The Gay Agenda, Part 3
Good afternoon, graduates, and thank you for turning up this afternoon here at the ceremony instead of taking all the papers out of your lockers and throwing them into the air like some pre-Independence Day celebration that someone has to clean up, and I think we all know who that is, and I just want to say thank you, Mr. Jenkins, Janitation Supervisor, for always being there to mop up the sick, spray down the feces and generally be all crusty and scary and sort of Crack-addled.
The goal of a commencement speech is two-fold. One, I want to impress you with my words and demeanor and leave here with you thinking I’m smart and funny and therefore sexy even if I am not your type, and two, to prepare you all for the nightmare that is the world of high finance, high credit debt, high insurance premiums, high medical fees, highballs, high fives and generally being high because if you aren’t, then you’re not seeing the right therapist.
As I think back now to my own college graduation, I am reminded that I never graduated from college. That’s correct, the vast and unwieldy success I have achieved as a Web site home page owner and, now, you should excuse the expression, web log author and general aide de camp to fagdom, all came about without the advantages of a degree of any sort. Some of us are just naturally this good looking. I’m sure some of you are probably thinking about the next 20 years and those student loans you have to pay off that I never did, and I hope you’ll take some consolation in the fact that a degree in the business world is about as worthwhile as a season pass to a National League Hockey team is to me.
Having said that, let’s get down to brass tacks, whatever the hell that means. Up until now, you’ve been coddled in this liberal arts college, and let’s face it, when you put liberal together with arts, we’re talking homo. Great big gobs of gay sprouting out of every nook and crannie. Even the straight boys are wearing 2Xist and flaunting their oh-so-trendy fauxhawks as if born to them. This, friends, the real world is not.
I suppose I should attempt to pass along some great advice or wisdom to you, something that will help you in your daily struggle to remain true to yourself while lying to the rest of the world. I should stress that I don’t advocate hiding in a closet, but since I did so for most of my life, I mean, pot? Hello, this is kettle. Mom is wondering what you’re doing with her Playgirls in the bathroom all afternoon.
Okay, given that some of you will find it comfy-cozy in that closet no matter how hard I stress the fact that coming out isn’t the nightmarish trip to hell you’ve imagined and that those acquaintences of yours who may toss you aside like last night’s thong weren’t worth knowing in the first place no matter how cheap they could get you a hotel room in Vegas, let me see if I can make your upcoming months, years or life of shame, fear, masquerading and denial a little more palatable.
You think it’s all MTV hugs and kisses? That Xtina’s dream video of fatless twinks tonguing each other is what it’s all about in Salt Lake City? I have news for you; nothing’s changed. You can still get beat up on the streets of New York for looking a little too closely at another guy’s ass, particularly if that guy is Tom Cruise and that ass belongs to Penelope “Beard” Cruz, or whomever it is he’s (airquotes) married (airquotes) to now. No, fags and lesbos, the world is not ready to face this reality quite yet, so I have some advice for you regarding going forward from here.
First off, learn how to blend. Guys, shirtless torsos are only for the beach. Do not strip out of your D&G just because it’s over 80 outside and you happen to be downtown. For that matter, keep the D&G in the closet for now and invest in some nice Ralph Lauren or, if you want to push the envelope, Calvin Klein. Straight men in America don’t wear anyone they can’t pronounce, and certainly wouldn’t be caught dead in a stretch silk spread-collar shirt. Calvin, one of the gayest straight men I know, tends to like looking at the human body so his clothing runs a little tight. I know you want to strut like the peacocks you are, so feel free to stock up on a few ribbed cotton shirts, but please, please, white or gray only!
Ladies, no tattoos. I know, I know, many of you are already outlining your planned skin art with Bic Clicks, but I must caution you against any display of so-called unladylike behavior. Even the occasional down-under art is likely to raise an eyebrow or two, so if you need to express yourself, do it in the kitchen.
Guys, it will behoove you to memorize the following words and phrases common to the straight male vernacular; Dude, Bro, Know what I’m saying, Did you see the game last night, Brewski, Nachos, and a lot of farting, groaning and grunting in general.
Never, ever say “fabulous,” no matter what Cher is wearing. If Cher appears in an ostrich feather headdress and a white leatherette fringed bikini, you can say, “Whoa,” and, I suppose, sort of wretch if you have a modicum of taste. Better yet, don’t look at Cher. Look at Pamela Anderson. You’ll recognize her easily. She looks like her plane has just gone down and the vest has been inflated.
Many of you have found someone to love already, and you know, yay and all that. Love is a wonderful feeling and helps take the sting out of larger purchases like Merecedes SLKs and Prada gym bags. But you’ll need to arm yourself against appearing to be in love with someone of the same sex, so please begin referring to your lover as “my roommate.” Say it out loud, and you’ll find you can put all sorts of fun and inventive inflections on those three innocent syllables and still have a good time.
If you haven’t found someone to love and you’re all about the hook-up, please be very careful out there. Remember the secret handshake and the eye contact rule; Count of three, he’ll likely flee. Count of five, you’ve got a live one. We’ve installed gay bars in practically every city in the world, but remember that occasionally one of them will accidentally enter and not realize where they are. They’ll be easy to recognize because of their dreadful wardrobe and complete lack of rhythm, so if you see them immediately signal the barkeep. It is his or her duty to inform them that they are in a gay bar, that they are more than welcome to remain, but they may not show any form of affection toward each other. Usually, they’ll beat a hasty retreat.
Please do not fear the straights. Some of them can’t help their own ignorance. They can no more understand your desires than you can understand theirs. Just as they would like to lump us all into some narrow stereotypical role as the wacky nextdoor neighbor with the interesting art and the frilly shirts prancing around arranging flowers and calling everyone fat, so is it also easy to think of them all as beer-swilling, sexually-frustrated Republican neanderthals when, really, some of them swill a nice, full-bodied Cabernet like the rest of the civilized world.
Ooh, that was awfully narrow-minded and prejudiced of me. See, we all have things in common! Let’s celebrate!
Before I retire back to my Eames lounger, let me leave you with some final advice. If you ignore everything else I have said to you today, and I urge you to do so, please reflect on these words and take them to heart, because I mean them sincerely and believe in them with every shiny black shard of my soul. Treat everyone with kindness, love, and understanding.
From here forward, it doesn’t matter how you’ve been treated, or what names you’ve been called, or how much anger you’ve managed to swallow under a sugary coating of tolerance. Tolerance is an ugly, horrid, hateful word. Tolerance means, “I tolerate you.” It means that I am allowed to continue to believe the wrong, ignorant, backwards lies I have always been told about you but that I can manage to sit here across the table from you and not take my steak knife and plunge it into your heart. It’s been said that tolerance is the most we can ever hope for, and we should be glad of it where we find it.
Do not accept it, ladies and gentlemen. And do not spread it like the plague that it is. Stop tolerating, and start understanding. Ask questions, and listen to the answers. Explain yourself, and listen to explanations. And avoid the simple, gated, picket-fenced sidewalk of tolerance and move down the rocky, shaky, strenuous path of understanding.
And do not bind your love in requirements. Do not be the person who insists that love be about reasons and laws and measurements. Love does not work like that. Love dies under the chains of requirement. Love with all your heart all the time. Feel the hurt and the joy and surrender to it all, for that is all that life gives you, and it is all we have in the end.
These are words that even I don’t believe. I’ve been out there, and I know… I know that nothing is as easy as that, as if you can simply start loving and be loved in return. But it is what I wish. It is my hope. And even if it is impossible…
I wish you all the luck you will need. I wish you boundless, unfettered love and understanding. And I wish I had a Dove Bar right now. Dark chocolate. Slightly melting. There’s almost nothing as perfect as that.
July 23, 2003