I just returned home from seeing John Patrick Shanley's DOUBT and I feel old.
Dan, Philip and I took in the play after a nice dinner at Miller's Pub and while I can say that I did love the play and that the acting by Cherry Jones, Chris McGarry, Lisa Joyce and most especially Caroline Stefanie Clay was wonderful, I was stunned by the... for lack of a better word... energy coming from the audience surrounding me.
The straight audience, I suppose.
DOUBT is, at it's core, about a nun who believes a priest has molested a young boy. It's about so much more than that, though - - it's about the idea of certainty, faith, one's place in society, gossip, progressive versus traditional paths - - so much more.
What bothered me were the sounds of the audience near the end of the play.
The releases of air. The short groans and grunts when the priest is begging for compassion from a nun who has no proof of his indiscretions other than her own intuition. The applause and laughter when the nun tells the priest to "cut his nails" - - the idea, I guess, being that only a homosexual would keep his nails as long and clean as they are referred to in the play, and if he has long nails, he's a homosexual and therefore a pedophile.
All of it hurt me - - deeply.
I tried to express it to Philip and Dan - - the sense of hatred I felt from the audience - - the homophobia that almost immediately led the audience to side with the nun and her accusations. Philip said the priest was a pedophile, not a homosexual.
And yet, it seems to me that to that audience, a "homosexual" and a "pedophile" are one and the same.
That's why I feel old.
Gay men in the 20's don't seem to have the heightened sense that gay men in their 30's and older have. I imagine that mine is not as acute as a gay man in his 40's or 50's.
It's that sense of when the people in the room hate you. When they are watching you and are uncomfortable with you hugging or kissing another man. When you have to turn around and walk the other way because if you don't, you will be beaten or perhaps killed.
That sense that is triggered by the reactions of certain straight people - - straight people who believe that every homosexual character should rightfully be bumped off at the end of a play or movie.
That sense that understands and is upset by a media which nowadays welcomes fags into American homes as decorators and designers (QUEER EYE) or as clowns and sissies (Jack on WILL & GRACE), but if we show the world that we have cocks and we fuck, they want nothing to do with us.
To this day, one of the most vile things to show certain people is two men kissing. Blood can stream out of bodies, heads can be decapitated, even Saddam can be seen on your screen as he hangs for your viral viewing pleasure, but an act of love between two men turns stomachs.
I feel old because I wish I was younger and didn't sense it.
I feel old because those who are 10 years younger than me don't sense it and yet, they see me as ancient and good for nothing but a laugh or as someone to joke about - at 37.
I feel old because I'm hyper-aware of when people are disgusted by who I am at the core of my being and even though we've come so far, I hoped that we would be farther along than this.