Greetings! My name is J.J. and according to my friends, I have a mouth. If this TRULY is the case (I’m blind to my nuances), then what an outlet! My expertise in blog writing is simple: I have opinions and I’m annoyingly gay.
So let’s do this …
Valley Boys on the Side
During election season, I tend to get a little heated about the issues that matter most to me and I stand ready to debate loved ones, and complete strangers, about my staunch opinions. My latest passion had me and a close friend almost on non-speaking terms (well, non-texting at least) because of our split opinion.
My belief: Valley men are cuter than their neighboring Anchorage counterparts.
Having lived in Wasilla for three years, just strolling around popular Mat-Valley venues proves my point: sporting outlets, Wal-Mart aisles, gas stations, fishing stores (yes, I have been known to shop for poles). They tend to hang in packs. Hoodies, ball caps, Carhartts, DC’s… they’re signature clothing.
I mean, come on. There’s a reason Levi tickled gay men all over the world… his butch Valley-ness!
I should clarify so that you don’t think I’m a shallow pig. As weird as it sounds, I actually KNOW a slew of these cute, straight (acting) Valley boys. AND a majority of them are actually my dearest friends! Except, I don’t tell them they are dear… they are dudes.
How did that happen? Screamers don’t hang with ruffians … do they?
You see, after spending endless years in twinky bars, glitter caves, disco ballrooms and juke joint dives across the States, as well as years of rainbow fellow-shipping with my LGBT sisters and brothers, it finally happened… I got gay bored. I decided I wanted to broaden my love shack to include those who both piqued my interest and scared me. I wanted to give these burly, Valley tops a chance at my friendship, to look beyond the differences and push the limits of tolerance… to give fleece a chance.
Decision made, how would I meet these curious new friends without getting beaten into a pulp for seemingly looking like I was shopping for Mat-Su meat? I needed an in. I soon realized my untapped Mat-Su girlfriends would be my biggest allies in this tolerance crusade. Valley guys happen to love beautiful, yet ballsy, outspoken four-wheeling girls. The kind of women that also happen to make up my broadening harem.
Girls butch-er than me who know how to change a dirt bike tire but still throw down the plastic on some spans at Nordys and Sunday True Blood marathons. What started as integrating at terrifying bonfire parties and partaking in awkward conversations about sleds, secret fishing holes and North Slope hitches, these seemingly opposite, ‘openly straight’ Mat-Su guys soon opened up, let down their guards, let me in their circles and became some of the most loyal, least dramatic, give you the hoodie off their back, best friends I know.
Over the years, my Valley boys have not once been made to feel less than or uncomfortably numb. Minus one or two bad gay jokes and shoulder punches, I was just one of the guys. These are boys that happen to know better jean shopping spots, salmon recipes, and leftwing political factoids than I ever got from my gay posse. Who knew?
I often forget that in a world of gay intolerance and bigotry there is a chance of the reverse effect. That our straight Alaskan allies get the short end from their gay neighbors. Stereotypes run in both directions and believe me, gays can be the biggest Judge Judy’s around.
Fellow-shipping between the worlds is the best way to break down the walls of ignorance.
Give it a chance, talk to your best girlfriend’s boyfriend and see what I mean. Don’t butch it up for their sake, just be yourself. Discuss your passions. Ask about their dreams. Their likes. Your fears. Hell, through the uneasiness of this attempt you may find surprising similarities and forget all about what seemed threatening before.
Be Supportive, live large, break down the stereotypes and get a Valley boy-friend on the side.