Who Can Sing the Blues?
It’s almost a rule that I never go out much, but a few months ago on a Saturday’s night I was in a restaurant’s garden listening to music on a midsummer’s night. For fun (her’s not mine, especially) I brought Sybil along, too. She hadn’t been out in a while so I suggested she come with me and listen to Blue.
Blue’s music is beautiful. He sings a lot about his past relationships, artfully crafting blues, rock and folk into a melodic upbeat heartbreak you can dance to. He has a stalwart stage presence that belies his short stature (maybe he’s about 5’4″? or 5’5″) and embraces the microphone in a way that is oddly simultaneously private and public. Watching him perform always seems like a one on one conversation between him. Sybil has a slight crush on him, still –I think. When she first saw him a couple of years ago she nudged me into introducing the two of them and was crestfallen to discover that he was gay.
“So why do you think he’s not dating anyone?” Sybil asked me as we watch Blue rock the small stage.
“I don’t know,” I shrug, shaking my head to his singleness and beat of his music. “Beats me.” Along with Sybil there are a couple of other women that are totally feeling Blue’s vibe and wouldn’t mind feeling a couple of other things on him. He has that sexual teddy bear quality that resonates with women; they just want to snuggle up to him and kiss him.
Sybil began to take inventory. “Do you think its because he’s a little overweight? Or because he’s bald?”
“I dunno,” I say again. The gay world can be a shallow one where looks and fitness are highly prized. Youth is also important. My close friend Tony taught me about all of those things when we used to hang together years ago. He used to lament (too often) that he was over the hill, too old to be a boy toy but not old (or rich) enough yet to be a sugar daddy And this was all at the age of 28.
But then I backtrack. “He is Asian. That should have some cache in the dating world where Rice Queens are searching for Potato boys. ” Sybil looked at me as if I was speaking a new language so I translated. “The same way a lot of straight white men are falling over Asian women its the same with gay white men who are looking for Asian men.”
“Oh,” she said but I can see that she had already checked out of the conversation and was on to her next idea. I could see it in her eyes even before she uttered the words, “Do you think he has a brother?”
Blues od force with women has not escaped his notice.
“If I were straight I’d be in trouble,” Blues laughs. ” I would probably be a Baby’s Daddy and have mamas all over the place. Women love me, they are all over me. When I go grocery shopping on a Tuesday night I get stopped all the time. ‘What do you think of this wine?’ ‘ What do you think of this meat?’ ” Blue’s voice goes up high in pitch, imitating the coy flirtations. “God saved me by making me gay. Think of what a player I would be.”
For some reason his sex appeal hasn’t translated over to men, though. “And that’s strange,” I say to him. “Because usually what women find attractive gay men find appealing, too.” I gave him my assessment: he dresses like the average joe and he sends gives off this straight aura which has been an attraction for the straight men that I know but for some reason the gay men he encounters can’t get a bead on him. “You need a pink polo,” I say, looking at him sideways. “And you need to get a manicure and some sweet smelling cologne. You are too butch; you have to gay it up a bit. Get a fou-fou dog. A pomi! I love pomies.”
“Girl, I am not getting a fou-fou dog. I hate them. I’ll get a big one but not a little one.”
“See, that’s your problem right there. You are too masculine. You need to be more feminine to attract some Rice Queens your way. ”
“So I should become a stereotype? I refuse to become a stereotype.”
“See,” I point out again. “That’s your problem right there.”
He opines how it’s hard to find a good man; the ones that he meets are either vapid or supercilious. I just want someone who can read, he says. Someone who, when asked about current events, doesn’t go on and on about the travails of Britney Spears or what Beyonce is doing next.
“Ugh,” he says throwin his head back in disgust. “If I screw another stupid guy I will scream.”
We both laugh and I reflect on the singular love lives of two close friends, both of whom are looking for a good man of color.