The It Gets Better Campaign is great because it show so dramatically how much better it can get. Watching the Google Chrome commercial during Glee the other night, though, I was reminded of a relatively undramatic “it gets better” moment that makes me smile.
When I was in high school, the jocks formed a school sanctioned group called “The Twelve Ounce Club.”
Yes, my high school allowed them to have a club named after beer. They were good-naturedly rowdy and popular and didn’t really do anything official as a club – they were just a group of guys who always hung out together. At football games there’d be butcher-paper signs: “Do It For the Twelve Ounce Club,” etc.
Meanwhile, also on the football field was the drum major. It’s nerdy enough to be a band geek, but to wear the little hat and direct the marching band with the baton at football games requires a level of geeky uptightness that few achieve. He was arrogant and embraced his job with vigor, in a kind of perpetually exasperated way.
Fast forward to the ten year reunion, which was ten years ago, long before “It Gets Better.” The Twelve Ounce Club are all there, drinking beers together. They are softer and their hair is thinner, and they’ve got ten years of working at their dad’s muffler shop or selling refrigerators dampening their swagger, but they’re still loud and cocky. In walks the drum major and his boyfriend. He’s tan, his boyfriend is cute, and his face – his face is relaxed. I look at him and – well, first, of course I think “oh, wow, look, he’s gay” – then I am struck that a person I always knew as perpetually annoyed is happy. And now I understand why in high school he was so stressed out. And before long, sure enough, he and his boyfriend are standing there with the Twelve Ouncers, drinking beer and talking about football games.
It’s these little acceptances that, to me, show real change. Another example that comes immediately to mind is the gay couple that wanted to buy my grandparents’ mobile home when they moved into assisted living. When the Gays are moving into the excruciatingly boring retirement mobile home park, you know the Revolution is here.