Closing the Books on 08

We're often asked how many people read this thing. Well, we just ran the analysis for the GG/SG blog in 2008, and we are thrilled with the numbers, but most importantly, thankful for your support. 

As you can see from the data, quite a few folks find us for a moment and never return. But there are a few of you who stick around. Please stay.

Happy New Year! And thank you. Please let us know what you'd like to see from us in 2009.

-- Straight Guy

Gay / Straight Advice: Put-Down or Pick-Up?

A question from a reader...
MOST of the guys I know are straight. They use humor...almost always at another person's expense. The guys think it's funny...and have absolutely no problem if someone does it to them, but I think it's bordering on torture. My girlfriends all agree with me and say it's immature.

Example: A friend called me two days after I was released from the hospital following a traumatic ambulance ride. He claimed to be from the ambulance company and was calling to see how I was. Had me on the phone for 10 minutes before he admitted who he was. I was NOT amused.

My straight guy-friends think this is hysterical....my two gay friends say NOT FUNNY. So...I wanna know....what's your take?

STRAIGHT GUY RESPONDS:

I agree. It's not only immature, it's practically animal. It's called social ranking -- think wolves and monkeys -- and it works. How do we know where we fit in the group are if we aren't constantly testing them (and ourselves)? Based on the folks I meet out there in the real world, aren't the real jerks the ones who think TOO highly of themselves? Where are their friends who should be belittling them into humility? This is one reason I keep Gay Guy around.

If your guy friends are poking this kind of fun at you, then think of it as a "welcome to the pack." It's not every straight guy we're talking about, right? Most of us grow out of it, or at least refine our sense of humor with age. But guys like this do tend to stick together, because this brand of humor works best when it's shared by the whole group. Remember that male conversational skills crumble when we lose an important tool like this. (Ever try talking to your father on the phone?)

Your example is pretty tame. It was based on circumstance, not on your beliefs, personality, or looks. Certainly could have been worse. If you were hurt, and they aren't sorry, then it's a problem. That's just common sense manners. So your choices are to set better boundaries, find more mature friends, or watch Don Rickles for tips on devastating comebacks.

We tease because it's the first method of communication boys master in dealing with girls. I caught a bit of VH1's "Pick-Up Artist" the other day (yes it's disheartening, doubly so because it works), and they were recommending that the best way to sustain a conversation on a cold pick-up is NOT to be complimentary, but to tease. Maybe there's some attraction with this guy (only takes a smidge). Maybe he just couldn't find the words to say that he cared about you.


And, before the stereotype gets slapped on straight guys, please know that some of the most withering put-downs I've ever heard have come from Gay Guy. Yes, they are more articulate, but they still sting. I've got the welts to prove it. There's definitely some give and take in the barbs we trade. Thankfully, both of us try to direct the harshest taunts at the most deserving targets... ourselves. You can't trust anyone who makes fun of other people, but never takes himself down a notch or two.

Besides, you should be grateful that your male friends tease and belittle you to your face. Can you trust all of your girlfriends to do the same?

--Straight Guy

GAY GUY RESPONDS:

Me? I'd love to meet the guy who can sustain pulling your leg for ten minutes without breaking character or you catching on. That's some talent. Were you still under the effects of Vicodin?

Oh, wait. Did that border on torture? I'm sorry, didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

All guys -- gay and straight -- are fairly adolescent here and there. Women are too, but we'll just focus on the guys today. Humor is a tricky thing. I laugh, guffaw even, as the crew credits are read out every week at the end of NPR's "Car Talk." Yes, I like "Car Talk." If you don't listen, tune in, at least for the end. The humor --Our Russian driver: Picov Andropov; director of our women's support group: Eramus B. Draginn; personal make-up artist: Bud Tuggli; museum guide: Desdemona Lisa. It's not even adolescent humor, it's straight off the comic wrapper around a piece of Bazooka gum. But it cracks me up every time. And, those brothers are the epitome of boys torturing each other. It actually gets boring after a while.

I think guys admire the technique in the put down. If it's objectively funny and no one gets hurt, we're fine. Heck, if your friend led me on for ten minutes, I'd be telling the story myself.

"If no one gets hurt" is the hard part. A put down that's mean, personal, or just plain bullying, no one's having fun, even if we're laughing. Put downs where someone loses aren't fun to be around. Not to go all sociologist here, but remember that traditional games for boys are all about winning or losing; traditional games/ activities for girls are about socializing and community building. Not matter how evolved we get, boys think that losing sucks.

Some guys don't like to be teased. I once had a vacation melt down in front of my very eyes when this guy thought I'd teased him too much. I couldn't even tell what I said that tripped his switch, and I was genuinely sorry that he was hurt. A lot of guys, me included, think being razzed or teased or poked is being told you are one of the boys, that folks are comfortable with you. I never heard of "Pick Up Artist," but yes, teasing, gentle teasing, with a guy I am attracted to is a form of flirtation -- but it only works in the right amount.

Straight Guy, I am so sorry to learn that I have wounded you. Welts, you say? I'm so sorry. I try to remember to tell you when you get a good haircut. Withering humor has a long and proud gay history, probably beginning with Oscar Wilde.

--Gay Guy

Merry Christmas and Miss Kitt to You

Merry Christmas, Straight Guy,

I hope Santa Claus made it to your house and to the houses of our readers. It was a nice day, full of the typical overindulgence in food. Gay Guy is going to hit the gym as soon as he gets back to his normal routine.

Sadly, singer and actress Eartha Kit died today. I had the great fortune to see her club performance once. Still feisty and sexy at a ripe age. Witty and sassy, with a touch of gay sensibility, but all for the boys.

Straight Guy: How was Eartha Kitt's turn as Batwoman for you? Steamy? Limp? Over the top? Did she stir up any preadolescent drama in the Southern Hemisphere?

Merry Christmas.

--Gay Guy

I don't want to snub Eartha now, but since you asked, Julie Newmar was the superior TV Catwoman.

(GG, BATwoman existed in the DC Comics universe, but was never a major character. CATwoman (played by Kitt), was a villian/bootiecall for Batman, probably created to verify Batman's straightness... what with all the bodysculpting and homoerotic tension in the Batcave.)

Like many other gay icons, Eartha Kitt scared the bejeezus out of me. Can you imagine being trapped in an elevator with that? I'm sure there was a real person in there somewhere, but her grandma/sexkitten stage persona was all I knew. Eddie Murphy's petrified take in "Boomerang" was exactly right (if you haven't seen this film, set the DVR, it's more interesting than you'd expect). Yes, I get that her intimidating personality was the whole point... that she always had the power, sexual or otherwise.

If you didn't know, she was well-caricatured by herself and the Disney animators as the glam Aztec sorceress Yzma in "The Emperor's New Groove" ... sharply drawn as all hip bones and eyelashes.

I have a soft spot for Christmas music, so props to her on "Santa Baby." Her version (I assume the original, if not, she still owns it) is far superior to the annoying Madonna cover.

--Straight Guy


Lots of good articles on Eartha Kitt, but I am fondest of this letter to the editor about Miss Kitt at a drag show that appeared in today's Washington Post. Toujour gai.

--GG


I'm Just a Broadway Baby


Straight Guy,

AFTER ONLY 24 MORE PERFORMANCES, GYPSY IS HISTORY.

That, my friend, is the news of the day, as reported right here in the New York Times. Or at least in an ad in the Times theater directory.

Gypsy, pardon if I insult your musical intelligence, is a classic of American musical theater. A landmark. It's on Broadway in yet another revival, this time starring Patti Lupone as Mama Rose, a part she was born to play. Despite good reviews --Lupone won the Tony Award for Best Actress-- and good houses, its curtain is getting ready to drop. The shitty economy has hit Broadway, too. In the post-holiday slump, Broadway has traditionally been known to cull the herd of its weaker stock, but this year even successful shows, take Spring Awakening and Gypsy, are closing.

The ad's headline is set in the type size usually reserved for presidential election results and is positioned above a photo of the aforementioned Ms. Diva Lupone, arms akimbo in a classic Mama Rose pose. The rest of the ad:

"Years from now, theatergoers will be divided into two groups: those who saw these legendary performances in this musical masterpiece and those who didn't. Final Performance January 11."

This urgent tone is usually found only on placards announcing "The end is near, get right with God." It sounds Biblical. On top of begging for exclamation points, it's misleading: Gypsy will never be history. Perhaps this version, but never Gypsy itself. Mama Rose has been played by the best: Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Patti Lupone. Okay, there was Tyne Daly, too, but we'll keep that a family secret. My take is that they can close a Gypsy, but never the Gypsy.

(As an aside, one summer at the beach, the guys in the house next to us blared Gypsy nonstop for the week. A friend imagined them packing: "Sunscreen, check. Beach chairs, check. Gypsy soundtrack, check. No, darling, the Merman, not the Lansbury.")

Why this post? Our blog is supposed to poke holes in the traditional gay/straight stereotypes. But, once again, I find myself reinforcing the stereotype in our "he said/he said" dialogue. It's like a sand trap. Stereotype or no stereotype, this gay guy wants to be on the right side of the wheat and chaff of "those who saw. . . and those who didn't." Despite being financially wiped out by Christmas, I'm sorely tempted to spring for the ticket, hop the train, and see Ms. Lupone take her Mama Rose turn. I bet it'd be great. A real memory. Gay, huh?

I could forgoe it; I've seen Patti Lupone before. Yep, this is where it gets even gayer. I will now present and confess, in its glory, the list of Broadway divas I have seen.

--Patti Lupone, twice in concert, once in performance. So, check, check, and check.
--Elaine Stritch
--Betty Buckley, check, check
--Bernadette Peters
--Victoria Clark, check, check
--Emily Skinner
--Alice Ripley
--Barbara Cook, check, check, check, check.
--Kristin Chenowith
--Idina Menzel
--And, and. . . wait for it. . . Eartha Kitt, who was a mere one zillion years old at the time.

If I win that lottery for two tickets for Liza Minneli at the Palace, I'm taking you with me. Taking you to Banana Republic for a tune up first, but taking you with me.

I'm stuck in the love/hate relationship we all have with living in our stereotypes. I don't want to be a caricature, but I don't want to give up something that brings me pleasure even if it's a stereotype. I don't really like Gypsy that much, but it's the experience.

Off to log onto Ticketcharge to see how much this could cost me.



--Gay Guy

Gay / Straight Holiday Gift Guide

Perfect for when you WANT to be treated like a piece of meat.

Flame. A new body spray fragrance from Burger King. "
Behold the scent of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat."

Yes it's a joke. But, yes, it is also really for sale. Where will this viral marketing end? (Probably when bloggers like me stop playing right into their hands.)

I know this isn't for Gay Guy because his fragrance usually has slight undertones of chicken burrito.

--Straight Guy

Zombie Guy / Porta Guy

Our blog in a "word cloud" from Wordle.
Click to enlarge.

--Straight Guy

I Hear it Tastes Like Chicken

Straight Guy,

I forgot to put up a link to this good Washington Post article about man-on-man kissing in the film Milk.

I get really tired of listening to actors suffer and stumble through "What was it like to kiss another man?" on the interview circuit. Like somehow it's the ickiest, most strange thing in the world to do. No worries SG, I understand that you don't want to kiss another man. We're fine with that over here on our side of the sexual divide. I don't kiss girls. But I would kiss a woman to get a part a good movie, that's for sure. Because it would be called acting.

Get real. These guys are actors. It's not like they got hit on in Macy's. They play a part. They get paid to use their imaginations. It does not merit a question on Letterman.

I saw Milk and I liked it. The kissing is good because, well, because James Franco is cute. And because the kisses, the physical connection between two men on screen felt honest and real. Sean and Jimmy, A+ on the guy/guy lip lock.

--Gay Guy

Frankly, I would have prefered a Day WITH a Gay


Straight Guy,

I got a little behind in my blogging this week. Thanks for carrying the load.

I'd like to attribute my lack of editorial output to my participation in this week's "Day Without a Gay," but I can't. For those who don't know --and that includes most gay people-- Day Without a Gay was an effort, in the mission of its organizers:

". . . to shift our strong feelings about injustice toward service! Let's fight for equality by out-loving those who would deny us rights. Call in "gay" on December 10th (International Human Rights Day) and volunteer for your local LGBT and/or human rights organizations."

It pretty much flopped. Perhaps a good idea, not so much on execution.

The day slid under my radar. And, I don't need to call in gay. My brand of activism is going into work and reminding people that gays are everywhere. My other role in the office is to remind my straight male colleagues that Dockers bring down the work place.

Wanda Sykes used "Day Without a Gay" in her Tonight Show appearance. If you haven't seen it, definitely watch it. She delayed her entrance on stage by 10 or 15 seconds to give Jay a taste of what it would be like if she wasn't there. She then moved on to some insightful words about California's Prop 8, the issue that brought her out of the closet. Love you, Wanda.

--Gay Guy

Crazy with a 'Z'

Straight Guy,

Christmas came early this year. Liza!

You want this, you know you really, really want this.

--Gay Guy

Coming to the Seat of Power

[This post is not straight, not gay, just generally unsuitable for everyone.]

Hey, Straight Guy,

I am incredibly excited about the Obama inauguration. It's historic, it's emotional, it's affirming. I want to be part of it. I have hit some realities, though.

There are different estimates of the number of people expected to descend on Washington, D.C., for the inauguration. Anything from one million to four million. That means needs, deep human needs. That means porta potties, thousand of them. Here's journalistic porta pottie proof.

As one inaugural act of public service, Metro, the D.C. subway system, is putting up about 150 porta potties around selected stations. Just how does one petition or audition to be a selected comfort station? Everyone is encouraged to take public transpo, so let's see: 150 porta potties divided by one million riders is, well, I prefer not to know. How many miles of toilet paper is that?

[Hey, I warned you not to read this.]

We're at 40 days to inauguration, so that means the weather on January 20 won't be much different than today. The photo is a shot of a D.C. porta pottie today... in the rain, and cold. I picked the photo with twinkly lights to make it look more warm and romantic.

--Gay Guy

Straight Boy Cootie Alert!

Hey Gay Guy,

Some 9-year-old kid has just published a book on
How to Talk to Girls. He appeared on the the Ellen show, and is now richer than I'll ever be. I hate him. Isn't he adorable?

Sample advice: "Comb your hair and don't wear sweatpants."

Ouch, kid. Do you have to cut me to the bone like that?

Let's be honest. This kid's mom wrote the book. No. Doubt. About it.

Anyway, Here's the little brat tyke on Ellen, followed by SNL's take, which is probably the more honest of the two.





Let me risk a stereotype here. Isn't the ability to deal with 9-year-old girls one of the early indicators that a boy might be gay? Did it come easier to you than your friends? I imagine you developed conversational skills by age 10 that I was still struggling to attain at 21.

--Straight Guy

The Nutmeg Puns Are in the Song, Not this Headline

Season's Greetings, Gay Guy. Here's a new carol to add to your playlist: John Legend on Colbert's Christmas special. I know you'll like it because it's spice-related, and spicy to boot!


--Straight Guy

GG/SG vs. The World

Gay Guy,

Just finished reading Stephen King's post-apocalyptic zombie novel, Cell.

Notable for this blog only in that the two heroes of the novel turn out to be... a gay guy and a straight guy. Clay (straight) and Tom (gay) find each other on a street corner in Boston at the moment when a "pulse" -- delivered by cell phones -- turns regular folks into blood-thirsty zombies. (Social commentary: Screw the Haves, power to the Have Nots.)

The story is told from Clay's POV, and Tom is not a fully-formed character, but this is not a character study. (Watch out, Tom, more zombies!)

Clay is attempting to get back to Maine (this is a King novel, after all) to see if his son has survived. Tom doesn't have a complex MO. (Uh-oh... don't go back there alone,
Tom!) But the two stick together and eventually hatch a plan.

Sure, King could have done more with the character. Clay gets to reminisce on his failed marriage, while Tom mourns the loss of his cat. But King could have done too much, too. Better that Tom's sexuality was only mentioned to help define the character, but the stereotypes didn't dictate his actions. He's just a good guy, who wants to do the right thing.

GG, when the zombies come for us, I know I can count on you, too. How is that any different from our regular work week, anyway?

--Straight Guy

P.S. If your looking for better option for "end of the world" fiction, check out the ultra-bleak The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. (Don't trust me? It won the Pulizter Prize and was an Oprah selection.) A father and son cross a destroyed and desolate America, trying to find any shred of civilization. Dad has a gun and is committed to killing his son, should the cannibals get too close. Happy stuff. A good straight guy read. Soon to be a movie starring Viggo Mortensen.

Double Dipping in a Pool of Indulgence

Straight Guy,

Check out the
"60 Minutes" love fest interview with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. It's all questions you've heard before -- though the new bits about how much Phelps' endorsements bring him is informative. And, the amount of what he rejects is mind boggling.

It's a long, indulgent, and content-free interview but the gem is that it includes a swim race between Phelps and interviewer Anderson Cooper. (Here's the clip. Sorry about the ad.)


Calling it a race is like calling a face off between a bullet train and a bike a race.

Back to "60 Minutes. . . Ahh, the subjects of two of my more ambitious ambitions, in swim trunks, at the same time. Straight Guy, in case you didn't know, Anderson is long rumored to be gay. I think it's a pretty ironclad case, but my facts are not in evidence. A friend swears he saw Cooper at tea dance at the Boatslip in Provincetown a few years back (let me know if you need me to define the value of those terms), but I think it was another case of 'gay goggles" (when someone's cousin's roommate's friend swears he saw Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise in a gay bar in LA. Why is there never an Ernest Borgnine sighting, I ask).

Anyway, I'd would have loved to have been a fly on the wall watching Cooper lobby for a chance to spend the afternoon with the "World's Greatest Swimmer." What gay man wouldn't take the chance put his hand on Phelps' bare chest and fondle his . . . . err medals.

No surprise that Phelps creams Cooper. But, Anderson, I'm no great swimmer, but if you're planning on challenging someone, anyone, half your age to a swim race, wear a Speedo, not a skirt. It's not the beach.

--Gay Guy

All-Star Prop 8 Musical



Neil Patrick Harris, Jack Black, Margaret Cho, John C. Reilly, and more in today's Big Deal from Funny or Die: "Prop 8 - The Musical"

--Straight Guy

Pinky Tuscadero Rides Again!

Add this to your Christmas wish list, GG.

From D.C. artist Theresa Honeywell...
Provocative imagery and macho icons are rendered into delicate and beautiful pieces of art that seem to question the notion of what art is, and what is “only” a handicraft. Her work is very labor intensive and densely rendered. She takes a craft that is considered to be “pretty” and merely decorative, and creates art that comments on our rigid notions of gender roles and high/low culture.

--Straight Guy

Straight / Gay Holiday Humor

Gay Guy,

In a previous post I mentioned my fondness for John Hughes' movies. Film.com just put up a tribute to 1987's "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" one of the rare Hughes films not focused on teen angst. It's a holiday road comedy. Nothing complicated, and a minor success in its day. It's too mainstream to be considered a cult classic, but it's become a sentimental favorite for many.

Here's the interesting quote...
It is customary in all comedies that if two heterosexual men are required to share a bed, they will wake up in a compromised position, react initially as if nothing is wrong, do a double-take, then leap out of the bed in horror. (This is so well established that it's only in comedies that two straight men ever have to share a bed. If it happened in a drama, we'd be expecting hilarity when they woke up, and the film's mood would be ruined.) Hughes employs this chestnut, which was already old in 1987, but look at how well Martin and Candy play it. The dialogue itself is classic:

MARTIN: Why did you kiss my ear?
CANDY: Why are you holding my hand?
MARTIN: Where's your other hand?
CANDY: Between two pillows.
MARTIN: THOSE AREN'T PILLOWS!



GG, I know that you reacted with grace and dignity that time you woke up in John Candy's embrace.

Readers, which is the funnier straight-guys-stereotype? The "wake up snuggling double-take" or the "forced (or tricked) into kissing spit-take"? Click comments below.

--Straight Guy

If Elevator Muzak Be the Food of Homosexuality. . . Drone On

As we go into the season of shopping, including groceries, I came across this weird news article from last year. Can anyone confirm if this is a true story or an urban myth. Looks real to me. I crawled around the Kroger site to no avail.

I can't say I pay that much attention to the music in my grocery store. I'm just working my shopping list, not making a list of what's on the ambient music play list. (And, yes, I am paying lots of attention to my coupons.)

--Gay Guy

O-k-l-a-h-o-m-a, You're a Homo, You're Gay. Yow!

Straight Guy,

A chunk of what we do here on the site is talk about stereotypes of gay and straight men. Last night, I was deep into one of the most familiar of gay stereotypes: show tunes.

On Mondays, a bar in my neighborhood (I live near a longstanding gay ‘hood) has show tunes night. About 9:30 or so, the usual videos go off — so long, Britney — and a stream of video clips from musicals come on. Mostly scenes from film versions, with some live clips from awards shows. It’s not like bar conversation comes to a complete halt, but heads do get riveted to the video screens. A few men sing along lustily, most softly sing or mumble along. The crowd definitely started picking up, no pun intended, as show time came closer.

What is it about show tunes? What draws gay men to musical theatre? It is a pretty true stereotype, I find. Maybe it’s an urban thing. Is it they often revolve around really strong, excessive women such as Auntie Mame, Dolly Levi, and Mamma Rose? Is it that they put a fundamental longing right into the middle of the stage? Think “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and Cabaret’s “Maybe This Time.” Is it the world manufactured of style and artifice? The dancing?

I don’t have some airtight theory on this one. I think it has something to do with gay lyricists and composers. If there’s a gay low down on Ira Gershwin it’s the lyrics to But Not for Me from Crazy in Love. The lyrics are filled with knowing and double entendre.

I like musical theater as much as most gay men, though I am shocked by how little I know compared to some gay men. Like the men last night. I don’t hit show tunes often, but I am glad when I do. And not just for the entertainment value. Show tunes are an equalizer. Gay culture isn’t immune from social strata: ages, race, socioeconomic statues, nelly and butch, tops and bottoms, and all the great stuff in between. It’s nice to see them all fumbling the lyrics.

I made it through hits from Meet Me in St. Louis, Cabaret, Pippin, Hairspray, and left on the high note of Evita. I didn’t leave the bar dancing, but it was nice to connect with a part of myself and with a common thread between strangers.

What about you Straight Guy? Any Pirates of Penzance or Sound of Music in your Ipod? And readers, gay and straight, do you have a musical you love? Can you solve the gay man/show tunes mystery?

--Gay Guy

No More Mr. Nice Gay

Great op/ed in the Washington Post today regarding responding to the passage of Proposition 8 in Californian. I feel like this speaks to a lot of us, well, at least to me.

I'll try to resume some not-so-political posts, but I am in a feisty mood. Or at least at feisty as I get.


--Gay Guy

The Pursuit of Happiness

Straight Guy,

I've had questions --from you, from friends, from readers here--about why I've not posted about the passage of Prop. 8 and how I feel about it. That's a question that I ask myself, too.

It's tiresome: Prop. 8 meant a lot to me and so its passage has some real sting to it. It's tiring to hear again that my feelings, my most profound feelings, don't really matter, aren't worthy of equal protection under law. That we gays don't get to follow "the pursuit of happiness" to its most logical and timeworn conclusion.

The passage of Prop. 8 is why civil rights shouldn't be decided by popular vote.

Readers, you've lucked out. I've read dozens, maybe hundreds, of essays and blog posts about Prop. 8, but here is the best. This essay on Prop. 8 by Anna Quindlen in the November 24 issue of Newsweek says it all, says it perfectly, and with warmth and grace. Plus it's just plain right.

I'm sad for my California friends. I expected better behavior from what is considered to be the most liberal behaving state in the U.S. My one chuckle in this all is remembering what a friend told about other friends, a gay couple who left California this summer to take new jobs elsewhere. This couple packed the car, waved goodbye, then stopped by City Hall to get married on their way out of town. Sort of like picking up dinner or checking the pressure in the tires. Or other stupid, boring things that married couples do.

--Gay Guy

Yes, yes, and yes, GG.

It's fine to stand by your convictions. But is no conservative ever swayed by the fact that, when it comes to discrimination and civil rights, the conservative side has NEVER been vindicated in the long term?

Jim Crow, women's sufferage, McCarthyism... the list is long and embarrassing for conservatives. Yes, religious conservatives, too. Though they haven't always been republicans, conservatives (for all of their bluster on privacy and state's rights) have often delayed the progress of civil rights. And here we are again.

Even Jonah Goldberg, of National Review agrees.
Conservatives should feel some embarrassment and shame that we are outraged at instances of racism, now that it is easy to be. Conservatives — though not Republicans — were often at best MIA on the issue of civil rights in the 1960s. Liberals were on the right side of history on the issue of race. And conservatives should probably admit that more often.

This is the strongest argument for moderation I can think of.

I'm sure some 1960s conservatives were fully convinced that they were on the right side, and God's side, in opposing the Civil Rights Act. Now we take it for granted that they were wrong, bordering on evil. Those who currently fight the progress of civil rights risk the same assessment.

Maybe they just can't see the end-game on the issue of gay marriage. I can. They will lose, and I hope, eventually, have some regrets. Even Strom Thurmond, the once segregationsist candidate for president, had to find some humility. Faced with his own mortality, he had to recalibrate his morality.

I don't expect that from every grumpy crank or religious crackpot. But is a "Whoops, my bad!" too much to ask from the multitudes who are currently wrong on this?

--Straight Guy

More Celebs Coming Out Over Prop 8


SNL was gay crazy this past weekend (lost count after 4 skits) including a bit with Justin Timberlake in heels.

I'm laughing. Tell me if I need to stop... or upload some Mango and Ambiguously Gay Duo skits.

--Straight Guy

"No Homo"-phobia... That's What He Said



Sorry to be selfish about this, but my biggest concern is that I needed the "Old Person's Guide" to get up to speed on this. Oh yeah, it's ultra-homophobic to boot.

Thursday Update: Still haven't found one example I would classify as "mad funny." Not even close. But here's a take from a student who's trying to break the habit.

Friday Update: It's taking over the NFL... check out this link provided in our comments.

--Straight Guy

Getting Spicy in the Nutmeg State

Connecticut officially allows gay couples to tie the knot. And so they did. I'll toss some rice to that happy idea.

--Gay Guy

Straight/Gay Q & A: Barbie dolls, Easy Bake Ovens

Here's a great question from our blogosphere friend, Kathryn at theinternalmakeover.com...
This evening involved a rather heated phone call with my male friend (whom I believe is straight) about gender toys and their influence on possible orientation as adults.

He said that if his daughter was playing with a G.I. Joe, no problem... he's happy, actually. So I wondered "What if your son wants to play with a Barbie? Or maybe a Dream House? Or, how about an Easy Bake Oven... and a hot pink one, at that?"


He got very quiet and I sensed some discomfort. I said "So. It's okay for the girl, but not for the guy? What do you think'll happen if he dresses up as Dora the Explorer for Halloween at age 3?"

All I heard after that was some strange noise...it might have been snickering...or gagging. I can't be sure.

GAY GUY RESPONDS: How hard is this? This is about parents acknowledging their deep-down fear... that they are boring. Too boring to inspire even pale imitation from their offspring. If boys play with girls' toys, it probably means they think women and girls are just more interesting than men and boys.

I enjoyed some boy toys -- blocks, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs. And, yes, I enjoyed some girl toys -- dolls, tea sets, house. Of course I played house. Duh. I lived in one. What was I supposed to play? Work? Budget reports? Annual performance review?

Girls' toys are fun to play with because they are about using imagination. Boys games are about memorizing rules: Where to throw the ball, who to throw it to, which direction to run.

(My favorite childhood game was "theatre" in which my stuffed toys were either in the cast or the audience. I didn't want to be an actor, I was always the director or producer. Sometimes I was the house manager. I still pat myself on the back for figuring out how to cancel the paper tickets by punching them through the lock on my mother's jewelry box.)

A funky little gene makes you gay, not Barbie. But, if Barbie could make you gay, she would make you the most fabulous gay boy ever.

STRAIGHT GUY RESPONDS: I believe there's a gay gene, too. It's nature not nurture. But many folks aren't quite there yet. (Hello, proposition 8 supporters! Now CA gay dudes have no choice but to marry your daughters. Hope that works out.)

I get the distinction the friend can't seem to articulate. "Tom-boys are cool. But Nancy-boys? Time for reprogramming." Hate to break it to you, but that ship has sailed.

Barbie will not make your son gay, but it might be a helpful early indicator for parents. Does your son say that Barbie is "Hot!" (straight), or a "Hot Mess!" (gay)? Is Barbie naked, half-buried in mulch in the backyard (straight) or planning a Dream House Tapas Party (hello)?

As far as the Easy Bake Oven is concerned... I don't care if Liberace is endorsing the thing. If it produces warm cookies and cake, straight boys will be lined up at the hot pink awning for a taste.

(Props to me: "Lined up at the hot pink awning" now outranks "rafting the tenderloin canyon" as best unintentional nasty metaphor coined here at GG/SG.)
----

Readers, what did your childhood toys reveal about you? Click COMMENTS below.
Note: This is an anniversary week for the GG/SG blog. Friday will mark one year of this odd experiment. Look for more updates soon, but please celebrate as you see fit.

We'd love to answer more of your questions! Send them to us at the email in the right hand column or post them as an anonymous comment to this or any post.

Hitting Straight Guys Where It Hurts

Here's a road safety PSA from New Zealand. Hardey har har.



I must say that I respect any nation that can spend its tax revenue on dick jokes. But still, the only safe target is the straight male, and his downstairs business. That's OK, we can take it.

Also, let's assume that Gay Guy drives like Aunt Bee only because of his massive gay junk. Most of the time, he's just too much man to deal with, and he just takes the bus. Thanks for putting safety first, GG.

--Straight Guy

I Vote, Therefore I Am Feeling Guilty

Straight Guy,

I just came back from voting. I know you voted this morning. My voting place was as crazy busy as I expected it to be.

Today, the process of actually casting my ballot --for all its inconveniences-- inspires me to become a tiny part of the political process next time. I don't know who volunteers at your polling place, but here's who was staffing mine: two white women under age 30, some middle-aged white women and Latinas, several elderly African American men, and many, many middle-aged to elderly African American women.

This is who volunteers every time I vote. Sure, some of it is the demographics of my neighborhood. But, isn't it the ultimate irony that the people who have been the least well served by the U.S. government, who have been the most disenfranchised by the political process, are the people who take on the responsibility of making sure that the voting process works for everyone.

I'm not a very political guy. I care, I watch the debates, I vote, but that's about it. As a gay man, I should be doing a lot more than that. I won't go all political here, but I am way too comfortable and complacent. I need motivate myself with these state-by-state maps of laws affecting the basic rights of GLBT persons. I'm fortunate to live in a liberal bunker and I do so by choice. Not everyone can or wants to.

Back to my polling place: On the way out, not only did I get an "I Voted" sticker from the volunteer, but she assured me, "You did a good thing today, baby." I will try to live up to her vote of confidence.

--Gay Guy

Trick or Treat

Straight Guy,

Happy Halloween.

Gay men love Halloween or as it is often called Gay Christmas or the Gay High Holy Days. We identify with it. That's the myth at least.

It's hard for me to objective on this topic. Halloween is not really my holiday. First, it's not a holiday. And when did it get to be for adults? Don't get me wrong: I love seeing kids in their costumes and I am happy to eat the Fun Size version of anything.

If you're going to do Halloween, do it well. Tossing on a wig, some lipstick, and a stuffed bra does not make a costume. You better work it. Like my friends who host a Halloween party every year. They plan, execute, and spend money and time for months. One year, they transformed their entire house into the Titanic, including having guests 'come a board' on a gang plank to the second-floor deck.

That's the appeal of Halloween: To transform. To be something you are not. To make something different than it was. I like that part. For a lot of guys, Halloween is permission to slip into a pair of heels and venture out in drag -- and that's some straight guys, too. Drag is just a fraction of Halloween, but no matter what you wear or make or how you decorate your house, Halloween makes it easy to be creative and to feel free from criticism while doing it.

--Gay Guy

Happy Halloween

Gay Guy and I were discussing favorite movies (which only highlights the many gaps in GG's pop culture knowledge... "Who is Chewbacca, again?")

I think we agreed on favorite non-romantic comedy...

--Straight Guy

Hey, Straight Guy,

Don't know what your people's favorite lines from Young Frankenstein are, but the movie is loaded with amazing witty material that gay men love. Knowing the script ought to be part of the cultural education of a gay man. Just two of the greatest quips:

Dr. Frankenstein: For the experiment to be a success, all of the body parts must be enlarged.
Inga: His veins, his hands, his organs vould all have to increase in size?
Dr. Frankenstein: Exactly.
Inga: He vould have an enormous schwanzstucker.
Dr. Frankenstein: That goes without saying.
Inga: Voof.
Igor: He's going to be very popular.

And. . .
[After sex with the Monster]
Elizabeth: Oh, where are you going?. . . Oh, you men are all alike. Seven or eight quick ones and then you're out with the boys to boast and brag. YOU BETTER KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Oh. . . I think I love him.

Oh, let's go for a third, and perhaps the best and gayest of all.

[Dr. Frankenstein leans in for a kiss]
Elizabeth: Taffeta, darling.
Dr. Frankenstein: Taffeta, sweetheart.
Elzabeth [pulling away]: No, the dress is taffeta. It wrinkles so easily.

Poor Cloris Leachman, who played Frau Blucher in the film, found her 82-year-old self rumba'd off her run on Dancing with the Stars this past week.

SG, the miracle that is Young Frankenstein. At last we agree upon something.

--Gay Guy

Another Unconvincing Performance

Straight Guy,


Yesterday, I found out that any hope that I created a buzz among the gay men at that party last week has come to an amusing end.

To recap: Last week, my friend Bee took me (to the point of dragging me) with her to a friend's party. She sold the party hard. Hosted by a guy she knows who is cute, bright, appealing, and gay with cute, bright, appealing, and gay friends. (He has a boyfriend, so he's not an object of intrigue.)

After some stalling, I started to look forward to the party. (I'm feeling pretty out-of-sorts romantically these days and am reacting by being a hermit.) Bee's helping by encouraging me to get out and met interesting people.

Anyway, I thought the party went well. I talked to some interesting people, had fun, exchanged smiles with a few attractive guys. Bee assured me that guys were checking me out (I can never tell). A success all around, right?

Here's yesterday's e-mail from Bee: "Bad news. The gay party didn't know you were gay. Next time, I am introducing you, leaving you, and making you wear a t-shirt that says 'Out of the Closet.'"

G
ays not convinced I'm gay? Are you kidding me? Was there a gaydar power outage? It's not Bee and I introduced ourselves as more than good friends. I just assumed that it was all out there to folks.

Funny, eh? Like all gay men, I have spent more than a little time wondering what passing for straight might be like. This can be a crippler for some guys. It's a real struggle, this question of being sufficiently masculine or at least not being "too gay." I don't stress so much any more. I'm no manly man, so I've just learned to minimize the liquor intake and keep my wrists in my pockets.

So, ironies of ironies, I need to try harder to convince my people that I am one of their people.

--Gay Guy

Bearded Ladies

Still an odd interest in our facial hair font post. Folks still searching for "gay" and "beard."

I've just learned that "beard" can refer to a woman who (knowingly or not) serves to disguise a gay guy's sexuality.

Here's a link to urban dictionary's take (UD is a great resource for any straight guy who needs to decode gay slang... or for anyone to crack slang of any kind).

GG, did you know this and leave me in the dark? Readers, have you used or been used as a "beard?"

--Straight Guy

Move Over Ernie and Bert

Gay Guy,

You may have noticed the new blog banner. All thanks to the new Muppet Whatnot Workshop where anyone can order a custom muppet.

Choices are limited. No specific gay/straight options (though some of the costume options are kind of "fabulous!" -- if you put a showgirl outfit on a bald puppet, people are going to talk).

Still functioning and fun is the system to create your own Simpsons character here. With more options, you can get frighteningly close to rendering your true self.

--Straight Guy

Living Virally

Straight Guy,

Sorry to have been offline for a while, but I’ve been struggling with a cold. It’s my annual first cold of the season. Starts with a sneeze, a little sore throat, then my nose is off and running. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

(Readers: To give you some sense of proportion, today I was hanging out with Straight Guy and constantly blowing my nose. I kept apologizing; he graciously replied with an upscale adult version of “No worries, dude.” By the time I had finished my rhino business, he’d fled the room claiming “too much information.” Probably in too close of proximity, too.)

Enough gross adolescent boy talk.

Colds are not cool. Not sexy. James Bond never had a cold. He’s never taken a handkerchief out of his suit breast pocket, has he? James Dean wasn't holding a hanky on that left thigh, was he?

This cold could not have come at a worse time. I went to a slick party over the weekend. My friend Bee invited me. She’s very cool and so are her friends. Gorgeous house, funky color scheme, and art –photos taken by the host—in every room. A lot of beautiful people. Each of them as sleek as a cat. There were a lot of gay men there, most of them really nice looking and sexy. Bee said some of them were checking me out, but I don’t know.

I was trying to look as sexy as I could. Dark jeans, black jacket. I wish I had been feeling nice looking and sexy, but it’s hard when you are packing a travel pack of Kleenex. Who knows: Maybe the best part of my look was the bulge of Kleenex down my front pocket.

--Gay Guy

A Wolf in Creep's Clothing

Gay Guy,

I like animals. I enjoy outdoor activities.

"Wolfman" Shaun Ellis regurgitates venison to feed wolf cubs and communicates via strategic urinations. He lives with a wolf pack. He's filthy. He's divorced. Shocker.

His new show, "Living with the Wolfman," premiers on Animal Planet tonight.

He's another activist who equates his regression to primal behavior as a grand scientific experiment. Of course, I'm reminded of "Grizzly Man" Timothy Treadwell, who lived with and advocated for grizzly bears. In the end, he got too close and was mauled and eaten by the ones he loved.

I don't predict a similar fate for Ellis. But I know a poser when I see one. I also know that the wolves, like the bears, are not fooled by these antics.

"Grizzly Man" was not so much a study of bear behavior, but of Treadwell's out-of-control ego. No surprise that he also found clarity living as an animal after failing in relationships with people.

Werner Herzog, director of Grizzly Man, didn't share Treadwell's optimism. He came to the conclusion that
"the common character of the universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility, and murder."

Sounds like your neighborhood, GG.

Readers: Ellis and Treadwell: scientists or egomaniacs?


--Straight Guy

Interest in Hair Spiked

Gay Guy,

You noticed that our blog readership spiked last Friday. Thanks for the heads-up. I checked it out...

The rest of the blog was normal, but interest in this post (on the facial hair font) went from zilch to 25 hits on one day (see that page's numbers graphed above). Our older posts don't usually generate much traffic, but folks stayed on that post for an average of 24 seconds, meaning many found what they were looking for.

I tracked the search terms that were successful in finding our blog and "gay beard" and "gay guy with beard" searches were definitely the source

GG, readers, any idea what the spike was about? I have no idea. Was there a hot news item?

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Ad Watch: Don't Say "That's So Gay," Okay?



Gay Guy,

A new Ad Council PSA features teen star Hillary Duff. Good message, mediocre delivery.

I think it's great to try to change the lexicon on this. But kids will always tease about sexuality until they get a handle on their own. That can't always be rushed. Hello, Senator Craig.

I'm guilty, too. Homophobic taunts (many harsher than "that's gay") we're a regular part of my school experience. I gave as much as I got, I'm sure.

I don't know, GG. Times have changed. Do you think today's kids will take this to heart?

--Straight Guy

Happy Trails to You, Straight Guy

Readers,

Straight Guy just quizzed me about whether I knew what a "happy trail" is.

I gave him the stone cold stare I only use when I see people inside of costumes handing out flyers or free samples on the street. A combination of sorrow and disbelief.

Yes, I know what a happy trail is. In fact, I wouldn't have guessed that straight people used the expression.

What do you say, readers. . . Happy trail: gay or straight anatomy chart?

P.S.: I never try the samples from the person in the costume. It's just wrong. Unless it's cookies.

--Gay Guy

Hate to break it to you, GG. It's not gay code.

I first heard of the happy trail in rural (near-Amish) Pennsylvania back in the early 80s. The context was sexually naive but definitely straight.

Now that I'm much older, I'm searching for a similar term for the new random grouping of active follicles near my left shoulder blade.

--Straight Guy

Wow, this is truly a revelation. I thought my people were singularly advanced in this linguistic territory of happy, treasure, garden trails.

--GG


My First Nude Scene. . . Errr, Seeing One, Of Course

Straight Guy,

Now it all makes sense! I have hazy memories of seeing Planet of the Apes as a child. . . and remember the film as an inexplicable turn on. An early source of the tinglies. I've worried to this day that I was turned on by the apes. What kind of sick perv am I? Now I see from the Entertainment Weekly Unforgettable Nude Scenes list that my tinglies surely must have been caused by a stripped down Charlton Heston. I'd complete forgotten -- or blocked out -- Charlton. Phew! Finally to know that Zira and/or Cornelius was not my first sexual sonar blip.

Absent from EW's list: Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet. Like a million American high school students, I watched the film in my 9th grade English class. The 1968 film was already ancient and scratchy by the time we got to see it. But underneath those scratches was the first nude scene -- the briefest, most fleeting nude scene, but the first that I had ever seen. For those who don't remember, R+J, played by Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, themselves still teens, are wakened from their one night together by the lark's song. They jump out of bed and supply a flash of her breasts and his bare stuff. Mild for a 9th grader now, but wild then.

How could EW leave out American Gigolo? Richard Gere in all his 1980 firm glory. Do the hustle! My eyes bulged. Call me!

My favorite on the EW list is A Room with a View, which wins hands down for the most joyful, most "bouncing but behaving" film nude frolic. If I remember correctly, one male character is introduced to another and basically says, "Hello, nice to meet you. I am going to take a bathe in the pond now, care to join?" But all straight and harmless and buttoned up Edwardian.

So, readers, what was the first or best nude scene for you?

--Gay Guy

Full Frontal Dudity

Entertainment Weekly has just posted it's list of most unforgettable nude scenes. Not sexiest, not most artistic, just most unforgettable.

Here's the link.

By my count, the list is about 2 to 1 in favor of male nakedness on screen. Nude dudes include Daniel Craig, Viggo Mortensen, Mark Wahlberg, and Russell Crow, while the ladies list includes RECENT nudity from Hellen Mirren, Diane Keaton, and Kathy Bates.

What?

Who vetted this list? I must say that as a straight male, I feel marginalized. Where is Halle Berry? Bo Derek? The silhouetted hotties from the Bond intro montages? Most importantly, where is Phoebe Cates emerging from the pool in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High?" (Unforgettable, perhaps because it was the first, sexy, R-rated film I ever saw. I'm not sure my mom knew what it was when I rented it. I do remember the on-screen flutter from the wear on the video tape as that scene began, it had been rewound to that point so often.)

Generally, flashes of nudity in mainstream films are created to get and keep men in their seats. Even "Jaws" begins with a gratuitous strip down as a prelude to the bloody chomping. The poster is a designed as a loaded visual metaphor (orcus phallus) and the entire marketing campaign was built around that suggestive image. "Look at that giant shark!... wait, is that lady wearing anything?"

Immature? Yes. Successful business model? It was the first blockbuster.

The first entry on EW's list is from the recent hit "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." The lengthy, schlubby, male-only nude scene makes the audience uncomfortable, and is played for big laughs. Here's a quote from director Judd Apatow:

"I'm gonna get a penis in every movie I do from now on... It really makes me laugh in this day and age, with how psychotic our world is, that anyone is troubled by seeing any part of the human body."

If the director of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Superbad" is calling me immature, I guess it's time to grow up. But it's not just me. Male nudity still has it's shock value, and I'll admit there's a double standard. But I can't blame the whole thing on knee-jerk homophobia. Which leads me to...


Another generalization on mainstream films: female nudity = seduction, male nudity = harassment. Many of EW's male nude scenes are not sensual, but manipulated to intimidate or keep the audience off guard. Craig's nude torture scene is unbearable, as is Mortensen's bathhouse murder. Not to mention the Laurel-and-Hardy-esque nude rumble from "Borat" which spills from a hotel room, through the halls and lobby, ending in a ballroom spectacle. Under these circumstances, I'm supposed to wince and look away, right?

--Straight Guy

P.S. To provide a little balance, I'll also link to EW's "Most Memorable Swimsuits" list, which is more on target for straight guys. Hello, Phoebe...

Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive