Consolation Prizes
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by Josh Lee
2013 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
I was standing in a club on Saturday night with a drink in my hand, the music thundering through my body, my head in the heavy cloud of cologne, sweat, alcohol, and kerosene fog. Laser lights shot through the air. It was the wildest party of the year. An entire city-wide circus of Gatsbian proportion. Saturday night of Pride weekend in Los Angeles is to the gays what Black Friday is to the lower-middle class Walmart shopper. It was like airborne ecstasy, enough to induce an epileptic plague. And yet, standing there on the edge of the dance floor, I was wishing that I could be anywhere but there.

I'm not the type to go out to a gay club. The last time I was in West Hollywood was the night I met my now-ex-boyfriend and I took that as a sign that "WeHo" as it's colloquially referred to, was a place that I should avoid. After all, nothing good ever happens after 2AM.

Unlike most gay men my age, and the reason I suspect they look at me like an alien from a planet where clubs don't exist, I don't enjoy going out every weekend. I don't enjoy getting boozed and felt up. I don't like random erotic encounters with men in the restroom or back alley.

And so, my life revolves around me, my work, and I. I'm not ashamed to say that I have one of the strongest portfolios this side of the Rockies and after graduation will have my choice of career opportunities. At twenty I'm working in the research and design department for an international tech firm and getting flown, all expenses paid, to France to shoot a wedding.

But sometimes I think none of that matters when I look around and realize that my closest physical friends are my laptop, camera, and designer bag. My closest actual friends are five thousand miles away and I haven't seen them in over a year. Anyone else who steps in and tries to be my friend is greeted with a cold stare and an order to get the hell out of my way because I'm busy. So yeah, I'm sure you can guess that the dating that I planned to do and wrote all about a few months ago hasn't been going so well.

I could have gotten wasted, drowned my feelings in the endless shots on the ripped shirtless boy on the bar. But I don't find any pleasure in being completely intoxicated. On top of that, I had car keys in my pocket and a truck parked back at a meter.

So I left the club behind. The sound was deafening, even more than the silence that hit me the minute I stepped outside. I walked back to the truck, side stepping a few men hurling into the street, and drove to the beach.

The beach is always so peaceful to me. It's the complete opposite of the clubs in West Hollywood. Void of blinding lights, technology, thundering music, and most importantly: people.

One of my idols in life is Coco Chanel. Yeah, big surprise, the gay boy is enamored by Mademoiselle Chanel. I've spent years studying her, her work, and her legacy. Her accomplishments are far, far beyond anything even comprehendible by today's society. She revolutionized the world of fashion not once, not twice, but three times in her life. She gave woman their freedom. She was in many ways, for many decades, the most powerful woman in the world. And upon her death in 1971, in a world where technology hadn't yet made instant communication possible, word of her death and the ensuing international outpouring of sadness spread faster than a wildfire.

However, one of her most memorable quotes, of which there are many, was that what followed the death of the love of her life, the only man she ever would love, "was not a life of happiness." A habitual drug user and an alcoholic with a temper worthy of the name Chanel, Mademoiselle achieved nearly everything there is to achieve in life, with the very important exception of an unconditional partnership. All the same can be said thus far for Anna Wintour, the legendary editor of American Vogue, the single most important figure in the international fashion industry, and another of my heroes.

The problem, I think, is that it's so easy for me to put so much time, work, love, and dedication into a project, the result of which will come out as close to perfect as humanly possible. Whilst, on the social front, it's the complete opposite. I readily admit to being that bitch that will give up on a romantic relationship with no regrets, no fucks given, and no looking back. That's with both friendships and relationships. The thing is, when you're creating something on the computer, you're in complete control and starting from scratch you can build absolute perfection. You can edit and edit and edit down to the pixel and have command of over sixteen million colors, every single piece of the spectrum visible to the human eye. You don't get that control and chance with other humans, and very few humans are perfect enough to work with, certainly not the ones I've been with. So the options, as I see them, are either to either accept something less or cut your losses and move on.

Coco Chanel once said that "it would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless heís terribly strong. And if heís stronger than I, Iím the one who canít live with him."

In every relationship I've ever been in, one of the above has been the case. And therein lies the catch 22. And let's not forget: Mademoiselle died alone with not even a maid by her side in her palatial suite at the Ritz.

Despite the tone of this piece, I'm not depressed. I mean, I think my life is pretty great. Granted, I would love to have someone to share it with, but at the same time, expecting the love of my life to sweep me off my feet at twenty isn't reasonable, and there are a lot of unchecked boxes on my life list that I'd rather check off ahead of "Find a husband".

But is it unreasonable to think that maybe, just maybe, I'll end up at the same singles party for powerful woman of the world as Mademoiselle and Anna Wintour when I'm in my fifties? I would like to believe that, even though I hate hearing it, "he's out there and he'll find you." But sometimes I wonder whether it's possible to have everything in life: success, wealth, fame, and love. Maybe if you can achieve the first three, the fourth is a consolation prize reserved for those who couldn't. Maybe it's the other way around: success, wealth, and fame are the consolation prizes for those who couldn't achieve love.

Maybe I'm just a naÔve twenty year old kid sitting on the beach alone on Saturday night.