Not Just Another Day at the Mall


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

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


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:
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?


--Straight Guy

Go A Little Bit Crazy: Ozz v. Phelps

Straight Guy,

Here's an entertaining spin on a sickening story:

I couldn't tell you if I've ever listened to an Ozzy Osbourne song. Today, I'm a fan.

Ozzy's crazy mad that the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church hijacked the lyrics to his song "Crazy Train" during their protests at the Supreme Court this week. If you aren't aware of the case before the Court, get reading.

Let me try to sum it up in a paragraph, members of the Kansas church . . . I use the word through clenched teeth--churches are supposed to be about love and the church is made of pretty much one family--are anti-gay as a general principle; their web address is for Christ's sake. In some crazy logic, they habitually protest the private funerals of service men and women. It has nothing to do with soldiers' sexuality. Per Westboro, their deaths are God's punishment of the United States for its tolerance of homosexuality.

Insert ironic paragraph about the over-abundance of gay tolerance in this country.

"I am sickened and disgusted by the use of 'Crazy Train' to promote messages of hate and evil by a 'church,'" Ozzy said in a statement.

I don't have words for how nuts the Phelps family makes me.

The case is complicated. I'm all about freedom of speech but isn't the protection of expression about the public arena, not about inflicting personal distress?

--Gay Guy

Reader Survey: If I Only Had a Voice

Gay Guy,

I love music, but am not much of a singer. Never have been. That's not to say I don't let go every once in while when I'm alone in my car. Or even better, if I can torture my kids with a Johnny Cash number.

I was talking with a friend yesterday and we wondered: If we COULD sing, who do we wish we could sound like? The list was not the same as my list of favorite artists, but there were a few overlaps.

I thought about some great soul singers, but as a middle-aged white guy, I had to be realistic about what I could pull off. So Otis, Marvin, and Ray were out for me. I wanted to find something easygoing and effortless, and yes, masculine. Elvis? Sinatra? McCartney? Too obvious. Tom Jones? Steve Perry? To much bluster.

When I narrowed my list, my friend was dumbfounded by my "tacky" choice. Don't worry. I promise to reveal it later in the comments.

So readers, I hand it over to you. Let us know. If you could get a vocal cord (and musicality) transplant, whose would you chose?

Lurkers, we know you're out there. Take a moment to click the "anonymous" option and leave a comment, too.

If you need help, here's a link to Rolling Stone's list of greatest singers. And here's wikipedia's list of top sellers (where Ace of Base somehow bests Willie Nelson and yet the Earth keeps turning). But please don't limit yourself by these lists or any sense of shame.

--Straight Guy

Not My Gay-List Life

Straight Guy,

Tonight is the premiere of Logo's The A-List: New York. I say I won't watch it, but I know I need to see it just once. The preview clip alone tells me how unhappy it will make me, not to mention angry.

From what I see from the preview clips and advance press--written in both breathless anticipation and generalized weariness and disappointment--it will show a slice of gay life that I know nothing about personally. I'm an urban gay, so I've seen from afar the rarefied breed of guys like those in the "A-List," but don't know any. They make up such a tiny fraction of the world, why would I know them? More to the point, why would Logo make a reality show about them? Who needs a gay male version of Real Housewives?

The A-List -- "A-Gays," as they are better known -- is a grown up (?), male version of the characters in "Mean Girls." Okay, the guys aren't necessarily mean, but they are urban gays who prize and usually posses perfect bodies and the latest styles, guys who always seem on the cutting fashion edge and are always at the right party. They are stylish, status-conscious and shallow--at least I have to believe they are shallow in order to keep my self esteem functioning.

The men on Logo's The A-List live on a steady diet of celebrity and the crumbs tossed by VIPs. They book appointments for models, they cut hair, they work the velvet rope. Not a lawyer, optometrist, teacher, landscaper, social worker, carpenter or wage slave in the bunch.

Hank Stuever, one of my favorite Washington Post reporters, nailed it in yesterday's review. His perfect sentence: "In this, one of the most exciting and politically pivotal eras to be alive and gay, Derek [one of the show's main characters] defines himself through his passing acquaintance with Lindsay Lohan." Take that!

So why am I mad? I don't get mad at Real Housewives, which, from the few episodes I've seen, is just plain ridiculous. It's that I don't want people "out there" thinking that this is all gay men are. I need to calm down and give the world more credit.

Readers, watch and write in, please.

--Gay Guy

NFL: Pretty(?) in Pink

Gay Guy,

I don't know if you caught any NFL games yesterday, but if you did, you probably noticed that the players were wearing flourishes of hot pink on their uniforms. No, this is not standard issue, and please don't let y
our imagination run wild.

This is part of the Crucial Catch campaign. The NFL is "proud to support the fight against breast cancer. Our campaign, 'A Crucial Catch', in partnership with the American Cancer Society, is focused on the importance of annual screenings, especially for women who are 40 and older. Throughout October, NFL games will fea
ture players, coaches and referees wearing pink game apparel, on-field pink ribbon stencils, special game balls and pink coins - all to help raise awareness for this important campaign."

It works. The pink, which is not a part of any team's regular color scheme, definitely stands out. If you want to get some of this gear, like say a hot pink Peyton Manning jersey, they've set up a special on-line store. Proceeds go to the cause.

Good for them. Hopefully there wasn't too much locker room grumbling from anyone too insecure to get pinkified. It only works because it's unexpected. Way to leverage those gender stereotypes, NFL. Seriously.

I, for one, am happy to help push some attention their way. Here's the link to the ACS site, where you can get more information or make a donation. If you want to "make it interesting" you can pledge $1 for every point your team scores.

--Straight Guy

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