“Wow, it’s like a laundry list of child abuse clichés,” Jenessa said before we were even out of the Castro Theater, where we’d just watched The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. “It’s like, neglect—check, sexual molestation—check, evil punk rock music—check. And of course they had to blow up a meth lab.”
“It’s like how people say that if you show a gun at the beginning of a movie, it has to go off by the end,” I said. “If you show a meth lab, it has to blow up.”
Even without knowing the JT LeRoy backstory, the movie was bad. In some ways, fake stories have to be more compelling than true stories, because they don’t have that oh-my-god-that-really-happened factor to fall back on. And to view a work of fiction whose only point is “child abuse sucks” is not a powerful experience. We left feeling dirty and disappointed.
But my point is the whole list-of-clichés thing, because the next day we fell victim to another laundry list, this time under the heading of Things Straight Men Say To Try To Pick Up Lesbians That Actually Have The Opposite Effect.
We were at a coffee shop, and the perp was a 40-something man wearing a hat that caused one of his ears to bend in a distracting way.
Him: “Oh? Maybe you just haven’t met the right man yet. Have you been with a black man?”
Him: “Well, I wouldn’t be with a man because I’m not attracted to men.”
Him: “How about just being friends? I have lots of friends who are gay and lesbian. And some lesbians, they want to have babies. Do you want to have a baby?”
Him: “But you’re not afraid to be a girl, I can tell. You’re still soft.”
Him: “I think two women together is a beautiful thing.”
Needless to say, I didn’t take him up on his not-so-subtle offer to father my child.