It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting inside a Starbucks waiting for my friend Alan. I just bought a new MacBook and Alan, who’s a real Appletista, has offered to show me around the unfamiliar operating system. The old laptop I wrote Waiter Rant on was obsolete and experiencing a terminal case of Windows entropy so I retired it. Alan’s owned a MacBook for three years and its working just as fast as the day he got it. That impressed me so, after years of using PCs, I bought my first Mac.
As I’m sipping my grande coffee and playing with my new toy, a shadow falls across my table. I look up. It’s Alan, holding a large frothy looking caffeinated confection. “So I’ve converted you,” he proclaims.
“My sexual orientation’s the same,” I reply “Sorry.”
“You straight guys always say that,” Alan replies. “But there’s hope for you yet, gorgeous.”
“You bought a Mac.”
“Macs are very popular with us gay people,” Alan says.
“Owning a Mac means does not mean you’re gay,” I reply. “Gimme a break.”
“They say ten percent of all people are gay,” Alan says, sitting down. “Well, ten percent of all computer users are Mac users. Coincidence?”
“I think I’d like to see some numbers to back that claim up.”
“Windows machines are like potbellied men in their forties with back hair,” Alan says. “Macs are sleek, elegant, and beautiful – like Anderson Cooper.”
“Not that bullshit theory again,” I groan. My friends subscribes to the belief that any man over forty who’s trim and good looking is gay.
“Oh, it’s so true,” my friend says. “You know it is.”
“Barack Obama’s trim, good looking, and in his forties,” I reply. “That doesn’t make him gay.”
“One can only hope,” Alan says dreamily.
“You’re being stereotypical,” I said. “You hate when I’m stereotypical.”
“Yeah,” Alan says, “Like when you describe everyone from Mexico to Peru as Spanish.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I say, throwing up my hands. “The proper term is Latino. I get it. Forgive my Jersey upbringing. But just because you wish someone’s playing on your team doesn’t mean that they actually are.”
“Well you’re potbellied and forty,” Alan says. “So you probably are straight.”
“Hey,” I snap. “Enough with the potbelly remarks. I’ve lost six pounds.”
“Not in your ass,” Alan shoots back
“You would notice if my ass is fat.”
“When you finally do get your gallbladder taken out,” Alan says. “Ask the surgeon to perform a little liposuction. You need it.”
“My you’re bitchy today.”
“He’ll already be in there, babe.”
“I’ll stick to diet and exercise. Thank you.”
“You bought a Mac and you’re slimming down. I don’t know…….”
“Just show me how to use this computer,” I reply. “That’s why you’re here.”
“Okay Mr. Sensitive,” Alan says. “Just let me check my email first.”
“Be my guest,” I say, sliding the laptop towards him.
“You figured out the wireless Internet in this place?” Alan asks.
“I’m impressed you could set it up.”
“I’m full of surprises,” I reply.
“Well,” Alan says, starting to type on the keyboard. “I have a date this evening with a beautiful Asian boy. I want to make sure it’s still on.”
“Where’d you meet this one?” I ask.
“Have you met this fellow in person yet?”
“Tonight’s the first time. We’ve been chatting for a week.”
“So you just get together and hook up?”
“Why isn’t there a straight version of this site?” I ask.
“There is honey,” Alan replies, “You’re just too square to use it.”
“Don’t feel bad,” Alan replies. “That square and lost look of yours is adorable.”
I sip my coffee and wait while Alan checks his email. I don’t know if it’s politically correct to think that gay men are more promiscuous than their heterosexual counterparts – but Alan is that stereotype incarnate, Maybe it’s always been that way. I remember walking through Greenwich Village when I was a young college student back in the 1980’s. A pay phone on Houston Street rang and I, being eighteen, innocent, very drunk, picked it up. The male voice at the other end of the line told me I was very attractive and that I should hustle my “cute ass” up to his apartment, pronto. I politely declined, but handed the phone to one of my companions who was gay. A few words were exchanged and my friend disappeared for two hours. Back then it was phone. Now we have the Internet. What a crazy world we live in. But in the intervening twenty-two years I’ve come to a conclusion. Gay men probably do have more sex than straight men. And that fact occasionally pisses straight men off. Or am I being stereotypical again? Who the fuck knows.
“It’s on,” Alan says giddily. “We’re meeting at eight.”
“I have such a weakness for Asian men.”
“What was the term you told me about guys who like Asian men?” I ask.
“Rice queen,” Alan replies. “And I am most certainly one of those.”
“Whatever works for you amigo.”
Alan and I spend an hour going through the ins and outs of my new Mac. Contrary to all the slick commercials Apple puts out, acquiring such a device doesn’t make you any younger or more hip. As if to prove my point, the quartet of cute college girls sitting at the table next to us haven’t so much as glanced at me. I wouldn’t go out with any of them mind you, but it’s nice to be noticed. Maybe it’s because Alan’s sitting next to me. He is a bit flamboyant. Or maybe it is the Mac.