Sometimes I wonder if I was supposed to be gay…

As I type this I’m listening to the soundtrack to the Broadway hit Mamma Mia. I like a lot of Broadway show tunes. People who like Broadway show tunes are supposed to be gay. That’s what I’ve heard.

I don’t have any other homosexual tendencies. I like having sex with women (I mean WOMAN, as in my wife) and have never been what they call bi-curious. Still, I’m far from what you’d call a typical hetro macho male. I like building stuff (if putting together bookcases and desks counts as building) and lifting heavy objects, but I’m not into sports, like diehard hetros are supposed to. I do watch the Super Bowl each year, and enjoy most of it, but the truth is that I mostly watch to see the cool commercials. When I was young I used to play a lot of sports in the neighborhood. We would always be playing football or softball in the nearest vacant lot. But as an adult I’m not into sports at all. Of course, that could have something to do with the fact that I’m a great big fat tubby who would have a myocardial infarction if I got together for a pick-up game of b-ball with the guys after work. If I had a job, and if there were guys present.

Speaking of guy and jobs, that reminds me of a time several years ago when I was living in New York and worked at DC Comics. There were a bunch of guys who would spend their lunch hours at a local high priced strip club. They used to ask me along but I always declined. Most times if I went out of the office at lunch I would go to an arcade down the block and play pinball. So why didn’t I go see mostly naked girls and drink overpriced cocktails? Well, nobody likes looking at naked ladies more than me. (Okay, that’s not true, and we all know it, but for the sake of argument let’s just pretend that nobody likes looking at naked ladies more than me.) And I’ve been in my share of strip clubs in my day. But the thing of it is that I kind of thought the notion of going to a strip club during lunch was just plain silly. A.) I wasn’t making a ton of money back then, and laying down ten or twenty bucks for some watered down drinks never seemed like a good investment. B.) The whole point of going to a strip club, at least I always thought, was to get excited/aroused/interested in the vast quantities of nude flesh parading around on stage. Who wants to get all excited/aroused/ and interested and then have to go back to work? C.) Drinking during the middle of the day has never worked out for me, and paying $4.50 for a Diet Pepsi just so I can see naked chicks works even less. So I never went to the strip club with the guys. Did they think I was gay? I don’t know. I quit DC to move to California to get married, so perhaps those who did rethought their opinion. Either way, it doesn’t matter.

I guess my real problem is that I don’t live up to the image of the heterosexual as portrayed in our modern culture. When I was young, based on what I’d seen in movies and on television, I thought that when ‘the man’ came home from a long day of toiling at whatever he toiled at, one of two things would happen. Either his wife (dressed in a smart outfit, neatly coifed, and complete with earrings, necklace, and high heel shoes) would meet him at the door with a peck on the cheek and a pitcher of chilled martinis, or he would loosen his tie while heading to a sideboard loaded with booze bottles, and he’d pour himself a stiff drink of some brownish liquid on the rocks. (Of course there was always ice in the ice bucket) That’s what I thought, even though nothing of the sort happened in my house. At my house my dad would come home, pour himself a short shot from the pint of Segrams whiskey he kept somewhat ‘hidden’ in the cupboard, and then follow it with a can or two of Schlitz beer. My mom never served him, and there was rarely a peck on the cheek, but that’s a story for another day. My point is that people drink like fish in the movies and on television. They also used to smoke like chimneys and light their cigarettes with a decorative lighter that sat on the coffee table next to a cigarette box. For years my mom smoked Salem cigarettes straight from the pack and lit them with a matchbook.

Still, I saw it so often I thought that was the way men were supposed to act. Drink lots of booze, smoke from morning until night, and if someone gave you a hard time you slugged them on the jaw. I don’t do any of those things and it bugs me to this day.

I’m not gay. The truth is that I don’t think the gays would have me. I’m fat, bald, have a scraggy beard, and mostly wear shorts and t-shirts. As the saying goes, I certainly wouldn’t shag me. I’m not gay but I like a lot of things that fit into the whole gay stereotype, including Broadway show tunes, enjoying an hour or two of watching figure skating on the television with my wife, and I’m certainly not thuggish. If someone walked up to me on the street and socked me in the jaw I’d probably fall down and cry a little, but I don’t think I’m alone there.

I downloaded the Mamma Mia soundtrack off the Internet and it’s not bad. I'm glad I didn't spend fifteen bucks for it. I think I like the original ABBA version of the songs better. Yeah, I like ABBA. I like Barry Manilow albums too (just the old ones from the 70s) and I listen to the soundtrack to the movie Xanadu at least once a week. If you have a problem with what I listen to you can call me gay, or you could walk up to me and give me a sock in the jaw. I’d prefer former over the latter.

Oh, and if you don’t recognize the photo in this post then you’re missing out on Little Britain, the funniest show to come out of England in a long time. Look for it on BBC America or buy the first season on DVD. It’s a hoot and a half.

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