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No one loves a monster

Social Chaos: The Gay Boy Next Door

The Lady Gaga Last Supper.

As an occasionally over-committed, sleep deprived workaholic who often finds himself in the public eye, I feel personally qualified to tell everyone that you can’t always be “on.” Everyone needs breaks and everyone makes mistakes. But there’s a big difference between a slip of judgment and an all-out personality nightmare.

Unfortunately, when randomly meeting people or making first impressions, one tiny slip can define you forever. Whether we like it or not, we are judged on the smallest of statements, and we never know how our words will come back to bite us in the ass. This makes it necessary to sometimes stop and reflect on how our attitudes and actions look to the public.

This past weekend I decided to act my own age and visited the universally acclaimed new nightclub, Eden. Ryan Fair, my roommate and subject of my last column, and Peter Armado, best friend and drunk-mess extraordinaire, accompanied me into the world of gay clubbers and curious hipster sinners.

Halfway into my night, Ryan looked irritated. Apparently some random guy had walked up to him with a nasty tone and said, “Oh look it’s Matthew Michael Brown’s roommate. We all know him … but you’re definitely cuter.”

This was not the first time a man tried to pick up my roommate by not-so-subtly insulting me in the process. Ryan was obviously not receptive to this strategy.

“Insult my best friend, yeah that’s totally going to get me wet,” he sarcastically vented over drinks. “Do men not realize that insecurity and bitchiness are not attractive features?”

No, Ryan, many really do not. One thing I have learned from studying the LGBT community and the culture of today’s youth is that we idolize celebrity behavior and the diva. I see young up and comers, including myself not too long ago, believing the false notion that acting like a diva will somehow make you worthy and deserving of being a celebrity.

Now it is my personal opinion that celebridom never warrants insufferable attitude. That said, if someone is going to act like a diva, they sure better be talented or contributing to society in some larger way if they do not want to be utterly despised.

I see YouTube “stars” and people in my daily life act like entitled queens for no real reason other than to establish a presence in the community. It is hard to blame them, though, when so much of our community’s culture centers on drama and the attitudes and characters of drag shows.

Donald, Matthew, Peter, Ryan and friends at the opening of Eden.

While not quite a drag queen herself, our worship of Lady Gaga is particularly telling. In-stead of appreciating Lady Gaga for her talent, uniqueness and message of individuality, she is often elevated to God-like standing because she expertly reflects and simultaneously criticizes our own “Fame Monster” society. This, I feel, is what makes fans obsess, and why she has become so iconic in present American culture, specifically within the LGBT community.

As a group of people that both suffers and excels based on difference, we all are born standing out. Many of us grow up feeling very lonely, and that time of isolation is what fosters a drive and desire to turn that pain into something powerful and positive. Fame is merely a romanticized and glamorized version of being alone, and our obsession with it is the perversion of our wounded desire for love and acceptance.

As someone who has lived the ups and downs of growing up in this “Fame Monster” culture, I have learned that no one truly desires fame, but rather misses love, belonging and a sense of place and home.

Discovering this truth is essential to happiness, but sadly there is no warning label on Lady Gaga’s CDs and only keen listeners will recognize the self-awareness she writes into her own lyrics.

Many can appreciate the slow, artistically crafted suicide that comes with her public addiction to fame, but most will miss her critique of the culture off which she makes her millions.

She herself recognizes and sings about the inability of fame monsters to find love, and she makes a business of being tragically aware that perverted pride will consume and burn through any and all relationships one might have.

To be a fame monster is to give up true love. While we’re both painfully aware of this fact, Lady Gaga and I have chosen different sides in this cultural war.

I have been that catty boy at the club making comments about other people. Hell, I still do it on occasions, but I’ve definitely learned that I’m no happier for it. It never makes you a bigger person to put down the life of another. Period. This counts double when you do not even know the person.

I realize that everyone needs an outlet. Sometimes it is appropriate and good for your sanity to complain about someone who screwed you over, dumped you, passed you over for a promotion, etc. Occasionally it might even be healthy to make a joke or two at someone else’s expense.

Ryan Fair, Peter Armado and Matthew M. Brown hang out with a fan at a Lady Gaga concert.

This is why we have burn books and best friends, of course, and often these complaints and jabs become the foundation for amazing comedy among friends. But we need to remember that ultimately what we say and how we act is what makes us who we are and people will judge us for it.

We can be insatiable divas all we want, but it will not take us very far. Whether you want fame or love, the best way to be recognized and happy in life is to work hard and be a kind person.

No one loves a monster.



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Posted by LGBT Weekly on Feb 3, 2011. Filed under The Gay Boy Next Door. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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