by Bernard Chapin
Without the fanfare of the ecstasy inebriated dropping dead before me or incandescent disco balls oscillating their goodbyes, I left my home of five years last week in the Chicago borough of Lakeview. It was my first home and I bought it at the not so tender age of 28. I doubled my investment and quintupled my knowledge of "Gay America" at the same time while I lived there. The demographic makeup of my former area, which is officially known of as "East Lakeview," is one of the gayest on the continent. Sometimes the neighborhood is called "Wrigleyville" due to the presence of the Chicago Cubs but often, especially due to the thin, artificially endorphin-addicted denizens of the acreage, it is known as "Boystown."
As I've implied above, Boystown isn't on the tourist maps but it is the self-proclaimed ghetto for many of the gays from the Midwest (and from just about everywhere else too). I'll begin by throwing them a sop and citing the two biggest positive impacts of them being there. First, they settled in a "sketchy" area and immediately made it livable. Out of Chicago's many neighborhoods, the "Gayborhood" (as the homosexuals often jokingly call it) is remarkably safe. We owe them thanks as they remade it with their cash, pastel colors, taverns, knick-knack shops, coffee houses, home beautification stores, hair salons, sex shops, pornography emporiums, and compact disc outlets.
The second positive impact is entirely personal. They made me. I acknowledge my corruption of the title of a Graham Green novel when I say "The gays made me" but they surely did. In 1998 I was just another "liberal" who went along with the flow that my schooling and parents set for me. Without the gays I'd be just another tag along politically correct dope. They showed me what I did not want to be and I'm forever grateful.
Five years ago I had accepted all the media explanations about them. I bought that they had this new perspective on life and how much their culture had to offer. I idealistically bragged to others that I was moving there and that it wouldn't bother me. The only problem was that over the course of those five years I got to know them apart from the spin of the leftist media. The experiences I've had have allowed me to conquer almost any argument as the truth of the matter is that these guys are stranger than anything Franz Kafka could have dreamed up. The prevailing "compassionate" view of the gays is supported only by public ignorance. The biggest lie of them all is that "they're just like us." Let me state unequivocally, they are not like us. I have seen things in five years that would shock a drug counselor in Amsterdam (well, maybe not Amsterdam, more like a drug counselor in Columbus, Ohio).
On my first Sunday there I had my walk to the hardware store interrupted by two Asian homosexuals, whose combined weight was less than my own, block my path with their bicycles saying "What have we here?" I hoped against hope that they would not physically touch me as then I would be required to do something in retaliation. As luck would have it, they moved out of the way right before I got to their corner of the sidewalk. The experience is not unique as my friend Vic, who is more fit than me and often a target of G-d knows what types of comments, summed it up best when he said "I just want to live somewhere and be able to look people in the eye without getting creeped out."
Later that day I signed up for a month at the closest gym. The equipment there is among the finest I've ever seen. However, the cliental there caused the place to be nicknamed "Loins" Gym. The majority of those present were gay which I accepted although I acknowledged that it had to be the most unsightly bunch that I've ever run across and I've worked out in gyms since 1987. This was also the first time since the late 80's that I witnessed widespread steroid use. A trained eye can spot "steroid skin" very quickly. Steroids are an unmistakable conclusion when one encounters fifty-year olds covered in acne and individuals who gain or lose twenty pounds every month. I later learned where the drugs came from as many of the gym users had bought their drugs from AIDS patients they knew who had been prescribed the testosterone cypionate, Deca-Durabolin, growth hormone, etc. for sound medical reasons but chose to sell them instead out of economic necessity. Obviously there was a ready demand to match the supply in the Gayborhood.
Shortly after I joined my gym I walked into the bathroom to "use the facilities" when a black gay, slightly taller than I, rushed out of nowhere and situated himself at the urinal next to mine. He then began flapping his penis in a vertical motion and staring at me. I assumed that this was their version of a mating dance. I stopped in midstream and decided that I really could hold it until I got home. I would rarely use the bathroom after that day.
Another, whom I immediately named "Fluffy," used to stare at me constantly. He was in his fifties, emaciated, and cut his spandex shorts extra short so that his butt cheeks would stick out. He was one of the most pathetic individuals I've ever seen. However, he was also quite destructive as one occasion, while I was talking to one of the few girls that were courageous enough to work out there, he abruptly broke into our conversation to yell at her about leaving her sweatshirt on a bench that she was not even using. Sadly, she became horrified and ran out of the gym. "Et tu, Fluffy?" I wanted to ask.
The wild stories from the locale are practically endless. On my way to the train one afternoon I was accosted by at 21 year old who was over six feet tall and looked to be little over 100 pounds. He began asking me a series of bizarre questions like, “Do you know of any fetish bars around here? What types of fetishes do people like? Are you into feet? Where do you go if you're gay and not traditional?”
Eventually, after it became clear I couldn't answer any of his questions, the kid asked me if he could smell my feet for 10 dollars. I told him that there were many men who look exactly like me and lack my angelic disposition and that he should avoid asking them questions like that or he'd become a statistic. I had to be careful how I phrased it or the community might have been the beneficiaries of a free "threat of hate crime" trial at my expense. I have no idea if he ever followed my advice or is presently a statistic but I called at least ten people on my cell phone to report the news of this very entertaining event.
I also met a "married" couple who I at first mistook for father and son. They were exceeding civilized, at least on the surface, but were ten years into a totally open, anti-monogamous relationship. To be blunt, they "did" everybody. I could never understand why they even bothered being together in the first place but they were. A few times a year, after saving enough money, they'd fly out to circuit parties where they'd have sex with many different partners over a weekend. When they returned from one of these Gomorrahs (in that instance specifically called the "Montreal Blue and Black Party") they told me that they had set new records for self-indulgence while there. They said that they had sex with more than 10 different men in the bathroom of where the event was being held. Then, after I reacted in an "intolerant" manner by stating that "you guys are sick m------ f-----s" they responded by saying that I would have done the same thing if women would have let me and they would have been as attractive and cool as the men at their Circuit party.
"Au contraire" I said. My words came readily as my response in such a situation would have been automatic. I told them that any heterosexual man takes meeting a beautiful and cool girl very seriously because there's usually a two relationship back order on them. I told them I'd immediately interview all ten (an imaginary number based on how many they had sex with that weekend) and try to figure out which one was the most emotionally stable and then get her the heck out of there as only a masochist would ever want a high quality woman in the presence of thousands of dogs in heat.
I also knew stories from the couple that many of gays, themselves included, would congregate outside of the Peggy Notabaert Nature Museum late at night for random encounters with like minded peers amongst the dense vegetation. Again I told them that this is not something most heterosexuals would ever do. "That's what apartments are for" I chided. I then offered to take a polygraph as proof of the fact that I had no interest in dragging someone I found attractive into a public restroom or trash strewn bramble patch but I think that they believed my opinion or were at least fed up with arguing with me at that point.
It also sincerely seemed to me, and I know this is discordant with everything presented on television and in the New York Times, that the gays are strongly opposed to heterosexuality and view it as being a major hindrance to their lives.
One of their bars, called "The Manhole," is so infamous that I even heard about it when I was growing up in Detroit. Anyway, this particular bar places slogans or quotes on their sign above their entrance for all to see everyday. They were usually designed to shock as many passerby as possible. In the past the signs produced statements like "women and children last" and "it's cold outside but warm in my manhole." Sunday's signs (plural for front and back) read: "today's forecast: 8 inches" and "the way to a man's heart is through his manhole." Such slogans must strike the politically correct visitor as being very odd indeed.
All around Halsted Street, which runs through all of Boystown (and also all of the city of Chicago) are huge rainbow color embedded phallic symbols that were "erected" by the Mayor at public expense to celebrate the gays and their contribution to the area. They rewarded the Mayor by taunting his police during their 2001 parade as they stopped by the precinct house on the corner of Addison and Halsted and chanted up a storm about the crimes committed against them that the police have done nothing about. The streets were lined with police during the parade who were only there for the purpose of protecting the gays. I and my fellow residents paid for their overtime.
While watching the parade I was hit in the kneecap by a tube of lubricant and saw fantails of condoms float by in the wind after being thrown off of floats. After five years bearing witness to the gays, I still want to know one thing, what can they possibly be proud of? They used to wear clothes reading "We're Everywhere!" and I'd counter with "You're everywhere within this 2 square mile ghetto that you've created for yourselves. After that, you're no where."
The most interesting time in the Gayborhood was the 2000 election when I decided to show "my true colors" around the streets of Lakeview. I began buying t-shirts intentionally to offend them. I bought a "Politically Incorrect and Proud of It" t-shirt from AIM and it is a must for anyone moving there as it yielded hundreds of dirty looks. Then I stepped it up a notch and had one specially made for the Gayborhood. It said "Heterosexual Millennium" on the front and "Straight Pride" on the back. This shirt provoked befuddled looks from the populace as they had never seen one like it before.
Ironically, that shirt did not incite the same type of venom towards me that my "W-2000" shirts got. Apparently, George Bush is hated even more than people who make special attempts to offend them by creating clothes that mock their "Gay Pride." At one point, during the December election crisis, I had a scrawny 50 year old radical begin berating me while I rode the Stairmaster. His position was that I had caused Gore's ascendancy to be questioned. He must have based his opinion on the fact that I was wearing a pro-Bush shirt because I had never in fact seen the man before in my life. When I tried to argue against his flimsy assertions he left to rage to himself in another portion of the gym.
Another gay, a college professor, used to come up to me bad mouthing Bush about everything. Whenever I responded he too would become irate and one time was so upset about one of my positions that he stormed out of the gym. Clearly these people are not used to having anyone stand up to them. They are given a free ride by everybody. That time must end. Stand up to them and you'll see how intolerant they actually are.
Thanks to the Gayborhood experience I'm prepared to joust with them for life. I now know that the penalty for not doing so will be severe for all heterosexuals. Sure I have a few laments like "I could have bought one more t-shirt." If I would have done it over again I would have purchased another two that read "right-wing conspirator" or one that directly mocked their motto of "We're Everywhere." My t-shirt would have been white on black and read simply "Straight pride, We're everywhere, Ask your parents!" Yes, what could have been.
Thank you boys for the education as now if any one wants to know the truth about you I can tell them. Only today, after moving into my new place and the gays now being relegated to just a multicolor memory, can I repeat the famous words of Nero (surely one of their idols) and say that I "can finally live like a human being."
To comment on this article or express your opinion directly to the author, you are invited to e-mail Bernard at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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