On Thursday afternoon I get on a flight to Atlanta and this, I suppose, is my first time in the American South. I have a very romanticised version of the South, primarily via Tennessee Williams, but also the South and particularly Atlanta causes me to have this very tight grip around my stomach for personal reasons, which are best left unexplained.
On Friday night I go out with my friends that I’m staying with and I suppose the one thing to say about the Atlanta gays is that fratty is the main look and there are more people wearing boat shoes than not. Also college football is an actual thing that people are interested in. Everyone is masc musc non-scene, even the people who are not musc and definitely those who are in the scene. My feelings about masc musc non-scene fratty bros have been extensively discussed and they are very, very mixed, so let’s also leave this here. I think if I lived in Atlanta I would probably fall for every second person just by virtue of them wearing backward baseball caps and long-sleeved button down shirts and having a sports obsession and I would have my heart destroyed about twenty-five times as frequently as I do now.
On Saturday I go to this music festival called Music Midtown, where the only act that I want to see play is Lana Del Rey. My friends that I’m at the festival with don’t want to see her though, so I end up splitting away from them and going to watch her by myself.
As the last song is playing, which is National Anthem, even though you already knew that, and I’m stood there alone in my little spot on the grassy field, this group of straight guys and girls come up to me, tell me that I look badass and that I shouldn’t be standing there by myself, and should instead go hang out with them. There are four guys in the group and maybe three or four girls. It is, in fact, one of the guys that comes and has this conversation with me and by “looking badass” he means that I have muscles and so do they.
I join their group and two of the girls throw themselves at me and start flirting quite blatantly and take about ten pictures with me and generally act like they want it really bad. Then one particular girl starts putting her arms around my neck and more or less trying to make out with me, so I tell her that I’m gay. This results in her squealing with excitement and increasing her body contact and taking more pictures with me, because I am now her gay BFF.
We continue talking for a while, me and a couple of the girls, then one of the guys comes up and mentions something about me being a fag. I tell him that he probably shouldn’t be using that word. He laughs and goes up to the other guys and tells them what I said and they all look at me dismissively, because I am now not badass anymore, just gay. I ask the girls if this particular guy is a bit of an asshole and they say that, yes, he is and they don’t know him that well anyway. They continue to hang out around me and talk enthusiastically.
Then the guy comes back and says that I should just go and fuck some guys in the ass, or whatever it is that we faggots do. In fact, he doesn’t come back, he just shouts that from a few feet away. I then shout back asking him what the fuck his problem is and he retorts by calling me a faggot a bit more and a bit louder and I’m sure some other insults that I can’t remember anymore. I scream back that he’s a dumb redneck and should fuck off and this infuriates him, so he tries to physically attack me. At this point we both have people holding us back from trying to punch each other and we keep yelling at each other, before I start walking away with one of the girls.
I go and buy her some freshly squeezed lemonade and she takes my number and invites me to the house party she’s having later, but I tell her that it might just not be such a good idea that I attend, seeing that her friends are violent homophobes who want to beat me up. Then I walk her back to her group and the guy who tried to attack me is still there and making eye contact with me and flexing his arms, because this is his way to intimidate me (which is ironic, because having muscles is what brought us together in the first place, now he wants to use them against me) and then I say goodbye to the girl and go see Bastille who finish with a cover of Rhythm Of The Night, which is pretty gay.