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The Eyes Can’t Be Trusted

Mood: Sobered up
Drinking: No, thanks

The vampire fangs weren’t the only thing that made him hypnotic.

Something about the way he moved, full of predatory confidence. Something about the way he watched you from across the room, as if you were the most fascinating creature on the dance floor. Something about those fangs.

I was new to the scene when I met him. Just discovering the thrall of the black cotton mafia. I hadn’t done my time with Louis and Lestat yet. But the fangs, they got me. The fangs and his green fishnet shirt. He called it his “Madonna phase” that night. But Madonna never looked that good.

It didn’t hurt that he was a “bad boy” and that I was in my “bad boy” phase. For about 6 months, he was my #1 crush. My pulse took a crash course in speed racing whenever I saw him. I was so enamoured, I even wrote a poem for him, folded it in squares, and slipped it to him on the dance floor between JukeJointJezebel and Queer (the heftybag remix).

But once I got over the lure of those fangs, I realized that somehow, we had made a connection. And somehow that connection turned into a friendship. So that even now, eight years later, I can pick up the phone and call him and there will be a friend on the line.

My friends at the time thought my crush was ridiculous. What did I see in this underage roadie-turned-lead singer who spent more time on his eyeliner than most girls? The guy who had a dentist fit him for prosthetic, pointed canines. The club kid who got high in the boys room. The rockstar wannabe who taped razorblades to his mic stand (and used them on himself). The “freak” who got beat up by frat boys in alleys just because he looked weird. The poster boy for piercings — literally. (His photo was all over the tattoo shop on Belmont so you could look at it and say “I want that kind of hole in my head.”)

But all of that, it’s just what he looked like.

The person he actually was far more shocking.

He’s the guy who held my hand, just sat and held my hand, because he found out I was having a bad day. He’s the guy who took a whole box of my poetry books to show off to his friends. He’s the guy who always has an extra grin and a big huge hug for me, for Boy, and all my friends. He’s the guy who married the gorgeous girl of his dreams one warm night in New Orleans — and then posted giddy photos online. (He’s still married and still giddy about her, too.)

And today I found out that he’s the guy who just spent two days loading food, water, and supplies onto semi trucks headed for New Orleans. Who put together a New Orleans Charity CD to raise money for gas to get the trucks to New Orleans. Who spent the hours after the storm, after his last-minute flight to Louisiana was cancelled, emailing and calling everyone he knew to make sure all his friends in New Orleans were okay, were safe, were alive. Who was frantic with worry for the people and the city he loved.

To those who thought he was nothing more than a freak, a drama queen, an attention whore, a vampire boy, I say — yeah? Well, he’s not the one who sucks.

In the aftermath of a bitch named Katrina, we’re all seeing what really lies beneath. The apathy and amazing arrogance of the man who “leads” this country. The absolute incompetence of the powers that be. The courage of the destitute. The incredible will to survive that beats deep within all of us. And the compassion, the heart, the endless energy of an erstwhile “bad boy” who just wants to do his part. Hell, he wants to do more than his part. I think he’d drag the whole goddamn city to safety if given the chance.

There are so many unbearable stories in the news right now. So much sorrow. So much horror. So much to be ashamed of. But then I think about my friend Jeff. About how well he loves his friends. About how far he’ll go to help them. And it gives me enough hope to make it through tomorrow.

-Lo, who sends this one out, with love, to the Damnits.