Hit or Miss

In which Matt reflects on queer sensibility

After reading recent entries by Steve, Jonno, and Richard about queer sensibility, I’d like to add my 2 cents.

Like Steve, I don’t think I’m particularly funny nor do I have a sense of humor, but other people (especially here in Kirksville) have told me that I do. But I don’t think I’m funny at all. Shut off from interaction with people like myself by my remote, rural location, I think I’ve become more sober and serious than I have ever been before. But people still think I’m funny. Is it because I’m probably more bitter? Is that humor to them?

I’ve often read that a queer sensibility develops out of trying to deal and cope with being an outsider. Well, I felt like an outsider growing up, convinced that I was the only gay person I knew — pretty much like the rest of the gay population in the country.

But the second part of the formation of a queer sensibility, I believe, developes out of banding together with other queers or people outside the mainstream and founding a countercommunity or support network. Unfortunately, I never really reached that step.

I’ve always felt like an outsider in the gay community, but I think that’s because the “gay community” I’ve mostly experienced is the “undergrad college” gay community – concerned mostly with silly parties and socializing and usually devoid of serious conversation and topics beyond the basics (If I have to sit through one more “Let’s debate Religion vs. Homosexuality” program like I did the other night, I’m going to shoot myself). During my last year of grad school, I began to mingle with a older crowd of folks (through my boyfriend), who I felt I had more in common with – an appreciation for the arts, pop culture and computer technology, serious conversation, and laid-back, small group socialization. But now I’m back again in an undergrad environment, where the students’ idea of outreach and education is throwing a kickass, beer-laden party with techno music that the straight people on campus will be jealous they didn’t put on. There’s only a tiny group of gay faculty or staff (mostly older than me) who are nice, but not really a peer group or social network for me.

Like Steve, I read a lot of weblogs written by gay men because I “click” with they’re writing about. I may not visit the gyms and scope out guys like Minx, or go to kinky parties like Jonno and Richard, or move in artistic New York circles like Dan — and I can’t say that I would even if I lived in a big city — but they provide me with a daily dose of adult gay male culture and life that I don’t see here and have never been around before.

And if I had my way, I’d be friends with Brad, or Bill, or David (or folks like them) in real life. We’d talk about the arts and trade cast recordings. We’d go for coffee. We’d beam each other notes on our Palm Pilots.

But there isn’t anyone around here in Kirksville even remotely like them, so I make due by reading their sites.

So, I don’t know what queer sensibility is. I don’t know if I have it. I do know that I don’t know how to dance, or cook, or pick out fun clothes, but I do love show tunes. And I know I’m different than the majority of the people, even gay, that I meet everyday.

3 responses so far (Respond)

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I do NOT have a Palm Pilot.

But, yeah. I feel like I got the short end of the stick by developing the showtunes bit but not the “good dresser” part. And I often look at phenomena that make up “gay culture” and think “I’m not cut out to be gay,” but then I meet people or read things like your blog and know that no matter how small of a niche-within-a-niche-within-a-niche we might categorize ourselves, we do occasionally connect. Of course, the same could be said about “humanity,” with “gay” just being one niche we connect within.

dlevy | 22 Oct 2000
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Well, sweetie, we can get together for coffee any ol’ time, provided one of us undertakes a bit of a commute. And as soon as I think of something better to slip you in exchange — Starmites IS a tuneful piece of krep, as you said — we’ll have officially swapped showtunes. (I don’t have a Palm Pilot either. I do have a nifty cool blue Visor and you can beam me anything you like, sugar!)

The Brad | 22 Oct 2000
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Why not have everyone come out for a little convention in LA? I’ll make the coffee!

David | 24 Oct 2000