These men were the kind of guys I'd expect to see working (or at least standing around) in a road crew in NJ. They were burly and unshaven with broad chests and broader bellies. But instead of work boots and coveralls, there were all dressed in 17th century ball gowns complete with three foot tall powdered wigs. As I watched with amazement, one of these men managed to simultaneously balance his headgear while bending to put on a size 16 high heel. It was as if Circque du Solei had hired a retired defensive lineman. That's when I remembered that I'd seen quite a few people wearing rainbow colored gear as I wove through the downtown streets, and I realized that I had arrived in the middle of the Minnesota Gay Pride parade.
As soon as I realized what was going on my discomfort over the whole thing vanished. You can't live in Manhattan for as long as I did without having a "live and let live" attitude when it comes to other people dress, habits or manners. And since I'm not gay, that's pretty much the way I see the 'gay' community - as a group of people whose manners and dress (at least that day) is different from mine. Besides, I'm an alpha male, and not particularly insecure about my masculinity.
Which raises another issue I've always had with Minneapolis, and is the main reason I don't really feel very comfortable here. It's a city filled with Beta males. I don't know the exact Beta per Alpha percentages, but I'm certain that it's much higher than the ratio in NY. And this changes the culture of the city in strange and unpredictable ways. The traffic is where it's most noticeable. It reminds me of a PJO'Rourke line he used to describe the Korean election riots in the early 90's - Spontaneous regimentation. These people must feel some bizarre urge to intentionally line up and wait.
They will obediently get in line for miles in advance of an exit from the highway. And they'll sit and wait patiently there, listening to their radio or whatever, while I and the few alpha male imports from Chicago calmly drive past them to the head of the line and cut in at the front, saving ourselves 45 minutes of bumper to bumper queuing. They don't get angry when we do it. The few times I've checked for reactions in my mirror I see looks which range from mild surprise, to defeated embarrassment. Each of them the reaction of a Beta who knows that he's in the presence of an Alpha, and can't really compete with him on that level.
You see it in the bars and restaurants too. I'm traveling alone so I spend a fair amount of time during my meals people watching. Up close, the Beta men often have thick beards - you know...to prove how manly they are. The sleeves of their button down shirts are rolled down in spite of the heat, not out of a sense of style but purely as a demonstration of conformity. They talk with their dates about how they aspire to work in middle management one day, and are hoping to eventually make their way up to owning a small house in a middle class suburb. The women they choose, while not ugly, are of unremarkable physical appeal and don't seem particularly bright or charming. In short, both these men and the women they chose are destined for the middle of the pack, where they will spend their lives attending PTA meeting, going to church, and happily waiting in very long lines.
As an alpha male, it's hard for me to imagine a life like theirs, but that isn't the same as having contempt for it. On the contrary, in some ways I envy them. My 'alpha-ness' has been dominated by a lack of contentment with my life, my wealth, and my position. It's the tendency to measure yourself and your progress in life against your ambitions that is the defining characteristic of Alpha males. And although it does sometimes (with a little luck) lead to great achievement, it makes for a constant state of discontent. While the Beta's may be reconciling themselves to much less in life than an Alpha, they are probably much happier with it than an Alpha is, even with considerably more.
And then we have the guys with their ball gowns and heels, trying to figure out if large pink ceramic earrings go better with their dress than the gold ones, even though they aren't period correct.
The thing about everyone on the left (not just the gay community) is that they have abandoned all the things that give a life meaning, and now have nothing left but politics and their egos. The latest example of this is the 'redefine marriage' amendment on the ballot in Minnesota which they were promoting all over town during the parade. But these guys don't really want to get married. They don't want to be bourgeois. They want to be a flame that flickers bright and brief and is then snuffed out too soon when they get the hem of their ball gown caught in the escalator and are crushed to death - much too young, but at least still handsome.
The only reason they want to see the 'gay marriage' bill passed at all is so that the state will then command the rest of us to see them as 'normal'. They don't want to actually be normal; that would never make them happy. But they do want the rest of us to see them that way. In a strange way, they are like that Beta male I cut in front of at the 35W exit. That Beta would like to be an Alpha male - at least at that moment. But he doesn't want to take the risk, or be seen as rude when he cuts in at the front, or live with all the discontentment that comes with Alpha male life. To his credit, he's reconciling himself to the trade-offs and choosing a life of contentment instead.
In the same way, the gay man in the ball gown doesn't actually want a job in middle management, an unattractive but loyal and loving wife, and a 1/4 acre suburban split level. But he wants the rest of us to believe that he does. And he's unwilling to recognize that he's got to sacrifice that sense of 'average-ness' in order to have his "fabulous" life. (You go girl.) The truth is, if we were to give him the thing he says he wants, it wouldn't really make him happy. And he would then only look to destroy some other tradition of ours.
In 2012 America no one will tell a gay couple that they can't live together, or sleep together, or adopt children and raise them together. They can love whoever they like on whatever terms they choose. In fact, they can already pursue all the things that give life meaning, but they don't really want to. What they want is for the government to force the rest of us to call them normal, even if they choose the ball gown and wig over the suburban lot and the job in middle management. And I don't see that happening, on this or any other planet.
%%%%%%%%%%%%UPDATE%%%%%%%%%%%% I'm not always amazed when life confirms my thesis on a subject, but this is a little quick even for me. (I saw it for the first time AFTER I wrote this piece.)