Viral Video: Miracle on 22nd Street, from NYT



Readers,

Happy New Year! Before the holiday spirit fades away, take a look at this video from the New York Times. Shout out to one of our NYC readers for pointing it out to us.

GG and I always participate in our workplace charity drives. Better to give and all that.... But at least we can see them coming.

So, my Santa-hat is off to these guys. Plus, I like their dynamic.

I often snark on the big papers and some of the elitism I find there (See recent cookie recipe post, oh, and enough with the ballet coverage, already!). But do you think your local TV news station is going to find the time to produce this mini-documentary and give up 7 minutes to air it? Think again. You go, Gray Lady.

--Straight Guy

Ho-Moe Outed: Too Personal a Personal?


Straight Guy,

'Nuf said.

I don't know Moe. Or maybe I know more about him that I should.

Moe's position's been outed: True? Untrue? Good advertising?

SG, I suspect sexual position is something your peeps don't have to think about much. I've said this before, but preferences like this between partners pale compared to savers v. spenders, morning people v. night owls.

--Gay Guy

Raindrops on Roses and Soap on a Rope: GG/SG Favorite Things



Readers,

Gay Guy is already dashing through the snow on his holiday break. But before he left, we ranked a traditional list of "guy gifts" to see how they would fall in our quad graphs.

Obviously, Christmas came early in the form of the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal. And that was the only case where this graph "goes to 11."

Otherwise, please let us know what we missed. No, there's no "Hot Babe Calendar" on my side of the graph, but I'm not dead inside. I just have a wife and two daughters, so let's be real.

Gay Guy listed fancy shaving stuff pretty highly, but he also knows that I am not a fan of the Art of Shaving stores. Drug store shaving supplies are more than adequate, so don't fall into their trap, ladies! Yes. I am firmly convinced that 90 percent of the shoppers there are looking for gifts for boyfriends and husbands. Suckers.

Oh, yeah. I have a soft spot for Soap on a Rope. Who doesn't need a little bit of both? Soap now. Rope Later. That's a win/win. Haven't had one in years, though. Don't worry, I wouldn't wear it to work or anything. Or would I?

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. All the best to you and yours, from Gay Guy and Straight Guy.

--Straight Guy

Further Fundraising Follies: To Friend or Not to Friend

Straight Guy,

More on the impact of fundraising appeals.

Like all cultural organizations, the theater where I have a subscription is financially stretched. Before the show last Sunday, the marketing manager came on stage to ask everyone to consider becoming a "friend" by making an end-of-year gift to help the theater meet a challenge grant.

The marketing manager was nice looking, and my gaydar went off with a confident clang. Once a guy sets off my gaydar, the next step is to check for visible signs of relationship status. No rings on marketing manager's hands. (Ring/no ring is not much data to work with, but when you are single, a clue's a clue.)

Marketing man was poised in the lobby after the performance. I am not good at effectively expressing my interest in other men, but, buoyed with pre-holiday spirit, I went up to him and struck up on conversation. My fumbling flirtations did not lead to anything solid, but he was friendly and there were lots of smiles. I called it a worthy attempt, then rejoined my friend, who was under-impressed with my efforts. She nudged me back over to marketing man. He and I had some more smiley conversation about how the challenge grant was going . . . and that was all.

So, do I give or not give based solely on my love of theater? Or do I exploit it, and send a check with a Post-it on it that says, more or less, "Hey, we talked on Sunday and I said I would make a gift and look here it is and you can call me to say thanks."

I'm not naive; I know that people who want you to make a gift are all smiles and interest. Lordy, at least those PBS appeals are free of sexual tension.

--Gay Guy

Fundraising Folly: Gay Guy Advice for PBS

Straight Guy,

The two public television stations in my area have been in fundraising campaigns, annoyingly at the same time. The deprivation is worse than just the lack of good TV, it's an active assault by bad TV.

Here's PBS' strategy: Put on lots of horrible programs that no one wants to watch, then interrupt frequently to implore you to give so that this kind of programming can stay on the air. Ack. PBS trots out wonders such as hours of off key, geriatric reunions of girl and boy groups from the 1950s, Andrea Boccelli singing and, worst, hours and hours of Celtic Woman. Not since the IRA hung up their guns has Ireland produced such terrorists as Celtic Woman.

Marketing the PBS way boggles my mind. Why not put on really good programming, then make the pitch that, with your help, fabulous shows like the one that you just watched, and NOT Celtic Woman, will continue to thrive?

SG, you know that I am wild for Masterpiece Mystery's new Sherlock Holmes series, which is set in contemporary London. Sleuthing was never so smart, sly, and sexy. Watch the shows or at least watch the trailers here.

There's nothing overtly gay about Holmes and Watson in this new series; indeed Holmes is played as pretty much asexual. But in each episode he flirts with Watson, which vexes the good doctor. A wink from Sherlock leaves me weak in the knees (see trailer one).

Here's my pitch: PBS: I am exactly who you are trying to reach. I watch you without paying for you. But, if you were to tell me that with my PBS membership I get special episodes of Sherlock with him sleuthing around in the Full Monty, I'll become a member. I promise.

--Gay Guy

Oh, There's a New Face at Home for the Holidays

Gay Guy,

Having trouble getting in the holiday spirit? Well, you may be happy to know that Britain's ugliest dog has finally been adopted after spending several lonely months in a shelter.

What took so long? I liked him right away.

By the photo, you'd assume that this pooch was world weary and ready to retire, but truth is, he's only two years old. His name was, appropriately, Ug. But his new owners have modified that a bit and he now goes by Doug. Maybe he had it rough for a while. But according to the three ladies that adopted him, "he has a fantastic temperament and is really loving."

Of course he is. Merry Christmas, Doug.

--Straight Guy

sources: I Can Has Cheezburger? and Daily Mail

Benny and the Sweat



Straight Guy,

Comedy Christmas came early this year.

I am seldom at a loss for words, but I don't even know what to say about this video. It speaks for itself. The close up on Benedict's face is priceless.

Straight Guy, care to take a stab at commentary?

Readers, what do YOU have to say? If you had to give this video a title, what would it be?

--Gay Guy

Straight Guy Hall of Shame: Christian Pick-Up Techniques



Readers,

"You are adorable. I wanna meet you. What's your name?"

Believe it or not, this is a proposed "opener" to help Christian men seduce their future wives. Suggested timing? Use this when you are "hanging out in a church environment."

I really don't even know what that means. In line for communion? During choir practice? In the soup kitchen?

Anyway, Pure Attraction is "The Art of Christian Social Dynamics." You can buy the book or pay to attend self-help seminars. "Do you feel like you have been praying about finding the Christian woman of your dreams but feel like you could do more to create that reality?" Then by all means, let me introduce you to Greg D., who has created an alternate reality where his charms are undeniable, and the women are all queued up.

Oops. I stand corrected. Here's a testimonial: "PURE ATTRACTION IS NOT A SELF HELP CLASS! This is a re-programming of the way that you live your life." Yowza. Getting re-programmed is a positive thing now? More scariness here, where Google has cached the site.

Yes, his web site has recently disappeared, perhaps because these videos threatened to go viral in all the wrong ways. This kind of ultra-self-conscious approach will always seem skeevy, whether you are God-fearing or not. So, the feedback was not good. ("creepy," "scary," "prepubescent," "knee him in the groin," etc...)

I get that there are lonely and desperate people out there who need help with social skills if they want to achieve their goals in life. I stand by some advice that I've given before -- and that you probably won't get from a Christian dating guru: If you want to meet women, look to your gay friends. They probably have connections (and social skills) and might be able to hook you up. Hey, that's a stereotype. But what would dating advice be without stereotypes?

Maybe this is a joke I just don't get. Maybe Greg D. is trying to help. I don't know. I hate to condemn the guy. But I have to condemn the method. The vibe is all wrong. Why does he say "be yourself" and "be honest" while giving the impression that only calculating manipulators can win at this game? Maybe this is an example of "Those who can't, teach."

Let me know what you think, readers. Especially if you've ever been picked up in a "church environment."

--Straight G.

Bright Lights, Big Daddy

photo from youngthousands on flickr

Straight Guy,

Christmas approaches.

To say that I am nowhere near ready for Christmas would imply that I have started getting ready. I took the plunge on Saturday and followed the star in the sky that is the red bull's eye of Target. I had steeled myself for a madhouse, but the store was pretty calm. The aisles were busy, but not clogged. Except for indoor/outdoor holiday lighting, that is.

It's not the number of people in holiday lighting that was remarkable, but 1) it was almost all men and 2) they were immobile, settled in for slow, deep, ponderous deliberation. Myself included.

Lighting is still in the cave man's domain. There were a few women there, but they had gotten the signal that they had entered the man sphere. The women acted as consultants, as in "No, we don't need a string of 300," but that's about it. I know that I sound sexist, but I'm just reporting.

The lighting aisle was a guy bonding experience. This neighborhood is newly gentrified, so it's pretty integrated across the gay/straight divide. Married, single, dads, gays, couples, we were engrossed in deliberation and comparison. This is serious work. There are a lot of choices to be made: multi-colored, white, blinking, rope, candle-shaped, bulb-shaped, round, frosted, clear, icicles, string. It took me about 30 minutes just to confirm my that my choice of a box of basic tiny white string lights was the right one. (And it is. They are very pretty.)

--Gay Guy

Things Straight Guy Hates Immediately: Frou Frou Cookie Edition

photo by smulligan on istock
Gay Guy,

Did you catch the Washington Post earlier this week when they dedicated the entire Food section to holiday cookie recipes? (link here)

You know I'm a loyal Post reader. You think I'd fully support a focus on holiday treats. But as I read through, I started to wonder, "What the hell are they thinking?" The paper has acknowledged (or at least their ombudsman regularly has) that they have a perception problem... that they are seen (like a few other high-profile papers) as elitist and out of touch with middle America. This disconnect goes beyond a simple liberal/conservative communications gap. As I'll prove, the gap runs all the way to baked goods.

You may be wondering what this has to do with cookies. How could they get that wrong? Well here's a partial list of the featured recipes:

• Pistachio and Cardamom Cookies
• Spicy Cheddar Thumbprints
• Orange Peel and Rosemary Scented Butter Cookies
• Lemon Yogurt Drop Cookies
• Three Pepper Spice Cookies
• Honey Toasted Pine Nut and Pumpkin Seed Bars
• Haute-meal Cookies
• Walnut Fig Sandwiches
• Sesame Halvah Cookies
• White Chocolate Cherry and Pistachio Chunkies

Well, la di da. Let's bring down the linen napkins and fine china and pour some Earl Grey before we dig in. Wait, children, where are you going?

Now I have no problem with any one of these recipes. I'll happily try them all. But the effect is cumulative. And the absences are shamefully obvious. Really? Nothing about straight-up sugar cookies? Nothing shaped like Santa and frosted? No M&Ms, Hershey Kisses, or peanut butter cups? No sprinkles, jimmies, or red hots?

And they include pistachios... twice! Even the chocolate chip cookies get Euro-fied with the addition of Nutella!

Hey, that last one sounds really good. But whatup WaPo? I hate to break it to you, but the inclusion of a single recipe for Honey Nut Cheerio Bars won't give you any low-brow credibility. Where are the Double Butter Peanut Butter Bombs? Snickerdoodles? Chocolate Crinkles? Whoopie Pies? Hermits? Rugalach?

I could go on and on, but The Joy of Baking site does it much better. They have some savory and experimental options (Pistachio Shortbread or Biscotti, anyone?), but are focused mostly on the tried and tested core, and they aren't afraid to use Rice Krispies or M&Ms when called for. Where I come from, we still call that "from scratch."

I'm a liberal at heart, but I guess I'll have to look elsewhere for "fair and balanced" coverage of cookies. Who else do we know?

Martha Stewart is America's premiere cookie maker and general elitist. One of my favorite moments from a holiday special was many years back when she hosted Miss Piggy into her gingerbread workshop. Martha started to go on about how they melt rock candy with jeweler's torches to make tiny custom strained glass windows. "Uhhhh-Huhhhh" said Piggy as she gave a knowing look to the camera and then turned back to Martha and said, "How much free time do you HAVE, lady!"

That's exactly what the food editors at the Post need. A celebrity expert to let them know that things have gotten too indulgent and out of control. Send Cookie Monster to the WP test kitchen and watch as he turns his nose up at Fruitcake Nuggets and Egg Nogg Bars, and eventually leaves hungry and sad. "Why you make cookies stinky and weird? Why cookie makers? Why!?"

Gay Guy, I complete this post wondering if you had the opposite take (inspired by the recipes not angered by them). Can cookies like these can be used to more formally define the gay/straight divide? Offer someone an Almond Cherry Wink Cookie and see what happens...

--Straight Guy

P.S. Readers, GG and I attended a potluck party yesterday. His macaroons were a huge hit with the crowd. I'll confirm that they were definitely good eats and they presented very well, too. Nothing frou frou about the 10 or 12 that I gobbled down, beer in hand.

Homogenius or Just Homo Just Above Average?


Straight Guy,

One of our poker buddies forwarded this today. I'd never heard of this game, had you?

The board game is a Trivial Pursuit knock-off. All the questions are gay culture-related, thus it's "Homogenius." Could be fun, but I am suspicious. If knowing where the saying "friend of Dorothy" comes from is a standard for intellectual challenge, it's both easy and stereotypic. Spoiler alert: Answer is the influence of gay icon film Wizard of Oz.

From the press info: Homogenius "celebrates gay culture and explores the contributions that gay personalities have made to theater, music, movies, television, publishing and politics." Aaarrgh. 1) Gays are people, not personalities. We are not fab celebs in training. 2) Probably doesn't make for a good board game, but we also make contributions to teaching, landscaping, dentistry and contracting. I wish my gay life was half as glam . .

SG, will this be a substitution for poker? Switch out Texas Hold 'Em for Chelsea Fuck 'Em? Since I'm the only gay man who comes, you worried about me taking all your chips? You like to bluff when we play poker -- can you bluff your way through Homogenius?

I don't think I need this for Christmas., but if you find gay Yahtzee, pick it up. Don't know why, but Yahtzee just sounds gay.

--Gay Guy

Khaki Diaper Butt, Reddi Wip, Monkey Sex, and Self-Acceptance... Discuss

Gay Guy,

Check out the two ads that Google has been pushing on me.

I use Google Reader to truck through multiple RSS feeds at a pretty good clip. Hey, how else can I find source material that runs the gamut from erotic casket marketing to erotic baby carrot marketing?

Anyway, I've seen each ad dozens of times in my feed recently. According to Wikipedia, Google places these ads "based on website content, the user's geographical location, and other factors." Google says that the ads are "so well-matched, in fact, that your readers will actually find them useful."

Yeah. Kind of scary, I know. Hopefully the anonymous nature of this blog -- and my Google account -- offers me some protection from the detailed profiling they can conduct. But goodness knows what they think of my Straight Guy persona and all of his blog-related "research."
Let's just chalk these up to "other factors" and move on, shall we?

But way to put me through the wringer, Google. What hope is there for the man that is obsessed with his rump's profile AND addicted to real cream toppings?

Luckily, that's not me. I take my pie straight up. And, until the other day, I thought bonobos were those sex-crazed chimps I keep hearing about on NPR. (Where else are you going to get your news on free-love simians?)

Note to the Bonobo corporation: If you think your "Khaki Diaper Butt" scare tactics are going to work on me, think again. I never knew what to call it, but I've been flying that flag proudly for years now. And, no, I don't droop my pants for added street-cred. They are belted at the waist. That's just the way things are (or aren't) back there.

Ladies have been long encouraged to improve their self-image and accept their curves. I guess men need to do the same with our "formless shapes" back there.

--Straight Guy

P.S. My favorite quote about the bonobo apes: "Bonobos use sex as a form of conflict resolution. After an augment there is usually some form of sex, and the Bonobos are friends again. Bonobos also use sex to prevent conflict. After a group of Bonobos finds food they will usually have a quick orgy before eating. Then they eat without much argument." Well, I should hope so. Wonder what happens when they find a can of Reddi Wip...

Gay/Straight Advice: Wink, wink, nudge, nudge

A reader e-mailed us for some perspective. Here's her message:
I am female, with a male friend who I've only known for about a year and a half. We've grown very quickly in a year because we were both interns at the same company and had to move to a new city. We both happen to come from the same hometown. Now that the internship is over and we've moved back home, we see each other a lot less but still keep in touch.

For the past 6 months, I've noticed that my friend will sometimes physically touch me at times when we're hanging out, i.e.:
• We were taking a walk at a park and to dodge a swarm of insects he put his hands on my shoulders and moved to my other side.
• He'll pat my head.
• He'll nudge or lightly kick my foot in a theatre or something.
• He usually nudges me with his shoulder if we happen to pass by in public.

One major note: my male friend is gay. He usually avoids touching me or even standing too close to me, so while the above might seem trivial, they were very noticeable changes.

I suppose my question then is... why the change? Does he just feel more comfortable around me? I highly doubt he's bi and has those sorts of feelings towards me, plus I already have a boyfriend. I don't mind the small prods and bumps at all; he's my only gay friend and I'm just curious as to what may be going through his head. :)

Thanks in advance for your input!

Signed: Huh?

GAY GUY RESPONDS: What goes through a gay guy's head? Oh, if this gay guy only knew... My guess about your buddy and his blasts of being tactile: Mostly, it doesn't mean a thing about your friendship, so don't read anything into it. Your friend obviously feels comfortable with you, likes your attention, and might be tactile in general. We all like feeling connected and he likes that physical thread between you.

He's affectionate, he's playful, he's flirtatious. He wants your attention, but in a way that doesn't sound completely healthy to me. It feels like he's practicing his flirting skills in a safe environment. Doesn't make him a bad guy.

I'm affectionate with my friends . . . up to a point. I'm good for a meaningful hug and the basic hello/goodbye hug, but that's it. No head pats, no foot nudges.

STRAIGHT GUY RESPONDS: Good call, GG. This guy is just getting comfortable and looking for attention. Seems pretty harmless. I think you have a little more freedom to flirt with our female friends than I do. Just a little, mostly with words.

I think Huh's friend is just letting loose because there's no sexual tension for him. I can't imagine a straight guy playing footsie if he didn't think (or hope) it would lead to bigger and better things.

Gay or straight, this guy's not boyfriend material because -- when confronted with the "swarm" -- he quickly maneuvered to put her between the bugs and him. Chivalry is dead.

But, Huh, let me ask you this. Why are you so worked up about it? Just wondering if maybe YOU wish things could be different. You say you have a boyfriend, but you've grown pretty intimate with this other guy over the last year, too. And I'm not talking about the hallway shoulder bumps. But walks in the park? Theater tickets? C'mon.

There's emotional intimacy and there's physical intimacy. Don't marry that boyfriend unless he gives you both.

Product Watch: Dead Sexy


Gay Guy,

A pair of funeral directors in Germany have created some "tasteful" coffins for their gay customers (top image). These guys are partners in life as well as business. Their coffins feature dozens of "images of muscular young men in classical poses." That'd be quite a send-off. "We believe you should be able to have a coffin that lets you embark on your last journey in a way that reflects how you lived your life." Sound like you, GG? [link, link]

But don't think that gays -- or slasher movies -- have a monopoly on sex=death symbolism. In Poland, the coffin manufacturer Lindner is currently distributing the latest edition of their racy catalog. It features their line of caskets (natch) and foxy ladies in various states of undress (wait, what?).
Interpretation: One minute you're choking on a chunk of steak, and the next you're being wheeled around by a Bond villianesse in thigh-highs and stilettos. That's a different angle for the mortuary market, for sure. Local church officials are upset and have let it be known: "Death is NOT sexy!" Yeah. So you better have a good story ready by the time you have to explain this scenario to St. Peter. [link, link]

Finally, today is World AIDS Day. To try to raise awareness and funds for the cause, a few celebrities have killed their digital personae (gone silent on Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and they won't be resurrected until they gather $1 mil in donations. See Kim Kardashian Is Dead, above (corpses always look a little waxy, right?). I support the cause so I hope the game works. But, really? Do we need to reinforce these celebs' sense of self-importance to the point where we pay ransom for their tweets? I think some of us would pay extra if they promise to stay away even longer. [link, link]

In any case, I don't want anyone to struggle with these decisions (or the cost of disposal) when I die. No need for anything stylish or sexy. Like any reasonable straight guy, I have given Mrs. SG the directive to roll me up in newspaper and stash me under the porch. Done and done.

--Straight Guy

Hall of Badassery: Badass Rope Swing



Readers,

Thanks for your indulgence as I post a little more in this series. I'm noticing a trend: I get my thrills -- mostly vicariously -- through the defiance of gravity: jet packs, glider suits, antenna climbs, etc.

And now this guy, who takes the swimmin' hole rope swing and cranks it up to 11.

No need to watch the whole thing (though it looks great in fullscreen HD). It follows him sunrise to sunset and gets a little redundant. But still, sometimes I wish I could have a day like that.

GG, you may appreciate this guy on another aesthetic level. That's fine, too.

--Straight Guy

P.S. Trying to get back up to speed after the Thanksgiving break. Damn you, Tryptophan! We have a reader question and a few other cool posts in the queue.

Gay/Straight Cable Viewing

Straight Guy,

I hope you and yours had a good Thanksgiving. Did you make one of your famous pies?

It's a quiet Saturday night. I had some ambition to call a friend to see a movie, but it's chilly and dark, and I faded fast and opted for finding something on TV. Turns out that TV is in the gay/straight divide zone tonight.

The 9 p.m. movie line-up: The Wizard of Oz, A Star is Born, and Remember the Titans. The first two have strong gay followings. The third is a football movie -- on the surface. I chose Titans and now find myself in unfamiliar territory.

I know that the Wizard of Oz has a special place in the hearts of gay men, but don't really get into it. I'm happy to see it every now and again, but it doesn't speak to me. Wizard of Oz scores gay points for the "Over the Rainbow" theme: leaving your dusty suppressed life behind for a new technicolor universe where you can pursue finding what your heart truly desires. Plus tragic-victim Judy Garland. The paragraph on the film's appeal in LGBT culture in the Wikipedia entry does a great job of summing it up in a few sentences.

A couple of friends are totally into A Star is Born, and from that fact I may be making too large of a leap to make it a gay classic. I know very little about A Star is Born, other than it stars Judy Garland, features the killer song, "The Man That Got Away," and that the crucial line is, "Hello, everybody. This is Mrs. Norman Maine." Hmm . . . . maybe I know more about this than I suspected. There are three versions of Star. Judy Garland is in the 1954 version. Watch a fabulous period trailer for the film.

I'm enjoying Remember the Titans. It's a football movie, but it's really a movie about race and respect. I am a sucker for come-together-to-win-against-all-odds movies. The movie is based on the true story of the first integrated high school football when schools in Alexandria, Va., were integrated. The real fight is not on the field, but in the community. It's corny and a throat sweller, but good. The New York Times review nails it.

To retain my gay cred, let me hasten to mention that Titans had been on my radar screen if for no other reason than one of the leads is Kip Pardue, a hottie who starred in a movie called Loggerheads, which never built up much steam, but is really well written and acted. Read a review. I'll let Pardue's pics do the talking. Not really my type, but I can appreciate what he brings to the table.

Back to the Titans: The mother of the tragically injured team leader just left his hospital bedside and has entered the stadium for the crucial game to a standing ovation. Mercy, I'm all misty-eyed and useless now.

--Gay Guy

Fruit of the Loon: How Much Is Too Much?

My underwear drawer

Readers,

Today, in casual conversation, GG and I may have inadvertently stumbled upon another criterion to clearly define the gay-straight divide... or at least our personal divide.

Simply put, GG wears multiple pairs of underwear each and every day. I find this to be absolutely insane.

If he travels for a week, he takes 15 pairs, or more.

I can understand changing after a workout or strenuous interlude (ahem). But generally my undies last a full 24 hours (shower to shower) without complaint. I might pack an extra pair when I go on a trip, but not an extra pair for every day. No wonder he's always checking his luggage!

GG also admitted that he has other rules (black underwear can only be worn at night!), but I'll let him preach that gospel if he's willing. I agree that it's wise to wear your least-tattered skivvies if you think you might get lucky, but beyond that...

As far as I know, GG is free of any major intestinal issues. If he had a problem of that kind, only then would I condone his 2-or-3-a-day habit.

I guess I should buy stock in Hanes and 2Xist. I really had NO idea this was happening.

Readers, one of us is crazy. Is it him or me?

--Straight Guy

Readers,

This all makes perfect sense, folks. Trust me.

Most days, I am a two-pair guy: one pair through my work out, a clean pair following my post-workout shower. Pretty simple. No gym, no change. With no gym today, I am on hour 14 of the same pair. No problem.

It's the gym that generates some of the underwear turnover. Don't even suggest "just flip your shorts inside out" after the work out, SG. Not gonna happen.

There would have to be something special going on to warrant more than one gentlemanly costume change a day. Maybe on the weekend.

Regarding the 15 minimum pair for a week-long trip: 1) If I were gone for a week, I'd probably find a washing machine mid-week. If it's my parent's or a friend's home, that's easy. (My mom sometimes wakes me up by coming into my room looking for some lights/darks to round out her load of laundry. If she wants my socks, go for it. If she's after whites, i.e. my underwear, I'll get out of bed just to plop them into the boiling bleach bath myself); 2) On vacations, I''ll plan for a laundromat run mid-week to cut down on the packing. You can learn a lot about a city through a laundromat. Anyhoo . . . I pack a day pair, an evening (post-transition-shower) pair, and one "get lucky" ("strenuous interlude" as you call it or, as I call it, "event-specific") pair for the week. And, yes, "get-lucky" is top-shelf 'roos.

Let's not forget that packing for a trip means making sure you've got a clean pair or two waiting for your return.

As far as black = night only, I figure it's self-explanatory, but the locker room proves otherwise.

What's a little neurotic here is the underwear case system. The good undies work their loose waist bands down to post-gym wear, which then heads to the door. At least they go into the trash. My mom dusted the house with my dad's excised briefs. Shock. Horror. Scarring.

--Gay Guy

Hip = Gay?

Straight Guy,

This fall has been brutal. Work's been tough. And I've been way over-committed with putting together an exhibit and opening reception. Nerve-wrecking, but it went really well.

I appreciate that you came to the event. Especially since you were one of maybe three straight men there. But you might be too cool.

A friend who has met you at least once, and who has heard lots about you, told me that you are so hip that she had to be reminded that you are straight. Was it your blazer? Was it your conversation about the creperies and museums of Paris?
Confusing, mais non?

--Gay Guy

Hall of Shame: Dishonoring the Medal of Honor

Gay Guy,

Conservative blogger Bryan Fischer (from the American Family Association) has a nit to pick with how we honor our bravest soldiers. The recent ceremony at the White House got him thinking...
This is just the eighth Medal of Honor awarded during our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Sgt. Giunta is the only one who lived long enough to receive his medal in person.

But I have noticed a disturbing trend in the awarding of these medals, which few others seem to have recognized.

We have feminized the Medal of Honor.

According to Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal, every Medal of Honor awarded during these two conflicts has been awarded for saving life. Not one has been awarded for inflicting casualties on the enemy. Not one.

He then spins into a tortured argument about how Jesus was really an ass kicker, and concludes with this...
We rightly honor those who give up their lives to save their comrades. It’s about time we started also honoring those who kill bad guys.

Holy smokes.

If there's a nugget of truth in this, it's that it is obviously easier -- and more politically correct -- to honor those who risk themselves to save another. But when did that become the feminine thing to do?

No apologies are needed. There are a million reasons why it is easier to honor life savers than life takers. The simplicity of the vetting process probably being the largest. Trying to rank our most skilled killers -- cross referenced with a list of those who ONLY took out the baddest of the bad guys (yet another list) -- would not be a fun job.

I'd be reluctant to link to this garbage if the comments (many from vets and soldiers themselves) to his original post weren't just the right kind of medicine for this sick logic. But I also see he's posted two follow-ups where he claims that he's been misinterpreted (by blasphemers, of course) and that he's only seeking to honor those soldiers that successfully "take the hill."

--Straight Guy

GG/SG: Now In Our Fourth Year!

Gay Guy,

Can you believe it? More than 3 years and more than 600 posts. Congratulations, buddy.

Readers,

We are continually grateful for your readership, support, and participation. We don't always feel like writing, but knowing that you are out there helps us find the motivation. We've been busy traveling (SG went to the Florida Keys) and volunteering (GG organized a killer event), so it's been slower the last couple of weeks. But there's some good stuff coming down the pike.

Thank you.

We're always open, so let let us know if you have any story ideas or a question you'd like to see answered on the blog.

--Straight Guy

Straight Guy ('s personal) Hall of Shame: Pontiac Parisienne


Hello, Ladies. And other readers, of course.

Like my ride (circa 1985)? Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Yes, I took a girl to the prom in one of these. Sweet kid. She never complained. But I never got lucky. Not even in the "back back." And I'm referring to the rear-facing third row seat, you sickos.

--Straight Guy

Make Mine a Latte

Readers,

Sorry to be quiet here on the site. I was out some of last week at a conference, and SG is out this week spending some quality time with Mrs. Straight Guy.

I just received an e-mail from a former colleague whom I've not seen in years. He reminded me of this story. Our boss took us out to a holiday dinner. At the end of the evening, the waiter collected our coat check tags to get us our coats.

"What color is your coat?" he asked me.

"Cappuccino," I replied.

Not brown. Cappuccino. Gay.

Is it my fault that I know a lot about color?

My friend's wife is still laughing about it.

--Gay Guy

Gay Meets Straight: Sunday Night Smackdown


Readers,

Gay Guy is loving PBS's Masterpiece Mystery: Sherlock, a modern and internet-savvy take on Holmes and Watson.

Straight Guy is committed to AMC's The Walking Dead, a zombie epic inspired by Robert Kirkman's popular comic books.

Anyone watching either, or both? Both have been well received by the critics. Are you in the mood for witty repartee, or will "unnnhh... brains..." do?


Ad Watch: Son of a...

Readers,

Here's a page from a 1940's booklet of tips for housewives and mothers (see right):

Wow, that's passive aggressive.

And if the kid happens to enjoy lace or other fripperies, mom will have another set of issues to address. And she better be prepared to follow through with the wardrobe enhancements.

But, someone on the original post wondered if we could still use this technique in a way that might encourage today's lads to keep their pants pulled up. Maybe steal their street cred by sewing something frilly to the underwear that shows when kids let their waistlines droop.

Though not really an ad, this has been added to our Gay Ads | Straight Ads tumblr site. There are a whole bunch of new posts, including Miller Lite's "Man Up" campaign, a European gay adoption PSA, a biker gang dancing to Bieber, and a promo for a cologne called "Eau De Stade" -- yes, that's french for "Stadium Odor." Blech.

--Straight Guy

Candy Corn Cone

Straight Guy,

Gays are good at Halloween.


Here's a shot in my gayborhood from last night (we block off part of the street for revelry).

Top that, straight 'hoods!


BTW, I think that Candy Corn Cone would be a great drag name. For someone else, that is.

--Gay Guy

Not Just Another Day at the Mall

Readers,

Both GG and SG were in attendance at the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" on the National Mall today. Given the hundreds of thousands of others on the scene, I'm not surprised that we didn't run into each other. (The view above is GG looking north, I'm somewhere near the columns in the far background.)

We tried, but cell phones, texting, and tweeting were no gos -- not enough bandwidth for that crowd. I was blocks from the main stage and couldn't really see or hear that well. I finally got within range for the last half hour. I recorded the whole thing on my DVR at home and will need to catch up on a lot of the content... but John Stewart's main point was clear. You can't trust the noise in our current political/media environment: "If we amplify everything, we hear nothing," he said.

Stewart and Colbert are comedians first, so the tone was mostly lighthearted. The audience's signs were a study in sarcasm, irony, and absurdity. A few notables:
  • God Hates This Sign
  • You're Angry as Hell...and I'm Not Going to Take It Anymore!
  • Ideas I Disagree With May Still Be Constitutional
  • Speak Native American Or Get Out!
  • I'm Only Here for the Gangbang
  • I Made A Sign (But That Doesn't Make My Points Any More Valid Than Yours)
  • Homophobia is so Gay!
  • I've Been a Bad, Bad Penis [SG note: may or may not have been rally related]
  • Underpants are Oppressive! Down With Zippers! (photo above)
Any of our readers watch on TV or attend in person? Anyone providing a good sense of the numbers?

--Straight Guy

More on It Gets Better: True Colors



Straight Guy,

The It Gets Better Project campaign keeps growing.

The project is collecting an incredible range of stories, told by celebs and regular folks, too. The stories are personal, authentic, and a lot of them are hard to sit through because they are so naked and raw -- and that's where their power comes from. I hope that these stories help young people through difficult times.

My fave video --I'm fickle, I have a new fave every day--is the musical message taped this week by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. It's a cover of "True Colors"--which has perfect lyrics for the project's message.

True Colors is still one of my favorite Cyndi Lauper tunes. It was on She's So Unusual--a great album. "Time After Time," "Money Changes Everything," "When You Were Mine." Classic.

"She Bop!"

--Gay Guy

Where's the Party?


Straight Guy,

I put some trash down the chute this morning. In the recycling bin was a paper grocery bag with
at least four or five empty boxes condom boxes in it (plus some other recyclables).

Sorry the picture isn't so good, but if it's impolite enough to photograph your neighbors' trash, styling it for a photo shoot is over the top.

I'm glad that my neighbors (which unit?) are taking good care of their health or doing thoughtful family planning. I tried to calculate the number of individual condoms, but I didn't want get caught poking through the trash for details. At any rate, it indicates a lot of sex.

I hate show offs.

Or were the condoms party favors? (Where was my invite?) Trick or treat goodies?

Readers, do you buy everything in bulk?


--Gay Guy

Product Watch: We Did Not Ask for Special Kleenex

Kleenex Mansize, for those voluminous -- yet virile -- tears that creep out during a late night screening of Brian's Song.

No. Do not need. They already invented Kleenex for men. It's called toilet paper.

Apparently, this is an actual product in the UK. I'm reluctant to dig into the question of why they thought men needed supersized tissues in the first place.

--Straight Guy

Gay Meets Straight: Punch Line or Sucker Punch?

Gay Guy,

Tricia Romano at Daily Beast
is wondering whether gay humor needs to change. How can we (gay or straight) joke about homosexuality and still let gay teens know that they'll be accepted and not judged?

In the upcoming comedy "The Dilemma," Vince Vaughn's character jokes: "Electric cars are gay. I mean not 'homosexual' gay, but 'my parents are chaperoning the dance' gay."

Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper, and Elton John all say that's not cool. Since then, the joke has been pulled from the trailer. Here are several quotes from the article:
Vaughn responds to the controversy: "Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together. Drawing dividing lines over what we can and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us. Most importantly, where does it stop?"

Here's a quote about Dan Savage, who launched the It Get's Better campaign. Savage "says that he and his friends joke around and call each other 'faggot' and 'breeder' —- thinks maybe the line has been drawn after the gay suicides: 'That sort of rough-and-tumble sexual humor has its place, but maybe now we're waking up to the fact that it's having unintended consequences out there. There are vulnerable 14-year-olds.'"

Famously gay-friendly comic Margaret Cho says: "The use of [gay] as an adjective—to use it as a description of something is not valid to me as comedy."
We've posted a few of the "Don't Say That's So Gay" ads (1,2). I agree that we can't shortcut to gay=lame, dumb, or whatever. But context is everything, and trust can be earned. I can't walk up to a new gay guy and have the same rapport that I have with you, GG. I think we can talk and joke freely. And because you know where my heart is, you'll offer me a little leeway if a joke goes near, or slightly over, the line. Comedy and political correctness will never be an easy mix. I don't want them to be.

--Straight Guy

P.S. Just to get this straight, am I supposed to be offended if someone calls me a breeder? I need to know, because my impulse would be to offer a high five and keep walking with a little extra swagger. Because, yes, I am, and I already have. Thanks for noticing. I had no idea my mojo was THAT strong.

I get that breeding is supposed to be the thoughtless, primal side of reproduction. But your team might need to work on that comeback. Needs more sting. You're usually so much better at witty retorts than we are. Oops, I just stereotyped. Deal with it.

Are You There, David Lynch? It's Me, Gay Guy.

Straight Guy,

I had the oddest day yesterday. Cosmic odd. A day of such freakish symmetry that it could prove that God exists. Or that I am in a David Lynch movie. Or that David Lynch is God.

Act One:
I was taking money from the ATM and talked with a young guy. He's just arrived from Belgium, he told me. My bank's ATM doesn't accept his card. I pointed him to the monster Bank of America across the street, which, since it's a national bank, had a better chance of accepting a foreign bank card. He launched into a long conversation with lots of eye contact and what seemed like flirting with me. Emphasis on seemed like flirting; you can never tell with European men. I think he was just lonely, a stranger in a strange city. If I were a nicer person, I would have chatted longer, but I really had to extricate myself to get on with my errands.

Act Two:
In the evening, I had to staff a work event. I headed out in my black suit. Part way to my destination, a Hasidic Jewish man stopped and asked me, "Are you Jewish." I rather liked being flagged down by a stranger to be asked if I am Jewish. Only because it seems so much more interesting than being asked, "Are you a Methodist?"

I'm not verbally so good on my feet. He asked me, "Are you Jewish?" and I replied, "No. . . but thank you." Which is pretty much my answer when people in the grocery store ask me if I want to try a sample or in the department store when someone in cosmetics tries to douse me in cologne.

He explained to me that they needed a tenth Jewish man to form the minyan required for certain Jewish services and obligations. He was just taking a chance on me. I think it was my black suit.

(Reverse to) Act One and a Half:
Just down the block from the Jewish man, I run into the Belgian. He thanks me for the directions to the bank and then starts to tell me about his day. By now, I'm rushing to make it to the event on time, so I had to cut him off. Like I said, I think he's lonely. He gave me his card. Now I have to figure out what to do with it.

In the last block before the location of the event, I saw another Hasidic Jewish man. I figured he was the tenth man, but I didn't stop to ask.

This would all make sense if I lived in a small town, but I live in the heart of a city.

Act Three:
I hadn't talked in ages with the colleague who also staffed the event, so we had a lot of catching up to to do. He asked me if I still had any contact with a guy I had dated a while ago. The relationship ended because the guy just disappeared, which was very painful. I remember, SG, when I was trying to figure out what was going on with him, you said: "He's just not into you." You weren't being (all that) mean. You were referring to a book that attempts to help women face the facts and understand how men behave when they don't want to go any further. I don't know if you were telling me to read it, but you made your point clear. I was pretty surprised you knew that the book existed. It's written for women, but the advice works for gay men, too.

I arrived home thinking about how tough it is to get rejected. In the lobby of my building we have a bench that acts like a swap site. People leave books or other treasures for other residents to take. What book should be there for the taking. You guessed it: "He's Just Not Into You."

Freaky, right?

Are you there, David Lynch? It's me, Gay Guy.

--Gay Guy

Announcing: Gay Ads | Straight Ads

Hello, Readers,

We're launching a new feature here at GG/SG. The new tumblr blog is a byproduct of our semi-regular AdWatch feature.

As you know, we're interested in stuff that examines, celebrates, and/or exploits gay and straight stereotypes.

We'll still put a few ads on this blog from time to time. But we wanted to have have a quick catalog for all the of the print, web, and billboard ads that we see but don't always have the time to comment on.

The tumblr format is better for quick posts on a single topic, and makes it very easy to repost photos and videos from around the web. Readers can comment, ask a question, or share an ad.

Nothing will change here at GG/SG. But you can check out Gay Ads | Straight Ads at http://gayadsstraightads.tumblr.com/

Right now, there are a some new posts featuring TV ads from IKEA and Harley Davidson. Each uses the "almost caught cheating" theme, but with a twist. Check 'em out here.

--Straight Guy

Straight Guy Somewhere Writes Some Kind of Headline

Straight Guy,

Is this headline for real?

But wait, there's more!

You have the interests to understand what it is supposed to be saying. I have the interests to know what else it is saying.

I've been returned, with giggles, to junior high.

--Gay Guy

Straight Guys Ruin Everything: Glee


Gay Guy,

I think our readers know that we're both Glee fans. It was a hit last year and has returned to even bigger ratings this season.

My original take was that it was surprisingly sophisticated and adult. But the show is a catch-all. It's managed to be slapstick, sleazy, soap-opera-y, and sentimental. And those glee-clubbers have sold a lot of music along the way (Charting 71 singles, recently passing the Beatles, Billboard).

And, based on it's characters, storylines, and all around fabulousness, it's seen as a very gay friendly show... It won the GLAAD award for best comedy last year. Hooray for everyone.

This straight guy is always rooting for the counselor, Ms. Pillsbury, by the way.

Now, along comes GQ Magazine and decides to publish a photo feature on a few of the show's stars. Nothing unexpected for a men's magazine. But the decision to keep the adult actors in character as high school kids has the web all aflutter.

Here's the lead from GQ's "Glee Gone Wild" article:
How the hell did a show about high school theater geeks come to be the biggest TV show in America? Well, T&A helps. (That's talent and ambition, you pervs.) But so does a generous helping of pot-laced brownies, girl-on-girl subtext, and choreographed dry-humping.
That tone, and the racy photos, has made Glee a target of the Parent's Television Council, who decided to publish a snarky release:
"It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on Glee in this way. It borders on pedophilia. Sadly, this is just the latest example of the overt sexualization of young girls in entertainment," said PTC President Tim Winter....

Many children who flocked to High School Musical have grown into Glee fans. They are now being treated to seductive, in-your-face poses of the underwear-clad female characters posing in front of school lockers, one of them opting for a full-frontal crotch shot. By authorizing this kind of near-pornographic display, the creators of the program have established their intentions on the show's direction....

With a demonstrated market of eager fans for an entertaining, musical-themed program like Glee, we wonder why the shows creators feel the need for such graphic sexualization of women. Interestingly, the photos of the male character showed him wearing a shirt, tie and vest...

Unfortunately, it seems Glee is only masquerading as a family show and is far from appropriate for young viewers.
I've got kids who want to but aren't yet allowed to watch Glee, so I get the controversy here. But man, I hate the tone of moral superiority in PTC's review. Since when does a celebrity photoshoot become evidence of plans for the "show's direction?" Besides, many of Glee's major plot points have already focused on sex and its consequences. There are virgins and there are skanks, and everything inbetween. The show has never "masqueraded" as anything. If teens are watching, they're getting a balanced presentation. This is GQ we're talking about, so it's not "interesting" that the male character keeps his shirt on while the women get "near-pornographic." It's expected. Given that these actors are 24 and 28 years old, the pedophilia accusation seems excessively slanderous.

At any rate, this once gay-friendly and family-friendly show has now been tainted, and straight guys are supposedly to blame. Not that I even know anyone who subscribes to GQ.

--Straight Guy

Viral Video: Alec Baldwin Asks, Had Enough? Fight Back



Straight Guy,

"No one tells a New Yorker that they can't marry Jesse Tyler Ferguson."

Alec Baldwin lends a hand for Fight Back New York, which works to remove from office New York state senators who block civil rights for gay and lesbians. Targeted are 38 state senators who voted against marriage equality.

There's only one thing getting in the way of his marriage to Jesse Tyler Ferguson of Modern Family, Baldwin dishes: The New York State Senate. "Had enough?" Baldwin asks. "Fight back."

Alec, you rock!

--Gay Guy


Hey, GG,

Let me also make this late addition of another example of Alec Baldwin's witty use of reverse psychology -- this time on the topic of public radio pledge drives. His admonition? Don't give!



In other spots, he holds Ira Glass hostage as a DJ on a spanish pop station and spoofs his famous Glengarry Glen Ross monologue. Link

--SG

To Love, Honor, and -- Most Definitely -- Obey


Gay Guy,

This is "'Til Death Do Us Part" by jewelry artist Kate Bauman. It speaks for itself (as most knuckle dusters do). Though I suppose anyone on the receiving end of this would probably be the one who purchased it in the first place. Karma.

--Straight Guy

Things Straight Guy Hates Immediately: Lip Balm Edition

Gay Guy,

Here's something I absolutely don't need: ChapFix.

From their press release: "Stop using your girlfriend’s lip balm! All me
n suffer from chapped lips, yet so few lip balm products have been designed to fit a man’s needs. ChapFix was designed to fill this crucial void."

Relax about your unfilled voids, ChapFix.

I think the phrase "insecure in their manhood" is overused (hold for live fact check... Yep. 1.5 million google hits). But it applies perfectly here. What are you trying to prove (or disprove), dude? The press release goes on to extol the patented textured grip and "slim profile so it doesn’t bulge in your pocket." Wow. If a tube of Chapstick creates bulge-related confusion for a guy, he may have other issues to worry about.

There are so many ways to not care here.

(1) I can not care that my lips are slightly chapped and just deal. I doubt that Chapfix is designed for the genuine outdoorsman, who is about to leave basecamp for a predawn summit climb. And tough guys don't give a crap about aloe vera or organic beeswax. The line for posers begins next to the fancy ChapFix display.

(2) I can not care if I am seen in public with a tube of Chapstick. I simply don't get the panic on this point. ("Please don't judge me! It's my girlfriend's, I swear! I don't even like the mango flavor!") Besides, it's much easier to justify that $1 drugstore purchase than explaining your $12 start-up investment in the ChapFix system. I'm happy to wash
my hair with bar soap, if needed, so I don't think I'll brag about going premium on lip smoothers.

(3) Besides, there's already Carmex. It tastes bad. It smells bad. But it works good, and bulges plenty, thanks. When my dad woke up, dehydrated from triple-bypass surgery, this is the first thing he asked for. That funky, industrial-looking jar has been around since 1937, and it says in big, bold letters: "FOR COLD SORES." Which is fine, because confident guys don't care what people think.

But, if you have a very weak grip, a strong fear of bulges, no sense of appropriate price points, and lips that absolutely must be softened by coconut oil, then ChapFix is for you.

--Straight Guy

Kidding aside, ChapFix, I've dropped your name like eight times now, so I'm expecting a cut. Good luck with the product launch.

Readers, Gay Guy walked by a little while ago and admitted that he likes the squeeze tubes of Vaseline Lip Therapy. I guess that works fine, but I mentioned that they always require so much puckering, smearing, and lip-smacking that it's a little like making out with yourself. GG left deep in thought.

Straight Guy Surrenders, Interweb Wins... Again


Look at that... thing. It's impossibly adorable. What am I supposed to do now?

Guess I'll have to go see Jackass 3D, just to restore my straight-guy-equilibrium.

--Straight Guy

Update on It Gets Better: Gay Guy/Straight Guy Advice

Straight Guy,

Here's an update from the young man who recently wrote us for help figuring out who he is. Many readers reached out with supportive comments. Read the October 14 post.

His e-mail today:
"Just wanted to say thank you for the thoughts, they were very helpful!! I have come out of the closet--only to a couple of people, two people from work--one of whom is gay--my cousin, and mom. It was hard to do, especially to my mom. She says that she will always love me but she doesn't get it. She thinks it is a choice. She told me that I will probably end up lonely and lose a lot of my family."
There's a small victory in there: Mom says she'll always love him. I say that she needs to start learning about the science of sexual orientation and open her mind and eyes to the rich lives that gay people can live.

I so wish that they, especially the young guy, could have come with me to the party I attended last weekend. Two of my closest friends legally wed a few months ago. They've been married in everything but legal document for two decades anyway. They have a son, who's about 9.

My friends hosted a lovely, low-key reception attended by lots of family and friends. What a great afternoon! We were all so happy to be there. Proof positive that being gay is not the path to ending up lonely and without a family.

I talked a long time with one guy's mom. She's full of joy about their life together and happiness -- and of course about that grandchild. Now she's on a mission to fix me up. Who knows . . .

--Gay Guy

Hall of Badassery: You Might Die, But It Might Be Worth It



Gay Guy,

Blow this video up full-screen in HD if you can. I can't imagine finding a state of mind to do something like this.

But then again, everything sounds more dramatic over drums and a chanting chorus. I'll use that score the next time I replace the toner cartridge on our HP 8500.

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Advice: It Gets Better

Question from a reader:
I am 16 years old, soon to be 17. I live in Michigan. I am writing this because I am not like many other 16 year olds. I say this because I don't have many friends and the friends that I do have are mainly girls. I go to an all-guy school. At school, all the guys talk about girls and what they want to do to them, and I have to fake something every time it comes to me. I am not like many of them there; I do not like to hang out with them because I find it very hard to talk to guys and hang out with them. When I am out with a girl, it just comes natural to me. I am constantly thinking about guys, I cannot help it no matter what I do about it. When a girl walks down the sidewalk, I don't even think to look at her. I am thinking about whether I am gay or straight on a daily basis, and it is making me miserable. I am not going out and having fun, my parents push me to, but I never do. I have thought about what to do or who to tell. I have never gone through with it. Every time I think about it I am disgusted about it. Also I do not know how my family and friends would act about it. I say to myself that I want to have a family and that makes me go back to thinking and wanting to be straight. Please help me and give me advice on what I should do?!!!!

GAY GUY RESPONDS: I wish I could be with you in person, because your questions are eating away at your self confidence. You would benefit from talking with a trusted adult friend, someone who will understand your feelings and keep your confidence. I think you'd feel better if you get your thoughts out of your head and share them out loud. My worries sound different, and usually not so burdensome, when I say them out loud. I understand this is hard to do when you are 16 going on 17. Is there a teacher or counselor at your school who you can trust? You won't be the first guy to bring them tough questions.

I didn't have many guy friends in high school either. Now I have a lot of guy friends -- both gay and straight, as this blog proves. Guys at 16 can be pretty gross: they have limited social skills, aren't all that mature or expressive, and are focused on finding their place in and navigating the competitive pecking order that guys live in.

Friendships are to be treasured and celebrated. Sounds like you are relegating your friendships to second-class status because the world keeps telling you that you should be hanging with guys.
Everyone needs friendships that make us feel seen, heard and appreciated. If your female friends help you feel good about yourself, then my advice is to go with it.

Can you take some initiative here? Straight Guy and I often hit basketball games together. I pay attention to some of the game, but spend a fair amount of time people-watching instead. What I value is spending time with a great friend, not necessarily the activity. Could you try "faking" it for an hour or two at school events just to see if the investment of time could pay off in you feeling more comfortable?

You think about guys all the time. The heart wants what the heart wants. You cannot "want" yourself into being straight or gay. I don't know how your romantic future will shake out, but I absolutely know that you will find people who will love you for who you are. I promise. And, lots of gay men, whether as couples or singles, adopt or find other ways to have families, so you don't have to give up that idea.

For now, my advice is to focus on building your self-esteem. Don't make yourself miserable. You are not alone, not even in that all-guy school of yours. You don't have to do anything or know everything right now; you might need to go off to college, get away from home, and meet a new and more mature group of friends to get some perspective on who you really are.

So, keep the faith, stop punishing yourself, feel good about all the special things that you are, keep breathing, try a few new things to see how they fit, stay in touch, and trust that you will be loved for you are.


STRAIGHT GUY RESPONDS: You're comfortable with girls but don't fantasize about them. You fantasize about guys, but can't connect with your straight friends. The facts end there. You're gay and you know it. Please stop wondering and wishing it could be different. That's torture. If you're in a spot where you can't act on it, just wait, like GG suggests. There will be many chapters in your life. You CAN have a family and a wide network of folks who "get" and support you as your authentic self.

Good news is you found us, so you have access to the internet. There are many resources out there that will let you know that (1) you are not alone, and (2) that your situation will improve. In fact, there's a massive campaign right now called "It Gets Better" (links below) where you can hear stories -- some from fabulous and famous people! -- about how hard it was when they were your age. You might feel tormented by your thoughts, or bullied by your friends, or trapped by your circumstances... but you CAN just wait it out. In a year, you'll be in a new place and might start to see more possibilities for yourself.

I know, it's hard NOW. But eventually, you will connect with folks. Folks who will like you and love you and enjoy your company... and you'll just be able to be yourself. I'm happy in my life, but Gay Guy has many more friends than I do. Dinner friends, party friends, book club friends, brunch friends, movie friends, work friends, volunteer friends, theater friends. It's crazy what he packs into a weekend, sometimes. Once in a while, he even includes me.

So, think long term. If you ever get to the point where you get desperate and feel like you can't take it anymore, please know that there are people who want to help you. The Trevor Project has an anonymous hotline set up to help gay teens deal with depression. They want to help. If you need some, let them try.

Good luck.
Here are some "It Gets Better" links:
homepage
facebook pageYouTube Channel

Here are some "It Gets Better" testimonials:
Sassy Gay Friend, Tim Gunn, Neil Patrick Harris, and a Texas councilman (believe it or not) Joel Burns

Gay Meets Straight: Tips for Strips

Straight Guy,

Judith Martin, better known as the syndicated columnist "Miss Manners," had a gem of a column today. Here's an abbreviated version:
Question: I drove through my neighborhood's relatively new beer barn for the first time yesterday... You drive in, open a window and tell the girl in a bikini what you want.

...I assume part of the business model includes the girl in the bikini being underpaid and expecting tips from fellows who find her appearance compelling.

As a gay man... am I exempt from this? If a man of similar age, attire and friendliness served me in the same situation, I'd give him a dollar.

Answer: Is it any wonder that Miss Manners hates tipping questions?...

But the fact is that reasonable tipping is dependent not only on the price paid, but on such variables as the custom of the region, the degree of luxury of the establishment and the frequency with which the same service is used. It is therefore impossible to give a standard answer.

And now you go and add the element of how much erotic appeal the server has to the customer. Thanks. Miss Manners doesn't doubt that consideration of this might apply to some, but perhaps not to the etiquette-conscious.
I'd never heard of a beer barn before, much less been to one. Especially one with bikini-clad sales women.

The theme of bikinis and tipping reminds me of your bachelor party, SG. What a memorable night. Readers, in brief, GG had a plan to celebrate, many years ago, SG's upcoming wedding with a modest evening at a comedy club and a round of beers. (Imported, bottled, of course.) That plan fell apart as soon as SG's high school buddies got involved. It turned into the traditional sitcom of a bunch of drunk guys being driven around from strip club to strip club. As a gay man, temporarily -- and uncharacteristically -- sober, it was especially frightening/amusing for me.

My favorite bit: At about the third stop, I was barely containing the urge to pull out a Wet Wipe and give the poles a good rub down. The cocktail waitress approached. She was firm, spangled, bikini-clad, dyed and scary.

"What'll you have?" she asked with the rasp of a thousand cigarettes.

"Oh, just a glass of water."

She gave a look that was as gritty as her voice.

"Buddy, let me tell you how it works. See all these people here? They're drinking and tipping. When I come back around, you'll be ordering or leaving. Understand?"

It was a delicious Bud Lite. Plus tip.

I loved that night, SG. It's given me more than a decade of stories that never fail to amuse.

--Gay Guy


I'm glad you were entertained, GG. Tell me, which aspect was most edifying? The spontaneous fist fights? The crazed van driver-for-hire? Or, the humiliating write-up in the next morning's newspaper? As I recall, you slipped quietly away sometime after midnight, and any pretense of decorum left with you. That was a good move, and I should have followed you. (Don't worry, readers. Nothing tragic, no lasting shame, and absolutely no need for a visit to the free clinic, just a lot of unnecessary nonsense.)

Back to the question at hand. There's a fine line between working and workin' it.

I'm not sure how many gay men find themselves at bikini drive-throughs or car washes, but yes, extra tipping is required. But maybe these ladies will allow you to give them fashion or style tips, instead.

Look, I've never even been to a Hooters. But I know the deal. It's the same deal at a trashy "Bikini Brew Through" and at a swanky Vegas lounge. It's a proven system: straight guys are suckers. If an attractive lady gives us flirty attention, we will tip for the privilege.

And if you ever follow through on your threats to take me to Drag Queen Brunch, I will keep these rules in mind.

--Straight Guy

Ad Watch: Everyone's Gay In Amsterdam... Deal With It!


Yes, I know that Amsterdam is a gay-friendly destination. But check out this campaign: Everyone's Gay in Amsterdam. KLM airlines must have some pretty persuasive in-flight entertainment, because by the time you land...

I have no idea if this campaign is working. It launched last year. I like the idea that the board of tourism plays up Holland's reputation as a tolerant (in so many ways) destination. While Vegas markets through shame ("What happens here, stays here"), Amsterdam encourages you to "just be."

But, does that mean I can still wear my dad jeans and sneakers? Or will my non-gay luggage get tossed in a canal?

Readers?

--Straight Guy

Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive