Page 441 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 17                       423


                Tim Barrus, endearing for writing outrageous letters, sent me and oth-
             ers reams of open-letter correspondence about the injustices done him by the
             Gershmans and about the state of gay publishing. In his writing, the former
             Drummer editor accused Elizabeth of sexual harassment while he worked at
             Knights Press. His frankness as an author writing honestly about publishers
             Gershman and Embry could seem absurdist and preposterous, but only to
             the inexperienced. I believed him about both persons.
                In fact, even though she was a dozen years older than I, Elizabeth did,
             swear to God, come on to me the last night of the ABA. Her husband had
             left Vegas, and Mark had flown back to his career in San Francisco in the
             afternoon, leaving me alone with Elizabeth in the two-bedroom condo
             we four had shared for the convention. That evening in a kind of French
             farce of slamming doors, Elizabeth treated me like I was straight. Shocked,
             because I adored her as a person, I told her, “Very funny, I’m gay. I’m a
             virgin. With women, I’m a virgin.” That only made the sexual tension
             worse. I wasn’t going to lose my cherry to a granny. Trying to joke my way
             back to friendship, I said, “Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson?”
             Finally, I, a fifty-year-old gay man, retreated to my bedroom, and closed the
             door which she opened, and which I closed, several times, until I pushed
             a chest of drawers against the door to keep her out. It was hilarious. In the
             morning, over coffee and croissants, we were all smiles as if the farce had
             never happened.
                I took Elizabeth’s ardor as a compliment, but her pursuit I found to be
             a disrespectful challenge of my essential homosexual identity as well as a
             dismissal of my then ten-year monogamous marriage to Mark. In chasing
             gay men, some straight women act out the magical thinking of a certain
             female hubris that they can change gay men. Such feminist “gay reparative
             therapy” is as presumptuous as Jane Austen’s first two sentences of Pride and
             Prejudice that press men into a stereotype.
                “It is a truth,” Austen wrote, “universally acknowledged, that a single
             man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. However
             little known the [straight or gay] feelings or views of such a man may be on
             his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds
             of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of
             some one or other of their daughters.” [italics added]
                Or, if Jane had ever traveled farther than thirty miles from her home,
             where life was gay, their sons.
                The retort to Austen’s predatory sexism of owning men as “rightful
             property” is that the women hunting these men are gold-diggers. But that,
             even muttered sotto voce, is a heresy that dare not speak its name.


               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
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