Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sweet Mister E of Life


I have never forgotten him. I have thought about him several times in the last decade or so, especially in recent years. I have desperately been wanting to get back in touch with him. Maybe that's part of becoming middle-aged, wanting to reconnect with past loves. Perhaps it's a normal part of a mild mid-life crisis.

I regretted losing touch with Mister E, a former boyfriend from the late eighties. He was part African American and part Caucasian. He was intrigued by my Japanese and Caucasian background, and referred to our interracial identities as "combination skin."

I first saw him when he walked into the dance clothing and supplies store that I was working in, and I sold a pair of bike shorts to him. It took me a while to realize that the oh-so-attractive mulatto guy was also attracted to me. Over the course of a few short weeks, we spent some memorable time together in his apartment and on my scooter.

I didn't realize until later that Mister E was ahead of his time, as they say. He knew Joni Mitchell's music years before I discovered how much I loved her work. He was retro chic, at times, one of the first participants in the resurgence of seventies fashions before it became mainstream in the nineties. At other times, he was completely original, coming up with unique looks that included what he called "Speed Racer" eyebrows, make up that was thick, exaggerated, and cartoon-like. He moved to New York and became immersed in the cross-dressing transgender movement, meeting the Lady Bunny and RuPaul before they achieved national fame. He was aiming to create new movements as a performer, including a queer, hip-hop/boy band movement (which was not redundant, at the time). I still have a cassette tape of some original songs and recordings of his.

He was like the eighties version of a flower child to me, an updated hippie-artist and a creative nonconformist, and I loved that about him. He was the type of guy who was very pleased if you brought him daisies, which I did once.

Mister E would write poetry for me and draw his own illustrations. The ankh was one of his traditional symbols in his drawings. Years later, as a Gender Studies major in school, I often thought about a friend he had introduced me to, a pre-op male-to-female transwoman. It wasn't until after having lost contact with Mister E that I realized my own passion for feminism and women's rights, and what a perfect potential life partner I had known.

I let him go. I had met him after surviving an emotionally traumatic year as a 22-year-old, and after becoming involved in Christian therapy and ex-gay ministry.
Mister E, ironically enough, was the son of a minister and completely secure in his sexual identity. He had even told his mother about me, letting her know that I was newly struggling with my sexuality and Christian upbringing.

I regretted losing touch with him. We had last traded correspondence before email became common, before the Internet became so accessible, before cell phones, and even before pagers. I have googled his name several times, including variations of his stage name, Louis Quatorze. An online search service confirmed two of his former addresses, but no current contact information.

I haven't searched with complete effort. Part of me is worried that he may no longer be alive.

I have few regrets in life, which include not giving Mister E and myself an honest chance at being a couple. I regret letting him go, all because of Christianity and my own identity confusion.

Oh, sweet Mister E of Life I have not found you. As Janet sang on her 1993 album, "Where Are You Now, now that I'm ready to, ready to love you the way you loved me then?"

To Mister E, wherever you are, whether in this life or the next, you are always in my heart and in my memory.

4 comments:

The Brown Dog Affair said...

When I was 14 and institutionalized, one of my counselors tried to and for a time successfully did convince me that I was gay because I had claimed bi-sexuality, which he took to mean a confused homosexuality.
At the time, I had this theory that everyone was bi-sexual. It was just a question of mental repression or oppression that pushed people to the extremes.
As it turns out both Freud (ewww) and Jung (yay) had similar theories, but the point of all this very vulnerable confessionality is that it is difficult not to be swayed by the power of simplistic, box-like answers and even more difficult to work through and to the gut instincts that seem so clear in retrospect. I guess it's just best to try and get things straight (no pun intended [or executed]) whenever and however we can and try to go on with the life that can seem and probably is off track but is the best on offer and probably better than the alternatives.
I guess what I'm saying is, I know the pain of foolishness.
AND just because I don't think I've taken up enough comment room here, I thought I'd throw in the fact that I now have "She's got speed-racer eyes" stuck in my muddled head.

Peter Varvel said...

TBDA, thank you so much for your response. Your theory about bi-sexuality is not far off from what I learned in school about the fluidity and varying degrees of human sexuality. It is much closer to the truth than the 'black or white,' either-or, straight or gay, female or male stringent boxes and perspectives that we are taught to be locked into from an early age. It IS an issue of mental repression and oppression! And it takes us some of us longer than others to work through and to our gut instincts.

Being told that I have Speed Racer eyes was one of the funniest and better compliments I had received a while back!

Quin Browne said...

i did seek out an old lover, or should i say i let him contact me.

it was the best of times, it was the worst of times... one of us walked away with a broken heart, and the other carries with her the knowledge she broke it.

again.

be careful what you seek, sometimes, you find it.

thelastnoel said...

Oh, I think of the people I could have loved (or who could have loved me)if religion didn't say it was wrong. That is the great tragedy and irony of religion: you are encouraged not to love.