3 min

The in-between years

Will I wake up one morning and want to garden instead of dance?

NOT YET BEAR. I seem to have fallen into a post-twink limbo. Credit: Jan Becker

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that gay male life begins before 25 and after 40. So, at 36, that means I have four years to wait for the party to start again. As usual, I have no hard scientific evidence to prove my theory, but lots of anecdotes.

Last summer I stepped out of the Second Cup on Church carrying a huge, frozen chocolate swirlowhatsitchino, when I spotted a young man I’ll call, for legal reasons, The Twink Chosen By Satan To Lead His Minions Into Armageddon.

You know the type – five colour hair, beads the size of malignant goiters, a Tickle Me Elmo T-shirt, and pants 22 inches too big that sagged in the middle like the Maple Leaf at a Parti Québecois convention.

His arms jerked up and down off his elbows like excited seal flippers, and every 10 seconds he’d yell out “Deeper Yeah! Deeper Yeah! Deeper Yeah!”

I wanted to kill him.

As I walked past him he looked me up and down and turned to his girlfriend, who was wearing a pink garbage bag and a Snoopy doll shoved up her nose, and said loudly, “You know what I hate about summer, like, right now? I hate, like, all these fat old fags walking around in, like, khaki shorts like, all day, and stuff.”

Lesson number one: If you go to the Second Cup you’re asking for it, and taupe is not my colour.

Last fall I attended the International Mister Leather Competition And Hoop Skirt Cotillion at the ever awful Docks. I figured if there was a place to meet a guy – a real guy’s guy – this would be the scene for me.

Well, after an hour spent reading the sign at the door listing the 48 different types of regulation costume required for entry, followed by dozens of happy posters warning me I’d be Tazered if my hands wandered lower than my earlobes, all the while listening to a female impersonator dressed up like Bette Midler sing “God is watching us, God is watching us” (a guaranteed sexual stimulant) – and only after I’d tied two cans of chip dip around my neck to get the bears to pay attention to me – I finally fixed a big, hairy galoot in my sites.

Galoot and I chatted merrily about bulb versus seed gardening, Tea Cup poodle breeding and the high cost of robin’s egg blue flat latex paint. Everything was looking ready for takeoff until I was politely told by my new six-foot-three, 250-pound friend that he liked me and thought I was cute, but that he didn’t “do cubs.”

Cubs? What the hell’s a cub? He looked me over again and said, “Actually, you’re an otter.” To which I replied, “I feel more like a squirrel.”

He frowned. “There’s no such thing as a squirrel.” And then he walked away.

Apparently, even people whose sex lives resemble the playbill for The Lion King have standards.

Lesson number two: Bears are people too – except when they’re otters or wolves or wolverines or bison or musk ox or any other dumb animal.

So what do you do when you’re too fat to be a twink and not fat enough to be a bear?

I wonder if I missed a step in my rake’s progress? Do all the twinks wake up the day after their 25th birthday with full beards and hairy beer guts? Do they slide out of their beds and discover that their moms have replaced their Scooby Doo hooded sweaters and Osh Kosh By Gosh sneakers with red flannel shirts and new tan Kodiaks?

Do they willingly trade ecstasy for éclairs, GHB and jungle trance for Gore-tex and Faith Hill remixes? And if this is a sad, painful moment for a twink, can I watch?

What gay men need is an initiation ritual for their 30s, a kind of fat-mitzvah – a moment when you publicly admit and celebrate the fact that you have to stop buying your slacks at Gap For Kids.

Just you wait, I’m told by older queers. Wait it out. Apparently, all I have to do is cry my way across the wasteland of my 30s, because the minute I turn 40 I am technically a Daddy. And then all the twinks who would rather swallow their soothers than rub my Buddha tummy will suddenly want to sit on my lap and play Where Did Uncle Richard Touch You?

I have so much to look forward to.

If we get the Olympics, I’ll be 43 on the day first lady Marilyn Lastman totters up to flame and accidentally lights Mark Tewksbury on fire. I’ll be in my Bear prime, cranky, completely gray and fatter than ever.