I keep noticing that, over the past few months, I post more pictures of hot guys on Facebook. I am more frank about commenting on attractive men, including plausibly non-gay ones. I am blunter, and more direct...
On the one hand, yes, I'm thinking about not being alone, and trying to reconnect with some expectations of being in a relationship again – even if only in imagination – even at sixty years, and even when I am not exactly underweight, or over-muscled. So there's a falling into eroticism, to the extent that an old guy like me is actually capable of that – and thus a carelessness about what others think: I do indeed know that Facebook is a public forum with many different people on it, and that some of my friends and acquaintances are less comfortable with pictures of guys with their shirts off than others.
(Of course I also know that it's possible to unfollow someone while still remaining a friend – and while I'm confessing things: for some years I've maintained a special category called 'Acquaintances' – it's where I put people whom I do know, but whose posts are.... hmm. What may I call them. A bit aggressive, a bit crazy, a bit tragic, or a bit too shatteringly winsome to encounter before I've had my morning green tea. And probably there are many whom I know and hold dear who feel the same about my posts – which is fine, so long as I never find out about it.)
(I have had one relative – the most ardently pro-Trump – defriend me; when that happened I threw up my hands in disgust – disgust with them, not the situation: because making détentes no longer seems particularly interesting to me. I'm willing to ignore that relationship for however many decades it takes to recover.)
But it feels as though, since Orlando, since Brexit, since Trump – since a dark wave of oppressive aggression rose above our heads, a kind of control desperate to return to a past that never actually existed – posting pictures of hot guys on Facebook has become... POLITICAL.
I didn't say it was high-minded, exactly. But it is political. Kind of.
It's like the wilder drag queens, the Theatre of the Ridiculous, and various assertively sexual creative works by gay men, by women, by lesbians and transgender people and others: yes it may seem a bit much, and I know that not everyone will be comfortable with everything. (I mean, really: insisting that everyone must accept every image and practice is pure political ideology – sexuality is by its nature complex, and always has an essentially private facet: there would be something wrong, and also quite boring, if everyone were thoroughly comfortable with everything.)
So, I know it's a bit obnoxious, a bit heavy-handed. I know some people don't really want their daughters stumbling over such images on Facebook – and I do understand, though I'm not a parent, that the process of growing up has become uncomfortably complex in an internet culture, and I do respect people's anxieties.
But, just as I feel colder and more ruthless, more impatient, with this current remarkably stupid world, as May and Trump and Putin and the rest try to make fools, or slaves, of all of us – so I am also a bit impatient, a bit bored, with any idea of censoring myself for politeness' sake. Even for my friends –
because, as theorists have noted in the past: straights seem to have no idea how much obnoxious heterosexuality they fling at us every day –
and if all those Other Sides aren't going to take better care of us anyway – then why the hell should we try to take any kind of care of them?..........