Saturday, May 07, 2005

Forbidden Love

Imagine, if you will, the following romance story.

Enter our heroine, a black sheep who has never felt comfortable with the expectations placed on her by her family and her upper-crusty friends. One night, in an effort to find others she might truly connect with, she finds herself standing outside a bar. Through the mist walks our hero, a man so striking she can barely think straight. A god that melts her insides to goo with just a smile.

Not only is the hero good-looking, he has enough charm to woo the pants off Queen Elizabeth. One thing leads to another, and the hero and heroine end up in bed, he divesting her of her virginity in an encounter that rocks her entire world.

But as you might expect, the hero is a text-book, rakish bad boy who doesn’t believe in love. He’s honest to a fault, breaking our heroine’s heart when he tells her he wants nothing more to do with her after their one night stand, and she’d be better off without him.

Thankfully, our heroine is the plucky sort. She sees that the hero's bravado hides a wounded heart. Beneath the nearly unbreachable wall he's erected around his emotions is a soul that is truly good and generous, a man who so violently rejects the idea of love but is capable of feeling it more deeply than anyone she's ever met. She marks the hero for her own and has no intention of giving him up so easily.

She puts herself in places where the hero frequents. She makes him jealous – despite his declaration of not caring – by showing interest in other men. She charms him with her wit and intelligence, and against his own desires, the hero finds himself starting to care.

Time and time again the hero rides to the heroine’s rescue – finding her a place to live when her family demands she conform to their unreasonable rules or they will disown her. Standing up for our heroine when her peers lash out at her with hatred. Even tracking down our heroine and bringing her back home when she feels she has no-one else to turn to and leaves town.

One day, the heroine asks the hero to do something – to attend an event where all of those who have frowned upon her will be. At first the hero refuses, standing firm on his belief that he doesn’t really love this girl and doesn't want to do things he knows will make her happy. But he can’t deny the truth, and in rash romantic move, he shows up at the event.

The heroine is surprised, delighted and touched, and the two share an enchanted evening together.

But there are those at the event who can’t bear to see the heroine happy. She is a freak. An abomination who should live her life in a dark room. This villain will not tolerate such flaunting, and he determines to do something permanent.

He fetches a baseball bat.

When the hero and heroine return to the hero’s parked car, the villain attacks.

The heroine falls.

The hero is devastated beyond consolation. He sits in the empty hospital corridor, covered with the heroine’s blood, his eyes hollow and blank. His world is shattered into a million pieces, the realization of how much he has come to love the heroine almost as devasting as the idea of losing her.

And we readers have no idea if the heroine is alive or dead, only that our hero might not survive this agony...

Would you keep reading to see what happened next?

Or, in this particular instance, would you keep watching?

What if - just what if - the heroine happened to be a young man named Justin?

And the hero a man named Brian?

This little synopsis summarized the romance between these two characters during the first season of the Showtime series Queer As Folk.

I started watching this show – a show about gay men – because I couldn’t believe Showtime would really put something so graphic on television. Because the show is very, very graphic. And I admit that it took some getting used to for a straight girl from the heart of the midwest, eyes wide and jaw on the floor while I watched. Until it wasn't weird any more. Just normal.

I kept watching because the relationship between Brian and Justin was one of the most moving romances I’d ever seen. Week after week I suffered Justin’s despair when Brian refused to warm up. I thrilled as Brian’s icy heart slowly melted and the younger man worked his way inside.

And I wept when Justin was attacked by a gay-basher. Tears streamed down my cheeks just like the ones on Brian’s cheeks as he waited to learn the fate of the man he loved.

The fifth and final season of the show is scheduled to begin at the end of this month. The show has had it’s ups and downs, stuff I’ve loved and stuff I’ve rolled my eyes at. But I never miss an episode.

Because beyond the hour of entertainment this show offers each week, it has given me so much more. It has shown me that love is universal. Love doesn’t care if you are a man or a woman and it doesn’t care who you’ve chosen as the object of your desire.

I now view homosexual relationships exactly as I see heterosexual relationships. Both are filled with pain and longing and joy and despair and love and bliss.

And either one can make for a riveting romance.


McVane said...

Oh, I *love* QAF, but I forgot that there is the US version. It's nice to see that it works for you. And I'd not mind seeing the US version.

BTW, the link to Showtime US won't let me in: "We at Showtime Online express our apologies; however, these pages are intended for access only from within the United States." WTF?

Lynn M said...

Sorry, Maili, and yeah, WTF? I think I can remember back in the beginning days of this show that lack of access for outside-the-US-people to Showtime's sight being a problem. Looks like they haven't fixed that little problem. Not a smart move on their part, IMO.

I haven't seen the UK version but plan to. I think the US followed the UK version pretty well through only about the first three epis, then diverged wildly after that. They needed to adjust to be able to maintain a long-running series rather than the mini-series the UK version intended.

And I owe heaps of gratitude to the UK for being brave enough to venture into this territory. Otherwise I'd never have Brian and Justin to swoon over *g*.

Steph T. said...

I love QAF - I discovered it last year and I'm addicted. I could just watch Gale all day long *g* I can't wait for the new season to start - if Brian and Justin don't end up together, I will cry. Really.