A recent piece on the closing of a gay bar in Fargo reflects a sentiment all too familiar with guys my age (66). Even some of our best writers who should know better decry the “impersonal” nature of the Internet and the loss of disco. The times they are changing, guys, and gone are our chem-fuelled disco nights and furtive blows job coming home from work. Bemoaning their loss has the same affect on younger men as my father telling me that Glenn Miller’s music was real while Bill Haley’s garbage. What my generation is lamenting is not being twenty.
Get real. Young gay men aren’t longing to hang out at truck stops or smoky bars. They can put a profile on Manhunt and Gaydar. They can find vanilla sex on one site and S&M on another. If I can pass on anything to guys in their 30’s I say make your life as imaginative and exciting as ours and maybe less bittersweet.
I have to think guys my age who miss bars aren’t getting laid. My generation didn’t invent fist fucking and SM sex but we brought them into the gay mainstream just like inventing gay softball and gay bowling. As AIDS killed my generation we organized and funded community organizations without differentiating by class or A&F polo shirt. And we learned Tina is a vicious bitch who wipes out the personalities of men she plays with. We also learned we could survive. Surviving is what we can pass on as well as our tales of wondrous pleasure.
Who knows? River rafting may bond young gay men as surely as dancing in glittered hard hats bonded us. At first I feared that the epidemic would encourage a new modesty, but seeing the men with hardons all over the Internet proved me wrong. The more things change, the more things stay the same.
Take care of each other and keep having fun.