Thursday, April 3, 2008

Xanadu? Xana-don't

In the recent issue of The Advocate, Cheyenne Jackson (star of recent Broadway musical sensation Xanadu--uh yeah, that Xanadu)opens up about the first time he felt those gay feelings:

“...I think I was, like, 7 -- I was watching this Valentine’s Day Popeye cartoon episode that would play every year. There was this scene where Popeye was captured by Brutus, tied up with no shoes or socks on, and Brutus starts tickling his feet. I remember getting a little boner, and I didn’t know what it was about that scene that was creating that, but I knew that it was something naughty that I couldn’t tell anybody, and I definitely knew it was something that made me different. But every year, I couldn’t wait for that episode.”

Pretty Cheyenne got me thinking about my gay childhood. I can't remember what I was watching--as a child, my cousins and I would watch an unhealthy amount of slasher flicks and horror films. I'm sure it was a sex scene or gratuitous shower scene or something where I saw a naked whatever, I honestly don't even know if it mattered male or female. Either way, I remember popping my first chub and being absolutely horrified by it. I actually yelled out loud: What's wrong with my wee wee?!

My older cousins just laughed at me. Bastards. They knew, but they didn't even explain it to me. I remember feeling ashamed, but back then I felt shame and guilt every other second because of my Catholic upbringing.

I can't really recall any true gay feeling. But I can remember being called out for being different. All the time. As kids, superheroes were a big deal. The boys in the neighborhood and I would play superhero. We'd choose our favorite: Batman, Superman, Green Lantern. I always wanted to be Wonder Woman.

Honestly, I can't say why. It could have been the invisible plane or the lasso. I just thought she was cool. And I wanted to be her. It had nothing to do with gender. But being with the boys it was. Wonder woman's a girl, they'd say. You're a boy. So who did I choose as a back-up? Aquaman. Hm. Yeah. Swimming around with dolphins. Not gay at all.

I never wanted to be a girl. But I did like girl things. Yet I also liked boy things. I collected both the He-Man and She-Ra action figures/dolls. Do you all remember the She-Ra action figure? Bitch needed conditioner. Bad. So yeah, He-Man and She-Ra. I also had G.I.Joes. I'd have my G.I.Joes ride around on My Little Pony's. I'd have the androgynous looking G.I.Joes play women characters and hook them up with the more butch Joes. But honestly-seriously how gay was Gung Ho? We've all avoided Gung Ho at the bars. My favorite G.I. 'Mo was Shipwreck. Doesn't he look familiar? Yeah. He looks a little like M.T. with a parrot.

You know I'm gonna create a new memory today. I got my first little boner watching Shipwreck on G.I.Joe: The Real American Hero (the cartoon). And it wasn't scary. It was beautiful.

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