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 two gay friends say NOT FUNNY. So...I wanna know....what's your take?


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


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.


I'm Just a Broadway Baby

Straight Guy,


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. 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.

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

Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive