Second Star to the Right and on 'til Mourning

Gay Guy,

I saw Michael Jackson in concert in September, 1984 at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. This was post-Thriller, but he was on tour with his brothers, who posed and preened like they were stars of equal magnitude. Pffft. No one cared and we couldn't wait until they were (probably forcibly dragged) backstage so that Michael could perform his Thriller hits solo. He did not disappoint. It was the first time I had any sense of the profound power he had as a celebrity... how iconic he already was... and how uncontrived his every hiccup and twitch seemed at the time. (Yes, there was a brief moment when it didn't seem unnatural and absurd.)

The setting and staging was all artifice, camp, and kitsch. A blitzkrieg of lights, thunder, dayglow costumes, and smoke. But beyond all that noise, or because of it, I don't know, I knew that no one else would ever do the things he did that well.

When I returned to JFK the next summer for the day-long Live Aid concert (weird and wonderful), the buzz was that Michael Jackson would be the secret, unannounced performer for the finale. My hopes were high. But, in the end, we had to settle for Lionel Ritchie. Even after everyone gathered for "We Are the World," I still hoped that Michael might explode onstage at any moment. What a long ride home.

Michael never showed, and I've been settling ever since. That was only the first of many bad decisions for him. Every moment of inspiration in his long career since then has been matched or surpassed by periods of indulgence, delusion, sickness, and corruption. Incredible achievements matched by massive missteps and outright self destruction. I see him as a victim of many exterior forces, but he also suffered from too much self-love and self-loathing, both. I would have liked to have seen one last redemptive live performance (and heard him sing live, too, but who are we kidding?). If these upcoming concerts were really to be his last best chance at that, then I am sorry he never got the opportunity.

I can't be the only fan with a complicated take on Michael Jackson and his passing. To be sentimental and nostalgic, but also deeply disappointed, dispirited, and, in some sad way, relieved that at least his downward spiral is done.

Or, am I alone in this?

--Straight Guy

P.S. Favorite Fan Madness Moment: Fans gathered for a candlelight vigil at Michael's Hollywood sidewalk star. Only it was the wrong star, dedicated to a radio DJ of the same name. The correct star was a few blocks away, amidst the red carpet hubbub of the Bruno premiere. Informed of their mistake, the mourners decided it was too much trouble to move or wait, and kept the tribute going in the name of the wrong MJ. link

Brünö: Slapstick or Satire?

I'm back from vacation and will have some posts up soon.

FYI: Here comes the Brünö express, GG. We need to be ready.

Good or bad for SG/GG relations? Not ours... but in general?

You can lampoon stereotypes and our reactions to them (Newman's "Short People"), but not everyone gets the joke, or appreciates the attempt in the first place. This interview is slapstick, to make it to satire is a lot more work. We'll have to see.

Interested, or already turned off?

--Straight Guy

Coasts Show Their Pride

Straight Guy,

Some fun coverage from two big gay pride celebrations, San Francisco and New York, that occurred this past weekend. Fun stuff.

Slide show in New York Times article is especially fun.

It looks like it would have been fun to be at either celebration. I skipped my home's pride weekend entirely. No parade, no street fair. Ended up going out of town.

I have some ambivalence about whether prides celebrations are still relevant. Are we now so assimilated that we don't need them anymore? Is that a good thing, or do we need to hang on to our history and culture? Maybe if my home threw a pride as fun as SF or NYC, I'd be more inclined to engage in it.

--Gay Guy

Over the Rainbow?

Straight Guy,

We're wrapping up June, which means we're wrapping up Pride celebrations across the U.S. Two biggies, San Francisco and NYC, are this weekend. Pride is especially important this year --it's the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, the beginning of the modern gay civil rights era.

Gay pride means being drowned by the inescapable rainbow flag, I fear.

I confess: I hate the rainbow flag.

The symbol of gay pride and gay identifier is part of the daily visual grind of a gay's life. Rainbow flag bumper sticker -- homo behind the wheel. Rainbow flag a store door -- gay money accepted here. Call an organization rainbow anything, yep, it's gay.

Like all codes it has its purposes, but, oh, say can you see that there's no hiding from the rainbow flag during pride. Every fucking picture frame, coffee mug, beer chubby, t-shirt, condom key chain. . . .

What's my rainbow flag disconnection? Why do I so dislike the rainbow flag? Rainbows are chipper and cheerful. Who doesn't love rainbows?

There's just something about having a rainbow forced on me that makes me feel like a child. No self aware adult wears rainbow anything. Is it the bright colors? Maybe if we just toned it down a bit?

Here's a good clip from Studio 360 about bringing the rainbow flag into the 21st century. Finding it made me feel less alone. Maybe still one in ten, but not alone. One in ten out of one in ten, but not alone.

Anybody else over the rainbow?
--Gay Guy

Gay / Straight Friendship Advice: Thanks for Sharing

Question from a reader:
I met a straight guy (I'll call him Mark) at a men's personal growth workshop (1 day). Of the ten men there, I was the only gay guy. We all shared on some personal issues... most were struggling with relationship with a woman or their father/mother. I shared on the loss of my partner four years ago. They were all pretty cool and wanted to see the medal that I had which depicted my partner and me together.

Anyway, Mark and I shared some stuff that just resonated with each other... parallels between his breakup with his girlfriend and his struggle with his father. After the session he passed me a note saying that he could sense that my partner was with me. I gave him a small self-growth paperback that I had with me (which I had planned to give to him before his note to me).

Anyway we have emailed each other twice over the last few months since the retreat. For a straight guy, he freely shares about his own struggle with his life and father, etc. He is always hopeful in his sharing... hopeful about changes for himself, etc. I feel very privileged for this and want to keep up this relationship.... especially since I really don't have any straight friends with whom I have shared in this manner. My challenge is that I am afraid... afraid of trying so hard to have this relationship, afraid of rejection, etc, etc. (I know that some of this is possibly trying to make up for my life loss of a deeper acceptance by straight guys.) He said in his last email that he might want to get together for lunch sometime.

Any helpful suggestions or insights would be greatly appreciated.

Hanging in there.


P.S. I am much older than him, so maybe he might see me as a person with some additional lifetime experience?? Not sure.


Sorry to take some time to get back to you. Both SG and I have been out of town.

I hope that in the meantime you've gone ahead and had lunch with "Mark." He sounds like a gem of a guy, and I hope you are seizing the opportunity for a new friendship in your life.

I'm not a therapist, but here is how I would talk about this issue with a friend: We are all afraid of rejection, maybe that wound and fear that lives in each of us never completely heals. But, objectively speaking, Mark is signaling that he wants more with you. He's shared some e-mails, asked you to lunch, shows that he "gets" you.

I'm interested in a phrase that you used: that you are "afraid of trying so hard to have this relationship." I don't think you have to try -- it seems to be rolling out in front of you like a red carpet. Is it trying so hard to have the relationship, or wanting so much to have it.

My advice is, not to be too blunt, to get out of your own way here, and get a lunch or an after work beer on the calendar. Just accept this positive development and welcome it into your life.

Not sure what you mean by life loss of acceptance by straight guys, but, whatever you mean, I suspect it's a hangover from childhood. I think I have some trust issues with straight men, too, but I've found real joy from letting go and moving forward. We all grow up, don't we?

Much as I, with humor, use this forum to reinforce stereotypes of straight men as beer drinking, sports watching, emotionally stunted man-childs, they aren't. Straight Guy is a real gem, so are my friends John and David. My life is better with them in it. And, they "get" me better than some of my gay guy friends do.

Jump onto the red carpet Mark is rolling over to you. Let me know how it goes.

--Gay Guy


I don't see any need to fear rejection, when he's the one inviting you to lunch. If two people, who have room in their lives for new friends, find and connect with each other, then great. It might be temporary, or it might be long term, who knows? The one thing that will kill it is worrying too much.

I will say that the first thing that they should have taught you in a personal growth seminar for men (never been, sorry), is that you should always be moving away from unnecessary drama. It can be a self-indulgent trap. Right now I get the sense that your friendship is based on sharing your emotional selves, and sooner or later, someone will tire of that. Find some balance between sharing your deepest thoughts and, I don't know, playing pool or building a deck or something. Find something in common other than your inner struggles.

Not to minimize your (or anyone's) grief, but the goal is to respectfully move on at some point, right? Nothing better than having a good, trustworthy, friend to help you do that. Use them as counsel and confidant, sure, but also let them be a distraction from your inner monologue, and most importantly, trust them to tell you when it's time to buck up.

Buck up, dude.

--Straight Guy


Straight Guy and Gay Guy each have been out of town for a few days. Straight Guy is on a family trip, and we'll hear from him later in the week. 

Gay Guy just came back from a weekend of hiking and lounging in the great outdoors. GG likes the outdoors. A walk in the woods, a hike, some kayaking, a little biking -- I'm there. I secretly like being called outdoorsy; it sounds sexy, a reliable kind of sexy.  

People sometimes are surprised that I like hiking, but when I prod them, turns out that they've confused hiking and camping.  GG does not like camping. GG does not camp. He does not carry his world on his back, pitch a tent, use a rock for a pillow. He packs water, snacks, and some power bars, but not groceries and a portable stove.  

I am happy to be out all day, I just prefer to take a nice shower, eat a nice dinner, and sleep in a real bed. I don't want to wake up sweaty with bugs on me. 

--Gay Guy

It's not what you say but the way that you say it.

Straight Guy,

This is a tad embarrassing to admit, but I have a crush. A celebrity crush.

No, not the list of actors you've known me to be hot for. (That's a post for another day, readers.) A new celebrity. Well, not really a celebrity. Oh, out with it.

Yes, I love the voice over in the Subaru commercials. Who knows if I'd love the man the voice belongs to, but I know I love the voice. Here's one melodious voice over example, the episode about going to Subaru heaven.

I am a sucker for the human voice. A good voice makes me go all googly inside. This has caused me me trouble; I can fail to listen to what a man says when I am listening to how his voice sounds. As in, I think, "Oh your voice is so soulful, I could listen to it forever," when the words coming out of his mouth are, "I am emotionally retarded and have zero ability to have any kind of meaningful relationship."

What is it about men's voices that hits the spot for me? Maybe it's all the time I spent in music class. Maybe it's the mystery of having no idea what the person behind the voice looks like. Maybe it's that my father doesn't need to talk much; in fact, he once picked up and drove across the United States -- New York to Seattle -- just for the chance to be even more quiet.

I've outed myself on my voice lust -- readers, any irrational crush-makers for you? Leave a comment and let us know.

--Gay Guy

P.S. Back to the Subaru commercial: I have nothing to say about the quality of a Subaru or the content of the commercial. I don't know what's going on between the narrator and Larry. Leaving the old Forester out under a tree does seem ecologically unsound to me.

Can't Stop Believin'

OK, I know I'm not the only one who has this song on the brain this summer. It's everywhere.

The Journey song barely cracked the top 10 back in 1981, but picked up a lot of momentum two years ago when Tony Soprano selected it from the jukebox in the series' final scene.

After the Sopranos, it quickly popped up into iTunes top downloads category and has stayed there for over two years now. It's catchy enough, but it's resurgence has made it the most downloaded song from the 20th century (pre-2000). Is it that good? Well,
Esquire Magazine recently named it the "greatest karaoke song of all time." On the other hand, Steve Perry and Journey haven't even been nominated for induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I bet they're raking in the cash without apologies, though.

Last month, the song was featured in the new Fox series, Glee (see above, or you can catch the whole episode on Hulu here.) FWIW, I caught the episode during my American Idol finale binge (how could I miss the thousand promos?), and thought it might be good for a GG/SG review when it begins its regular run in the fall. Though it looks it, it's no High School Musical: When the new glee club teacher can't convince the quarterback to perform with "Homo Explosion" (as it's known around the school), he plants drugs (acquired from a disgraced teacher accused of mollesting students) in the QB's locker and uses a suspension as leverage. How's that for motivation?

Credit where credit is due... Apparently Petra Hayden and the Sell Outs have been doing a very similar a capella version for years now. It's also been retooled for the Broadway musical, "Rock of Ages." Anyone seen that?

My problem, is that I'm liking it more than I'd like to. Anyone sharing my pleasure and/or pain? Anyone (else) willing to admit to being 1 of 2,000,000 downloads?

--Straight Guy

National Man Day Coverage

Straight Guy,

Did you do anything for yesterday's National Man Day?

I did not participate, at least as far as I can tell. I did not explode anything, quote Homer Simpson, or go hygiene optional. Nor beer can crushing or NASCAR watching.

My activities were going to a play, a dinner of tapas with a great friend, and two glasses of Pinot Noir. Oh, and we finished up the night with a pink guava gourmet frozen yogurt and a moonlight walk. Gay, I know.

As much as I want this site to bridge the gay/straight divide, I am happy with my gay evening, even if it fits every gay stereotype.

Here's a sampling of National Man Day clips.

Ron Reagan Show
National Post
and my favorite, College Candy

I've read the sites, and stand by my theater, Pinot Noir, and fancy yogurt evening.

--Gay Guy

Euro Guy Look

Straight Guy,

In his comment yesterday about meat hats, Straight in Upstate asked if I had ever worn a sweater tied around my neck, a sweater some kind of fabric, not of meat or meat products, I assume.

The answer is "no."

The occasional Nantucket-type guy can pull off a sweater around the neck or shoulders. Enough to give me a slight twinge of envy. I've stood in front of a mirror with sweater sleeves across my neck. No go. It's a case of "Does this sweater make me look gay?" It does.

My real envy is European men who can wear a sweater that way and make it look uncontrived and effortless. They make dirty messy hair and/or clogs look stylish, so they have some special power that Americans don't have. I pine to be able to pull of that look: sort of gay, sort of straight, very sexy. I think it starts with being whippet thin.

I'd say have a certain sense of style. Some days are better -- meaning more an expression of my personality -- than others. Most days, it's what's clean, comfortable, and calling my name from the closet. My guess is that this is a universal, gay or straight.

So, my sweaters start at my neck and end at my hips. Sort of college boy gone older.

--Gay Guy

Waiter, There's a Hair in My Nachos con Carne

Good evening, Ms. Nacho Hat. I am pleased to introduce you to Mr. Meat Hat. I can't believe you're both still single after all these years and thought you might hit it off. Please make sure I get a good table at the wedding, because, yes, it's going to happen.

--Straight Guy

Fox News: Judgemental? Skanky? Or, Both?

Gay Guy,

Last week, The Daily Show devoted an episode to skewering the cable news networks, left and right. From MSNBC's Limbaugh scare-a-thon, to CNN's neediness ("Be my Facebook friend!"). Stewart: "Why do I have to follow CNN on Twitter? I can follow them on CNN!"

Anyhow, here's FoxNews at it's double-standard best, with more than a hint of homophobia thrown in to boot.

Yes, you got us. Lingerie Football is just another lame straight guy mash-up. We like both, so they must be good together.
Same deal as when George Costanza tried to eat his favorite sandwich while having sex. The fantasy works up to the point where we actually try to get involved. Sandwiches and sex appeal? Lingerie and football? Fried chicken and porn? It can work, as long as schlubby straight guys can stay out of the picture. In the clip above, we can only "appreciate" the lingerie players until we see Geraldo Rivera diving in as Steve Doocy cheers him on. After that, we can only recognize them as victims.

Look, they agreed to play football in their underpants, OK? Why must they also be objectified and degraded? It's just too much, Fox News!

--Straight Guy

National Man Day . . . Is There a Card for That?

Straight Guy,

I should have guessed that you and your people would sooner or later come up with "National Man Day," as I learned about on NPR this morning.

National Man Day? I'm all for it. Heck, I'll do my bit by scratching myself in my strategic parts. Watch Rocky? Shit, let's really be manly men and kick it with the French Connection. I'm good.

But, Steve Inskeep, my NPR host, whose voice wakens me each day, you are the inspiration for my morning's ambitions, so why did you have to add that "tragically" National Man Day lands on Sneak-a-Kiss Day. What's tragic about the combination? I don't even see a conflict.

Steve, can't you multitask? If you need some tutoring about how to sneak kisses while watching Rocky, I stand ready to help you. Just call.

--Gay Guy

Straight Guy Hall of Badassery 2009, Vol 1

I really have no idea whether these guys are gay or straight, but please just play along.

Badass #1: See above. If I ever find the cojones to shirtlessly skedaddle a bear with a table leg, will someone please snap a photo and put up a blog post about it? Photo source unknown.

Badass #2: This five-year-old tyke from Australia got a temporary henna tattoo while vacationing in Bali. LINK

Apparently, the dye contained PPD, which, according to Wikipedia, causes welts and "
should never be applied directly to the skin." Oops.

The upside is that this kid has a permanent dragon scar on his bicep. He's bully-proof.

New rule: No more kindergartners allowed in the Balinese tattoo market. Duh.

--Straight Guy

Rock Out, Gay Idol!

Gay Guy,

Today is the day Adam Lambert's Rolling Stone cover story leaks and, no duh, he's gay. Even my gaydar was strong enough to make an early call on this one.

A Rolling Stone cover is a big deal. And he had the EW cover a few weeks ago. That's pretty impressive for someone who was an unknown understudy a few months ago. Poor Kris Allen, the guy who actually won, is probably going to have to settle for the cover of Parade Magazine. Adam has obviously come out on top in terms of notoriety and momentum as they each begin to work on their albums.

That's what I love about American Idol. The premise is real. Stars are made. A Rolling Stone cover might seem premature, but I think Adam might be the best contestant they've ever had, and has professional potential to match any of their other successes.

I an earlier post, I wondered why many of Adam's female fans seemed to lose their hormonal composure even though they must know that he's gay. Why, for example, would they take off their tops and rush the stage? What's the point of that? Even if I was the world's biggest Ellen DeGeneres fan, I would know that dropping trou would get me nothing, especially not a backstage pass.

Maybe I'm being too harsh, though. A fan is a fan is a fan. If they want Adam that badly let them try. Here's a few quotes (of hundreds) from women on the RS board today:

- When I read the part where he said he was gay my heart sank. I love him no matter what! I don’t care if he is gay or strait or bi! I will always love him more than you can imagine and will dream about being with him.

- I’ve known he was gay since the “kissing” and “dressed up” pictures started showing up in youtube and I thought I was going to get turned off but the moment I saw him perform again the following Tuesday, I was hypnotized. Yes, hypnotized is term I would use - how else can I explain it? I try to fight it, trust me, I’m still trying. But something is pulling me and I can’t shake it off - yes, I think Adam has hypnotized me! When he sings, I can’t think of anything else. I’m not sure exactly what he does but yes, I honestly think he is a glittery alien from Planet Fierce.

- HOT HOT HOT! My only regret is that you are not Bi like me so older women like myself would stand a chance — oh well, I’ll settle for drooling. Yummy sweetheart, you be your bad, beautiful, fabulous self. We are SO READY for you. Thank you for LOVING YOURSELF enough to be honest give us the gift of your music and presence.

- He’s gay? My heart sank a bit. I personally don’t agree with homosexuality. After some soul searching, I realize am still a fan of Adam Lambert, gay or straight. I enjoy listening to his songs and that’s all that matters. Who are we to judge others? BTW, GOD loves everyone.

- ADAM is so sexy. I don’t care if he’s gay, just as long as he keeps giving those sexy glances while on stage. He has the most beautiful pale blue eyes I have ever seen. ADAM is my Dream Lover.

- I’m from the age group that was in love with Elvis. It’s time for someone else to wear that crown and ADAM is the obvious KING! As to his sexuality, all I can say is ….another great loss for womanhood.

Here's Adam's take:

"I don't think it should be a surprise for anyone to hear I'm gay. I've been living in Los Angeles for eight years as a gay man. I've been at clubs drunk making out with somebody in the corner."

"I loved it this season when girls went crazy for me. As far as I'm concerned, it's all hot. Just because I'm not sticking it in there doesn't mean that I don't find it beautiful."

Look for Adam's first single, "I'm Not Sticking It In There," to drop in September. But for now, his glam cover photo seems to be working it's magic. Dig the snake, Adam, but the butterfly is creeping me out. Must I remind folks that pins and brooches in the crotch/groin area are not a good idea? Yikes.

--Straight Guy

UPDATE 6/10: Couldn't resist these other comments which also hit the RS post last night:

- I’m 30, beautiful, smart and career-oriented. I’m nice and sweet but sexy and naughty in appearance. I’ve always wanted men I can’t have and Adam, you are my ultimate challenge. Just show a little bit of curiosity and the willingness to experiment - and I will give you a taste of what you have been missing and will turn you into a man! But if that doesn’t work, do you need a surrogate? I want to infuse my offspring with your supernatural genetic makeup!

- The boy is sexy and I don’t give a damn if he is gay. Adam you can always come home sexy…you can always come home. There will be a lot of women, including me, that will gladly welcome you.

Readers, what's your take? Is this flattering, insulting, or just plain nutty?

Last Night, Last Night: Showtune Showdown

Straight Guy,

The Tony Awards were last night. Were you glued to your television? No?

I've said it before, but we gays love the Tony Awards. Love 'em. I say bring on the stereotype.
I can't explain why gay men like musical theater; I think it's because generally speaking musicals end happily. The two romantic leads find each other.

This year's Tony awards show was so bad. Just horrible. Gassy, flabby, boring. If there was ever a production in need of a Broadway producer, it's was . . . Hey, wait . . .

The shining moment was the last two minutes, when host Neil Patrick Harris pulled off a wonderful song with lyrics that summarized the night highlights. Worth waiting for.

Why can't the lyrics, and performances, on Broadway be that good?

--Gay Guy

Straight Comics / Gay Comics

Gay Guy,

It's a newsworthy summer in the comic book industry, and I though I'm not much of a fanboy myself, I'm sure that you are completely out of the loop on this stuff. Here's a quick rundown on the gay and straight highlights:

• Archie picks... Veronica! Not sure what Betty did to deserve this. They've always done their best to make the Veronica/Betty choice an impossible one for Archie. It's one of the only appealing aspects to an otherwise fairly humorless storyline. Archie's appeal was never obvious, but both girls were clearly crazy for him. What adolescent boy wouldn't go for that? Maybe, in the end, Archie went for the money. I won't be surprised if the publishers find a way for Arch to change his mind, or back out completely. Betty deserves better, anyway (Hey, I made my choice a long time ago). LINK

• Marvel Divas. Something for both straights (see above) and gays (read blow) here, GG. A new storyline pulls several b-list heroines together. Here's the promo copy:
What happens when you take four of the Marvel Universe's most fabulous single girls and throw them together, adding liberal amounts of suds and drama? You get the sassiest, sexiest, soapiest series to come out of the House of Ideas since Millie the Model! Romance, action, ex-boyfriends, and a last page that changes everything! Let your inner divas out with this one, fellas, you won't regret it! Parental Advisory.

• Still not convinced that comic books are targeting gay consumers? How about this plot device: Tim Gunn puts on the Iron Man suit to save Fashion Week. Yeah, you heard me.
After runway models Mary Jane (yes, Peter Parker's Mary Jane) and Patsy Walker (alias: Hellcat) team up to clear Millicent Collins (aka Millie the Model) of murdering a set designer, the fashion guru borrows Robert Downey Jr.'s shiny supersuit to save the day and guide the designer's ladies. LINK

Next up, Hulk's torn purple pants (the original manpris) are trashed on "What Not To Wear." But Hulk no like vertical stripes!

--Straight Guy

Gay / Straight Advice: Friends or Frienemies?

Question from a gay reader:
Dear Gay and Straight Guys,

I have a really hard time making and keeping friends. Living in an army town, people come and go and there's not much I can do about it but enjoy the friendships while they last. Thing is, most of my friends are straight guys. I don't really seem to get along with gay guys and women all that much, I don't know why. I just seem more comfortable hanging with straight guys, perhaps because the gay guys and women in my area seem to treat me more like competition rather than a potential friend and I have too low a self-esteem to be around that kind of competitiveness. I enjoy my straight guy friends because there's no competition there. I can just be me and that's good enough for them.

But lately, every straight guy I've had gotten close to, there seems to be some sort of crossing of boundaries. Like my current friends, two married men I usually hang together with on weekends. From day one there was some flirting from their end, even before I came out to them. It started out as nicknames like "Pretty Ricky" and "Pretty Boy" which I sharply denied, which only encouraged them to escalate to see how far they could push my buttons. Eventually it turned to putting their foot on my leg while sitting on the couch or trying to engage me into wrestling match.

For example, one just picked me off the couch out of the blue and but me in his lap and held me close as if I was some sort of baby. Later on that same night, he had feigned sleeping in his son's room and when his wife told me to go in and wake him up, he pulled me into the bed with him and wrestled me to floor. Then went back to "sleep" with me still in a choker hold. I had to tell HIM, a straight guy, that that was too much male physical contact for me, a gay guy. And this was the first day I met him, within minutes of him learning I was gay.

At first I didn't really have a problem with it. I've had this stuff happen to me before. In college I hung out with a lot of frat guys who did the same thing. I didn't really take it as sexual, more as immature and mildly annoying. Besides they mostly did it when their wives were around so it seemed like they were showing off to get a reaction from their wives, who often just ignored it. Also I just took it as their way of showing me they were comfortable with my sexuality. I probably would have preferred a less physical way of showing me this but I guess that's just how their personality's are.

It started being a problem when the touching became more frequent and public and often times both of them were touching me at the same time which caused some anxiety in me. I tried telling them to stop but they just laugh and keep doing it. It's not so much that they're touching me in any sexual way, it's more so it's just that they're invading my personal space. It's like I'm some sort of "pet" to them or a toy. In fact, the way they touch me is very much in the same way they treat their dogs. It's the very opposite of sexual and more rough and incredibly annoying.

I guess that's my fault for being inconsistent with them on what my boundaries are. I've only known them less than a month and already I'm comfortable enough with them to eat from the same plates as them and drink from the same beer cans. They also act inconsistently with me as well. One day I can make a joke about how good I am at sucking dick and they think its hilarious. Then next week and make a similar joke and they think it's gross and start acting homophobic like I'm trying to come on to them. Other times they can be touching me but when I tickle them or touch them back they push me away. There's lines being crossed here but since there's inconsistency on both sides on where the lines are, I'm left confused and frustrated and there are days I intentionally try to avoid them because I honestly don't know how they expect me to act around them.

Thing is though, like I mentioned earlier, I don't make friends easily so I don't want to burn any bridges with what little friends I do have. These guys seem to want me around for the long haul and I'd love to have friends that stick around for years instead of a few months. But I don't know where to begin with these two. What should I do? I don't want to lose what could be the only two friends I might have right now.


I felt sad after reading your post. Sad because these guys are not appreciating you, sad because you aren't setting good boundaries, and sad because you don't seem to be able to make friends with other gay men.

Given what you've told me, your two buds are not really buds.

The motivation for their behavior is really weird. I haven't wrestled with a guy since my 6th grade gym class. I don't do those things with Straight Guy, my other straight male friend, or even my gay male friends. I feel like your "friends" are trying to goad you into some kind of reaction or drama. That's not how friends behave.

I'm not a therapist, but I've been in therapy and receive good advice from friends who care about me. So here's my somewhat educated opinion: You are in a bad repetitive cycle. First the frat guys, now these guys. They are not, may I repeat not, showing you that they are comfortable with your sexuality. I don't know what they are trying to show you, but it is not respect.

Please start setting boundaries today. And respect yourself enough to carry through on them. Tell your friends that their behavior is not respectful, that they are not listening to you, and that the behavior must end. Then mean it. If they don't get it and continue to treat you like a child or a pet, move to the other side of the room. Or, better, go home. Trust me, being home by yourself is better for your ego than being harassed.

Confused and frustrated: Here's a starting point. No tales of blow jobs, no tickling, no sharing beer cans. This is not normal behavior for adults. In short, you are part of the problem.

I'm not saying to dump these friends, but I am urging you to set boundaries, say what your boundaries are, then mean it. If you have trouble meaning it, I urge some therapy. You are getting something weird out of this, and it needs to end for everyone.

I'd like to know why you have trouble making and keeping gay male friends because they see you as 'competition.' I don't really know what you mean. Competition for what? For other men? For attention? One thing I have learned along the road is that when you start seeing relationships in competitive terms, everyone loses. (Yes, I used 'loses' deliberately to make my point.)

Please work on the self-esteem issue and give gay men more chances. You might need to say, "Wow. I'm feeling that we are in competition and I don't want that. What do you think is going on here? How are you seeing me?" It'll be scary, but even if they can't respond in the way you want them to, saying how you feel is always good. And, go through the phone book and find a gay club, social group, or support group. Above all, please start taking better care of yourself.

Stay in touch.


Face it, dude, you are being harassed. But I have to agree that you're doing a horrible job of setting boundaries. Plus, your social group's hormones are out of whack. Wrestling in front of their wives, flirty tickling, and oral sex gigglefests? Get a grip.

My harsh assessment? You can't trust your friends, and they don't seem to respect you. Without trust and respect, what kind of friendship do you have? My best advice is to start over. A shared beer can is not a benchmark of a successful relationship. How about you
volunteer, play a sport, or take an art class? Don't get stuck. Keep meeting new people.

You have a lot of work to do, and if GG hasn't already recommended therapy, I will. Other gay guys and straight women should not be viewed as competition (unless you really are after straight guys, hmmmm). Many straight guys are perfectly nice, but many are not, and, in general, confused gay guys shouldn't rely on frat-boy-types as their only social connection.

Of course you should "be you." But I don't think you're very comfortable with yourself yet, and these guys are exploiting all of that insecurity. My worst fear is that this could end up in the kind of humiliating episode that causes permanent emotional damage. Just a hunch, but any father/brother issues for you to work out?

Sounds like you feel you don't have many options. But what are your long-term plans? I don't think it's a coincidence that many gay guys leave their small town upbringing to find acceptance in the big cities. Others don't and are probably fine, but I'll bet they find a way to build a better network than you have. If you have to choose between being a loner or a victim, then that's an easy choice.

Get centered, protect yourself, and keep meeting new people. The long-term will take care of itself. We're rooting for you.

--Straight Guy

Beach Blanket Himbo?


Today's Gay Guy, Straight Guy exchange:

SG: What are you doing this weekend?
GG: Going to the beach.
SG: To that guy who has the nice house?
GG: Yes.
SG: You didn't make any . . . promises . . . did you?

Proudly or sadly, Gay Guy is not the 'promise to put out for a weekend at the beach' sort of guy. Unless the beach is on St. Bart's. Or Turks and Caicos. (I just like saying Caicos. It sounds gay.)

Wish me luck on the gay end of the beach. If no one kicks sand in my face, that'll be a good start.

--Gay Guy

Cologne Zone: Gay Guy/Straight Guy Whiff?

Straight Guy,

I was in line at the drugstore today, stalled in front of a display of men's cologne, specifically British Sterling, English Leather and Canoe. Had to laugh. Those colognes were popular when I was a tot. In my mind, they were the epitome of sophistication.

What did I know. My dad's fragrance palette was functional only: Old Spice, Vitalis, Brylcream, Right Guard, and Listerine. And yes, worn all at once.

The smell of Right Guard takes me back to childhood faster than Proust and his cookie.

I'm surprised any of these brands have held on into a new millenium.

I'm not a cologne guy. Sure, I went through the obligatory artsy college student's brief romance with sandalwood and patchouli, but I don't think that went on my permanent record.

I don't really want to smell other men (nor women for that matter). At least not until I am up close.

Straight Guy, you don't wear cologne do you? Do you save it for special occasions when you are putting your spell on the ladies?

I can't say that wearing cologne is a stereotypically gay guy thing. My data is skewed. If Iam in a situation where a guy floats by on a cloud of CK1, I'm in a group of gay men, but that's about the only group of men I am ever in.

Incidentally, cologne could have been my friend if I had only let it. A guy I dated (and then some) wore lots of cologne. Even in moderation, this particular scent gave me a headache. A very specific sick headache. Like an icepick between my eyes. Eventually he too became a headache, like an icepick between my eyes. Shoulda smelled it coming.

Any help here folks? Cologne -- gay, straight, sexy, annoying? Leave a comment and let us know.

--Gay Guy

GBFS: Gay Best Friend Syndrome

Gay Guy,

I hope I never treat you as a novelty this way. I can see how it might be annoying at best, or infuriating at worst. I guess it's a fine line between celebrating diversity in friendship and being condescending and melodramatic. Let me know when I cross that line.

Do you have a lot of girlfriends who classify you as their GBF? Annoying or gratifying? Despite the format of this blog, I'll still classify you as FWJHTBG.

Where are all the lesbian best friends for straight guys? Oh yeah, we're gross and annoying and objectify them worst of all. Guess we'll have to work on that. Did I already cross the line mentioned above, or should I start writing a spec script for a sitcom pilot, "Jill and Chase"?

--Straight Guy

FWJHTBG = friend who just happens to be gay

Readers: Any horror or success stories on the GBF phenomenon? Any "Straight Guy / Gay Girl" blogs that we don't know about?

The Gay / Straight Update: June 2, 2009


Welcome to a new feature at GG/SG. We're not sure how often we'll be doing this, but we're accumulating bookmarks and links faster than we can comment on them. Let us know what you think. Here are today's selections:

• Princess alert: It's "Gay Days" at Disney World this week. Events include parties, comedy, charity, and of course, parades. LINK1 LINK2 LINK3

• JMU study finds Yoo-Hoo better after workouts than Gatorade. "Chocolate milk drinkers had significantly lower levels of creatine kinase - an indicator of muscle damage." LINK

• Shatner's "Khaan!" scream re-edited to 15-minute study of range and rage. LA Weekly review includes a 2-minute YouTube sample which "doesn't begin to do justice to the size, sound and hypnotic power of the real thing." LINK

Straight Guy Recommends: "Cool Guys Don't Look at Explosions," Andy Samberg's digital short from the MTV Movie Awards. LINK

Gay Guy Recommends:

Smooth, Dude, Real Smooth

Gay Guy,

Gillette has released a new set of instructional videos. They cover not only how to shave your face and neck, but other areas, including... you guessed it.

Yes they did.

They've found an animation style that keeps it light, so that viewers like me don't pass out when the danger of nicking my equipment is addressed. "Let the razor do all the work." Um, no, I think I'd like to stay at the controls on this one.

Technically these animations are SFW, but really, why give your coworkers this kind of ammunition?

There are other segments on shaving your head, armpits, etc. Maybe TMI, but I was hoping for some insight from the back-shaving clip. (Minor aesthetic adjustments, nothing major, I swear.) Simple geometry makes this operation very difficult, so I was hoping for a new angle, as it were.

But their advice was useless: have someone else do it.

Really, Gillette? You've engineered a five-blade razor, but can't recommend anything better than monkey-style social grooming? No thanks. I guess I'll have to invent something. (Brainstorm: electric trimmer attached to a vacuum cleaner... it just might work!)

Are there no secrets anymore? Manscaping must be getting more popular than I thought. Readers?

--Straight Guy

Here's a Funny or Die clip on man waxing. I'd vote it NSFW.

--Gay Guy

Then This Happened: Brüno vs Eminem

Yes, it happened. Yes, despite the feigned outrage, Eminem was in on it. What are the odds that this kind of spectacle could involve two superstars, each with a new album or film to promote?

Is Sacha Baron Cohen funny? You decide.

I thought Borat was hilarious and insightful, with a surprising amount of heart. We'll have to see about Brüno. Maybe a GG/SG joint review. Mark your calendars for July 10.

--Straight Guy

Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive