oxymoron67: (Default)
[personal profile] oxymoron67

I knew I was gay by the time I was ten or so. I think my family suspected, and they were not happy about it. Frequently, they would interpret something I’d do as “too queer” and react badly.

By the time I was eleven, my family was busy the way families with teenagers are. Mom was busy with teaching and all the extra work she did for the school district and my siblings were 14, 15 and 16 respectively, and were busy with extra-curricular activities, leaving me home alone some evenings.

Normally, I didn’t do much: I’d do my homework or read while listening to the radio or playing an album on the stereo.

My family had a huge record collection. One of my favorites was the soundtrack to Grease. When I was alone, I’d put the soundtrack on and sing along and dance to it.

One night, I had the album on the stereo and was singing Hopelessly Devoted to You along with Olivia Newton-John. I was really into it: I was making facial expressions, swaying back and forth, the whole nine yards.

That’s when my brother walked in. Band rehearsal had ended early and he had gotten a ride from a friend. He was horrified at what he saw. He started yelling, saying things like, “That’s faggot music and you shouldn’t be listening to it!”

He took the album off the turntable, while telling me that he was going to have a long talk with mom about this. This music might have been okay for our sisters, but I needed to listen to real, masculine music.

He chose another album and put it on the turntable.

“Listen to this. It’s real man’s music,” he said.

It was the opera The Student Prince.

Because when one thinks, “Masculine, heterosexual, he-man music genres”, one’s thoughts ALWAYS go first to Opera.

My brother stood there with this really satisfied look on his face, like he had actually accomplished something.

Then, the phone rang and we went to the kitchen to answer it.

The minute he left the room, I changed albums. I was furious. Who the Hell was my brother to make these decisions for me? So, I decided to play the gayest music we had: Y.M.C.A. by The Village People. Of course, I was singing along and doing the dance where you made the letters and all. In fact, I was deliberately singing much more loudly and dancing much more energetically than I normally would have.

My brother rushed back into the living room with this look of abject horror on his face, screaming about how this was also not acceptable he-man, rampantly heterosexual music. (I’m paraphrasing here: he was much less coherent.)

So, instead, he put on Jesus Christ Superstar.

Let’s pause for a second here. In my brother’s attempt to butch me up through music, he first chose an opera and then show tunes.

Huh?

I’m not sure what he was thinking. My best guess is that his homophobia short-circuited his brain.

Anyway, he again said that he was going to talk with mom about this and that I was going to be in big trouble. The music I liked was too gay and I should never listen to it.

At this point, I was exasperated, and went to the basement and started to put together a model rocket. Honestly, I was also concerned. Mom was about as homophobic, and had berated me about behavior that was “too gay” in the past.

Mom came home a bit later and my brother immediately pulled her aside to discuss my gay, gay, GAY music choices, but she wasn't all that angry. However, mom decided that my brother and I needed to spend more time together. This was probably an attempt to “straighten me out”: having me spend time with an older, heterosexual male relative, so I could model his behavior. You know, like how ducklings imprint on their parents.

I was… less than thrilled. What younger brother wants to spend time with his older brother?

Yes, I’ve heard that younger brothers are supposed to idolize their older brothers, but I’ve never actually met one who does.

So, on mom’s orders, we went bowling. Only it wasn’t just my brother and me. It was the two of us; his two best friends, and their younger brothers. My brother spent most of the time yelling at me. See, my brother and his friends had made a bet about which team of brothers would win and, frankly, I could not have cared less. After a few frames, I started deliberately rolling gutter balls.

This made my brother’s friends angry and THEY started screaming at me because I “wasn’t even trying” and, if I wasn’t willing to try, why was I even there?

I was there because mom said I had to go. I was not there to enjoy myself and I CERTAINLY was not there to make my brother (or anyone else) happy.

After one game, I wandered off to eat chili dogs, and to play disco songs on the jukebox in an attempt to further annoy my brother. Then, I found a newspaper and read it. My goal was to stay away from my brother and his entourage for the rest of the night.

When mom picked us up, she asked about our evening. My brother was upset because I didn’t listen to him and we lost the bet. I was upset because I had to waste an evening with my jackass brother, his douchebag friends and their white trash younger siblings. (Last I heard, both of said younger siblings were in jail.)

This whole brother bonding thing? We never tried it again. And I continued to listen to whatever Goddamned music I liked.

Date: 2013-07-12 11:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adoptedwriter.livejournal.com
Not that times are that much easier now, but the 70s / 80s were tough times for gay kids. Yay for ABBA, Grease, YMCA and all that fun " Pure Disco" music!
AW

Date: 2013-07-13 06:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
When I was that age, music was one way I could escape. Thank God for disco.

Date: 2013-07-12 12:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gfrancie.livejournal.com
It's funny when I think of how MANY youngest sons of sizeable Catholic clans, are gay.
Kudos to you and your music.

Date: 2013-07-13 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
This is part of what frustrates me so much. I'm not even the only gay man in our family: we throw off one or two every generation.

Date: 2013-07-12 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greyduck.livejournal.com
Those were VERY odd choices to make for "manly man music for manly men." *jawdrop* JCS, I mean, come on!

Date: 2013-07-13 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Ahem... "I don't know how to love him/I don't know why he moves me..."

Date: 2013-07-12 02:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mac-arthur-park.livejournal.com
Those were some...interesting choices your brother made to "butch you up."

Date: 2013-07-13 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Tell me about it.

I mean, I didn't realize this at the time, but, looking back on it, I'm all o_O?

Date: 2013-07-12 09:27 pm (UTC)
ext_224364: (Default)
From: [identity profile] x-disturbed-x.livejournal.com
My crazy born again aunt reacted similarly when I would play certain music around her son. Apparently techno/eletronic music turns people gay now! It did it to me according to her. :P

I kind of have a what the fuck reaction to your brother trying to butch you up with those songs.

I really do like your stories. They always make me stop and wonder what the hell is wrong with people.

Date: 2013-07-13 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Well, techno/electronica is kind of the grandchild of disco.

Thanks! The thing is I have stories that are, "Everyone was nice and we ate sandwiches", but, honestly, they're not very interesting. And I don't really have that many of them.

I've lived a peculiar life, I think... or maybe I just pay attention... but, at least I'm not bored.
Edited Date: 2013-07-13 06:09 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-07-13 08:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] porn-this-way.livejournal.com
Opera and show tunes? Oh yes, that DEFINITELY screams "heterosexuality" from all available mountain tops. He shoulda brought you a Cher album next, maybe some Barbra Streisand records to *really* butch you up!

Date: 2013-07-13 08:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
And if Streisand doesn't work... Judy Garland!

Date: 2013-07-14 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roina-arwen.livejournal.com
Wow - that's a funny story! I'll bet it is funnier now in retrospect than it was at the time! :)

So I'm curious - what did your brother wind up doing for a living?

Date: 2013-07-14 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
NOW? Funny, though it still angers me.

My brother jumped from job to job for a long time.

At one point, he worked for a public transportation agency for about a decade, but lost that job in a mess that wasn't really his fault, though he should have been able to deal with office politics better.

He was then unemployed and underemployed for about three years and is now in an electrician apprenticeship program.

Date: 2013-07-15 06:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
Your brother's music choices crack me up. Apparently, he couldn't extend a stereotype enough to realize that it covered his own choices? Though I suppose it could have been worse-- he could have whomped you with Hair Band music or something. Once you get to the late 70s, it's pretty much all bad in one way or another.

Your bowling 'adventure'... honestly, when you drag an 11-year-old somewhere he doesn't want to be, and then you bore him, what does anyone THINK is going to happen? It will not involve cooperation or good spirits, that's for sure. :)

Date: 2013-07-15 06:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Punk? Maybe punk? Though no one in the family was into that.

Date: 2013-07-18 12:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alien-writings.livejournal.com
Those choices were what your brother considered "make you heterosexual" music? Hahaha....what? People, they do not always make any sense.

Date: 2013-07-19 02:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kajel.livejournal.com
I am pretty sure your brother was doomed to failure no matter what. His choices definitely reflect that everyone's tastes are very different.

Date: 2013-07-19 12:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamsreflected.livejournal.com
nothing like someone attempting to 'straighten you out' with a manly sport like... bowling? isn't that the one where you rent shoes? and you have to stick your butt out and all that? I think beer pong might actually make someone more of a "man's man"... *rolls eyes*

I'm so sorry your family had/has? 'the homophobia'.

Date: 2013-07-19 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cheshire23.livejournal.com
I'm sad for kid!you but this is hilarious at the same time.

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