Polysexuality. That’s what I’m calling it. I claim ownership to the word, even though someone else may have used it before me. I created it because I don’t know what else to call it. I call it loosely “whatever my daughter is going through” in defining her own sexual orientation. I’m still scratching my head over the whole thing. I’m sure she will figure it out in time but I don’t think she will ever fit into any neat category. But a clue as to what’s going on occurred today when we ventured all the way into Bethesda to see the film Camp.
“Camp” is a movie about a bunch of kids who are outcasts in their regular life who come to Camp Ovation during the summer for two months of theater work. It’s based on a real camp that apparently has been a gateway for many talented performers who subsequently developed successful acting and singing careers.
As a movie it has some nice moments but it suffers from rather poor directing and sloppy cinematography. Its total budget appears to be not that much higher than The Blair Witch Project: on a large screen it seems grainy, which makes me wonder if it was shot in 16mm film. The actors are all complete unknowns and it is pretty obvious because although many can sing real well the acting isn’t all that great, due perhaps to the poor directing. The young actors often seem like they are trying too hard to really act.
It was a very good film in the eyes of my daughter Rosie, who sees herself as outside of the mainstream in her school. Her life is full of similar people from her own school. She lives in this universe, so she thought it was a great film. If you are a teenager like her then you will probably strongly identify with the characters in the movie: so go see it.
The movie centers on the character Vlad, a really cute and buff guy, as best this heterosexual man can tell. At Camp Ovation though he is the odd man out because it seems he is the only straight guy in the whole camp. Naturally he bunks with a gay guy who clearly has the hots for him, but can’t do anything about it. This is the same gay guy who we see early in the film going to his Junior Prom dressed as a drag queen. Naturally that doesn’t go over well at his high school and he gets beat up.
This is just one of many complex polysexual relationships the film flits with. I felt really out of my element in this movie. I am still trying to understand why someone who is gay would dress up as a drag queen in the first place. I realize not all gay men do this but enough of them do it to make me feel very perplexed. If I were gay I think I would be into the manly aspects of masculinity and I’d be looking buff and dressing buff. I doubt I would be dressing like a drag queen and showing the world that I have a feminine side.
But of course lots of homosexual men can have feminine sides. They happen to be not just gay but they are also sensitive, and women get to exhibit a sensitive side in this culture, not men as a rule. So perhaps that explains why so many gay men are dressing up in women’s clothes. And if this were the end of it I wouldn’t be writing.
But there are other more complex relationships in the movie, not all of which are sexual. There is the girl who acts as a personal slave to another girl, and at some point gets cruelly spurned. Since Vlad is the hot guy there is another girl after his form, but Vlad seems to be having some ambiguous feelings with the gay guy Mike that culminates near the end of the movie when it appears they might go skinny-dipping. It’s good to see a deep and meaningful relation between a gay guy and a straight guy depicted in the movie. I’m not sure how many of those happen in real life, but my guess is not very often. But of course Vlad is heterosexual so that doesn’t go anywhere, although it appears it might. And the gay guy Mike ends up bedding another woman in the camp because, we learn later, he thinks it might be a way to make him feel closer to Vlad.
And there are other characters: a washed up song and musical writer who spends most of the movie drunk, a black older brother/younger brother duo that seems strange but just is (I thought “Young Michael Jackson” when the young boy does his dance number), a fat girl with body image problems, and a timid black girl who has to find her voice and her courage to bring forth her talent. As I say it is full of interesting characters and certainly gave me a lot to think about, even if the acting was inconsistent and sloppy at times. Some of the musical numbers were quite well done.
My daughter is charting her own path. As I mentioned in a previous entry I don’t care too much how she pops out. If she is heterosexual, bisexual or lesbian I will still love her regardless. And there is nothing I can do about it anyhow. Each person has to decide for themselves their sexual orientation. It’s hard for me to believe that she will end up a lesbian. She would be the funkiest lesbian I will ever meet because she certainly doesn’t seem to hold any of the stereotypes. But more and more I don’t think any of those words are useful anymore to describe her or people like her. Even transgender seems inappropriate. She doesn’t seem like a man trapped in a woman’s body. She is more than anything else right now just a kid charting her own path and trying to make sense out of sexuality. But I suspect when she figures out what or who she is it will be none of the above. The word doesn’t exist yet, which is why I coined the term “polysexual”. Perhaps like some of the characters in “Camp” she is male, female, transgender, heterosexual, bisexual and lesbian all at once and all at the same time.
An empath is someone who can experience the same feelings as those they come in contact with. Perhaps a polysexual is something of a sexual empath. They don’t have to necessarily have sex but they intuitively understand on a gut level all aspects of human sexuality and can move easily from one universe to the other.
It’s way to early to say for sure, but I might have a polysexual for an offspring. And if “Camp” is any guide, she is by no means alone.