Introduction
A
lone one night in the summer of 1982, at a local multiplex
in Urbana, Illinois, I saw The Road Warrior for the first time,
not out of any interest in its postapocalyptic setting or its
themes, but because I was so drawn to the man in torn, black leather
featured prominently in the newspaper ads. I didn’t really know or care
that he was Mel Gibson—he wasn’t yet a household word in America—
but with his strong and solid frame, his grave and intense features,
and his tender, piercing eyes, this towering figure embodied an ideal
version of the man who had dominated my attention for the past two
years—a man (let’s call him George) with whom I had developed an
almost eerily subtle, acute, intuitive form of communication, first at
the local gay bar where he would dance alone (by choice), and later
just about everywhere (the place never mattered). Many friends com-
mented upon the powerful ‘‘energy’’ that George and I generated
whenever we were together, which was just about all the time. I couldn’t
deny this. The dynamic was so intense that at times, for me, it verged
on obsession. For months, I went to bed thinking about George, and
I woke up with the same person in mind.
In mind only. We never spent the night together. Of course I was
very much open to the possibility, and for days on end I would think
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