swamp presses close to Alligator Alley out near the midriff of the State
of Florida, overgrown sawgrass creeping close to the highway, and science-fiction
pneumatophores thrusting from the red mangroves above the guardrail,
but when the rain ramped up we could barely see the white line marking
that lurked beyond. With visibility periodically down to about 10 feet,
it was essential that we keep our eyes on the only piece of asphalt visible
– that directly
in front of our speeding Jeep Cherokee.
Nervously, we stole nervous glances at the white line,
on the right which
we MUST NOT GO OVER, for any reason whatsoever. It’s not called Alligator
for nothing. When the rain lightens up, we can see long, narrow channels
in the vegetation, fading into the mist in a parallax of prehistoric
Word is, if you stop for photos, it’s OK to get close
to the fence, but don’t wander too far from the designated areas. And
if you break down after dark, stay in your car, and keep the doors locked. The
gators are hungry at this time of year, and none too pleased with the
anti-alligator flack they have been catching in the mainstream press
lately. Luckily, the Big Blue Brute lunged effortlessly down the highway,
the rain which was falling in irregular fits and spurts like a celestial
water massage showerhead swinging madly through its several modes and
As we drove, we ruminated on the preseason game we had
witnessed the day before between the World Champion Boston Red Sox and
nemesis, the St. Louis Cardinals. It had been a memorable and enjoyable
game, our first live baseball since a steamy August night last year and
our first glimpse of a diamond in any way since the last out of the World
Series in October. Not to mention, our first pre-season experience in
a long history as a baseball fanatic. It had been unforgettable.
Except that we could remember almost nothing about the
game itself except that the Sox won, 9-3, behind 5 home runs. Embarrassingly,
the two most dramatic and titanic boomers, hopefully the first of many
homers by Boston’s Bash Brothers, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, our
impeccable sense of timing having inspired us to head to the sausage
line for a pair of franks at the crucial moment in the 5th inning.
What we DO remember is the scene in the stands, and
on the field after the game. In many respects, the crowd resembled a
typical Fenway gathering
in high summer. We couldn’t keep our eyes off of the accumulated collection
of human flesh, exposed to the elements and on display, refreshingly
shocking after a weather-challenged winter watching bodies swathed and
girded in multiple layers of cotton, wool, nylon, gortex, insugard
and down, making it impossible to determine age, sex, weight, body modifications
and shapeliness of form. Winterwear as the great equalizer, works better
Down in Ft. Myers it was all on display. Lots of ugly,
overweight legs, twisted and bowed from decades of hauling around
A few gorgeous gams, sun-toasted to a range from alabaster to mahogany
according to length of exposure to the local sunshine. Lots of bulging
bellies supporting hideous shorts of every stripe; bermudas, khakis,
cargos,denims corduroys and seersuckers.
The particular slice of Red Sox fandom surrounding us
in the bleachers (although the game was sold out, we picked up a $15
bleacher seat from
a scalper for $20 just before the first pitch was thrown) was what we
call the rich working class. Even at Fenway Park, you don’t get the real
working class anymore, let alone the poor. With ticket prices averaging
in the 30’s, plus parking and five-dollar hot dogs, taking even the demographically
average American family, with its 2.3 kids, to a game costs over a couple
of hundred bucks. For the same price you could by a 25-inch color TV,
a bucket of chicken wings and a case of Bud. With most of the authentic
working class mired in dead end jobs with few benefits and no job security,
and millions living from check to check and hand to mouth, we have to
consider these fortunate fans lolling in the Florida sun the working
rich. The idle rich were down in the boxes and up in the luxury suites.
However, as the game progressed, we couldn’t help but
notice that the crowd seemed a little, well, peculiar. There
were really no married couples in evidence, or family units; rather there
groups or gangs of rowdy boys and girls joking and flirting, drinking
beer and rolling their eyes. There seemed to be a lot of same-sex ass
grabbing going on. The men were better groomed and more stylishly dressed
than the women. It definitely seemed to be a very gay crowd, and we aren’t
just referring to the light-hearted celebratory atmosphere in the stands.
It could have been a home game for the Provincetown Pirates.
The baseball chatter was a little weird as well. Behind me was a group
of four or five that could have been junior partners at a Boston corporate
law firm, immaculately attired in Polo playwear and tailored shorts,
who seemed to be cheering at inappropriate times, like whenever a player
bent over to pick a ball off the ground. Yet they really seemed to be
appreciating the game.
"Hey, will you look at the basket on that center fielder."
"He’s cute, but the third baseman has a MUCH better basket than that!"
Fools! What kind of fan doesn’t know that there’s no baskets in baseball?
After the game was over, and we were contemplating dinner options on
the drive back to the Bates Motel, we noticed that not everyone was leaving
the stadium. Sizable groups, including the five guys behind me, were
filtering down to the front rows and the grassy viewing area along the
first base line. They were obviously waiting for something to happen,
so your intrepid reporter followed them down for a closer look.
After about five minutes a new group of stylishly dressed and coifed
men strolled out of the Red Sox dugout and made their way to the pitching
mound. Was there a second game we didn’t know about? A charity
thing, perhaps, Red Sox against some pickup team of local disk jockeys
or cancer survivors?
Wait! Wasn’t that a famous face jumping around out on the mound? Where
had we seen that face before? It couldn’t be – but it was! Carson Kressley,
America’s most famous Queer Guy. And, in fact, the entire Fab Five, who
have brought a warm and cuddly homosexual agenda into the living rooms
of middle America. Of course, we had been reading for weeks that Queer
Eye for the Straight Guy was going to be making over Johnny Damon for
the premier of their new season on Bravo Network. But that wasn’t scheduled
As it turned out, they were filming the triumphant coming out scenes
for that very broadcast. And not only JC Superstar Damon. As we
watched in stunned amazement, one by one Jason Varitek, Kevin Millar,
Tim Wakefield and Doug Mirabelli. emerged from the bullpen area and trotted
to the mound. Each one was more fabulously dressed and styled than the
Varitek had on a cream-colored jacket over a ruffled rose shirt and
tight pegged pants riding low on his hips. Wake was in some sort of smoking
jacket and suede gaucho boots! Kevin Millar looked like a Las Vegas pimp
on Easter! Johnny Damon was the last one out, and we must admit, looked
absolutely spectacular, despite the fact that, contrary to intense media
speculation, he still had his beard, albeit meticulously trimmed.
Carson was so excited he couldn’t keep his hands off of his unmatched
set of Eliza Dolittles. He kept running his fingers through Kevin
Millar’s hair, and trying to jump into the muscular arms of Doug Mirabelli,
who seemed to be doing his best to help Carson fall on his ass.
Of the five Sox, Kevin Millar was the one who most seemed
to be getting into the spirit of things. He was primping and posing,
flopping limp wrists into the faces of anyone who got near him, pinching
and low, and mugging for the cameras. Jason Varitek looked like he was
in one of those airline "Want to get out of here?" commercials and his
body language created a buffer zone around him as he stood cautiously,
arms folded, a few yards to one side.
They goofed around for about 10 minutes, while the Bravo camera crew
filmed all of it. Everyone recited a few obviously scripted lines,
but there was a lot of ad libbing and physical slapstick. The only
line we remember was Carson’s: "How can I not love a team named after
When they finished the filming, athletes and esthetes alike signed autographs
for the fans. We declined to join the scrum, and felt vaguely disturbed
by all that we had witnessed. A bit of latent homophobia perhaps? We
hope not, as we have always considered ourself not only tolerant, but
a real fan of the gay aesthetic.
Although we are stubbornly hard-wired straight, our basic position on
male homosexuality is that it is a good thing as it reduces the competition
for the available supply of nubile females. As far as lesbians go (and
who knows how far that is), like most red-blooded males we secretly believe
that most of them are in reality bi, and have just been turned off by
the incredibly boorish and messed up mind set of the majority of American
male pigs. Given the right stimuli, they can surely be turned back on
On a scientific level, we are in the camp of those who
believe that almost all homosexuality is conditioned rather than genetic,
simple reason that if it were purely genetic it seems logical that it
should have petered out millennia ago. All of this was fermenting in
our mind as
on the roof of the beast and the miles slipped by on Alligator Alley.
As we reached the East Coast of the Florida Peninsula,
the rain started to lighten up. We had out-raced the storm, at least
us the sky was a dark and threatening wall of gloomy gray adobe, shot
through with lightning flashes and occasional shafts of late afternoon
sunlight. We were out-racing the storm, but just barely. As we turned
our thoughts turned to drink, smoke and dinner with Harold the Mad Chip
Once again, surreal weirdness had found us, and forever flavored our
memories of America’s pastime. It was not unpleasing – in the Dowbrigade’s
book, weirdness is a good thing. Meanwhile, we can scratch one more thing
off our list of "Things we’ve got to do before we die." Now, if only
we can find a set of mulatto gymnast twins.
The season premier of "Queer Eye on the Straight Guy", starring the
Boston Red Sox, is scheduled to air the first week of June.
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