Classes resume tomorrow at Big Midwestern University. I am having a hard time coming to terms with this ridiculously short winter break. Most of my peeps who work at other universities don’t go back to work until after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Even my nephew’s public school starts later than we do.
Nobody has really offered a satisfactory explanation about why we must return so early. All they promise is that I will be grateful when the semester ends in April. That seems like cold comfort. I am exhausted now. My current fantasy-life focuses on sleeping for a week (Maybe I have mono?). Alas, I have to earn those coins. Back to the classroom for GayProf.
Perhaps one of the reasons that the university is going back so early is because they figure there is little else to do in Midwestern Funky Town in the middle of winter. Well, we have nothing else to do except shovel snow. Let me tell you, that shoveling shit is for the birds.
I lived in the Midwest for six years in grad school, so this isn’t exactly my first time at the Ewing Bar-B-Que (so to speak). During those years, however, I lived in an apartment. This meant that somebody else always shoveled the snow out of my way. When they didn’t, I could curse them out. Now, when it snows, I just curse. On New Year’s Day, I awoke and opened my rear window to see this:
Oh, my fate is a cruel one. Why – WHY – does my driveway need to be so long? At least Bourbon keeps me warm.
Of course, the snow isn’t just hard on my aching back and little stick arms. Just as when I lived in Boston, the snow kills my interest in having any type of social life. It takes forever for me to lace and unlace my winter boots. They are such a hassle to take on and off that they work better than a chastity belt. Given that I live somewhere where the state flower is an icicle, this means I am in for some quiet introspection over the next few months.
All of it contributes to making this my least favorite part of the year. Faithful readers of CoG know that we consider the period between New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day the dreaded and bleak void time.
Seemingly I am not alone in my estimation of this time of year. Over the past couple of weeks, two friends of mine had almost identical conversations with me. They don’t know each other (in fact, they live in different parts of the nation). Yet, they both expressed the same measure of forlornness.
My friend in New Mexico felt that his life was passing him by and wondered aloud if he would ever find a permanent boyfriend. When I pressed him about his reasons for why he wanted a boyfriend, he expressed his fear of dying alone. Or, more accurately, he fears that his death will occur without notice.
This was repeated with a friend in MFT only a week later. They both speculated that, if they died tomorrow, it would take weeks for anyone to find their body. This struck me as an odd reason to want a boyfriend.
True, I have sometimes had similar macabre thoughts. Anyone who lives alone surely speculates about how long it would take before somebody noticed their absence. We all shudder at the notion that our untimely demise will only be discovered because some neighbor complained of the “smell.” Nobody wants to be that story on the 5 o’clock news.
When such irrational thoughts take hold of me, I say to myself, “Get a hold of yourself and think positive thoughts. You won’t mind if nobody finds your body. You’ll be dead.”
When they doesn't work, I turn to my other reason for not worrying. Deep in my heart, I know that there is one special person in my life who I can count on coming to my house almost instantly if I disappear: My bartender.
Let’s be honest, my disappearance would greatly impact his child’s college fund. My drinking is his kid’s future. Nothing is going to keep him from those tips. Shoot – He would use the jaws of life to save me.
All the same, I have never considered the fear of having an undiscovered lifeless body the primary reason to find a boyfriend. My friends are relatively young men. One of them is my age exactly. This means he is very, very, very young. As far as I know, they are both pretty darn healthy. If they get into a relationship now, that little deathwatch of theirs could take several decades. It seems like they are kinda fast-forwarding to the end. What will they do in the meantime? Are they just imagining the boyfriend will enter their house, light a candle, and sit at their bedside until their time has come?
Okay, I understand their basic sentiment of feeling lonely. Still, it is odd to think that we want relationships for the worst times in our lives. When was the last time you heard somebody say, “I really want a romantic partner because my life is going so fantastic that I want to share that with somebody else? I am just having way too much fun for one person. I need to spread these good times around with somebody else.”
I never hear that. Actually, I often hear the opposite. “Boyfriend? No way, man, my life is too good right now. Relationships will just screw it up. Crap – Even saying the word ‘relationship’ probably jinxed me. I better go and have some anonymous sex just in case.”
Saying that they want somebody who will tend to their deathbed also sounds like they expect a lot of work from that boyfriend. 'Cuz you know it isn’t just watching them die that they want, either. They are going to expect you to call their family and work with the funeral home to give you a decent burial, too. It wouldn’t surprise me if they asked to proofread the many drafts of your eulogy before they kicked the bucket. Heck, you're going to have to fill the next forty years doing something.
All that death talk sounded too much like a job. Do they want a boyfriend or a live-in nurse? At least a registered nurse can legally give you drugs.
If you really want a boyfriend to do work, why not make it something that you can enjoy while you are alive? Forget the deathbed scenes and shoot for something that will make the here and now more tolerable. “Gee, I really want to put up some drywall in my basement and turn it into a t.v. room,” I’d like to hear, “Better get a general-contractor as boyfriend by this weekend if that is going to happen in time for the Project Runway finale. Oh, shoot, I also wanted to install that new sound system and needed a boyfriend who worked at the Best Buy. Looks like I am in the market for a menage a trois.” At least at the end of that relationship you wouldn’t end up in a pine box.