Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Ewan McGregor in Velvet Goldmine
The other night, I watched the movie Velvet Goldmine again and it got me thinking about how much I like an androgynous man. Velvet Goldmine hearkens back to the days of Glam Rock and features hot men like Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ewan McGregor and Christian Bale in make up. Ironically, Eddie Izzard is one of the few stars in the movie not wearing make up.
I began to notice men in the 1970’s, when rock stars like David Bowie, Marc Bolan and the New York Dolls were popular. It was the days of men with long hair, glitter eye shadow and tarty lipstick wearing flashy clothes and it made a big impression on me. These men with their blatant gender bending were so much sexier than the average Jock type to me. They were rebelling against the traditional male uniform. They were bravely flouting convention in an in your face way that was hard for me to resist. You see, I also have a rebellious spirit and a keen fashion sense and I related to these men, who I saw as so much more manly than the Jocks or the Suits. These men were breaking new ground, they were leaders. They were the new Alpha Male in all of their peacock feathered splendor.
Marc Bolan of T Rex
The New York Dolls
David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust
Then there was Tim Curry in the Rocky Horror pictures show licking his shiny red lips with a naughty, mischievous glint in his eye and singing “Give yourself over to absolute pleasure”. It didn’t matter that he was into both women and men, in fact that was a large part of the lure for me. He was unabashedly crashing through sexual boundaries.
Tim Curry in the Rocky Horror Picture Show
Since those days there have been very few examples of in your face male androgyny. In the 1980’s, Prince filled that role. At once, both masculine, feminine and oozing sex from every pore, Prince was my fantasy in those days.
Prince, from the Lovesexy Album cover
In the 1990’s Marilyn Manson took androgyny to a much darker and more Gothic place with his flawlessly painted face and very masculine voice. he merged male and female into one hot package.
Currently, the most famous example is the aforementioned Eddie Izzard who has been quoted as saying, “Women wear what they want and so do I”. That attitude is irresistible to me.
Eddie Izzard, in all his glory.
Androgyny isn’t just dressing in drag. It’s a mindset. It’s a lifestyle. It’s sexy as hell.
I am single. It’s not sad. It’s not anything to be pitied. I love being single. More than that, I love being alone. I don’t understand why it is that people think this is such a horrible fate. When I am asked if I’m married and the person hears the answer is no, the response is invariably something along the lines of, “Well, don’t worry, you’ll find someone.” I have news for you. I’m not worried, and even more radically, I don’t want to find someone.
No I am not depressed. No I am not lonely. No I am not bitter. No I don’t sit around all day crying. I am living MY life the way I PREFER to live it… by myself.
I like only taking care of myself. I like a life without arguments or compromises. I like doing what I want to do when I want to do it. I like travelling alone. I like going to the movies alone. I even like eating at a restaurant alone.
I have tried marriage. It doesn’t work for me. Before you ask, ‘What about love?’ That’s what my family is for. I hear you thinking, ‘What do you do about sex?’ Not that it’s any of your business, but I prefer doing that alone too. (at least I know the job will be done well). As for companionship, I have relatively no need for company… other people just mess things up. Conversation is wonderful when it’s intelligent and productive, which, sadly, is rare and preferably done over the phone or online.
For me being alone does not equate to being lonely. Being alone equates to being free.
Yesterday the news that gay marriages performed in Canada to couples who don’t live here may not be valid, swept the internet news sites and the blogosphere alike. As a Canadian and a supporter of gay marriage, the news made me a little sick to my stomach. This was the first article I saw on the story. In the last paragraph, the article quotes family law attorney Andrew Feldstein, of Toronto, as saying, “Where the Harper government should have approached this is: you are not a resident of Canada, you are not a taxpayer in Canada, why should we be using the court’s time, money, resources, taxpayers dollars for people who don’t live in Canada?”
My response to this comment is, it’s not taxpayers who pay for divorce proceedings, it’s the couple in question. Is Canada now so allergic to money that we will decline it just because it comes from another country… or is this a gay issue? Is gay money somehow not worth as much as straight money? And what about all the tourist dollars we get from the gay couples from all over the world who come here to get married, some with an entire wedding party in tow? Are we, as a country really in a position, in this economy to turn away revenue? I am purposefully responding to this topic from a financial view-point because that’s the only thing that lawyers and politicians seem to respect and understand. Financially, this just doesn’t make sense.
What about Canada’s reputation as a tolerant country? We are a country that famously touts our multicultural status as something to be proud of… and it is. We are ahead of the curve when it comes to Human Rights… but Gay Rights ARE Human Rights.
One month ago, almost to the day, former Prime Minister, Jean Chretien posted a letter to the Liberal party website. In it he said, “The Conservatives already ended gun control and Kyoto. Next may be a woman’s right to choose, or gay marriage. Then might come capital punishment. And one by one, the values we cherish as Canadians will be gone.” Did he know something the rest of us didn’t? Of course the liberals are jumping all over this hot button issue. Interim liberal leader Bob Rae was quoted as saying. “It’s quite clear that we have enabled and allowed people to come to Canada to marry in Montreal, in Toronto and everywhere in the country. People came from the U.S. and elsewhere and that means very clearly they have the right to marry and have the right to divorce,” and he’s right.
Just one day later, the Federal Government has decided to change the law.
“We want to make it very clear that in our government’s view, these marriages should be valid,” a senior government official said on Friday. “That’s why we will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren’t recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada.”
This is fantastic news and I’m sure it will be implemented quickly so as to nip this scandal in the bud.
I must admit I’m a little confused by something. Using the United States as an example, what about gay couples who marry in Vermont, but live in Florida? Their marriage isn’t recognized in the state they live in, so if one partner is in the hospital, for example, the other isn’t considered a family member, regardless of the marriage licence issued by Vermont. If this hypothetical couple wants to divorce, doesn’t the same problem rear its ugly head? Are they only married in Vermont and the other 5 states that allow gay marriage, but not married in the other 44 states that don’t?
It’s questions like these that I hope the GLBTQIA community south of the border is asking itself. I sincerely hope that this issue spurs more activism in the United States and around the world.
It seems there’s been a rash of celebrity engagements this past couple of weeks. Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Drew Barrymore, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Mario Lopez, John Legend and even Aretha Franklin all announced engagements. Even Sinead O’Conner is staying married, after announcing a split. With all of this attention put on marriage, I thought I’d take a look at who really benefits in a traditional marriage.
The institution of marriage predates reliable recorded history. It was the norm for all marriage to be arranged, sometimes at birth. The parents would pick a spouse based on purely economic factors. Families joining to become financially and socially stronger. Whether the groom’s family paid a bride price, or dower, or the bride’s family paid a dowry, the melding of families was very much for power and economic reasons and had nothing to do with love. It was a purely secular union put in place to help each family move up in society. Brides wed out of obligation and duty and were expected to be virtuous and faithful to their husbands, who, in turn were expected to provide financially for their wife and children. However, sexual monogamy was never expected for the husband. It was assumed that his sexual needs would be met both inside and outside the marriage bed. Great deal for him, but what about her?
These women went directly from their father’s home to their husband’s home and were expected to be obedient in both surroundings. They never enjoyed the luxury of personal freedom and exploration. Even in North America, women weren’t able of choose to be single without fear of societal backlash until the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. Women were expected to subjugate their personalities in favour of the path their husband chose… even when marrying for love. It was 2006 when the Church of England officially took the word OBEY out of the marriage vows. Yes, women were expected to OBEY their husbands. That one four letter word gave men all the justification they needed to abuse their wives for centuries.
In the 1960’s women in western civilizations seemed to have had enough. There was an uprising of women who were demanding their human rights. The right to choose what to do with their own life. It sure took us long enough, but once we started tasting freedom, it became more and more widespread. The church was still doing everything in its power to keep us barefoot and pregnant, from not allowing birth control use and abortion to shoving the institution of marriage down our throats at every opportunity.
There was a perceived danger in women choosing to be single. The erosion of the family unit. Traditionally, parents would take care of their family, then later in life, the family of their children would take care of the parents. If a woman chose to be single, how could she possibly afford to take care of her parents in their declining years? Would she even want to? If she is choosing freedom, what does obligation even mean to her? These were some of the questions at the root of society’s fear of the Women’s Movement.
Indeed marriage rates did decline and divorce rates went way up. Men went from “Honey, I’m home. What’s for dinner?” to wondering when the delivery guy was coming. Something else of importance happened during this time. In 1965, in the United States, medicare and medicaid became available. This took away the need for children to take care of their elder parents. This changed the economic family dynamic.
Unfortunately, there was a backlash to the feminist movement. It seemed to create a generation of men with severe Peter Pan syndrome. These adult men, not only want their wife to be a partner, but also a mother. It seems that these liberated feminist mothers didn’t think to teach their sons how to be liberated, strong men. This, along with the media (magazines, movies etc.) telling women that they are not complete without a man, created a surge in marriages. .. marriages that didn’t last. After all, what liberated woman wants to be mean mommy to her husband? And let’s face it no man (unless it’s his fetish) wants to have sex with mean mommy.
Women who choose to be single, have reproductive freedom like never before. Now medical science has made it possible for women to have babies without benefit of marriage, or even a relationship. It’s easy to understand why there are so many heterosexual men out there who seem to genuinely hate women. They fear they are being rendered obsolete, and that is a legitimate fear. Successful women are choosing to be single mothers.
As Gloria Steinem once said, “Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.”
Yes traditional marriage was great for men. They had a subservient wife who took care of hearth and home, their every need and want, with no expectation of sexual fidelity. The pendulum travelling inexorably to the other side now. Even in the non western world we are seeing another women’s revolution. Here in the west, there are women who choose marriage just to have a companion, knowing full well that it can be as permanent as they want it to be.
This attitude has spawned another type of man. I have seen it in generations Y and Z. This young man is looking to be kept. They are male gold diggers, looking for an older, successful woman to marry.
I suppose marriage hasn’t changed that much after all. After a brief flirtation with love, it’s still all about money and power.