Thursday, August 23, 2007

Post-Married Homosexuals

Click here and you'll see my post on "Married Homosexuals," homosexual men who marry women. Today I'm going to discuss homosexual men who come out of the closet, divorce their wives, and become post-Married homosexuals.

In some cases these men (and their lesbian equivalents) become happily and proudly Gay, work out all their problems, shrug off the internalized homophobia and lack of self-esteem that led them to get married in the first place, and live happily ever after as Gay Men.

In other cases, they just can't quite give up those heterosexual privileges. And they can't quite give up the wife (and vice versa).

Some years ago I had a friend we'll call Sid. Sid had been married for many years and had a grown son. He cruised gay bars often -- which is where I met him, although we were never lovers or even a one-night-stand -- and I think he might have wanted a man for a long-term partner. He was having trouble finding a relationship, however, although he seemed to have no trouble getting laid. My problem with him wasn't that he had been married. Sid would call me up to go out bar-hopping, and spend an hour or so talking about all of his problems. When he was finally through and wrung all the advice out of me that I had to give, I would turn to him and start to talk just a little about my life. More likely than not, I would be looking at Sid's back. Now that Sid had gotten everything off his chest, he wanted to cruise and I had become superfluous.

Now there's nothing whatsoever wrong with going out with a friend for a few drinks and later in the evening you both do a bit of cruising. However most friends won't just yak at you but will engage in honest-to-goodness conversation with you for an hour or two before they turn their attention to some serious cruising. Sid would literally turn his back on me, as if dismissing me for the evening. Often I had just ordered a new drink and was in a bar that I didn't feel like cruising in or wasn't even in the mood for cruising. I was out with a friend and wanted to talk. It was as if I had served my purpose -- kept him company and held his hand, figuratively speaking, let him dump his load on me until the two or so beers he'd consumed had given him enough courage to go on some serious man-hunting. I told him I would just as soon go out cruising on my own. I realized that it would have been better if Sid and I had just remained bar friends and never tried to become good friends outside of the bar.

Of course I told Sid how I felt, hoping he would understand and it might either make our friendship stronger or destroy it. It was the latter. Sid merely accused me of being "possessive." Believe me, I did not need him to hang on my every word or sit by my side all evening, but "dismissing" someone because you feel like cruising after they've served their purpose is pretty rude as far as I'm concerned. I liked Sid, thought he had a good sense of humor and was intelligent, but his defensive, negative reaction made it clear that we could not have an intelligent dialogue on the whole issue and that things would never improve. We managed to make our way over to another bar, where he promptly went over to someone he knew, didn't introduce me, and -- damn it -- literally angled his body so that his back was toward me once again. I was being put in my place, I guess. I can cruise with the best of them and have no problem making new friends on my own, but this was not a bar that I especially enjoyed, so I just left, went to a better place, and left a message for Sid that I'd prefer it if he wouldn't bother me anymore.

I don't know if Sid ever found a lover. A few months after this incident I saw him walking down the street with his ex-wife, holding hands, practically skipping, as if they were still the happy couple. (They had a son together and remained friends after the divorce, but I don't think the wife had ever "moved on" in any serious fashion.) I'd be willing to bet that Sid became one of these post-marrieds who got disenchanted with the gay lifestyle when guys didn't flock to his door or a male lover didn't magically appear within a month or two. Was Sid one of these guys who just couldn't make it without the woman at his side and went back to her? (I know gay guys who have, unfortunately, become involved with post-marrieds like this to their ultimate regret.). No, I don't think that was the case. If he went back to his wife it was probably because he was lonely, knew that she loved him, and hadn't found any man who felt the same way. If the two of them re-married I would have to call Sid a post-post-married homosexual, I suppose.

Of course, some married homosexuals never become post-married. Just last month I met a man in his sixties at Ty's bar who told me he had a wife and children. When I asked him if he was bisexual he snapped "No, I'm gay!" and proceeded to give out with all the politically correct verbiage I would expect of someone out and proud like myself. But he was still married and his wife and kids, probably every other relative and straight friend he had, didn't know he was gay. As another patron at Ty's put it, "He's completely and totally gay but he just never divested himself of the wife." This sort of individual can hardly be classified as any kind of gay activist in any real sense, but his pro-gay attitude seemed entirely genuine, although I admit our conversation was hardly in-depth. What was that I was saying about "hetero privileges?"

Bizarre. I'm thankful I knew who and what I was at a relatively early age. There is no greater happiness than that of self-acceptance.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dizzy Queens

Okay, it's a term you don't hear much anymore. "Dizzy Queens."

Although I'm a bear, I get along better with femmes than some bears do because I'm more of an "art and culture" kind of guy -- I'm an author, after all -- than a camping and backpacking type. (Let me state at the outset that there are plenty of bears who enjoy culture and no doubt there are femmes who like to go camping -- uh -- let me rephrase that... There are femmes who enjoy outdoor activities. There are also bears who are femmes and so on. Confusing, isn't it?)

To get back to my point, I also get along better with femmes than some of my bear buddies because I'm a nice guy who cares about all of his gay brothers (and my lesbian sisters). I can even get along with dizzy queens. But I have to confess on the (thankfully) rare occasions I encounter one they often drive me nuts. (There are plenty of "dizzy" men and women in the heterosexual community, of course. But as this is a gay blog, we'll stick to our own beloved variety of dizzy person. )

So, what exactly is a dizzy queen (also known as a "superficial queen")?

First, most femmes are not dizzy queens. Intelligence, bravery, courage, toughness, are qualities you can find in the more stereotypical gay men as well as in the less stereotypical butch numbers. Second, there are dizzy butch numbers in the world (or rather "dizzy queens" can be butch.) And dizzy queens don't necessarily lack some of the finer human qualities.

Dizzy queens can be perfectly nice guys, but they're ... well, they're just not too bright. I'm not saying every guy who walks around in weird outfits trying to get attention and screaming about how "fabulous" he is is dizzy (or that all dizzy queens are "fabulous" or weird dressers but that's a discussion for another day) , but -- he's probably not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Dizzy queens tend to have a very old-fashioned sensibility, and to think of gay people in terms more stereotypical than the average straight person. If it's outside their experience they can't imagine it. They think every gay person is just like them because they haven't the smarts to think differently. They can't think of anything in depth because they're not that deep. They walk around in a dither of campiness and superficiality, sometimes sweet, sometimes bitchy, often both, always with their brains in a fog of simple, simpleminded dumbness.

Dizzy queens (or dizzy butch numbers) are rarely political animals -- I mean, gay rights -- but when they are their fuzzy-headedness and lack of depth and judgment leads them to have truly startling opinions. If someone in a bar, butch or femme, ever says about a third party "He's not gay, I met his girlfriend" or "He's not gay, he has a wife" then the chances are good that they're pretty, well, dizzy. (In certain circles people feel that if you prefer Elton John's Aida to Verdi's, then that is not only dizzy but inexplicably dizzy.)

Now I don't want to be mean, but the problem with dizzy queens is that they can be surprisingly influential. Some of them have popular platforms or work behind the scenes on shows and the like that test the patience of the average out, proud gay person. Surely it was a dizzy queen who came up with Queer Eye or Gay, Straight or Taken. You might think these characters only have influence over other dizzy queens, but as they're seen as representatives of the gay community by certain straights -- well, if you wonder where straight people get some of their odd ideas about gays, look no farther than the nearest dizzy queen. [And dare I say it -- isn't it true that at least 25% of our gay bloggers are dizzy queens? I'm sorry, but take a look at what's out there and you'll see what I mean! Dizzy Queens may only account for a tiny percentage of gay men, but on the Internet they are ubiquitous! And not just the more obvious bloggers who call themselves "Pink Pearl" or "Honeystuff" or something like that, but even posters on the more "political" blogs, although DQs tend to dominate more in the pop culture/celebrity-oriented sites.]

Possibly the dizziest dizzy queen that I have seen within recent memory is "Ross the Intern," who is Jay Leno's "house faggot" -- a gay version of Stephin Fetchit -- on The Tonight Show. Ross seems oblivious to all the fag jokes that Leno tells on the show. Someone makes a homophobic remark or gesture and he only giggles. I'm not even being funny here -- this is a man who is completely without a brain. Leno keeps him around because he helps reinforce every possible stereotype about gay men. Some people think he's sweet. So is saccharine. I find him completely and totally repulsive on virtually every level.

Some dizzy queens are dizzy only on occasion. There is a certain gay advice columnist and blogger -- I think his name was Something Savage [get real!] but don't quote me or him -- whose militant opinions I often agreed with. But one day he got an email from a guy who said he was messy, had long-hair and a beard, and despaired of ever getting any of the really "great guys" to date or for a lover. The columnist -- get this! -- told him he had to clean up his act, straighten out his apartment, shave, cut his hair -- or else he'd be forever stuck with the "dregs" of gay society.

Think for a minute (I hope you won't have to.) What's wrong with this advice?

Here's what's wrong in case it hasn't occurred to you, for shame: Hasn't the columnist ever heard of bears for pete's sake? I would have told this guy to keep his beard, keep his long hair, leave his apartment as messy as he wants it to be -- and get to the nearest fuckin' bear bar where (hopefully) few supercilious, precious, overly fastidious dizzy queens ever go. I mean, I read the columnist's answer in utter disbelief. Bears were outside his field of experience, so of course they didn't exist. He was completely unable to give some good advice to this poor, lonely guy who would have found a lot more acceptance in the bear community than at Bingo night at the nearest gay bar full of hairless twenty-something "twinks" and "girls" talking about the latest episode of Desperate Housewives (which I have watched myself, thank you very much, but I'll deny it if I want to)!

Gay life might be a little duller without our gay "fabs" but if we could only somehow arrange brain transplants for our dizzy little queens how much more productive they might be.

I've no doubt that there are dizzy lesbians, but I have no idea what they're called, and won't even hazard a guess.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Seriously In Denial

While surfing the net I came across an article in the online edition of U.K.'s New Statesman. A guy who called himself "Howard Lake" told of "My Night in a Gay Sauna." He sort of describes himself as being what we might call "bi curious," but comes off more as bisexual or gay. He'd always had these feelings apparently, and one night "after six pints" he went to explore them in a gay bath house. He had sex with a man, enjoyed it, but is convinced that he is, after all, straight, and will "probably" never go back to the bath house. "I know one less question to ask in my next relationship -- with a girl," he writes. Well... his next relationship may well be with a "girl" but that doesn't mean this guy is straight. "Straight" guys don't go to saunas looking for men to have sex with.

I'm not quite certain why the New Statesman even published this article. What was the point of it? Who was it written for? Conflicted "straight" guys? Gay men who are wondering about straights? Straights who wonder about gays? There's nothing particularly edifying or informative about the piece, and I can't figure out why the editors of the New Statesman would even think anyone would find it that interesting, or see any real value in it. It just comes off like a chance for this sad guy to supposedly prove to himself and the world that he's really hetero, when all he manages to do is pretty much indicate the opposite.

The responses to the article were predictable. His heterosexuality was, wisely, called into question by one correspondent. Another -- a female, I believe -- felt he really was straight, because apparently her boyfriend is, too, "85 days out of 100." She writes that "she wouldn't have it any other way." I think this gal is in as much denial as Howard is.

Now it's possible that the person with the 85% straight/15% gay boyfriend is a man. Oy vey! For the life of me I can't figure out or relate to these guys [a dying breed, I hope] who even after they have sex with a particular man still think of him as "straight." This is sheer idiocy. It smacks of these horribly old-fashioned "queens" who think "straight guys" are the ultimate treat -- an attitude that can best be described as pre-Stonewall, to say the least.

Of course, someone brought up the notion of bisexuality, and while I've been cynical on the subject, I have to say that he or she was right in that Howard should at least consider the notion that it's not always an "either/or" situation, that he could be bisexual. But if Howard is genuinely bisexual -- a big if in my opinion -- he sounds like the kind of conflicted bi who may want, even prefer, sex with men but will need to have that girlfriend or wife to show to the world. [I could devote a whole column to this kind of person -- there are so damn many of them -- and in the near future I will.]

What did I have to say. Here it is:

I think that "Howard" -- and the gal who thinks her boyfriend is only gay 15 nights out of 100 -- are in serious denial. First of all, I don't find Howard very "brave" -- he didn't use his real name, post a picture, and I feel he wasn't even that honest about what happened at the sauna -- assuming this story is even true. 100% hetero men have no desire to go to bath houses and have sex with other men. Sorry -- it just doesn't work that way. I agree that "Howard" is at the very least a "bisexual" man with serious self-esteem issues. The fact that he didn't act on his feelings for years -- and only did so under the influence of alcohol -- also indicates that he suffers from a bad case of internalized homophobia. Even today there is a great deal of homophobia and hence a stigma attached to being openly gay (openly gay people are the "brave" ones in my opinion) but not to being "straight." Many people who are basically gay but have some attraction to the opposite sex (whether you want to call this true bisexuality or not is debatable) fool themselves into thinking that they're really totally straight because they can't accept their homosexuality; they think life will be easier if they're straight. Sadly, this never turns out to be the case. Howard may feel that having sex with a man only convinced him he was straight, but he admits that he enjoyed it -- something that would not be true of a genuinely straight fellow. I have a feeling Howard will be having many more homosexual experiences in his future and will hopefully feel good about his sexual identity, and even be "out and proud," some day. And while it's not "politically correct" to say it, many "bisexual" people are really gays who haven't quite come to terms with their real sexuality. As for the gal who says her boyfriend is straight 85% of the time -- maybe her boyfriend is Howard! Or more likely another guy who hasn't quite accepted his true sexual orientation. Lots of bi (and often totally gay) men have girlfriends (even wives and children) until they reach some kind of self-acceptance in regards to their homosexuality. The wives and girlfriends ALWAYS think the husband or boyfriend is totally or mostly straight -- and most of the time they're wrong. Believe me, I know (having dated many men who turned out to have wives and girlfriends).

One last point. I have often said that a gay man can occasionally have sex with a woman and still be essentially gay (not even bisexual). Some might ask -- doesn't that work in reverse? Can't a straight man have sex once or on occasion with a guy and still be essentially straight? Nope. The reason for this is that stigma I referred to before, plus the fact that society drives us -- all of us -- towards heterosexuality not homosexuality. A man who actually goes out with the purpose of finding a man to have sex with -- as our Howard did -- is NOT straight. Even a man who winds up in bed or fooling around with another guy under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not straight. A guy can wind up in bed with the wrong woman because he's drunk -- a woman he may not normally find attractive, or his sister-in-law, say -- but no amount of beer will change a person's sexual orientation. In the gay community we laugh at guys who have sex with other guys and then the next day say "Boy, was I drunk last night!" Drunk, yes, Straight, no!