The Straight Story

I spent last Saturday night eating the most delicious chocolate chip cookies ever in the world ever, drinking copious amounts of high-carb beer and burns-so-good Bourbon, and playing several rounds of poker with five other gentlemen, none of whom share my predilection for other gentlemen. I was Token Gay at Poker Night, but these were friends and I knew that, although this pastime was the sort normally undertaken by the sort of man who like straight porn, hot chicks and cold beer (in some order unknown to me), these forward-thinking liberal types were surely not, surely not, going to paint me into a corner to have to explain myself to them.
After all, I reasoned, these are not men unaccustomed to seeing other men kissing one another. These are San Franciscans, either (legally) married or engaged or fruitfully chasing the object of their heterosexual masculine desires, but nonetheless on friendly terms with not only the idea but the reality of homosexuals wandering the streets acting romantic and affectionate and caring toward each other almost as if we’re as normal as they are.
So when, some time after midnight, one member of the cadre turned around the six of diamonds to showcase a nude picture of a redheaded woman with ample bosoms staring at me as she caressed her own bottom and asked, “How can you not like women? How can you not like that? They’re gorgeous! And soft and beautiful and… how can you not like that?” I was slightly taken aback.

It had been literally years since I have had to explain to anyone in a face-to-face manner the way in which homosexuality… works. I tend to fall back on old, reliable reasons like “When did you realize you were hetero?” or “You can’t tell me you don’t find something attractive about Johnny Depp, but the idea of bedding him probably doesn’t cross you mind. Now substitute Cameron Diaz and see the world from where I’m standing.”
(Actually, I find Cameron Diaz way, way, way too thin, but she has that whole perky thing going and that’s cute, plus she can smoke when she needs to.)
But here was I, sitting across the table from another man, and a not-unattractive man, holding up a picture of some poor lass who will forever appear on this deck of cards reaching under her buttocks to place her fingers delicately across her naughty bits while chewing on some pearls and trying to keep her three gallons of make-up from sliding off her face under the studio lights, faced all over again with the accusation that there is something wrong with me if I cannot understand the attraction to that sort of imagery.
I believe he was being funny. In fact, I’m sure he was. At some point in the evening, we’d traded in the normal non-sexualized pack of playing cards for this collection of, I must say, rather sad and not very sexy pornographic cards depicting the same half-dozen nubile and skanky women in a variety of poses, including one so weird and outlandish and out of place within the oeuvre of the rest of the cards that it was proclaimed that anyone in possession of the naked girl on roller skates peeing into the cut crystal bowl with a look of pleased surprise on her face would automatically be paid a blue chip (worth 25¢).
I was doing my part as I was dealt each card to study them and try to figure out, from the other gentlemen’s P.O.V.s, what there was that was sexual about them. I mean, even taking into consideration the “different strokes for different folks” rule, I didn’t see the attraction of the blonde who looked like she’d been in a fight with a raccoon and lost, her ass hiked up on 5-inch fuck-me pumps, her hair the color of urine, staring into the camera as she lifted her fake breast and licked her own nipple.
Do women do that a lot, I wondered? When women go into the bathroom and are taking all that time “adjusting their make-up,” are they instead opening their blouses and allowing their breasts a little fresh air so they can lift them and lick the nipples? Perusing some other cards, I was starting to get dizzy from the array of interesting things women do to please men, because I cannot imagine that a woman, on her own, would stretch backwards over the edge of a bathtub, legs in the air sort of scissored, in order to apply lipstick.
Maybe they do, I must confess that my time with women rarely involves nudity or bathtubs, though I do occasionally advise them about lipstick hues.
I told the gentleman that I do, in fact, find women beautiful. I also find them funny, intelligent, sensual, caring and affectionate. I usually have better relationships with the women in my life than the men, and I prefer women bosses over men any day.
But if I look at a beautiful woman, I explained, I recognize her beauty and admire it, but it’s like looking at a painting, or a car, or something else I admire visually. Nothing else happens.
On the other hand, if I see a hot guy at the gym, for example, all sorts of things happen. It’s just the way I’m wired, I had no choice in the matter, I don’t stop and think each time I see a good looking guy wandering around, “hmm, how should my body react to that image? I wonder if I should be aroused.” No, it just happens, much as I assume that looking at rollergirl pissing into her mom’s punch bowl does something funny for a certain few gentlemen, or maybe a lot of them, who can say?
I didn’t think anything of his question at the time because A) I was drunk and B) he was drunk and C) it was rhetorical. Of course he knew why I didn’t find any of the pictures in my hand sexual. It’s because I’m gay. There is no reason for it, it just is. It’s just a thing. It’s how I am built, through no one’s fault, certainly not my own, and there’s nothing I can or would do about it. I enjoy being gay, for whatever that means. I enjoy making ignorant people uncomfortable. I like looking at naked men who like looking at me. I like that they understand exactly what I am feeling and why and that the feeling is mutual and that we can do something about it.
But this is the central problem at the moment with the country’s mood. Everyone is mad at us for behaving like we’re supposed to. All men are pigs, if you weren’t already aware of that. All men like sex. Some men like sex more than others, some men like sex all the time, but all men like sex. Even Republicans.
So they think that’s all we want, I guess. Hence, the Protection of Marriage Act. Marriage needs to be protected from us, because we’ll just fuck it all up. We won’t have kids, like we’re supposed to (because we can’t, but actually some gay people can, but let’s ignore logic for the moment since we need to ignore it altogether for the argument against same-sex marriage to work) and we’ll screw around on each other in our wonderland of “open relationships” and we’ll infect others with our heinous ideas and create whole states of gay people all fornicating and not making babies and so forth.
All true, I’m afraid. Hell, I bet you’re feeling more gay right now. “What? You mean I can just go have sex all the time with anyone?” “Well, sure, but they have to be the same sex as you.” “Oh, that’s a problem.” “And you should probably be hot in some manner.” “Hot?” “Yes, like hung or muscled or have a great smile and beautiful eyes. You don’t expect to be humping yourself dry every day and look average, do you?” “Well, I guess…” “And also? Young. You should be young, the younger the better. Or at least look young. So spend a lot of money on clothes and the gym and toiletries, particularly facial moisturizers.” “How much money?” “All of it.”
You want to be gay, I can tell. Everyone does. It’s cool to be gay. So much fun. And so easy! Here, I’ll give you the simple steps you can take to be gay:

  1. Develop a thick skin: Other (jealous) people are going to hate you. Call you names, throw punches, try to burn you with gasoline and lit cigarettes, stuff like that. But you’ll get over it. Oh, and your parents might hate you and never speak to you again. It happens sometimes.
  2. Learn to dance: You have got to dance, it’s a rule. Gay people all dance. Like, all the time. We are constantly dancing. We love it more than anything except sex. Sometimes we combine the two! Kooky!
  3. Hate yourself: This is actually just a phase that (usually) passes, but it’s something you need to do at first. Really loathe yourself, really get into that feeling of worthlessness. Wallow in it. Try not to let it go too long or you may kill yourself, but hating yourself helps the rest of society deal with you, because they hate you, too.
  4. Love yourself: I know this seems contradictory to what I just said, but as a gay man, you’ll need to spend hours and hours looking at yourself in a mirror. This is so that you can hate the way you look, realize how fat you are and that you’ll never be in an A&F catalog as long as you keep up that stupid habit known as eating. So remember what I said about spending lots of money on yourself as a way of indicating that you really do love yourself even though you hate yourself, too.
  5. Move to a major metropolitan area: This will help you fit in by becoming part of a population so large that they’ll ignore you, and then you can go find the gay bars and clubs and back alleys and meth labs we all frequent as homes away from home. In fact, stop paying rent and become a Rent Boy. Sell yourself for money. It’s what we all do! It’s fun!

A few tips to help you on your way.
Hmm, looking back it sounds like I still have a few unresolved anger issues, doesn’t it? And anger does not a Bloggie win!
So in conclusion, let me say that being gay doesn’t mean anything, really. It’s a simple and available label to stick on someone that will supposedly define everything about them. I am exactly like every other gay man you will ever meet. We are all the same, because we are gay.
See? Simple. No wonder the Republicans are winning.

January 21, 2004

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