Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ronald and Me

There are places where fitness really have no place. Supersize Me clearly demonstrated that McDonalds food IS NOT good for you. Nevertheless, McDonalds is attempting to give itself a new image by changing the ever jovial baggy-suited clown, Ronald, into a buff example of clownishness by dressing him in a fitted jumpsuit and showing him being active. Surely a fit, well-dressed (relatively speaking) jester violates some clown code.

Despite all the cultural violations Ronald-the-stud creates, I personally am happy to see it. I’ve had a crush on Ronald as long as I can remember and now I can imagine just what it is I’m lusting. As a gay child in a small town in the 70’s there were no gay role models for me to emulate, but I remember hearing a news story about the actor who played Ronald McDonald being gay. Suddenly, I had someone to whom I could tie my emerging desires. It was tied by the narrowest thread, but since then, every time I’ve seen Ronald in a commercial or at a child’s birthday party, a thought has flashed across my mind: “You’re gay just like me.”

In the 70’s in south Texas that was a milestone. I was so insulated that I didn’t even know what begin gay meant, but I knew when I heard it, that somehow it applied to me. As I struggled with that identity it became so hard to be comfortable with myself in any form. I had some of the usually crushes on characters of the time – Luke Skywalker, Richie Cunningham, not Ponch, but Jon on C.H.iP.s, and Andy Travis on WKRP in Cincinnati, but with Ronald there was something special. Asking to go to McDonalds was expected, but being concerned about Jon’s well being after an episode when he wrecks the motorcycle was not quite the same. Holding onto any connection kept me living from day to day. Maybe Ronald was not much of a connection to the fantasy land of homosexuality, but it was enough.

It took me 33 years, but I finally was able to make the leap from small town to the fantasy land. And now a few years later, I find out I finally get to see Ronald’s form and maybe even check out his butt. Certainly it is not the same actor, but I can still look and have that thought, “You’re gay just like me.”

Now we just need to do something about that hair….

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