I’m listening to my Duran Duran station on Pandora with absolutely no irony as I begin this blog entry.
Well, just my usual cheeky irony…I can’t take a day off from that.
And I say “begin” in my first line as if this draft isn’t almost a full year old – 357 days to be exact. I figured coming up on my first anniversary of this most recent incarnation of At Least I Have a Friggin Glass, that I should really complete some of the early themes I intended to cover here, be it as a Subject Matter Expert (self-proclaimed, of course) or simply as a reporter on the casual misadventures of my life.
Plus, I mention the Lost Boy phenomenon so frequently, that it really needs to be something I can link back to as a sort of virtual footnote.
Of course, all this build up to some concept that is pretty easily discernible. To anyone who went to grade school, grew up on Disney movies and amusement parks or read the JM Barrie classic growing up – like I did. It was part of a Reader’s Digest abridged collection my family had from ever since I could remember when I was a kid. If I remember correctly – which is always an iffy proposition – my grandfather gave them to us as part of his annual Reader’s Digest renewal gift with purchase.
All we seem to get anymore with our subscriptions are stupid tote bags.
So, no big mystery, these alleged Lost Boys of literature and film. But in my experience through this gay veil I wear, the Lost Boys that I encounter are a little different. A little more reluctant to grow up. A little less likely to live with less like the vagabond boys in the classic novel. A little less aware that they are, indeed, even lost.
Now, how to explore each of those variables without sounding totally judgy. How also to include the boys that save themselves from this very existence. Who grow up and leave this figurative Neverland we inhabit. I like to think of myself as one who has found his way free of that fantastical world but still manages to preserve some of the spirit from my days living in that ethereal and aged virtual realm.
No telling what my friends and family would say of that totally partial self-assessment.
But, perhaps acknowledging that I think I’ve left my Lost Boy status gives me the tenuous credibility that I want to not come off as an asshole while making this observation about our culture just by virtue of also implying that I know that I have probably walked a few miles in each of these shoes.
This isn’t a phenomenon unique to the gay subculture in America, but I dare say that we’ve been doing it longer than most…we used to call the lifestyle fabulous but anymore, it lacks the luster of fabulous that caused other demographics to emulate it: metrosexuals, yuppies and anyone that manscapes would be considered the offspring of the fabulous gay Lost Boys.
Here’s the thing, though – while our tendency to be fabulous and celebrate our uniqueness hasn’t changed, when I think about it now, it seems the thing that has changed is that we used to celebrate ourselves as part of a larger culture that needed a voice. Now, we tend to celebrate ourselves, elevating self over culture…how very American circa 1980s and all following years.
One of my favorite events in the gay year was always Pride Season. We could sure throw a party…as the gay stereotype would certainly confirm. Following Pride, any long weekend that started around noon on Friday and ended with Monday being a non-working day. Sunday nights at the bars were amazing. Literally better than any Friday or Saturday night of the year. Drilling down to a more daily basis type example…happy hour.
Do you see the common thread there?
Also, more party.
Sure, we may have responsibilities in the real world, but for most of these particular Lost Boys the jobs they had weren’t what defined them – like so many of their American counterparts – but rather were simply just a means to an end. A weekend.
Not to make all gay men sound frivolous, by any means, I’m simply pointing out an archetype within the gay subculture that fits these criteria. A less fabulous culture would write this type of behavior off to frivolous problem drinker or barflies, but these are the gays we are talking about here and we do it with style.
It’s when we do this into our late 30s and 40s or beyond and/or at the expense of making room in our lives to grow past dependent, indulgent or enabling relationships and develop a full-fledged existence as individuals contributing to a culture of America as a whole versus being the easily most visible aspect and de facto representatives of the subculture that we wallow in that we become more of a liability to ourselves, our culture and our country that it’s a problem behavior. Don’t get me wrong or think I’m trying to fool myself or you gentle readers into thinking I’m not still given to my nights out. I am. I just indulge intentionally and with an awareness into what motivates the desire to go out and give my elbow a workout.
Look at me, weaving patriotism into this…
One of the more venom laced designations I have heard – and even fallen into carelessly using myself – is Pride Gays. These are the members of our culture that settle into a relationship, buy a house, focus on the important aspects of that enriched and full life and virtually disappear from the gayborhood only to resurface on Pride Weekend to celebrate with their friends, acquaintances and select strangers celebrating our unity as a community.
Then I realized that this Pride Gay person…that was someone I wanted to be myself. Why was I deriding someone else’s happiness? Oh, because I didn’t have it. Want to bet that I’m not unique here? And that’s when I was able to start growing up a little bit and finding myself in a better place, one that came with expectations that others come to this same type of growth realization at some point themselves. That there was more important stuff to life than just partying like the most fabulous hoi polloi you could be.
I’m special, I know…just like everyone else. So it’s only fair to think that if I got here, eventually everyone else should get here as well or at least understand that they should someday.
The catalyst most people lack when I reflect back on those who got stuck here at this developmental phase in their lives? The Right Guy. Well, sure…I guess there’s no real pressure to do anything constructive with your life unless you have a high reward to accompany that effort.
The Less Likely to Live Happily With Less
They have many names that will be familiar, none of which are limited strictly to the Lost Boys and are in fact readily visible throughout our population as a whole:
I like to refer to these people with my own personal indictment to their loyalty to their own fabulousness: It’s better to look good than to be good.
Just to start at the end of humanity with where that mentality has gotten us: Kardashians.
Thanks, people. Thanks for being such basic fucking bitches and elevating that mess of a clan to royalty within our country.
I am a competitive person, and having been involved in a long-term relationship with one of these types of Lost Boy, I competitively and cluelessly played right into his mania.
Talk about living without intention…
When we met, he had a Mitsubishi Mirage and I had a Jeep. His car was entry level and he hated my POS Jeep, which made me love it a bit more, because I’m also stubborn. We eventually traded in his Mirage for a Mitsubishi SUV thing and he started winning the battle of the Jeep. I’m not sure he had a long game strategy here or if it just worked out this way, but we sure didn’t need two SUVs, so I traded in the Jeep for a VW Passat, but damn it, one with all the whistles.
You’d think that would be that.
He started “borrowing” the Passat to take his co-workers to lunch, so frequently that I was driving the Mitsubishi about 60% of my driving time. One time, that included getting its warranty service. So, I decided to trade it in on a VW Touareg while I was there, thinking that if I was going to drive a SUV that it might as well be one that I appreciate aesthetically.
I got the Passat back shortly thereafter.
Once we broke up, I turned in both cars that we co-owned and bought a little pick me up roadster.
A James Bond car, the BMW Z3.
Then I got promoted to a position in Salem, about 60 miles South of Portland. Everything was fine until that fall, when I discovered that the windshield on roadsters was pretty much directly in the road spray range of semis. Not a good commuting situation…so I bought a BMW X3 for commuting and kept my roadster for tooling around town on the weekends.
Because that makes sense.
Apparently, I don’t need competitiveness as my sole reason for indulging in some conspicuous consumption. But in my case here, my Lost Boy behavior fell more accurately into the Situationally Lost Boy arena, so let’s put a pin in this.
For the typical Less Likely to Live Happily With Less Lost Boy – phew – more is just better. the glamour and fabulousness their pores emit is a perfect bridge between our Lost Boys who are Disenfranchised and those that Refuse to Grow Up. Belonging loyally to neither group, not irretrievably damaged nor languishing in apathy waiting for life to happen to them, they flit between the two groups collecting friends and enablers from both and looking fierce doing it.
Making up for not truly belonging anywhere with fabulous accoutrements but without an awareness for the reality of their situation.
The Situationally Lost: Drugs, Sex, Dumped and Disenfranchised
These poor bastards.
That whole car scenario from above? Yeah, totally filling a hole in my whole after being dumped by putting an expensive car on the emotional wound to staunch the broken and bleeding heart I now owned.
The more common Situationally Lost Boys are the ones who validate themselves with sex or drugs or both. I certainly ran up my sexual number repairing the psychic damage around my own self worth in my early 20s, so I kind of know what I’m talking about here and recognize it when I see it. This experience is part of what makes me question the validity of most of the open and poly relationships that I encounter. Most, key word.
Luckily, I always had the good sense – and equally healthy fear – to stay away from drugs, so there’s that.
All these types blend into a less specific group as a whole – the Disenfranchised. Why wouldn’t gays suffer with this phenomenon of belonging nowhere in society after living their entire lives being marginalized and criminalized? Stands to reason…but it also stands to reason that this sub-group of Lost Boys should eventually have the easiest time growing up since the last two generations of gays are really coming up in a new era of acceptance in this country and won’t really understand the struggles of the generations of gays that preceded them. Those earlier pioneering Lost Boys will likely die out versus grow up, and I worry that they will die lonely deaths without a family, logical or biological, surrounding them in their twilight years.
What’s lost here? The potential to pass on the knowledge and experiences of a lifetime in this gay culture of ours. Not that we as a country at all are spending a lot of time looking back in our culture – unless it’s to binge watch an old series on Netflix. If we were, would we really be celebrating what Drumpf can do for our country to make it great again after what that dipshit W did to make our country so greatly hated in the world?
Those Who Deny They Are Lost
Yeah, this can be any of the Boys I discuss above…just add denial! Mm-Mm, good!
But why include it?
Well, sure, to catch any outliers that don’t fit tidily into a category that I’m discussing, we all hate labels. And, again, we’re all unique…just like everybody else.
But not just that. Think about the unintentional living that is happening with some of the people who can fall into any of the Lost categories I describe above. Life without intent is a pretty common thing, you evolve into intentional living, I think. We have to struggle for a while, tilt at some windmills before we can arrive a point where we start putting out effort and expecting a return that provides a particular reward on that effort or else changing the efforts we put out in order to get the desired outcome.
That’s intentional living, in a nut shell, right?
But the worst Lost Boys of them all are the ones who know there’s a better life. Maybe they tasted it and had it once and just lost it.
Then said, “Fuck it” and gave the fuck up.
Now, that’s Lost. Not a lost that I suspect people frequently bounce back from. I’ve certainly spent my days, weeks, months, maybe even a year or two – at least cumulatively – in the Fuck It Zone. So I know it’s not easy to come back from. Without my logical and biological families around me for support, I wouldn’t have. If I was left to soothe my world-broken self with these other Lost Boys for company? Well, I’d probably have six tee shirts that literally said “Fuck It” on them and on the seventh day, if I didn’t find it in me to do wash one of the other days…I’d stay in bed and drink alone versus going out to hang and self-soothe with the other Lost Boys.
Now, all this is just to discuss some archetypes of this gay and American culture I observe in both living my life’s misadventures but also in others as they careen or not through theirs. These are just filters…hopefully situational filters, as I have experienced them. If they have to be experienced at all. I know people who have never seemed to be affected by any of the things I described above. Their identities were always firmly in place. I envy them that. I wish there were more of them, but I think those people are dying out and the parents and people of today’s world aren’t making enough new confident and competent humans to replace them.
There’s a world that I want to live in…the one where no one gets lost. It ain’t Neverland and it ain’t America today…but maybe with some intent and reflection, it can be an America we build in a few generations.
Maybe one person at a time.
Maybe one neighborhood at a time.
Maybe one subculture at a time.
I try to impact all three – and in my fish bowl existence, I have all three at my fingertips…like I always ask, “Are you part of the problem or are you part of the solution?”
Remember when I wrote funny blog entries?