So Many Colors in the Fleet Week Rainbow…
Posted on Wednesday, May 27, 2009
As the ships and service members depart New York City today, there is a sullen atmosphere hanging over the Big Apple. Is it the remembrance of those we’ve lost in the military over the past 90 years? The departing of our service men and women to far off dangerous places that they may never return? Having to return to the working life after a long weekend of drinking in the sun with friends and family? Possibly. But this cloud of doom seems to be hovering exclusively over the West side of Manhattan, eclipsing the usually brightly colored arch in the sky above the bars of Chelsea and the West Village. It is our homosexual brothers who are mourning once again, as they do every year at this time, over the loss of their seamen.
"…Don’t be afraid to let those colors shine…"
Although the Fleet Week activities provide telling metaphors for many of the “alpha-manly” demonstrations (21-gun salutes, arm wrestling tournaments, the phallic power of big boats spraying jets of water all over the Hudson), these are just the “official” expositions for the public. However, “unofficially,” these sailors are “exposing” themselves in other ways at night at the West Village's biggest gay bars. It’s no secret that these bars see huge amounts of patrons during Fleet Week (second only to Pride week), and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy causes these drunk, young men who’ve been cooped up together for months, to get their shot at sexual release.
"…Show me yours. I'm gonna show you mine…"
“I fucking love Fleet Week,” states Bobby Jackson, ballet instructor and artistic director of the Bobby Ballet Dance Studio, “some of these closeted dudes really let it all hang out too. Some say it's close to the Piers where the ships dock, personally, I think the guys are cruising for blowjobs. I see it ever year, the kids get drunk, the guys get hot young men, and everyone forgets it ever happened. Like shooting fish in a barrel.”
"…If you find a pot of gold, every little thing is gonna work out fine…"
Many men that get left and heart broken, revert back to cruising Christopher Street wishing that every week could be Fleet Week. The depression that ensues is said to last for the entire year in some cases. Some men have even gone so far as to attempt to get a clinical appellation (Fleet Weak) to describe the mental sickness that drives them to becoming excited and let down all over again each and every year.
“They’re rough boy!” explains Steven O’Chessee, dancer, “I always hope to find my “The Way We Were” moment whenever they come into town. Like some Redford-esque guy who will sweep me off my feet…but it never happens. They always leave.”
"…A warm embrace and a kind-a hello…"
So what are the men of Manhattan to do about this constant annual occurrence that brings their spirits up to the sky, but in a week sends them crashing, dramatically into the sea?
“Look, people need to stop fucking whining, ok,” explains Jackson, “take it for what it is. We’re guys. We should be able to fuck each other without things getting complicated. Should be like a handshake for Christ’s sake. So enough with this “Fleet Weak” shit, wash your mouth out, and move on.”
"…reach inside your soul and learn your fellow. In the Fleet Week rainbow."