Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Alone and Dead

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.


Mel said...

Pish. I love my sweetie because he's nice to cuddle with and he makes me laugh and he has twinkling brown puppy dog eyes. And I hope that neither of us ever has to find the other dead.

And your yard looks not unlike ours here in Maine. I like it.

Sisyphus said...


I would suggest that, if your boots take so long to lace and unlace that they might as well be a chastity belt, you don't have _enough_ buckles and lacings on 'em. Get the right gear and you won't have to take 'em off at all.


Tenured Radical said...


You need a boyfriend, not to nurse you unto death or to call the crematorium, but to shovel snow. Or if not an actual boyfriend, a rent-a-boyfriend with a big truck and a plow on the end of it.

Then every time it snowed you could get plowed. (Surely you saw that coming?)

Miss you at AHA --


Steven said...

I can recall winter break lasting until MLK day my freshman and sophomore years. I was bored out of my mind shortly after New Year's because everyone I knew was back at school. And when I was still sweating in class in late May, those same friends were home preparing for Memorial Day weekend celebrations. Luckily, the university came to its senses the next year.

Dying alone is the least of my worries in the pursuit of a partner. For what do I have to worry about if I am dead?

I hope your semester goes well and here's to a prosperous 2008!

vuboq said...

I want a boyfriend to help pay the outrageous increase in my co-op fee. It's all about finances in Vutopia. Speaking of death, I recently finished the book, Stiff. Have you read it? Lots of fun descriptions of dead bodies bloating in the sun.

Mmm. Bourbon.

Doug said...

You could date Homer Simpson from his Mr. Plow days. At least your driveway would be clear.

Are you stalking Anubis so he'll take your body to the Underworld if you die? Or for his embalming skills? (i.e., Do you call your bartender Anubis?)

Earl Cootie said...

This post makes me glad I live in a place where the snowfall is so infrequent and so insubstantial that I can whine and pine for more snow! In your chastity boots, I don't think I'd romanticize it quite so much.

I used to have the Who'll discover the body? thoughts when I was single, but it never occurred to me to get a boyfriend. My goal was always to keep the boyfriends away, but, like cats, they just happened.

Antonio said...

When I've contemplated my frustrations at being single, dying alone hasn't really been at the forefront of my mind. I guess having no one there when you're sick and miserable is the worst-case scenario for a single person. But having someone around for going out to movies, theater, and other events as well as snuggling during the cold winter months would also be great. But liquor is a nice substitute. ;)

Anonymous said...

I agree that January is the WORST month of the year. I always hate this dark period...mostly until March rolls around.

dpaste said...

I'm with Antonio. Half the time that I see interesting things to do, I don't bother because I don't want to do them alone. A boyfriend to me means you don't have to fish around among friends to find someone to see that movie with or check out that new restaurant. Plus you get to have sex afterwards.

Having a boyfriend does not guarantee that you won't die alone, since they might die first. With my family genes, I am guaranteed to die alone as I will likely outlive all potential partners as well as friends. I've resigned myself to that already.

dguzman said...

First time here (from Earl Cootie's) and I love it already.

We're not that snowy in Central PA, but it's cold cold cold.

Back when I taught college English, our break lasted until somewhere around MLK Day. Your univ is insane--although being done in April will be nice.

Anonymous said...

You really are very entertaining! I like a man with quick wit. I’m sure some one other than your bartender would miss you. LOL When I was single, I don’t think dying alone was as much a concern as growing old alone.

Clio Bluestocking said...

So what would the ad for that date read like?

All that snow is reminiscent of "The Shining." In which case, no date might be a good thing because of the whole "redrum,redrum."

Roger Owen Green said...

I've already removed more snow this winter than I did last winter up to February 13 (we had a big valentine's Day storm). Being in Tejas made you unaware of the "wonderfulness" of winter.
Anyway, I want someone who I can cuddle with and also I can take care of, and who'll take care of me, when the other's feeling lousy. When I was single, though, dying alone never occurred to me - maybe it should have?

Marlan said...

Does too much snow keep you from the bar?

bardelf said...

I think that gayprof should just go shopping. Whether the grocery store, the liquor store, Best Buy, even (horrors to say it) Walmart, all offer reasons to live. Get out, gayprof. Shop on, shop on.

CoffeeDog said...

I agree winter is a horrid time. All I want to do is get in bed and get warm (and I live in ATL so it's not that cold)

Anonymous said...

I have a proposal: You date the carpenter and the Best Buy employee, I'll date the liquor distributor and the pharmacist. Then we can just swap "services" whenever necessary. However, I think we should also find a friend who is dating an auto dealer, and possibly a gourmet chef.

Screw it, this is too complicated. Just find me a guy who's really really rich.

dykewife said...

hon, ditch the boots that require lacing up. buy a pair that you just slip on. it'll save time. :)

GayProf said...

Mel: Cuddling and laughing are good things. Snow would be good if all I had to do with it was look out the window at it.

Sisyphus: Yeah, I need to look for guys with a boot fetish.

Tenured Radical: Aw, Man -- All the cool kids are going to the AHA. I feel so left out.

Steven: Maybe it is just a Midwest thing...

V.U.B.O.Q.: Mmm -- Bourbon. Maybe I should consider making my bartender my boyfriend...

Doug: Is there a wrong reason to stalk Anubis?

Earl: "Boyfriends Happen" sounds like a bumper sticker in the making.

Antonio: All those seem like good things for a boyfriend -- Unless you start dating an agoraphobic man who never wants to leave the house.

WiccaChicky: Actually, I find that things start looking up starting February 15.

David: Good point! I wonder if either of my friends considered that they could die first. Neither suggested that they wanted a boyfriend so they could be there for someone when that person's timecard expired.

DGuzman: Hail, Amazon Sister! Welcome to CoG. I always thought that it was de rigeur for universities to wait until after MLK,JR day. Turns out, not so much.

Devon: Oh, other people would miss me . . . eventually. The big question is when they would start missing me? A week? Two? The bartender would be johnny-on-the-spot.

Clio: ad: Single, Professional Male Seeking Same for long walks in the park, cocktails at sunset, and mutual death watch.

ROG: Yeah, I look at winter through new eyes now that it requires physical labor on my part.

Marlan: Nothing keeps me from the bar. I become Nanook of the North in those circumstances.

Bardelf: Clearly showing the priorities of the town, all of the shopping complexes are fully cleared of snow. The road leading to my house? Still a frozen wasteland.

CoffeeDog: Atlanta? What is considered cold there? 65F? That isn't even bourbon weather!

JP: I have been thinking a lot about a Sugar Daddy. It could solve many of my problems... Unless he was toady-ugly.

DykeWife: Whoa, now. Clearly you are missing a key part of the boots, which is that they are totally hot looking with all the laces.

Java said...

What the hell good are hot looking laces on snowboots gonna do ya' if they are sitting beside the back door mocking you because it's too much trouble to lace them up? Or is this one of those irrational things, like Dirk's fear of feat?

Michael said...

I couldn't agree more with your comments on the reasons people want a relationship. So often I hear people say the same thing. "I'm unhappy about such-and-such in my life, and having a boyfriend would make that all go away..."
I've been in a committed relationship for a while now, and I can tell you, it doesn't fix anything that's wrong in your life. It does, however, provide a captive audience for your complaints!
Good Luck with the snow. I live in a really red state, but at least it's snow-free.

TED said...

I had no idea the fear of dying alone was so prevalent in the gay community. I sense a great marketing opportunity for something like a Mom-on-Call. The service calls you once a day to make sure that you're still alive or, in the alternative, that your body is found before your cats get hungry. At the same time, your operator can nag you about not drinking so much, doing your laundry, having more casual sex, or whatever.

From observing my own parents, I'd have to say that it's the fear of living alone rather than dying alone that keeps people together. But the whole having-someone-to-do-things-with deal cuts both ways. If they have to do the things you like, you have to do the things they like.