As someone who came out many Elvis Presley moons ago, it occurs to me, given all the media hoop-law these days about us – good, bad, fabricated, indifferent – that it’s time we collectively revived a lost art form.
Even if for only for one mind-blowing day, let’s pretend. Let’s have a National Day of Pretense. A day of clearing our collective mental sinuses with a 24-hour, energetic wheez-in of fakery followed by a collective sigh-out of who-we-are relief.
Catharsis through imitation. Release through copycat sand boxing.
But permit an honesty: There’s a slight possibility that practicing 24 hours of this “lost art” may fender-bend a psyche, waffle a sense of well-being, time warp an outlook on the better outcome of things. It is, however, a dare worth taking if end justifies means.
Think of it as one day of BTDT. Been there. Done that. (“It’s not me. But, damn it all, if it helps me focus on things, its worth the pretending. Worth reviving a connivery that helps me get it on. Me first. ‘Tup you hetero hoo! Worth seeing if, just for the hell of it, I can fake it, while realizing what I’ve been – thankfully! – not missing.”)
Yes, it’s been years since I’ve been a practitioner of let’s pretend passporting. But there was a time when pretending was life saving. And while it was a serious undertaking for us blew suede shoe types, it was occasionally ego-gratifying, fun, in a perverse sort of way.
(One flashback remains fresh: A coworker told me confidentially about so-and-so in furniture & bathroom fittings, “I can spot a queer a mile away,” he boasted. “Standing at the urinal’s a lot more convenient,” I winked, invisibly gayola to him.)
This forgotten art form is all-encompassing. It involves posture, voice monitoring, some myopia, auditory short-circuiting, while rapping a group-think that – although of commonality most places – is mostly parroted, loaded with on-cue fibbing for most of us.
Let’s add a caveat. If you have the slightest doubt about where you’re coming from as gay, lesbian, bi, or clocking T person, don’t – I repeat, don’t – insincerely attempt this lost art form, however much you might be pressured to go along with the project. As the saying goes, think long and hard about it first. But, God love ya,’ be sincere.
In a nutshell, here’s what’s proposed. And please remember it’s only for one day. If you feel – for whatever reason of shyness, tele-tubby typecasting, height/weight discrepancy, unemployment status, golf club rejection, CIA discovery – you can’t go the full 24 hours, try 12. Or eight. Or one. If push in comes to shove out (or off, mate!), even a half-hour will do you a heap of Psych 101 good.
So, let’s on an agreed upon auspicious day – say, April 1 – all of us LGBTers collectively pretend to be straight. Not only pretend, we must do our damnedest to be convincing. We must walk, talk, eat, sleep, shower, wipe, exfoliate and, for added authenticity, pick on a minority. (Preferably non-gay or black. How about – for too-long-neglected mean-spiritedness – lacto-vegetarians? Or hip-hop musicians?)
To bring this charade to a gratifying climax some advance preparation’s required. Gay men are encouraged to memorize football stats, basketball seduction tallies (say Wilt Chamberlain’s 20,000 chicks), use male-bonding backslapers like, “Look at the rack on that bimbo.”
Lipstick lesbians are all set to pass. Stone butch dykes, because of time and other extenuated readjustment constraints, are advisedly exempt. Bottom line: one miserable day of playing straight, 364 LGBT days of coming out on top. Fake it just once. Hound dog it forever. (Turn over, Elvis.)