Monday, April 17, 2006

reality is the hypocrisy of illusion

My first experience of someone hot becoming ugly was in Grade 10, when I started going to a school that had a disproportionate number of boys to girls, maybe 3:1. This was not an advantage on the romance front, girls, this just meant that you got your bra snapped more frequently.

Anyway, there was this hunk of burning love in Grade 11, we'll call him Shawn, because that was his name. He was beeyooteeful. I thought he looked like one of the teenage hunks of the cover of a Judy Bloom novel, or straight out of the pages of Tiger Beat. Chiselled features, tall, broad-shouldered (for a 16 year old), long lashes, full lips, touselled brown curly hair. And as far as I could tell, he was sweet too.

He looked a little bit like MITCH GAYLORD, AMERICAN GYMNAST:

Imagine my delight when Shawn, who was so hot to me that I felt like I was asphyxiating every time he walked by me in the hall, joined my drama class. Group exercises? Opportunities to get closer to Shawn! Other people's performances? Opportunities to stare at Shawn while all other eyes were focussed on the stage!

And did I confirm that he was sweet? Yes.

But did I discover he was dumb? Like, sack of hammers dumb? Sadly, also, yes.

One month we took turns performing our own mini one-act plays which we'd composed ourselves. This was an opportunity for us to put our hormone-addled brains to work and basically write the prose/scripted version of Teen Angst Poetry, you know, so we could examine such hard-hitting topical issues as abuse, suicide, no one understanding us, and not getting asked out to the school dance.

I did something embarrassingly dramatic about a young couple breaking up, and overachiever that I was, I think I included abuse, suicide, no one understanding us AND not getting asked out, AND I got my co-star to smoke on stage (because it was drama class!)... but Shawn topped us all. Topped us all in dorkiness that is. And man, my play was dorky.

I remember the room went dark. Then a spotlight suddenly illuminated him sitting solemnly at the piano. Then he played. Played and spoke. Played what? Played cheesy chords. Spoke what? Fucking gibberish. I'm serious! He sat there playing chords and gazing wistfully off into middle distance in lieu of "emoting" or "acting", while spouting a lot of big words incorrectly, often strung together as though he'd written the entire thing with a thesaurus in one hand and his big old bleeding heart in the other. (Wait, with both hands occupied, how did he write it?)

Anyway, it went on and on, and it (clearly unintentionally) made no sense, and it was completely over the top. Keep in mind when I say "over the top" that the norm already was (myself included) to deliver supremely bathetic teen extravaganzas of sordid amateur drama.

All I can specifically remember -- this one line, this gem, this nugget -- is how he announced to the audience at the very end of the 20 minute monologue "Reality is the hypocrisy of illusion". It kind of sums up the whole flavour of the piece, actually. It almost makes sense. But not quite.

I must thank my friend and fellow student who I'll call "Crusty Louis", still a friend after all these years, (and now a successful, talented stage actor in Toronto) for laughing silently beside me through Shawn's entire performance, cheeks damp with hysterical tears -- and for whispering that line in my ear throughout the remaining years of highschool (and indeed my life) whenever time threatens to strip me of its memory.

Anyway, that was when Shawn stopped being hot, bless him.*

I'd never experienced that before -- how someone SO gorgeous and heart-poundingly hot could just turn blah.

Since then, I've had mad crushes on brilliant sweet men who were not exactly the most physically attractive specimens, and crushes on hot men who were made even hotter by their quick wit or kind hearts. (Growing up is rich like that sometimes.)

What about you? How many times have the hot become not/naught? Isn't it interesting how someone's internal loveliness can make them radiate gorgeousness from an otherwise plain-looking package?

*God knows how unhot I became in the eyes of others with my play, but I'll leave it to the others to write about it on their websites.


At April 18, 2006 10:30 a.m., Blogger The Dude said...

Does Mitch not own ANY shirts?


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