The Multitude of Sad Gay Men Standing Together in the Dark
Cool Life Tip #4.
If you think you are standing
sad and alone in the dark,
remember there are others
who really like to stand
sad and alone in the dark.
Move your arms around a little.
Turn on a light, maybe.
I'm feelin' like I made a teensy dream come true writing this issue of Hello Mr's cover story & interview on Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius. I'm gonna share a little anecdote with you about why it means as much as it does.
I first saw Mike Hadreas perform when he was in New York last fall. I had purchased two tickets far ahead of time — one for me, and one for my ex-boyfriend who dumped me about two week before. If you know Perfume Genius, you know that his music is unapologetically emotional. It was music you sat and listened to alone in a dark dorm room (and I did) perhaps shedding a tear or two (and I did). It's no exaggeration that Perfume Genius got me through a very tough year in school, during a time when I lived in rural Indiana and saw very few reflections of myself I could relate to in art or media. It was a time where I was — for lack of a better word — unstable. But when you watch the Take Me Home video, suddenly, you feel a little more on your feet (or heels, for that matter).
Still feeling a little raw from aforementioned boy who dumped me, I gave away the other ticket and decided this would be the perfect thing to go to alone on a nice, cathartic pity date with myself — the kind of date where youwalk up to the bar alone and bolster your confident-person voice and say, "Yes, I'll have a sangria."
It was, suitably, a rainy day in October, and as I was waiting in line, I bumped into a gay boy I knew from the Internet — Instagram, specifically. We were only chatting for a few minutes when three more friends showed up in the line behind me, waving — a friend I’d made through Tumblr, and his boyfriend and friend who I’d met before. We caught up before the show, but as we shuffled into the venue, another gay acquaintance (plus his friend) made his way through the crowd to say hi — we’d met at work but knew each other mostly through vague, I'm-gay-You're-gay emails. Shortly before the opener, I spotted two friends from the magazine who I had no idea were coming, and then another small group of three guys who were joining them that evening. I slowly shepherded all these gays into a cluster in the center of the venue, and we were starting to exchange niceties, and I was starting to feel a little less alone, when one boy, who’d been standing next to us the whole time, turned to me and asked, “Are you Fran? We know each other from Twitter.”
There’s something about this sequence of events that sums up Perfume Genius quite nicely — my inadvertent assembly of a dozen gays at a time when I thought I was incredibly alone and incredibly unsupported. It's the perfect illustration for how Mike's art works. There you are in a dark room listening to him croon on the piano, and you're shedding a tear and thinking, "God I'm so alone" only to find out you're standing in a mass of gays that also feel isolated and also feel melancholy and also appreciate the purge and catharsis of emotional music.
That's the beauty of it. Sometimes, if you think you are standing sad and alone in the dark, remember there are others who really like to stand sad and alone in the dark. Move your arms around a little. Turn on a light, maybe.