(NOW WITH UPDATE)   According to reports, “Laura” Ashley MacIsaac lives downtown, is bulimic, has had dysentery, has stopped smoking pot, and has taken up drink. (A mere two years ago, I watched him, glassy-eyed and badly in need of exfoliation, on Jawbreaker telling us that the first and only time he ever had a drink he ended up cutting his hand and leaving a permanent scar.)

Alexandra Gill, “MacIsaac Unplugged,” Globe and Mail, 2005.08.29:

“I wasn’t drinking any stagnant water, but I’ve learned how to wash my veggies,” MacIsaac says over the phone while recuperating at home. Actually, he thinks he got sick because his immune system was weakened after he quit smoking pot in March.

“That’s the reason I caught the infection, I’m sure,” says MacIsaac, who was once addicted to crack cocaine, but kicked that habit seven years ago…. After he quit smoking pot, he dropped 40 pounds. Probably because he also stopped eating bread, he surmises. “I went to about 145-ish [pounds] and got my abs going and got strong.”

Apparently he’s also dropped his Russian boyfriend. (Remember the photo of Laura in his dressing gown, seated in the bay-windowed front room of the house he was curiously able to afford?)

Daniel Paquette, “Fiddle-Free Ashley,” Fab, 2005.09.22:

“Hanging out on Church St., I play a different character every day. One day I’m in a hoodie and look homeless with dirty pants, and the next day I’m Amish with a hat and a suit…. The first time I went to a bar was last August as I’ve [sic] never had a drink before then.” […] [H]e has been bulimic for 10 years and sometimes feels a great desire to be thin.

That lad is serious trouble. But I’ve adored him forever. He also said on Jawbreaker that he had an unrealized fantasy for some kind of daddy type to take him under his wing, totally make him his bottom boy, “and do me all the time.” Now, how the hell is somebody like me gonna manage that? Because all I get to do is look, like some kind of troll.

Since I’m always the only gay in the village, let me tell you something about just how totally shit out of luck you are once you hit 40. I am not referring to any variation of the sob story that you can’t turn off your mad desire for young guys once you stop being young. Sandy Gallin is a notable exponent of this narrative. I don’t have a swimming pool where my harem might lounge around; I don’t do twinks. That is mere luck, of course, since it picks you.

My issue is liking the 8s-out-of-10 and higher, and pretty much nobody else. Seriously, with the exception of one red-haired Italian, heads turn to follow all my limerent objects as they walk down the street. That works out well for me, since the turned heads are too distracted to notice I’m staring, too. It lessens the embarrassment.

Or some heads turn. My definition of 8s-out-of-10 differs from the pretty-boy definition. But because I’m old and because leather bars are the only place where unpretty boys may go and not get ignored, there seems to be the expectation that I should settle for those haggard old trolls who are so overrepresented at the leather bar. (Or those perfect, saintly bears, so untouched by crass gay culture, also by beauty. Or those obvious positoids: Africans may get the slim, but we always take it in the face.) It’s like somebody decided I have to “settle” because nobody could ever imagine the 8s giving me the time of day.

While the red-haired Italian is afraid of me, two of my limerent objects did take me seriously for a while. Fine. But really, they mostly don’t. Half of them are not even inverts. Straight guys lack something, and that missing thing is exactly what makes them more real than gays. (It’s not going to stop being true because it hurts your feelings.) You’d better believe I notice them, but they do not. They don’t even notice me undressing them with my eyes.

What I don’t like is this unseen nag hovering over my shoulder telling me I have no business with the 8s. The IDEA OF TROLL has so inflitrated my subconscious that I can’t even separate what I do (looking at guys I fancy) from what they are and do (disgusting old men looking at guys they delude themselves that they could possibly ever deserve).

I get this other voice because I’ve never been in anything vaguely resembling tip-top shape (which now borders on impossible at my age), but of course I look at Web sites for “amusement” that are filled with guys older than me who are built like varsity wrestlers. Whereas I have turned into a creature that I wouldn’t blame the 8s for not noticing. How does that not make me a troll?

It doesn’t help that a former friend and nemesis is one of those well-preserved old men. (He can tolerate the gym. Also afford it, in several senses. He won’t have a legacy or any remaining friends to attend his funeral, but he will have lived fast, died old, and left a corpse with serious sun damage.) Nor does it help that one of the 8s honestly answered my question about why we weren’t doing more together: “You talk too much and you analyze everything.” (True.) “Plus you’re not a drunk and you don’t do drugs.” (Those are faults?)

Camilla Paglia complained her love life had been a ruin. Then she woke up one morning to find Ms Right alongside her in bed. But she was famous, and had had people sending in applications all the while. The whole IDEA OF TROLL is that nobody’s going to write in and you’re certainly not going to snag Laura Ashley MacIsaac or a red-haired Italian. What you settle for is an ugly and/or fat and/or ravaged second choice, or you simply long from afar.

My generation spent a quarter of our lives in the closet. If we had known we had only ten good years ahead of us, would we have bothered?

Update: Laura responds!

2005.12.06 – Can you believe it? Ashley MacIsaac reads me – and indeed totally read me on Flickr. This has to be the best comment ever posted on the Internet. For posterity, here it is, verbatim:

hijoe- this is ashley macisac writing you – i ha ve read yuor comments aobut me for many years and often find them vile and useless- however you are right aobut one thingim reading here tongiht – lots of guys don’t give onethe time of day – As for your knowledge of me – I have done much older and more trollish guys then you – and i find it silly that you think yuo woudl never have a chance- ialways thoguht that aobut people and in my twenties was with only old and fat guys excpet for my two bf’s both of which turned out to either fuck aorund on me and go crazy i left one the other left me- thank fuck – I started drinnink last year in order to finnallllly get the confidence to talkto soemone new in a bar- never had gone to one sicne i weas 17 excpet to play musci and to this point have nmet a few but none yet have wanted to be withme – i think i overwhlem there sex sense and that can mbe a turn offtoo- im chatty as fuck and analize alot

So as much as you think we don’t have anything in common- thats where you are wrong im jkstu another guy looking to get laid- who hapens to be really famous yes studies constituional law and plans on beingthe Prime Minister of this great country some day .When i really need a hot guy and i can’t get one -pelase do the right thing i alwasy say and pay fro it
its much easier that way and anyone can come upwith 75 bucks

now with internet you don’t even have to pay ther are guys out there as willing and horny for guys who can’t usually get it when they want it liek me and you as there are anything else- where do you think allthe asshoels woh fuck aorund onus are??doing that:)and yes this is me i can’t stand when people don’t post my notes casue they say its probably not him [-please who esle woudl know that my hero as a kid was trudeau -born oct18th now cretian ,and that i think using the name laura for me is realllly overdone – it started back in 96 orso – get a new handle for me pleaseeeeeeeeee:)Yours truley Ashley Macisaac

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None. I quit.

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