Over the four day Thanksgiving weekend I recognized gay sensibilities integrated into every aspect of our culture. After six decades on this planet, I’m thankful that, for many of us, being gay in America allows our fullest expression. My dream for next Thanksgiving is that everyone can enjoy such latitude.
1. High Kicks and Show Tunes. The Macy’s Day Parade plays on the television while I put the turkey in the oven. I stop basting to watch Broadway snippets by Tony Danza (really?), Idina Menzel, and the Rockettes kick line. Love those silver shoes.
2. Grandmother’s Dishes. My housemate and I have a cupboard full of china and silver that none of our siblings wanted. Our Thanksgiving table sparkles with crystal candlesticks, flower embellished china, and curlicued silver. We use the Greek motif set for dessert.
3. Mix and Match. Hosting Boys in the Band style all-male events is passé. Three gay men join us for dinner, along with a pair of female friends and a few straight guys. What none of us share are blood relations – everyone at our Thanksgiving feast is a transplant from somewhere else.
4. Let Them Eat Cake. The ethos of the skinny gay guy is kaput. We are as thin and fat, grey and gravity worn as everybody else. Seven pies and a gigantic red velvet cake spread across our Thanksgiving dessert buffet. We indulge in every one of them.
5. Antiquated Homoeroticism. On Friday I take in Foxcatcher. Channing Tatum’s lumbering, inarticulate jock reminds me of guys I admired and feared in high school. Steve Carell’s creepy John DuPont makes me squirm; I recall inhabiting skin that provides no comfort. The erotic dissonance of their wrestling relationship is palpable, but dated as Mark Ruffalo’s aviator glasses.
6. Yoga Sculpt. Saturday morning I take my usual yoga sculpt class. I lay my mat before the front mirror, wear only skimpy compression shorts, pump the heaviest hand weights, and drench my towel in sweat. The thirty young Lululemon women arrayed behind me are accustomed to my deep squats in their midst.
7. Sing Along Time. Saturday afternoon, two friends and I invade the balcony of an old vaudeville theater for the Mary Poppins Sing-Along; the only grownups without a toddler in tow. Then again, no one is really at grownup on a jolly holiday with Mary. I tear when the family runs off to fly kites while Julie Andrews rises to the clouds.
8. Liberal Guilt Trip. On Saturday night my housemate and I attend Eve Ensler’s new play, O.P.C., at the A.R.T. Less a play than a polemic; it suffers from too many judgments against a world of too much trash. When the lights come up we shake our heads among the middle-aged couples who wonder what we did to deserve such a scold. Eve needs to learn that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
9. Gym with Guys. Sunday afternoon is Gold’s Gym time – stretching and a triceps workout followed by twenty minutes of cardio. Unlike yoga women who exercise toward the back of the studio, gym boys strut and pose in front of their mirrors. I run my paces on the treadmill with the best view of the free-weight floor and enjoy their grunts and presses as much as they do.
10. NFL Time. I wind up my weekend like most Americans – watching football with buds: Patriots versus Green Bay. True, we have hors d’oeuvres rather than chips, wine as well as beer, and spend as much time analyzing physiques as play action. But when the Pats go down 26-21, we’re just as despondent as any fans.
With so many gay sensibilities infiltrating our society, I can foresee a time when so-called ‘gay sensibilities’ will disappear. Being who we are without wearing a gay label is not a loss I fear; it’s a dream I embrace.