September 1997

I have noticed in a lot of other contributors' writings and elsewhere on the net that there is an apparent age limit for gays. For some reason, many would say that once you hit this age you are as good as dead. What frightens me is that I will be hitting this age and joining my grandparents on the rocker on the porch in less than three years.

The really scary part of it all is that I haven't even begun to experience life yet. Having secluded myself in this closet I have only just begun to think about finding my door (see last month's column.) Am I to be cast aside, put in an old age home and forgotten about before I even meet my first boyfriend? I guess I might find someone there, although he may not have any teeth, wear hearing aids, need a walker to get around and call everyone Sonny in an overly loud raspy voice.

I don't want that, of course. I want to find love and happiness just like everyone else. I want to know what it's like to love someone and have him love me. I want to know what it feels like to come home from a bad day at work and have someone there who will make me forget my troubles. I know my desires are nothing new, nothing extraordinary. Everyone is searching for the same thing. Will I find my soul mate? Only time will tell.

OOPS! There's that magic word, Time. Am I running out of it? After all, I only have two and a half years left. Yes, I am closing in on that over-the-hill ancient age of thirty. Is this cap on life a reality? I pose the question to you, dear reader. What do you consider to be the maximum age of someone you will consider dating? From your experience, do you perceive an age cap on the dating scene? If so, at what age? What are your thoughts on the subject? Please include your age and what part of the country (or world) you are from. I will tabulate all of your responses and report back next month on the results. Naturally I will only report the statistics, all names will be kept completely confidential.

* * *

The other day someone asked me what kind of music I like. I thought for a moment and replied, I enjoy all music. Yet, they persisted, but what kind of music do you like best?

That got me thinking. What kind of music do I like? Well, my tastes vary greatly. Depending on my mood, I will listen to everything, including but not limited to: alternative, country, rock, classic rock, jazz, modern dance, blues, medieval, baroque, classical, swing, folk, reggae, Italian, Irish, bagpipe . . . the list is really endless. I guess it would be a lot easier for me to answer in the negative. I don't enjoy most (but not all) rap. I lost my taste for the really heavy metal, I can tolerate disco for a little while and there are actually a few songs that I like, I don't like most modern jazz, muzak ('nuff said). Am I the first to say that I don't like most of (gasp) Madonna? Let's see, what else don't I like? I can't think of anything else right now, there are a few others but that about covers it.

As for what type of music I like best? Impossible to answer. It all depends upon my mood at the time. I have favorite artists within each category, but there is no one style of music that I like above all else. Among some of my favorites artists are: J. S. Bach, Elton John, Madeleine Peyroux, Luciano Pavarotti, John Valby, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Bush, Preservation Hall Jazz Band . . . I think you get the picture.

One favorite game I like to play is while driving in the car. Starting at the beginning of the dial, I will hit my radio's scan button. Whatever comes on, I'll listen to it for a song or two and then hit the scan button again. Very rarely do I find myself skipping a station because I don't like it.

Now, for the sake of argument, I'd like to introduce an imaginary friend of mine. I'll call him John. John is a great person but he will ONLY listen to alternative music. That is his preference and no matter how I might try to introduce him to other forms of musical expression, he persists in only listening to alternative. I can't persuade him to listen to any other styles. He believes that alternative is the only music that has true meaning and significance. All the rest produced today and in the past is trash.

Naturally, I disagree with John. Since I come from a background of various musical styles, I can't understand his resistance to change. Why or how could he not appreciate musical geniuses such as Mozart, Bach, Robert Johnson, Elton John/Bernie Taupin, et al. Countless numbers of individuals were cutting edge, radical artists in their day. What makes them any different than the artists John listens to? Why won't he change his view to match my own? Why should he?

Why should I force my views on someone else? Shouldn't John be able to listen to the music he wants to? Why should I or anyone else force him to conform to my ways?

The point I am trying to make is that everyone has the right to enjoy and believe what they want. Everyone has their own opinions and no one should be ostracized because of those opinions. In a recent Oasis column, someone said something like: (I'm sorry that I didn't save the article, so this is not a direct quote, just paraphrased). So-and-so isn't alternative enough. How can he like such-and-such a band? They are so lame and overly commercial. They are only trying to cash in on the current music trend.

Well, to that I might say, Touche! You are not open-minded enough!

But I wouldn't. That is his opinion and he is entitled to it. Regardless of what I may think. Now, I don't mean to say that no one should express their opinions. Quite the contrary. I think everyone should express their opinions. But please don't belittle someone else's.

My opinion is everyone should try to have an open mind. Be open to new ideas, new opinions, new forms of expression. Who knows you might actually change your mind! But if someone insists on not opening himself to a new idea (like my imaginary friend John) I don't think any less of him or her.

For one last example, I will recount a conversation I had with a friend of mine a few years ago.

We were talking about movies. I asked if he had seen Fried Green Tomatoes. I had, and thought it was a very good movie. He said that he didn't see it because it had a stupid title. He won't see any movie with a title that he feels is stupid. I told him that was a very stupid way to determine what movies to see. Well, he called me closed-minded because I couldn't understand his method for judging movies.

Now I ask you. Who is the closed-minded one?

Thanks for listening and send all responses to vincentmar@hotmail.com

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