I taught college in between doing research for my books in the dark venues of Lauderdale’s sex scene, and I was constantly amazed that almost two thirds of my students and the ones with the most smarts are women. I mean, Christ, where are the men? Are they all planning to be web designers, rock stars, or live off a woman’s six figure corporate lawyer’s salary? Again, I talk in generalities, but my conviction is that the ladies are far more mature than the guys and that a good percentage of the American male population, straight and gay, still lives in a world of adolescent exuberance. Straight guys who fall in this category I like to call Peter Pans: out with boys, into football and playing jock, forgetting they’re 45 or 55, beer bellied, henpecked with three kids, and up to their asses in debt. Or single and still living with Mommy and Daddy.
Now the gay equivalent I label Tinker Bells. Gay guys who partied through their twenties and thirties with little in the way of career aspirations or investments and now, at the Just for Men time of their lives, have no notion or, worse, haven’t even thought about who’s going to take care of them when the Viagra doesn’t work anymore and their asses are sagging. Oh, we’ve all run into them, the great-in-the-sack, still hot at forty something or fifty something guy who lives in “A Rented Room” and has had a string of Christmas help, minimum wage, temp jobs. The same guy who pissed the money away as fast as it came in, sometimes on drugs, other times searching for that next great lay in Amsterdam, Rio or Montreal, or following the moveable feasts of Leatherfests and Bearfests. Social Security quarters? Pensions? 401K’s? Who’s running for President again?
Now, the crème de la crème of the Tinker Bells are the ones we see on gay-friendly beaches like Sebastian, Lauderdale’s gay sandbox, the buffed thirty year olds with the Matinee looks paired off on the blanket with some old man, I don’t mean older, I mean a member of the Denture Cream Generation. What I’m sure they know but don’t want to face up to is the reality that the Old Man is the one really in charge and that they are as expendable as a used condom on the floor of a sex club.
So why should I give a shit about the Tinker Bells? None of my fucking business, right? I beg to differ. First, I predict that there will soon be a huge underclass in this country of Tinker Bells (and Peter Pans) who the government – meaning us – will have to support in their old age. More immediately, we’re forced to deal with them every time we venture into our closeted, two-by-four gay worlds. (And if we’re not hidden away in some corner of the burbs or the boonies, we are ghettoized, boys, make no mistake about that.) They’re the waiters at the gay restaurants, the help behind the sex club or bath house entrance windows, the clerks at the gay shops, or check-in help at some gay resort we’re vacationing at.
You’re dropping $45 for a T-shirt to cater to your petty ego that you know was made in Vietnam for a quarter, and there’s a Tinker Bell, having a-diarrhea-of-the-mouth or diarrhea-of-the- fingertips conversation on his smartphone while you’re trying to check out. Suddenly that frumpy look comes over his face, unless you’re cute of course. You’ve disturbed him. It’s at that moment that I’d like to say three things to the fucker AFTER he’s taken the security lock off the rag I’m buying: (a) “I don’t have to spend my money here,” (b) “Don’t take it out on me that at 48 you’re still working at a minimum wage job,” and lastly, (c) “When you run my Visa card through with the twenty thousand dollar credit line, I want a smile on your face and a ‘thank you, sir’ from your mouth.”