i wanna hold your hand

[Title] fabulous disposition: queer life, love and drama in this prairie town
[Deck] i wanna hold your hand
[Byline] sean manson

The little school girl inside of me is always overjoyed when I see a queer couple holding hands out on the streets of this town. At the sight of such a rare occurrence, I am momentarily driven to run up and shower accolades over the brave couple like confetti. But selfishly that feeling soon passes, and I find myself enviously contemplating how long their happiness will last instead. But of course naturally I manage to repress all these emotions, as if the little girl inside of me were Catholic.

Just before winter hit this year with a diehard vengeance I was given the ultimate queer assignment in school. Fresh from studying gay and lesbian classics that involved themes ending in ‘ion’ (desolation, isolation, and desperation) my classmates and I were set to put our queer theory in to practice. In order to learn what “hetero-normative space” meant, we all ventured onto the tumbleweed blowing streets of downtown Winnipeg with hands-held in faux-same-sex-couple-bliss.

Paired up with a male classmate just as fabulous as I, for the purpose of this piece I shall refer to him henceforth as David. As if I were a hypothetical out Giovanni to his in David (in the most literary sense), it was apparent he was much less keen about taking our public display of affection outside the classroom. Never one to stray far from the limelight myself, I ensured him I would take into account all the reactions to our queer display. Setting off down Portage Avenue together hand-in-hand we knew there was no pride parade or men in buttless leather chaps this time to back us up.

Our first interior stop was The Bay, where the promise of designer labels and retail clerks seemed friendly enough. However, it appeared our tiny embrace was a little too scandalicious for some of the clientele. Stopping one older couple dead in their tracks, I was temped to ask them if we were in the right direction to get to Hell. In the Men’s Department, we almost gave another guy whiplash as the two of us walked passed. With a look of terror on his face, it seemed he would’ve been more comfortable if we stopped holding hands and started picking out clothes for him instead.

Aside from the glares and whispers, David and I shared a most pleasant time together on our academic tryst.

Aside from the glares and whispers, David and I shared a most pleasant time together on our academic tryst. I have to admit, I was taken a back (no pun intended) by some of the more notable reactions we received. Of course I realized our urban centre is more than a far cry from the homo-hopping Church Street, but even still I longed to make some kind of comparison. However, ultimately I still think our venture was worthwhile. Because even if one person in the closet managed to pass us by, I am confident the little school girls or boys inside of them would be just as hopeful as mine.

Published: Outwords Inc. # 148 January 4 – January 31, 2008

Sean Manson is a playwright, he has been published in Out in Canada, and he’s the A&E editor for Outwords Inc. magazine. He is working towards a B.A. in English at the University of Winnipeg.