Friday, June 06, 2014

Cringe. C-R-I-N-G-E. Cringe

I am not an extroverted person by nature, and I don’t normally like to be the center of attention. I kind of freeze up when all eyes are on me and it’s not a situation I like to seek out.

My writing, though, is something I do like to put out in front of people. I’m oddly unselfconscious about my work and always quietly proud to see it out in the world. I don’t think I’m delusional about the quality of what I do, but I have not yet outgrown the kick I get out of seeing my name in print. I’m always pleased when an editor decides that something I produced is strong enough to survive out there. I suspect I feel about an article the way a parent feels about watching a child in a spelling bee. Maybe the kid isn’t going to be a winner, but I’m proud to see him up on the stage competing.

Occasionally, though, something happens that makes me feel more like my kid’s up on stage all right, but maybe with his hair sticking up oddly, or ketchup stains on his shirt.

Something like that occurred recently with one of my Orlando articles. This one was on the city’s lesbian scene. I’m happy with how it turned out, and was very pleased to see the publisher, Girls That Roam online magazine, promoting it.

I was a little taken aback, though, when I saw the lead photo used to promote the article. The shot was taken at a lesbian pool party that I’m sure really happened, but not in any universe I’ve ever occupied. In the foreground of the photo is a striking looking woman in a bikini. She is tall with chiseled features and an envious mane of hair—she looks something like the product of a union between Laura Dern and Barbarella.

Behind her is a baby butch in Ray Bans and a backwards baseball cap—this is the kind of lesbian who looks like Justin Beiber. She appears to be about to grope the amazon woman, and she has an expression on her face that looks a little like she’s thinking impure thoughts and a little like she can’t believe her luck. (It’s exactly the expression I would be wearing if I had even been invited to this party.) Behind them is a soft-focus sea of Sapphic debauchery, scores of wet, oiled, drunken 21- to 25-year-old women on the make.

It’s awesome.

And it would all be fine, except that the day the article hit the Girls That Roam social media pages is the very day my 93-year-old grandmother decided to find out what this Facebook thing is all about.

I accepted her request immediately—I was her first friend--and then went to my page, curious what impression it was conveying that day. Because I’d been tagged in a Girls That Roam post about my article, it appeared at the top of my page along with the photo.

This is not an awkward outing situation—my Grandma has known the score for years and treats Pipi like a fifth grandchild. So no real harm done. I am still quite proud of my kid, and we will all get past the fact that he chose to wear his raunchiest t-shirt on his big day before an audience.

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