When Rooferman and I first got together, we started out as roommates. I was deeply involved in being a full-time fag hag, bringing urban gay-club liberation home to my cow-town of Durango. I was seeking out every closeted youth I could find, “helping” them spread their wings, approving the inner demons they were hiding. Basically, I was attempting to set off firecrackers in the faces of conservative Americana wherever I could.
I had marched in gay rights rallies in Boston. I had thrown eggs at President Bush’s limo brigade during his 2004 campaign fundraisers. I got to meet all the gay & lesbian members of the Real World. My college life was totally absorbed in being the straight supporter of my closest friends, and I was bringing my passion back to a tiny town in a (former) red state.
Of course, this meant I had an active night life. Where else can one find gay men in a small town? I frequented bars, dance halls, independent cinemas, fundraisers, non-profits events, art galleries, “clubs”, college hang outs and theatre performances.
I also went to Denny’s a lot at 3 am. I met my first outwardly gay Durango friend under the florescent lights of this hallowed establishment. Being the witching hour, he was totally wasted, and promptly introduced himself to my left boob. This was the queen who would eventually connect me with my future babydaddy, and we all would move to our happy little party pad.
The Queen and I became inseperable. All our free time was scheduled within 10 feet of each other. I thought I was in love with him (all fruit flies will be guilty of this at some point). We spent our night lives drinking copious amounts of tequila, smoking cheap cigarettes and creating scenes at the local meat market. I would happily drive him cross county lines to meet his Internet hook ups. We would sit on the street corner and visibly harass young attractive cowboys, almost daring them to get in our faces.
I thought I had found my calling: Small Town Fag Hag- Liberator of the Repressed! In my own way, I felt like I was carrying on the grand tradition of my mother’s feminism. I thought I had finally found a way to be political; fight for something I really cared about, and hell, I was having the time of my life doing it!
Unfortunately, the liberation began to get out of control. I was trying to prove that our society’s rules meant nothing. That you could create your own reality, that taboos only existed in the minds of the bigoted. Doing this meant that there was no “right” and “wrong”, that even local law enforcement had no jurisdiction over one’s personal freedom.
Helping my Bestie discover himself was much more important than abiding by those silly rules that were the basis of American civilization. So if my gay boy decided that drug dealing, meth smoking, pill popping, cash stealing, shoplifting, heavy drinking, probation violating, car wrecking and personal manipulation were needed to fully express himself, I was along for the ride.
Basically, I enabled him to do every self-destructive thing in his reach. The sick part? I thought I was helping him. I thought by spiraling out of control, he was purging the inner demons he never got to express. I wanted the world to accept who we has, even if that meant a law-breaking, drug addicted homo.
Eventually cops started questioning me about my gay boy. Friends stopped hanging out with me. My parents started to fear for my safety. I had a full-blown, F U podunk-redneck-God-loving -Colorado attitude, and it didn’t help I was living off a diet of Lortab, Rockstars, ephedrine, Slim Fast, tequila & cigarettes.
As long as my Queen and I had each other, the rest of the world could shove it.
Then other things happened. Rooferman proposed to me at a stock car race, and it became clear that I was going to be a redneck’s wife. The 3-way relationship between the dynamic duo and my future husband started to get bad. Rooferman made it clear I had to choose between him or my Bestie. So I quit my job and we moved to the Big Easy to work on post-Hurricane Katrina construction. I left my gay boy to his own devices.
While I was forced to quit the partying cold turkey, the drugs got even worse for my small-town homo. I found out that he had gotten busted, and was going to be serving major time. I was lucky enough to escape the same fate.
I’ve really struggled with this, trying to come to terms with what I did to my friend. How could I have thought I was helping him, or me, or anyone by my actions? Why did I think that because he was gay, it meant he was free from all societal rules? That it was ok for him to abuse himself and other people? Why didn’t I think of another way for him to find himself?
My gay boy got out of prison yesterday. We talked and cried on the phone for hours. I’m cautious. I’ve seen what prison does to people, and I know the odds of successfully living in the real world again. I want to be here for him. I’ve missed my right hand man.
We’ve both been through a lot in the last 3 years, and I think the lessons I’ve learned, and the growth I’ve experienced will be an asset in our friendship. I’m grounded and empowered in a way I’ve never been before. I think it will be good for both of us.
And… I can’t wait to be a fag hag again.