Viral Video: Miracle on 22nd Street, from NYT


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


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


"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

Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive