Rochester, aka “The Pit of Despair”

Let me start by saying that my research here is going great.  Living with family is as you would imagine to be (well maybe better than you imagine if you don’t get along with your family).

I haven’t lived in the east in over a decade, and the thing I’m being reminded of is how segregated, uptight, and sometimes desperate the gay scene can be.  I’ve gotten used to this sense of at least good will in communication when meeting people to date in Portland.  If you make a plan to meet in a day or two, you do about 80% of the time, and they might flake about 20% of the time.  That’s fine.  That falls on the positive side of dating economics.  Reverse the equation for Rochester.  If you’re not going to meet someone that night, you’ll be lucky to hear from them (even after a long seemingly positive phone conversation).  There have been a few one nighters, but I’d rather make a friend frankly.  I was overconfident about my ‘other’ romantic connections here.  I underestimated the powers of the dark side.  Tolerance for homos out here means that they won’t beat you up, but you’re pushing it if you want to be verbal or public about it at all.  No wonder fags are twitchy, uptight, and desperate here.

Maybe my sense of myself is skewed.  I thought that I was genuine, honest, and easy to get along with.  Maybe I’m just not adapted well for this ecosystem.  Like a brown bear thrust into the arctic where only polar bears can eek out a living.  Of course, that metaphor would relegate other gay men to the status of food items and carrion.  Sounds like maybe I do need to work on my mindset a bit.  Either that, or just get my research done, get out, and don’t look back (except for family).

I think this is that loneliness they talked about when going and doing fieldwork.  You lose your identity a bit, and that’s disconcerting and disorienting.  Must…..focus…..must…..complete…..tasks….forget….about….fags……..but….starved…..for…….companionship……AAAaaaaargh!

Published by bradfortier

Educator, Anthropologist, Entertainer who lives in Portland Oregon.

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