Ryan Seacrest has been gaying it up on the E pre-Oscar red carpet show. I’ve been junking on this trash tv channel for the past few hours now and I think my IQ has dipped quite a few points. (There’s only so much that my brain can take from this idiot box and I think it’s reached the threshold with Ryan’s quips on dogs as pets with Jessica Biel. Who writes this crap?!) If I were not such an Oscar convert and a fan of good fashion, then all this bad writing would really be unbearable. David Carr in the NYT writes about the red carpet as being a conceptual as well as a physical space. Ryan’s interviews would prove this untrue if his dreadful Q&As were not such abstract concepts. (I’m not even getting to his cohorts – Mr. Fake Tan and Ms. Whiny Hiney.) Thank god for the green light at the end of this tunnel – Ellen de Generes on at 830 pm.

But, as much as cable tv brings me all this transient bad junk, its family in new media also allows me diversionary (if not sanity-saving) options. (I’ve just muted the tv – Ryan Seacrest is interviewing Celine Dion. I still shudder every time I remember her oversinging the Titanic theme song.) I have the web to keep me preoccupied. I’ve been exchanging IMs with Eric, my friend who lives in NJ.

I’ve known Eric for quite some time now. I hooked up with him a few months back after meeting him at a party in Park Slope. A nice Jewish boy in his early 30s, he’s going through finalizing a divorce after being married for many years. I’ve taken quite a liking to him, beyond the fleeting fancy of a fun trick, since I see in him myself from soo many years back. (Of course, he is also a cute Jewboy which really is right up my flavor alley.) No, I didn’t come out against the backdrop of a fraudulent marriage with a woman. But I do relate to his feelings of confusion and tense aggression at what is a new life realization. I listen to him talk and I hear the onslaught of life unraveling before his very breath. He talks about his separation from his wife and his splurge on a new pair of jeans. He chats about being bisexual and finding his new roommate who, apparently, also is. He speaks of being bothered by an unreturned phone call from this new boy he went out on a date with. Ah, yes, these are the first few rejections that will lead to that first substantive heartbreak. I can still recall my own memories of these experiences as if they had just happened yesterday,

Eric and myself go through our own red carpets every day. Gays (and the gay bi man) have to live up to this social expectation of good fashion. (I’ve known more than one homo who goes into debt for a good pair of shoes.) It gets even more amped up on the dating trail, where walking down 8th Ave in a good outfit is just as important as talking smart about the latest hip movie over candlelit dinner. I do feel though that the daily homo red carpet is better than the awards show ones. Homos can be tart but they are also often smart (as one is saved from E tv’s bad writing.) From the bitchy judgments that fly to the subtle stares of approval that are observed, the content in the correspondence is satisfactorily fleshy if not satisfyingly sensual. As the red carpet has its barriers in the edges of the mats as well as the velvet ropes that keep out the non-celebrities, the homo red carpet also portrays its own barriers. Some homos are more admired than others; other homos are sidelined to be on the outside admiring in. The Chelsea bar of well-defined muscles, a good home address and a trophy profession still hold strong. Eric is still working his way through this tension – having walked a few steps and fumbling at his pace, still adjusting to his new set of heels. (He is already working on bulking up and at purchasing a pied-a-terre in Manhattan; he is already a successful marketing professional.) I have happily seated myself from outside the ropes; content at viewing from the distance, with my bf, Tim, at my side.

I guess such is the key to the red carpet. It is never the end in itself but only a means to get to the real show. The goal is not to walk it but to get to its end, which in this case, is to win the approval of the target audience as one sits down for whatever show is in sight. (Yes, the date, or the bf, is also the treat that comes with the ticket.) The tragedy is to indulge in the illusion of superificiality and to keep on walking on it, dazed and lost.