Thanks for the weekend tribute to Bea Arthur. And also for the not-so-long-ago tribute to Eartha Kitt. I agree with your assessment that these departed gay icons attained their status in some ways by being "tough, sassy, and unafraid." Can I also add that they were, in some way, dominating and slightly mannish, as well as unlucky in love? Plus, they ALWAYS had a great back story (perfect for a one-woman-show).
In other words, they were quite a "hoot."
Not only were they funny, they were fabulous, but in some ways had never been fully accepted. I can see how a gay guy might identify with that.
Many older women fall into the "Hoot" category. Can't the whole "Golden Girls" phenomenon be classified that way? Young women don't seem to qualify, do they? Though I suppose Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho are well on their way. Britney and Lindsay are not Hoots, they are still hot messes, but they have long term Hoot potential.
I hate to break it to those women and the gays that adore them, but from out here in Straightsville, "Hoot" is not a compliment. Wasn't Bea Arthur the gold standard of unattractiveness to straight men? The metaphorical "last woman on earth" with whom we must be forced to procreate. Don't call me cruel... that was the core of her schtick!
I mentioned my "elevator test" in our Eartha Kitt post. Most Hoots would also flunk this test, in that I would NOT enjoy being trapped in an elevator with them. I assume that many gay guys would savor the chance to have Bea or Eartha's undivided attention for an hour or so. Not me. Yes, it's partly because they are intelligent, powerful, and intimidating women. But also because they somehow stand in judgment of us, the generic straight guys. Isn't part of the unlucky-in-love-routine that none of us men have ever really measured up? Been man enough to handle these ladies? Aren't we always just moments away from a withering put-down for being the dolts we naturally are?
Here's a short list of female gay icons who make straight men uncomfortable. It's a proud tradition dating back to Mae West, or further, what do I know?. I'm no expert on the icons themselves, just my uncomfortableness with them. I'll rate them on a Divaness and Hootability 5-star scale, as these criteria are core in determining how intimidating they are. And, correct me if I'm wrong, GG, to be a gay icon, it seems you need a bit of both.
Extra hoot points for drag-queen mannishness.
Very intimidating. Could convincingly deliver DeNiro's "Are you talking to ME?" monologue wearing a bedazzled turban and mink stole.
The exception proves the rule. Meets all criteria, but passes my elevator test. So sue me.
Low on Hoot score, because who (gay or straight) wants to listen to Cher for long periods of time? Still frightening, though.
Ultimate diva. But hoot factor has risen in each decade.
Madame (of Wayland and Madame):
The perfect storm of demanding divaness, one-woman-show hootability, and manishness out the wazoo (literally!).
Readers, let us know who's on your list, or whether I've gotten any of these completely wrong. Click "comments" below.
Today is William Shakespeare's birthday. Incidentally, it's generally agreed by scholars that it is also the day of his death. We the literary minded like circular things like that.
Why bring up the Bard's birthday? Because in every English lit class I've taken, the question "Was Shakespeare gay or at least bisexual?" came up. Maybe because Shakespeare dedicated some of his most deeply felt sonnets to the Earl of Southamtpon, who was bisexual. Maybe it's because Shakespeare is wearing an earing in one portrait and only gay men wear earings. No, really, I heard someone say that. Obviously someone who had never watched an NFL game.
Me, I think people ask because there is a lot of gay stuff floating around in his plays.
I've no idea if Shakespeare was gay, but I do believe that he understood being gay, that he knew gay men -- and knew them without judgment. Here's a few reasons why I am certain of this: In the Merchant of Venice, Antonio is clearly in love with Bassanio. Just read the first few pages. Such a deep sigh, that Antonio. Unrequited love is the source of his famous melancholy -- and it's what sets the plot in motion.
In Twelfth Night, Duke Orsino falls in love with "Cesario," who is Viola in disguise. Yeah, yeah, it's one of the cross dressing, masked identity plays, and yes, it all ends well, with Viola coming out. But there is some ambiguity about Orsino's desire. A few years ago, I saw a production of Twelfth Night in which Orsino is getting comfortable and getting off with the lure of Cesario. At the end, when Viola can shed her disguise to marry Orsino, the director of the production had Orsino hesitate at the reveal, and flirt with Viola to persuade her to keep her drag on.
So, what's the point, I hear you ask? Patience, SG, patience. That's just Act One.
In March the authenticators-that-be authenticated a portrait of Shakespeare that was painted in his own time. Quite a find. And, quite a looker, that Will. Adam Gopnik wrote that the portrait makes Shakespeare "look like George in the 'Penny Lane' video, circa 1967" in a witty New Yorker article. It's a portrait so full of hotness that it alone can reopen the sexual orientation chatter.
From a portait? I must say that's some impressive gaydar.
In a San Francisco Chronicle column, Jon Carroll duly notes that, in the newly found portrait, Shakespeare's mouth "has a little decadent curl." Then Carroll goes in with a pointed quill: "Is there something that Shakespeare is doing in that portrait that says to the gaydar-adept citizen, 'Meet me backstage after the performance,'?"
So, here's my synopsis: Act One, it's Shakespeare's birthday. Act Two: People wonder if Shakespeare swung both ways. Act Three: There's a newly found portrait of Shakespeare that shows him as such a total hottie in the way that only gay men can be.
Talk about giving straight people a bad name! Do we really seem this self-important and stupid?
Look, we're all free to disagree, but the NOM's original spot is so nonsensical that I don't even have a response. The leaps in logic are so vast that it's impossible to span the distance. How, exactly, would gay marriage impact a doctor's ability to do his or her job? Actually, what storm?
Yes. I am afraid. But only afraid that folks might not have the media savvy to see through this crap. On the positive side, this does have a "last stand" sense of desperation to it. Maybe we're almost there.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad|
Colbert, as usual, is spot on in his critique. Funny or Die has also put up a spoof.
This article on manly man names is too funny for words. "Dick Pound" is an adolscent boy's dream come true.
Nice Find, GG.
I vote for "Commander Flex Plexico." How can you NOT get the best table in the house when your reservation is in that name?
Late this afternoon, Straight Guy calls my hotel room. " Gay Guy," he says. "Straight Guy here. Do you bring any . . uhm . . . uhm . . . what are they called? Those pointy things. You know, that go in your shirt/"
"Ah, collar stays," say I. "Yes, I packed collar stays."
Straight Guy swung by my hotel room on his way out. I think he was impressed that I yanked the stays out of the shirt I was wearing to give to him.
Met some friends at a (gay) bar last evening.
"This draft beer is bad."
"Yeah, really flat. Something's wrong."
"You can't get good draft beer in a gay bar."
"Yeah, (deep sigh). Sadly, they don't have the right clientele."
"Too bad. The beer at my neighborhood Irish bar is so good."
Now in it's third year, the Washington Post runs a contest for best Marshmallow Peeps diorama. Otherwise well-adjusted adults spend weeks putting them together. The Post's site has a huge gallery of this year's best.
Peeps are my favorite Easter candy. I can eat them fresh, but also like them day-old stale. I don't think GG is crazy for the sugar on sugar combo.
Gay Guy, just confirm this for me. Two casually posed 19th century gentlemen who are "ahead of their time," plus the "Progressive" headline = gays buy car insurance now. Right?
I'm not just a hopeless straight guy, am I? I don't speak Gay Latin, but this is it, right? It's what's unsaid that speaks the loudest.
I'd like to think that I'm ahead of my time, but now I'm not so sure. Bring me up to speed. If corporate America is about to begin producing gay marketing that only barely hints at the true demographic target, I'll have to start paying attention. (Although for a lower insurance premium I'll admit to about anything: "I only use it once a week to drive to Banana Republic and back.")
Or have I just been missing it for a while? Wait a minute, is that how I ended up with Kenneth Cole loafers?
Not that gays don't deserve the attention and any better deals that may come your way. Of all sexual orientation demographic groups, gay guys have the most disposable income. By far. And now you know that The Man is out to get it.
Am I the only one who remembers the less ambiguous Schmidt's Gay campaign?
A reader sent this e-mail a few days ago in response to the April 4 discussion about gay men hitting on straight men.
Thanks for opening this discussion.
I am a gay may who flirts openly [with] the straight men in my life. It is interesting that they don't reject my flirtations.
My thinking is that straight men don't get this kind of attention & it feels really nice to be on the receiving end of desirability. For the most part it never gets past the flirtation stage. However, there have been a couple of occasions when it did. Both times it was w/ guys that I've been flirting w/ for months.
As is always the case, I extend an open invitation to these breeders to sexually service them at any point in time that they may feel the need. The one caveat is that it be kept between us (no wives/girlfriends must know) & that it not change a thing between us outside of the physical intimacy experience.
Although I know that 2 hardly makes for a case study... it is the case that the 2 caveats held & all's well w/ us.
All I can say is that our correspondent has fewer inhibitions and/or more adventurous friends than I. Or that his friends are working out some issues. No judgment, only an observation.
I've not come even remotely close to the kinds of experiences our reader can pull off. A few years after college, I muttered "Fuck me" to a guy who had set me hundreds of points in a card game. He then expressed way too much interest in whether I actually wanted it. Masking under feigned humor, but it was clear to my gaydar that I'd scratched a nerve. I think the divorce that he was going through had layers of causes. In retrospect, I think I was stirring the pot when I had my excited utterance.
And, I did end up playing some surprisingly extended footsie with a straight friend of a friend once or twice. We ended up sharing a king size bed in a beach house for a weekend, but any chance of follow through switched off along with the bedside lamps. As a side note, that guy cleaned a bathroom like a white tornado. I bowed before his bleach-blotched greatness.
Both those incidents took place right after college. That was a while ago. I can't imagine any of the straight guys I know now following through with any flirtation I might toss their way. That would be because they are straight. Could I flirt a bit with them? Maybe a bit. Not in a seductive way, but in an appreciative way, if that makes a difference. But nothing beyond appreciation. It would make them really uncomfortable. Me, too. And I couldn't do it due to their wives/girlfriends.
I know that I've slept with some married guys -- the law of averages tell me so. Go online, say to Craigslist, and you will find a surprising number of married men in town and away from their wives who want to experiment or follow up on desires they have packed away in their regular lives. When I read their posts, I feel sad for them and especially for the wives back home. I think this makes me very old fashioned.
I'm really interested that our reader's been able to pull off a sexual encounter with two straight friends that didn't change anything between them. I can't pull that off, even with a gay bud.
Straight Guy? Readers? Any comments?
I came in at about 23 or 24 (who has custom fitted boots?).
Maybe it was a little straight-focused, but how did you do, GG? And what of your essentials were not on the list? (Didn't see anything from the 2xist line.)
The point of the research is that not even a liberal dousing of fragrance could mask B.O. for women, while men get lost in the cologne zone. Seriously, this is important stuff because researchers surmise that the biological data floating around in sweat helps women choose good mates.
I like the way a man smells. As long as he smells good. Good, meaning clean. A little air. Some soap. Some sun. I'm easy.
So here's the deal, I do not have any gay friends and I am stuck in a really bad situation right now that is life changing. I do not have anyone to turn to. That's why I am writing because, as you will see later, it could make it worse if I tell someone else in my circle, based on this experience alone.
I am a 28-year-old guy who just came out to a really good straight guy friend while drunk last weekend. I've had girlfriends in the past, that's why my friends don't even suspect me of being gay. This friend even told me that it never crossed his mind.
He told me that he is comfortable with it and that he respects me more for telling him. I've known my friend (27) for about three years. We were really good friends.
My mistake: I told him my true feelings about him, even though I knew he was straight and has a girlfriend. I wish I had never done this because, knowing this great guy, he would have accepted me being gay. I think telling him that I liked him crossed the line. He constantly told me in the past that he can't have any "girl-friends" because these girls end up wanting to be his girlfriend.
I had a sleep-over at his place and before I went to bed, he told me not to feel embarrassed the next day or feel stupid after the alcohol is gone. He is totally comfortable with the whole thing and he now likes it better that it is clear. He thought something was weird when I was unusually nicer to him, like he was my girlfriend or something for many years.
The next day, everything was normal. Before I left, I told him that I felt awkward after my revelation last night.
He basically just reassured me that he is comfortable with the whole thing. He repeated everything that he said the last night, which makes me think that he was not that drunk. He told me that we are closer after that night.
His girlfriend arrived a couple hours later from the Caribbean.
It's only been three days and I noticed a shift in his approach to me. He is clearly avoiding me.
Is the relationship salvageable? I can't lose a really good friend. I don't know what to do...
GAY GUY RESPONDS:
I feel for you, I really do. Unrequited loves sucks. That's a universal truth about the human condition. Regarding your specific situation, you need to get out of your self for a while. And turn down the volume on the drama.
STRAIGHT GUY RESPONDS:
But, whoops, you also told him that he's the guy for you. You made a late-night move while his girlfriend was out of town. That's a little skanky, dude. Were you hoping against hope that he was in the same bind, just waiting to also come out? Any signals to that effect? Doesn't really matter, because this part isn't really a gay issue. You're in love with someone who can't love you back. That happens to just about everyone, gay or straight, at some point. Rejection hurts, and it's not easy for the person who has to do it, either.
Will it be awkward for a while? Probably.
Can the long-term friendship be salvaged? Yes, but only if BOTH of you get back into a comfort zone. Of course you'll keep liking him, but you need to get to a place where you aren't constantly pining for him. He needs to see you in that light, too. So, if you still have a tiny hope for something more (I have a feeling), get over it. Try to do something with a group and get back to normal.
Give it time and take it easy on yourself. "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."
I love the detail where the girlfriend flies back from the Caribbean. Who does that entitled bee-yatch think she is, anyway? I hate her, too.
Hang in there.
Here's a story from the Canadian National Post.
The Daily Beast takes the argument to the next level: Sluts vs. Losers. Check the link for male and female perspectives on whether it's tougher to be labeled as (a) the guy who's not getting any, or (b) the girl who gets too much.
A study, published in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, found that society accords men less "sexual latitude" than women, deeming it abnormal for a man to be disinterested in sex, to engage in homosexual fantasy, and to engage in submissive sexual acts.
"The double standard used to give men more sexual freedom than women, but these findings indicate that the dynamic is changing" said Alex McKay, research coordinator for the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada. "Men are forced to abide by a certain gender role, while women are today more free to be themselves. In this sense, the standard actually works against the man."
So, GG, let me ask about one small part of this. Do you think it is easier to be sexually "out there" or just plain "out" for women these days?
I remember stumbling inarticulately around this many posts ago when Lindsay Lohan was coming out (or at least admitting that she currently had a girlfriend). Yes, she seems a confused mess in many ways, but why do I automatically assume that maybe she's just experimenting with her sexuality when I wouldn't grant the same latitude to a guy?
These are current social norms, right?: Dudes on spring break can get drunk and make fools of themselves. But they can't go "Guys Gone Wild" on each other and blame it on the alcohol, music, or plain old experimentation. But girls can, and do, because the double standard is accepted and encouraged. Girls don't face long-term consequences for their gay behavior, unless they take the GGW check and end up on video.
Yes. Yes. Yes. It's understood that many girls who go "wild" only do so for the benefit of straight guys. I get it, maybe we still objectify and ultimately control the dynamic. But even so, we've made it safer for curious girls to figure out who they are, and haven't given that freedom to guys who might really need to figure some stuff out.
So, I guess my prejudice agrees with the research. I try to be open-minded, so go easy on me as I admit to owning a stereotype: Girls can experiment with their sexuality and easily come back to being straight, but if a guy crosses the same line he's labeled as not-straight... forever.
Readers, click "comments" below to let us know if you agree, or to try and change my mind. See Gay Guy's response here.
Let's go halfsies on this. It's perfect for your dinner parties, and perfect for my after parties... An ornate black-lacquered dining room table with a floral centerpiece that, when turned, transforms it into a regulation ping-pong table. We both win.
You can tell this is a top-notch product because they suggest serving some sort of red wine in a champagne glass with your hamburger and fries. Then, you play ping-pong in your cocktail attire. Which Bond movie was that from?
Right now it's only available in Shanghai.
Shutting down the gift guide for a while until I stockpile another batch of this nonsense.
Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive
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- Suzanne, Sophia, or Charlotte: Games Straight Men ...
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- Dead Poets Society Protest: "Hating on Everyone"
- Bea Arthur, Golden Girl, Gay Buddy, Dies at 86
- Shakespeare. Rhymes With Queer?
- Gathering Storm of Hot Air
- Manly Man Names: Gay/Straight Guy Shortcomings?
- Does This Bib Make Me Look Hot?
- Collar Stays: Gay/Straight Haberdashery 911
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- Guys Gone Wild = Guys Gone Gay
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