Friday, October 12, 2007

My First Homosexual

I saw my first homosexual in 1957 on a warm Sunday in July. My mother had taken me, my sister, my cousin Danny’s girlfriend Gloria her girlfriend Sandy and Sandy’s mother for a spin in our new bright red Pontiac and we had wound up in Chinatown for a walk about and lunch. My cousin Danny who was movie star handsome had gotten hooked up with this hot babe Gloria who had bright red hair and slim hips. Danny’s parents my Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Jack disliked her but my mother adored her, and encouraged Danny in his romance with her. My aunt Sylvia who was a good looking woman but a horror to be around was always on the phone with my mother berating and yelling at her for encouraging the romance between her beloved son and this “slut and whore.” My mother paid her no mind, having never cared one bit for her. “Anything to spite Sylvia,” she said to me one afternoon after hanging up the phone on her. My mother even went so far as to go with Gloria to pick out an engagement ring in the diamond district in Manhattan. Maybe my mother and Gloria were cut from the same mold I don’t know. I also liked Gloria. She was pretty in a cheap sort of way, cheery and bubbly and she was very affectionate towards me. Gloria and Daniel would hang out at my father’s luncheonette at night when my mother was on duty and eat dinner at the Formica counter. I would be all over Danny. He was big and handsome with a wide smile and a nice laugh. He was the same age as my brother and they were close but my brother had been drafted into the army in Dec. and Danny was 4-F for some reason so I put all my affection on him. I was ten years old when I saw my first homosexual on that warm Sunday in July of 1957 and it wasn’t in Chinatown. We all piled into the fire engine red brand new Pontiac and with my mother’s dyed raven black hair, Gloria’s dyed red hair, Sandy and her mother’s dyed yellow hair and my sister’s plain old mousy brown hair it looked like a fall day in the forest. Gloria’s perfume was strong and sweet, and her breasts were nice and perky, no wonder Danny loved her. The two of them dripped 1950’s sexuality all over my father’s luncheonette’s pink and green checked linoleum floor. They dripped 1950’s sexuality inside Danny’s big 1956 Oldsmobile that he drove hard and fast as if some cop was after his butt and they dripped 1950's sexuality on the Brooklyn sidewalks of my youth. Every other word out of his sensual mouth was pussy, fuck, laid, cunt and cock. Of course he never used these words in front of my mother, as she would have slapped his handsome face from ear to ear. But in front of me the curse words streamed from his mouth. I didn’t care because I idolized Danny and his equally beautiful younger brother Stan who was my sister’s age and was always getting into trouble. He was our own James Dean. My father was always calling him a juvenile delinquent much to my delight and red-hot imagination. He couldn’t stand my sister and they were always arguing also to my delight. His nickname for her was witch, and he would always come to my defense when she would tease me. “Why are you such a witch? He would ask her and I would crack up. But that afternoon in the car I was the only male as Danny and Stan would work hard long weekends helping out their parents who had stands in the outdoor markets in English Town Pa. selling schemata’s and other pieces of crap that made them a pretty nice living. During the week Jack drove a truck and Sylvia stayed at home, drove my two cousins nuts and made buckets of homemade applesauce. After Chinatown we went to Times Sq. to walk around and look at all the signs and take in the sights. I insisted on walking past every movie theatre so I could look at the displays and see what the next attractions would be. I stood for sometime in front of the Lavish Paramount Theatre where Band of Angels was playing and decided that I would have to see that one. “Let’s go already” my sister was belly aching as usual but Gloria just patted me on the head and smiled at me, her red hair piled high on her head was gleaming in the late afternoon sun. I was ten years old when I saw my first homosexual on that warm July Sunday in 1957 and it wasn’t in Times Square. “Let’s go to the village,” Gloria said and I asked what was the village? You’ll soon see Ira, she said as we got back in the car and my mother made for downtown and Greenwich Village. It was getting to be around 8 in the evening and although it was still light out the sun would soon be down and out. My mother found a parking spot and I found myself on 8th street for the first time. This is where I saw my first homosexual. All the women were giggling and starring at the very effeminate and strange looking young men who were passing in front of my eyes. “What are they I asked my mother.” They’re fairies Ira” Why were they called fairies? They didn’t have wings and they certainly weren’t tiny like the ones that were in my children’s books and in the Disney movie Peter Pan. These fairies were scary and strange. They were men but were wearing lipstick and makeup and they had tweezed eyebrows like my mother’s. On top of all of this they were wearing tight pants and fuzzy light summer sweaters. “I want to go home,” I said as I pulled on my mother’s arm. This was a troubling image for me and brought back memories of one Halloween when I was maybe 5 years old and my mother and sister tried to get me to go trick or treating dressed as a little girl. As my sister tried to put lipstick on my tiny mouth I socked her in her face and screamed that I would not wear a dress and ripped it off. “Ok honey” my mother said let’s get you up as a cowboy. All the way home, as I dozed on Gloria’s lap I thought that If I was going to be a homosexual I would never ever wear those fuzzy sweaters or tweeze my eyebrows.

Pictures used in this post. 8th Street in the 1950's by the great photographer Fred W. McDarrah, The Paramount and The Loew's State Theatres in the 1950's and my cousin Stan, photo by me.


Blogger strandwolf said...

This is some yarn. Ah, the "formative years".

9:44 AM  

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