Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gay Anthropology, Part II: Lookism is a karma problem


I just wanted to carry on some thoughts coming behind my “anthropology” exercise yesterday.

That is to note that I did not have the opportunity to be “desired” in social situations where lookism drives the action – drives and discos.  I did not visit a gay bar for the first time until March, 1973, at age 29.  I remember walking around the block housing Uncle Charley’s South in NYC twice before having the nerve to go in and enjoy the “goody line” (the free Sunday afternoon buffet).  I was already balding and less than “perfect”.  So I never enjoyed being in the position to command the attention from others with personal charisma and attractiveness from others. 
  
I did, of course, learn the whole body of material about personal growth and the “polarities” as was taught by Paul Rosenfels at the Ninth Street Center in the East Village in New York in the 1970s (now, it is, posthumously, the Paul Rosenfeils Community.
   
In this line of thinking, selectivity and independence were considered good.  And they are. If you can do your own thing – today with the help of the Internet – you are more likely to attract the people you want.  That can present a “chicken and egg” problem, as I noted on my main blog Tuesday (May 14). 
  
But “doing your own thing” first requires stability – and externally caused difficulties (natural or hostile) can throw you into interdependence on others in unwelcome ways.  Not everyone has the opportunity to achieve things on their own, less be naturally appealing in public venues.  So we seem to wind down to a profound social justice problem.
  
I haven’t been to clubs as much as usual in 2013, for a variety of reasons – including increasing content workload.  People do approach me in bars.  Maybe a little over half of the approaches are “unwelcome” (but some are).  I realize there is a bit of an attitude about this.
   
Once, back in  October 2001 (shortly after 9/11, when people were a little nervous), in a popular Minneapolis bar, an African American woman approached me asking when my birthday was an which birthday it would be.  She was protecting someone else from unwanted interest.  You can imagine how that felt.  

By the way, not being too “popular” in young adulthood may have saved my life.  I’m still around.  The HIV epidemic, as playwright Larry Kramer (“The Normal Heart”) once said, enforced a kind of reverse Darwinism.   

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