Boston strikes me as great so far. Despite all of my stress about the dreaded Texas house, whose non-sold status crushes the life out of me, I am delighted by my new surroundings.
Jason invited me out to dinner with his partner and some of his friends (more on this in a moment). They all were great! Needless to say, the evening suggested that life in Boston is light-years ahead of life in Texas. That’s not a statement of surprise. Rather, it is one of confirmation.
Primarily, of course, the Greater Boston Area has the advantage of not being Texas. Don’t underestimate this as a selling point. Trust me.
Moreover, people have been extremely friendly here. Yeah, I know, that doesn’t jive with the Boston reputation. Based on my short experience, however, I have found people (even total strangers) more than willing to help out a new person to the city.
Sure, they express an astounding gruffness in the first minute and half of conversation. Once you get beyond that time period, though, they become as sweet as possible. Well, except the T employees. They seem genuine in their unhelpfulness.
This stands in direct contrast to Texas. My experience there showed people to put on a façade of friendliness in the first couple of minutes of conversation. Once you cut deep into the icing, though, you realized that nasty Texas cake had nothing but poison for anybody not white, straight, married, evangelical-Christian, with children.
Other differences exist as well. For the most part, people actually like living in Boston. Many eagerly tell me about their favorite elements of the city. They also want confirmation of their suspicions that Boston stands as the greatest city in the U.S. (and their particular neighborhood stands out even more).
When I first moved to Eastern Texas, in contrast, again and again I heard, “Well, the great thing about being an academic here is that you can leave during the summers and winter holiday.”
How unhealthy to live in place where you are constantly waiting for the instant that you can get away! This type of existence, it seems to me, just puts your life in a constant day-dreaming status and never lets you build anything real. Everything that surrounds you in the day-to-day becomes “never good enough.” Everything outside of Texas becomes a fantasy without any real substance or longevity.
All that aside, you came here for gravitas. So, I won’t bore you with my giddy honeymoon over my new locale. Instead, I will demonstrate that I can be just as judgmental of my Bostonian neighbors as my former Texan neighbors.
So, let’s go back to the night out. During the course of the evening, we stopped at a bar that showed signs of having just recently lost its cool edge. What markers gave away its lost cool status? None more than the clientele.
Before I start, let me qualify by saying that I hardly consider myself a hip cat. On the contrary, I am perpetually-out-of-the-loop. Had I been around during 54's heyday, I probably would have been oblivious to all the fuss.
I can, however, at least sense cool's presence or absence much like a Republican Senator knows porn when he sees it (over and over again). Consider it sort of like a residual spidey sense (Yes, I know making that reference lowers my own cool factor -- Eh).
Annnnyway, so this particular bar had the cool fixtures, the swift bartenders, and the astoundingly beautiful doorman. What it also had, though, was no less than three (3) parties for soon-to-be-married giggling women. All three had the lady-of-the hour wearing a rhinestone tiara.
Yes, we saw three separate, unrelated tiaras for three separate groups of women. One, by the way, also had a feather boa. These three groups whirled around each other, but never quite made eye-contact. That, after all, might spoil the alleged moment of uniqueness reserved for the bride(s).
As I watched yet another one of the party crew walk away shocked (SHOCKED!) that the bartender could not make them a Red Bull © and vodka, I couldn’t help but think some grim thoughts about these folk. It wasn’t just that I think tiaras should be reserved exclusively for women named Diana or Drag Queens (which I do). Rather, the brides' “pretty, pretty princess” mentality suggests a great many problems with our society’s vision of marriage.
Before we go down this road, I always like to give fair warning. My own dismal marriage might cloud my point of view. To be fair, though, I have always had a suspicion of marriage. Ironically (and it is technically ironic), I didn’t even want to get married to liar ex (who told many lies). He told me, though, of his unwavering certainty that I was “the one;” brushed aside my concerns; and handed me an ultimatum to marry or breakup. I relented. After that, he constantly (literaly almost daily (and I mean literally)) told me that I would never find anybody as good as him.
Now I realize that I could easily find another mediocre individual like liar ex (who told many lies). I would rather not, though. Guys like him are a dime-a-dozen. You can buy them anywhere.
He had such an inflated sense of himself. Of course, we all know that I was the most interesting thing about him.
Please take all that bitterness into account whenever GayProf starts a discussion about marriage. I am probably as optimistic about marriage as Al Gore is about the validity of the electoral college.
Still, in all the yackking about gay marriage, our society refuses to even consider the institution’s severe problems for hets (and now homos). Romantic promises of happily ever after obscure some pretty reasonable thinking. Instead, like the tiara women, we all fall at some point for the notion that marriage must be the logical next step in life’s progression. Many never think one moment beyond the actual wedding day.
Why should they? On that day, society promises, they get to reign supreme. With or without the tiaras, we are all bow down to the bride. Some folk spend Puerto Rico’s annual budget on that single day. Plus, the happy couple walks away with a king’s ransom in Calphalon cookware and Oster blenders.
The groom just happens to be a needed accessory to get the whole ball rolling. No wonder tiara-women all happened to be out with their giggling best woman pals. They probably like them better than their actual fiancees.
We treat the wedding day as if an end point. On numerous instances, I have heard friends (both hetero and homo, both men and women) declare that the “time had come” in their life to be married. It didn’t matter that they hadn’t had a LTR for years. Like a project, they went out and hunted up some person to drag down the aisle. They all found themselves married, or at least engaged, within a year. After all, they felt they "should" be married.
Then the story always turns the same. Suddenly, six months into the marriage, they think to themselves, “How the fuck did I end up with this person that I hardly know?” Their next thought usually becomes, “I wonder if we will have to return all that Calphalon if I call this thing quits.”