Who is the greatest diva of the last 25 years? The Awl offers scientific proof in this well-written and entertaining article. It is worth a good sit-down and read. And no the Greatest Diva of All Time is not BrettCajun nor fellow Cajun Cieline Dion.

This morning it was cool enough to commute to work in my work clothes for the first time in months. I sweat so much in the DC murk that most of the time in the summer I am in my gym clothes for the commute. I change into work clothes after I arrive and cool down, that way I’m not wearing soaking wet work clothes all day. I am simply a very warm person and start sweating at the drop of a hat. But it doesn’t help that I live in one of the swampiest places in the country either.

It was the heat that got to me in the end. It wasn’t the crime, the attitude nor the political wonkiness – it was this fucking hot summer of 2010 that got to me the most and made me crack. (Well OK the other factors continue to contribute…) I have started a job search with Portland (Oregon) and San Diego as target cities. Anywhere, any place cooler and drier than here – I’ve had it with this climate! I’d take a job elsewhere than the two cities mentioned above, as long as it’s not in swamp-ass country. I am done with swamp-ass towns.

Now this doesn’t mean I’m gone already, nor is it a guarantee I’ll even get a job, but I’ve already applied for several positions and the Federal job process takes months. I’m trying to retain my status as a government worker and am searching specifically for Public Affairs Specialist (series 1035) at the GS 11-13 level. It’s a pretty focused job search, but with my advanced degree and specialized experience I’d be selling myself short if I went for anything else. Plus, I really do like my current job and a new job would have to offer something just as interesting and challenging as what I’m doing now. I do cool stuff all the time for work and at least I have that going for me at this point in my life.

That and as I’ve complained before, it seems like my romantic potential in this city has been stagnant for years. It’s been a long time since I’ve been excited about a guy, and I’m either struggling trying to set up a date or I’m just not interested, or maybe the type of guy that congregates here simply isn’t my type. I don’t know exactly what the problem is but one theory on how I can fix things is that I’m due for some change. Well, for one thing there’s not enough woofy beards in this town but I can’t change that…

I arrived in DC in 1997 after a tumultuous ride from Wisconsin, Alaska, Oregon and Kazakstan. I hadn’t been out for long and was living in the wrong places to meet healthy-minded gay men. In the end that part of my life’s journey told me I needed to live in a place where there were well-traveled, well educated and out/happy gay men. Before then I was dealing with too many scared closet cases out in the boondocks. DC has exposed me to many good men in the above category, and it’s been a good time.

But DC is also better for the young 20-something gay man just coming out and developing their careers. But once you get up into your 30s or 40s, dating opportunities in this town dwindle dramatically – most guys my age are hooked up and moved out of the city or otherwise are out of the dating pool. Now I’m that older guy in a crowd of 20somethings and it’s starting to feel awkward. And there’s a practical reason people shack up – you just get tired of going out all the time for one thing. In some ways going out to bars and clubs is a lot of work and time investiment. And I think I’m getting tired of it.

I’ve also witnessed a phenomenon with some people where they suddenly just crack and want to leave DC, and end up being very satisfied with their decisions. I’ve kept in touch with them and they’re almost euphoric with their new situations. I think I’ve met that point in my time here too. While I’ve been here for almost 13 years, I just don’t feel wholly invested in this town and it’s time for a move.

(Subject matter is important to me, so I’m targeting agencies like the U.S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Park Service (Dept. of Interior), and U.S. Dept. of Ag. While the job application process tends to try to be neutral, contacts never hurt in a job search. So if you know someone in one of these agencies who knows of an opening, let me know, thanks!)

21 Comments

  1. brettcajun says:

    Am I am Diva? Really? Case in point: a group of Mean Girls were chanting “Midget! Midget! Midget!” at Southern Decadence this past weekend. I threw a piece of ice that sailed expertly through the air binging one on the head. The horrified Mean Girls were expertly silenced. (THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS) Word quickly spread that I am a violent queen. The backlash included several new Facebook drops. GASP!!! Diva? No. I’m thinking WARRIOR. Grrr… DON’T FUCK WITH WENDY TESTABERGER!

  2. Mari says:

    Stupid question but won’t the Park Service, Dept of Ag and those other guys put you back out in the boonies. Yes, the boonies are lovely, with fish and fowl and fauna and the temperature varies.
    Also even if you’re straight the dating scene becomes crap when you get into the late 30s and 40s. Heck I was about to settle on being the cool spinster aunt as I slowly approached, what I’m going to call 39 +1. If you’re the old man at da club, stop going to the clubs, the older gay man appears to be into the arts (art openings, and theatre spelled with a ‘re’ not a ‘er’), because that’s where I run into gay men in their late 30s and 40s, and 50s, that and local political stuff. Late 40s and 50s, I run into them at church, there are a few gay-friendly/gay-dominated churches I can point you to.

  3. jimbo says:

    Mari: Well of course I’d prefer to live in a medium-sized city like Portland or San Diego, and my kind of positions are usually in similar-sized cities (bureaucratic office jobs, not park ranger jobs). But I wouldn’t mind going back to the boonies since apparently my dating opportunities are now no different than if I lived in the boonies – it doesn’t matter where I live anymore so why not go for the places that have breatheable air and nice scenery?

    I’m not really into the arts though, nor getting up early on a Sunday for church. Any other suggestions?

    Brett: No one has been picking on you for a while so I just started comparing you with Cieline for no reason whatsoever other than to pick on you but I know you love it because it’s a form of attention. And I’m aware that she’s really not a Cajun but how would I know from her froggy Quebecois accent? All you frogs sound the same to me.

  4. brettcajun says:

    Ha Ha… and all you Wisconsiners sound like you are from Fargo, ND… or that movie “FARGO”. LOL!!!

  5. John says:

    Portland has long, dreary, rainy winters…it can really get you down. You might not see the sun for months at a time
    San Diego is glorious…but the cost of housing is high. Also, newcomers are not welcomed with open arms as natives hate their wonderful city being flooded with newcomers.

    Some nice cities to consider:
    Albuquerque NM is a really cool town…low humidity…Nearby Santa Fe is uber gay friendly. You should add this to the “A” list.
    Denver
    Austin TX is nice…but it does get boiling hot in summer…It’s a liberal oasis in an otherwise psycho state.
    Tuscon, AZ…same as with Austin…a liberal oasis in an otherwise psycho Right wing state

    Good move to get out of DC though.

  6. Richard says:

    You might like Denver. It has about 300 days of sunshine a year and the humidity is usually very low. Rugby is also very popular here. There’s a thriving gay community and the annual gay pride celebration draws about 250,000 people. Colorado is also home to Rocky Mountain National Park and thirteen national forests.

  7. Jeffrey says:

    I’ll second the recs for Albuquerque and Denver. Both would have nice costs of living and great climates compared to the Swampland.

    Or join us in the Heartland and come to Indianapolis. Easy to make your mark here and you could have a monthly mortgage on a cool house or condo downtown that probably is the same or less than you rent.

  8. I'd really rather not says:

    OK, nothing like advice from a stranger, right?

    Since you seem to be well educated, I’m guessing you know that the climates in SD and PDX are very different. I disagree about the winters in PDX being “dreary”, but completely sunny days and Mondays always bring me down. The PDX rain is more of an off and on “drizzle,” and the joke was that you could always tell the non-natives because they carried an umbrella. It stops in the summer, and you get three glorious months for outdoor frolicking. Nearby college towns of Eugene/Springfield and Corvalis should also be considered, along with ski town of Bend (high cost of living in Bend, tho). Also, from my (cohabitated, so perhaps less observant) POV, Stumptown was more ursine. SD was fine, for a Republican enclave in a democratic portion of the state, but I thought it was kind of twinky (and I was one when we lived there). Beware of living under the airline flight paths in SD; quite loud, due to the placement of the (very convenient) downtown airport. Make sure you have A/C in either town; many units were constructed pre-global warming (or whatever you want to call it), and just four-six hot, sleepless weeks was enough to make me want to punch holes in the ozone with CFC’s.

    ABQ and DEN were close contenders for us, altho in the end we came back to the Mid-Worst for aging relatives. I do NOT recommend INDY; harsh summers AND winters, and no real plan to deal with the wintry stuff. Also, AZ and TX are just NOT good states, altho there are good people in Santa Fe and Austin.

    What’s wrong with Milwaukee? Too close to home? We are thinking our next move might be to Kenosha or Racine, for proximity to both Milwaukee and Chicago but with the joys of affording living closer to the lake. Also, Chicagoland has all those forest preserves, so I’m thinking you could find work there.

    Best of luck, and please let us know where you land!

  9. first mom says:

    You received some interesting advice. As your mom I’m thinking about the closeness of visiting at least two children, but now I see even more possibilities.

  10. jimbo says:

    I lived in PDX for about 9 months, and am familiar with its dreariness. But dreariness does not cause swamp ass, so I’m OK with that.

    Thanks for your suggestions everyone! I like SD and PDX also because they are close to the ocean. Not sure how bad I’d miss that if I lived in CO or Chicago.

  11. Chuck says:

    Certainly want to root for San Diego in your job search process. San Diego needs Jimbo.

    I’ve been here 9 years now, and it’s my favorite place to live so far, and yes, part of that ranking includes my five years in the DC area. Not sure why anyone would call it a medium-sized city though: At 1.3 million this is the 8th largest city in the country.

  12. James says:

    I lived in SD for nine years and left because I just got bored with another god-damn beautiful day in paradise! Seriously, it’s beautiful, just make sure you live close to the water, because even just a few miles inland can mean a huge temperature difference. It can be 75 within three miles of the shore and 90 near SDSU. Huge gay scene, but definitely the pretty-boy scene. I just couldn’t take another partly sunny day and 75, I needed winter and fall.

  13. Curt says:

    Jimbo: I’ve been a follower of your blog for about 5 years now; I even introduced myself to you once at Blowoff @ 930 Club. I am one of those people who “cracked” and left D.C. just over two years ago. I lived in D.C. for over 8 years. Sitting in a 3.5 hour traffic jam during a February 2008 ice storm sent me over the edge. I packed my bags and moved to Seattle 3 months after that experience. I have not regretted my decision. I have made awesome friends in Seattle and have been with a wonderful guy for a year now. Jimbo, I can assure you, a more enjoyable life awaits. Mountains, water, clean air, and laid-back scruffy gents abound! Good luck and I’ll continue to follow your progress on here.

  14. cb says:

    My penis just died a little…

  15. Donald says:

    Peace out bitchass!

  16. John says:

    More info about Albuquerque: while a very nice place, it’s geographically isolated. There’s no taking a 3-hour road trip to the next big city…the next big cities are a day and a half road trip away. If you think that Tuscon has a small town feel, then it would probably be the same situation in Albuquerque…even more so.
    If you can handle the rain, then Portland-Eugene-Tacoma-Seattle should be on the A-list.

  17. Rich says:

    You’re going to find that people complain everywhere and that supposedly easy going places have their own hierarchy. I am involved in HIV research and have been involved with projects in many cities and have learned a fair amount about different gay communities. I think you’re going to find that being 30+, gay and single sucks in all of them.

    DC is difficult, but there are worse places. I lived in ATL for a number of years and the stereotype was tweaker, circuit boys. Beyond the twinks (and the big drag crowd), there was a need to be a certain kind of person–I never quite figured out what it was, but I think it had a lot to do with a kind of superficial status and also remaining within your status group. DC has a good deal of this although the federal govt oddly levels it out to some degree (a GS-13 can have any number of different educational and life experience backgrounds). I’m a PhD who doesn’t need to be around other PhDs. I’ve also traveled widely whereas the ATL norm was pretty much hometown and a few gay destinations, usually in the South, which seemed to be a turnoff. Life experience didn’t seem to matter in ATL and I suspect you’ll find that’s true elsewhere. For what ever reason, I always found more in common with guys and drew more interest when I traveled elsewhere, including to DC.

    I used to go to Seattle frequently–it’s much less gay ghetto-y than other places, but also has it’s own attitude issues, like any place that’s had a run at being “cool”. San Diego has access to mountains, desert, and water but my friend who grew-up there (and others) would tell you that there’s no culture or intellectual life (and it’s limited even for an academic like him), it’s rather conservative and you really have to like water stuff, a lot (he was a competitive surfer into his 50s, so perfect for him). It has a lot of older guys–HIV survivors (or the partners of guys who died). It seems like a very bifurcated place, and one that, for its size, has a lot of gay guys living marginal lives. I was just there and forgot how nice it was to be near water, but also saw all the marginalized characters and the usual excessive SoCal effort at trying seem happy, when life is as sucky as it would be anywhere else.

    There are oddly large gay communities in places like Columbus, Ohio (big university, second string high tech center, state capital) that you’d expect to be easy going and open but aren’t. A friend left there partly because it was closed place, esp. if you’re over 30. In fact, I would guess that you’ll find that the pool is rather limited everywhere. Classic gay destinations like Atlanta, DC, Chicago, New York, and SF are draws for young people, in general, and hell on single people over 35, in general (gay or otherwise). Places like SD, FLL, and Palm Springs also draw lots of older guys—esp. during the peak years of the AIDS epidemic, SD and Palm Springs were big draws from SF and LA, but I don’t get the impression that older single guys in those places are any happier than anywhere else. I recently met a 50-ish guy from FLL who was looking for a place with more intellectual stimulation, unfortunately, he’s too used to the warm weather.

    I know people who have found themselves surprisingly happy in places like Pittsburgh, but they’re partnered and settled. Good luck in your search, but be careful what and where you wish for.

  18. Jeffrey says:

    Harsh winters in Indy? WTF? Compared to what? Snow maybe 4-5 times total and one or two of those will be in the 6″ range. That may be harsh for someone living in Florida, but it is one of the mildest winters you’re going to find in a major Midwest city.

  19. James says:

    Duh, forgot to mention, as well as living in SD for nine years, I grew up in the Pacific Nthwst. It wasn’t the rain that drove me away, it was the gray skies that lasted forever, nothing but weeks of gray skies, reflecting on gray water, with dark green trees. If you are the slightest bit susceptible to depression, that is not the place for you.

  20. Neil says:

    Make a big change and move to Vancouver. I am in about 4 months time…just came back from there and am so VERY happy with the decision despite likely being unemployed during a recession (oy!).