Vancouver
4 min

Exit interview

Our East Van Queer Man Finale

I say to you what Brazilians say after sex: “Did you enjoy me?”

When interviewed (by myself —”Hey me, what do you think about this or that?”) for my column’s finale, I remain the way I was brought up to be: hopeful, gallingly optimistic, and a tad cautious.

“What else would you say to your readers on this your last column of this series of 19 monthly columns?” I ask myself.

I’d say that every time I say goodbye I die a little, because Cole Porter had it right, the old queers often do, and it fits my short life expectancy.

It ain’t a tragic thing, this squeezing the juice out of life and not regretting the syrup and the bitter sap.

“You will reminisce about what you wrote in those columns? Take us through the various topics?” I ask myself.

No, you should do that if it suits your mood. We store everything these days, emails, blogs, recordings, and we remember less than ever. Maybe I will do something in the future with these columns, you will be able to find my writing on the walls, in books, some stark, some flippant, scratches and scars.

“What did you try to do with the East Van Queer Man monthly column?”

Above all have fun, mix it up and try to bring out what is queer on the Drive, one of the funkiest strips in Canada, before it changes forever.

I am lucky I often get to see some other Canadian cities, other cities in the globe and gay ghettos are dreadful, so demanding, and cheesy. The Drive is all about being real, quirky, not too haughty, and with a dash of attitude.

“Is that it? You seem so much more ambitious than that…?”

You calling me names? Well, I wanted to be able to say some things I can’t say as a serious social science researcher, a teacher, a non-profit organization unionized worker: all those wearisome trappings of having become older, worried about debt and being lonely. In the column I could speak to my proclivities, the girl in me, the Latino macho that raises its ugly head here and there: acts of exhibitionism made by a voyeur.

“And were you able to do all that?”

Sure, I glorified drugs, cock, fluids and cavities, I talked about promiscuity, the ways straight, bi, or gay men live our relationships.

I talked about being forever a stranger in my skin, betrayed by my body often, and being a foreigner within my country and wherever I go —and the marvelous thing about Canada being a place that makes space for it.

I told it like I see it. It was not an intellectual debate; you can say real stuff in a column!

Most importantly, I talked about living with HIV as a normal thing, not as a sacred cow talking about being a victim and crying over spilled milk.

I mean, I’ve been doing it since writing for the New Disease Pariah and Angles; in English, like la Malinche sold her Aztec wares to Cortez, declaring my love for gringos, sometimes betraying myself but never stopping being who I am.

It is always nice to play it again. We’re a dying breed of HIV gargoyles and I am proud of each treatment-related deformity, every fuck, every mistake, and every accomplishment. The new generation of gay men with HIV will be different, safer, less fragile, I hope.

“What response to your writing did you get most often?”

Ah, that is a good question. West coasters are diffident but have their ways to tell each other what we think. Here, if men invite you for food after a fuck, you should befriend them and marry them. We are rabidly individualistic and so scared of each other. If they acknowledge what you wrote, you should jump for joy.

“So, did you get any free meals?”

Everyone was really nice about what I wrote, including lesbians and most surprisingly including straight women and straight men, my fave fetish, such exotic white bodies encasing such fragile egos! I have to thank my hundreds of fan readers.

“Really, hundreds?”

Well, there was that tweaked-out transgender person who offered me a blowjob in a grimy back alley in the Downtown Eastside upon hearing I was a famed writer. I count that as an enthusiastic response to my writing in Xtra West. The rest is all technicalities, don’t you think?

“Did you have enough?”

I never get enough. Do you?

“Who would you have to thank?”

Jesus of course, and the Pope, but mostly Robin Perelle for her astute eye and quill, John Peirson for his love and words, Don Pezzot for helping me to look at myself and others like me and get horned up, interested, and not ashamed, not scared.

I thank the extended family and all the men and women who chatted with me, such divine neighbours like Doug and Herb at Spartacus and the many Italians with their devil-in-the-smile who keep the coffee dripping thick and sturdy on the Drive.

And I have to thank all of you who trembled in your skivvies that I would kiss and tell. I still can. Google me once in a while, keep on your lovely toes, writers are cunning and industrious, like bedbugs —so many men, so many blogs.

“What would you say to those who don’t like your writing or —”

Well, well, what an insolent thing to ask! I don’t have enemies, and all my former lovers are dead, so you do the math. However, if someone doesn’t like me, I always remind them that we all end up behaving exactly like our mothers. Think about it. Lovely talking with you.