A view from the driver's seat

Big in Japan

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Big in Japan

I picked them up a cheap hotel somewhere downtown. “Where you guys going?
They replied in unison, “West Hollywood.”
Oh so it’s like that. “Where you boys from?”
I thought they were making fun of me, seeing as though I’m Asian. “Ha ha, where you guys really from?”
“Japan! We’re stationed there.”
Ah!!! Military boys. I interrogated them about being in Japan, the military, heading towards the obvious — what’s it like to be gay in the military? I approached the question gently. “So… do you get along with the other guys?”
The one in the front seat wrinkled his nose. “Not really.”
I nodded sagely. “Yeah, it’s because you’re gay, right?”
“No, it’s because they’re all boring and they just want to sit in their rooms and play video games all the time.”
Oh. So being gay doesn’t really matter? The afterschool movie in my head of them versus the homophobic establishment dissolved into nothingness as they chattered on about going out and exploring Japan — the festivals, the museums, the bars –while everyone else stayed on base. I interrogated them about the Japanese gay bars — what are they like? Do they get hit on? I mean come on, 6 feet of pure hot boy? Dimples! Shiny white teeth! Exotic dark skin!!! How could they not be an instant hit in every bar they entered?
But they demurred. “No, we never get hit on. Most of the time, they won’t even look at us.”
I couldn’t believe it but as they explained the eccentricities of Japanese men, I soon got it. Of course they’d be intimidated by these boys. The sheer bulk and height of them must be overwhelming. And all those weird societal codes of behavior, the repression and resulting perversions, then add gay on top of that…
I dropped them off the Abbey, ground zero for gay life in Los Angeles. No problem getting hit on here. In fact, if I were them, I would have brought armor.


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