Dec 6, 2014

Guide to the Code Words in Gay Personal Ads

Back before dating apps like grindr, guys met by hanging out in internet chatrooms.  And before internet chatrooms, they met by posting or answering personal ads in gay magazines.

Every gay magazine had a "personal ad" section.  The Montrose Voice in Texas, Frontiers in West Hollywood, The Edge in New York, even The Advocate.

My friends and I had lots of fun reading and discussing the new ads every week.  We didn't respond often -- who needed to respond to a personal ad when you lived in a gay neighborhood?-- but occasionally one stood out as particularly promising, and we made the call.

We quickly learned to decipher what the code words really meant.

Many of the code words are still used today, in profiles on gay dating sites and the personal ads on Craigslist.

20s: 30s.
30s: 40s.
40s: I have fond memories of listening to The Shadow and Fibber McGee on the radio.
Mature: I fought in World War I.  At least, I think it was World War I.  My memory isn't what it used to be.

Swimmer's build:  Twiggy was my idol.
Football player's build: What the heck is football?
Muscular: I went to a gym once, 10 years ago.  Who knows, I might go again someday.
Athletic: Fat.

GWM: Gay white man.
GBM: Gay black man.
GM:  It's racist to reveal your race.  You should be ashamed of yourself.

Size of Endowment:
Huge: Average.
Above-average: Small.
Average: I won an award for "The Smallest Endowment in West Hollywood."

Erotic Interests:
A (Active): Bottom.
A/P (Versatile): Bottom.
P (Passive): Bottom

Social Interests:
The Outdoors: It's fun to walk from the car to the club.
Music:  Madonna, not Mozart.
Dancing:  I was on a dance floor once.
Activism:  I support gay rights, as long as I don't have to do anything.

Personality Traits:
Friendly: I will be cruising other guys on our date.
Generous: I will pay you.
Honest:  I will criticize your clothing, your choice of music, your apartment, and your mother.
Successful: I will pay you.

Who He's Looking For:
A man who takes care of himself: I want a bodybuilder.
A man who knows what he wants: I want a top.
Young looking: You should be in junior high.
Athletic: No sports, please.
Mature: I want a Sugar Daddy to buy me things.
Healthy: I haven't educated myself on how HIV is transmitted.
No femmes: I'm afraid people will know I'm gay if I hang out with someone feminine.
No fats: I have issues with my body.

What He's Looking For:
Friend: Hookup.
LTR (Long-Term Relationship): Hookup.
Hookup: Hookup

See also: 15 Rules of Gay Cruising; and 15 Rules of Gay Dating.

The Drew Carey Show: All About the Beefcake?

When I was living in New York, my favorite tv program was The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004).  I'm still not sure why.

Not because of the beefcake: Diedrich Bader (left) rarely disrobed on screen, and the other male characters were not particularly attractive.

It starred dumpy, nerd-eyeglassed comedian Drew Carey as a human resources drone at the Winfred-Louder Department Store in Cleveland.

His work life is bedeviled by a series of horrible bosses and his worst enemy, the over-made up, abrasive Mimi (Kathy Kinney).

At home, he has three friends: Kate (Christa Miller), with whom he has the obligatory "will they or won't they?" quasi-romance; and slackers Oswald and Lewis (Ryan Styles, Diedrich Bader).

Heterosexism was everywhere:

1. One of the theme songs, "Five O'Clock World," was about how all of the little miseries of the workday get better when the man goes home to his wife.

2. Drew was supremely attractive to women.  His show, his rules.

3. Oswald and Lewis had been living together for 20 years, yet no one ever treated them as a couple. In one episode Mom showed up and tried to fix them up with women, explaining, "I don't want you to be alone,"  Um...they weren't alone.

4. Drew's brother Steve (John Carroll Lynch) was probably the only heterosexual crossdresser on tv at the time.  But when he arrives for a date with Mimi in drag, she is upset: a date is a boy-girl activity, and she's the girl, so he should dress as a boy, right?

Hey, Mimi, gay people go on dates, too!

When the romance with Mimi blossoms, the drag is summarily abandoned, and never mentioned again.

5. Gay characters appeared only in the standard 1990s sitcom plotlines:

Oswald dates a guy for two weeks without realizing it (come on, two weeks without any physical attention?)

Drew is mistaken for gay.

The guys pretend to be gay to get some of the wonderful "privileges" that gay people enjoy.

So why did I like The Drew Carey Show so much?

Maybe because I was homesick for West Hollywood, and Drew Carey was all about finding a home.

Or because it was set in Cleveland, one of my favorite cities.

Maybe it was Mimi and Drew's pleasantly weird sparring enemy-ship.

Or the cool musical numbers.  Here a duel between the "old drag" of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the "new drag" of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Or maybe it because of the beefcake after all.

See also: Frasier. A Beefcake Tour of Cleveland.

Dec 2, 2014

15 Simple Rules of Gay Dating

Dating is not cruising, and a date is not a hook-up.

Both activities are interesting and pleasurable, but cruising has one goal: to find a physically-attractive partner for immediate erotic intimacy.

Dating has several goals -- to engage in entertaining activities, to have interesting conversations, to be seen with someone attractive, and ultimately to find a long-term romantic partner.

But it's not as simple as sending a text to an attractive guy asking him to dinner next Friday night.  Gay dating has its own rules, procedures, and protocols that differ considerably from cruising.

And, for that matter, from heterosexual dating.

Here are 15 simple rules of gay dating.

(I am assuming that you are the one who suggested the date, and that it has the traditional five segments: Meeting, Entertainment, Dinner, Dancing, and Return.)

The Meeting
How and where do you meet for the events?

1. If you suggested the date, you must call for him at his home.  It is uncommon and in rather bad taste to meet at the Entertainment Venue, so only suggest it if there is an excellent reason, like you live right next door and he lives 50 miles away.

2. You must also pay for the activities, although it is polite for him to offer to pay his share. If the activities are very expensive, you can ask in advance if he would mind chipping in, but, again, that is in bad taste.

3. Sometimes gay men aren't clear on whether you expect friendship or romance, so a kiss before leaving his home will alleviate his concerns.

The Entertainment Venue
Traditionally a movie, but live theater or a sporting event work as well, anything which allows you to be together for a couple of hours without having to make conversation.

4. Heterosexual couples have no qualms about holding hands, hugging, or kissing in the midst of any entertainment venue, but gay couples must be careful.  If he rejects your physical gestures, it doesn't mean that he is not interested -- he may just be being cautious.

5. Even without physical contact, you will get stared at, as most heterosexual buddies who attend entertainment venues together try to sit with a seat between them, lest they accidentally brush knees.

The Dinner
Dinner occurs after the entertainment, to give you something to talk about.

6. If the restaurant is not in a gay neighborhood, you will be asked "How many in your party?" and "are you together or separate?" repeatedly.  The host and servers are unaware of the existence of gay people, and assume that you are two buddies hanging out together.

7. If the restaurant contains a bar, half-drunk ladies will also assume that you are two buddies hanging out together, and thus up for grabs.  They will send you drinks or ask to join you.  Reject them tactfully.

8. Dinner conversation should not include coming out stories, analyses of the faults of ex-boyfriends, or discussions of favored sexual positions.

The fourth segment of the date is dancing or some other physical activity, such as ice skating, to work off the stupor of dinner and prepare you for an energetic good-night kiss.

9. Only dance in a gay club.  If you try it in an establishment that is for heterosexuals, you will get stared at and joked about, and you may be assaulted in the parking lot.  

10. When you are not on the dance floor, both you and your date will be hit on.  You can lessen the number of interlopers by physically touching him at all times, signaling "This one is off limits."  But that won't deter the most oblivious.

The Return
The date is not over until you escort him back to his home and say "Goodnight."

11. For heterosexuals, the invitation to come inside is optional, but for gay couples, it is mandatory, primarily because it is too risky to attempt a kiss on the doorstep.  If he does not invite you into his home, or if you do not accept, there will be no second date.

12. Once you are inside, a kiss followed by physical intimacy is expected, but not mandatory.  If you are not in the mood, just say "I want to take things slow," and you can postpone the bedroom to the second or third date, no questions asked.

13. If you decide not to "take things slow," you must spend the night.  If you get dressed and go home when the bedroom activities are over, the evening has become a hook-up, not a date.

14. And bring condoms, in case he doesn't have any of his own.

15. Serial dating is frowned upon in gay communities: if the first date was satisfactory, then you date only that person until the relationship ends or becomes a friendship.  Therefore, you should call or email him within 24 hours, either to plan your next date or to explain that you are no longer interested.

See also: 15 Rules of Gay Cruising.

Frasier: The Gayest Show on TV, or the Most Homophobic?

In 1993, Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), the stuffy, elitist psychiatrist who hung out at Cheers (1982-93), moved back to his hometown of Seattle, Washington, where he hosted his own radio program, offering psychiatric help to callers.

Very few episodes of Frasier (1993-2004) involved the wacky mental problems of callers -- the producers thought that concentrating on the radio station would make it too much like WKRP in Cincinnati -- although producer Roz (Peri Gilpin) became a regular, and there were occasional appearances by leering, hetero-horny sports show host Bulldog (Dan Butler) and swishy food show host Gil (Edward Hibbert).

Most episodes were about Frasier's home life, conflicts with his macho, working class father, Martin (John Mahoney) and his even more elitist younger brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce).

It had a huge gay fanbase.  Many gay men could relate to conflicts with their macho, working-class fathers over their interest in fine art, show tunes, wine-tasting, and chick flicks.

Plus Frasier featured the most intense, passionate, and open gay romance on tv during the period.

Frasier and Niles were boyfriends.  Ok, they were scripted as heterosexual brothers, but come on...brothers simply do not act like that.

Their relationship was deliberately written as quasi-romantic.  Even other characters commented on it.

But, to keep it from crossing over the boundary into over romance, the writers gave Frasier any number of hetero-romantic conquests, and Niles a wife plus an ongoing crush on Daphne (Jane Laneves), Martin's live-in physical therapist, who remained oblivious (or pretended to be).

And they drew pitiably few gay plotlines, and all of the most simplistic, 1970s type.

In the fifth season, Niles and Daphne are mistaken for gay, and Frasier is embarrassed when his friends discover him in bed with a man, and conclude that he know (shades of Three's Company!).

In the seventh season, Martin pretends to be gay to get out of dating a woman he dislikes, only to have her set him up with a gay man (he ends up going through with the date).

The most substantial gay plotline involved Gil the Food Critic, who was assumed gay throughout, and often ridiculed for his effeminacy,

In the ninth season, he reveals that he is actually heterosexual, married to a butch woman named Bev, and is rather offended by the gay rumors: "honestly, just because a man dresses well and knows how to use a pastry bag, people jump to wild conclusions!"

The retro, borderline homophobic storylines are particularly surprising when one realizes that David Hyde Pierce and Dan Butler (left) are both gay in real life, and John Mahoney and Edward Hibbert are probably gay but not out.  That's the entire male cast, except for Kelsey Grammer.

To recap: an entire cast full of gay men playing heterosexuals, the focus character involved in a same-sex romance barely hidden under the "brothers" label, and no gay references except for a few retro "mistaken for gay" excursions.

Was it the gayest show on tv, or the most homophobic?

See also: Cheers, Where Nobody Knows Your Name; and WKRP in Cincinnati

Dec 1, 2014

Cruising Preachers, Priests, Monks, and Rabbis

I have always been attracted to clergy.  There's something about a devotion to the spiritual world that makes your presence in the physical world especially erotic.  Maybe the paradoxical juxtaposition of muscles and Bibles, penises and prayer.

When I was a kid, I watched the preacher up on his podium three times a week, pacing and pounding his Bible and screaming until his brown business suit was soaked with sweat and you could glimpse his tight, hairy chest underneath.

At Nazarene summer camp, I saw my Sunday school teacher, Brother Dino, naked in the shower, and got a nice view of of the Gospel-singing Sanderson Brothers peeing in the woods.

My first real boyfriend was a student preacher.

My goal is to date, hook up with, or at least see a religious leader in each of the major religious groups.

1. Roman Catholic.  I dated a Traditional Catholic monk, and I might have hooked up with a priest in New York, but I'm not sure. He was vague about it.

2. Eastern Orthodox.  No Romanian Orthodox monks, such as pose for those erotic-religious calendars, but I dated a former Greek Orthodox priest with a pushy mom.

3. Evangelical Christian.  Lots of ex-evangelicals.  Alan, the first guy I dated seriously in West Hollywood, was a Pentecostal minister.  But no practicing ones, unless you count glimpses of a Baptist boy in the act.

4. Mormon.  Who wouldn't want to invite those pairs of missionaries into your house to discuss the Angel Moroni, the Golden Plates, and sacred underwear?  I dated a Mormon guy, but never a missionary.

5. Hindu.  Does a a follower of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi count?

6. Buddhist.  There are no professional clergy in Buddhism, but a hot orange-robed monk would be a good substitute.

7. Pagan.  They don't really have professional clergy, but I've dated Wiccans.

8. Sikh.  A Sikh guy used to work out at Barney's gym in Florida, and I managed to get a sausage sighting.

9. Jewish.  I had a Jewish partner for 10 years, and hooked up with several other Jewish guys, but no rabbis.  Not even any rabbinic students.

10. Muslim.   The holy grail of clergy-cruising.  Not only is Islam notoriously homophobic, but there aren't many Muslims in the U.S., and even fewer imams (you can have a congregation without one).  I've been with Muslim guys, but I never even came close to cruising an imam, not even during my semester in Turkey.

See also: Brother Dino in the Shower; The Sanderson Boys Get Naked; and The Top 10 Public Penises of Islam