August 20, 2010
If you ask me what my favorite part of blogging is I might answer that it is represented by this video. You see when I sat down to start writing I had no intention, thought or idea that I would include this song as part of it. But I will and I am because it fits.
In that different life I talk about, the one that existed when I was your average college student I was a member of a fraternity. Part of the mighty Zeta Beta Tau- a proud ZBT who has ten thousand stories surrounding this time of my life. This song reminds me of one.
I was about twenty and in San Francisco with the house. We went up for a convention, must have been hundreds of brothers from various chapters around the state. It is Saturday night and we are out on the town bar hopping, looking for girls and just living it up. A group of us wander into a bar but no one bothers to look around at the patrons. We're so busy talking and drinking that we don't notice that it is a gay bar.
It doesn't take long to notice that there are relatively few women and that men are dancing with men. Some of the guys go flying out of there, but not me. I have two gay uncles and for a moment I am entranced by what I see. It is foreign to me, there is never a doubt or concern in my head about my sexuality. I like women. I like everything about them and though I kid around about it being easier to be gay, it is not what I want.
But at this point in my life I already know that one of my uncles is HIV positive. I know that my father's little brother has been given a death sentence and that friends/acquaintances of mine may freak out about this. I am not embarrassed nor ashamed by my uncle but I don't volunteer a thing about him. I don't want to engage in ridiculous discussions about his sexuality. It is a private matter, his business and there is no reason to talk about it.
My uncle lives in San Francisco, not too far away from where I am now. I have been to his place to visit many times. Been up there without my folks or siblings so I have an idea what his life is like. But this feels different to me. This intrigues me because this is closer to the "stereotype" that you hear and read about. So for a moment I stand there and look around.
The men in there look no different than I do. Out on the street no one could tell what our preference was, but here the dancing makes it more obvious. For a moment I stand there and watch. I feel like I am in a movie and the camera is spinning in a big circle. I scan the room and look for my uncle. I don't really expect to see him there. I can't decide if I am happy, sad, upset or ambivalent about not finding him.
A few minutes later I walk out and rejoin the guys. We are looking for a straight bar. Can't say what sort of comments were being made because I don't remember. Wouldn't surprise me if some were off color. I'd expect that more than a few were made about someone enjoying themselves a little bit too much in that bar.
Can't say that there is a point or moral to this story either. It is really just a moment in time, a memory whose existence was pricked by music. Perhaps the hardest part about this is accepting just how long ago this took place.
Posted by Jack Steiner