Today I attended the gay cheerleading squad’s first annual awards dinner.
I must admit to approaching the event with some trepidation; the last time I encountered the combination of gay cheerleaders and alcohol, the effect on my psyche was spectacularly disastrous. However, I figured since we’d be in a restaurant rather than a bar, chances were that it wouldn’t get too out of hand, and I screwed my courage to the sticking place and went to the dinner.
Where I won an award.
There were two kinds of awards given: those awarded by the coach and co-directors, and those voted by the squad as a whole. The coach’s and directors’ awards were things like “Most Improved Flyer” and “Cheerleader of the Year.” The squad awards were things like “Jailbait Award (Most Likely to Land in Jail)” and “Boca Award (Biggest Mouth).”
I received the squad Personality Award.
I must confess to being utterly baffled by this. Thrilled, but baffled.
It would have been no surprise to me four years ago, in the halcyon days before my medication stopped working, or ten years ago, in the even more halcyon days before I needed medication; I used to be the life of any party, full of joie de vivre.
Now that I’m no longer in denial, however, I am small and quiet and filled with rage and confusion.
And put me in the middle of a squad of 25 gay men, many of whom are divas and many of whom are so flamboyant they make me look like Sly Stallone, I am practically microscopic. Certainly not the first person I’d think of—or the second, or the third—when asked who on the squad should get the Personality Award.
So, as I said, I was utterly baffled when the director announced the winner. I went up to accept the award, on which my name was written in beautiful calligraphy, and tried to sit down, but people started demanding a speech. (All of the other recipients of awards had been required to give speeches too, so this wasn’t out of the ordinary.) The poise and suavity of which I am usually the master, especially when called upon to speak impromptu in a public setting, deserted me utterly; I was too confused and surprised to improvise well.
So I stood in silence for a moment and then shouted, “HA! I’VE FOOLED YOU ALL!”
I thought this was hysterically funny but it did not go over as I’d hoped it would.
Then I tried again. “Gee,” I said, “I’ve thought for so long that I didn’t have any personality at all. I feel so validated.”
This was met with a half-hearted chuckle on the part of the audience.
I sat down and wished to God that I drank.