When I read online dating sites, I always see singles looking for someone with the exact similar interests. Why? When I meet someone, I want to meet someone with different interests. I already have my interests. Who wants to go out with himself, even if the sex is good?
I like to learn new stuff. When I first met Sophia, I used to laugh at two of her main interests — now I’m totally into them on my own. They are — and I can hear the gaydar going off all across America — "All My Children" and Professional Figure Skating.
Like most prime-time TV watchers, I always thought of soap operas as second-tier entertainment, produced to sell Tide Detergent to housewives. I remember some girls watching "General Hospital," back in high school, but I never heard of a straight man watching a soap opera.
As a writer, I also pooh-poohed the supposed absurd stories of soap operas, the ones they would parody on Saturday Night Live, of evil twins and amnesia and people coming back from "the dead." But then I started watching it with Sophia. She’s been watching All My Children for years. And I started getting into it. For seven years, we watched it every night. And now that I’m on my own, I still Tivo it every day. Most of my conversations with Sophia on the phone still begin with, "Did you see ‘All My Children’ today?
Of course, I realize that most of the plotlines are silly and I’m usually laughing at the bad acting. But that’s part of the fun. I probaby could also develop a drinking game for guessing the exact moment when one character accidentally "overhears" some secret or walks into a room just at the most inopportune time.
All in all, the writing is pretty good and I would definitely recommend watching some soaps to my screenwriting friends. There is a lot of skill used in keeping a viewer involved in a subplot for six months. I think I also like the fact that everyone in Pine Valley seems to have had sex or been married to each other, and they are still friends. If only life was so easy.
Currently, the big subplot is about the return of Dixie, Tad’s wife. But is she Dixie or really Di Kirby, her half-sister, fooling everyone? And will Babe, Dixie’s ex-daughter-in-law learn the truth and expose her, winning back the trust of J.R., Dixie’s son, and the heart of Jamie, Babe’s ex-boyfriend and brother of J.R.? Got it?
It took a good deal more convincing to get me interested in Figure Skating. Before Sophia, the only time I ever watched figure skating was during the Olympics, and other than Michelle Kwan and Dorothy Hamill, I couldn’t name another skater. Sophia watched every championship on TV, but it usually bored me. Then, one year, for her birthday, I took her to the week-long U.S. Championships in Salt Lake City. It was pretty amazing seeing these athletes up close. And Michelle Kwan was pretty beautiful to watch. I learned about all the categories and levels of figure skating. We sat with a group of women (groupies, more accurately) who travelled the world going from one competition to another, similar to Deadheads following the Grateful Dead. They were fun and knowledgeable, although they sometimes made me feel uncomfortable when they talked about some 16 year old Junior Male Champion’s "nice ass."
After Salt Lake, we went to a few other championships, including those in Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. In 2003 we went to the World Figure Skating Championship In Washington D.C., where we saw the best in the world. Seeing the Chinese skating pair of Xue Shen and Honbo Zhao was one of the most thrilling sports moments I’d ever seen. They got a ten minute standing ovation.
Sophia, being Russian, especially enjoyed the artistry of the Russian skaters, particularly Evgeni Plushenko.
We tried to root for the Jewish skaters, but unfortunately former skating champion Michael Weiss is one of the least ilikeable skaters in America. However, when at the World Champinship, we started seeing flags of different countries being displayed during the competition, Sophia (who lived in Israel for several years) dragged me all across Washington D.C. until we found what we were looking for in Union Station to support Israeli Ice Dancers Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovski:
All My Children? Figure Skating? I know… gay stuff. I’m not even going to start telling you about my large CD collection of show tunes. Thank God I have those Dolce & Gabbana pants from the last post, because no one would ever mistake me for being gay when I wear those.