Pandemic, Privilege & Party Boys

For Auld Lang Syne

It’s over. 2020 has sashayed away. 2021 is finally here. But as expected, our lives did not drastically change when the clock struck midnight on January 1st.

That song did play though. You know what song I’m talking about. That song that we’ve all heard at midnight on New Year’s Eve every year of our lives: Auld Lang Syne. We’ve all sung it mindlessly.

Do you know what that song means? I didn’t. I had no clue. I just knew it was tradition. Well, I looked it up. According to ClassicFM.com, “The most accurate plain English interpretation of the Auld Lang Syne’s famous title is ‘Old long since’, or ‘For the sake of old times’. The song itself is reflective in nature and is basically about two friends catching up over a drink or two, their friendship having been long and occasionally distant.”

After learning the meaning of the song, I discovered my wish for all of us in 2021. I wish we all live this year with Auld Lang Syne in our hearts. In case that sounds too flowery for you, let me break it down: For old times’ sake, sit your ass down somewhere, preferably in your own home(town).

We are entering the tenth month of this worldwide pandemic. For ten months, we have been asked repeatedly to stay home to curb the spread of Covid-19. To travel only if absolutely necessary. To avoid group events as much as possible. Ten months later and it is still not a pretty picture. Many cities are experiencing spikes in cases. Hospitals are filling up. Cities are locking down again. Yet many gays saw New Year’s Eve as an opportunity to pack up and get away and party. A frustrating sight, to say the least.

Well, I’m over it. And I’m not the only one. Many people are using social media as a weapon. Instagram profiles such as @gaysovercovid and Twitter accounts such as @canceledgays are making it their mission to expose people who are ignoring guidelines for a good time.

The people behind those accounts found the secret addresses for parties, put them online and had those events shut down or forced the planners to move their events. They made memes out of the unfortunate sinking of a party boat in Puerto Vallarta.

Meanwhile, on the other side, the revelers are working hard to expose the ones who exposed them. In my personal opinion, the fact that something like circuit parties and mass gatherings has divided our community so much is pretty sad.

Look, I get it. I miss it too. I miss the joy of booking a trip somewhere and the growing excitement as the trip approaches. I miss the thrill of seeing a new city and meeting new people. I miss getting to act a fool because I’m in a place where no one knows me. I miss the feeling of being on a dance floor where the music is bonding me with everyone else surrounding me and just letting go. I miss all of that terribly.

I also understand that being able to miss all of that comes from a place of privilege. With privilege though comes responsibility. Like it or not, we are responsible for how all of this plays out.

This pandemic has robbed so many people of so many things. Careers have been put on hold. Businesses have been shuttered. People have lost their lives. Read that again. Many people did not have the privilege of choosing a pleasant outcome. So, if I need to sacrifice vacations and parties to stop the spread of this disease and so much loss, I’ll do it.  I humbly ask that you do the same.

Many people reading this will be offended. Frankly, I don’t care.

Eventually, I want to be able to catch up with the many friends and family members that I wasn’t able to spend time with in 2020 over a drink or two. When that time comes, I want those friends and family members to still be here.  For that reason, now and for as long as it takes, I’ll “tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.”

Happy 2021 to you all!

Jason Shavers is a born and raised Pittsburgh native. He is an actor that has worked extensively on stage and not so extensively on screen. Jason is also a self proclaimed expert on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Musical Theater and sitcoms that feature 4 women leads. Yeah, he’s gay AF. Follow him on Instagram. (He / Him / His)