“I was in love. Until I got left. Now I’m just left.”
- Sean Robert’s Journal
I’ve always attested to the fact that Winnipeg’s greatest export is not wheat, but fabulous gay men. Coming of age in the prairie town, it seemed that, without fail, whenever I’d fall in love with a boy, before I could make it to one month they’d be on the next flight to Toronto or Vancouver. (That is of course not to say that I, Rugged Fox, was the reason behind their departure; I mean bitch please, they still don’t know they’re missing.) For years I cursed the major Canadian cities, which attract gays like drink specials, for bleeding my heart dry. By the time I left Winnipeg, every Friday night at the gay bar felt like another going away party while every first date, a countdown to the last.
In the Gay Canadian dream, small town boys with a penchant for accessorizing are meant to break free from the rural chains that bind them. Unlike their male heterosexual counterparts, who are expected to find full-time work out of high school, buy a house in the ‘burbs and then settle down with a wife just dying procreate; gay boys are anticipated to hop the next train with a one-way ticket out. After surviving years of adolescent adversity hiding in the deep ends of their closets, these young fairies are destined to do what so many other gay men have done before them, and leave.
Well, after living the “Gay Canadian Dream” for the last six months now, I can honestly tell you that is an absolute sham. I mean, talk about behind schedule. At this point I should be: falling in love with an endless number of boys knocking on my door, finding myself in the rainbow-flagged blocks lining Davie Street, and luxuriating in the life that is the modern urban homosexual. Instead, I am more single than ever: working six nights a week in a soaking-wet mess to make rent each month, while trying not to spend all my grocery money for the week in one failed night at the bar (that I can’t even remember anyways!)
If small towns are the birthplace of dreams, then big cities are the places in which they go to die.
So, had I the opportunity to write that little redheaded boy, who sat in his bed so many frozen nights dreaming of the big city life to come, I would say:
Dear little redheaded boy,
You are the treasure that lies at the end of the rainbow, so stop burning yourself out trying to seek it. And if you must book that plane ticket, then save up another three grand so you can afford the good stuff once you land.
You in six month’s time.