MARCH/APRIL 2010

BUDDY EBSEN

MANHATTAN PIERS, BALLET REVIEW, JUSTIN BOND, AND OTHER PATHS THROUGH QUEER CULTURE

by Hilton Als

It’s the queers who made me. Who sat with me in the automobile in the dead of night and measured the content of my character without even looking at my face. Who—in the same car—asked me to apply a little strawberry lip balm to my lips before the anxious kiss that was fraught because would it be for an eternity, benday dots making up the hearts and flowers? Who sat on the toilet seat, panties around her ankles, talking and talking, girl talk burrowing through the partially closed bathroom door, and, boy, was it something. Who listened to opera. Who imitated Jessye Norman’s locutions on and off the stage. Who made love in a Queens apartment and who wanted me to watch them making love while at least one of those so joined watched me, dressed, per that person’s instructions, in my now-dead aunt’s little-girl nightie. Who wore shoes with no socks in the dead of winter, intrepid, and then, before you knew it, was incapable of wiping his own ass—“gay cancer.” Who died in a fire in an apartment in Paris. Who gave me a Raymond Radiguet novel when I was barely older than Radiguet was when he died, at twenty, of typhoid. Who sat with me in his automobile and talked to me about faith—he sat in the front seat, I in the back—and I was looking at the folds in his scalp when cops surrounded the car with flashlights and guns: they said we looked suspicious; we were aware that we looked and felt like no one else.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

Hilton Als is a staff writer at the New Yorker. He is also a Jacobson Fellow at Smith College.

STAY CONNECTED
News on Facebook Photos on Instagram Stuff on Pinterest Announcements by RSS Sounds on Soundcloud Exclusives on Tumblr Updates on Twitter

Subscribe to our mailing list