Hat tip to Evan Hurst for catching this one. Here’s a priceless moment from Seth Bracken’s day at the Evergreen Conference:
I was nervous, and all the preconceptions about the pious and faithful gathering were smashed just moments after walking through the door.
“Is this your first conference?” The plump, balding middle-aged man I was sharing an elevator with, asked.
“Yeah, it is. Yours?” I responded, happy to make a friend that might be able to show me the ins and outs of the conference.
“Nope, I’ve been to tons. I love ‘em. So many cute guys here, kind of like you,” he said as he took a step closer to me and smirked.
“You smell good, would you like to feel good?” He asked me as we landed on the ninth floor for registration.
That’s one hell of an elevator pitch.
I suppose the upside is lots of sex without any expectations of breakfast or three days of frantic texting afterwards, no awkward conversations about “well that was fun but you’re obviously one fucked up mofo and really I don’t want a stalker at this point in my life.” You gotta know the sex is going to be high voltage – these guys have been waiting all year (you know since the last conference) to get themselves some of that hot man love. We’re talking breaking the furniture, “Oh, I am sorry about your blender” and “It’s a good thing that wardrobe is solid oak” level of fucking.
How can you not feel profound sympathy for them? They’ve been lied to – the father figures lied to them, spiritually abused them, filled their heads with self-loathing and then sold them a bill of goods and crossed their fingers they’d silently marinate in wretched misery, and when they died in all likelihood by their own hand it would look like an accident. I know a man who took his family on a hiking trip; he’d been there before and he’d picked the spot at which he could “slip” and fall to his death. That way they’d get the insurance and every one would think it was a tragic accident. Don’t ask me how, but one of his kids saw something was wrong and didn’t leave his side. He couldn’t bring himself to “accidentally” fall to his death with her watching. The good news is the family’s therapist made a mint. The divorce was horrific – his wife felt betrayed, he felt betrayed, the kids were confused, angry and betrayed. All in the name of a loyalty to bronze age moral codes and tribal identity.
Yeah, those men at the Evergreen conference are seriously fucked up, but they’re ultimately victims of a church that has completely lost its grip on reality where matters of sexuality are concerned.
Seth’s account continues:
As married men propositioned me for sex, and very confused teens sat with their parents in what had to be an extremely awkward day, it seemed that the crowd was challenging the speakers’ assertion through their very existence. No one there chose to be gay. The diversity of age, body type and personality also combated the idea that sexuality is not an inborn characteristic. People from all walks of life were gathered and I became friends with construction workers, business executives and bankers.
That’s gotta be a fun family outing. I can imagine the discussion. ”Honey, mommy and daddy think you might be . . . well, there’s no delicate way to say it . . . a flaming faggot butt pirate so we’re going to take you to this Conference in Salt Lake.”
The whole charade is unbearable:
It quickly became clear that the Evergreen method did not work. But equally as clear was that the method and rhetoric being spouted was damaging. Rather than expressing their sexuality in healthy ways, these men were relegated to attending the conference just to find a partner for sex and some sort of connection.
And Chad, the last Evergreen Conference attendee to hit on me, was as shameless as a Craigslist post.
“Look, I really just kind of want to see you naked. I’ll let you do whatever you want to me, just don’t tell anyone, especially my wife,” he said.
“Why are you doing this to yourself? Why not just come out and drop the whole charade of being religious?” I curtly responded, growing tired of the hypocrisy of the situation.
“I can’t. I just can’t. It would be like admitting defeat. If I keep it hidden, it’s like no one will ever have to know,” Chad said as he scanned the crowd looking for someone else that might be interested in his proposal.
It’s a profoundly despairing life – yearning for momentary connections that may never be repeated, experiences you’ll never share openly. Never feeling safe admitting who you really are. Life is too short for that much optional suffering.