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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Second City Syndrome (some more queer geography too)

Due to work I've been traveling across my fantastic State of Florida.  To quote a Presidential candidate: "I love it here, the trees.....are all the right height...and the lakes, the lakes..."  So I guess you get my point.  But despite all my travels I'm always happy to be back in Miami, but because I realize I carry a "Miaminess" wherever I go.

This month I went from Bushnell (where I took my Obama magnet off the Beemer) to Orlando and most areas on the East and Gulf coasts of Florida.  While I try to be as humble and down to earth as possible, I still get the feeling they're looking at me as some kind of "city slicker".  Perhaps it's my suit and tie or my fancy Cole-Haan Veneto pennys.

I realize now that all these people have what I call "Second City" syndrome. Second City Syndrome is the full knowledge that although your city has all the ingredients that make up a "city" such as population, a performing arts center, professional sports teams, there still is something missing. That maybe a new stadium,  mall or  In my opinion there is just a hint of vitality missing.  There just is that one missing ingredient that turns a city from Kansas City bland to New Orleans wow. 

My first realization that I'm in a second city is when the gay people say things to me like "you're awfully gay, maybe you should live in Los Angeles or New York or Miami". Which says to me that "fabulosity is not welcome here."  The uniform is khakis and a button down collar, maybe a polo. Nikes are fine, but you can leave the John Varvatos Sid Oxfords for your once yearly trip to New York. Make out in the Camryaccord, that is unless you're a lesbian, then use a truck.  Second cities also have very integrated gay and lesbian communities and both groups hang out and do things together, so you don't know if you're in a gay bar or a church social.  I've also noticed that gay communities in second cities tend to be run by lesbians (albeit funded by gay men).   Larger cities tend to have very defined and separate gay and lesbian communities. 

Don't get me wrong, having the nice Florida executive home on the golf course in a development with a name like Willowbrooke is a wonderful, peaceful life but it's just not for me.  I mean getting excited over the menu at Longhorn Steakhouse or Macaroni Grill is typical for a night out in some of these places. Please remember the drink specials end at 8:30 and try to be home by 10PM on a Saturday night. That a weekend getaway to New York, New Orleans or Miami is enough excitement to get you through the next few months.  

I guess my true rant about these places is that I don't fit in. That somehow, outside of a few major cities I cannot relate to a typical middle class American life.  That my experiences in the vast stretches suburbia have been full of a quiet angry ennui. That my soul needs to be fed by strange people from far away lands, and new foods never tried before. That I can't stand the idea of eating in a chain restaurant that isn't a McDonald's. I mean Carraba's, really? That rushing home every evening to catch a glimpse of reality TV somehow softens my own reality. I can't fit in, I can't wear khakis, I can't be khaki.  I feel exotic, I feel colorful, I feel Miamian.