Checking In... About Checking Out

Straight Guy,

Thanks for bearing the load on the website. I've been pretty checked out of late. Things are fine, but I am cranky these days.

It's furnace hot here, I'm off my gym routine and on the wrong side of 160 lbs., work's busy and the new boss is a learning curve, my dad had a trip to the ER and a hospital overnighter, I haven't seen some important friends for a while, and I'm disgusted that my government can't get its shit together about this impending debt crisis but have to admit it looks too much like my own financial management for comfort. Wah, wah, wah. You get the idea.

Without doubt there are things that make me happy. Of course, number one on the list is that same-sex couples began marrying in New York State on Sunday. Read more. That's huge--both in terms of its importance and that New York is a huge state. That's a lot of wedding presents (Crate and Barrel thanks you) and more importantly lots of new couples and millions of people being influenced in new and personal ways. 

I got my first save-the-date wedding card for a New York wedding. Makes me happy.

--Gay Guy 

Boys Do Cry: 'The Champ' Takes Title as Saddest Movie, EVER

Gay Guy,

I'd guess that you've seen a Zeffirelli film for two. Ever seen "The Champ?"

I'm a sucker for boxing movies of all kinds, and even fell for the FX series "Lights Out" this spring. Anyway, "The Champ" is NOT a great film. It suffers greatly from Jon Voight's over-stylized performance as a down-on-his-luck boxer seeking one last shot at redemption (aren't they all?).

Spoiler alert. The film takes an intense turn in its tragic finale, when the son (a very young Ricky Schroder) witnesses the death of his father after a fight. "Wake up, Champ!," he cries as he cuddles and prods the lifeless body of his now redeemed father.

I embedded a 10-minute version below. Skip to 4:30 for the really tough stuff. How much can you take?

Smithsonian Magazine has a write-up on the detailed research that identified this scene as the saddest ever made. The process took years. It's especially hard to test the impact of negative emotions (fear, anger, sadness) without stepping outside of ethical guidelines. How do you make a subject sad without hurting or deceiving them? That's where movies come in...

"The Champ seems to be very effective in eliciting fairly pure feeling states of sadness and associated cognitive and behavioral changes."

GG, Readers, what's the saddest movie you've ever seen?

--Straight Guy

Link: Smithsonian: The Saddest Movie in the World

Fashion Watch: Too Hot and Not Cool

Gay Guy,

Did you see the article in today's Washington Post on the rigid dress codes for the men of Capitol Hill? They refuse to strip down from their dark suits, even when the heat index hits an all-time high.

Here's a quote: "He does not begrudge his uniform. He relishes the corporate noose. ... His cuffs stay buttoned. His jacket, unruffled. ... Washington men do not bow to Apollo. Our sun kings never relinquish the suit."

You know that I'm not on the same page, GG. If there's a casual fringe of a dress code, that's where you'll find me. When it gets this hot, rules have to bend even further. I heard through reliable sources that you wore shorts to the office yesterday. I'm proud of you.

One of the quoted proponents of traditional style says "wearing a suit is a point of pride. It implies you’re doing something important. ... Can you imagine the president coming out to talk about the economy in khakis and a golf shirt?”

Of course I can.

I'm on the same page as the fashion expert from GQ. (Wow, that never happens.) He says "I think most men know if you dress for the weather, it shows that you have common sense... People are looking for that in management... Politicians shouldn’t be sweating. It makes them look untrustworthy."

--Straight Guy

LINK: Washington Post: Heat wave hits Washington, but its men remain armored in their suits

Things Straight Guy Hates Immediately: The Steve Buscemi Dress

Gay Guy,

I don't hate Steve Buscemi. I like him and his work. Dang, he was Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs! Randall in Monsters, Inc.! Ghost World! The list goes on and on.

I'll be kind about Mr. Buscemi's appearance and simply point out that the man is a character actor for a reason.

I understand the irony of putting a mug like that on a body hugging mini dress. (
How's a guy supposed to get turned on staring into giant Buscemi eyes?) Doesn't mean I have to like it.

Don't worry. Straight guys appreciate irony, we just can't think about too many things at once.

This is spun off a recent internet trend where photoshoppers pasted Buscemi eyes onto attractive faces. Ha. Ha. It's funny because they aren't pretty anymore. (OK, so I giggled at a couple of those, myself.) Anyway, the dress was created by edgy fashion house Black Milk, but just as it gained web notoriety, it's disappeared from their web catalog. Probably another victim of copyright enforcement, and now for completist Buscemi collectors, only.

Readers, if you are stuck on this sexy/notsexy/sexy theme and need a new idea, may I interest you in a zombie bikini?

--Straight Guy

Update To Yesterday's Post: Bachmann Pinging Multiple Gaydars

Gay Guy,

Need your expertise here.

An article on today's Slate digs deeper into the public "outing" of Michelle Bachmann's husband, Marcus. He runs a Christian counseling service that has provided "pray the gay away" therapies to troubled clients (Well, he denies this, but past patients confirm it). He's also publicly made the claim that gays are just "barbarians" that need to be educated, disciplined, and civilized. The problem is that he "reads gay" to many observers (Check out Cher's Twitter stream -- what's her credibility with gays? Does she know a few?).

The article is headlined, "Read my Lisp," and is critical of the Daily Show's snap-judgement snark-fest. "He's not just gay, he's center square gay!" (See yesterday's post for video).

Here's a quote from Slate: "Marcus Bachmann, husband of Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, is setting off gaydar alarms. It started as a subtle joke among bloggers. Then it progressed to parody and overt insinuation. ... There's nothing new about calling somebody gay based on a lisp or a girlish gait. We all saw, did, or suffered it in grade school. What's unusual is seeing grown-up gays and liberals do it in 2011 with such open ridicule. But don't worry: The new queer-hunters are progressive. They detect homosexuality based on science, not stereotypes."

The article then gets bogged down in a dissection of studies on the effectiveness of gaydar. Does it exist? And, does it work? (Yes and surprisingly well, by the way. But no, it's not perfect.)

Is Marcus Bachmann gay? Or, an ex-gay, himself? Don't know. The Bachman's have had a long marriage and five biological children. They've foster-parented many others. Sounds straight, right? (Rhetorical. Don't worry, I'm not that naive.)

Is it fair to call him gay just because his speech patterns and physical mannerisms "read" gay? Is it even an insult to make the insinuation? Well, if you believe that gays are barbarians, like he does, then I suppose it is.

I think that there's a room in the discourse for professional humorists to point out irony and potential hypocrisy from public figures. I'm sure it hurts a guy like Bachmann, and those who follow him. But his own words on the topic have caused so much pain that he can't now turn around and claim that he's the one being bullied.

Here's the meanest thing I have to say on this. IF being gay is a choice that can be corrected (as the Bachmanns believe), then "reading" gay should be an even easier fix. So why can't this guy modify his mannerisms and wave, dance, hug, walk, and talk like a "real" man? Hmmm...

--Straight Guy

Media Watch: Daily Show's Jon Stewart on Michelle & Marcus Bachmann

Gay Guy, Readers,

Here's The Daily Show's takedown on the Bachmann's clinic and their "pray the gay away" therapies. With some tough love from Jerry Seinfeld, who counsels Jon that "Comedy is a choice. You weren't born this way!"

Is there a way to get Bachmann the nomination now, but keep all of this stuff quiet until the general election? That would work better for me.

--Straight Guy

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Field of Dongs
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Comedy Repression Therapy
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Bronies - Grown Men and Fans of "My Little Pony"

Gay Guy,

Last month, the Underwire blog at ran a feature on the men who love My Little Pony. LINK

Yes, My Little Pony. The comb-able collectables for little girls launched by Hasbro in the 1980s. These dudes follow the adventures of Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Twilight Sparkle. And they have no shame about it.

Quote: "So, why the breathless adoration? Some fans say the show’s appeal lies in good illustration, excellent characters or, as Allen put it, a 'perfect storm of ’80s nostalgia and cultural irony.'"

They are talking about the newest incarnation of the show, which is spun from the mind of Lauren Faust, the creator of the "Powerpuff Girls," which also found an audience larger than the target market. Here's her take on the Pony phenomenon: "“The fact that ... they were open-minded and cool enough and secure in their masculinity enough to embrace it and love it and go online and talk about how much they love it — I’m kind of proud.”

Not sure where this blog post goes from here. How can I ridicule and celebrate these guys at the same time? Readers?

--Straight Guy

Ad Watch: Hugh Gets Skin Like Dew

Straight Guy,

Hugh Laurie's gone uber-Metrosexual as a newly recruited spokesmodel for L'Oreal Paris' guy line of products. Read all about it.

Oh, the inhumanity when the gruff, sarcastic and ironic go pretty . . . because they're worth it.

And I thought I was edging it with my Aveeno moisturizer in the winter. Regular moisturizer that is, not Positively Radiant or Ultra Calming. Okay, a weekly scrub with some lava-like cream made from imported kiwi seeds or something like that.

Guys, are Hugh Laurie's pores making the gay/straight skin care line blurry? What's your routine? Be honest.  Female readers: What do you wish your man would do for his face?

--Gay Guy

Media Watch: Dirty Minds Think Alike

Straight Guy,

Fellow blogger Torque Story forwarded the following web post. File it under "weird but wonderful."

Quote: "You need to have a dirty mind to be in the business of mass communications. Or, at the very least, you need someone with a dirty mind on your staff. Because you do not want to give the sixth grader in all of us this kind of viral amusement." 

--Gay Guy 

Ad Watch: Gay Ads to Watch

Straight Guy,

Ad Week published "50 Gayest Ads Ever" this week. 

I'm pleased that we've posted several of these ads over the years here on our site.

I should probably be offended by the Travelocity clip above: it's full of gay stereotypes. But I snickered all the way through and that's enough of a vote of endorsement for me. Readers--anyone offended?

Ad Week tracked great range of commercials--funny, touching, sad, weird, campy, old, recent. When you click to view, you often have to sit through an ad first, but it's worth it. Note: Straight Guy is angry that "you have to watch an ad to what an ad!"

It's hard to me pick a fave, but I am partial to No. 50. Maybe it's the sound track. Maybe it's the sophisticated, slightly film noir quality. Maybe it's my feeling of kinship with a man (or woman) who's lived with a a slob.

Readers: What your favorite?

Remember folks, Straight Guy does a dynamite job of tracking ads himself on our companion website, Gay Ads/Straight Ads.

--Gay Guy

Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive