Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wino Forever

As mentioned in the previous post, my lengthy Kevin Costner fantasy was replaced when Jordan Catalano came into my life when I was 13, the exact age that he leaned his way into Angela Chase's life in perhaps the best celluloid interpretation of teenage angst ever: My So-Called Life.

Jordan was replaced by Winona Ryder. I had forgotten about Winona. I thought of her just the other day as I was vacuuming the hall floor. I have forgotten a lot of things, a lot of early influences, which is why I am re-hashing them now. It occurrs to me that who you once were is not irrelevant to who you are now. Like the first time you realise that the reason you keep getting your heart wrecked is because of the people you choose to sail it with. It's just the same person, again and again, in different incarnations.

See this post for an introduction to this topic, but lately I have been playing an ongoing game with myself called 'How gay am I really?' It's a very intresting game. Try it yourself! I know I fit between the two big categories of hetero and homo which is why this game interests me - I'm just like everyone else, pushing myself to see if I can swing it over one way and pick a side. Wouldn't that be easier for everyone? Most of all for me. I'm kidding. To be honest, I'm just curious. And surprised.

I was once told by my very lesbionic friend 'You are the gayest person ever' and it just so happened that the majority of my cultural leanings, thoughts and influences were, upon closer inspection, really very gay indeed. I read Stella Duffy and Carol Ann Duffy avidly. I listened to Sleater Kinney and Bikini Kill. I watched every movie Winona had been in, and when her portrayal of Jo in Little Women made me believe nothing could make me love her more, I wrote to her to tell her so. I don't actually remember anything I said in the letter. I blocked out that I wrote a love letter to a woman when I was 14 (14!) and didn't think there was anything remotely gay about it.

I went to a girls' high school and never once noticed any of the girls in it. I was never in the closet; I lived in Narnia. I was so deeply entrenched in my own world (where I never once questioned my sexuality - why does that word sound like a disease?) that I wasn't even aware a closet existed.

Of course Winona had to move over for River Phoenix who in turn (once reading not one but two of his biographies had influenced me enough to turn me into a vegetarian for the next 10 years) had to make room in my adolescent heart for Dave Grohl (awesomely talented and bearded frontman of the Foo Fighters who had been the lanky, long-haired drummer in Nirvana when I fell for him).

Now Dave was the real deal. I spent hours comtemplating our future together, how I would meet him at The Laundry Room in LA, (his recording studio) how we would sit in a diner and he'd sing 'Big Me' from the Foo's first album (which I had borrowed from the library, ha!) and most of all I worried about how much he smoked and whether I'd be able to get him to stop. These were my real concerns. I never imagined kissing him even though I was sure we would be married. I just wanted to stare at him and listen to him sing. Eventually I had a boyfriend who was incredibly cool (he still is! and he's getting married, but that's a whole other post) and he took me to see Dave play live. I wore my favourite dress, a little black number with an empire waist (adds boobs) a mesh overlay and adjustable spaghetti straps. I bought it with my first ever wages/paycheck (bar what my brother paid me for picking raspberries for him at his summer job and the five quid I earned for forging his signature dozens of times on his personalised business cards in his Ferris Bueller days). When I saw Dave on stage I actually cried a bit.

I was 20!

Ha! Just a year later I was confounded when during a flirty conversation with my not-yet first girlfriend, she declared I would have to fight her for Dave, whom she adored. I didn't understand; she was a giant homosexual, she had said so herself. Surely the rights to Dave would be all mine. Even then I knew I liked her so much I would allow her to encroach on my long held Dave Grohl fantasies. On the street where the bus stopped nearest her house, there was a shop I always wanted to go in to. It was a cute, adorable looking little boutique in Stoke Newington in North London. I saw it every time I got off the bus to go to see her, and I never went in. Going in would have meant reaching her later. Even if I just went in for a minute, it would mean I would reach her a minute later. I couldn't do it. I literally walked as fast as my legs would carry me.

That seems like madness now. Much later, when she was gone and all my longing belonged to another girl who seemed to give me an electrical charge every time we were in the same room, I went back to that neighbourhood. I visited that little boutique and spent an entire week's salary on an Orla Kiely handbag. (It was in the sale even then.)

Now of course, I understand it all completely differently. Probably no one is completely blinded to the attractiveness possibilities in each gender. Kind of like, I can see that Jude Law is attractive, but that's as far as I'd take it. My crush on Dave did not inherently have more value in it that my crush on Winona, merely because he's the opposite sex. My attachment to a man is not superior to an attachment to a woman. This is true for me, and and that is all I can say. I know it's not true for the world.

And so now, even though I will continue to defend the many hideous hairstyles Lee Min Ho deigns to wear in his Korean TV performances, Min Ho must move aside, for my current celebrity crush has a face that lights up like no one else. She also has a pony tail.

The reason I am boing your arses off with a post practically idenitical to one I wrote recently is that I can't keep this stupid smile from spreading across my face every time I think about this. It's like I've been set free. My to-ing and fro-ing over WK, and all the date-ish non-dates I had over the last year with perfectly fine gentlemen (where I kept hoping they wouldn't kiss me) left me feeling as if there was a hole in my heart space that was never going to fill up again, not quite to the brim.

I was wrong. The space isn't empty after all. I've just been barking up the wrong tree.

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