Saturday, July 13, 2013


I’ve spent the past two days driving along the Oregon Coast, an area dotted with a few cluttered (tacky?) beach towns, patches of underappreciated forest and umpteen glorious ocean viewpoints, so many that they become at risk for making beauty blasé.

Ho hum, more scenic awesomeness.

We’d do well to be more like dogs. Every time I slowed to drive through a township at 25 miles per hour, my dog eagerly popped his head out to make sense of the scents. Pure delight every time!

Hoover was, of course, even more thrilled during our frequent stops at state parks and random walk-downs to yet another strip of beach.

One adventure—yes, it’s always an adventure when I jangle the leash—involved a ten-minute hike whereby we passed toddlers begging for a rest and surfers toting their boards. Oregonians are obedient people. Just as the drivers consistently consider the speed limit as just that—a limit, not a starting point—they also adhere to the Dogs Must Be on Leash signage. I dutifully followed the When in Oregon custom as Hoover continued to look up at me, awaiting the release that never came. In protest, he tugged like he hasn’t done since being a pup and dragged me over to scope out a Highland terrier.

With a little fog, we had the beaches to ourselves.
Perhaps the dog wasn’t the draw at all. Maybe he has developed better gaydar than my own rarely used device as the terrier leash connected to a fiftysomething bearded man walking with another fiftysomething bearded man. To eliminate any doubt that the men were a couple, their matching hunter green Lands' End windbreakers and navy Sperry topsiders were a dead giveaway. Perhaps my gayness was not so obvious as neither man made eye contact and they pulled away the pooch, not wanting it to associate with my sea-christened schnauzer. Horrors should Hoover shake and get a little wet sand on Fido. This couple clung to the impossible belief that the beach is to be observed, not worn.

Later, as my dog and I hiked back to the car, I tried to recall if I’d ever worn a matching outfit during the ten years or so that I had been coupled with someone. Aside from a Vancouver Sun Run t-shirt an ex and I wore (along with 50,000 other participants), I am certain we never celebrated Twin Day.

At the risk of offending some readers, I cannot imagine ever dressing alike. In fact, if I ever achieve coupledom again and we “accidentally” wear the same thing, I will blink first and go for a costume change. It’s wonderful when two gay men hold hands or share an ice cream (well, maybe not ice cream), but I’ve never understood the urge to be matchy with your match.

In university, I had a roommate who was involved in an incredibly co-dependent relationship with a mousey girl who looked to him to speak on her behalf. (She could be quite chatty when isolated from him, but always clammed up as soon as he appeared.) Each morning, he would call Anne so they could plan what they were wearing. It wasn’t so creepy as him telling her what to wear, thank goodness. No, they’d plan it together. While they didn’t always dress like Raggedy Ann and Andy, it happened enough that, yes, that became their nicknames and I’m pretty sure I did not so anoint them.

Maybe I am single for a reason, but I’ve always felt each member of a couple must retain his own identity. You can like each other without dressing alike. Going twinsies has always felt like the couple is trying too hard. Look at us! My heart belongs to him! My wardrobe, too.

I suddenly recall what is perhaps the real source for my disdain for matchy mates. Maybe it all has to do with my mother. Oh, why do mothers have such a lingering impact?! She took a night class when I was in fifth grade. Apparently, she felt her Singer sewing machine—a housewife staple at the time—wasn’t being put to good use so she learned how to make boys’ clothes. For the next year, she bought fabric in bulk—my father, though a doctor, was notoriously cheap—and made an entire clothing line of t-shirts for my brother and me. I had yet to develop a spine so, every Sunday, when we went for dinner at my grandparents’, my first grade brother and I dutifully wore our matching shirts and smiled for the camera. No self-respecting guy wants to dress like his kid brother. Let him have the hand-me-downs when I’ve outgrown a particular garment!

No one around...I released the dog!
(And I made sure to change out of my green shirt.)
The only saving grace is that my father preferred slides to photographs at the time and none of the pictures have been converted to a current means of viewing. (For once, I am glad he is penny conscious!)

All this dressing-like-my-partner business is moot as long as I am solidly single, Still, I have a loopy confession. Today I am wearing a green shirt and I refused to put the red leash on my dog as we prepare for our next law-abiding beach walk. Red and green remind me of Christmas and the color combo is ludicrous in July. I dug out his black leash and collar and now we’re good to go. Color matters; just don’t go crazy with coordinating what to wear.


canoetoo said...

Dressing alike. There are two gay men who live up the street from me. Although they don't dress exactly alike, they both dress in shades of beige that makes them look alike more than I would tolerate. (They both have approximately the same build.)

I cannot tolerate certain 'ugly' footwear. A friend wears these clunky (supposedly comfortable) shoes and wonders why he can't find a boyfriend. He should just look at his feet.

And at Victoria's pride festivities, I saw a guy wearing those 'five fingers' barefoot shoes. I would rather remain single than have a boyfriend who would wear those in public.

Rural Gay said...

Yes, CT, so often I've felt as shallow as a character on "Seinfeld", but I don't want to date a prime candidate for "What Not to Wear". (You just know the people on the show will revert to crocs and cargo pants.)

I have my own footwear challenges since I will not wear leather. (I used to have the BEST shoe collection. I try not to even peek as I pass through Nordstrom!) Now I have a colorful collection of Converse casuals and a too-limited stock of "vegan" dress shoes that I buy online.

I do think guys--including me--aren't very aware in the shoe department, so to speak. We wear comfy pairs long after their expiration date. What feels good doesn't always look good.