Monday, October 18, 2004

Performances and misconceptions

Last night the chorus sang a short 10-minute set to kick off an evening of song and dance called Jubliate, a fund-raiser for Bonaventure House, which provides housing and assistance for people living with HIV and AIDS. What made the event different from our regular appearances is the fact that Bonaventure House is not your typical gay-run organization. In fact, it’s a Catholic thing—and the event purportedly draws its audience from the rich straight white see-and-be-seen Gold Coast socialite demographic instead of the rich gay white see-and-be-seen Attitude Queen demographic, which is what we’re used to singing for. So we got exposure in front of a whole new segment of the population. And, as usual, we rocked.

And the hope is that after seeing and hearing just how much we rock, this new segment of the population will think we’re handsome and talented young men and will 1) adopt us in a benefactor sort of way and 2) tell its friends (and elected officials) that Those Gay People sure are nice—and handsome and talented!—and maybe everyone should stop discriminating against them.

What was even cooler was that the event took place in the brand-spanking-new Harris Theater for Music and Dance, conveniently located under (as in many stories deep in the earth below) Frank Gehry’s magnificent new Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s magnificent new Millennium Park. Though the new theater suffers from a bad case of Butt-Ugly Lobby, the performance space itself is spectacular, with amazing sightlines and acoustics that border on perfection. It was a total trip to sing on the stage—especially so soon after it opened.

I’m always interested in comparing the public spaces of great theaters—and this place is destined to become a great theater—with their backstage spaces. The backstage spaces at the Harris Theater are decorated in an efficient military-blah style, with floor after floor of spacious—though sparsely decorated—dressing rooms organized along endless corridors filled with exposed pipes (for easy access!), whitewashed to cheerless uniformity and stenciled with minimalist signage pointing you anywhere you want to go. It’s all very Titanic steerage, and I wouldn’t have been surprised to stumble on a poor Irish girl or two struggling into a life jacket or two as I walked the halls last night.

And there’s a rumor—just a rumor, mind you—that this theater will become the chorus’ new performance home as soon as next season. Which gives me a huge, all-singing, all-dancing boner.

As many of you more regular readers know because I pathetically won’t stop carping about it, I have been single for more than a regular human could be realistically expected to bear quite some time now.

And last night I might have figured out one of the obvious to everyone but me reasons why: It seems that there’s this misconception that I already have a boyfriend.

As we were changing clothes after the concert last night, hunky little Rick turned and asked me a question that I suddenly realized I’d heard in one form or another about ten times in the last month alone: “You have a boyfriend, right?”

AS IF. Would a man in the throes of romantic bliss have the time to write Pulitzer-worthy endlessly entertaining blog entries day in and day out? Would a man with a bottomless pit of sexual need boyfriend have time to run a marathon? Would a man who’s been validated by love spend his evenings killing hookers in the basement spend his evenings killing hookers in the basement?

In a word: No.

Once I realized there was a pattern here and explained it to Rick, he responded—without coaching of any sort—honest!—with a charming rationalization: The world thinks I’m such great husband material that everyone just assumes I have a husband.

Which pretty much floored me. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a sweeter compliment. Especially one that also managed to fill me with gut-wrenching despair concern that this find-a-boyfriend project is even more of an uphill battle than I’d feared.

And it didn’t do much to stop me from going to bed bitter and alone and reeking of smoke after yet another unsuccessful evening of husband-hunting at Sidetrack last night.


Erick said...

I have been there so many times I can't even count! My favorite line of all time had something to do with, You would be a great husband. But I don't know about a boyfriend. WHAT? I still do not know what that means---at all.
Keep the faith---as for me, I'm giving it a couple more months before I become a monk.

Peter said...

I'm shocked, Jake, SHOCKED!!! To think that the mere belief that you have a boyfriend actually prevented these guys from making a move? You must be hanging out with the nicest gay people in the world.
Although, you might subconsciously be giving off "not interested" vibes, which could be the reason behind the assumption that you're already taken. Plus, you have your shit together and are not a neurotic flake.
Damn, I'm feeling catty today! I'll stop now before I end up alienating all of your readers.

tim said...

Wait, you can still smoke inside a club/bar/lounge in Chicago?!?!!??!?!

Jake said...

I know. It's downright barbaric. And I was even in the theoretically smoke-free section of Sidetrack. Blech.

RcktMan Rick said...

Awww Jake... how sweet of you to call me hunky. I'm touched. Honored. Blushing, even.

OK OK it wasn't me. But what a sweet exchange anyway. It's interesting how people perceive us and we aren't even aware of what their perceptions are. Sometimes I wish I could read people's minds for just a minute each, and find out exactly what they are thinking and why. MAN that would make life a lot easier.

I enjoyed performing at Harris too. Some guys didn't. They complained that we couldn't hear ourselves, and in some ways I concur, but it was still amazing to perform there when it's only been open for such a short period of time. It was so new you could still smell the fresh concrete. Now THAT'S new!

Jake said...

The only problem was that slowly curing concrete in a poorly ventilated backstage area = unpleasant litterbox smell.

Hugo said...

I've also been told, "oh, I thought you had a boyfriend". Yeah, right and he's invisible which is why you never see him with me.
At least you're enjoying yourself killing hookers in your basement!

Andy said...

I've found having a beau increases attention. Whenever I'm seen alone everybody assumes the worst (or the best, from their POV). Can't wait until I have a wedding band then I'll get lots of attention!

Jeff said...

Remember: laughter through the tears. Seems that you have that part down.

Also: Friends will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body. Bear that in mind whilst killing hookers in the basement.

Sven said...

oh jakie... or is it jakey... or is it jake-E... whichever one of it... it is.... i hope that you do not find that special someone.... at least till i grow tired of reading about your quest for him daily. but i guess, ill let it slide if you post about another dream with julie andrews. i still tell friends about that story. wait. your not a loser for being single. im the loser. im telling stories of what i read on your blog... and im not even telling it that great either! l.o.s.e.r.

serenaluchang said...

My boyfriend's parents went to that concert the other night and they LOVED the Gay Men's Chorus. They'd never seen you guys before and my boyfriend's dad kept saying that he wished that you had kept singing all night. He much preferred you guys to the interpretive dance that appartently came on after. So you converted at least two brand new fans.

serenaluchang said...

My boyfriend's parents went to that concert the other night and they LOVED the Gay Men's Chorus. They'd never seen you guys before and my boyfriend's dad kept saying that he wished that you had kept singing all night. He much preferred you guys to the interpretive dance that appartently came on after. So you converted at least two brand new fans.

jon said...

I have the opposite problem: I have a boyfriend, but my friends here continually work to hook me up. It's really a problem...

But, I sympathize with the blog-writing phenomenon. I bet the real signal that you've found a boyfriend will be when you stop writing.