New Year's Resoutions: No Spare Change

Gay Guy,

I'm not much for New Year's resolutions. We all need goals, and I have plenty. But I also think that it's hard for people to change. Resolving
NOT to be who you were before -- and hoping to transform into something new and better -- is a recipe for unhappiness. Take it slow, have good intentions, be honest, and see what happens. (Unless you're a habitual drunk driver or addicted to something dangerous. If you are hurting yourself or someone else, then get help and resolve to start a new chapter ASAP.)

That said, I did a search for "top resolutions" and, surprise, the US government has a site ready to go with links provided to all appropriate branches and offices. Want to get out of debt? Let the Federal Trade Commission help. Want to drink less? Bring in the National Institutes of Health.

Anyone else remember when you could order pamphlets on just about any self-help issue from the government distribution center in Pueblo, Colorado? Well, the internet hasn't killed that group just yet. They have a link, too. (http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/)

I don't know if I'm frightened or impressed that they can get involved on so many levels of my personal life. Are they like a big brother, or like Big Brother?

Here's the linked list from usa.gov/citizen.
Readers, I need to do less of a few things and more of a few other things. But I'm not going to promise to stop doing anything, or to start doing something I've never done before.

Anyone else willing to share a resolution or two? Best wishes for a happy new year.

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Debate: A Few of Our Favorite Things

CLICK TO ENLARGE
Readers,

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. Sorry we've been slow in posting. Gay Guy is traveling and I've been doing the shopping, snow shoveling, and in-laws shuffle.

Hope it's not too late for us to post our quadrant graph on holiday likes and dislikes. We might share some cookies or something, but we're guy coworkers, so no secret Santa thoughtful knickknacks or sentimental cards necessary, thank you. The only firm tradition we share together is to skip lunch one day each December to go shopping for toys for kids at our hospital and the Toys for Tots program. The thought that some kids might feel marginalized or forgotten (while the rest of the world is celebrating) drives us out of our minds.

Some interesting notes on the graph:

• The only reason I ranked "getting" over "giving" is that I am so bad at choosing presents (wrong size, wrong color, already has one, etc.).

• Gay Guy may not rank sentimental commercials as a favorite, but he can't even talk about one (where the son returns from faraway early one snowy Christmas morning and awakens/surprises his mother with the smell of brewing coffee) without tearing up.

• The Rockettes frighten me. Can't really explain why.

Readers, now that you've survived (except for New Year's Eve), let us know what gives you the holly jollies or bah humbugs.

--Straight Guy

Gay Guy Says: Man, Don't Give Me That Same Old Line

Straight Guy,

I found this article last week but didn't get the chance to post it.

The December issue of Men's Health has Taylor Lautner, sadly shirted, on the cover. No big surprise there. But, as the Yahoo article reports, the headlines to the left of his photo are a word-for-word repeat of those on the left side of the October 2007 cover, which featured Jason Staham. Read the news.

"Abs: See Results in Just 9 Days."

"Dress for More Sex."

"Gain Muscle, Lose Pounds."

Men's Health says it was an intentional marketing ploy. I don't buy it, mostly because I do buy it, the magazine that is. If there is one thing I've learned from reading Men's Health, which I'll admit has a seductive gay soft-core porn aspect to it, is that they have about half a dozen articles up their editorial sleeve. Most of them go something like this: "Eat Anything You Want and Lose Weight," "Do Nothing to Be Attractive or Interesting and Still Get Women Humming Your Tune" and "Get a Great Body Without Getting Getting Your Body Off the Sofa." They were doomed to repeat a cover or two.

It's not Men's Health's fault. It's because they write for men.

Men are men. Straight or gay, we men have lots in common. We're essentially lazy. And childlike. In the back of our teeny underdeveloped brains we basically think we can get something for nothing most of the time. Generally speaking, I find that women are more alert that life requires effort and putting in some labor.

Straight Guy, Readers . . . Have I unfairly slammed my bretheren?

--Gay Guy

Gay/Straight Ad Watch: Holiday Edition



In our last edition of Ad Watch, we got some negative feedback on ads which featured themes of adultery as well as senior citizen sexuality. To those who were upset, I'd like to apologize. But I can't. Because here's an ad that packs both themes into a 30-second spot. And, as a final punchline, murder!

Ah, those sentimentalists at Boost Mobile.

Look, I have a soft spot for those RankinBass stop-motion animated specials. I also know that they are so stylized and formulaic that they are ripe for satire. But why do we have to jump all the way to porn spoofs like this or to the ultraviolence of the Goodfella's inspired Raging Rudolph?

--Straight Guy

Capital Christmas: DC Allows Same Sex Marriage

Straight Guy,

Thanks for the patience with my slow blogging. I'm still trying to make Christmas happen. I look forward to some holiday down time and blogging soon.

Until then, the news that our nation's capital now allows gay marriage is a holiday present. Unless Congress chooses to put a wintry blast on it.


D.C.'s mayor put a civil rights angle on gay marriage, which makes the article extra good.

--Gay Guy

Manscaping Takes No Christmas Break

Straight Guy,

Just when the approach of winter compells we male animals to further thicken our body hair so that we can comfortably hibernate through the season . . . an article about why manscaping now makes us more attractive to our mates. Come on, people. Can't we all put being attractive on hold until spring?

I'm not anti-manscaping: Everyone likes to look and feel nice, and we all like our other halves to look and feel nice, so a certain amount of keeping it tidy is a good sign of physical and emotional hygiene. It's the Body Police attitude, the making yourself something you couldn't ever be --think Michael Jackson--that makes me worried.

The Gillette video and web site embedded in the news article is well worth looking at.

Read the article and look over the Web site and let me know what you think


--Gay Guy


Gay/Straight Holiday Gift Guide: Hot Calendars for 2010

Gay Guy,

For shameless exploitation and objectification, you (and many of our readers) won't be able to top the "Hot Guys, Baby Animals" calendar. Just look... That scruffy dude REALLY cares about the poor, pigment-less rabbit. Give me a break. Plenty of immodest dog walking and shirtless snuggling, to boot.

Who was it that said, "I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it."? Oh well, proceeds benefit several animal rescue organizations, so indulge without guilt. (Link: www.hotguysandbabyanimals.com)


I'm slightly fascinated/embarrassed/intimidated by the "Hot Mormon Muffins" calendar. Mormon moms and muffin recipes... how could something that sounds so right go so wrong? The publisher said the calendars "are designed to shake up stereotypes that paint Mormons in general as stuffy or hyper-conservative and mothers in particular as homemakers from another era." Not a bad goal, but the guy was recently excommunicated from the LDS church for this mission-based work.

Hey, how come only dudes with crew cuts, bicycles, white shirts, and boring brochures come knocking on my door? Sometimes, a hot muffin might be the perfect way to break the ice. And I just might be speaking literally about recently baked breakfast treats!

(Links: AOL News, Store ... oh geez, they also have a shirtless Mormon "Men on a Mission" calendar. I can't win.)

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Grooming Alert: Beware the Clawz!

A Florida man has combined his career as a hairdresser with his fast-fingered piano technique and is now cutting hair with eight fingertip razors. (Link)

Valentino LoSauro now offers a cut entitled "Flight of the Bumblebee," and can finish in half the time as traditional barbers.

Still doubtful? Ritchie Sambora of Bon Jovi recently survived the "Clawz" process. What an endorsement. How can you not trust a middle-aged, semi-coherant, New Jersey hair band guitarist when it comes to issues of style and grooming?

Others who have undergone the process have left "stunned"... but I think Mr. LoSauro's wardrobe may also have been a factor in their bewilderment.

Most importantly, If this guy ever offers you any "manscaping" services, run for the hills.

--Straight Guy

The Interview, the Whole Interview, and Nothing but the Interview

Readers,

Earlier this week, we had the pleasure of being interrogated interviewed by Kathryn and featured on her blog: From the Inside Out. If you caught it over there, sorry for the duplication. But if you missed it, or read us through a feed, here it is: our moment in the sun.


Kathryn:
Choosing my first victim interviewee was easy…I chose my oldest/dearest blogbuds, Gay Guy and Straight Guy, from GayGuyStraightGuy.com. I’ve been a fan of their blog since my blog-infancy…and we’ve shared many a laugh, cyber-martini and thoughtful comment together. They never cease to amuse, amaze and inform…and I honestly can’t imagine my homepage without them. (Insert audience “Awwwwww!” here.)


Welcome, Gay Guy. Welcome, Straight Guy. [SG note: Here, she teased us about about our faceless avatars... Someday, Kathryn. Someday. But don't set your hopes too high. We're just regular guys.]

GG/SG: “Thank you, Kathryn…for this opportunity. You found us in our early days and have been a good friend and supporter along the way.”

Kathryn: “Well, this interview is long overdue. Partly because it took you so long to get it back to me. But, I’ll let that slide ‘cause I love you guys.” (Insert second audience “awwww!” here)

And so…without further ado, let the interview begin!

Q: You guys have been blogging for a while. How long as it been now and who came up with the original concept?

Straight Guy: We launched in November 2007, so we've just begun our third year. I was a regular blog reader, and wanted to give it a try. I thought about what other folks might consider interesting or unique and decided to ask Gay Guy if he'd be willing to do a team blog. We've been working together for over 15 years now, so we understand each other's shorthand. The concept was very broad: though we know each other pretty well, we lead very different lives. The contrast is interesting, as is the overlap, whenever that happens. The "he said, he said" format also seemed pretty special at the time. I did a quick search and saw that "gayguystraightguy" was unclaimed, and we jumped right in. We never wanted the blog to be dirty, but knew that it could get slightly NSFW (Not Safe/Suitable For Work) from time to time. For that reason, we keep our professional web IDs separate from our blog personalities. Operationally, it's pretty easy. We can both give this about 2-5 hours a week, and in this format we can cover for each other if anyone needs a break. We see each other almost every day at work, so we can quickly bounce an idea around to see if it might work. (Please note that GG has a wonderful way with words, but that I handle the technical aspects of the blog. As I've said before, training GG on this stuff probably compares to teaching an Amish grandmother how to play Grand Theft Auto.)

Gay Guy: I’d add about the decision to have our identities be Gay Guy and Straight Guy, rather than personal identities, is that I hope it gives readers room to see themselves in the blog – that it’s not just about these two specific people. That there’s an “Everyman” aspect to the conversation.

Kathryn: “Or, an ‘everywoman’….I’m sure you meant that in the most universal way. Right, GG?” (He can’t answer me, ‘cause I’m adding these comments after he sent me the interview, so….this makes him officially at my mercy. Hmmm. Maybe I should’ve had them sign some kind of indemnity clause….)

Q: Where do the ideas for your posts originate? I mean, do you have criteria as to what’s considered GG/SG-fare, or is it more…check the news, walk down the street, overheard at the next table kinda anything goes?

Gay Guy: Anything is fair game for the blog. Nothing crude or much beyond PG-13, though. I think our niche is between serious and simply being a humor site. There are lots of blogs that are dedicated to politics and news coverage, so we don’t often take on heavy topics. SG and I have different blogging styles, and we drift to different kinds of content. SG is much more pop culture-oriented than I am. He’s the one to cruise the web and reads more blogs than I do. As you know, he’ll find something bizarre online and bring it into our blog. And, no, I don’t know where he finds some of this stuff, either! I have a much more traditional blogging style, which is more about personal observation and reflection, how something in the news or that I see gets filtered through my experience. So, yes, anything from the news to who’s next to me in the grocery store is a source of content. I have a page full of ideas for posts, and those are just the ideas I can remember.

Straight Guy: Yeah. Gay Guy is much better at using the blog as a journal. He's more thoughtful, and I'm more reactive. Helpful hint: I've found Evernote to be a blogger's best friend. It's a free web app that makes it easy to clip a quote or make a bookmark on the fly, from my desktop, laptop, or iPhone. Then, when I'm ready to post, I can just click through a bunch of stuff that I've set aside. We also love to get ideas and questions from our readers.

Kathryn: (Hint, hint.)

Q: Do you believe more of your readership is gay or straight? Male or female? And does it matter?

Gay Guy: We didn’t start this with a specific audience in mind. In terms of our actual readers, all we really know is the information that people share with us through their comments and profiles. My suspicion is that our male readership is more gay than straight.

Straight Guy: Yeah, some of the search requests that lead folks to our site are a little frightening, for this straight guy anyway. I'd love for us to get more advice requests from straight folks. Maybe I'm a little surprised that women have been such a big percentage of our commenters, but we are so happy to have them. Like GG said, we try to keep it open for everyone. And women often find it easier to connect with both gay and straight men than we do with each other.

Kathryn: “Huh. Someone needs to query SG on these ‘frightening’ search requests. I’d like to hear those!”

Q: What message do you hope your blog will send to readers? Your Blog-Legacy, if you will?

Gay Guy: Blog legacy . . . We’re doing well on the blog. October was a record for us: 6,000 visits from 5,000 unique visitors. We consistently have readers from all 50 states in a month, though occasionally Montana, Wyoming, or one of the Dakotas gets away from us. I hope that people come away from the site with new ideas about how gay and straight men can interact. I don’t want to say that we are all one big happy family, because there are differences. When we started this, I had no idea all the creative and interesting and bizarre blogs and sites out there. It’s been a great way to stay connected, and even make new friends, like you. (Kathryn smiles) Nothing makes me happier than to log on and find comments. That’s the best. I wish we could blog full-time. Or at least more.

Straight Guy: Gay Guy is a wordsmith in real life, but I'm not, so I just enjoy working my writing muscles. In terms of message, we're not that deep, but I think that gay guys and straight guys still self-segregate more than most, and certainly more than needed. On the blog, we celebrate the fact that we are very different and don't always agree. And maybe we even indulge in a few stereotypes along the way (mark me down for steak dinners, generic underwear, and violent video games). But we try not to judge, and we always look out for each other... in real life and on the web.

GG/SG: You can always find us at www.gayguystraightguy.com. Our blog doesn't have many rules, but we have some semi-regular features including our advice posts, ad watch, and gay/straight quadrant graphs.

Kathryn: "And...that's a wrap! Thanks, guys...always a pleasure!"

Readers, I’d love for you go check out the guys at their site. Totally a great read!

Thanks ahead of time to my wonderful readers for taking the time to read and comment! You KNOW how much I appreciate it!

---------------------------------------------------------

GG/SG: Thanks again to Kathryn and all of her readers and commenters. Our egos are well fed, for the moment. Some of you have joined the conversation over here, and we are happy to have you as part of - um - whatever this is. Let us know what we can do to make you comfortable. Lurkers, too, are always welcome. No pressure.

Gay Guy's Closet: Tool not Tulle

Straight Guy,

Stayed home today to have my heating unit serviced. To make it so the service tech could do his magic, I cleaned out the closet that the heating unit is in. Not only did I cross an overdue chore off my list, I was reacquainted with my tool collection. I say collection since it spills out of the tool box.

I like having tools. Tools are cool. No one has as many as my dad or takes such loving care of them as he does -- my parents' basement is like a tool museum. But I have as many or more tools as the average condo-dweller.
A few hammers, a range of pliers, several sizes of screwdrivers, a drill and a kick-ass set of drill bits. A half dozen old jelly jars filled with left over screws, nuts, bolts, picture wire. Can I repeat that I love that drill bit set even though I've never needed to use them.

I don't understand why some people --male or female -- don't have any tools at all.
I don't expect people to own a circular saw, but for Pete's sake, how about a hammer? In truth, my ability to fix things is limited, but I do like having tools.

Tools are generally considered a straight guy thing, right. This might be among the few really straight things about this gay guy. It's an unfair stereotype. I think it might be more a house dweller/apartment dweller, owner/renter issue. I prefer old-timey hardware stores, but will go to Home Depot, etc., if I find myself near one. Depending on its location, I'll see a significant number of gay men in there.

Final confession: I am still proud of the straight A's that I got in 7th and 8th grade shop class, even decades later.
I have happy memories of shop class.

Gay guys, straight guys, men, women . . . How many tools do you have? Shop class: Nightmare or pleasure? Leave a comment and let us know.

--Gay Guy


Gay/Straight Ad Watch: Sex Sells and Anything Goes




Hyundai cars and science museums... not the sexiest topics I can think of.

I'm not exactly sure why Hyundai wants to label their buyers as grade-A skanks. Suggested slogan: "Hyundai. For those on the go... and those on the down-low."

Science World (a Canadian museum) was trying to go edgy, get noticed, and broaden their demographic. Who are they trying to bring in? What's your take, readers? "Oh no they di'n't!" or "You go girls!"

Does our objectification know no bounds?

--Straight Guy

He Said, He Said: The Gay Guy / Straight Guy Interview

Our friend here in Bloggerville, Kathryn, has posted a Q&A interview with us over on her site: From the Inside Out.

We're flattered. Sincerely.

You can leave comments here or there. We're keeping up with both.

Gay/Straight Singer Debate: Divas vs....

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Many of you have seen our quadrant graphs before. If not, here's a link to our collection. We don't mean for this to be a definitive list, there's no way we could fit them all.

As usual, not everything fell into predictable stereotypes. But, even allowing for kitsch, I can't take Bette Midler seriously, and GG has the same problem with Roy Orbison.

How sad is it that I'll never get to see any of my quadrant's "likes" perform live? Well, I saw Micheal Jackson once (posts here and here), and there's still a chance for Tom Jones. Wait a minute. Now that I think about it, GG and I once had the option of seeing Tom Jones live when we were working in Vegas a few years ago... and he talked me out of it! A few months later, we were back for another event and we managed to snag tickets to Elton John, though. So all is (mostly) forgiven. Think I can guilt him into a Kid Rock show?

--Straight Guy

Gay Student Refuses to Skirt the Issue

Straight Guy,

This is a great get-people-at-their-own-game story. Short version: Woman protests with sign that reads, "Homosexuality is a sin, Christ can set you free." Sinner responds with sign that begs the question whether Christ can likewise set free the protester's fashion sin of an outfit.

Here's the full story from thefbomb.

Okay, okay . . . I know. It's not fair to attack the skirt. It was made ankle-length and corduroy, it didn't chose to be that way. Or did it? Skirts choose to be they way they are, right? Whichever reason, this skirt refuses to pass for something it isn't.

This kind of anti-gay-rhetoric-laden protest is a perfect illustration of why the idea of the United States is so great: Our First Amendment-guaranteed right to make an ass of ourselves in public.

Gay Guy no longer takes this kind of signs or shouts personally. Yeah, they still hurt a bit, but, in a weird way, I think they serve an ironic purpose: The more that people see ridiculous and hateful logic, the more they start to question it. Think Little Rock Nine.

The ankle-length-corduroy-skirt-stupid-hateful-sign-wearing woman protested at Syracuse University; she had some Evangelical competition at Yale. Read the news story. Typical right wing wack with a sign. Two guys got some smooch on in response to the torture by sign-boarding.

Now, following the sign logic, if "Homosexuality is a sin and Christ can set you free," then Jesus is going to be putting in some massive overtime. The sign at Yale lumps homosexuals in with the usual Hell-headed suspects: Democrats, liberals, feminists; Obama-voters (how au courant!), and dirty dancers (Dude, props for originality). Also on the highway to hell . . . fornicators, liars, and masturbators.

Inclusive list. I hope the highway to hell has an Easy Pass lane or there's going to be one hell of a traffic backup.

--Gay Guy

Straight Guy Surrenders, Internet Wins (again)



Nnnn! Testosterone...levels...dropping....

Must...maintain...manly...composure...

Oh, crap. Now I want one.

--Straight Guy

Fallen Angels

Straight Guy,

This Washington Post story speaks for itself, so I don't have anything much to add.

Two priests getting into a slug fest over a "simple office matter?" For real? Printer out of toner? Classic brushed aluminum paper clips or colorful plastic coated? Altar boy or choir boy?

Not gay, not straight. Just weird.

--Gay Guy


Gay/Straight Viral Video: Body Double



Here's the latest from Will Ferrell's Funny or Die web site. Standard NSFW warning applies... A little long for a one-joke skit. Harmless or homophobic? Can it be both?

Mark me down for "nervous laughter."

--Straight Guy

No More, Mr. Fancypants

Gay Guy,

Thanks for covering the blog while I was away on vacation to Tennessee and Kentucky. Those stops probably aren't high on your list, I know, but we'll soon need to break you out of your KeyWest-SanFran-PTown vacation loop. There are other destinations here in the lower 48, you know.

I had a great time, and filled my days with smoked and fried meats (you can fit a whole turkey in a deep fryer), country music, and outdoor adventures. I even went a few hundred feet down into Mammoth Cave (creepy and wonderful).

But have no fear, there is plenty of fabulousness for your team in Nashville. Some of the dudes are downright fancy. Men wearing tight starched jeans with a pressed crease... add the boots and embroidered shirts and you no longer meet my definition of standard-issue straight guy. I'm not saying they're gay, but along with heavy metal hair bands and tough bikers who wear chaps and fringy jackets, they fall into a category of primping posers who leave the joys of sloppy straightdom behind.

Readers, Gay Guy has often commented on my low-frills sense of style. It's not horrible, but it's not well thought out either. Certainly nothing that can be called a "style." Mostly khakis and collared shirts for work, and jeans and uncollared shirts at home. I can dress myself up, but it's only thanks to Nordstrom's sales staff and a good dry cleaner. I pick the tie and feel good about making that contribution.

Gay Guy is no crazed fashionista, either. But I'm sure he plans and strategizes more than I do, and over the long term, it definitely shows. He's more often an exciting new episode, I'm more often a tired re-run (sometimes shown twice in the same week).

I once worked with a nice guy who wore khaki pants and a blue oxford EVERY day. He must have had at least a week's worth of each. Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) never wears anything but jeans and a black mock turtleneck. I envy that simplicity. I don't think it's because they care about the uniform. In fact, I think it's the opposite, that they don't want to worry about clothes AT ALL.

Maybe if I was single, I'd be trying harder. But maybe, if I was still single, I'd have given up by now, be even worse off, and desperately need a Queer Eye intervention. You can always try a little harder, right?

Readers, how much is too much? Are you attracted to men who wear very affected outfits (cowboy, biker, goth, etc.)? Do you buy it that Steve Jobs wears the same thing everyday so that he can invest his intellect elsewhere? On the flip side, what about the guy on MTV's new Jersey Shore show who spends a half hour every day gelling his hair and invests his intellect in nicknaming his abs "the situation"?

Everyone has a different balance of ego and dignity, I guess.

I don't want to be a hater. Jersey Shore guy says that if I am, then he's "got a full time job" for me. I appreciate that self awareness, but yeah, I generally don't like guys who try so hard. And to be clear, there are some scruffy guys who fall into this category, too (looking at you, Ray LaMontagne).

--Straight Guy

Straight Except for One Guy

Straight Guy,

You know I'm a big Dan Savage fan. Now that's a writer! Much as I like Savage, I don't remember to read his column every week.

But the Thanksgiving holiday gave me more reading time. I loved the first post in this week's column, called Crossing Over. Read his advice to SEFOG.

Savage is gay, so there's some expertise in part of his response to SEFOG:

"I'm going to share a little secret with you about gay men: We're men, real men, just like straight men. We're good at having sex without getting emotionally attached—some of us are a little too good at it—and a single gay man, like a single straight man, rarely passes up a chance to get with someone he's attracted to, even if he wants more than that person can give."

I don't really agree with Savage; I think there comes a point in a gay man's life where you just can't bang (pun intended) your head against the wall fighting the imbalance between what you get and what you want.

--Gay Guy

More Pilgrims' Progress

Straight Guy,

More on our Thanksgiving theme:

From my many visits to Provincetown, Mass., AKA, Gay Summer Mecca, I knew that the Pilgrims originally came ashore at P-town, not Plymouth. Listen to today's NPR Thanksgiving story about the Pilgrim's original landing at Provincetown. After about a month, the Pilgrim Fathers, and probably the Pilgrim Mothers, too, decided to pull up their P-town stakes and try a take 2 at Plymouth. Early homophobes? Doubtful. Ptown was 300 years away from gay mecca status. They were just looking for a slightly easier life.

What's important in the big gay scheme of things is that P-town harbor is the site of the signing of the Mayflower Compact. Okay, so the Compact is nowhere near as famous as say the Declaration of Independence, but it's an important first step toward creating the American expectation of freedom. As the NPR story says: "Freedom and the chance to make just and equal laws is what signing the Mayflower Compact was all about."

Bring it on. Freedom, just and equal laws, and the sense that we are all in it together. That's the American DNA. And it all began in P-town. I'm a very proud gay pilgrim.


--Gay Guy

Gay Guy Mayflower Madness

Straight Guy,

Hope you're enjoying your trip to the Grand Old Opry and Graceland.

I've been saving this story from the Boston Globe about gay Pilgrims at Plimouth for two months. Now the perfect day to share has arrived.

This is a cool story. Plimouth Plantation, home of ye olde historic Pilgrims, is in its second year of targeted outreach to gays and lesbians. Would I go? Heck, yeah. I'd jump at the opportunity to tromp around in heavy heeled buckled shoes, locking folks into the stocks, and hiding out in the corn fields with Squanto.

The Globe created a great window into the article with the story of two men caught in a gay relationship in 1637 Plymouth. They could have met death as a punishment. One was banished after being branded with a hot iron. The other was allowed to stay in Plymouth, but was forbidden to own property or participate in the political process, thus becoming the first in a proud heritage of gay men tucked into studio apartments thumbing their suspicious noses at politicians.

Much as I romanticize the past, I'm thankful for being here today with my freedoms, unlike the two gents in Plymouth. It's not a perfect world, but no branding irons either. Plus I have central heat and air, toilets, hot running water, and Bravo.

--Gay Guy

Gay Guy/Straight Guy Furniture Tastes Clash

Straight Guy,

Stayed home today, a little sick, a lot tired.

Guess I had too much time on my hands this afternoon, 'cuz I found this Valley Lodge video flitting around the blogosphere. Nothing graphic going on, but I'd call it NSFW.

Despite the titillation, this isn't "furniture" I need around my place. I'd prefer having someone to pick up my clothes over someone to hold them up. Though I got quite the chuckle from the ironing board bit. And the floor lamp . . . I silently said, "Oh, no, he wouldn't. He's going to try an earlobe, right . . . Oh, he didn't." Hilarious.

I give the furniture its due: This is athletic work. But, it's like an Ikea catalog. All sleek, blond minimalist wood. Where's the mahogany? Where's the overstuffed upholstery?

--Gay Guy

Gay/Straight Update: Saturday & Sunday Night Live



Gay Guy,

Video and linked photos slightly NSFW.

Saturday Night Live : Another SNL Digital Short featuring Andy Samburg in his rap/raunch persona. This time, he's fallen for Reba McEntire, or something to that effect. It's absurd on every level. Flavored with a sprinkle of homophobia. And yes, it's funny to me. Not proud that they find me there, but not going to lie about it either. The joke's really on us, anyway. It's only missing a cameo from the real Reba to make it even better.

Sunday Night Raw: Adam Lambert leaves no questions unanswered about his sexuality or how much it will flavor his performances (full-on guy/guy make out sessions and oral sex simulations on a Dick Clark awards show, in case you missed it). And he was getting criticized for taking it slow by Out magazine just last week? The performance vids keep getting pulled off YouTube, so here's a link to the Rolling Stone recap with photos. How much is too much?

Interested in our readers' takes...

--Straight Guy

Modelling Behavior?

Straight Guy,

Remember my Nov. 5 post about my gym and its new Calvin Klein underwear ads on the men's locker room wall?

It's gotten worse. They've gone from small and black and white to large and in color.

Love the eye candy, but it also reminds me how impossible that physical ideal is to attain. It's not making me want to work out harder.

Question: Would anyone buy underwear if the man or woman modeling it looked like a fairly normal recognizable human being?

--Gay Guy


Oh, Crepe!

Gay Guy,

I'm a little under the weather, so spent yesterday at home and was able to devote more time than usual to the newspapers. I even made a quick trip through the food section. Guess what I found?

Man Crepes.

Here's the link to the recipe, which is a variation stuffed with turkey and cheddar. Perfect for leftovers.

It was crafted by the author of "Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys." The author works for Martha Stewart, but the book focuses on lessons learned from feeding her husband, brothers, and three sons.

From the publisher:
Scala Quinn—chef, television personality, and Martha Stewart Omnimedia's resident food guru—shares winning strategies for how to sate the seemingly insatiable, trade food for talk, and get men to manage in the kitchen.

Read into that what you will. Trading food for talk sounds manipulative at best, but I wonder if my mom ever worked that game on me...

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Ad Watch: What a Bum!



Gay Guy, Readers,

I'm sure many of you have seen this ad for Reebok Easytone sneakers. It tries it's hardest to come off as informal, but it's actually precisely crafted. And it insults just about everyone.

From the opening moment, when we see the makeup artist dash offstage, Reebok wants us to buy into the whole "Oops, we're rolling!" motif, but the setup only serves to create several moments where the under-rehearsed cameraman zooms in on the spokesmodel's derriere. "Dude!," she complains. Later, as she extolls the rump-lifting capabilities of these sneakers, the cameraman slips south again... who hired this perv?!

"A better butt with every step." That's the slogan. And, wow, does she over-annunciate "butt" at every opportunity. So, Reebok, if you want to objectify any/all women's glutes, that's your call. I'm sure women everywhere are wondering what a "28% more toned" backside actually looks like. How many critical assessments (snicker) did Reebok need to arrive at a number so specific? A lot.

Own it, Reebok for Ladies. You are totally obsessed with the tush.

Speaking for straight guys, we're not judging... or complaining. But do you really need to redirect the blame for all of your superficiality onto a fake booty-hound cameraman? Not cool.

Reebok's other Easytone commercials (link, link) are even more gratuitous (talking breasts, erotic lighting, and yes, women bending over). They seem to be targeting women through straight men (88% of whom will be speechless when you debut your new posterior, according to one ad).

But as they've presented it, I can't imagine a more insulting gift for a woman to receive from her guy. Putting these under the Christmas tree this year is tantamount to saying "You've got a lot of work to do. Back there. Now get moving."

I'm surprised there's not more backlash. Or have I just missed it?

OK, I've run out of synonyms, and need to stop before I use "haunches."

--Straight Guy

Beer Test

Straight Guy,

Interesting report this morning: Four of our female friends went to a posh restaurant last evening. They are a mix of married and single women. They spied a handsome, pulled together gent a few tables over. Perhaps a connection for a single woman?

If I had been there, I would have applied my gaydar, but I was long home. They had a bit of back and forth on their conclusion about -- no gay vibe, then he was joined by a buff dude (gay). So, then what?

Their conclusion: straight. The evidence: He and his pal ordered beer with their dessert.

I agree with their conclusion and their detective work. Beer with dinner, sure. Beer with dessert, never.

--Gay Guy



GG/SG: Now in Our Third Year

Hello all,

Just a quick note of thanks to all of our readers. We celebrated the second anniversary of this gay/straight blog experiment over the weekend. (Straight Guy: "Did you know we've been blogging for two years?" Gay Guy: mumbles something through a mouthful of crepes, but sounded positive...)

Our numbers are great and still headed in the right direction, but more importantly, we're thrilled to have your readership and support. Regular readers, thoughtful commenters, and silent lurkers included. Thanks again to all of you. The format is flexible, so feel free to send us an e-mail or post a comment below with any ideas or suggestions.

Look for more of our regular features (including our advice, ad watch, and quadrant graphs) as well as some new stuff in the coming months.

--Gay Guy & Straight Guy

Feeling Like Crepe?

Straight Guy,

I fear that you think crepes are among the gay foods. Is it their soft side? That they read fancy? That you can't order them through a drive-through window?

Hold on to your napkin, SG. Not one, but two crepes places are coming to my neighborhood. In fact, they'll be across the street from each other. Is this a weird restaurant blip or are crepes a new food trend? Crepe nation?

I'll sometimes have a crepe at the little Belgian restaurant down the street. I like them with warm savory fillings for dinner best. The cold dessert ones show off the weird rubbery texture that crepes have. I guess that makes me crepe ambivalent.

Any thoughts on the crepe commotion?

--Gay Guy

What is Marriage?



Straight Guy,

This Sesame Street clip is a gem.

As the fight marriage rights for gays goes on, it gets meaner. Read what's going on with Washington, D.C.'s same sex marriage measure. More people should watch this clip.

The more I watch this clip, the more I like children. And monsters.

Readers, Give this short clip a view, leave a comment, and let's start a discussion.

--Gay Guy

Meat Markets...

Here's the perfect quiz for the readers of GG/SG.

Steak House or Gay Bar?

Based on the name of the establishment, make your best guess. Looks easy. But once I started second-guessing, I got way off track and ended up under 50% correct.

Fire and Spice? Triple George? Tenderloins?!?!

Readers, how did you do?

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Hall of Shame: (Rated) X-Men

Gay Guy,

Apparently, news of this went viral earlier this year, but we missed it. It was first assumed to be a photoshop prank, but has since been verified (and quickly sold out). It's an inflatable Wolverine "squeaky hammer," and the blow-up nozzle has been placed just so. The design department was either (a) asleep at the wheel or (b) laughing their asses off.

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Ad Watch: WTF, FAO?

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Classy, Mr. Schwarz, very classy.

Took me a few moments to get this campaign... See, the kid in the red shirt has an official FAO teddy bear, so all of his rambunctious urges (even the hormonal ones) have been suppressed. Hmmm...

"Better rewards, better kid." That's the slogan. Why not just go with "everyone has their price," or, more succinctly, "rich kids are better than poor kids"? Sure. Because all the evidence proves that kids who have been rewarded/spoiled with toys are always the most enjoyable to be around, as are the parents who try hardest to buy their child's love with material things.

We'd never stand for a "Better rewards, better wives" campaign... so how is this OK? (Though I admit that those holiday-themed diamond ads which hint that buying the right bracelet just might get you laid are not the feminist ideal either.)

Obviously they are going for an old-school Goofus/Gallant vibe (including a "Highlights" reference). But does anyone else catch a whiff of a straight/gay dynamic here, or am I reaching? Bad, straight boys, bad!

--Straight Guy

Out of the Woods, Into a Show

Straight Guy,

This post has nothing to do with being gay or straight, I'm just reporting one of those small wonders we all stumble across.

Gorgeous weather yesterday, and so I took to the woods for what might be the last hike of the year for wearing just shorts and a t-shirt. I was coming off the trail with a purposeful pace as the light was beginning to fade. I made it to the edge of the woods just as twilight was starting.

Under a tree stood a guy with four or five Indian clubs, which he proceeded to juggle. And juggle quite well. He must have kept them in the air for 30 seconds or more. Maybe not circus-ready, but impressive.

I complimented him on his performance. Behind him were a young man and woman, the man slowly, shakily walking on a tight rope, a broad rubber band that they had strung a few feet off the ground between two trees.

I felt like I had stumbled out of a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. Woods and a mini-circus.

As you know, I don't like the circus. I always see that clowns are sad and desperate. That it's dirty and broken from all that travel. And that the animals are doped. In my elementary school, the 6th grade annual tradition was a field trip to the nearest real city for the circus. From the 4th grade, my classmates were excited; I was planning how to fake being sick that day. I don't remember anything about the circus, so I must have indeed gotten sick. (My mother can spot fake maladies a mile away, and would have shoved me onto the bus.)

Straight Guy and Readers, have you ever stumbled on to something a little other-wordly?

--Gay Guy


New Trunks for Your Junk

Gay Guy,

As a follow-up to your CK underwear post, let me inform you of the latest advance in male underwear technology. Taking genital support to a new level, the folks at Saxx (classy, dudes) have added a mesh containment unit -- a "hammock," if you will -- to their boxer style briefs. Imagine wearing a bra INSIDE your tighty-whities....

Sophisticated slogan: "Balls and legs need some time apart."

From their marketing copy: "Never restrictive... they offer support when needed and keep men cool..." Wow. Are they selling underwear, or the perfect girlfriend?

Saxx executives, if you're listening, we're willing to do a more detailed test and review, but at $25-$50 a pair, they better be good. This straight guy is pretty happy with his current $3-$5 product. Not sure what's going on elsewhere, but my thighs and my man-business are getting along just fine. No need to put either in a separate "time-out" right now.

Readers?

(Note to GG: Their 3D underwear videos will not be what you're hoping for. Sorry.)

--Straight Guy

Gay Guy/Straight Guy Dilemna: Underwear Ads Where You Least Expect 'Em

Straight Guy,

I want some straight guy perspective, so you're my first call.

My question is, how do straight men react to depictions of male sexuality?

Let me give you the specific example that sparks my question. I made it to the gym last night, and found that the locker room had been appointed with three or four posters. Ads, really. Calvin Klein underwear ads.

Apparently, Calvin Klein has a underwear celebrity super-model tighty-whitey packer named Jamie Dornan. I've gotten behind in my fashion news -- Where is my copy of "W magazine," dammit? He's modeled for Klein for a while, and Dornan also was part of an international search for a new man to "don the legendary Calvins" for ads. Talk about the Battle of the Bulge.

So, I walk into the locker room and there's three or four of these posters. Same images and more as in the links above. The posters
aren't overwhelming, about 9" x 11." No jokes, please. But inescapable.

My first reaction was to shut my eyes with a wince, like I was in pain. I think my reaction was just from surprise, that the posters were so out of place and unexpected. This is a neighborhood gym, pretty low drama. Not gay unfriendly, but not in boystown. The gym's idea of locker room decor is a swine flu FAQ. So, I think my blink was from disbelief.

The gym must be making a little revenue from this. Or, maybe they think it's motivating, that it will inspire a great work out. If it's inspiration it's supposed to create, then, yes, I'm inspired, just not to hit the treadmill.

As I discreetly inspected a poster a close range -- I am a HUGE fan of black and white photography -- I started to wonder how the straight guys in the locker room react. I don't know how to survey one of them, so I'm asking you.

How would you react? It's not like it's porn, there's no sex, but it's all about male sexuality. And it's pretty in your face.

Would these ads, especially if you can't just turn the page, bug you? Do you just look past it without seeing it? Do you turn away? Does it inspire a check out the competition impulse? Is it annoying? Embarrassing? Do you look at it and say -- apologies to Wanda Sykes --That's so gay?

Let me know, SG. Readers, what about you?

--Gay Guy


OK, Adam Lambert, We Get It!


Gay Guy,

I was rooting for Adam Lambert on American Idol (past posts here and here). But is this really the cover of his new album, or one of those Elizabeth Taylor perfume ads?

He admits it's intentionally ridiculous. Well, duh. He's good at getting noticed, but I'm not sure "ridiculous" is the right direction for a debut album. No second chances, so he better bring it with the music.

Hey, what does one middle-aged, suburban, straight guy know about launching an androgynous pop/rock star? I'm iTunes savvy, but I haven't bought an actual album in years, except for Prince's latest... well, this argument is going nowhere...

Readers: Campy and interesting? Or, indulgent and awful?

--Straight Guy

Ad Watch: Gay and/or Straight Ads and Commercials

Readers,

Our Ad Watch posts have been generating a lot of traffic (well, by our standards, anyway... but if you search "gay straight ad," we're number one!). I've pulled a bunch of them together, and even updated all of the youtube links to the old videos...

And just so this whole post isn't recycled from old material, I'll give you the Wanda Sykes version of the "Don't Say 'That's So Gay'" public service announcement (see below). Her new show premiers Saturday Night on Fox.

Feel free to comment on any of the old posts (we still see them), or let us know here if there's anything we missed.

--Straight Guy


Halloween Costumes: The Cat's Out of the Bag

Happy Halloween, Gay Guy,

You've mentioned that Halloween is often referred to as "gay Christmas." Let loose, have fun, but don't let things get out of hand.

Out here in Straightsville, things are more subdued, mostly focused on kids and candy.

One of my daughters asked for a black cat costume this year. She already had black pants and a shirt, so she really only needed to find ears, a tail, and whiskers. No problem, I thought.

Well, let me tell you, it's not easy to find a cat costume that hasn't been stripper-fied. At a party store, we located a set we were happy with, all except for the packaging. Call it a "teachable moment" about stilettos and fish net stockings.

Those items weren't included in the kit (just a tail, ears, and whiskers, one size fits all), but the package also included a black bow tie, which I was unable to explain. A fairly benign accessory, but as a symbol it represents the transition from cat to sex-kitten, no? It makes no sense, don't Playboy Bunnies wear the bow tie with rabbit ears?

We looked, and this was the only cat costume in the entire shop. Obviously there's a huge (and growing) market for edgy adult costumes. I went to a few serious costume parties in my twenties but I don't remember that they were quite as sexed up as they seem to be now. Redefining tricks and treats, I guess...

I take my fatherly responsibilities seriously, and as Chris Rock says, job number one is to "keep them off the pole!... They don't grade fathers, but if your daughter's a stripper, you f-ed up!"

I really don't think I have anything to worry about. She's a great kid. But dammit if she doesn't love that bow tie.

--Straight Guy

Normal Boy Disguises



Straight Guy,

Once again, the Onion has pulled off a miracle. Disguising a parent's Halloween nightmare.

So funny, it's true. So true, it's funny.

--Gay Guy

What Happens When Malibu Ken Turned 50


Straight Guy,

Some things, not even Gay Guy can explain.

Like this.

Admit it, it's things like this that make you frightened of me, isn't it.

--Gay Guy



Manhood for Amateurs: Gay Guy/Straight Guy Book Read?

Straight Guy,

You're a reader, I'm a reader. What about we read something together and then blog about it?

If you're willing, I've found us something to start with-- Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, by Michael Chabon, which just came out this month.

Great title, right?

Michael Chabon is one of my favorite writers. I've read a number of his novels -- Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, and, best of all, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, for which Chabon won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2001. Kavalier & Clay is about a pair of World War II-era comic book artists, and it's on my Top Five books list. I just didn't want it to end.

The new Chabon work is a collection of essays, drawn from his own experiences.

Need help deciding? Watch an interview with Chabon from yesterday's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." Or read the New York Times review.

I like the book's title. I usually feel like a rogue amateur as a man. I just keep faking it until I find the manhood rule book hidden away somewhere. But I've been encouraged by Chabon's take on the word "amateur." It's in the clip.

Full disclosure: Chabon is married, but has had same-sex experiences in the past. Whatever. What matters is that his novels are well populated with gay characters. They were so well drawn and realistic that for a long time I had just assumed that he was gay.

Readers, what do you think of my new book scheme? Comment now and let us know.

--Gay Guy


Straight Guy Dictionary: Destructoporn



Gay Guy,

I'm not sure whether to feel sorry for enjoying this clip, or sorry for what remains of John Cusack's career. Oh, who am I kidding? He deserves a payday as much as anyone else, and this one will probably be huge.

From director Roland Emmerich who has previously destroyed the world through alien invasions (Independence Day) and a new Ice Age (The Day After Tomorrow), this new movie, 2012, opens next month.

Boys and their toys, right? This is just a bunch of them stomping around in a multi-million dollar sandbox. There is some palpable glee in all of the tragedy. Let's watch one family get away while millions of others are brutally destroyed. Hey, watch out for giant rolling donuts and traumatized children!

GG, was this on your radar, or is it for straight guys (and their unwilling dates) only?

I'll just pretend to be disgusted with the premise during it's theatrical run, and then sneak it into my NetFlix cue for next summer.

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Survey Results: Boys DO Cry

STRAIGHT GUY: Thanks to everyone who took our survey on how much we cry. A relatively small sample, but the results are in... Everyone cries, but gay guys cry more than straight guys, and women cry more than men of any orientation. You can see the details in the survey below, but basically, only 33% of straight men cry more than 10 times a year, while 55% of gay men and 65% of women cry that often. Gay men also had the highest percentage of folks who cry more than 30 times a year, but that was a slimmest segment of every group.

This matches the results from a study of German ophthalmologists who found that men cry 6-17 times a year, while women cry 30-64 times.

I guess I was revealing a stereotype, but I mentioned to GG that I bet that gay guys fall somewhere in the middle, and cry more than straight guys do. He wasn't so sure, but we both thought a survey of GG/SG readers would be interesting.

Tell me if I'm an a-hole, but my assumption was that the genetic differences (yes, I believe in the "gay gene"... nature, NOT nurture) would make gays more emotional than straights. Not a universal judgment of every gay guy out there, but that, in general, gay guys would be more open and less repressed when revealing their emotions.

GAY GUY: Straight Guy, Maybe I am being defensive about my masculinity and that of my fellow gay guys, but I draw your attention to the stat that 15 percent of both gay and straight men responded that they cry "less than 10 times a year" in our highly unscientific survey. Same stat, different orientations. After that, yes, the numbers take different paths.

Am I sounding defensive? I don't want to be a big crybaby about this.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that gay men get an extra teaspoon or two of some hormone that straight men don't get. I don't know that's it's a "female" hormone that makes us more like women, whatever that means. But bet there's some splice of DNA at work here.

On crying: Little gay boys get taught that boys don't cry just as much as little straight boys. Maybe even more, as the nervous parents, not wanting to be outed, just keep tightening the lid. When I came out in college and started to make gay friends -- and meet women who hung out with gay men -- I don't remember that any of them encouraged me me to cry, but there was probably some sense of kinship when it did happen. Encouraged to cry, no; allowed to talk endlessly about what I felt and thought, yes.

By the way, having nothing to do with being gay, I had a 5-minute crying jag in front of my friend in my dorm room the end of my freshman year. A long laugh at a joke weirdly jackknife into a silent sob. It was due the combination of the end of a hard year, finals stress, and being high as kite from smoking pot. My friends cleared the room quickly. I don't remember feeling better at the end of it, just exhausted. My friends did an excellent job of being guys and pretending it never happened, which I greatly appreciated.

If we do cry more, maybe it's because our lives can be harder. Gay kids learn to keep a lot packed in about their own truth and how people will take it in. It's isolating. Let's face it, unless you are one of these super courageous kids taking a same sex partner to the prom, pretty much count on spending that night at home with the remote.

Back to the survey: Cry more than 10 times a year? I can't imagine crying every month. I cry at times of extreme heart break or extreme frustration. Usually the latter.

Straight Guy, can I get some definition on "cry." Are we talking sorrowful sobs only, or are we including the red nose, welled-up eyes and maybe a tear roll when emotionally manipulated during a movie? If that counts as crying then I switch my vote from less than 10 times a year to 10 to 30 times a year.

Not too long ago, there was a commercial for coffee. This young serviceman gets home on a surprise bit of leave, duffle bag slung over his shoulder; he comes into his home with everyone still asleep, and brews a pot of coffee to wake everyone up. His mom comes down stairs... Oh, Lord, I can't even finish typing this post... my eyes are too full of tears....

STRAIGHT GUY: Thanks, GG. I'm going to break this part to you gently... The data doesn't quite break down the way you think. Though the numbers look the same, the percentages are based on the entire survey sample, not yet broken by orientation. The straight male sample was slightly smaller than the gay male. When you do break it down, you find that 66% of straight guys cry less than 10 times per year while only 44% of gay guys cry that rarely. (Next time, I'll embed each segment as a separate survey, or something.)

Thanks for your explanation, maybe there is some "nurture" behind these numbers, too. And yes, I'm thinking of the broadest interpretation, that crying is defined by any emotional response that causes tears, anything from sentimentality to abject terror.

I'm not immune to the sentimental stuff myself, and will admit that I cry from that angle much more often, now that I have kids. My youngest started kindergarten this fall. There was a happy bounce to her step as she began a new adventure. Back in the car, I wasn't holding up that well. And like you, I better sign off now...

Readers?

Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive