Average ‘Mo: Judson Morrow


While it may sometimes seem like Queerty only cares about politicians, studs and celebrities (in that order), nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we strive to include all members of the gay community, regardless of how ripped their abs are or elite their contacts. To that end, this is Average ‘Mo, where we introduce you to regular gays from around the world to discover what life is like in their neck of the woods.

Today, a Midwestern native makes his way in the big city.

Age: 26

QUEERTY: Where are you from originally?

Judson Morrow: I was born outside of Chicago but grew up in Toledo, Ohio. It’s one of the many “big” Midwestern cities that have a shell of a downtown marked by the decline of American industry. It used to be the glass production capital of the world and was hence known as The Glass City. I think our most recent claims to fame are the nation’s best Triple-A ballpark (its actually one of my favorite spots in town) and Ms. Katie Holmes—she is from there.

What prompted your move to New York?

Like all “Why I moved to NYC” stories, it requires some background. I was going to school for my Master’s in Spanish and the summer between the first and second year I taught at an academic summer camp in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I met an amazing group of people there, one of whom suggested a teaching program in NYC as a career choice after school. I applied, interviewed, got accepted and after graduating in May 2008, moved to NYC that June. Crazy thing is, I gave away all my belongings, packed what was left in two suitcases and headed for Brooklyn. Two weeks after I showed up, I decided that NYC was a good fit for the time being but that teaching here wasn’t. I had a hell of a time going back and forth about what to do and finally decided to withdraw from teaching and pursue something else. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find a great job in an area I have lots of experience (restaurants). Bam! New life in The City.

What, if anything, do you miss about home?

After moving here in June, I went back to Toledo in October and within a couple hours of getting off the plane I was at this apple orchard that I adore. It’s only a 10-minute drive from my parent’s house and it is incredible. They have a little bake shop that fills with the scent of spiced donuts and you can go out to the orchard to pick your own apples. I miss that in particular, but I also miss what it represents—space and calm. It’s much easier back home to take a break from the world. Sure, Toledo isn’t nearly as busy as NYC, but people deal with the stress of love, life, work and family wherever they are. It’s less of an effort there to just escape to the park, country or Lake Erie for a little peace.

I sometimes miss blaring music and singing in my car, and I definitely miss Mozzarella sticks from Arby’s! You have to go all the way to Herald Square for those here!


What do you do when not working?

Relax! This is the first time since I was 18 that I haven’t been going to school and working three jobs to get by. I have one job, no academic load and a lot more free time than I’m used to. I’m catching up on all the backlogged sleep, and, when not in bed, exploring the city. It’s really fun for me to just grab a book or the paper and check out some cafe or restaurant in a part of town I don’t know very well. I also really enjoy the movies. It is great to live in a place where anything you want to see is somewhere close.

At what age did you come out?

I was 16. It was an accident, but it was the lesser of two evils. Here’s the story: Right after my 16th birthday I got busted by my folks for smokin’ pot. At the time I was making my own patchwork clothes and going to see bands like “Ekoostik Hookah,” so my parents had all the reason in the world to call me out when I came home one night with these sickeningly bloodshot eyes and stunted motor skills. I got grounded for a month and was only allowed to go to work and school. However, I was still allowed to have friends over to the house. One of my “friends” at the time was this boy I was seeing. I was already out among friends and had met [this guy] through local theater or something like that.

She thought the cool winter air we were exhaling was smoke and that we were being close to hide the weed!

Anyway, one night he and I were outside in the driveway in this beautiful snowfall and, after pulling away from our goodnight kiss, I see my mom and our family dog standing on the porch, each with the same puzzled look on their face. She turned right back around and went into the house, and the boyfriend drove away. After three days of not speaking, I finally approached my mother after school and said, “Mom, I have to tell you what was happening in the driveway.” She responded, “What, that you and that boy were sharing a joint even though you are grounded for smoking pot?” I was blown away! She thought the cool winter air we were exhaling was smoke and that we were being close to hide the weed! I was forced to make a split-second decision. Which would be more disappointing to hear, I wondered, the gay thing or the drug thing? So, I just came out instead of face more jail time. In retrospect, maybe I should have stuck with her story.

Where do you like to hang out in the city?

My best friend and I work a block away from each other in Gramercy/Flatiron and we really like Xes at 24th and 7th for happy hour. We ended up there a couple Tuesday’s ago and had a blast playing Bingo hosted by the funniest drag queen ever. We also spend a decent amount of time in the East Village. He lives there and and there are more options – gay or straight — than my neighborhood in Jersey City.

Otherwise, I’m still in the exploratory phase. I have only been here eight months and find myself all over the place. Last week I visited Hartford, Connecticut, and Providence, Rhode Island, and the week before that I went skiing in the Catskills. Since I am single and a decent saver, I feel lucky to have the liberty to just pick up and do new things.

What’s the difference between the gay scene in the Midwest and the gay scene in New York?

I immediately think of the number of gay venues here versus back home. Toledo has four or five gay bars—a pretty decent number for a city of its size. In that regard, there are not really separate scenes in the way one would find a totally different group of people in Hell’s Kitchen versus on Christopher Street.

The other interesting thing is the general gayness of NYC. Being a homo isn’t delegated to a few small spaces in shady parts of town. You can meet another guy or gal about anywhere. Back home, even if you know the guy next to you at Best Buy is checking you out you are still kind of hesitant to approach…perhaps for fear of embarrassing him or offending the other people around you. I don’t think the same is true here.

I met a guy here at a children’s charity event in October. We were volunteering at different tents and just struck up a conversation. We are still friends. I met a guy at Brooklyn Brewery happy hour (that’s about as straight as you can get in all its frat party glory. I love that place!) and we are still friends too.

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  • Mark M

    I think that this is one of the best things that I have ever read on this site. Bravo.

  • thatguyfromboston

    Ain’t nothing average about that bushy Moustache. Outstanding.

  • Jaroslaw

    agreed, TGFB and he’s pretty cute for “average.” in my view.

  • drew

    yeah, this is pretty awesome

  • Viktor

    This is kind of odd. Is it that rare to be average in gay community?

  • Mark M

    @Viktor: No. But it is weird to have ‘average’ represented on this site, or most gay sites. Typically it’s the 22 year old super hunks or the super wealthy that we learn about.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Jaroslaw: Agree- he’s cute.

  • kevin (not that one)

    Way to tear down those stereotypes. “Average” still means young.

    Can I have a little less chicken with my Gay Happy Meal?

  • Mark M

    @kevin (not that one): It’s a 1/2 step in the right direction. he is 26, which is practically geriatric for this site.

  • KS

    Here’s the thing….I don’t end up “knowing” him in any sense after reading this. Like, what *is* his job? I just know he does something with restaurants, maybe.

    It feels like you just emailed him a list of questions and posted the answers. There seem to be no followup questions, even when there are obvious opportunities. For example: “In retrospect, maybe I should have stuck with her story.” — OK, so what happened after you told her?

    All-in-all, it’s a little shallow. Of course, this is Queerty, but it’d be nice to have more depth.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @KS: Agree. He’s cute so I made allowances, but the article says nothing about him that’s unique or fresh.

  • ryanarthur

    I know him! I was his camp counselor at a theatre camp when he was in high school. I remember how brave I thought he was to be out at 16 in Ohio.

  • diamondlife

    @KS & The Gay Numbers

    Talk about missing the point. I think the title, Avg ‘Mo, suggests that, simply by virtue of being, every gay man is “unique and fresh.” If you want all weepy testimonials all the time, go to Lifetime.

  • Mark M

    @diamondlife: Or that we aren’t that unique, and it’s ok. Were all a lot more alike than we think. We are all trying to earn a living, get laid, and make the world a better place. It’s a good life.

  • Gregoire

    Actually, this story is incredibly bland. This purports to be a column about ‘average’, but instead it’s about ‘ordinary’. Or rather, this guy might be interesting, but you couldn’t tell from these lame questions. Frankly, it’s all a bit WTF to me.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @diamondlife: The job of the writer is to make the story interesting no matter how ordinary. I have no idea what this person’s life is really like. I am just reading story about him. I expect that story to entertain me by being interesting. If you think that’s missing the point, so be it. But I am going still want that when reading a story regardless of what you think.

  • Cheesehead

    When I started reading this post I was convinced there had to be something unusual, interesting or curious about this guy, because why else devote a whole post to him. I still believe he’s probably a nice guy and if I met him I would find it to be a positive experience. So why was I not engaged? Because the interviewer/writer has no ability find and/or convey personality.

    Please, if you opt to continue this series, get someone else to do the interview and the writing.

  • Gregoire

    I think I would prefer a series about ordinary guys who have interesting or out-of-the-ordinary (read: unstereotypical) quirks about them. Frankly, I’m intregued by this guy’s interest in Teddy Roosevelt; however, nowhere in this article is this addressed. He’s wearing a goofy Teddy moustache, but I’m not picking up that sort of charm from the article. Just doing a series about being average is going to get old really quick. In fact it already has.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Gregoire: Exactly. Ordinary does not mean one lacks uniqueness. I also would love to understand the stache.

  • Walter Martin

    The Slide, dubbed by the Press, another Gotham newspaper of the day, as the “wickedest place in New York,” was probably indeed the most disreputable of the turn-of-the century establishments we would now call gay, but it was not the only one. In the area that runs up from Bleecker to West Third, from Sixth Avenue to as far east as Broadway, historians as well as tales passed down from one generation to the next document a vibrant outcropping of establishments that served men and women who enjoyed same-sex desire-including cheap restaurants, saloons, and tea rooms-and sat close by brothels of a more traditional kind as well as Catholic churches that served the neighborhood’s emerging working class Italian-American community. By 1925, at the northwest corner of Bleecker and MacDougal Streets, the neighborhood supported a tonier watering hole, the San Remo, that for decades to come drew what cultural historian Steven Watson has called “the younger generation of bohemians,” a group that could also be thought of as perhaps proto-metrosexuals-including Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Frank O’Hara, Larry Rivers, Gore Vidal, Dorothy Day, Miles Davis, Jackson Pollack, James Agee, and Jack Kerouac. * * * But Bohemia proved resilient in the South Village, and by the early 20th century the dives of the 1900s were supplemented by a more varied array of establishments probably more recognizable to the modern gay eye. Gay speakeasies arose and in many cases survived for decades, and institutions that would grow to have important influence in the development of modern gay culture-such as the Provincetown Playhouse, on [133] MacDougal Street-emerged. For all we know, at the San Remo, Merce Cunningham and Gore Vidal may have argued bitterly over whether they were a pair of gay men, or merely “homosexualists,” to borrow the iconoclastic author’s preferred formulation. And by 1958, a new generation of gay New Yorkers was at it, this time at 31 Carmine Street, with the establishment of Café Cino, a coffee house that Dolkart writes “became the birthplace of the Off-Off-Broadway theater movement.” There young gay dramatists, including William Hoffman, Robert Patrick, Doric Wilson, and Lanford Wilson first won attention, along with what Patrick, in an interview with On the Purple Circuit’s Michael Dale, described as “the odd straight playwrights like John Guare [and] Sam Shepard.”

  • craigsauer

    The mustache seems to be part of a costume, no?

  • The Gay Numbers

    @craigsauer: Since they don’t tell us, we would be just guessing.

  • Liz

    I think he and his stash are sexy!

  • scott

    i thought it was interesting.

    i think maybe queerty should rethink this and make it 10 questions with your average mo. And make it the same 10 questions. With maybe 1 extra crazy, arbitrary question.

Comments are closed.