Uncle Poodle: You Are Not a Victim, You Are Equally Responsible
Fuck you, Uncle Poodle.
So a character on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, a reality series on TLC, has announced that he is HIV positive. Cool. He’s healthy, he’s happy, he’s out and proud. And as gay guys on reality television series go? He’s okay. Real. A little squirrely (more weasel/otter, actually), but a very real person. Okay, maybe a little too real, if you know what I mean – but that’s what you get with a reality series . I enjoyed the episode where he came over to help Honey Boo Boo with her pageant choreography. He is not a choreographer, but because he’s gay, everyone in the family bestows upon him the gift of… dance? I guess that is what you could call it. It was sweet and endearing to watch. And ridiculous and a bit cringe inducing, especially when he took it upon himself to don the little girl’s tiara and hobble around in a pair of high heels.
For those unfamiliar with the show – the cameras follow the adventures of a family of small town, southern rednecks; in particular the kiddie pageant exploits of its youngest member, affectionately known as Honey Boo Boo. Honey Boo Boo is a little butter ball of energy (mostly supplied by Go-Go Juice – a combination of Red Bull and Mountain Dew, if I remember correctly) whose mouth will spout the cutest things and on occasion something akin to wisdom. The little girl is long on sass and short in the beauty/talent departments. That said, she is a good soul. At one point, asked what she thought of her gay uncle, she declared her love for him and stated that “everybody is a little gay”. Gay makes no difference to Honey Boo Boo or the rest of the clan; family is family.
Someday, way in the future, I can imagine a grown Honey Boo Boo, still clinging to that name and, at best, serving as the Grand Marshal at gay pride parades, or at, at worst, appearing at your local strip club as a featured dancer. A little sad, but ahhh… the price of fame, am I right?
I thought it sad, but gutsy for Uncle Poodle to come forward and state his status. Of course, he has done so in the hopes of getting his own reality show, but that is sort of beside the point. I think a reality show depicting the everyday realities of being positive, southern and gay man would be rather interesting. Uncle Poodle, based on what I have seen, does not come from money, nor does he have a typical TV gay career; to my knowledge he is not a lawyer, marketing specialist, ad exec, trust fund baby, party/wedding/event planner, hairdresser, etc. He’s just a regular Joe. White trash, even. He also plans on serving as a spokesperson for safesex and promote anti-bullying measures (he declared publicly a bit back that he had been bullied as a kid).
But then I read how he became poz and his reaction to it.
Apparently, a boyfriend of his did not disclose his status when they started fucking. I’m not sure just how long a relationship we are talking about, but when Uncle Poodle came up poz and the boyfriend confessed – guess what? Uncle Poodle did what he felt it was the right thing to do and had his boyfriend arrested. The boyfriend is currently serving five years in prison.
Why does this upset me?
Because it is so easy to paint ourselves the victim and not take any responsibility for our own actions. Sorry, but if you are fucking without a condom and come up poz, just whose fault is that? Hmmm? It seems to me that Uncle Poodle was fifty percent of that particular decision-making process. And it is one thing to blame someone else for something you chose to do, but it is another whole thing to have someone arrested and put in prison for something you share the responsibility for. In as much as this boyfriend ‘ruined’ Uncle Poodle’s life, Uncle Poodle has ruined this man’s life.
So, just how ‘ruined’ is Uncle Poodle’s life? Well, he will need health insurance that is for sure. Those meds are expensive. But they exist and are very effective. Yes, I know some people have developed resistance to them, that some people have trouble taking their meds on a regular basis, and that, yes, some people continue to die of HIV/AIDS. And yes, they say that getting the virus automatically cuts 10 years from your life (not sure what that is based on, but that is the word). However, most people, with access to medical care, are able to manage the virus quite well and live healthy, productive lives.
But back to that responsibility thing… you dance with the devil; you may on occasion get burned. And when you do, be a man about it and accept the fact that YOU made a bad choice and have to pay the price. While I see the value of putting away sex offenders and poz people who are purposely going around and attempting to infect people, I don’t have a feeling that is the case here with Uncle Poodle. I think this is a case where a little alcohol was probably involved, initially, at least, and one thing led to another and before you know it you got two homos going at it. Fine. Did they have the conversation? Did Uncle Poodle ask? Let’s say ‘yes’. Guess what? People lie. People don’t disclose.
As someone who frequently has unprotected sex with others, I realize that even if the dude I am with tells me he’s ‘clean’, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not poz. Because of the gestation period with this virus varies so greatly, sometimes, people just don’t know their status. Some don’t want to know. But I know… because I am an adult, take responsibility for my actions, and have lived in the real world for quite a while now – that people lie. It then becomes my choice to believe them. It then becomes my choice to offer up my ass and let them fuck me without a condom. That risk? That’s my choice and as an adult, who knows better, who knows that HIV exists, and that people lie about their status… I need to take responsibility for MY ACTIONS, no matter what the outcome may be. No going back the morning after and trying to rewrite history. No painting ourselves the victim.
So, that’s at the heart of what upsets me about Uncle Poodle and his HIV status. I can see this being a civil matter. The boyfriend should be held accountable for up to fifty percent of the medical costs incurred due to his negligence. But jail time? This was not a case of rape. This was not a case of there being a power imbalance. This was consensual sex, between two adults who were in a relationship long enough to confer the term ‘boyfriend’ upon one another. So what does locking this dude away accomplish? Well, I suppose if he was stupid enough to not disclose to one poor sap, then he would probably do it to someone else. So maybe this will prevent that from happening. But know what? The same 50-50 split regarding responsibility once again would go into effect and if someone chose to fuck him without a condom, then that person is equally responsible for the outcome.
I think there is a special kind of karma for people, such as Uncle Poodle, who want to play the victim and refuse to take responsibility for their actions. Just as there is for those who lie about their status.
And every time I think society has its little pointed head wrapped around what this disease is all about – as in, all the lessons we are to learn as human beings, I read another Uncle Poodle story, and it makes me realize how far we as a community and society have yet to go.
So, fuck you, Uncle Poodle. Grow the fuck up and take responsibility for your choices.