Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I really liked high school (do you hate me now?)

[names have been changed ... well just for the hell of it I guess]

My high school experience was atypical. That goes a long way towards explaining why I look back fondly on the time, even though I was not foxy, athletic, or popular in some unspecified non-foxy, non-athletic way. Most all my present friends disliked high school
and couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I could have stayed for post-graduate work. I loved my school the way Max Fischer did in Rushmore. Still do.

I went to an all-boys Catholic prep school grades 9-12.

Pause for a moment and consider that statement.

I’m betting that at least one of three thoughts came into your head. One, prep school? Must have been a bunch of rich snobs. Two, all-boys school? Must have been some boy-on-boy action happening there. Three, Catholic school? Must have been some priest-on-boy action
happening there. Am I right? Did such thoughts flicker across your dirty, dirty, class-conscious mind? It’s okay. If you attend an all-boys Catholic school you get used to such preconceptions. Given our culture, it’s almost expected.

I don’t know if anything has changed in the years since I was in high school. If anything I expect it’s worse. Two stories stick out in my mind on this topic.

Once, in the locker room – this isn’t going where you think it is – a prospective student and his father came through on a tour of the athletic facilities. Don’t ask me why the presence and quality of locker and weight rooms would affect one’s decision to attend
a Catholic prep school known for its emphasis on academics and community service, but there you are. After the father had passed out of the locker room and into the weight room, but before his son did, a classmate shouted, “Don’t come here, they’re all gay!” The look on that kid’s face...

Another time, our football team was playing a public school team. At some point in the game, a member of the other team offered that the students at my school were, by virtue of attending said school, sexually oriented towards other males; indicating his distaste through tone of voice and word choice. What he actually said was something like, “Fuckin’ faggots!” By way of hyperbole, one of our players sarcastically verified the truth of that assessment and described the curriculum through which students learn methods to express their alleged sexuality. What he actually said was something like, “That’s right! We’re all fags! Suck and fuck, all day long. My first period class is Buttfucking 101.”

I tell these stories to illustrate that students at my alma mater are well aware of the fleeting thoughts that cross people’s minds. As to the truth of those assumptions, I can say that there were certainly rich snobs at my school, that I believe the proportion of
gay students at all-boy schools matches the general population, that the gay students probably weren’t getting much action because they were too scared and full of self-loathing, and that the priests at my school were probably not molesting students. Fr. Ryan would hug you too long on the last day of class, but that's all I know.

Anyway, I went to an all-boys Catholic prep school and I had a great time in high school. Except for the ever-present dread that someone might find out at any moment that I was gay.

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