Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Check out the blog where you can follow us on our adventure. Today’s storyteller is Zack Rosen, the free spirit, always smiling founder of DC-based gay blog The New Gay. He and his boyfriend Michael were our hospitable hosts when we stayed in DC.
If you haven’t submitted a story yet to IFD, or if you want to submit another one, I’d love to read and publish it. Write one up and send it in.
My name is Zack Rosen. I come from Chicago, Illinois. I do of all things want to start out by showing you guys this tattoo. A lot of people see this pretty much every day. Most people don’t know what it means to me and it’s because it actually comes from a drawing I found in my parents’ house, right before I moved to DC – which is going to be right here. And I found it just unframed, literally sitting in the coat closet, next to some boots, all raggedy on the edges and I thought it was really cool. And usually, depending on how well I know people, and they say “oh that tattoo is so cool, what is it from? And I’ll say its a piece of art I like. And if I know them kind of well, I’ll say my aunt drew it. And if I know them really well, I say my aunt drew it, she died in 1968. What really happened is that my aunt shot herself in a half way house and most people that know me – really don’t know that. It’s not one of those things that you want to tell somebody at a bar. I got this when I was trying to be more comfortable being gay and getting out in the world a little bit and negotiating some things about monogamy. So I guess, this is kind of the anti innocence tattoo.
But I grew up, like I really wasn’t out in high school. I went to college in the middle of nowhere. It took me a long time to find my footing here in DC, like dating wise, I had some bad experiences, then I had a boyfriend, so, I didn’t really have access to that large scale gay sex that people do – and all of a sudden I did. I think everyone fucks and some people act like they don’t, so I’d rather admit, yeah, I fuck. I’m not embarrassed by it. I don’t know, it’s temptation again, there’s really no debate, it’s Eve, a woman under a tree with a snake but she’s holding up a flower, its not an apple and it’s funny the different interpretations that people have of this when they see it . And really the only thing I can get from it is about temptation. This is obviously a woman that probably had a lot of temptations in her life and indulged them and I don’t know, it’s more like she’s not being given something, she’s offering it. And it’s a flower, some people interpretations are - she’s giving her flower to a snake.
Now that I think about it, it could be a very nice emblem of entering that period of my life when I stopped holding back and actually been much much happier for it. It’s a cliche when people say “Don’t regret the things I did, I regret the things I haven’t done.” I just know that every time I tried to do the right thing or be the right kind of person, or be good, or not be some gay whore, or anything, I just ended up being miserable for it for years and years and years. And I never actually though of this before how I do have this reminder on my arm of – it’s not a sin to – What do they call it? Fall? Is that what they call it? The fall. Experience is not a sin, I guess.