Life taught me early that existence was being in a state of constant heartbreak. Abandonment became engrained in middle school when everyone began pairing-off to experimenting with relationship dynamics, leaving me feeling alone. The domesticity templates of Jodie Dallas and Ellen demonstrated life would never consist of a cozy bubble with another; only longing. Jodie Dallas was perpetually single, and Ellen’s relationship was full of bickering. Will Graham, Will & Grace, was single through the majority of the show’s run, having serious relationships after the show found success. The domesticity on Will & Grace was not perfection, but the characters created a bubble of playing house. These were not perfect reflections of what I wanted, which was the rom-com-styles of How to Marry a Millionaire, 13 Going on 30, What’s Your Number?, and Sex & the City. I wanted to emulate the relationships by running errands, sharing chores, and cooking together. Shared calendars and outings would dictate our existence. It would be teamwork and comradery.
Throughout high school and undergrad, I exchanged emails and messages more with middle-aged adults but felt that their eagerness to meet only reinforced my Jodie Dallas induced greatest fears. Still, though, I quickly accepted an adult’s invitation to meet. Older men had seemed like the best possibility of exciting juvenile antics like in Queer as Folk or big Sex & the City glamor of theatre and art openings. What I found instead was sneaking off to funhouse mirror of the backwoods and trailer parks. I was an adolescent playing adult, attempting to stay out past bedtime by hanging with those without a bedtime.
Freshmen year of college, relationships were fleeting but sex was not. Sexual encounters were often furious and fleeting, held in others’ dorm rooms while their roommates were away, or secluded areas within lecture halls late/early mornings. The relationship that I had dreamt of, had hoped for during the college experience, eluded me. I was good enough for a lay, but not to spend time with. I looked away from the campus to familiar older gay males, hoping they’d be more worldly and attractive than when I lived at home. Jodie Dallas’ specter faded from the peripheral of my concept of homosexuality. Rather than the big city experiences that I had expected, from Sex & the City and Queer as Folk, I reversed course and escaped the dorms for ticky-tacky Connecticut suburbs. The men that I hung movie and TV inspired fantasies on, whom I went home with, would close their curtains, citing a need for privacy. Behind closed curtains I gained experiences where I came to see “privacy” as a bent mirror to my rejection of the homosexual label. They were adults trapped in adolescence, attempting to stay past their prime by hanging with the freshly prime.