vancouver. I’m not a big baseball fan, but I know a 0.500 batting average is a marvel. As for life changes, it adds up to nothing.
The pessimist in me grew out of adolescence when I learned that I was a pimply faced, athletically challenged loner whose best friend was a pop radio station on an AM radio in Hamilton, Ontario. The pimples and pessimism multiplied when the family moved to Texas, with me perfecting teen disconnect on the drive down in the family van. I pulled away from family, but struggled to find another place to attach.
I found good friends on a swim team in high school. We were basically Sweathogs in Speedos, a frightful sight. I was two years younger than my peers and never figured out the East Texas dating scene with class rings, Friday night corsages and, well, boys dating girls.
The pessimist in me could see the future: I’d be alone for life, like my great-uncle in Ottawa, whose sexuality was never discussed. I could pass time cementing my knowledge of Billboard music trivia and experimenting with ways to spice up Kraft Dinner for one. (Oh, to get my hands on what the Barenaked Ladies referred to as “all the fanciest Dijon ketchup”!)
Seeing “Moonstruck” in 1987 proved a game changer. No, I did not develop a completely unwarranted crush on Nicolas Cage. Or Danny Aiello. While part of me identified with Cher’s grandfather, walking around on his own with a pack of dogs on leash, one scene with Cher hit me then as it still does when pessimism tries to take control.
I love how she slaps the mopey Cage across the face. It’s the kind of gumption one would expect if the outstanding Olympia Dukakis really were your mother.
And that—along with a song from a 1986 animated mousemovie—is when hope clawed its way back into my life. Hope’s a tricky thing. It can be a taunting mirage, that out of reach oasis in the desert. I see it at the gym, not in any of the grunters who talk of deer hunts and drunken Tuesday nights, but on the muted TV screen as a nicely dressed, well coifed political analyst or author gets forty seconds of glory on CTV News. Intelligent, decent looking, knows how to dress (or at least take advice from a producer),...my kind of man. All playful nods to my favorite newscaster aside, it’s not the “star” factor. I just crave conversation with a well-rounded man who happens to glance in the mirror before heading out for the day. There’s a difference between vanity and a healthy self-regard.
Yes, I do know that figures on the TV screen, even those many rungs below dear Anderson, are not attainable. However, they present a look, a standard. Unfortunately, my present life doesn’t present any such men in the flesh.
It would be nice to put my thoughts completely on hold while my life remains on hold. And yet, the blog hovers over me. Post something. But what? Got the “rural” thing down. Nothing new on the “gay” front. There’s no real pressure. I only post when I feel I have something to say. But just checking in a couple of times a week—“Anything to write today?”—can be haunting enough. Yes, Fievel, I still hear you. But “Somewhere” can seem so far away.