So… The Olympics

Well, I did in fact tune into the Olympics to watch the Opening Ceremony. I did so with distinctly mixed feelings, given that I’m rather supportive of the idea of boycotting watching the games, since I think NBC has not adequately responded to concerns that their $800 million wall-to-wall broadcast is whitewashing the very serious human rights violations going on in Russia – particularly those affecting the gay and transgender community.

Though, with that being said, I did take some comfort in the fact that my decision to cut the cable with Comcast (NBC’s owner) means that they actually have no idea that I’m watching, since I’m using that sweet over-the-air, old-school broadcast system (and in HD that I’m quite sure is of a better quality than that throttled crap I used to get over the cable). Of course, Comcast is also my broadband provider, so my hands aren’t all that clean.

Anyhoo, the Opening Ceremonies were, for lack of a better word, dull. I actually wondered a bit about who the intended audience was – and I suspect it was actually the people of Russia rather than the rest of the world, here seeing live and in color the glories of what their leader has wrought. I don’t suggest that’s either a good or bad thing – though perhaps it’s different than what we’ve come to expect from these spectacles, which typically aim to wow the globe with the majesty, the grandeur of the host country. And this one? Not so much. It was really long and felt enervating; and perhaps it’s just a reflection of my innate American philistinism, but much of the subject matter was simply not engaging (though perhaps more people like ballet than I do – but it’s always acted on me like a powerful narcotic).

Of course, I didn’t really watch the festivities without my own preconceived agenda, namely that, even in spite of the deeply corrupt nature of the Olympics, this was an especially egregious example; and that it was being put on to glorify and entrench Vladimir Putin. Did it succeed? Well, to hear the fawning Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera breathlessly describing the goings-on, apparently so. But for me? Not so much. Plus, we’re still seeing bits like this:

Now, it’s pretty baller that a member of the U.S. bobsled team just stone-cold kicked his way out of the bathroom he got locked into – though the door made from corrugated cardboard is not exactly screaming high-end facilities.

At any rate, I really only posted about the Olympics as an excuse to post a couple of videos. First, a really spot-on show of support to the LGBT communities in Russia from a group of Swedes – singing the Russian national anthem (in Russian!). “Kind of insanely subervise,” as one of my good friends put it.

And then this. Not only because it’s fabulous – but because I think that, while mockery alone can’t bring down a tyrant, laughing at one can both diminish him and point out the absurdity of his views. Good luck gays, on Gay Mountain!

I Feel Pretty! Oh So Pretty!

Another weekend, another bout of trying to ameliorate my singledom via the wonderful world of gay “social” apps. I was checking out dudes on one of said apps (not Grindr, because just no). Now, I will be the first to acknowledge that many of the users of this particular app are looking for interactions that are primarily physical and fleeting – which is fine, but not my cup of tea. Sap that I am, I’m actually looking to meet someone who might want to do something like go out for a drink, have some dinner or go for a bike ride. And I’ve had some limited success.

But anyhow, I saw some guy’s profile. He was a handsome sort and this was the extent of his description:


Now, I probably have only myself to blame here, given that of the seven photos included in his profile, six of them showed him shirtless. Far be it from me to generalize, but this is not typically an indicator of a person who is, for lack of a better phrase, my kind of people. But respond I did, thusly:


Not exactly Wilde-esque, I admit, but innocuous enough. Just a friendly hello, with a winky emoticon to keep it easy-breezy-beautiful. No “DTF?” or “Sup” or blatant sexual solicitation – a simple greeting. So, here’s his response:


Word to the wise: a sentence starting with the modifier “This will sound totally awful…” is a strong indicator that what is to follow might be best left unexpressed (this also applies to sentences starting with “I don’t mean to sound racist but…” and “Well, to be perfectly honest…”). Also, as a general rule, people do not take kindly to criticisms of their physical appearance from strangers. I know, it’s crazy! But people just don’t care for it!

Of course at this point, I should have just moved on – but if you note the time, you’ll realize that I was at the tail end of a bottle of my favorite moderately-priced Spanish rosé. And thus probably more loquacious than was appropriate. So I wrote back:


OK, yes, it was smart-ass response. And including a phrase en français may not have been the best choice (though both my Francophilia and pretension are well-known) – but it was, if you’ll (literally) pardon my French, le mot juste, non? I don’t think it was a particularly nasty reply – but it did call him out on being kind of dickish without actually using the word “dickish.” Plus, a smiley face! Easy-breezy!

Anyhoo, off to bed, didn’t give it a second thought, whatevs. But apparently he was still reflecting on things the next day and treated me to this charming response the following evening:


Oh man, there is a lot to parse here!

“The stylist inside of me” – well, the stylist inside of you seems to have an aversion to shirts, so I’m not fully on board with this stylist’s qualifications.

“if you’re interested in attracting a man like me…” – “which you are” Um, no.

“sans ink and jewelry” Oh, so you know French too? Formidable!

“(even though I LOVE it when it works)” Yes, I get it – it doesn’t work on me. You are a true master of subtlety.

“props and trinkets” Look, just because I was wearing my Mardi Gras beads and holding one of my Precious Moments™ figurines in my profile photo is no reason to judge me!

Anyway, it was awfully tempting to respond – but really what would be the point? Though with that being said, here are just a few of the responses that popped into my head:

  • Thanks for the advice! I’ll be sure to contact you again when I’ve remodeled my physical appearance to adhere to your standards.
  • My cat’s name is Mittens.
  • tl; dr
  • Dale Carnegie, I presume?
  • I’m also ugly on the inside!
  • Go fuck yourself.
  • Oh, you’re a stylist? How can you find the time to message me, what with your busy schedule dressing JLo?
  • Somebody hold my jewelry…
  • I can assure you unreservedly, I have no interest whatsoever in attracting a man like you.
  • My nipples explode with delight!
  • “If you liked it then you should’ve put a ring on it.” Were truer words ever spoken? I think not…
  • What’s the longest book you’ve ever read? And, no, the September issue of Vogue doesn’t count.

And while I suppose the fact that I’m posting this somewhat belies my claiming  to take the high road here, I think I do deserve a bit of credit for not posting this fellow’s photo or screen name. And, for the record, here’s the entirety of our interaction. I wouldn’t want to be accused of editing this to portray myself in a more favorable light!

J’aime les Gais

I posted this video on Facebook and was quite irked at the dearth of comments or likes. IT IS AMAZING! I mean really, it has everything – cute gays, Paris, fierce shoes, hot moves, Spice Girls music, a dog, a guy dressed as a dog. It’s fantastic!

Et aussi, le mec avec la barbe et le “high and tight” est mon nouveau petit ami imaginaire…

I think my favorite moment is this bit from 0:41

“Oui, nous sommes fierce.”

Ken Mehlman: A Kinder, Gentler Roy Cohn

This bitch.
This bitch.

Disgusting shitbird Ken Mehlman, the formerly-closeted gay Republican strategist, was profiled in the NYT today – and all I can say is “feh!” This despicable quisling was a key player in W.’s 2004 election (N.B.: Let’s not forget that W was appointed to his first term, not elected) and used  opposition to same-sex marriage not just as a key plank in the Republican platform, but to whip up the conservative base and appeal to their rank homophobia. Thanks in large part to this strategy chosen and embraced by this amoral opportunist, 21 states have amended their constitutions to forbid same-sex marriage, enshrining discrimination against gay men and lesbians as the law of the land in these states. (And let’s not forget the over 4,000 U.S. and coalition troops and 130,000 civilians killed in Iraq. Or the near-destruction of the U.S. economy. Nice work, Kenny!)

 “This is not just any Republican — this is one of the single greatest successful strategists for Republicans,” Mr. [Chad] Griffin [president of the Human Rights Campaign] said of Mr. Mehlman. “And now he’s on our side.”

Well, you know what, Chad? I don’t want him on our side. And we don’t need him on our side. Same-sex marriage is now supported by a majority of Americans. It’s coming – maybe sooner, maybe later, but it’s coming. And I’d be happy to wait a bit longer rather than to embrace someone like Mehlman, who took the dicks out of his mouth just long enough to make sure that gay men and lesbians were vilified and despised – while lining his own pockets in the process

The article seems to imply that there is an even divide regarding Mehlman’s reputation, now that he’s “apologized” and is working as an advocate for same-sex marriage. But please read the comments – it’s pretty clear that most still see Ken Mehlman for what he is – a foul, immoral, selfish individual who is perfectly content to sacrifice principle for his own benefit. Truly a shonda to his people.

And New Yorkers? Please shun this terrible, terrible person. And gays? Don’t fuck him. Don’t have brunch with him.  Throw him major shade. Tell him to sashay away. He does not deserve to be a part of our community.

Sorry, I Know You Wish You Were Gay

This is a perfect example of why I prefer to be gay. Too bad it’s not a choice, fellas!


Oh, also, this, since I’m sure you’re interested. “Now, Jill and I are gonna demonstrate the Hustle.”

Dear Barack Obama…

What a great thing to post on Election Day! Ten-year-old Sophia Bailey Klugh has two dads, Jonathan Bailey and Triton Klugh, who shared her unprompted letter to President Obama.

And the President responds.

from Huffington Post

We Are All Sasha Fierce

Another reason I’m glad I’m a gay: we make the best signs.

Though I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this too. Because, for realz.

It’s Hard Out There for a Gay

I’ve always been a fan of Rich Juzwiak’s writing (not to mention the hilarious Pot Psychology and the genius Shit gay guys say to their cats). He’s been posting Pride & Shame pieces to Gawker, “a semi-regular series exploring sex and sexuality from the perspective of a newly single, 33-year-old, gay-sex enthusiast.” His recent piece in the series was about HIV. It’s definitely worth a read – as my friend Dan pointed out, Rich seems to be a lot more reflective than many gay men about his own status as HIV negative and how that affects (and, in fact, generally precludes) his sexual involvement with men who are open about being HIV positive.

As I was reading it, though, something bothered me and it took me a while to figure it out. At first glance, it seems quite servicey, recounting Rich’s discussions with HIV+ men and how they deal with the sexual negotiations that are part and parcel of life for those of us who are positive. And he discusses his own discomfort with the idea of engaging in sex with HIV+ men. He also provides some perspective on the risks of HIV transmission by getting some input from an HIV counselor.

But finally, it struck me – despite the PSA-ish tone, the underlying message that I got was pretty depressing – namely, that it’s kinda, maybe OK to be HIV+ and maybe guys might want to have sexy times with you – but obviously only if you’re objectively hot with a cut body and can easily score on Grindr; but, still, HIV is really more “ew gross!”

I’d already read some of the Rich’s other posts in this series – and had also felt the same vague sort of distaste for the underlying tone. I get that the writing is quite personal insofar as it’s about Rich’s own particular experiences – but it’s hard to overlook the “OMG, look at all these glamorous social events I attend, where I then meet other hot guys who want to sex me! HOT!” In another piece from the series, Rich is waxing philosophical about his long Pride weekend of socializing and sexing – but it’s hard to know what insights into gay life and culture he is providing when so much time is spent reminding us that he hooked up with a “thick slab of boy — 6-foot-4, 220 pounds” and also tricked with a 23-year-old  who gave him a hickey: “That hickey, as burgundy as Kaposi’s sarcoma, was mortifying.” Wow, really?

I suppose much of my discomfort with both the tone and the content of his post is my recognition of the underlying truth of it – namely, that if you meet the objective gay standard for attractiveness, have defined abs and pecs, are under the age of 40 (possibly older if you have lots of money) and are HIV-, well then, life with the A-gays can be pretty dandy. And as an HIV+, not-very-happily-single, not-hideous-but-certainly-not-porn-star-material, solidly middle-class 48-year-old, this is a pretty depressing, albeit accurate, portrayal of my “community.”

Mighty Real

The thing about nostalgia is that we forget about all the bad things that were going on in the good ol’ days. The ’70s and ’80s, for all their delights, also included the onset of AIDS, Reagan setting the table for the economic destruction this country is still trying to recover from and a decided lack of Netflix streaming.

But, man oh man – the music. I mean, Sylvester. SYLVESTER! Just so great – as much so today as then. Though a sad reminder of the entire generation of gay men who died – many of them just as talented and extraordinary as Sylvester.

Typically, I’m not a fan of remaking songs that were already perfect. But if anyone is going to do a Sylvester song, Jimmy Somerville is the only logical choice. I’d forgotten not only how much I love his singing but also how freakin’ adorable he is, shakin’ his little booty.

How Charming!

Got a message from a fellow the other night via one of the several gay “social” apps I use. He’s in South Carolina, which isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker – I’ve met some very nice fellows who live far, far away from me. I’m always open to making new friends, including the online variety.

Now, before I get to the nut (heh) of this story, let me provide you with the full and unexpurgated extent of his online “About” description:

please be nice. its not very hard. if i say hello or pay you a compliment, the least you can do is say thanks. Jesus. treat people like they’re human beings.

A sentiment with which I agree! There’s no reason not to be polite just because the conversation occurs online. Granted, he does come across as a bit whiny. I mean, come on – we all know at this point what we’re getting ourselves into when we sign up. Despite the fact that there’s generally no need to be an a-hole to someone who says hello, it’s gonna happen. But I totally get what he’s saying!

So, keeping in mind this gentleman’s very explicit entreaty for civility (along with the fact that he is located nearly 3000 miles away from me, thus precluding any opportunity for something more booty-call-esque in nature – not, mind you, that I am interested in that type of encounter… Seriously, I’m not!), here is the full and unexpurgated extent of his introductory message to me:

u into cbt?

As tempting as it was to respond, “I adore Ceylon black tea!” or “Doesn’t everyone love cuddling big time?” I went with the straightforward “I’m fine, thanks! How are you?” And then immediate availed myself of the “block” function.

Bread(ed Chicken) and Circuses

Christ, what an asshole.

You know what I think about this whole Chick-fil-A brouhaha? Nothing – it’s a big “who cares?” At this point, everyone is well aware that the chicken sandwich purveyor’s CEO, Dan Cathy, is a homophobic god-botherer and that he and his company give money to groups opposed to civil rights for us gays.

And now that we all have this knowledge, we can do with it what we wish. I, for one, shall not patronize this establishment – though given the fact that the nearest Chick-fil-A to SF is in Walnut Creek and that I’m an insufferable food snob, this is unlikely to effect either my life or the bottom line of said poultry emporium. Meanwhile, the grease-craving among us – be they flaming flamers or fire-and-brimstone religious kooks or unemployed Alaskan grifters – are free to reach their own decision as to where they’ll purchase their next salt-laden, deep-fried slab of fowl. No one’s First Amendment rights are at risk or being trampled here. We’re all free to express our opinions however we see fit.

So, can we just fucking drop it already? All this time and energy wasted on a tempest in a teapot. Do you really want to piss off Miss Mr. Cathy? Then let’s finally make gay marriage legal at the federal level, with same-sex married couples entitled to all the same rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex married couples. And then watch the bigots squirm when they are forced to put their money where their mouths are. Oh, you don’t want to insure your gay employees’ spouses? Well, that’s illegal. Oh, OK – you’re going to stop offering insurance to all your employees’ spouses? Good luck with hiring!

I wrote earlier about my view that the bigots have already lost on this issue, because corporate America has concluded that same-sex marriage is good for business. There will always be out-liers like Chick-fil-A – but once same-sex marriage is the law of the land, they’ll have to comply with that law. Sure, they won’t like it – I’m certain there are still plenty of business owners who would happily refuse service to blacks or Jews or Latinos or some other segment of the population. But they can’t, because it’s illegal. Sure, they still hold on to their hateful bigotry in their personal views and opinions – but they can’t inflict them on the rest of us in violation of the law.

So, again, enough with the Chick-fil-A. It’s a time-wasting distraction from issues that actually make a difference in the lives of gay men and lesbians. Railing against the blithering of a fast-food magnate is not worth the effort. Making same-sex marriage legal, on the other hand, is absolutely worth the effort.

“There’s a land that I see…”

“I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” — Barack Obama

WELL! This is an amazing thing!

And, as an avowed cynic, it may surprise people to know that I’m not joining the critics on the left who are saying “Too little, too late” or that this was a calculated political move designed solely to (further) open up the pocketbooks of the gays. They may be right – but my eyes are open to the current political climate in this country.

There are millions who thump their bibles or shout about the sanctity of marriage or whatever other ridiculous and un-American arguments they can come up with to deny two people the right to enter into a legal contract together. I’m sorry, but no matter what excuse they come up with, the real reason they oppose same-sex marriage is because they hate gay people. That’s it. The only people who are affected by same-sex marriage are the two people who marry, no one else.

And some of these same bigots will be motivated to heave themselves off of the sofa on Election Day, specifically to vote against President Obama. And this worries me. It worries me enough that I’d’ve been OK with Obama’s continued “nudge-nudge-wink-wink” on this issue until after November. The specter of a President Romney (who supports amending the U.S. Constitution to make bigotry the law of the land) is frightening.

But the alea iacta est , the Rubicon crossed – so I’m just gonna say, “Thank you, Mr. President.” And get all misty-eyed as I listen to “Free to Be You and Me.”

Girl, Please. (A GIF Is Worth a Thousand Words)

NYC GAYS is hands-down the funniest thing I’ve seen online lately. While it helps to have some familiarity with NYC gay nightlife (he says smugly), it’s certainly not a necessity… I will tell you this: Splash is a terrible, terrible bar that appeals to out-of-towners and NYC neophytes; there are go-go dancers and the crowd skews young and cheesey. That’s my recollection, at any rate. And apparently, it’s still true, since the NYC GAYS site uses this gif under the headline When You Get Invited to Splash:

Oh, Whitney – we miss you… And I will never ever tire of this gif. Or this one.

Also, here’s How Being at Splash Makes You Feel. I am adopting this as my new catchphrase (though I’ll have to adjust the age – only slightly, yes, but I’m going to savor the next 4 1/2 years of being not 52…)


People should have the freedom to do what they like with other consenting adults – but do they have to go around flaunting it? No one wants to have to see this in public. Gross.

ASL = American Sexy Language

Despite my gruff and embittered exterior, I am ultimately just a big sap. So I was unable to resist sharing this video of a guy sending a love letter via YouTube to his deaf boyfriend. Of course, the fact that he delivers the message while shirtless and is a hot piece by any objective standard doesn’t hurt either.

from Towleroad

Quote of the Day

According to Bryan Fischer of the highly-Christian American Family Association, the gays were primarily responsible for the rise of Nazism, Hitler and the Holocaust.

“Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.”


Fischer conceded that gays were persecuted by the Nazis — in fact, thousands were sent to concentration camps — but said this was “almost exclusively the effeminate members of the gay community in Germany, and … much of the mistreatment was administered by masculine homosexuals who despised effeminacy in all its forms.”

Twinks and bears – can’t we all just get along?

Honestly, though I suppose I oughtn’t laugh. People like Mr. Fischer are frightening and dangerous – particularly since they are still treated by the mainstream media as representing legitimate viewpoints in discussions of political and legal issues. Abe Sauer over at The Awl has a great write-up on Bradlee Dean, a creepy, homophobic “Christian” minister and how scary he and what he does really are.

from The Awl and Southern Poverty Law Center

Retracting the Retraction

The New Jersey Standard has backed away from its recent decision to ban same-sex wedding announcements, after complaints from the Orthodox Jewish community. While they haven’t fully committed to a particular path forward, I applaud them for at least willing to reconsider their stance. And once again, the comments thus far are overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex couples.

A statement from the publisher.

Quotes of the Day

Justin Rosen and Avi Smolen

The New Jersey Jewish Standard recently published a simcha engagement announcement for Avi Smolen and Justin Rosen, a same-sex couple (who are adorable, might I point out). This was a first for the paper.

The following week, the paper’s editorial staff published a statement apologizing for the “pain and consternation” the announcement had caused readers who are members of the traditional/Orthodox community. The editors stated that they will not publish such announcements in the future.

The comments about the editorial were unanimous in their condemnation of the paper’s decision to embrace bigotry and censorship. And, in what to my eyes is a first for the internet, every single comment is well-reasoned, thoughtful and on-topic – not to mention, free of swears, CAPS LOCK, ad-hominem attacks, conspiracy theories or any of the rest of the typical commentary one sees in online publications.

Take a few minutes to read through them. They are an impressive lot. I did have to include this one though – a reader who took the time to share a lovely Passover tradition in his family.

Your wrong-headed apology reminded me of our Seder plate, which for many years has included an orange next to the shank bone and bitter herbs. Someone reads a short paragraph about prejudice against gay people, then urges everyone to eat a slice of orange and “spit out the seeds of homophobia.”

What’s significant is that this custom wasn’t started by a gay person, but by an older straight couple. It has now been passed on to their many children and grandchildren. Perhaps you and your rabbis with “deep sensitivities” should consider an addition to your Passover rituals next year.

Mazal tov Justin and Avi.