This man, I’ll call him Reagan, is a walking contradiction. A wall to wall, coast to coast conundrum.
Reagan he owns a chain of very successful sex stores in central Arkansas (a very conservative state). These stores have videos and linger, novelty items and “toys”. When I meet Reagan in one of his stores, to work on his advertising options, I never know where to look. I don’t want to make eye contact with the creepy dude looking at weird videos. I don’t want to study the “toys”. Generally I poke through the fish net nighties until he appears and we sit down in his office.
Many consider Reagan the “porn king” of Central Arkansas.
Reagan is also openly gay and has been for more than twenty five years. But never, once, have we had a sexually explicit, graphic or dirty conversation. He’s just not that kind of man.
Reagan is one of the smartest men I know and we have great discussions about current political issues, our similar family histories (both of us had brilliant Southern diva moms), bad literature, civil rights, herbs, recipes and my children. When my daughter, Mary, needed sponsors to attend a political workshop in Atlanta, he was one of the first to write her a check.
Finally, Reagan is a dedicated, had core Republican. We have great debates over policy and voter trends. He generally wins because he’s more well read. But I try to keep up.
Once I told him finding a gay-Republican guy was like discovering a unicorn or mermaid. I thought they were mythological creatures and didn’t actually exist in this reality. But Reagan is a conservative. He votes his wallet.
In reading this, it’s obvious Reagan and I have virtually nothing in common. But we are humans and we are friends that’s about it.
We all want to put people into one box, with one name. But most of us crawl out of our stereotypical box and find homes in a bunch of other boxes. Reagan is all kinds of stuff but most importantly he’s my friend and adds to the complexity and beauty of my life. I’m lucky to have him.