Role models

Reading The Summing Up, finding so much in Maugham I find similar, but in process and outlook (though not style), I wondered if I ever had any idea he was gay before doing the briefest pre-Summing-Up research. The fact is it probably would’ve bugged me in my late teens. I can’t think of any out gay author role models when I was in my teens. I don’t mean role models for gay people, I just mean gay people who were also role models. I mean, there were probably some out lesbians who should’ve been role models but the next part is about female role models. Didn’t really have those either; I mean, it wasn’t really a thing. We were supposed to look up to Jim McMahon and then Michael Jordan. We weren’t supposed to look up to women. They couldn’t be athletes. I’m not even sure politicians were supposed to be role models—they were too removed. I’ve got a lot of fond memories of the 1980s and a lot of nostalgia for certain aspects of it—the pop architecture back then was a lot more fun than now—but I was an ignorant kid. My parents didn’t do anything wrong, they were great; progressive and so on. But eighties society was still pretty screwed up. Nineties too. Aughts too. Being ignorant of reality doesn’t make reality any different, which sucks. It messes with nostalgia and sentimentality, which is a good thing. Nostalgia and sentimentality need constant consideration, for positive and negative adjustment; otherwise you’re letting the mind go stale.

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