Sunday, March 13, 2011


Lesley Gore played a great show the other night. She not only sang up a storm, had a tremendous amount of energy, looked terrific, but, between songs, she chatted it up about her sexual orientation. That's how I found out she is a lesbian. It was a legitimate forum, not some tawdry whisper campaign or graffiti scrawled in a public restroom.

It was an effort to be mature and pretend like this little piece of information shouldn't matter to open-minded people like those who I call my friends, but honestly, I was bursting at the seams to tell someone. The first person I called was Maxine Fish, owner of Together Girl, a shop celebrating women and, what some would call, "thought-provoking intimate items." When I revealed my juicy piece of gossip about Lesley Gore being on her team, Maxine asked me where I'd been for the last forty years. "Ancient news, rivaling the discovery of the pyramids" is how she put it. How, I asked myself, could I have not known this?

Of course, I'm on board with the ever-popular lesbian train, and think if I were a woman, I, too, would be a lesbian. As a matter of fact, I have enough respect for their no-nonsense taste that I initially gauge the quality of a restaurant by the number of its lesbian patrons. Some people think the benchmark of a good restaurant is the amount of trucks parked outside, assuming truckers know the value of good cuisine, but not me; I take a peek to see how many lesbians are enjoying their food. If I see a couple of women holding hands in a booth, that's the place for me.

The thing that gets me about Lesley Gore is everybody says they knew, even my wife, and her knowledge of popular music is so very limited that, if asked, she would tell you The British Invasion involved a considerable amount of troops and happened sometime before the year 1776. In fact, she would be hard pressed to name any two members of the Rolling Stones, but Lesley Gore..... she knew all about that.

Everyone is oh so cavalier about this, but I feel altogether left out, like this has been a secret everyone has been keeping from me since 1963. That's a long time to keep a secret, especially when it involves a size-able amount of the human population. Talk about the last to find out. Now I know why all those people, through the years, stopped talking when I entered a room. I actually began to believe I possessed a certain presence. Now, it's clear they were talking about the "Lesley Gore Secret," and clammed up at my appearance.

It's disorienting to a certain extent. I've been humming "Judy's Turn to Cry" for over forty years, never realizing the true meaning of the song and can only guess what other "surprises" people have in store for me. I don't know who or what to believe anymore. Now, whenever I hear laughter, whether it's at the store or the lobby of a movie theatre, I'm sure it's about me, another little secret that's passed me by.

While walking through the park the other day, there was a small group of teenagers, laughing, and I think they were looking in my direction. The kids were not old enough to know who Lesley Gore was, and I began to wonder if it's possible that these secrets are passed down through generations, and the holders of the secrets are instructed exactly who not to tell. I'm almost certain there's a list somewhere, and I'm making it my duty to find the list and memorize every one of the delectable secrets. Until then, I'm going to laugh like an insider with everyone I meet, pretending that I'm in on the whole deal.