Situated in an ordinary stripmall next to a Payless Shoes in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Fanny’s Hideaway is nicknamed The Only Lesbian Bar in the Desert. A sandwich chalkboard reading “Yes, we’re still open! (Cash Only)” stands outside. Inside, owner Debbie Barley, a hardy 62 year old Queens native in cargo shorts, sanitizes the bar in preparation for tonight’s event, a fundraiser to pay the rent.
‘Tis the season for longing looks, meaningful touches, and forbidden love. As we don our gayest and most impeccably tailored apparel, we celebrate the most wonderful time of year, Carol season. Though we watch Carol all year long, this is the time to go all out.
We decorate for Carol season with toy train sets and mid-century motel furniture. Snow, holiday trees, tinsel, and twinkly lights are also in keeping with the season. Traditional Carol season clothing include 1950s silhouettes, red holiday hats, and gloves. And some people go full Carol with a luxurious fur coat.
Perhaps like me, you started the pandemic with goals: write a novel, learn a new language, or at least work out everyday. And now more than a year later, you’ve achieved none of these goals. If you are disappointed in yourself for wasting time, you shouldn’t be. You are not wasting time. Instead, what you are going through is wasting time’s fabulous gay cousin: languishing.
At every Lunar New Year dinner, Mrs. Wong asks everyone at the table, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” Like millions of celebrations across the world where adult children are involved, Mrs. Wong’s kids have to endure this question, which has no correct answer.
At precisely 10 o’clock, she calls for rehearsal to start. She’s so assertive. We start blocking and Alex selflessly takes notes for everyone. She pays such careful attention to where each of us goes.
I wonder what that attention would feel like if it was on me during a date, or when she meets my parents, or when we live together in a cottage in upstate New York, with two dogs and a goat.