Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Nervous Generation

I watched another friend slide into madness this week. She's ready to get married, and she's ready to get married now, and the lack of a boyfriend is not going to stop her.

Sure now that story is older than Jane Austen. There's nothing new there, either in the gay or straight worlds. Almost everyone I know outside of the big cities over the age of 35 is hanging onto their mates come hell or high water. The way one buddy [male, gay, 39] put it on his new relationship: I have to make this work. This is my last chance.

That one hits hard. I want to feel bad about life, all I have to do is hum a few bars of there ain't gonna be no love from here on out. Which is, of course, bs. But damn if it isn't coming in from all sides now. Apparantley things aren't any better for the rich and fabulous. Here's Rupert Everett in last week's Telegraph:

Unfortunately, I am single, yes, but I'm too exhausted for anything else and being gay is a young man's game.

Now no one wants me. Being gay and being a woman has one big thing in common, which is that we both become invisible after the age of 42. Who wants a gay 50- year-old? No one, let me tell you. I could set myself on fire in a gay bar, and people would just light their cigarettes from me. I don't want to be carried out of a club wearing a tie-dye T-shirt and a cap on the wrong way around when I am 70, but I would like to settle down a bit. Maybe with a partner. In some ways I do feel more settled, but now I want to take part in things.

Great. I've got two years left to live.

When I was 20 I thought our generation was so brave and daring. Now look at us - shacking up not out of love but out of feear of loneliness. Going into debt to pay for outlandishly priced condos and houses because that's what we're supposed to do. Putting every last dime into retirement accounts [and, I've learned, into plastic surgery accounts] so that we can enjoy our golden years, and all the while forgetting to enjoy the day. Douglas Copeland needs to take another look at his Generation X. Maybe it was coming of age with the threat of crack and HIV and Reaganomics and Nuclear Winters, but we must be the most nervous generation in American history.

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