17 September 2009

A Porn Star Showed Me the Ropes

OK, calling him a porn star is an exaggeration. Let's go back to the beginning.

A long time ago in a land far away, I was a college student very involved with the Latter-day Saint Student Association, which volunteered members to help the university cater a Boys' and Girls' Club fundraiser banquet. In return, the LDSSA received funds from the university which could be used for things like replacing the Institute's pool table or air hockey table. It was a great gig, so the university's catering services didn't want to favor one organization over another and consequently only had each org help once...until they realized that the LDS students not only were a fairly professional-acting gang, but they didn't sneak the wine and steal the food as many of the other orgs (especially the fraternities) had done. It only took one time working with us before they decided we were the one organization they'd invite back regularly, which they did until I left (three years running up to that point).

But the drawback to a bunch of Mormon kids helping cater the banquet: many had never poured coffee or opened a wine bottle. What was our role? Pouring coffee and popping the corks on the wine for the attendees who had paid for the privilege of getting liquored up to lower inhibitions against spending inordinate amounts of money on auction items. We came away with fun stories: the old women hitting on us young guys with slurred lines, old men coming on to the young ladies, and tinges of guilty conscience as we poured mugs full of caffeinated sin. But oh, the bounty of culinary leftovers we were allowed to fill up on before going home made the whole thing well worth it.

Keep in mind, back in this time, I had yet to allow myself to realize that my homoness was not a mere phase of curiosity that I was simply still struggling to subdue after a decade of post-pubescence. And while refusing to accept my own affinity, I was keenly aware of it in others, and I was sometimes fascinated by subjects of my curiosity who seemed especially likely candidates for "those who have succumbed to the curiosity and turned it into an identity". One such subject was a caterer at this event. He was not a volunteer from a student org but a staff member of the university catering services, and his aloof, nose-in-the-air demeanor reflected that superiority. And no small nose it was, but it protruded from a rather attractive face perched atop a fairly nicely formed body, as far as I could tell from my side of his uniform, so nose-in-air or not, I was...intrigued.

Here was an attractive, potentially gay guy, and I was working side-by-side with him. I tried not to obsessively wonder whether he was gay, whether he could tell I was curious, or whether someone like him could ever find someone like me attractive ("If you were a girl lobster and I was a boy lobster at the bottom of the sea...would you find me attractive?"). I mostly failed, though, and obsessed quietly to myself, finding every opportunity to work near him. As we were shown the ropes, he took an instructing role. Before the banquet began, he showed me (and others) how to politely remove plates and set down glasses, how to pour, where to keep your hands when they're not in use, how to hold glasses or mugs to avoid putting your fingers on the lip, and how to pop the cork on a wine bottle. I remember his half-amused, half-exasperated expression at our ignorance. He seemed almost arrogant at times, but I was so fascinated by his possible homosexuality, and so drawn to his eyes, that I couldn't just push him aside and forget about it.

I would occasionally see him on campus or at a local department store (I'm remembering him as maybe working there, but my memory is hazy) and would wonder whether he remembered me, whether he had perceived my unspoken signals that I might want someone to understand what I was going through with this same-sex curiosity thing, even though I suspected he'd probably just wonder why I didn't date guys and be "true to myself," and I knew I was probably mostly interested in talking to him because, despite his apparent arrogance, he was quite good-looking. When we were called back to help with the banquet again the next year, I thought of him and how we'd be working in close quarters again. But he didn't give any sign that he recognized my existence. In fact, if he showed anything, it was deliberate disinterest, which is far more biting than true ignorance. I suspected he detected my semi-obsession and was annoyed by it, so I deliberately tried to be disinterested to quell his concerns that I might show up in his bedroom one night with a knife or something. Yes, even then, I realized how unhealthy this all was, wanting someone's attention but not wanting to actually initiate anything because I didn't know exactly what it was I wanted from him anyway. So I gave up. I decided I was being ridiculous, and he probably wasn't even gay, and either way, he was probably a jerk anyway or at the very least not at all interested in anything about me.

Fastforward several years. Not long ago, I was perusing Facebook, and through a mutual friend, I came across a name I hadn't thought of in years. It was the aloof caterer I'd wondered about but in a context I hadn't expected. Male model? Really? Nooooo. Yes. Here it was. Legit modeling shots. I Googled him. My, my, my. Well, would you look at this? Bloggers worldwide showcasing him as a highlighted stud of the week or male model to watch, often in provocative but non-nude photos. Apparently, he's bulked up 'cause he was not that muscular when I last saw him. And...oh...oh my...he made a video for....no, I shall not mention it, but suffice it to say it's no Disney production. I was tempted to find that video, even if only for the sheer morbid curiosity of seeing someone I've met in a naughty video (to answer your probable question, no, I haven't seen it, and I'm OK with that *wink*).

Hm. Well I was right about his sexuality, according to accounts. And he's got quite a bod on him these days, though not quite "my type". But I see his somewhat vacant, cold expression in all of his photos, and it just reminds me of that same detached aloofness that I saw back when we went to the same university. I have to wonder if I'd find him more attractive if I hadn't met him, but who knows? I don't feel any bitterness about his never noticing me: like I said, I got over wanting his attention years ago. But I guess what hit me is that it's funny to look back and think I was all intrigued by him just because he was good-looking and probably gay, when now I have no interest in him whatsoever and would reject any advances he might, in some imaginary world, make on me. It feels oddly good to know that I just don't care and that model or not, famous or not, naughty videos or not, he's just that guy who showed me the catering ropes and acted aloof, so I have no desire to ogle him. Am I weird? :-)

Makes me wonder whether pictures of hot models would lose most of their appeal if I knew each person as a real person, whether someone whose personality kills most of their physical beauty or someone I know too well to regard as simply an object of purely physical lust. And that reminds me, when I really think about it, why I'm not keen on the idea of objectifying people that way. But dang, some people are just screaming to be admired... *sigh*

5 comments:

Quinn said...

Oh man, just imagine if you had become "close friends" with him before he went big time.

There is a guy form my high school that I had.... made out... with, and now he is a lead actor in a famous (in the gay world) movie. Kinda the same outlook as you... maybe I would find him more attractive had I not known him in real life?!

Bravone said...

Your feelings for him remind me of a guy we hired a few years ago to be our office manager. He is tall and extremely good looking. He just happened to be the most qualified for the job as well (honest.) I wondered how it would be working around someone I found so attractive, but as I go to know him, the attraction went away. He is a great guy and hasn't done anything to lessen my opinion of him, but the 'novelty' of him wore off quickly. Not sure that is the right way to describe it, but often I find that when I get to know someone who was the object of my interest, they become 'normal,' like me.

Anonymous said...

This is a great account of what it's like to de-mystify someone who was once captivating or alluring to one's very soul.

I think most human beings go through this process at least once (and some of us many times) over the course of a lifetime.

I think it's very empowering to look back and examine that de-mystification process and contemplate its end result: how what was once so captivating can come to exert no pull over the heart or soul any longer.

When I reflect on my own life episodes that mirror the one you've outlined here, I am reminded of a quote by C.S. Lewis that I've started to think of often recently.

When talking of the very human temptation to become too attached to other human beings Lewis said:

"There are a lot of nice things you can do with sand: just do not try building a house on it."

I think that's a great way to sum up the fleeting nature of human beings (and human relationships). There are a lot of nice things you can do with them. Just don't try making them the foundation upon which you build your life.

That's a hard lesson to learn once and for all. But episodes like the one you've shared start teaching the heart something about the shifting and fleeting nature of even the most beautiful "sand."

Original Mohomie said...

Ha, that must be special for you, Quinn. I can only imagine.

Bravone and Anonymous, you both mention the "demystification" phenomenon. I think most people experience that to an extent: it's easier to be attracted to what you idealize someone to be than to bring reality into it.

And it needn't be "attracted" in a purely sexual sense. Kids in middle school often want to be friends with the popular kids, or to be just like them. They're attracted to them, drawn to what they believe they are or have. But if they really get to know them, they often discover their lives are just as imperfect as anyone's or that they aren't people worth mimicking.

Attraction is a funny thing. I must be a jaded ol' cuss, 'cause I haven't experienced the kind of attraction I described here in quite some time. But then, I no longer feel a yearning to explore a part of myself I feel afraid or uneasy to even look at. It's nice not to have big, secret compartments of life.

Original Mohomie said...

In going through some old posts, I ran across more about the demystification process:

Desire Assuaged by Familiarity

and

Sexualized Attraction

Of course, re-reading those, I now have more thoughts on the matter as things have progressed/changed. Another post for another day. :-)