Life’s a beach!
I’m on St. Simons Island, GA; a far more conservative beach community than the gay haunts (Fire Island, Provincetown) of my younger years. I am interested to read that the Cape Cod National Seashore is teaming up with local officials this summer for a “public education” approach to the soaring number of citations for debauchery in Cape Cod’s dunes.
Middle age finds me in agreement with the new Provincetown police chief Jeff Jaran that it’s “not acceptable, decent, moral behavior. There is a time to be discreet, and there are places to go and do those types of things.”
I said as much in this post where I quoted a plaintive NYMagazine piece in which a married man of my age “struggled with the desire for sexual variety.” The key line from the article comes from a Kinsey Institute researcher:
“I think we’re getting into a question of social stability. The male libido is considered a very dangerous and a potentially disruptive force in society. I think that’s why there are so many religious dictums and taboos around that. The idea that one is allowed multiple partners—this is something that has to be rigidly controlled.”
As true for the homo as for the heterosexuals among us, I’m ready to be bound by all the rights and obligations of civil society. So I also enjoyed the news that Kern Count, CA is moving to end weddings:
In the wake of the California Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry starting next week, Kern County Clerk Ann Barnett said that after today, the county will no longer officiate weddings for any couples – gay or straight. [...]
Heterosexual couples who had weddings scheduled in coming days and weeks were forced to change their appointments to this week.
If we do successfully normalize gay love, it is IMHO far less likely that love stories like the one told in the documentary about British writer Christopher Isherwood and the American portrait artist Don Bachardy will ever occur again:
Defying social conventions of the 1950s and ’60s, the two men navigated Hollywood society as an openly gay couple, withstanding the slings and arrows of homophobes like the actor Joseph Cotten, who during a dinner party at David O. Selznick’s house made loud, derisive remarks about “half-men.”
Navigation was made all the more treacherous by the 30-year age difference between the two, who met on a Santa Monica beach and became lovers when Mr. Bachardy was 18, but looked several years younger. They spent what passed for a honeymoon in Monument Valley, where the director John Ford, who was shooting a western, and his crew assumed they were father and son.
Mr. Bachardy, now 74, recalls a traumatic experience that sealed their bond: a trip to Morocco to visit the author Paul Bowles during which Mr. Bachardy consumed hashish for the first time. He and Isherwood experienced a blind terror during which, afraid to let go, they clung to each other all night in their hotel room.