October 17, 2007
My Sexual Awakening
Since this is Film Festival time I thought I would reprint this old column that is all about two of my favorite things: sex and movies!
I've been to many movies in my life, but I cannot recall a single movie that has had such a profound influence on my life as the movie I saw last Saturday night at the beloved East Hampton Cinema.
I resisted seeing it, and I must admit I only went under duress due to the immense psychological pressure I received from my wife, The Beautiful Judy Licht. Judy played the "What are you afraid of discovering about yourself?" card. "It's a beautiful love story between two men. What frightens men like you about that?" she added with an accusing sneer.
Judy had seen the movie in preview with my son J.T. who chimed in on the conversation with, "It's a great movie, Dad."
"I just don't want to see anything 'icky'," was my mature retort.
"There are just a few 'uncomfortable' minutes, but it's a great story," was his worldly answer.
Now, "a few uncomfortable moments" are words that I associate with dentists and proctologists, not words that I want to hear when all I want is a fun night at the movies. Besides, there were two non-threatening movies playing that I did want to see: Firewall, with good old grumpy heterosexual Harrison Ford, and Curious George, who we all know is as straight as a monkey can be.
Besides, a graphic love story between two male cowboys was threatening to me because of all the cowboy movies I watched in my youth.
Was there something going on between The Lone Ranger and Tonto? An Indian with a 10-word vocabulary slavishly devoted to a guy who insists on going to bed wearing a mask — was theirs a truly mixed marriage that I was too young to pick up on?
How about Hopalong Cassidy? What was the source of his physical discomfort that made him Hopalong?
As a 10-year-old boy, I loved going to Roy Rogers movies and I secretly lusted after his wife Dale Evans. If you stared closely (and I did) at Dale's embroidered cowboy blouses, you could actually see the outline of some fairly large breasts. I remember straining my eyes to look at Dale Evan's well-covered breasts. To my 10-year-old eyes, they looked soft and friendly. What was Roy Rogers doing at the time? If you believe Brokeback Mountain, Roy Rogers was busy making it with Gabby Hayes. Dale was just a "beard."
Then there was Gene Autry. Could I have mistaken what his song "Back In The Saddle Again" was all about?
And what was Red Ryder doing traveling across the west with a little Indian boy — the unfortunately named "Little Beaver"?
While I was thinking of my youth, Judy took a final cheap shot at me with, "Clearly there is a part of you that you are afraid to confront."
It worked. My designing daughter Jessie and I went off to see Brokeback Mountain. Judy was right; I learned more about myself from this movie than any movie I've seen before. The first thing I learned is that one can shut out the yucky scenes by pretending to be staring into a bag of popcorn. I kept both my eyes shut tight. This worked extremely well, but it didn't shut out the sound of two guys grunting and making these animal-like noises. For a second, I considered putting a piece of popcorn in each ear to muffle the sounds but I was afraid the people sitting behind me would see me and call the manager to escort me out.
So the movie is Same Time Next Year for two gay cowboys. They are brought together sexually because one night, on Brokeback Mountain, it was too cold to sleep alone. They climb into a tent and go into a clinch . . . They spend the rest of their lives married to women but lusting after each other. They pretend to go "fishing" once or twice a year. They wind up spending all that time in a motel bed. The scenery is great. The acting is great. There is Heath Ledger who looks a lot like Robert Redford to me and sounds like Redford with a mouthful of marbles. The other actor is named Jake Gyllenhaal, who is a wonderful actor with incredibly long eyelashes that make him resemble Bambi.
Judy was right. I learned something about my sexuality watching Brokeback Mountain. I haven't shared it with her yet. I don't quite know how to break it to her, and I guess writing about it in this column will be sort of a cowardly way for me to do this, but I have always been better at expressing myself with writing than talking.
I thought about the movie all weekend and I know now where I am sexually.
I'm a lesbian.
Bear with me for a second, please. I've always felt that yucky stuff between two guys was of no interest to me. Even more so after watching this movie.
But what's more, watching these two guys not just with each other but with women made me wonder how and why a woman would ever want to be with a big, rutting, groaning, clumsy man?
Women are soft and warm and gentle and loving.
When I was a little boy my Mom and Dad told me that this is America and anyone can be whatever they want to be. Well, after watching Brokeback Mountain I know what I want to be and what I am
I'm a lesbian.
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