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A Chat with Survivors of the Era
The owners of the B&B, where we're staying in Ogunquit, have a large DVD collection and yet we had seen most of the mainstream and gay titles already. "Parting Glances" was supposed to be a gay classic, and they owned it, and it was one that we had not yet seen, and so we watched it last night.
It was like getting into a time-machine. Ah, so that's how the movies depicted what it was like for the guys when I was trying to find myself as a 20-something lesbian! The B&B owners referred to it as a "sweet movie" in a tender tone and so I was hoping for a highly-poignant film experience.
Really, it was no better than most of the lesbian films we've ever seen, which didn't make me happy, but which was validating, at least, that we weren't the only ones who were so desperate for images of ourselves, being ourselves, that we accepted sub-optimal plots/acting/cinematography just to glimpse people who looked like some of us, living their lives.
This morning over breakfast, one of the owners asked, "What did you think of the movie?"
I didn't want to hurt him or insult his taste, which in every other way, e.g., the landscaping of the B&B and its interior, was lovely -- even stylish -- but I told him that it reminded me of the quality of so many of the lesbian films I'd seen over the years, i.e., not great, but that I could understand how wonderful it felt simply to see two guys simply being affectionate on the big screen.
Yes, he agreed; that was its chief appeal.
Then I said, "And I loved the soundtrack! Whatever happened to the Bronski Beat and Jimmy Somerville?"
"I don't know," he said and broke the spell. We were no longer back in Chicago in the '80s -- or for him, I imagine Pittsburgh; we were dolloping Greek yogurt that I never could have afforded back then into generous bowls for breakfast.