Peter Pans and Tinker Bells
When I was teaching college for awhile before I totally hung it up, I was 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 live 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, and up to their asses in debt.
Now the gay equivalent I label Tinker Bells. Gay guys who partied through their 20’s and 30’s 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, searching for that next great lay in Amsterdam, Rio or Montreal, or following the moveable feasts of Leatherfests and Bearfests and White, Black and Blue parties. 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 all see on any gay beach like Sebastian, Lauderdale’s gay oceanfront sandbox, the buffed thirty year olds with the matinée 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. Unless, of course, they got a signed contract they’ll be “taken care of” when the old man kicks the bucket. Like the balding fifty something guy on the beach who some buddies introduced me to who hadn’t worked for the last thirteen years, taking care of some old geezer who left him his condo and a trust fund for life. The poor thing was moaning that he would still have to work somewhere if he didn’t want to pay for his own health insurance.
So why should I give a shit about the Tinker Bells? None of my fucking business, right? I beg to differ. First, somebody’s gonna have to take care of all these broke Tinker Bells – and Peter Pans for that matter – when they hit the big 6-0. And that somebody is us who still pay taxes, even when we’re retired.
The more immediate reality is we’re forced to deal with them every time we venture into our respective gay worlds. 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.
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 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 42 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.”