Of Democratic Candidates and Gay Lovers:
Let us say, and why not, that you are a thirty-something openly queer guy, and you are cruising one of your favorite South Carolina gay bars - say, and, indeed, why not, Time Out over on 8th in Myrtle Beach. Oh, and you're a bottom. You can't wait to get fucked in the ass, especially since you just broke up with a closested dude who became so impotent at the end, you just sent him back to his mama. So you're checkin' out the off-season scene, the regulars, your prostate aching for some tickling, and you notice at the end of the bar a semi-nice-looking guy, who really just seems like another you. He lifts his glass to you, as if saying, "Hello," but you just wave him off. Fuck him. You want something new and exotic. You wanna get fucked by someone who you think is gonna do it to you in a way you never thought you'd experience.

You scope out the black skinhead dancing with the leatherman, the twink and the bear, the cross-dressing feather fags and the yuppie studs and the club kids. You're thinking about how hard you'd get fucked, feeling it all the way in your throat, if you bent over for the skinhead, whose pants wad looks like a tumor on his leg. You're thinking the bear might just be in it for a one-shot, bang and outta there, which ain't bad, and it's what you'll settle for if that's what you get. Truth be told, you're not really into them, but you think it's time for you to expand your anal horizons.

You shoot some tequila for confidence and limb looseness and head out to dance as that awesome Rihanna remix kicks in. The secret truth is, though, that looks are deceiving. For, you see, what you fail to realize is that the one whose cock is gonna rock your rectum and have you begging for more is Mr. Ordinary-Looking at the end of the bar. He's sitting there, toasting away, waiting for someone to sit down next to him so he can order that lucky dude a mixed drink and tell him all the hot shit he's gonna do. But no one notices him. And chances are, Mr. Ordinary's gonna go home alone. It's sad, really, that the thirst for symbolic difference makes us overlook the obvious.

So it was, speaking of obvious, that the winner of last night's Democratic debate was John Edwards, the odd average man out. While Obama and Clinton went at each other in an entertaining slap fight, there was Edwards, calmly speaking for the vast majority of Americans, even if that majority won't ever get to hear him. The only candidate to mention New Orleans during a Martin Luther King Day debate hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus, Edwards articulated again and again the vision of economic justice and empowerment that eluded his rivals. And he had to fuckin' beg for air time while the other two squabbled over who hates Republicans more.

Edwards should have jumped into the pit bull ring more than he did to assert his ideas. That he didn't doesn't take away from the power of them. That the moderators and the media refuse to take his candidacy seriously, however, does leave him, alone, at the end of the bar, waiting for someone to notice.