July 31, 2012: True Confession (4 of 10): I am a (Gay) Hoarder

          I’m here to tell you, not every hoarder is a mentally ill miscreant living in a pile of dirty diapers in a trailer park.

          Some of us are organized in our hoarding. No crap piled to the ceiling; no tight trails through which one squeezes to get to a horrorshow of a bathroom. No rotting food or cobwebs or rats. Some hoarders have running water and a working toilet and use their automobiles for driving, not for sleeping in. There are those of us who keep hauling home crap, only to tuck it tidily away in a glass case, alongside similar items, all of which we use.

It’s true that I haunt junk shops in search of dishware I don’t need and old record albums I’ll never listen to, but I don’t take them home and toss them into a towering heap of rubbish under which my dining table is buried. I put them away and enjoy the fact that I own them. Seriously: This type of hoarding is very different from the kind where one saves lint scooped from the navel of one’s first-ever boyfriend.

          Gift me with a copy of your favorite novel, and I’ll make room for your present among the 6,000-plus books I’ve carefully shelved in my upstairs library. When I run out of space for books up there, I’ll stop buying books. In the meantime, if I feel like reading a book penned by Emily Kimbrough about her post-war travels to Europe, I can. Because I’ve hoarded every one of her books—first edition hardcovers with dust jackets, too.

          Am I able to let go of any of my treasures? Certainly. Do I want to? No. Not even a little bit. But I loan out books and CDs and DVDs all the time—and every time I do, I think, “Good thing I’m a hoarder, or I wouldn’t have had that rare Japanese reissue of Rickie Lee Jones’ second album to loan to you.”

          On those TV shows about hoarders, there’s always a revelation; a moment when the overly made-up mental health professionals reveal that a tragedy in the subject’s life triggered their hoarding behavior. Fair enough. I’m guessing my tragedy came in 1965, when people—all people, everywhere—began telling me that little boys shouldn’t want to play House.

Note to mothers everywhere: If your son asks you for a Malibu Barbie, buy him one. Otherwise, corners of his home may end up looking like this:


Thing I Hate Today: The notion that we must all be in constant contact with one another


One Response

  1. dish queen

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