TIL 8: Dad Crying

Did you know there’s such a thing as Dad Crying?

No?

Me, either!

And I’m not even a parent.

It’s so humiliating.

Definitely not cool.

Or grumpy.

But it’s a thing, and I think I fucking have it.

This isn’t what I planned on writing about today.  You’re just going to have to wait to hear Myrtle’s latest attempts on my life.

Soon, though.

Because right now, I gotta get this out of me.  I think it’s been a thing I was aware of for quite some time, dating back to Rib’s accomplishments in Culinary School.  It was a slow trickle then, these feelings.

But it’s getting worse.

Mostly, this phenomenon occurs in darkened theaters, thank gawd.  The last three movies I’ve seen have opened the tap.

Speaking of taps, no…I wasn’t drinking during these shows.  Well, soda.

It started with Love, Simon.  This gay teen coming of age slash love story made a reasonable case for my tearing up.  

I wrote about it, and that link above will take you there.  But one of the comments I got on that entry made me think – which I like.

The point made was that Love, Simon Glee-coated thisbperson’s coming out story and wasn’t representative of the traumatic experience coming out can be for many gays…check that, many LBGQTI peeps.

It’s a valid point.

Totally.

But I think why I liked it was exactly that.  Sure, he struggled with coming out to himself and then his friends and family…and then it wasn’t that bad.  He’d – or the writers – had built his fears up to something larger than they were and the process was resolved in tidy fashion.

I know the feeling.  Luckily.

But I know that’s not always the case.

Given the political climate in America, even the world, where equal rights for LBGTQI people aren’t the default, the stories of bravery and struggle need to be told.

At the same time, I think part of what got me emotional about this flick – besides that I’m a total sucker for a good chick flick…key word, good – was that it was Glee/washable.

Acceptance isn’t the default, not by a long shot, but the work of previous generations has gotten us to the point that at least this type of movie can be made without being relegated to the LOGO network or an art house only release.

But then Ready Player One got ahold of those same heart strings and played me.  It had to be a fluke of nostalgia, right?

Testing that theory, I went and saw it again when I couldn’t get it off my mind.

Nope.

Played those same strings.

Harder.

Fighting those same urges to go see it again, I went today to a matinee of Blockers.

John Cena was brilliantly funny in his role as a stay at home Dad with hair trigger water works…and I left the theater with a name for my affliction: Dad Crying.

I also left the theater with a salty residue on my cheeks that wasn’t  from the popcorn I shame ate.  Don’t make that dirty, Diezel.

Thank gawd I was in the theater alone!

I have prepared for and accepted two truths about the back 9 of my life:

First, I’m going alone; and,

Second, I’m going to get grumpier as I go along.

EOG paradigm: shattered.

And this after being reminded that my “only” nephew graduates from high school this June.  I hope that takes place in a dark room, too.  Just in case, I better go sunglass shopping.

TIL 8: Dad Crying

Thanks For The Self Love, Simon!

This was the worst movie.

But more on that later, and if you haven’t seen it…fair warning: Here there be spoilers.  Possibly.

In all honesty, this movie was delightful.  I quite enjoyed it.

I am quite a sucker for a coming of age story.  This one didn’t disappoint.  I had warned the Silver Fox when he expressed interest in seeing it together that I was going to be a sappy, emotional mess – I cried at Rocky – but he still wanted to see it with me.

Instead of my regular Regal theater, though, he wanted to go to the Living Room theater, which is actually closer.  Still, I considered making it a wedge issue so I could go cry into my popcorn alone, but let it lie.

Then there was timing.  He has a busy day of appointments and it’s my day off.  When I broached the subject of timing, he declared he was in as long as it started around noon.

So that happened.

There were struggles.  

An ideal family.

Teen angst and awkwardness.

All wrapped around this so personal topic of coming out.

Having been down the path where Simon strode, I felt a connection to him right away.  It was more personal by proxy than straight up vicarious.  Unlike Call Me By Your Name, where I felt more like a voyeur, this movie pulled me into it.  I felt those struggles, the awkwardness and the support.

And I felt the connection, the so tenuous bond between two gay teens as they tried to define themselves publicly by labeling what they wanted to do privately.  It all started when a boy code named Blue posted an anonymous coming out letter to the high school’s message board.

Simon takes this opportunity to reach out, also anonymously via email.

Humorously, these email exchanges spark Simon’s inner Colombo and his days are suddenly filled with both his usual straight subterfuge and now his secret mission to figure out who Blue is based on any incidental clues he could discern from their emails.  The faceless actor playing Blue morphs into whichever classmate Simon pegs as the potential Blue.

It’s optimistic agony to watch.

On the side is the accidental story of Martin, who happens upon Simon’s emails on a school computer after he forgets to log off.

“It’s cool, my brother’s gay”, Martin says before blackmailing Simon into manipulating one of his friends into going out with him.

Martin, you little piece of shit.

And Simon does it.  Poor, terrified kid.  To be threatened with outing in the crucible of high school…such heartlessness.

But, lessons are learned!

Don’t make assumptions.

Stand up for what’s right.

Be true to yourself.

Don’t sell out the people you love.

Of course, Simon has to lose it all before he learns these lessons.

Martin, an excruciatingly awkward personality…grating, as he is, courageously flames out with a grand gesture to his crush that turns into a very crushing, public failure.

Of course, to draw attention from his very public humiliation, he uncorageously posts all of Simon’s emails anonymously on the school’s message board.

Then, all the kids do what kids do and get selfish for a while, circling their wagons around Camp Me. Y’know, like American adults do…

Simon digs deep and finds his character, giving Jennifer Garner a beautiful Mom Moment.  Nothing on Michael Stulbarg’s Dad Moment in CMBYN, but lovely in its own distinct way,  Where Elio’s Dad is sensitive but stoic in Csll Me By Your Name, Simon’s Mom is more raw, you can feel her pain at the helplessness she experiences in protecting her son from this process.

After all is said and done, Simon, and the audience and the high school get the big, Blue reveal.

If this were my life, it would have been the epitome of the beautiful on the inside, fat and pimply on the outside – this is why I’m single – guy.  

But, no.  

This is Hollyweird.

Simon gets his impossibly romantic albeit excruciating An Affair to Remember/Sleepless in Seattle moment to wrap up the storyline.

Blue turns out to be the black, Jewish – and gay, as it turns out – classmate:  the triple threat guy that we all wanted him to be in the first place.

It was tres romantic.

Yes, I slow cried several times.  Thank gawd…this face doesn’t need ugly crying in public!  I’m single enough as it is.

Why was a movie I obviously enjoyed and connected to the worst movie?

A) because I said so.

B) the barely pubescent villain anonymously outs Simon after telling us he has a gay brother…what a pig-fucker.

And,

C) Simon and Blue finally meet and (hopefully) consummate their virtual affair 17 days before graduation?

No, unacceptable.

My inner romantic won’t allow for the reality that Simon and The Triple Threat will only have summer break plus 17 days before being torn apart by college.

It’s terrible.

Thanks For The Self Love, Simon!

The Three-Way of Abject Sorrow

First off, get your mind out of the damned gutter.

But as long as we’re talking about sex, this title would totally work for a story about a lackluster sexcapade with two other people.  We’ve all had that bad three-way, amirite?

I’m not?

We haven’t?

Just me?

Ok, moving on then…

I was talking with the Needle Man last night during my acupuncture and we started discussing movies.  We were – no idea why – veering all over the place and I commented that he really had a wide range of cinematic tastes.  

Naturally, I had to ask, “Bit if you were stranded on a desert island with only one type of movie…”

He kinda verbally processed his response.  Slowly he disqualified each class of movies until he landed somewhere between comedies and inspiring biopics.  It was interesting to me that he specifically tossed horror films and scary movies out because the creepiness followed his mood out of the theater and he liked to go to movies to feel good.

I knew what he meant.  Still, I’d totally take comedies between the two, because I had a bad experience with biopics a couple decades ago.  It could have been because the movie in question – Shadowlands – was the third movie in a row that was just sad.

I think the first in this miserable movie ménage a trois was The Piano.  I mean, a movie about a mute woman sold into marriage, loaded onto a ship with her daughter and belongings and then shipped off to New Zealand – Australia, maybe?  How could that not be a thrill ride of a movie?

Secretly, I’ve decided that it was made simply to provide Anna Paquin with the acting Fred to later share screen time with Sir Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman in the X-Men movies.

Anyway.

A bit later in that same movie season – I swear it was Christmastime and I saw these movies over the course of two weeks – I saw Philadelphia.

We all know how that goes.  But it was important to see, particularly for me as a 25 year old gay man still struggling to find my community and Chosen Family.  It might have helped if I didn’t move cities every couple of years.  Plus, this film was one of the first times a mainstream Hollywood actor played gay.  

At this time in my life, I was living outside Houston, TX.  The theater chains there had little wooden waiters outside the theaters holding giant bowls of mints.  I thought it was a nice touch since buttery popcorn and diet soda usually gives me bad breath.  I generally grabbed a couple on my way out.

The final movie in this series of movie misfortunes was Shadowlands.

I’d seen two serious drama, I wanted something a little more uplifting.  The story of TS Eliot finding love sounded like just the ticket.

Wrong.

Finding love in a marriage for the wrong reasons only to have that love suddenly ripped from him by cancer…yee friggin’ haw.

At least it was only Anthony Hopkins playing the lead.  Yeah, he fucking destroyed mourning and sorrow.  Watching him lose it wrecked me.  I remember thinking of how I must look in the theater:  hand hanging suspended over my uneaten popcorn, mouth hanging open, tears spilling from my eyes.

At the end of the movie, I was angry-sad.  I remember walking out of that theater, not caring that my face was slick with buttery smears and tears.  Dropping my mostly uneaten popcorn and soda aggressively in the trash, and angrily grabbing a handful of mints as I stomped past the wooden waiter.

That was how I felt after these three films:  wooden.

So, yeah…I like comedies.

The Three-Way of Abject Sorrow