Like a good wine, or is that a stinky cheese, I get another year older.
Plagued with an army of grey hair sprouting like weeds in my back garden, I surrender the constant plucking or colouring, instead wearing them like badges of honour. I start to notice changes in my body, like the odd wrinkle, not being able to jump out of bed as easily as I used to and opting for a night in front of the TV rather than an all-nighter, staggering home at dawn’s crack.
But with crowds getting younger and younger, I’m excited to turn another year older, embracing it with open arms.
I remember it like yesterday. I was one of them as I ventured up to Chequers in Wollongong, sitting on the floor with my Subzero and raspberry, watching the showgirls whiz with delight. Kristy McNicol, Maude Boate, Portia Turbo, Barbara Bubbles and Marsha Mello all had this little fat gay boy watching with mouth agape, entranced by the sparkle.
I would sit there by myself quietly drinking my beverage, terrified to talk to anyone. When the music would start I would dance by myself till the lights would go up, then off I would waddle home till another weekend.
It sounds awful but I had some of the most memorable times of my life, spinning in a world of my own.
Nothing too heavy, just simple fun and I was just happy to be around people who were like me.
Is it the same today? It wasn’t 100 years ago, but it was almost 20. Have things changed in society for gay boys and girls? Is there a divide between the older community and the younger? Should there be? If there is no bridge built between the young and old, will we lose vital information on our community?
I am proud to work with and call my friends many of the older generation, and nothing gives me more joy than listening to stories of what it was like in the Cross in the ’60s or the first Mardi Gras.
I’m astonished how many don’t know the details of the first Mardi Gras, Errr, it was a march, wasn’t it??
This is our history that needs to be shared, not let disappear or swept away like the glitter from a dance party. I hope to see a unity of the older and younger of our community, so we continue to get stronger.
As I enter the not-quite-so-young and not-quite-that-old stage of my life, I curl myself back in my doona, reconciling myself to the fact that 30 minutes more isn’t going to kill anyone.