Everything closes early in Hanover, New Hampshire. I’m starving my ass off but I can’t find anything to eat because I just got here, don’t know where anything is, don’t know who to ask and am a picky eater. I’m rolling around campus and as I do I see a student center-looking building so I pop in, hope to extinguish the fire in my stomach.
As soon as I enter, silence. People look at me weird, the very straight boys have confused looks on their faces. I freak them out. I’m in black jeggings (jeans + leggings), and I wash it down with a gold sequin bolero. Very Vegas.
Think: All I want is a fucking sandwich. Want: Them to keep staring at me because I secretly like making them uncomfortable. Decide: To order a ham sandwich, no condiments, a bag of Sun Chips, Vitamin Water.
At the cashier. Asks: Are you an artist? A dancer? Obviously I’m something because a City Fag Like Me doesn’t belong here. I clash against the bucolic, woodsy background. I eat sequins for breakfast, wear Cuban heels to the woods, and renounce all flat shoes.
Part of me loves being in the country. Who knew? It’s like that episode of Sex and the City when Aidan drags Carrie to the cabin in Suffern, New York and, there she is, heels, mud and all. But like Carrie, I realized that you recharge your batteries in the country, you connect with nature, and most of all it’s very peaceful. When you’re there, you’re sealed off from the rest of the world, feel safe, secure. Nothing happens. If I look out the window right now all I see is sky, clouds, trees and a carpet of grass. I don’t think I even look at the sky in New York.
Hanover is a small college town, with Dartmouth at the center of all the red-hot action. There’s only one main street with stores on it, a few restaurants and bookstores. I freak out because I can’t find the new issue of Rolling Stone with Lady Gaga on the cover—they don’t have it here yet—and calm down when I remember that I can get it when I’m back in New York. Decide to focus on the smell of nature, the look of the trees, and the green on the grass. Realize how peaceful it is, quiet at night.
It’s so quiet that the first night I got here, it’s impossible to sleep. I call my grandmother, tell her it’s too quiet—not a leaf blowing in the wind, not a squirrel eating a nut, not a piece of wind hitting the window. Get scared. Remember that this is the kind of silence when people—especially black people—die in the horror flicks. Close the windows to keep the boogie man out. Pop in a Netflix.
I’ve been here five says so far, and every day I’ve worn sequins. Day One: a black sequin blazer. Day Two: A gold sequin bolero. Day Three: black and grey sequined tank top. It’s all I had to wear. I mean, why should I wear flannel and hiking boots? Though I guess if they were Rick Owens hiking boots, in black, I would wear them. Besides, I wanted to see how people would react to the way I dress. And now I know the answer: today this boy was walking around campus with his family and he took his sweet time staring/smiling at me. It was actually kind of cute. That’s the power of eccentric glamour. When you’re the one person for miles with a lampshade on your head, you’re bound to brighten somebody’s day. Eccentric glamour changes the status quo, the boredom, and the sameness and gives you a couple seconds of street theater.
I leave Hanover on Sunday, and I can’t wait for the New York City smell of hot trash, the sound of sirens, noise from the taxis, the speedy walking. I can’t wait to be able to have everything delivered, see bands, and to be around other dudes who wear jeggings and not be weird. I can’t wait to not be able to get a seat on the subway, to not find Sun Chips or anything else really easy anywhere in the whole city. But this week in the country will always be special to me, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. City gays are really just country boys in sequins.
you go, girl! show them country folk what it means to be flaming and proud. is that you in the picture? that's a really nice bolero; you've gotta let me borrow it sometime.
Dartmouth, and Hanover, are very, very strange places. A far better college town in New Hampshire is Durham, where the more normal University of NH is located.