Section One

April 8, 2005

Volume 33,
Issue 14

Sat, Feb 27, 2016


The Wockner Wire by Rex Wockner
A buddy of mine said recently that he eschews the following Gay things: “Bathhouses, parks, bookstores, tearooms, sex without emotion, clubs, circuit parties, costumes, handkerchief codes, nelly mannerisms, hyper-butch mannerisms, promiscuity, rainbow crap, fake PDAs, drag and misogynism.”

“And I resist those who try to make me identify with these things,” he added.

“Dude, there’s a column in that,” I said.

Bathhouses, parks, bookstores, tearooms: I’ve been to all four. Not in any kind of devoted way but more as a tourist exploring Gaylandia. Or as a journalist. Eons ago in Chicago, I reviewed some of these places for a Gay newspaper column, which was fun.

But I’ve never grooved on this aspect of the Gay scene. The desire to give or get a BJ from a stranger in Macy’s toilet strikes me as, more often than not, a flawed attempt to bolster one’s self-esteem. Others will argue that it’s just recreation, or an acceptable (though illegal) way to deal with boredom. Perhaps. It’ll only be a matter of time, however, before you’ll need antibiotics. Been there, saw it, tried it, wrote about it, likely won’t be back.

Sex without emotion: Maybe a little better than celibacy, but it can’t compare with sex with someone you care about. Been there, done that, felt empty.

Clubs: I met two boyfriends in bars. Now I get bored when I try to hang in a bar. I still try to make it to the Sunday bear beer bust here in San Diego a few times a year. You never know where you might meet a special someone. It’s not out of the question it could happen in a bar, even in today’s cyberized world.

Circuit parties: Went to one in Montreal. I was a fish out of water. Everybody else, of course, was drinking water — lots of it.

Costumes: I dress like I did in high school — jeans, T-shirts, flannel shirts, sweatshirts, tennis shoes, boots, ballcaps. I suppose you could call it the costume of an Illinois farm town. But them be my roots, so I guess it’s authentically me and not some kind of self-conscious costuming. I find authenticity sexy in others.

Handkerchief codes: The worst sort of saying that sexual acts themselves are more important than the person you’re doing them with. One of the most ridiculous Gay things of all time. Fortunately, the hankies have all but disappeared from the scene.

Nelly mannerisms: A big topic. I’m one of those Gay dudes who is assumed to be straight until I say otherwise. But some Gay guys are naturally nelly and that’s obviously part of the big rainbow of humanity. Other Gay guys become nelly after they come out. I don’t get that. Nelliness, more often than not, probably works against finding a boyfriend. We’ve all heard this: “If I wanted a woman, I’d find a woman.”

Hyper-butch mannerisms: Overcompensation. Happens to, among others, men who are uncomfortable with being Gay or got teased by the jocks in high school. This group also includes some percentage of muscle queens, leathermen and closeted men. Just be yourself, dude. Authenticity is sexy.

Promiscuity: See the bathhouse paragraph and the sex-without-emotion paragraph. Apart from that, it’s unlikely that quality of sex increases with quantity of partners. The best sex I’ve had was when I was in love with, and really into, a man who was in love with, and really into, me. Your mileage may vary but, for me, the answer is Mr. Right or, barring that, some good, long-term sexual friendships. I want the intensity that comes with emotional connectedness.

Rainbow crap: Rainbow rings, bumper stickers, etc. Being Gay is just another part of me, not the main thing about me. If I were going to put a Gay bumper sticker on my car, I’d have to put 15 other stickers on it, too — to represent all the pieces of me and all my interests. Some people who are just coming out may need to go through some kind of rainbow phase, and that’s fine. In the days of ACT UP, I had a “Silence = Death” T-shirt. And before that, a 1987 March on Washington T-shirt. These days, I’m not Gay enough to care to broadcast it. Rainbowosity also represents a capitalist commercialization of homosexuality. Commercialization is nearly always tacky. Rainbows are something that most people who initially go that route eventually grow out of, which is a good thing.

Fake public displays of affection: Holding hands walking down the street primarily to make some kind of statement? PDAs are a complex issue. I kiss boyfriends hello and goodbye at the airport because I want to — and, I suppose, because not doing so when you want to strikes me as self-oppressed, which I don’t want to be. On the other hand, kissing a same-sex partner at the airport simultaneously makes some kind of sociopolitical statement to the people who observe it. Since public displays of homosexual affection still strike many straight people — and some Gay people — as “in your face,” they still, in 2005, in America, cannot be pure acts. They are always polluted with a secondary message of making a display of your sexuality. Complex topic. I think my man and I should kiss, hug or whatever if and when we naturally want to — and let the sociopolitical chips fall where they may. But I wouldn’t be interested in doing it for activist purposes. Again, I think the key is authenticity.

Drag: Don’t get it. Not old-fashioned Judy/Barbra/Bette/Mae West drag. And not newfangled, queer-studies-based genderfuck drag. See the paragraph on nelly mannerisms, specifically the part about, “If I wanted a woman, I’d find a woman.” Here in California, drag seems to be majorly on the wane. But it seems to be going strong in less Gay-friendly places. As a masculine guy, I really don’t have anything, that I can see, in common with drag queens. I’m Gay; they now are considered to be “Transgender.” I think it’s appropriate we now have separate labels. We’re different things.

Misogyny: A likely reference to Gays putting each other down with feminizing girly talk. Calling each other “Miss Thing” and “girlfriend” and “she” and “beee-atch.” Or talking trash about “snatch” and retching over the idea of “pussy.” It’s a turn-off. Apart from that, it’s hard to ignore the nasty sexism inherent in this stuff.

Let’s face it: Some pieces of Gay “culture” ain’t worth saving. They’re products of the oppression of the past.

Thanks, Shaun, for the inspiration. I’ll share my piles of hate mail with you.

Leslie Robinson

Madelyn Arnold