In the sequence of Russell’s Cavalcade of Idiotic, Failed Romances, he occupies the second spot.
(Let me stop right there and reassure readers who are chary of reading about my doomed relationships that I would rather superglue live cockroaches to my face than give any kind of detailed run-down of my long-ago loves. Suffice it to say that they were almost all Idiotic, and looking back from within the space of a decade-long soon-to-[finally]-be-legal marriage to the Better Half I wish I could go back and slap my younger self on the back of the head at random intervals. The end.)
Anyhow, I will call him Mark. Ours was a long-distance thing that collapsed under the weight of its own absurdity within one short weekend of time together in real life. I’m sure I must have found something about him appealing at the time (and he was handsome enough), but what it was I am at a loss to recall now. The one thing I can say in his favor is that he provided the prompting that got me in the doors of my very first gay bar (where he proceeded to spend the evening dancing with other people; see above re: absurdity, collapse of relationship and), and long after Mark had exited my life stage left I spent many fun nights dancing the hours away with the several good friends I came to make there.
So, yeah. Mark. The reason I bring him up is that he was really my first introduction to All Things Gay. He was obsessed with “Absolutely Fabulous,” which was just breaking big in the US at the time (and which I sincerely liked, too). He loved Pet Shop Boys. Get this — when giving directions, he wouldn’t say “go straight” at a traffic light. He insisted on saying “forward.” He had spare, expensive-looking track lighting. And if he had any straight friends, I don’t recall ever meeting them.
(In writing all of this out, it strikes me as retrospectively hilarious that I spent months mooning over him when our romance bit the dust.)
As part of his “I [Heart] All Things Gay” schtick, he was also totally into Melissa Etheridge. And because I was totally into trying to be a guy I thought he’d like, I tried to enjoy Melissa Etheridge. I really, really fought the urge to change the station when her songs came on the radio. I’d try to find a way of thinking they didn’t all sound the same. I’d force myself to find something appealing in her voice.
I failed. No disrespect to her or her fans (different strokes for different folks, y’all), but I just don’t care for her stuff. Of the (many) reliefs I felt when I finally got over our ludicrous disaster of a relationship, one of them was that I no longer had to try to like Melissa Etheridge music.
So that’s this week’s Question — what have you felt like you were supposed to like (and why), but just couldn’t? The only other one I can think of (and I grit my teeth admitting this, because it means conceding in a forum where my brother can see it that he was right, dammit) is David Bowie, who for years I just didn’t care for (and I still don’t like all of his stuff), but now turn up when it comes on the radio. But my distaste for Ms. Etheridge’s music lives on. What did you try to enjoy for whatever reason, and just simply could not make yourself appreciate?