Viral Vid: GI Jane (Austen) vs. Withering Romantics

Straight Guy,

I just can't keep up with the splash you are making with your Gee Whiz series. You leave my creativity as flat as a urinal deodorant puck.

To not put undo pressure on my pee-shy prose, I will venture into my own realm of expertise: the 19th century novel. (From urinals to chamber pots.)

You know that I love (most of) Jane Austen's novels. I know, I know. . . . a man reading Jane Austen screams gay. A lot of women I know look at me and my book shelves with horror, like I'm personally setting feminism back 100+ years.

But Austen's women weren't all insipid husband hunters. They had their own mojo and bravery.

I think this vid captures that Austen spirit.


--Gay Guy

P.S. Ages ago, I took off work early and hit a popular happy hour spot in the gayborhood. The place was still empty. The only other soul there was an attractive young man, leaning on the bar, lost in reading Pride and Prejudice. I thought I had pulled three cherries on the matrimonial slot machine in the sky. He was very sweet, home on a college holiday, catching up on his English lit assignments while putting his toe into the coming out pool. I think of him from time to time and hope that he landed happily. He was a jewel in the making.

Gee Whiz: A Loo with a View

Gay Guy,

Would using this make you feel self-confident or self-conscious? [source: wikimedia]

--Straight Guy

Gee Whiz: Do NOT Stop to Smell the Roses!

Gay Guy,

Following up on last week's post about the intimidating urinals in New Zealand, I'm going to start a new series for the blog called "Gee Whiz."

No one asked for this, but here they come.

The photo is of a custom urinal by California artist Clark Sorenson, who can craft them in the form of about 20 different flowers. I know you are partial to orchids, GG, and he features everything from Jack-in-the-Pulpit, to the Pink Lady Slipper. (I would have assumed that those were raunchy euphemisms, but apparently, they are actual flowers -- and now, urinals.)

They are not cheap, running about $8,000 each. Here they are installed at a garden center in England (link):

I vote no. I prefer not to drop trou in front of an apparatus that reminds me of the giant carnivorous plant from Little Shop of Horrors.

What do you think, Readers? Funny? Disrespectful? Intimidating?

--Straight Guy

Gay, Straight, or Something Else?: PBR in a Champagne Flute

Gay Guy,

Trying to get the weekend started here. How about a toast? Shall we raise a glass poured from a $44 bottle of PBR?

Yes, you read that correctly. Pabst has gone upscale, in China anyway. Their special bottling is called Blue Ribbon 1844. The bottle looks nice, but it's still beer... made by Pabst. Here's the story from the New Yorker.

Stateside, PBR is enjoyed exclusively by the budget-conscious and those who support the brand as an ironic alternative to mass marketed brews (interesting read about protest brands here). Despite the name, virtually no one claims that it's actually the best there is.

So, the Chinese unload tainted toys and defective cribs on the US market and this is how we get them back? Not a bad plan.

The classiest Chinese gentlemen drink this wearing a $2,500 Docker's suit.

--Straight Guy

Gay/Straight Update: Settling for a Prom Date

Gay Guy,

In case you hadn't heard...

Remember the Mississippi girl who asked if she could bring a same-sex date to the senior prom? And the school district that would rather cancel the whole thing (and implicate her as the problem) than follow it's own non-discrimination policy?

Her classmates and the community chased her out of town and she finished the year at another school.

Well, now the district has settled the claim in her favor, for $35,000 plus lawyer's fees.

From the AP: "McMillen said she thinks the case resonated with so many people because 'prom is a common theme and everyone knows how it feels to want to go to prom. With my story, even if people didn't agree with being gay, they understood. They figured out how cruel some people can be.'"

She's headed off to college to study psychology and will use the cash to cover tuition costs... and hopefully a nice corsage.

--Straight Guy

Toddler Activates Parents' Gaydar. Time Out Required?

Straight Guy,

I just read this well-done article in Details magazine online. A great topic: What happens to dads, even "cool" dads, if they think their little kids might be traveling the Yellow Brick Road?

Definitely well written, and the dads in the article were being honest and real.

But it is just so tiresome that the button for "My kid is gay" is displaying stereotypically sissy behavior. Kid enjoys a princess Halloween costume, dad scared. Kid takes down his playmate, dad relieved.

The quote that hits it on the head of the nail:

"I think parents overestimate the miserable life their children will have if they're gay. I think what parents are really worried about is that having a gay child will somehow reflect poorly on their parenting."

Readers, what do you think? Butterfly wings okay for your kid?

--Gay Guy

Ad Watch: Pamela Anderson's Meat Market

Gay Guy,

Yes. Another entry in our "objectification for a cause" series. This time Pam Anderson asks us to go vegetarian, based on the specious claim that "all animals have the same parts." So not true.

Last week the city of Montreal banned the ad on the grounds that it was sexist and "goes against all principles public organizations are fighting for in the everlasting battle between men and women.” Thanks for playing right into PETA's hands, Montreal. Since then, the story (and the ad) have been picked up by multiple news outlets, and distributed to millions for free. [1,2,3]

PETA has used sex to sell the animal rights cause before, including the "I'd Rather Go Naked than Wear Fur" campaign, and having porn star spokespeople for their spay and neuter drives. Must be working for them. Their pro-tatoo/anti-fur campaign --
"Ink Not Mink" -- is also well-crafted and positioned. GG, Ladies, click here for some cause-based male objectification. Or heck, just see the whole media center here.

In this case, I'll grant that Pamela has achieved a certain notoriety based on her... parts. Still, c'mon PETA, no sense of irony in having a famously "enhanced" model out front on this? Eating factory butchered beef would be much safer (on a chemical level) than eating Pam Anderson. Did I just say that?

By the way, I'm not pro- or anti-PETA. It's a complex issue for me. I love my shelter dog. I also love omelets. Save the seals! Save me some barbecue sauce!

I'm active with the Humane Society. They do great work, and now that I think about it, they could probably sex it up a little.

--Straight Guy

Gee Whiz: Check Your Ego at this Men's Room in Queenstown

Gay Guy,

Queenstown, New Zealand, that is. Sorry if you were hoping for something spicier.

This is a photo of the men's room at the Sofitel Queenstown. Old news, but story here.

Measuring tape? Reading glasses? OK. They got us.

Maybe you can request a version where David Beckham nods approvingly.

--Straight Guy

Why ?. . . (M.C.A)

Straight Guy,

Last week, I heard an NPR news brief that the YMCA has decided to rebrand itself simply as the "Y." (Coincidentally, National Public Radio recently announced that it was rebranding itself simply as "NPR." I guess if that's what people usually call you anyway, you might as well go for it. FedEx certainly proved it works.)

YMCA said it was shedding "MCA" to better reflect its priorities of youth, community development and healthy living. I don't follow the argument. I'd get an argument that they want to de-emphasize "men," "Christian" and "Association" to show that the Y is for everyone, regardless of sex, religious affiliation or membership.

You knew it was inevitable: the Village People have weighed in with "dismay" over the name change. Read news coverage.

I think the band is taking this a bit too personally. It's not going to cut into their business.

Y or why not, "Y.M.C.A" will still be the workhorse not only of a Village People concert tour, but of every wedding, class reunion and bar mitzvah in America, if not worldwide. At least I hope so. I try to imagine a dance floor, filled with grandparents to preschoolers, arms angled out beside their heads forming a "Y" . . . and then silence, like a malevolent game of musical chairs.


--Gay Guy

Straight Guy Hall of Shame: 30 Days / 30 Dates

Gay Guy,

Meet Brian. He's lonely. Very lonely.

He's a Midwesterner, new to the New York scene. And is having trouble connecting with potential romantic partners. So he plans on dating 30 women in 30 days, all through social networking. He calls it crowdsourcing.

"What if I took my dating life and put it into the hands of everyone online? Just kind of let it go," he wonders.

So, Twitter will be his wingman.

I don't want to knock the guy. He seems harmless. Perhaps a little too much so. Which is very much at odds with his 30-day-do-or-die campaign. I can't tell if he's looking for a bootie call, or someone to be the big sister he never had.

I'm trying not to judge, GG, but you know my less-than-sensitive gaydar has trouble differentiating between "gay" and "capri-wearing-hipster." Wondering if he shouldn't limit his options on this 30-day search.

I hope it works out for him. []

Readers, what do you think? Ballsy, naive, or something else?

--Straight Guy

Ad Watch: More Insults to My Manhood

Gay Guy,

Here's the latest web trailer for The Expendables, a macho-destructo-action-fest featuring an all-star lineup that includes Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Rourke, and a few others of lesser starpower and street cred.

They are billed as "the only men you're allowed to love." You OK with those options, GG?

Apparently, this flick opens opposite the Julia Roberts romance, Eat Pray Love. And, if The Expendables loses the box office tally, then I "don't deserve to be a man."

Sorry, Sly. Did you just try to shame me into dropping 10 bucks on your film? Is there anything LESS manly than a guilt trip? Get it together, dude.

--Straight Guy

Gay Guy: "My World Cup Overfloweth"

Straight Guy,

Interesting read about the World Cup in today's Washington Post.

To summarize: Blah, blah, blah, photo gallery. Blah, blah, something about offside rules. Photo gallery. Blah, blah, blah, anaerobic-something-capacity photo gallery. Blah, blah, blah, post-game sweaty jersey swap.

Post-game sweaty jersey swap.

Blah, blah, blah. Scientific and cultural explanations for sexiness. Photo gallery. Blah.

--Gay Guy

Ad Watch: Insulting Me Won't Help You Get My Organ

"Becoming a donor is probably your only chance to get inside her."

Ouch, Belgian organ transplant organization, why did you have to go there? And why is this ad in English when your site is Dutch (I think)?

Sorry, we straight guys are not falling for it... We're not THAT selfish. You don't need to be a stiletto-wearing lingerie model to get my pancreas. Besides, I think Varla Jean might need it, sooner than later.

--Straight Guy

Viral Vid: "California Gays" -- It Was Inevitable

Straight Guy,

I am woefully behind on pop culture -- you were supposed to be tutoring me. I am apparently the last person to hear Katy Perry's summer song scorcher "California Gurls." Who knew?

Perry says she was inspired to write the song from "a girl's perspective." That is to say that the California girls of song so far exist primarily . . . or only . . . in the imagination of men. To understate my opinion, I doubt that Perry has come up with an original theory, but I am happy to blame the Beach Boys for anything that will stick to them.

The Daily Beasts Maura Johnston offers this delicious point of view on the song:
"Lyrically, 'Gurls' certainly comes from the point of view of a certain type of young woman—she's perpetually raring to go, dressed in a bikini top and a pair of ass-hugging shorts so as to maximize the display of her "sun-kissed skin [that will] melt your popsicle."
Go, Maura! That's one hell of a sentence!

Anyway, it was inevitable, you knew it was coming -- a queer lip-dub take-off vid, "California Gays." It mimics "Gurls" right down to the East Coast-West Coast rivalry that is the partial inspiration for Perry's song. Reminds me of last year's "Party in the USA (Fire Island)" take on the Miley Cyrus summer pop chart eater.

SG, does "California Gurls" get the women in your house popping this summer?

--Gay Guy

Thanks, GG. But did you just take a cheap shot at the Beach Boys? Not cool. They are eternal.

I'm mixed on the song. Great hook. Crappy lyrics. The official video is a hot, hot mess, by the way. Snoop Dogg in a psychedelic/erotic Candy Land fantasy?

Not a family-friendly song, what with all the "sex on the beach" and "freakin' in the Jeep." But, outside the dad zone, this straight guy kind of digs Katy Perry's wide-eyed and retro Vargas girl style.

As to the California Gays video: One website called it "the gayest thing you'll see all year." And even given my exposure to gay culture on this blog, I might have to agree. It seems much more aggressive than last year's Miley Cyrus lip dub. But then again, so is the source material. Glad they had fun, though.

I still love LA (when I get the chance). But now I have to lose 20 pounds before I hit the beach. Damn you, California Gays!

--Straight Guy

Gay Guy Independence Day: Created Equal

Straight Guy,

There is a huge park in the city where we live. Not a manicured, designed urban park, but a forest preserve, really. The park has picnic areas and a horse riding center, but mostly has miles of trails and relative quiet. I love hiking there --once I get away from a major trail, I can go well over an hour without seeing anyone else, and so the city fades away.

I did a little Independence Day hike to take advantage of the cool leafy shade. On the trail out, I passed a little clearing where -- a dozen or so yards off the trail -- two men, probably in their 20s, were having a little picnic, lying next to each other, and talking. I wondered if they were gay and guessed that they probably were: Two men, one blanket, wicker picnic basket.

Coming back on the same trail, I passed them again. This time, one guy had his head in his friends lap, the friend absent-mindedly stroking his air. A lovely little moment in time, like a sweet old photograph.

The moment made me think about the holiday and the Declaration of Independence. "All men are created equal" has not worked out so well for women, racial minorities, social classes, but it's still an ideal to work toward achieving.

A week ago, I went to the wedding of two men, a marriage fully protected by the laws of their state: all men are created equal. The two young men having a picnic even a conservative could find charming: unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

--Gay Guy

Straight Guy Public Service: Dirty Bikini Pictures

The Surfrider Foundation works to protect our oceans and beaches. They're out there on the sand and in the water, but they also have classroom education programs and public awareness campaigns. Great work all around.

Here's their timely campaign (planned pre-BP) on keeping our beaches pollution-free. These pin-up calendar photos are filthy! No, not the models -- the water and sand.

If any straight guys remain unaffected by news photos of turtles and pelicans covered in slimy crude, let them take a look at this, and see what's also at risk.

In terms of the greater tragedy in the Gulf, I'm at a loss, and constantly feeling like I should be doing something... other than being angry about it.

--Straight Guy

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