The Gay Male Baby Boomer: Then and Now- II
We’re all aware of the triumphs the BB Generation and the generations that followed have achieved since Judy Garland OD’ed and those gay boys and drag queens mourning her passing at the Stonewall that June night almost fifty years ago said enough already to those meandering cops. But all this progress has come at a price. Today’s young gay guys think they’re having fun but the real fun, the mystic of “Being in The Life,” of being a member of some secret society is gone. It’s no longer secret when the Supreme Court blesses gay marriage and you see a billboard for a gay hook-up site on the interstate.
Today, most baths, with the exception of maybe Chicago’s Steamworks, are largely the depository of BB and pre-BB gays, prancing around in stretched-out jockstraps, reminiscing about the old days when they looked as hot as the Men of Finland art collecting dust on the bath house walls.
Today, so many of the gay ghettos the BB Generation carved out of shit neighborhoods have gone mainstream, with our kind pushed out by high end yuppies, baby strollers and straight money. Witness S.F.’s Castro where what gay men are left – mostly BB gays since the young ones can’t afford it – are aging in place.
Today, the bars, once a haven for meeting guys, are now largely social venues to have a beer with your buddies on a Friday night as you rub shoulders with an increasing number of girly girls and kool straights, or where washed up BB’s who let excess or Father Time overtake them feed their alcoholism on 2-for-1 drink specials and google at chicken. Purist guy bars and leather bars are destined for extinction as those of us for whom they were created stay home, socializing with a few close knit friends, or entertaining ourselves with some porn and a few stiff drinks, as younger gays gravitate to the clubs, fondling their Iphones.
Are we, the guys who fostered the greatest acceptance of homosexuality since the ancients, now taking a back seat in its next chapter, being gay in 21st century America?
I think so.
And just like the Great Recession rocked society at large, there are as many have not’s among older gays who partied away their youth and have nothing (God – as in Government – will provide, I guess) as there are those of us who thought ahead about tomorrow. Yet, whether we gave all to our careers, content with a few friends and friendly fucks along the way, were party boys who were always waiting for Mr. Right, were just not gay life material, or loved and lost, there are many of us who find ourselves at 50 or 65 unattached and alone. Sure, there are the lucky ones with partners – what we used to call lovers – many of whose loveships have morphed into buddyships or “open” relationships, some purely financial, but for others, “ex’s” checker the landscape of our gay past. That’s why I think so many of us try to fill this void late in life with a double dose of unbridled hedonism, be it real or fantasy, particularly when there is no job or lover to straight jacket us.
Yes, I agree there are some of us who choose to be alone, who truly like living alone, and I must admit I’m one of them. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Yet even jaded I get depressed when I see these old men on the beach with their buyguy forty something paramours – is that where those of us alone but with means are headed? – or I read this line in so many web profiles of guys 50, 57, or 62, the men of my generation, the men of my youth …
“Waiting for an LTR but in the meantime … ”
Have a fun Fourth – see you next Wednesday …