The post from last week got me thinking about the gay, pornagraphic video store where I workled- It's funny how stories that you've long since forgotten come flooding back all of a sudden.
I normally worked alone in the video store- it was small and there wasn’t unreasonable amounts of traffic. As with any job were you work costumer service there are always customers who are assholes. That’s just the nature of the beast. I see them now as I stand in line at the grocery stores or a gas station. Little people bitching at the cashier because of some minor inconvenience, usually something out of the cashiers control, like the fact that their coupons are expires, or the price of gas is going up. It used to piss me off, but now I see it for what it is- pathetic. These are people with absolutely no power- they are taking swings at someone who they know can’t swing back.
At Specialty Video and Audio I was once entrusted with doing the front window display- which, if you think about it, is a pretty major accomplishment. Its no Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus-but when gay guys let the straight guy do the window display well, the times they are a changin'. I can say that I, too, have been to the mountain top and it's very tastefully done.
It was an important window display because two events collided in the gay community in a way not seen since Wham got together. First: The new Jeff Stryker porn video, Powertool, was due in any day. Second: Barbra Steisand’s, Color Me Barbra CD was coming out. So, as you can imagine, we were all a-tizzy. There was excitement in the air.
I hung the Barbra CD’s and movie’s on fishline so they appeared to be magically floating (if you were legally blind, otherwise they looked like they were hanging from fishing line.) and I used those peal off letter to spell her name at the front of the display. I wont say I was proud of this work- I actually would have forgotten the whole afternoon if there wasn’t an incident. There is always and incident. An hour after I had completed, a man came busting through the door. His face was red and he was livid. I quickly assessed the situation to see if I need to fake some Kung fu moves- but I recognized him as a regular who was always kind of rude to me.
“I can’t believe it!” he screamed at me. "She is a big enough star that one would think that even you could spell her name correctly."
I tried to remember my customer service manual chapter entitled "How To Handle An Irate Client" #1 Establish what the problem is.
"What the fuck are you going on about?" I queried
“You spelled Barbra’s name B-A-R-B-A-R-A”
I answered with a furrowed, confused brow
“It’s B-A-R-B-R-A.!!” He stammered- unable to control his rage.
He was steamed but you have to admire the loyalty he had to her, well…maybe you don’t.
You have heard the line “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” I know this to be true.
As the new Assistant Manager I wont say that I had absolute power at the gay video store, but when a limited number of Jeff Strikers "Powertool" hit the shop and the throng of gay man pleaded for a copy its safe to say I misused what little power I had. I kept all the copies behind the counter and would only rent it to the people I liked. He who controls the porn- controls BoysTown. When the irate Barbra Streisand spelling-bee champ asked for a copy I looked behind the counter pretending to search.
“…hmmm P, P, P, Powertool, P,...P as in People Who Need People? hmmm... Powertool, Powertool No, I don’t see it back here. Could you spell it for me”
Coming between a gay man and the new Jeff Stryker video is a dangerous game but I was young, reckless, had really nice hair and that's how close to the edge I rolled back in the day.
Most of the people I worked with were great guys. My musical tastes were effected enormously, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone- all the great women jazz singers where played in the shop- music I still listen to today.
I even got confortable enough with one of my workmates, Reid, to ask the question I've always wanted to ask.
"So Reid, really, how can you kiss a man? I mean.. the lips and face are all hard n' shit" I was 20 and literate like a mother- fucker.
Reid responded, "that's what makes it so great. I'll tell you, once in high school, I touched a girls breasts and it was like falling into something."
So there you have it, the main difference between gay and straight men.