Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Belles of South Marys

Netflix allows me, in one evening, to watch male Southern belle Leslie Jordan’s one man autobiographical show My Trip Down the Pink Carpet –occasionally quite funny and much focused on the gender style issue—and a post-Apocalyptic drama based on the fundamentalist Christian Rapture myth, The Moment After II: The Awakening. Two moments of American culture in century 21. Same planet, different worlds.

The celebration of gayness was pretty much all White. The evil fundamentalist movie very racially mixed. Did someone forget to follow the script?

Mr Leslie opined that there are only two types of homosexuals, the fabulous ones who know who they are, and are out-and-proud and, well, fabulous, and the fearful ones who are afraid someone will find out. Well, Ex Cathedra is not afraid and he's not fabulous...so maybe he's nebulous.

Among the amusing show biz tales*, the autobiographical moments, a very funny limerick that had to do with dynamite, American geography and body parts, were his comments on being a sissy and how that affected his sense of himself as a man and his relationships to other men. His ambiguity about his gender marbled his life story. 

He has been immersed in the gay culture since he was a teenager. At one point he described his inner self as a (female) teenaged cheerleader and at another expressed disdain for teenage cheerleaders. He made it clear that he spent most of his life in terror of heterosexual men and admitted his attraction to them. After ending three decades or more of substance abuse and discovering his self-hatred alive and well, he was sent by his sponsor to a straight men's recovery group. Long story short, his terror transmuted into a sense of acceptance of himself as a man, as he found the men there shared, in their own way, his fear and shame, and he developed with them a code for living.

Sometimes the circular pattern of maturity typical of gay men, the unusual internal relationship of masculine and feminine, is more like a rollercoaster.

*The best, I think: supporting role in a police drama where he was to be knocked down and then straddled and questioned on the ground by Mark Harmon. Jordan kept forgetting his lines --dazzled by Mr Harmon at close range-- and forcing retakes. After the third take, before Jordan fell, Harmon whispered in his ear, "I know what you're doing." Exposed, he remembered his lines.

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