It was Gay Pride Weekend and guys from hundreds of miles around were making the pilgrimage. We hosted our first big party and that’s where I met Floyd, who came with a date. Later in the evening, after many cocktails, Floyd and his date decided to streak the apartment complex. Buck naked they ran with wild abandon, gleefully darting through the streets and dodging moving cars as they laughed, then something happened. All the way at the other end of the property they discovered modesty.
They carefully made their way back to the apartment ducking behind bushes, hiding behind cars, all while covering their junk.
My own Floyd Martin experience would come many years later. I took to facebook with the same wild abandon Floyd had taken that night. I shared most every detail of my life, and by extension the life of my partner Damon. I racked up about 2,000 friends and loved all of the feedback on my short stories and my updates. Our lives had become an open book, and I joked that we, as in facebook users, had become our own paparazzi.
Then this past Thanksgiving when I was returning from New York I had my modesty moment. I felt like the people who had been following us were coming out of the woodwork to keep Damon company in my absence. At the same time I was frustrated that every update I posted was being scrutinized for political correctness.
One of my many projects is an album on facebook devoted to people who are screaming in public, and during my layover at Chicago Midway, there was such a woman. Flipping her pink hair she raked the poor airline employees over the coals for a flight change that was completely out of their control. I snapped the photo, posted it, then boarded the flight. Once my phone was off and the flight was under way my stomach sank. Unlike the other screaming people in my album, this woman was obese. I knew this would rile people up, and it did.
By the time I landed at Lambert I had a thread dozens of comments long. Some of the people who had heaped praise on my irreverent humor for twelve months were now full of scorn and condemnation over my “making fun” of obese people. I was called a bully, and I was being defriended.
All of this on top of my relationship anxiety created the perfect storm. I felt like the naked man in the street, headlights glaring on me as people seated comfortably in their vehicles watched. I publicly read everyone. I lashed out at those I thought were trying to seduce Damon, I called out the “PC Police” and basically just went off on the world. I pulled the plug on my facebook account an thought to myself there’s a reason people don’t have 2,000 friends.
Over the next few days things began to sort themselves out. People who had blown up and defriended me apologized, and I had a lot of apologizing to do myself.
Damon and I have made so many great friends over facebook, and it has helped us link up with like minded people who want to move our city forward. Plus it’s just the way people communicate today. Isolation was not the answer.
Modesty is not in my nature, but as I covered my junk and ducked from bush to bush I had a new found appreciation for Floyd’s uncomfortable journey back to my apartment. Unlike Floyd, however, I gained my composure and busted on out for another run, figuring “In for a penny, in for a pound!”
BY: CHRIS ANDOE