Naked emotions -- by Jason Dilts Gayly Homo on the Range Columnist “I can’t be naked with you physically because we’ve already undressed each other emotionally.”
That’s what he told me late at night while we were standing in the kitchen downing shots of tequila. Both of us were trying to numb a certain pain. He didn’t know how to be alone. I had no idea how to be with someone else. I needed another gulp of poison to wash down the words. Even in an inebriated state, I understood their meaning. Neither one of us knew how to form a healthy connection. He was an intellectual who chased after twinky blonde guys whose waste lines matched their IQs. I was an artist who created disaster by falling in love with men I could never really have. Those words got me thinking about the larger issue of gay men and intimacy.
We are masters at compartmentalizing our emotions. We box up the most vulnerable pieces of ourselves so that no one will ever see how truly fragile we are. We hide this case inside a closet, and we hope no one ever discovers it. Inevitable, though, we let our guards down. When we do, we make sure the person who discovers our pain will never penetrate it. We’re so afraid of what’s on the other side of agony that we deny ourselves the ecstasy of real intimacy. I wanted to know what was on that other side, even if I was unable to get there. You can usually tell within the first hour if you’ll ever have sex with someone; with him, I knew the answer was a definitive no. I didn’t get interested in that first hour, though. My fascination built over time. It wasn’t until I understood how truly
multi-layered he was that I wanted him. By then, the friendship discourse had settled in, though. We were friends. Just friends. He would never be with me because we both knew too much about each other. I knew too many of his secrets, and he held more than a fair share of mine. So one night, we found ourselves downing bad tasting, cheap alcohol for hours in a lame attempt to intoxicate ignorance. It’s a sad, simple fact: gay men are pretty much handicapped when it comes to achieving true intimacy. And no, that’s not because God created Adam and Eve. The universe is challenging us to connect at different and higher levels. A man-on-man marriage of raw carnal knowledge and expressive sentiments is the latest
Angels in America - The stellar and inspired casting is reason enough to watch this epic play about the AIDS crisis ongoing in the ‘80’s. With the likes of Al Pacino, Patrick Wilson, Meryl Streep, MaryLouise Parker, Justin Kirk, Ben Shenkman, Jeffrey Wright, Emma Thompson and many more. Director Mike Nichols manages to get totally memorable performances from everybody in it. The individual dramas all weave together with theatrical flourishes for the eye and ear. There is the severely closeted conservative lawyer Roy Cohn refusing to admit his condition, his closeted Mormon protege Joe Pitt, his mother and druggie wife, the gay couple breaking up, one infected having visions of an angel informing him he is a prophet who should warn the world. It tackles failures, regrets, guilts, loyalties, religion, and politics yet manages to find comedy (some would say gallows humor) in unlikely areas. In all, it is a profound and poetic experience with applications to today’s environment. The Ides of March - Everybody loves an intense political thriller about corruption flowing through a political campaign like dollars through a super PAC. Not only does George Clooney direct this film based on a play and true experiences of a Howard Dean aide but Clooney also comes from behind the camera stepping in and out as the cool and collected candidate trying to cinch the final days of a highly contested Ohio presidential primary. The incredible Ryan Gosling plays the ambitious campaign press secretary wrestling behind the scenes with an avalanche of moral and ethical issues. Gosling thinks he has a grasp on the situation but he keeps discovering the Machiavellian dimensions may be more than he can handle. While the moderate Democrats in this appear totally manipulative and power hungry, it also suggests there is another political party “out there” far worse to the Nth degree. However, it also never excuses anybody for a lack of loyalty and trust even as it maintains a cynical sneer.
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trial in the human condition. For all of you “G” and each of you male “B” readers in the sexual orientation alphabet soup, this is your destiny, along with mine! Maybe we can continue to fumble around. Maybe you’ll have better luck than me at manifesting true intimacy out of disheveled entanglements. Or maybe we should just do what he told me the morning after, when the tequila bottles were empty and we could both conveniently pretend those words from the night before were never said. “You should be with someone who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with him.”
Shouldn’t we all?
Jason Dilts is an activist, writer, and non-profit manager currently based in Wichita, KS. He pens regular columns for Wichita’s premier alternative magazine, Naked City and writes arts & cultural pieces for The Wichita Eagle. His Homo on the Range blog explores gay life in the Midwest and the wide-open possibilities that come with being you, anywhere. Check it out at www.HomoOnTheRange.com.
November is a big election month and it is also leading right up to World AIDS Day on December 1st so here are two productions along those themes worthy of your viewing time.
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