Julia Roberts, in the movie Pretty Woman, said, "I want the fairy tale." Being the insane Julia Roberts fan that I am, I have adopted Julia's words and use them quite frequently. For example, when I go online, and some dirty old man inquires, "What are you looking for?" I respond with, "I want the fairy tale." The details of the fairy tale may be unclear, even to me, but the idea that Julia and I are getting at is simple. We are looking for a relationship that feels like something too good to be true, along with the assurance that it isn't. Julia and I may be looking for very different men, but at the core, we are both confident that whoever wins us will be of the highest caliber, possessing the ability to make us smile at any moment, and make us happy no matter what life throws in our general direction.
If you are still reading this, you have probably come to the conclusion that I am idealist, lost forever in the realm of the hopeless romantic. Unfortunately, you have also probably come to another conclusion. As is the case with most of my friends, idealism is viewed with some sort of negative and immature stigma. Often times, my idealism, and optimistic hopes for the future are met with comments like, "when you're my age, you'll understand." Herein lies an inherent problem, and one that deserves to be addressed.
To continue along with the cinematic theme I have going here, I will reference a very important line from yet another idealistic film. In the movie Trick, Gabriel, a young musical playwright, says that it wouldn't be believable to have two of the characters in his script fall in love having known each other for such a short time. His friend and mentor, Perry, responds with an insightful comment, when he states that it isn't believable... unless you believe it. Without knowing it, Gabriel has stumbled upon the key to optimism, as well as the cure for pessimism. Just like any self-fulfilling prophecy, idealism can only be fulfilled if you believe that what you want is possible to achieve.
Sadly, far too many people become jaded by misfortune, and not only lose their idealistic views, but also develop a superiority complex, seeing themselves as somehow more mature for having abandoned such childish ideas. I want to know when pessimism became synonymous with maturity. When I ask that question to those of my friends who fall into the category of "mature", I am often shot a demeaning look that is accompanied by the statement, "I'm not being pessimistic, just realistic." Which brings us back to Gabriel. If someone is under the impression that something is impossible, it will be.
Let's face it, the fairy tale is only possible if we believe it could happen. If Julia Roberts had said, "this would be a nice fairy tale, but fairy tales are childish and I refuse to place any hope on this relationship, because that would make me seem immature," she would still be whoring herself out on Sunset Boulevard. She would also be bitter, and would use her experience as some sort of empirical proof that relationships don't work, and certainly not the type of relationships that make Hollywood movies. Rather, her entire outlook on relationships and what is possible to obtain from life would have been jaded in some negative fashion, and the movie would have been less than successful at the box office.
The point I am trying to make is that being idealistic does not make you immature. It makes you a dreamer. It makes you optimistic. However, if you stay true to those dreams, and true to yourself, you can make those dreams a reality, or at least a possibility. Without placing stock in the idealistic, nothing truly remarkable will ever have the chance of occurring in your life. In the end you will be left with nothing more than a run-of-the-mill experience in everything you do. Recently I encountered a very special man that I care deeply about. He shares my goals and hopes for the future, and yet, at 18! feels that he is expected by society to go through the gay "coming of age" ritual of trivial relationships and meaningless sex. He wants to experiment and "live life". He told me this while crying his eyes out, because being an idealist, he knows exactly what he is sacrificing in order to do what he feels he needs to do.
I respect him for being up front, and knowing that I deserve someone that wants to be with me and no one else. However, I fear for him in so many ways. I know that the time in my life that would most closely coincide with my coming of age, was the unhappiest time in my life. It was unsatisfying, and nearly jaded me forever. I was tested so many times, and often considered myself immature for not being able to shake off the idealistic dreams that kept sneaking into my head. I know that he deserves better than that. I know that he deserves someone who will care about him, and someone that can make him smile. He is an amazing person, and I hope and pray that this is the best decision for him, but fear that he will end up regretting the decision once he fully realizes how rare these feelings are. He made the comment that everything I say and do is completely genuine and sincere, and so I'll say here and now that I sincerely care about him, and hope that he finds what he's looking for.
Pretty Woman, and Trick, both end in typical Hollywood fashion. We are left with a happy couple, fulfilling our idealistic wishes, and giving us hope for our own lives. Just like the movies, I was able to fall in love with a wonderful boy in a very short time, because my heart was open to it, and because my soul believed it was possible. Unlike the movies, the future of "us" is uncertain. However, I was once given a piece of advice that will serve both of us, and has protected the idealist in me through all kinds of heartache. Believe in your dreams, because if you don't they will remain just thatƯ Be true to yourself and refuse to settle for less. Follow your heart, and know that you deserve all the happiness in the world. No matter what the future holds for me, I will wake up tomorrow with a smile on my face, because I know that I deserve a Hollywood ending. I know that someday soon, my fairy tale will become a reality, and I know that somewhere, someone knows the exact same thing.
I apologize to all of my readers for taking the summer off. It's good be back, and I look forward to hearing from all of you soon!
I believe in you!
Please feel free to contact me through BreakingOUT, or visit our website! http://www.geocities.com/breakingout2000
Travis Stanton, 20, is originally from South Dakota. He is the founder of BreakingOUT, a web based organization for young gay men looking for assistance in the process of coming out, and currently lives in Minneapolis.