Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hungry Like the Wolf?

I just got back from a really lovely brunch with the Ex. Some people (namely my current flame) don’t get why we stay in touch or how we even manage to get along. On my end, he helps me remember things about a life (in Korea) that is slowly but surely fading. Also, every time we eat together, it’s harder for me to have those negative feelings and easier to forgive. Forgiveness is a process for me. It’s less about where I say “You were wrong and I pardon you,” but more where my ego stops caring anymore about the past. It ceases to matter anymore. I see the person across from me as someone who is just as lost as I am, trying to find his place in this world, dealing with his own shortcomings and imperfections the best way he knows how. Suddenly we aren’t that different anymore.

But I digress. I was telling him about the crazy time that the boy and I had trying to get to see New Moon Friday. If you’ve been under a rock (and I grew up in a small-town in Kansas so no judgment), New Moon is the sequel to the mega-hit Twilight, a Romeo-Juliet story (the plot of which figures heavily into this latest installment). Our heroine falls for the brooding Heathcliff-esque vampire and despite being distracted by a crazy hot werewolf (boy-wolf I should say- he was born the year I graduated from High School. How wrong is that??) remains true to her blood-sucking BF.

The hysteria around this movie was at its peak Friday night at the Scotia Theatre (one of two theatres showing this movie in downtown Toronto). Not only where the lines crazy long but when all the computers broke down and they were unable to sell tickets, pandemonium ensued! Finally someone pulled out a roll of red raffle-tickets, manually wrote the name and time of the movie on each of them and took cash only and we were good to go. Only then we had to wait in line to get into the movie theatre with our little red tickets which the attendants upstairs were confused about. Someone undid the rope barriers and people just flooded in. Chaos. Lines broke down, civility and social norms were abandoned, and for what? For emo-vampires.

“Why do you white gay guys like vampires so much?” my ex asked me.

“Cuz they’re hot, duh!” I flippantly responded, concentrating on aesthetically drizzling just the right amount of syrup over my pancakes.

“No really, I mean, WHY?”

Pausing to consider it, I realized it is a valid question. In Korean culture, the only similarity would be the “fox-woman” who usually targets the livers of upper-class men. (Fun fact: There is no such thing as a “fox-man” just as we don’t have feminine werewolves!) In our culture, the legend of the vampire is ancient, pre-dating the Transylvanian Count Dracula. My ideas were the seductive power of a vampire, the idea of an outsider whose difference isn’t readily apparent and drinking of a blood as a metaphor for sex. From a queer perspective, the whole idea of diseased blood that in turn can infect others by intimate contact has connotations for a community that has so far been hit the hardest by the AIDS epidemic.

“And that’s attractive to you?” he said.

“Well, when you can identify something with yourself, it’s always attractive.” I countered.

When I asked him to answer his own question, he immediately replied that vampires are forever young and clearly this is attractive to the appearance-obsessed culture of gay men. It blew me away that he could see something so obvious that I didn’t even consider. Immortality was even addressed in the very opening scene of New Moon. Bella has a nightmare that she is introducing her vampire boyfriend to her grandmother only to discover that she is looking at herself in a mirror (the vampire has no reflection, natch).

So this leads me to wonder why I was compelled to rush out to the gym the very next day ASAP. The flip-side of seeing more homo-erotic images in mass media is the effect on one’s body perception, something women have been dealing with for a couple of decades now. If my waist size and weight are equal to what I had in high school, why do I still feel inadequate? Will I ever be able to take a picture without sucking in my stomach? Will I ever be comfortable sitting down with my shirt off? Will I ever get over comparing myself to others in age and weight? Probably not.

The irony here is that after going through the whole “accept yourself as God’s creation” schtick when one comes out, somehow I inadvertently picked up another archetype as soon as I put down the first (the one that said little boys grow up to be exactly or as close to their fathers as possible). This new one isn’t any better. It’s okay to be gay but you need to be out all hours of the night and dress impeccably. And live and love with wild abandon, like there’s no tomorrow. And have rippling abs and bulging biceps and a glutemus to the maximus. In other words, be forever young. Like…dare I say…a vampire?