I got nothing against Facebook. Me and my 450 “friends” are there. If I’m trying to finagle work, or, say, hip myself to the gay scene here in L.A., I check in on that particular social-networking site.
But I’m from Sandusky, Ohio, and my roots are on MySpace. I was the first in my family to go to college, which means that only scattered flecks of my fam fall within the walled garden that is Facebook.
My more upwardly mobile friends insist that MySpace reeks of 2005. To me, though, that site functions as a reality touchstone. MySpace feels homey. It’s the downscale community I have to visit if I want to hear my nephew’s newest hip-hop rhymes. Excuse the classic reference, but MySpace is to Facebook what Mt. Pilot was to Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show; it’s an off-the-board burb where some mess is most likely going down.
Instead of getting Barney on the case, a guy like me just calls up MySpace.
Let’s fess up, though: Until recently, I tended to see both MySpace and Ohio as simple, even backward places from my past. But that was before I rifled through my one old-school friends list and came upon the page of my half-niece from Lorain. Lorain is something like a big-brother town to Sandusky with a population of nearly 70,000. My new niece’s MySpace name as of this writing was: Mz.Freaky…and a string of other hot words that need not be included here.
Freaky Luv, as in queer love. In out-of-the-way Lorain, Ohio. Oh, snap.
I have a hard time imagining the granddaughter of my late Ghetto Celebrity father living out and proud in small-town Middle America. But that’s just what this chick is doing. I reached out to, again, get hip, and after a couple of exchanges, it was clear that her lifestyle has a lot in common with the West Coast gay scene.
Which is bad and good, I guess. But, most of what my 19-year-old niece shared was bad. She gave me a glimpse into an Ohio life that’s way worse than the one I fled when I turned 18: “No hopes are here for the children,” Mz.Freaky wrote me. “All the jobs are gone, so hey…I keep looking up at the top and still don’t see niggas rising any higher.”
She was born and raised in low-income housing. She always considered herself bisexual. “Living with NO!!! father around—just in and out—was ruff,” she wrote, “but I always knew I was that different type of kat, looking for love. So the streets grabbed me.”