September 1998

I'm At School So How Come Everyone Still Seems Ignorant?

The back to school issue, huh? Well, I'm looking forward to going back. I know that I must sound crazy. I, however, have my reasons. Not only do I miss my friends, but spending twenty-four hours a day with my family can lead to severe brain damage, complete psychosis, and neurotic tendencies that take a lifetime of mediocre therapy to cure. At any rate, on August eighth I get to go back. Thank God.

There are, of course, some bad things about school. My college is a little teensy-weensy, teeny-tiny private university. My freshmen class (last year) was the largest the school had ever had: a whopping one hundred and eighty people. With my luck, someone from school is reading this right now and getting a shotgun ready to remedy my lack of school spirit. To continue on. . . you have to consider what type of people go to tiny private schools. The typical student should be your average sheltered trust-fund baby type. This is true more often than I'd like to admit. These kids come from tiny, private high schools and parents that sheltered them from anybody that wasn't white, middle-to-high-class, and Christian. I always saw my high school as a little close-minded but some of the stuff at college has blown me away.

Examples: Situation One

I was sitting in the commons one day, watching Jerry Springer. (I know. . . it's Springer. Don't berate me. Springer is my vice.) A friend of mine, hereafter called Jim, sat down next to me during a commercial break. He asked me what the topic of the day was and I told him. I don't remember it now, but I'm leaning toward "I Hate You and I'm Sleeping With Your Step-Mother" or something of the like. Jim sighed in relief and proceeded to explain that he had seen an episode a few days that he was afraid would be on again. "It was a bunch of faggots and they were all kissing and sh*t." he explained with disgust. I winced at the "f" word and moved on. I tried to appeal to his logic and use terms that he would understand. "Jim," I asked "What do you think of lesbians?" Keep in mind that Jim is a sexually active nineteen year old male. "They rock!" he exclaimed. The lesbian sitting on the couch next to us sighed and excused herself. "Okay, then why do you hate gays?" I continued. He looked mad and said, "Because that's just disgusting and wrong. God says so." I pointed out that God allegedly wasn't a big fan of premarital sex either (Jim looked pained at this) and gave him a watered down tolerance lecture. It didn't take.

Situation Two

I went to the computer lab to check my e-mail and saw a girl from my anatomy lab. She was typing away with a frown. I asked her how she was doing. Diane, the pseudonym of choice, was trying to find some stuff on the Internet for a paper. The paper was on personal and sociological implications of AIDS and HIV. She needed stories and reactions. It occurred to me that this was not a great topic for her. She's a little. . . oh, how shall I word this?. . . naive. Naive is the nicest way to put it. She was in a real bind because the paper was due soon and she needed more info. I had recently read a column a friend had done for Oasis that involved the emotional implications of an HIV test. I hesitated a little. It didn't seem like a good idea to unleash Diane on Oasis. Finally, I explained what the column was about and told her that I'd go to the site and print a copy for her if she liked. She was very excited and wanted to know if there might be more information at the site. I told her that it was possible, but not certain. Diane kept pushing and wanted to know what the site was for. I finally explained that it was a monthly web- mag for gay youth. Diane stopped. "You mean like gay gays?" she asked. Figuring that she didn't mean 'happy', I simply nodded at her redundancy. "They have magazines?" she continued. Sheltered much, Diane? I nodded again. "Why did you read this article?" she questioned, looking critically at me. I told her that a friend of mine had started writing in Oasis. I had read other columns and got hooked. The AIDS testing one was one of his. Her eyes grew to the size of saucers. "You have a friend that's gay?" she whispered. Before I could say anything, she continued "And got an AIDS test?". I decided to go with the simple answer. "Yeah." She paused for a minute and then asked, "He's not from around here is he?" I wasn't certain where this was going so I explained that I went to high school with him. She asked how far my hometown was from our college. Suddenly, the light came on in my head. I saw were she was going with this. "Uh, Diane," I said gently. "There are gays here in this town. And in this school. And in this computer lab." She looked shocked and began to spin her head around as if she would catch the culprits. I gave up (again) and wished her luck on her paper.

Okay, there are a lot of situations that occur like this, but these two stick in my mind. Even worse, both of the times, I basically gave up. I tried to reason but gave up. It's not something that I'm very proud of.

Oh, as a footnote. I just rented a really good flick called Hollow Reed. The movie deals with a child custody battle begun by a homosexual father. It should be in the New Release section of your video store. Check it out, it's worth it. (Maybe it's just me, but one of the actors, Ian Hart, looks like Dan Futterman, from The Birdcage. Is it my imagination?)

Julie is an eighteen year old heterosexual college student from Illinois who knows she's not Miss Open-Minded 1998, so be nice. She has formed an emotional bond with her television set and would probably kidnap screenwriter Kevin Williamson, given the chance. This is her second attempt at an Oasis submission. Questions, Comments, Concerns? E-mails can go to MazzyMae@aol.com. Just be gentle.

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