Last year, my new year’s resolution was broken by 12:05am. This year, I tried again: no more gossip! I was determined to head into another year of nocturnalism strong in my resolve to not gossip; loose lips sink ships. No one likes a blabbermouth. Keep the lip zipped.
Try as I might, it’s impossible to turn a deaf ear when I hear something juicy. How come I only just found out that Tyler Uptight (sexy tattooed drag king and local legend) is dating Ivory Towers (drag darling and Crews & Tangos mainstay)? And it’s for real, kids, not one of those Facebook things where you say you’re married to your best friend. Not only is it super sweet, it’s so much more interesting than any recent breakup. They’re better than Beyoncé and Jay-Z, to my eye. Ivory and Tyler are Toronto’s own Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton, the power couple of drag. It warms my heart to see, and much like Liz and Dick, they’re a couple worth gossiping about. Who do you think uses more closet space? Does the dishes? Carries the drag bag when they’re both performing at the same show? Bottoms? Someone call the Enquirer and get on that story!
Leading up to New Year’s Eve, I heard lots of different things. The rumour about The Barn reopening for one night to close out the year was an especially persistent one. It didn’t come to pass, but the flurry of whispered half truths, rumours and 100-percent true factual gossip about other people’s affairs made me curious about something: as much as we are all willing to gossip about other people, are we equally willing to gossip about ourselves?
For the past while, I’ve been running an admittedly unscientific late-night experiment in real life and online. Whenever anyone approached me at a party or an event with some version of “Gurrrrl, I heard/did you hear/do you know/is it true…?” I would quickly deflect by asking a question about that person’s own life. Nearly to a person, I was accused of nosiness and rumour-mongering.
A too-casual-to-share-the-reeeeally-juicy-stuff-with acquaintance who grilled me about why a mutual friend had got divorced proceeded to throw a sanctimonious “What business is that of yours?” fit when I asked her about her own recent split. Without a hint of irony, she flipped the situation and became paranoid that everyone would soon know her sordid details. I’m far too much of a gentleman to do that, but isn’t it odd that we never tattle tales on ourselves?
When I took my experiment to Facebook and Twitter during the wee hours, I’d suggest a kind of gossip exchange: yours for mine, mine for yours. Often it started out as old-Hollywood showbiz gossip or city hall gossip, but it always ended up becoming personal. Maybe it was the distancing effect of technology, but once a trustful bond was established, people I often didn’t know very well opened up with no fear of judgment. Tales of locations of first sexual encounters, horrid breakups, embarrassing stories, secret trysts and messy family drama (one included border patrol, a stolen car and leather skirts) were swapped. Very quickly, changing the person being gossiped about from someone absent to one of the participants became an exercise in friendship. Loose lips weren’t sinking ships after all; they were bringing people just a tiny bit closer.
In an effort to foster goodwill for 2013, allow me to practise what I preach. Here are some juicy tidbits from my years of nighttime revelry: back during my underage club-kid nights — and we’re talking pre–Homohop era — I would sneak into the dance club Boots by scaling a mountain of trash bags outside the patio and hurling myself over the fence. I always hoped there was no one standing on the other side. There usually was.
I cried so much at a Barbra Streisand concert that security asked if I needed medical assistance.
I was banned from El Convento Rico… and if you want to know why, you’ll have to pony up a big slice of your own gossip pie, doll! I’m always listening, but going forward into 2013 I’m going to make sure that I’m as open and honest or discreet and respectful about others as I would be about my own life. Happy new year, my friends. If you’re like me and can’t out the gossip, at least make sure it’s also about yourself.