“Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.” Let’s ponder that over coffee overlooking the beach. I always feel strange being a guest in someone’s house, even a long time friend. But these houses on Fire Island, in particular the Pines, are basically gay showplaces meant to be shared and envied. So be it. Acceptance. While a lot of the old timers (older than me) like to exclaim how “things have changed” around here, I like to think things seem to appear the way they always have: subject to interpretation.
Back in 1986 I was a freshman in college and an avid aficionado of the nihilistic Less Than Zero “life is an exclusive party filled with repayable favors and high quality highs” mentality I felt was ingrained in me. Ah to be 18 and think you have seen it all. A good childhood friend from Manhattan who was a theater major at another school invited me out to Fire Island for the July 4th holiday. This friend, who I’ve since lost touch with, was cute but a little more naive that a city kid should have been. Maybe to be an actor one must let themselves be led astray more easily. This friend asked me to come with him as he was the guest of some older guy who was a theater director or producer or something, the kind that drank Champagne with lunch and wore long Isadora Duncan scarves hastily but strategically placed at the neckline of a English rock star/Carol Brady haircut. Anyway, we’ve heard this scenario before. Said friend was 19 and I was 18. Sounds like the makings of a Gore Vidal novel or Bel Ami gay porn. We took the ferry from Sayville as we had many times as kids. Only we’d never been to the Pines. I wish I could recall everything that happened that day (we day-tripped) but all I remember is drinking topical Long Island teas by the beach pool of Gay Theater Guy’s house and trying to not be creeped out by obvious come-ons. When we returned late that night to my friend’s parents house on Long Island, drunk and horny and Unfucked, I passed out in a guest room to wake up with my friend on top of me grinding away. I think I went with it for a while being, yeah, drunk and horny and eighteen, but he must have freaked out after he came cause he just said something like: “I’m pulling your leg” and went back to his room. We never talked about it afterwards. I guess that was my first gay experience and even though it didn’t happen here in The Pines, I’ve always thought the sights and insights of that first new fireworks vantage point marked the beginning of my own little sexual revolution. I didn’t have sex with a guy until a few years later… Ho-Hum Homophobic Self-Hatred aside, I took comfort in not giving in so easily to my masturbation fantasies (college wrestlers) and remaining the straight preppie jock who just happened to have a lot of style and just the right amount of John Hughsian angst to consider myself a revolutionary type of guy. But the seed was planted that day. It started with the cyclopean visual of guys in speedos headed into the bushes on Fire Island and ended with a need to change the sheets and what would eventually be a lost friendship. But I always think about that day when I’m here. 30 years ago. Sometimes I feel I’m much more the wiser than I should be. This is the great conundrum of a life lived with way too much emotional perception hidden behind nihilistic Opaque Ray Bans… How do I go back to not knowing any better?
Anyway, Unfucked again. Maybe I should have a boyfriend. Maybe after a I finally get an apartment in Manhattan. The first step for me is acceptance. Everything else is tolerance and and momentary enjoyment. 30 years later and it’s the 18 year olds who are coming on to me. Funny ha-ha.
The tide is low and I’m movin slow. Happy Sunday.