2007 Gay/Straight Story of the Year: Larry Craig

One of the embarrassing details Gay Guy knows about me is that I harbor a serious phobia of public restrooms. I received a top-notch education from public schools, but was left emotionally scarred by some restroom and locker room experiences which clearly violated the Geneva Convention. These were not overtly sexual situations, but both environments existed in a sort of post-apocalyptic lawlessness where all of society's standards faded away. In high school, I experienced the dread and terror of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," delivered in several five-minute episodes each week.

Have you ever wandered into a public restroom and wondered about the graffiti, doorless stalls, and other inexplicable damage? I never wonder, because I somehow survived the filthy anarchy which can surprisingly be found only a cinderblock's width away from a perfectly sublime HomeEc lesson on muffin making. I have seen the biker gangs, zombie hordes, and flying monkeys who make these unwatched restrooms their home.

I may be exaggerating slightly about the biker gangs and muffins, but you get the idea.

Gay Guy carries a fraction of my baggage in this regard and because we work together, we have instituted safeguards similar to those in use at the executive branch of our government. In the same way that the President and Vice President are never allowed to simultaneously travel on Air Force One, Gay Guy and I will never use the men's room on our floor at the same time. If some unspeakable tragedy were to occur at 30,000 feet (or in our case, in stall #3), the continuity of leadership must be preserved.

All this is prelude to say that Senator Larry Craig is off his rocker. I can more easily imagine my leg mistakenly wandering into the Korean DMZ than I can imagine accidentally slipping my foot under a restroom partition and brushing up against someone else. The demarcations are that clear to me. In a public restroom, I am keenly aware of which parts of me are touching parts of anything else... I often flush with my shoe, for crying out loud.

Other than his wide stance, the other major claim he makes is that he also was unknowingly slipping his hand under the partition. Not in an effort to make contact with someone else, mind you, but, as all public servants should, to clean up scattered pieces of toilet paper -- of unknown origin -- with his bare hands.

As GG can attest, I am no neat freak. But... umm... please pass me that Purell. Thank you.

Gay Guy, here's the latest update on Craig from the Idaho Statesman. I'm not into outing anyone who wants to keep a secret, but what is up with this dude? Like Dumbledore, your team can have him if you want him, but I'm not sure he's a top pick... for either side.

Happy New Year.

--Straight Guy

I'm only ever gonna write 'muff' once...

Straight Guy,

Put this "handwarmer" on the top of my wish list.

I don't normally watch football, but for the sake of good drama, I watched the Pats game tonight.

Oh my. If I only had known the NFL had opened a design arm. It's a man bag, it's a muff, it's an overnight bag. It's a codpiece. It's hilarious.

Can't Tom Brady just trot over to the sidelines and warm his hands over a bonfire?

Didn't Zsa Zsa Gabor often wear something similar?

--Gay Guy

New Year, New You! Size 8 available!

Gay Guy,

Through the miracle of czechoslovakian hip-hop web retail, I've found a suitable replacement for your size 8 wish list [Nov post]. Velcro goes with denim or slacks, too! I can't read czech, but think they are a steal at 3990 korunas!

No need to thank me. Turns out my grandfather was way ahead of his time on this fashion trend... these were his "club" shoes. But he probably meant for shopping at Sam's Club.

--Straight Guy

Santa: Wintry but Fair Weather Friend

Happy Holidays, Straight Guy,

Your post about “Rudolph” hit it right on the (red) nose. The film is about tolerating difference. The North Pole’s denizens learn to tolerate that Rudolph is different, and more importantly Rudolph learns to tolerate his own frozen-fish-out-of-water feelings. When I was growing up, watching Rudolph and other TV Christmas specials was an event. We anticipated the fulfillment of the prophecy of its coming with a religious zeal appropriate for the season.

Waiting for Rudolph filled me with anticipation… and dread.
I remember the basics of the film’s plot, but what I remember most was how icky inside it made me feel. Rudolph’s difference and how keenly he and all of the other reindeer felt it was splayed naked on the TV screen. I wanted to make myself invisible during the scenes of Rudolph’s humiliation at the hooves of those nasty little boy deer, the ones who used to laugh and call him names. It was painful to watch. Couldn’t they just leave Rudolph alone?

Let me tell you, Santa does not come out of this story looking good, either. In fact, I think he’s the worst offender --he’s the head human in the story after all. He tolerates, even celebrates, Rudolph’s otherness only after he’s figured out a way to milk it for personal and professional gain. That’s when Rudolph becomes the most popular of the reindeer.
So my disappointment in learning the inevitable about Santa had already been softened by figuring out that he was kind of a bigot. [Here's CampJinx with the proof.]

Why does all this still matter? Rudolph was different, and I’ve never met another gay man who didn’t grow up with some unlabeled free floating feeling of being different. Different like Rudolph. Just switch out the nose. Maybe that’s why some of us wait to cozy up and watch Rudolph, and some of us can’t change the channel fast enough.

Give me the Grinch any day.

--Gay Guy

He's here. He's a deer. Get used to it!

Happy Holidays, Gay Guy

Clue me in on the LGBTQ cult of Hermie the elven dentist and the Island of Misfit Toys.

I mentioned the Dumbledore controversy. You brought up (and can't seem to forget) Hairspray. Both feature themes of self-acceptance and tolerance. Aren't they both contemporary Rudolph stories? Don't all of these stories feature protagonists whose "parents" try to keep their special capabilities hidden from the world? Don't they each find success and happiness
only when they finally embrace their "otherness"?

Was there ever a more sad and tragic, yet innuendo-laden catch phrase as "Nobody wants to play with a Charlie-in-the-Box!"?

Hope you get what you want this year... Maybe Santa can find something in an imperfect size 8 from the Island of Misfit Man-Boots for you.

Safe travels.

--Straight Guy

Breakfast+Lunch=Brunch... Lunch+Supper=Lupper?

Gay Guy,

I agree that there is a gay/straight divide over brunch, but I don't think it's that complicated to figure out why. My guess is that gays like a fancy meal (brunch is fancier than either breakfast or lunch alone). And most straight guys are reluctant to cut back on the number of meals per day (leave breakfast and lunch alone!).

We straights attend brunch from time to time, but we rarely plan them ourselves. I can't think of a brunch that wasn't necessitated by circumstances beyond my control, including:
  • my wife
  • my mother
  • oversleeping
  • the smell of hot waffles and bacon
When I'm there, the food is usually great and I'm not complaining (unless this happens). It's not that we don't like morning foods – even at mid-day or night. I respect any menu headlined "Breakfast Served 24 Hours a Day."

Slowly back away from the frittata, GG.

Go ahead, order double hash-browns and bacon. In fact, meet me at IHOP in 20 minutes. Scrambled eggs and toast for you, Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity for me.

Hey, wait a minute...

--Straight Guy

Would a Bloody Mary Sound More Butch?

Yesterday, Gay Guy had brunch with DK, a wonderful straight guy, though not the eponymous Straight Guy of this blog. (I've always wanted to use the word 'eponymous'... )

I've noticed that straight men never seem to say that they are going to brunch or that they have been to brunch. 'Brunch' doesn't seem to be part of the straight male dictionary. Or at least the abridged version.

SG, help me out here. Do straight men abstain from brunch? Am I sitting at a gays-only table? Is brunch, both noun and verb, one of the remaining gay/straight divides? Or do you gents just have a fear of saying 'mimosa' out loud?

I've checked with DK. He says he is not afraid to openly brunch.

I'm a bad gay. I am not a huge brunch fan, mostly because I am just as happy with two eggs scrambled and toast. Plus, starting the day with a lunch product seems unpalatable. Salmon is a post-night-fall food. But, I know that brunch sounds festive and urban. For a fun read on brunch, read on.

But, whether it was brunch or just an early-Sunday-afternoon frittata mash-up, DK showed up in fabulous new leather sneakers. He was worried that they were not sufficiently cool. They only need breaking in, I assured him.

DK's shoe question inspired us to jot down some shoe guidelines for men of both orientations. Unlike our Congress, we reached across the aisle in bipartisan support of the following sartorial policies. We hold these truths to be self-evident, but, like federal politics, it's always good to start with the obvious.

  • Do not be afraid to wear dress shoes with jeans -- add a blazer for maximum impact (GG and DK)
  • Do not wear dress shoes with jeans that have holes or tears (DK)
  • Do not wear dress shoes with jeans that are heavily distressed (GG). (Do not wear heavily distressed jeans, period.)
  • Most importantly, do not run in dress shoes. Unless you are Pierce Brosnan in The World is Not Enough, let the elevator go up without you, let the light turn red. Running in dress shoes is bad for your look (GG) and bad for your shoes (DK)

In other sartorial news, Gay Guy finally went online to buy that pair of Kenneth Cole ankle boots he'd been lusting after. Alas, no more size 8s. Why do so many stylish men have a size 8 foot?

Over to you SG. . .

Liner Notes

Straight Guy,

Was this fashion trend on your radar screen?

I guess it was happening right under my nose. Well, more like under my eye.

I'm really more of a sucker for long lashes myself.


A Whorl of Difference

Gay Guy,

Great posts. But I need a rest. I am recovering from the multi-front assault of
  • smocking
  • pinky rings
  • ass appetizers
  • gaydar and gay sonar (who knew?)
  • hair whorls
I can only say that if you even know what a hair whorl is, you are probably gay already and evaluating whether it spins clockwise or counter clockwise is superfluous at best. Especially if you have a little hand mirror handy to help.

Do the whorls reverse for gays in Australia, by the way?

Signing off to bump "Hairspray" down a bit on my Netflix list. Oh geez, there's "300!" What do we think about that, GG? Double feature?

--Straight Guy

What's rick rack?

Readers Gay and Straight,

I had a number of questions asking, "What's rick rack?"

I can see the demise of home ec education in America's public schools.

Get crafty with rick rack! Here's the basics. As with all things, a little can be lovely, but know when to quit.

Don't make me explain smocking.


Don we now our gay apparel

Hi, Straight Guy,

I agree with you about not understanding the buzz about Dumbledore being gay. I dimly remember my gaydar
going off when I read about Dumbledore’s relationship with Gellert Grindelwald. The ‘Aha!’ moment: Dumbledore’s story is about a man entangled emotionally with another man who can’t properly reciprocate the feelings. Hmmm.... Where have I heard this phrase before?

But, I can tell you what’s not gay about Dumbledore, at least in the movie still of Michael Gambon that you posted --- that Wizard’s What Not to Wear get-up. No gay man in Hollywood designed, sewed, or filmed that outfit. Especially the hat. Just when you thought it was safe to live in a world free from rick rack...

I don’t care if the robe is purple. It’s not gay. (The pinky ring is another story... a gay one.)

Since I’m on the topic of gays on film, last weekend I rented the musical Hairspray. Oh my: Hairspray is the gayest movie I have seen since I don’t know when. Gay, gay, gay.

Hairspray doesn't have a gay character. It doesn’t have a gay plot line. It’s probably the only movie ever made about high school that resists a punch line in which a gay person is the butt of the joke.

It does, however, have the best ass shots on memorable mainstream film. Maybe not since Dirty Dancing has the rear view perspective been so well rounded. In Hairspray the sexuality is younger and more authentic. Lots of young male dancers shaking it in 60s pegged trousers or khakis.

Some of the shots are wide and show a chorus line of dancers, their asses lined up like appetizers on a party platter. Some of the shots are butt close ups. Magical moments when you can feel the loving lingering of the lens as it gazes over the back end of a pair of slim cuts.

So, Hairspray is a gay movie even though it lacks a gay character because, unlike in Harry Potter, a confederacy of gay men in costuming, wardrobe, behind the camera, and in the editing booth sent out a celluloid sonar wave: attention gays, attention gays, attention gays.

It’s good to have friends in the wardrobe department.

About a year ago, my friend MW and I went to the theater. One of the actorws in they play had the worst fitting pair of trousers I’vewe'd ever seen. Ever. Up his crack, loose in the wrong places, too tight everywhere else. Not just in one scene, but every scene. It was arena staging so that mis-clad ass was unavoidable.

As soon as the lights came up for intermission, my friend and I turned to each other and said in unison: “What the hell is up with those pants?" I still wonder who in costuming he scorned or pissed off.

I’d like to continue the discussion about Dumbledore. More later.

In the meantime, check out the science of gaydar (best defined here). Grab a hand mirror and take the test for yourself. Hair whorls. Who knew?

--Gay Guy

Dumbledore Gay? Who knew? Who cares?

pinky ring proves it!

Hey, Gay Guy,

As someone who is gay and has read all seven books, please let me know what the big deal is. I'm still back in book four, before Hogwarts changed curriculum, I guess. But as far as I know, Dumbledore was pretty asexual. In fact, I can't really think of a wizard who was ever really workin' it.

Witches are another story, they run the gamut from Margaret Hamilton in the Wizard of Oz to Nicole Kidman, who played a witch in both Practical Magic and Bewitched.

Because I am straight, I do not know much about these movies. But my point is proven by the existence of sexywitchcostume.com, while "sexy wizard" googles to almost nothing.

If this is a "team pride" sort of thing, please accept Dumbledore with our best wishes. Hey, you can have Gandalf, too.

--Straight Guy

It's not whether you're gay or straight... It's how you say "the game"

GG, just back from Thanksgiving break, sorry for the delayed response. I thought of you from my vacation cabin in the Tennessee mountains as we lowered our turkey into the deep fryer and cracked open a canned beer. Sound familiar? I thought not, but back to the topic at hand...

Well Gay Guy, I cannot crack the mystery of "Game Talk" for you. I admit that using the generic "the game" is a bit of shorthand... but whatever game we are talking about is completely obvious to us. I am no standard bearer in this regard, there are many with more sports on their brains. But, as a rule of thumb, I think I would know what "game" was classified as "the game" on a given day. Here's a breakdown:
  • Home teams in season are the safest bet (if this makes no sense to you, then we'll need to do some remedial work)
  • Championship or playoff games are also acceptable, whatever your market
  • On Tuesday, we are talking about Monday Night Football
  • If you are still grasping, say something definitive ("I hate the Yankees," for example) and see if the conversation takes off
  • Slightest chance we may be talking about Iron Chef, but never Project Runway
--Straight Guy

Got Game?

“Did you see the game?”

“What about that game?”

I’m never quite sure what to think about “sports talk.” Or, to be more precise, talking about “the game.”

This is how it works: One guy says to another guy something like, “Did you see the game?” Or, “What did you think about the game?” Or, “How about that game?” And, faster than I could say “what game?” the guys are in an animated exchange reliving “the game.”

Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy that people have interests and hobbies. I’m happy that people like sports. And, I know that sports are not the gay/straight divide, but, Straight Guy, explain to me when “How ‘bout that game?” (or “Who you following?) is the sure fire, one percent safe opening line between straight men.

Over to you, Straight Guy


There's no place like Applebee's, There's no place like Applebee's...

OK. So I admit I was out of my element. GG did a great job at the game, only stumbling for a moment while seriously pondering his options for import beers. God forbid something from the Anheuser-Busch corporation should pass his lips. And the rest of the group was heavily invested in the wine deal, so off we go.

My "safe place" in scenarios like this is a corner seat against the wall, so job #1 was to strong-arm several intimidating ladies out of the way to grab my seat. Bottles of whatever-new were on the table in a flash. Never celebrated the uncorking before, but I guess it's a big deal. They do this world-wide, always right before Thanksgiving.

Never left my seat, but had a good time. There are a lot of easy conversation starters in a place like this (Point and say: "What's his deal?"). The owner and other patrons were more than generous with the wine. But the dancing wasn't nearly as "sleazy" as the host kept mandating.

From my observation point, I can confirm that dancing to an AC/DC remix while wrapped in toilet paper has all the gay panache of a NASCAR post-race party. I agree with GG that it's best to keep your wits about you when wine-blitzed partiers (of any orientation) start grabbing power tools... and if so, quickly move from the corner seat to a table by the door.

Geez, now it's "panache." GG, leave my vocabulary alone!

-- Straight Guy

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrive!

Last evening was a modest, but fun, outing for Gay Guy and Straight Guy. It pretty much ran the spectrum of the gay/straight experience.

GG/SG got tickets to the basketball game and headed down to the arena. Two beers, one victory, but no "Priceless" MasterCard moment later, we were out on the sidewalk waiting for a friend.

A bunch of work colleagues, also at the game, encouraged us to join them at a bar. Probably what they used to call a 'beer garden.' I think the place is a chain. I imagine it as big as a barn, made to look like it's a century old, very clubby. Lots of after work crowd crowding around after work. Guys in ties. Straight people on the romantic hunt.

Our friend nix'd the beer garden fast. Nope. Wine. Le Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrive! Big wine day. So, we're off to a small French wine bar on the edge of 'boystown' to celebrate. I can tell SG would really prefer to huddle down with a beer, but we're off for the new wine.

It was pretty fun. Small dark bar, too much wine. Pretty women. Pretty boys. Good music. Dancing. Girls and boys dancing, boys and boys dancing, girls and girls dancing. For some reason, dancing with swags of toilet paper. . . .

Best moment for me was the host/emcee -- this guy dancing on the bar. He popped up on the bar with what looked like a power tool in his hand. Turned out to be a worklight, which he pointed to the ceiling to catch the light of a disco ball bolted there. You gotta admire anyone who can turn a stationary disco ball into something fabulous. That's my people. Glitter and be gay. And, let's face it, when a gay guy shows up with what looks like a power tool in his hand, you gotta pay attention.


--Gay Guy

What's a Doublet?

If GG thinks he can walk around town dressed like Errol Flynn's Robin Hood and not expect a sideways glance, he's out of his mind. Remember that even back in the day, Errol had to carry a deer carcass across his shoulders to offset the waxed mustache, tights, and assorted fripperies of his costume. If he had been wearing "Show Tune Boots"... game over.

Still, get them. But not for wearing with shorts.

And yes, I said "fripperies." Probably not in the Abbreviated Straight Dictionary, but no foul either, right?.

--Straight Guy

Shoes Make the Man?

Gay Guy Here,

Oh, Straight Guy, you are so funny. And timely, too.

Just at the moment you were selecting Kenneth Cole as one of my essential links (Note: I am a perfect Kenneth Cole size 8 shoe), I was pondering this pair of beauties online.

Freaky, isn't it. The timing, that is, not the ankle boots.

Ankle boots. Yep, this is pretty much what it's all about for me: I want it, but can I pull it off without being some bad gay guy stereotype? I just don't want to look like Peter Pan or Robin Hood. Peter Pan for obvious creepy reasons. Robin Hood might be okay, but only if I'm the Errol Flynn version, not some Disney fox in green doublet.

All this is to ask, Can shoes be gay? Straight?

Oh, and to make the boots even more perfect, they are called "Show Tune."

--Gay Guy

The Rules

Hello all,

We have no idea what we are doing here, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. We'll have a bit of back and forth, and hopefully your comments will add to the discussion.

Just so you know "straight posts" will be in this font (Lucidia).

"Gay posts" will be in italics, for obvious reasons.

Over to you GG...

--Straight Guy

Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive