From The Body Politic, Sept/1978

In the May, 1978 issue The BP had published a piece by John Forbes, aka Twilight Rose, called Looking For Mr. Candybar. This was my satiric response.


Well wishes, warm feeling, much gratitude to Mr. John Forbes for his heart-rendering, recent reminiscences (Looking for Mr. Candybar," TBP, May). Dear John (if I may address you so intimately), we are rooting for you out here; we are almost cheering; we are certainly applauding.

Indeed, so much emotion has been aroused it's upsetting to the soul. Thank Heaven for Librium.

You see, I had a love experience similar to yours. Unlike me, though, you have dared to speak out and in that action we fellow sufferers find the courage to follow.

I myself have finally begun to reveal some of the hurt, albeit to only eleven or twelve of my closer friends.

Yes indeed, after all these years it still hurts!

I remember the first time we met, the sky was a clear, clear blue, the clouds like so much fizzy Bromo Seltzer. He worked the counter at McDonald's. I was a customer. He sang the McDonald's anthem with a pure sweet gentleness and yet with such utter conviction. Here was someone, I sensed, who really could Do It All for me.

Time, I knew, would mature, change him. No one can be Debbie Reynolds forever. I was prepared for Doris Day. Came the day he asked me to peel him a grape. Well, I mean, I've been around. I have heard that line before.

What do I blame? That gay ghetto of which the gay liberationists are so proud. You know, those shrines to fornication, the baths, and all that disco music they play there (yes, I've been too); the Gaybars; the Gayapartmentbuildings; Thewholescene.

Once he'd seen one of those wild, over twenty-five, pre-70's-gay, downtownqueens there was no controlling him. I'd tried to shelter him from it all, but one cannot be everywhere, all the time.

I did all I could to save him. I pleaded, I cried. the Good Lord, Sweet Jesus Himself, knows how I tried to help him turn away from it.

And then, one day, I discovered him making what can only be termed most lewd and vulgar suggestions to the Diefenbachia. It was really too squalid. The last straw. I don't think they've ever fully trusted any human being since.

But at least I had the satisfaction of ditching the wretch before vice versa.

In actual fact, two days after the Diefenbachia incident and twenty miles north of Sudbury, I ordered him right out of the car; left him standing there in his pink satin trousers and Faggot Power T-shirt (he'd worn it just to aggravate me). I'll never forget the look on his face as I sped off. The rain swept down the back windshield in furious rivulets. The lightning delineated his figure against a backdrop of deserted highway and dark forest. Most Dramatic.

I haven't heard of him since. Not even a postcard.

Perhaps I was too harsh.

This is the first time I've managed the whole tale and, John, it was your story that gave me the strength.

If only everyone with similar experiences could know how it eases the heart to tell all. John, we who have borne such agonies must form a group to spread the word. We must throw off the girdles of silence, rise up, demand to be heard.

Peaches Zorzi