StudentCAMP: The Dating Game (On Crack)
Hello again, everyone. To start out, let me try this scenario out on you: You have been picked as a contestant on a new show, "The Dating Game (on crack)." You, the Gay Contestant, are to be pitted against a panel of three people of the same sex that you think are shagable. The dilemma: only one of them is actually gay! (Thus does the plot thicken.) If you pick the right contestant, you get to live in queer marital bliss for an extended period of time. However, if you pick the wrong contestant, they will be really pissed off. Furthermore, they will be given the option to cave in your skull before a live studio audience for a bonus of (gasp) $10,000! So which will it be: Panel Member A, Panel Member B, or Panel Member C?
Anyway, back to reality (or as close to it as this queer bird will ever get). Does any of that sound familiar? Right now you are probably nodding your head quite vigorously as an indication of "YES," because it is your life in a nutshell. The dating game, from the perspective of a gay teenageror any gay personis not easy. It quickly becomes a puzzle of subtletieswinks, blinks, body language, and other forms of vague and easily misinterpreted communication. All of this arises out of the genuine fear of coming on to the wrong person. After all, it takes a very special kind of heterosexual individual to not mind being sought after by a homosexual. Instead, most straight people tend to react with disgust and alarm when informed that someone of the same sex has eyes for them.
Other times, you may know quite well that someone is straight but still fall for them harder than a brick from atop the Empire State building. Just the other day, I was at a friends birthday party. The birthday girl is a lesbian (the best gift of the evening was a Xena, Warrior Princess T-shirt). However, she was cruel enough to invite a straight friend of hers to the party, without even warning me that he was the earthly incarnation of Adonis. I make no exaggeration in saying that he may very well be the most beautiful creature that I have ever laid eyes on. He was with his girlfriend, of course (grrr). And it didnt make a damn bit of difference as far as I was concerned. I fell for this boy harder than a whole dump truck load of bricks from atop the Empire State building! Even now, as I write this, I cant get the image of him frolicking naked through a forest out of my head! It is an all-out obsession, not to mention depressing as anything because he is absolutely unattainable.
The utter shame of it is that no matter how hard one tries to not become infatuated with straight people, its still going to happen from time to time. Refer to the above anecdotal example if you need proof of this (thats right, I give you permission to learn from my misery). However, as a line of defense, gay swingers develop a form of sixth sense which many have dubbed the Gaydar. The Gaydar is a remarkable tool that enables its user to determinewith varying degrees of accuracythe sexual orientation of the person in question. Usually, the reading from the Gaydar is placed on a scale that measures intensity. Personally, I always use a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 signifies that the person "once looked at a person of the same sex and then spent several months feeling dirty and crying a lot in the shower" (see: "The Crying Game"). A 10, on the other hand, is the antithesis of this"flames so much that you do not want to get around them if your clothing contains anything flammable because you might spontaneously combust" (see: "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert"). Bisexual, as a rule, is anything that falls between 4 and 6. The rest you can probably figure out on your own. Some people prefer a 1 to 5 numbering system. Others simply stick with the "thumbs up, thumbs down" method, which contains only three settings (straight, bi, gay), thus making it the simplest to utilize for less experienced Gaydar Technicians.
There are, of course, other methods of determining whether or not someone is gay, including one of my favorites, which is to watch them eat a banana while scrutinizing their facial expressions very closely. Are they savoring every last bite? If so, the possibility of gaydom is high. Of course, the main problem with all of these diagnostic tests is that one often has to stare for a while at the subject before getting a clear reading. And that can draw unusual, if somewhat hostile, looks. So Ill end with a suggestion about the use of the Gaydar: Watch where you point that thing. Wow, that has more levels of meaning than I dare even to count.
Adam is a senior in high school. In his free time, he enjoys studying and writing poetry, playing the piano, acting, and reading anything and everything. He welcomes email at email@example.com.
CAMPNote Kristen Foery, our youth columnist, wishes to inform everyone that she is on a leave of absence from her column at Letters. This is because she is currently respecting her familys wishes and refraining from writing any articles while her family comes to terms with her sexuality.
Kristen will most likely be back by the end of the summer and looks forward to seeing everyone in the CAMP Courtyard. In the meantime, her good friend Adam is substituting. If you happen to run in to her, however, she will be more than happy to describe in excruciating detail what it is like to be a gay teenager in Sussex County.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 9, No. 8, July 2, 1999