Gay Guy Says: We're on TV, But We Rule Reality

Today, GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) released its 15th annual “Where We Are On TV,” which tracks LGBT television characters on broadcast and cable television shows. Read GLAAD’s news release.

The good news for 2011: My people are all over TV. GLAAD’s report shows that 23 LGBT characters will account for 3.9 percent of “scripted series regulars” in the broadcast television schedule. Doesn’t come close to representing the overall population, but compare it to 1.1 percent in 2007, baby.

The bad news: Not one transgender or black LGBT character on broadcast networks.

No surprise that HBO’s True Blood ranked the most inclusive program currently on television, featuring six regular and recurring LGBT characters. And are they hot!

“Scripted characters” don’t include that deliciously awful cast of crazies that is reality TV, which has a kind of open immigration, if not recruitment, policy for gays. I don’t watch American Idol or dance shows, but I’m in love with Top Chef, Just Desserts, and Project Runway.

God bless, Bravo, it's homo heaven. Bravo has maybe 3.9 percent straight characters.

--Gay Guy

Ad Watch: Gay Shout Out to "Reservoir Dogs"

Language NSFW.

Those nutty Portuguese.

--Straight Guy

Regret Me Not: "What Were People Thinking?"

Gay Guy,

There was an interesting article in yesterday's Outlook section of the Washington Post by Kwame Anthony Appiah: What will future generations condemn us for?

The article tries to find a formula for determining which current but controversial norms will be discredited in the future. And if so, will they been seen as abhorrent (slavery) or quaintly misguided (prohibition)? Here's how it works:
A look at the past suggests three signs that a particular practice is destined for future condemnation...

First, people have already heard the arguments against the practice...

Second, defenders of the custom tend not to offer moral counterarguments but instead invoke tradition, human nature or necessity...

And third, supporters engage in what one might call strategic ignorance, avoiding truths that might force them to face the evils in which they're complicit...
He goes on to focus on four future regrets for our generation: our prison system, animal cruelty, elder abuse, environmental policy.

Maybe, maybe not. I don't doubt that I'll look back and wish things had changed sooner, or that I had done more. But I don't think that fundamentally I'm on the wrong side of any of these issues. (But no one ever does, do they? Otherwise they'd already be on the other side.)

But I assumed that, in terms of civil rights, he might mention two topics that often pop up on this blog: the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy and laws against same sex marriage.

I liked his formula and thought that both issues fit the criteria for future regret.

I'll admit that one of the great conveniences of being a liberal on civil rights issues is the confidence that time will prove me right. It's the social conservatives who always seem willing to risk looking like fools over the long haul: the anti-suffragettes, the blacklisters, the censors, the witch triers, the racists, the book burners, and the guys who refused to film Elvis from the waist down.

Are you prepared to join this proud company, Prop 8ers?

It should also be noted that my vending machine habit also meets all three criteria for future condemnation. But I refuse to face the evil in which I (and the Entenmann's Corporation) am complicit.


--Straight Guy

Hall of Badassery: They Can See My House From There!

I could not stop watching this, and caught my breath a couple of times.

Readers, remind me what the helmets are for? In case they fall from 1700 feet?

--Straight Guy

Gay Guy Query: Into Flip Flopping?

Straight Guy,

How do you vote on flip flops?

I have a lot of ambivalence about them, especially on men.

I grew up in a culture where flip flops were for girls. Unless guys were on the beach or in the locker room shower, they did not wear flip flops. The rules were strict -- irrational but strict.

In the past several years, flip flops have taken over the summer footwear scene. They are everywhere, worn with anything. Shorts, jeans, the occasional suit.

I find the look incredibly sexy when worn by a really nice looking guy. There is something carefree about them. Something that says "Just rolled out of bed and looking good." Something breezy. And verging on androgynous.

Unless I'm on the beach, no flip flops for me. My hang up about flip flops is the noise they make. That "thwack, thwack, thwack" sound. Clothes should not announce themselves.

Straight Guy, flip flops on men? Sexy? Stupid? Hot? Heinous?

--Gay Guy

Viral Video: Go, Daddy, Go

Rock those Dockers, Papi!

No need to watch beyond the the first few withering glances, but you might not be able to turn away.

--Straight Guy

My Friday Evening Post: Norman Rockwell

Gay Guy,

I recently went to the Norman Rockwell "Telling Stories" exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. It'll be there through the end of the year. It was insanely popular when it first opened, but the summer crowds seem to have died down a bit.

Go check it out. Illustration is often discounted in comparison to fine arts, but Rockwell was a master of technique and composition. This exhibit is culled from the private collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg who share a passion for his work. Both filmmakers came out of the "storyboard" tradition -- that the careful composition of shots can most effectively move the narrative. They both view Rockwell as a kindred spirit and master of snapshot storytelling.

Rockwell, sentimental? Hell yes. Patriotic? Of course. So what's the difference between stereotyping and celebrating recognizable role models? I don't know, but Rockwell seemed to get it right, and his filtered view of the mid-20th century experience will endure. Check out the collection to see a wide range of stories: love, coming-of-age, poverty, social justice, sacrifice, broad comedy, and other slices of life. [Readers, if you can't make it to DC, the on-line slideshow covers just about everything, only smaller.]

There's also plenty on the plight of the modern male. It's not one-sided. He plays us as heroes, fools, faithful husbands, and horn dogs, too. The sample above mixes a few of these themes. Here's Rockwell's take on "Tender Years: New Calendar"...
"My picture shows two people who, after living together for many years, have reached the stage of sympathy and compatibility for which all of us strive. They know their weaknesses and their strengths. They are comfortable and secure in their relationships with each other. And while Mother presumably takes Father's strong points for granted, she's still trying tolerantly to keep him on the straight and narrow when signs of frailty appear. Paintings like these are fun to do. While they are humorous, they are also human, and the subtle touch of forbearance evident in each of them is something all of us can learn."
Yeah. What he said. Plus, that cowgirl is pretty hot.

--Straight Guy

P.S. Anyone else have fond memories of the Saturday Evening Post or other Rockwell works?

Quiz: How Strong Are Your Austin Powers?

Gay Guy,

The nerd quadrant of my brain subscribes to the Mental Floss feed ("Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix"). They publish some of the best general interest content on the web.

Like right now, they are running a nifty series on the significance and origin of the names of all 50 states! (Wow, reading that last part back doesn't feel so good in the "macho salad" quadrant of my brain. Where's a tomato to pulverize when you need one?)

Anyway, this afternoon's "who said it" quiz falls right into our sweetspot.
I scored 70%. Readers, check it out, then come back to let us know how you did.

--Straight Guy

Viral Video: Straight Guys Ruin Everything - Macho Salad Edition

No translation needed, thanks.

Gay Guy, prepare yourself before you hit play. This will not be easy for you.

Still with me? O.K. Time for you, and our readers, to list your puns and tasteless jokes in our comments section.

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Advice: Tweedle-Glee and Tweedle-Glum

Straight Guy,

We’ve had a request for some gay/straight perspective. Jesse e-mailed us:
“Help. I'm 15 and I just came out to my older brother. He told me not to worry about being gay -- that there is nothing to be ashamed about. However, my twin brother found out, and now he keeps giving me the cold shoulder and teasing me. I love my brothers and sisters. I have one older brother, a twin brother, younger sister, and younger brother. I was hoping someone could give me advice how to get my twin brother to accept me like my older one did.”

GAY GUY RESPONDS: Jesse, I admire you. It takes a lot of bravery to be true to yourself and with those you love, especially when you know that what you have to say doesn’t always go over very well.

I suspect you already know this, but you can’t “get” anyone to accept you. Acceptance is work that we all have to do for ourselves. It’s not work that others can make us do, let alone succeed at.

Your twin is acting like a brat. My gut tells me that he has some catching up to do. You’ve been thinking about your orientation for a while; maybe he needs some time to get used to the idea.

Don't let the cold shoulder go on too long, and don’t let the teasing make you feel bad about yourself. This behavior is about your twin, not you. Your older brother can give you some good help and perspective.

Take comfort in knowing that you and your siblings have been raised in a loving, thoughtful way—your oldest brother as proof. That’s the best indicator you’ll find the acceptance that you want from the ones you love.

STRAIGHT GUY RESPONDS: I agree with GG's last point, the fact that your oldest brother is being supportive is an indicator that your family is on the right track. There's still more good news than bad in your situation.

We all see bits of ourselves in our siblings. I'm not a twin but had a couple of sets in my group of friends growing up. Some of the stereotypes are true. They can share a stronger connection and do seem to know what the other is thinking and feeling. Maybe this is the first time your twin has felt truly out of sync with you, and that might rattle him to point of pushing back. At 15, we can hardly judge him as an adult. As GG said, he's being a brat. But I'm not sure that's his permanent state. Every year will bring epic changes. He'll be a different person next year, and the year after that.

For now, just do what you can to let him know that he can still trust you. But also coolly inform him that his taunting isn't acceptable. Above all, he should respect your privacy and let you manage this information with your friends on your own. If not, that's a deal breaker.

I'll go one dangerous step further in my response, though. I don't know if you are fraternal or identical twins. If you are identical, then you share your genetic makeup. Both GG and I are believers in the gay gene (that it's not a choice). I'm just saying that the odds of a person being gay seem to be much higher if they have a gay twin. This does NOT mean that he is gay -- still probably not -- but you shouldn't be shocked if someday you run into him at a Pottery Barn outlet.

I could throw you a bunch of links to research, but I'm too scared to google "gay teen twins" and end up on yet another government watchlist. Oh, heck, here's a wikipedia link to get you started.

Maybe he knows or guesses at these odds and is just reacting out of fear of being pre-judged. "They've always been soooo alike, and did every single thing together, and now one of them is gay, so...."

Gay or straight (did I mention -- probably straight), maybe he's struggling with identity issues of his own now. I'm willing to transfer a smaller portion of sympathy to him, too.

Standard Straight Guy remedy applies: Take extra time and cut back on drama wherever possible. Good luck.

MORE GAY GUY SAYS: I agree with SG on the gene machine. I didn't want to write about it but SG thought it would be helpful to you. Do some searching to find solid information. That is to say, nothing from YouTube. I totally agree with SG that maybe your twin knows about the gene research, and he is feeling way uncomfortable, wherever his orientation lies. Keep the faith and please stay in touch.

Readers, any thoughts for Jesse?

Gay/Straight Ad Watch: Nobody Puts Baby Carrots in the Corner!

Oooh Baby... Carrots.

Steven Colbert has long claimed that baby carrots top his list of "Things That Are Trying to Turn Me Gay." He fears them even more than throw rugs and Clive Owen.

I guess the folks at the carrot growers cooperative have had enough.

Readers, be on the lookout for multiple versions of new "junk food packaging" as you stroll through the veggie section. (Or see the java and flash "crunch powered" madness that is Snacktacular! Extreme!)

OK, carrot farmers, you got me with this sarcastic, self-aware approach. Once. But don't get carried away. If I see you try this with celery or radishes, I will be bummed.

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Cuisine: Any Queer in that Beer?

Straight Guy,

Our last post about fried mozzarella sticks served up inside a grilled cheese sandwich --yuck-- inspired a few comments about gay/straight food.

First, this link about deep fried beer, now available at the Texas State Fair. The beer goes inside a pocket of dough the size and shape of a ravioli, then it's deep-fried for about 20 seconds so that the beer retains its alcohol content. Its creator says it "tastes like you took a bite of hot pretzel dough then took a drink of beer."

I like beer and pretzels. But I like cold beer. How hot does the beer get while getting deep fried? I worry about biting into one of these pretzel pockets and hot liquid running out. Sounds like unstable engineering to me.

In my August 25 post about human breast milk cheese, I said I'd eat a piece of it just to say that I had done it. Ditto deep-fried beer. But I keep worrying about burning my lips on the beer.

I don't think any rationale straight man over age 25 consumes fried beer more than once, so my vote is that it is orientation neutral. It's about being Deep South frat boy, not about being straight.

A reader tipped us off to something that safely falls into the gay gourmet aisle. This summer, Del Monte brought out a popsicle in the shape of Daniel Craig coming out of the rolling waves as James Bond in Casino Royale. Classic. I'll tamp down all the obvious things that I could recite here. This is gay, we know it. But practical, too. If I burn my lips on the friend beer, I can soothe them with some frozen Daniel Craig.

SG, you and I both love David Mehnert's essay on queer food. It's a classic. You've posted it before, but our readership has grown so much that it bears a repost.

Happy eating.

--Gay Guy

Are Those Four Mozzarella Sticks in Your Sandwich or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Straight Guy,

Fellow blogger Kathleen of Knit Like You Mean It sent us this NPR "Sandwich Monday" story. "Surely this is Gay Guy/Straight Guy fodder," she writes.

I don't know if there's a gay/straight take on four fried mozzarella sticks inserted into a grilled cheese sandwich, AKA the Denny's Fried Cheese Melt, but let's explore.

SG, Tell me, who reads this on a menu and says, "Mmmm, gotta have me some of that"? I couldn't eat this sandwich without 1) a sense of irony, 2) a $20 bet, 3) assurance that my stomach, etc., would have a reasonable window of privacy and modern plumbing to repair itself.

I don't like this sandwich, but it's not because I'm gay. That sandwich looks fatty and messy and sticky.

I know, you look at this and moan, "Where's the bacon?"

--Gay Guy

Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive