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So-called Space

So-called Space


One writer dissects the lure of MySpace and develops a deep love of voyeurism.

At first i was flattered that someone was impersonating me on MySpace with a fake Alec Mapa page. Then it just got creepy. Particularly when the ersatz Gaysian began posting comments on other people's pages like "You're hot!" or "Let's get together!" or my favorite, "Pee on me!" While those sound like things I'd actually say, I didn't write them. So I narc'd on the imposter, posted a genuine page of my own, and I was immediately sucked into the gay vortex that is MySpace.

I am by nature an extremely nosy person. MySpace is like a gigantic international queer medicine cabinet I can snoop through for hours. I click on your profile, look at pictures of you and your boyfriend in Mykonos, read your blogs and comments, click on your friends' profiles, lather, rinse, repeat. I fall down the MySpace rabbit hole for hours, logging off only when the red-hot glare of my infuriated and neglected husband burns through my skin. I'm the opposite of a celebrity stalker. I don't care if Brad ever leaves Angie for Jen or if Britney ever finds her panties. I am, however, dying to know which guys from King of Prussia, Pa., slept with each other at Gay Days in Orlando. I eavesdrop on conversations. I'll read a comment on someone's page like "It was so great seeing you too. It's been too long. Don't be a stranger" and then click on the person's profile to see what prompted the exchange in the first place: "Thanks for not stealing anything. I like you so much better since you've stopped doing crystal." I even write people who write me. Then giggle when they think I'm an impersonator. It's the perfect pastime for an insomniac.

On one of my many late-night snoopfests, I came across a poem about cutting written by a young gay man living in the middle of Texas. I've never cut myself per se, but I completely recognized my own self-inflicted wounds in his spare, heartbreaking prose. It was so well-written I left a message telling him how much I enjoyed it. He wrote back. He told me he was raised in the Bible Belt, surrounded by cotton farms. To him, being gay meant furtive, hasty Senator Craig-like trysts in roadside toilets --a late-night anonymous mauling in the shadowy recesses of a truck stop. Not seeing himself happy in any of those scenarios, he joined an "ex-gay" ministry group in Dallas. After every single meeting of reparative therapy and prayer, he would cut himself bloody with a stainless steel razor blade. On the weeks he missed a meeting, he wouldn't. He'd attend another meeting and start cutting himself again. He stopped going completely and hasn't cut himself since.

Ironically, it was the ex-gay ministry group that facilitated his coming-out process. "First of all, it was in Dallas. I'd never actually seen a thriving gay community outside a television show or newspaper article. For all I knew, it was just propaganda set in place by the 'gay agenda.' Second, I worked in a home decor chain that's very popular with gay men. I was outed by the staff before I fluffed my first beaded pillow." He now lives as an out gay man and travels all over the country competing as a blocker in the North American Gay Volleyball Association.

We still correspond from time to time, dropping each other an occasional comment or message. I'm not sure either one of us is wholly convinced that we are the people we say we are, having never actually met. But that's the great thing about MySpace. You can be anyone you say you are--unless you're pretending to be me. That's just weird.

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