Letter to Gay Guy: What ?"Iron Man 2" Not a Possibility?

Straight Guy,

Hope you had a good holiday weekend.

I had a social weekend, including two movie outings, each with a female friend. Both movies were "chick flicks." Letters to Juliet and, of course, Sex and the City 2.

I didn't campaign for seeing either of these movies. Okay, do you hear my defensive tone? I can just imagine you smirking at me already. I'm smirking at myself. Even as a gay man, I make seeing these movies conditional. I am a victim: "Oh, it wasn't me. Wasn't my choice. I just went along." In this case, it's true; I wasn't eager to see either movie.

Like my friends, I just wanted to see something light and breezy. No thinking. There wasn't a new Bourne Identity with Matt Damon (or, "Porn Identity), so we went with what we had.

Alert: CLS and TP: I am not complaining about seeing either movie. I had a fine time and enjoyed seeing you. I was not miserable. I am not complaining. TP: I especially loved those pre-movie cocktails that put us in the Sex and the City mood. But, even gay guys are wary of seeing a "chick flick." Especially not very good ones.

"Chick Flick." "Chick Lit." The expressions are pretty self-explanatory. But not all that well defined. I've never asked any of my female friends if they find either of those terms offensive. I would understand if they did.

So why are some love stories fine for guys to watch and some not? Or to make it more personal to me, why do I think that Forster's "A Room With a View" or Waugh "Brideshead Revisited" are fine books that made fine movies, but "Letters to Juliet" somehow rates my criticism? At heart, they are all part of a long line of movies about English people who have to travel to Italy to get their romantic mojo working. I don't think of the Austen cannon as being chick lit, so why is "The Jane Austen Book Club" chick lit? I will have to think more about this.

Sex and the City does however deserve any disdain I give it. It is just dumb. I'll narrow my criticism to one of the early scenes, the gay wedding. Over the top, over decorated, expensive, men's chorus, Liza Minnelli officiating. You get the picture. It's a gay wedding cartoon as drawn by straight people. Or by a gay man who knows gay people that I don't know.

Not a great post. But seems like there is something to think about here. I am tired. I will think and write more about this topic. But now it's off to bed. Work tomorrow. Not happy about that.

--Gay Guy

Gay/Straight Ad Watch: Freaky Hitler Edition

Gay Guy,

Other images in the "AIDS is a Mass Murderer" campaign include similar boom-chicka-wow-wow poses from Saddam Hussein and Joseph Stalin. This campaign is a few years old, but I remembered it when I saw...

The colorized Hitler Image is for a fashion line in Italy. Slogan: "Change Style -- Don't Follow Your Leader."

You know the deal. Both campaigns resulted in (1) indignant outrage and (2) the priceless PR surge that only an outrage-fueled media storm can provide. Mission accomplished.

What? Me? I'm just a critical observer, sharing these incendiary images and refusing to acknowledge my small role in making these campaigns successful. It's a new twist on the old axiom that a scientist can't observe something without effecting it. In this case, you can't blog about tacky ads without giving the advertisers publicity they don't deserve. Future generations will call it the Pink Hitler Principle.

OK. My take: Beyond the toxicity of the horny Hitler image, the mass murderer campaign makes the inexcusable mistake of suggesting that infected people, not the disease itself, are mass murderers. Let's save the sex=death metaphors for schlocky horror movies, where the lustful kids always meet an untimely end.

As far as pink Hitler, I'm less miffed by the attempt to subvert the world's most shameless propagandist by toying with his own image. I understand that many can't find humor in Hitler's general vicinity, but even for them, can we at least acknowledge how he would hate this! But, how it works to sell trendy denim, I'm not so sure.

Sidebar note on Hitler/Nazi references: Glenn Beck recently tried to call foul -- on critics of the Arizona documentation law -- for the use of a Gestapo metaphor. The Daily Show fired back with this great segment. How does Beck survive these critiques?

--Straight Guy

Ad Watch: Straight Guys Ruin Everything!, Episode 143

Gay Guy,

There's a whole category of products that serve no purpose other than to give the whole family a giggle when opened as a gift. I guess that's fine. We've covered this before -- part of the modern straight guy's role is to serve as the punchline for these jokes. Everyone farts. But demographically, we're the only acceptable villain for a national commercial.

"Ha ha, that's funny because Dad is so vile and disgusting! Ooh! Let's take a picture of you with your new Butt Burp Barrier™! Hold it up and smile! Everyone else pinch your noses!"


Still, do we need to compare the generic husband's routine flatulence to the devastation of chemical weapons? If it's that bad, why not hide the bacon and barbecue sauce instead of changing to hazmat-grade linens from the Cheek Squeak Boutique™? Talk about treating the symptoms instead of curing the disease...

Back in college I knew a guy who would often torture his girlfriend with a dutch oven. I think he thought this was foreplay. This was only one aspect of their relationship that convinced me she suffered from some sort of dorm-based Stockholm Syndrome. Maybe this blanket would have made a difference. But I hear they're still married, so probably not.

--Straight Guy

... now where are those trademark applications ...

Bridging the Gay/Straight Divide: Badass Rainbows!

I'm not sure I can justify the need for it's existence. But here it is, nonetheless.


Yes, Mr. Rainbow. Whatever you say, Mr. Rainbow. Let me get that for you, Mr. Rainbow.

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Update: Sex and the City

Gay Guy,

Michael Patrick King, creator/producer/owner of the "Sex and the City" franchise, put up a column on the Daily Beast today. He wonders if there's any love out there for his films from straight guys. He's often interviewed by them, but their exposure to SATC is ALWAYS conditional: "My wife make me watch," or "I had to see what all the fuss was about."

According to King, straight guys are also intimidated by all the talk about high-end shoes. So, he's just not confident his vision is connecting with my demographic. Here's a quote:

I cling to my family members for support — my brothers-in-law and nephews who swear to me that they love Sex and the City. Even as I tell myself, “They’re straight and they like it,” there is a nagging voice in the back of my head that counters, “But they’re family — perhaps they are giving you a pass.” Like the family members at a piano recital who nod on supportively as the beloved child performing hits some deafening clinkers to end the program.

And if he hears that a straight guy IS a fan of the franchise?

As much as I am thrilled with that information, a good part of my more realistic self thinks: He’s just going to see it to get laid. (And if that is the case, I am happy to help a brother out.)

Thanks for that, Mr. King. I've seen that plan in action and it works.

As he realizes, it's no big deal. Just because we can't see ourselves in his narrative (apparently, many gay men CAN -- GG is such a Miranda!) doesn't mean that we can't appreciate that slice of life. From a distance, of course... like a National Geographic documentary.

I love New York City and go as often as I can. But I rarely see it the way King sees it. His fantasies are not my fantasies. All that fabulousness would drive me out of my mind. Call me crazy, but I like being married, eating at greasy-spoon diners, and mowing the lawn. But oh, wouldn't it be nice to be the object of sexual objectification, a la Mr. Big, once in a while?

What do you think, GG? Is it at all telling that, until today, I've had the title wrong all these years? I thought it was "Sex IN the City." Guess he's right about us, we haven't really been paying attention.

--Straight Guy

Straight Guy,

I never caught the Sex and the City bug. I have some gay buddies who liked it, but I was clueless. Or cable-less. A few years ago, flush with my new Netflix subscription and an urge to be part of pop culture, I rented season one, but it never really took.

For all its frothiness and celebration of consumerism and the shallow -- and don't forget cocktails -- I don't dismiss SATC. There are a lot of universal truths in it.

My friend Jo once shook her head and said that the SATC characters were "like no women she knew." I replied with Marge Simpson's superb one-line analysis of SATC: "That's the show about four women acting like gay men." Marge always did have a lot going under under that blue beehive.

The ladies of SATC -- written as gay men, played as straight women? A stereotype's a stereotype's a stereotype, but I've rented a gay beach house or two back in my flat-stomached days -- and so the shopping, gossip, buzz for the hot new drink or restaurant sounds familiar, as does the undressing a man with your eyes . . . then sharing his dick size once the eyes called in the hands for reinforcement. So, yeah, Marge wasn't totally off base.

SG, I take a strong exception with something you wrote--that straight men don't or can't see yourselves in the SATC narrative. Uhmmm . . . let's see: Having easy sex, without consequences, sex for the physical pleasure only, sex without emotions or expectations? Straight men can't "see yourselves" in that narrative? That's the title page of your playbook. Either that or I've been robbed of a dog's year of sleep over the past decade being up to 2 a.m. consoling recently burned straight female friends.

Another reason to watch SATC -- it is full of gay characters, sometimes because they are G-A-Y, but mostly just because the world is full of gay characters.

Finally, yes, in the great game of "which character are you?", I am indeed Miranda. With a splash of Carrie, I hope. But, yep, Miranda.

--Gay Guy

All right, GG. You got us. But isn't it only the older, crazy lady who acts like that? The catch is that we want those things without effort or drama, and the SATC ladies can't get from A to B without three costume changes, $100 in cocktails, and a sassy send-off from their cadre of gal pals and gay advisers. No thanks. --SG

Gay Guy's Fashion Note: Hot Pink is NOT the New Black

Straight Guy,

I'm enjoying my long weekend in New York City to visit my friend.

The weather was gorgeous today, so we planned a whole day outside. That meant being prepared with sun block, water bottles, snacks, a sweater. While I was getting dressed, my friend packed the tote bag and asked me to carry it (she was already dealing with her purse). No problem, I said.

The pic is what came out of the closet. Literally and figuratively. I am all about materials promoting breast cancer awareness, but really, do I have to carry this?

Hot pink? Like I don't already have enough gay bells and whistles? No navy? No black?

So... I toted our stuff around New York today in this Malibu Barbie bag. Not one gay man in Chelsea, SoHo, or the West Village dared make eye contact. Pink, yes. Pretty, no.

--Gay Guy

Broadway Bathrooms Ain't Got No Potty Parity

Straight Guy,

Enjoying being in New York.

Broadway babies that we are, my friend and I went to a Sondheim show tonight. You know gays and musical theater. . . .

First time I ever saw a men's room line that was longer than the women's room line.

--Gay Guy

If at First You Don't Succeed, Fail, Fail Again

Spent a little time on FailBlog today... here's a couple that fall into GG/SG territory.

I'm cheap, so I'll take a ladyboy special to go, please. Hold the pickle.

--Straight Guy

Straight Guy Badassery Awards: Alabama Edition

Robert Lee of Cullman Liquidation:

Dale Peterson, Candidate for Ag Commish:

Both of these commercials are real. Too real. I won't mess with either one.

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Ad Watch: Super Sexy CPR

I showed this to GG this morning and he stormed off with "what's wrong with you people?," under his breath. I think we all know what he's talking about.

Here's a link to the Super Sexy CPR site, and their one-minute, lingerie-on-lingerie video. Follow at your own discretion.

Yeah. It's shameless. We explore that theme pretty regularly here at the Ad Watch. But really, it's just a Victoria's Secret commercial with the benefit of passing along potentially life-saving information.

In truth it's a viral campaign for Fortnight Lingerie. Through some "research" I've learned that they are Canadian and specialize in handmade underwear. To their credit, this information is not easily found on their CPR site.

What do you think, readers? Exploitation? Or is CPR training vital to communicate "by any means necessary?"

Next up: a Heimlich Maneuver how-to. Just guessing.

--Straight Guy

Grandma Has 'No Regrets': Gay Guy/Straight Guy Regret Musical Divide

Straight Guy,

I've fallen behind on watching Britain's Got Talent, but someone tipped me onto last week's smash audition by Janey Cutler. Cutler, age 80, mother of 7, grandmother of 12, and great-grandmother of 4, needed some help finding her marks on stage, but her voice had no problem finding the back wall of the theater with a full-bore performance of "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien." (That's "No Regrets" for you English speakers.) Go to YouTube to watch Cutler's performance.

I loved it: the song itself, Janey's full, big voice and her equally large pluck, and mostly that she's just doing her thing. Who needs regrets when you're 80?

"No, Je Ne Regrette Rien" was made famous by the iconic French chanteuse Edith Piaf, called the "Little Sparrow." (If I sound pedantic, it's because I know you have no clue who Edith Piaf is.) I wouldn't call Piaf a gay icon, but my people get drawn to songs like those she made famous. The sorrow and the resilience. The "better to have loved and lost" attitude. Watch a 1962 live performance of Piaf singing "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien."

I get weary of the too fucking tragic to live stories of Piaf, Garland, Monroe. . . but they had amazing talent. The wrist slashing gets to be too much. Setting up this post, I've listened to Cutler's performance posted on YouTube at least a half dozen times and listened to 10 or more Piaf clips to find the best one. My neighbors probably think I've had a "break up/break down" weekend.

So, Straight Guy: Janey Cutler, feisty granny or big lunged hoot? What's you vote?

--Gay Guy

Straight Kid: Innocence Lost

"Gimme your digits. I'll text you later. After cookies and naptime."

Whatever is happening here, it can't end well. This kid's expectations will be tainted forever. Next time, just let him stay inside and play violent video games.

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Viral Video: Ga Ga for GaGa

Gay Guy,

No need to watch the whole thing, unless you want to. But check out the last 30 seconds or so...

What motivates a sixth-grade boy to play an acoustic version of Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi," a song about fame and sexual obsession, at a middle school talent show? And with such emotion?

He's pretty -- OK -- really good. Not to mention fearless. But, isn't it a questionable song choice? Or is it a calculated pick-up technique? Most of the girls in the background look unimpressed, but I bet he got a lot of buzz around the cafeteria (good and bad) for this.

I can't say much more without making assumptions and insinuations that I shouldn't make... I regret what sixth-grade me would probably have said, though I simply can't imagine anyone this bold and talented from my childhood. At that age, I could barely ask a girl to play tether ball. So belting out "Loving you is cherry pie" and "I'll chase you down until you love me," would be unthinkable.

He's 12!

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: This video shot from 10,000 to over a million views overnight. Prepare for your shot at the big time, kid.

THURSDAY UPDATE: Almost 10 million hits. Already appearing on Ellen.

--Straight Guy

Gift Guide: Strike a Pose

Pose-able truetype models are helpful to aspiring artists -- and comic book illustrators -- when sketching the human form. They're usually generic. But there's something familiar about this "African American, Advanced Version."

My favorite part of the ad copy?:
Two (2) sets of bendable and interchangeable palms
- One (1) pair for holding gun
- One (1) pair of relaxed palms

Plus, unlike me, he's got a "real-like" head.

Gay Guy, not sure why I thought you might get a kick out of this. By the way, how's your day going? Are you relaxed, or holding a gun?

--Straight Guy

If You Lived Here, You'd Be Straight By Now

Straight Guy,

Just checking in. Bravo on your recent posts. Excellent stuff.

Gay Guy is spending a few days with his parents to celebrate Mother's Day. Awww. I know, sweet. I was due for a visit, and it is the perfect time. So, here I am, right where I began, where I lived until I left for college.

Whenever I visit "home," as I still call it, I wonder what my life would have been like if I had stayed here. I don't know that I planned or decided to go to college and keep going, but I knew that I was "from" here, not "of" here. Even as a child I knew my destiny was to be over-taxed, over-crowded, and anonymous as a trade-off for being one of the city-dwelling, theater-going, late-night-tuxedo-wearing-martini-guzzling-one-line-zinging guys I watched in a string of classic black and white 40s movies. So far I've achieved over-taxed and gin-guzzling.

So, who would I be if I lived the small town life? Would I be out? Out would be tough. This town has a population of about 5,000, so it's not exactly a speck on the map, but the last man who set off my gaydar was the flight attendant with chunky silver jewelry. 

Yes, I know, there must be some of my peeps around here. And, it's not like I am looking to hang out or hook up. I'm just want to know what their lives are like, and I'm just wondering if I would be the "bachelor next door" or have faked it with a wife, kids, and lawn mower.

Readers, I know from reading our daily blog stats that many of you are from small towns -- in the U.S. and elsewhere. Do any of you have something to say about gay life in small towns?

--Gay Guy

Things Straight Guy Hates Immediately: ABC's What Would You Do?

Gay Guy,

I was unaware of this show until just recently. Apparently it's a spin-off of a Prime Time Live segment, but I almost never watch network newsmagazines. Here's how it works: the producers create tense situations with actors in public places and film the reactions of unsuspecting passersby.

Sample scenarios: An angry mother drops her young kids at a crowded corner and tells them to walk home... Another mother is stuffing her child's backpack with shoplifted loot... Storekeepers berate breastfeeding moms and Muslim women in traditional outfits.

What do you do, Joe Sixpack? Mind your own beeswax, or get involved? The producers call it a "candid camera of ethics." Social psychologists are interviewed to provide color commentary, and in the end we're all scolded for being part of the status quo. "Only 20 percent of customers ratted on the little backpack bandit!" For shame, America!


Here's why I got interested and spent the last hour catching up with this show. I saw a promo for tonight's segment: Man Lures Drunken Girl. What will happen when an intoxicated "young girl" is approached by a "young man" with questionable intentions? Will the other patrons at the bar come to her rescue? Will the straight guy on the make be thwarted before it's too late?

Don't worry, the answer is yes. And the whole thing was a set-up anyway. From ABC.com: "What people didn't know is that the bar was working with us; the young woman and her pursuer were both actors. And so was the bartender. All hired by "What Would You Do?" to gauge people's reactions to this frightening scenario."

Of course, taking advantage of the incapacitated is tragic and inexcusable. I'm not trying to minimize the impact of rape. Here's my problem. Well, a couple of problems, actually. First, what's with the girl/man comparison? That's sensationalism. An actual "young girl" drinking at a bar would be a story in itself, I'd think. If you're a journalist, producing a news segment on sexual predators, "woman" and "girl" are not interchangeable, sorry.

Second, I think the producers are lazy. If you want to document the risks that drunk women face, then do that, but not at some quiet middle-aged bar (in the middle of the afternoon!) where you plant the predator and lots of dad figures are in attendance to save the day. Go to a loud, dark, crowded, nightclub or frat party where the vast majority of patrons are young and out of control. That's where the real danger is. Or is that too much work?

GG, they also have a segment where they send a gay couple to a New Jersey sports bar. Cliché alert! But guess what? Things are slightly awkward but pretty much fine. End of story, right? Nope. The producers aren't satisfied, and (1) send in a fake homophobe to rile up the crowd and (2) prod the couple to ramp up their flirty behavior. Shameless. Even then, other patrons are quick to come to their defense. Hooray! For America, I mean. Certainly not for the unrepentant producers of this mess. I give them credit for trying to advance discussions on prejudice and social responsibility, I guess. But their methods are highly suspect.

Final note: Though the show would have you think otherwise, you can't easily judge people who don't rise as heroes in a confrontational moment. Everyone has their own story. You just have to trust that there are enough good guys (and gals) who will be in the right place at the right time.

I applaud GG for his courage in scolding a careless dog owner. I hope I would do the same. I think I'm quick to help where help is needed, but since I've had kids I'm a little wary about confrontation and making my home or family a target for retribution. So, for example, would I quickly confront the surly teen hooligans at the neighborhood park in another WWYD segment? Maybe I'd just walk my kids home and call the cops from there.

Oooh, that hurts to say. Twenty-Something-Straight-Guy has officially left the building.

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Humanitarian Alert: Trim Your Hedges, Save the Trees

Gay Guy,

Do not delay your manscaping any longer! Norelco has launched the "Deforest Yourself, Reforest the World" campaign. For every bodygroomer they sell, they'll plant another tree with the help of the Arbor Day Foundation. Ad copy: "Now is your chance to man up, keep your 'hedges' trimmed, and help our forests grow... the only acceptable place for deforestation is on the human body."

Double bonus! Researchers have noted that human hair effectivley bonds to oil. Tons of hair clippings are ready to be deployed in an effort to clean up the the crude which will wash up on the Gulf Coast. So save those trimmings from your undercarriage, GG. Put them in a zip lock and mail them to one of your many friends in Alabama or Mississippi... just to let them know that you care and are willing to help.

NPR newslink here.

Triple bonus! The leader in oil-grabbing "hair boom" technology is based in San Francisco. They typically stuff human and animal hair into nylon stockings. The problem is not that they are running out of hair, but out of stockings. Who wears those anymore? Transvestites, that's who. And more than a few of them just happen to be in the SanFran area, go figure, and are willing to donate for the cause. You go, girls!

Oh, and yes, that's a manscaped-what-if-self-portrait created on the Norelco site: shaveeverywhere.com. Classy.

I can hear you now, GG. "Which one? Left or right?" Ha. Ha.

--Straight Guy

That Was the Week That Wasn't

Hey, Everybody

Forgive our week of silence. Straight Guy and I have been eaten alive by a work event. We lost a complete week of browsing, blogging, sanity and sleep. We'll be back blogging as soon as we can.


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