©Jack Fritscher. See Permissions, Reprints, Quotations, Footnotes
Written June 19-23, 1978, and published in Drummer 24 (The American Review of Gay Popular Culture), September 1978.
Local Color note: This theoretical cover feature, which was a gay-lib call to arms, signaled another concept issue of Drummer, similar to the concept albums which musical groups had been putting out: Sergeant Pepper, Tommy, and Hotel California, which is the album that lays down the tracks behind nearly all of my writing in the ’70s, including especially, Some Dance to Remember, which takes its title directly from that album by the Eagles. Actually, a good exercise in “mood swings and reflexive emotional truths” while reading this collection of Drummer writing would be to listen to recordings by the Eagles, the group second in popularity only to the Beatles. The very titles of Eagles songs capture life in the Titanic ’70s: “New Kid in Town,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” “Desperado,” and “Victim of Love” are virtually analytical anthems of the way we were gay males in the ’70s.
Theoretical note: Stonewall–that is, ’70s Gay Liberation–aggressively deconstructed the apartheid of the closet. Gay lib chipped away at perceptions of homosexual nature for both straights and gays. This deconstruction caused straights to regard queers as differently as gays had to begin to regard themselves. We came out of the cold shadow of the closet into the hot excitement of the world. The shock to us was urgent, exciting, and creative. The gay lib pioneers of the ’70s moved us from stereotype to archetype. The sissy, for instance, had for years been a stereotype of oppression that reduced gay males to the status of women–which was convenient for straight male culture who historically kept women suppressed and under control. This is why gay lib and women’s lib in the ’70s were so successfully connected. In tandem, both changed their core image from weak stereotype to powerful archetype. “I am woman. Hear me roar.” That was the same chant as “We’re here. We’re queer.” Gay lib deconstructed the programming that told closeted gay men up until the ’70s that to be a fag meant to be a sissy.
My long-time lover, the Drummer photographer David Sparrow, who, like one of Emerson’s Representative Men, told me in 1969 a truth about himself that applied to many gay men. “When I came out, I thought I had to be a sissy and wear my sweater tied around my shoulders. My brother who was in the Marines came home and told me he knew I was a queer because I dressed like one–which I did because dressing a certain way was a signal to other queers to make contact. [This was 1968. David was a tall, big-boned 23, 6-2, 180 pounds, and a strawberry blond with a hairy chest.] Ashamed that my brother reduced me to a sissy, and summed up all of who I was as a sissy, and because I didn’t know any other way to be and still cruise for sex, I figured I couldn’t change myself, so I’d better change where I was being judged by my family. I got on the next bus out of Evansville, Indiana, and headed to Chicago where the first man I met in the first bar I went to, the X, told me: “Look at you. You should be in jeans and boots and leather.”
In this odyssey, for many gay boys, they traveled across the geography of men from the persecutable stereotype of the man-who-thinks-he’s-a-woman to the independent and tough archetype of the don’t-fuck-with-me blue-collar working stiff. Gay lib also in the last half of the ’70s had a new deconstruction job on its hands. Unfortunately, the closet became the gay ghetto. What good was gay lib with a plantation mentality? In San Francisco, Harvey Milk knew this; Armistead Maupin knew this; and Drummer knew this. As the closet had been deconstructed, so the ghetto had to be transcended. I’ve long written about lesbigays whose horizon is Castro, or Christopher Street, or West Hollywood. In closet, or ghetto, it is impossible to be fully human. And if gay lib, which has become lesbian-gay-bisexual-transsexual-lib, does not lift people out of the little self-created closets or ghettos or workshops where they hide for comfort from fear and panic, suffering from their own heterophobia as debilitating as homophobia, does not deliver them up from a self-inflicted apartheid, then it fails, because it is not doing its job–that was the ’70s pioneers vision–of freeing them, so they can walk out of apartheid, out of the closet, out of the ghetto into the mainstream of being human with all the diversity that then affords them.
As a final note, regard this: there is, when we live in a world without walls and boundaries around the lgbt world, a place for everyone to be who they are, which means that there is room for the literal, actual sissy, because that gender-busting personality, is as legitimate as any other personality, as long as the sissiness is integral essence of the person whose very personality and very humanity so exist. While I’m happy that David Sparrow took off his sweater, I’m equally happy that Quentin Crisp, for example, never took off his.
Often, critics of the ’70s fault the decade for promiscuity, drugs, and a long list of “Marxist” grievances that came out of the ’80s. I was there. I was a witness. I lived among the pioneers who were architects of gay liberation.
First: The ’70s behavior did not cause AIDS; a virus, probably a government test in biological warfare, caused AIDS.
Second: Gay lib of the ’70s was not simply–as I’ve read by revisionist “historicists” who weren’t there–a decade of partying for privileged white men. This nonsense is simply racial profiling! It’s intellectually indefensible.
I recall the five cities of my most frequent experience: San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Amsterdam, and London. There was no racial or economic hegemony of gay white males. Actually, I noticed that when white gay males arrived on the gay scene from whatever prejudiced states they grew up in, the first thing most of them changed was whatever racism they had been carefully taught by their families. Gay Lib in the 70s grew on the shoulders of the black civil rights movement in the 60s. Having been hated queers, white guys quickly got the analogy of queer to nigger and spick, and scrubbed white racism out of themselves way faster than one generation can usually clean up the sins of the previous generation.
It is true there were probably more gay white males on the scene. But do not spin that statistic into racism or prejudice. The social-realist fact is that gay white males came out of the closet faster than other races and cultures–even to this day–allow their males to come out. Beneath the visibility of the “out” gay scene, for instance, in New York, the gay sex scene before and during Gay lib was in actual practice of who was cruising whom and who was fucking whom a rainbow blend of blacks, latins, and whites. In LA, the first liberated gay Latinos were part of the mix; in LA, I learned the word “macho” in the best sense at Larry’s Bar during introductions to guys from Mexico. In fact, in LA, the first Mr. Drummer was a Latin from Venezuela named Val Martin, whose picture symbolized early Drummer in many issues; he was also the protagonist star of the first leather movie, Born to Raise Hell.
In Chicago, the Latin Domingo Orejudos, was the main guiding force of the art direction of Kris Studios, the bar, and a legend as the artist called Dom/Etienne/Stephan. Dom Orejudos was also one of the founders of the International Mr Leather contest which provided a diversity of images to the magazines and newspapers of gay culture.
In San Francisco, in fact, the gay community had built an underground railroad that received homosexual refugees from all around the country. Here is a passage from Some Dance to Remember:_____________________. I posit that when politically correct lesbigay historicists attack white gay males for making a mess of the ’70s that they are suffering from a lack of education in basic logic that is available for free at many schools.
A REBUTTAL TO POST-’70s CRITICS WHO FEEL GAY WHITE MALES EXCLUDED
Drummer 24 is selected at random to present these statistical facts
Right here, right now, I’d like to add up some statistical facts about the so-called white privileged males running an exclusive club in the gay liberation culture of the 1970s. I will use Drummer as a template of gay culture, because Drummer was the bellwether of that time and of the personalities that emerged in masculine-identified gay male culture. Gay white males are no more responsible for American racism than 1970’s sex was responsible for causing AIDS. AIDS was caused, probably, by a government experiment in viral warfare.
1. Founding Drummer publisher, John Embry’s lover was the Latin, Mario Simon, who was influential as part of both Los Angeles Drummer and San Francisco Drummer. The Mr Drummer contest from the beginning, as well as Chuck Renslow’s International Mr. Leather, have both in regional as well as national contests encouraged and hosted diversity. In fact, at the first IML, Bob Maddox’s Male Hide Leathers featured a black model as a leather top walking two white slaves in a leather fashion show. See Drummer 31, September 1979, page 24.
2. Al Shapiro, Drummer’s best art director, and only art director in the 1970’s, brought his particular New York and Jewish perspective, in the same way that the assassinated Harvey Milk added his ethnicity to the mix of politics in San Francisco–to the degree that Milk was murdered as much because he was Jewish and from New York as because he was gay.
3.The artist, Dom Orejudos, also known as Stephan and Etienne, was a frequent contributor to Drummer, and more widely, he was the artist and art designer behind Chuck Renzlow’s legendary physique magazines published by Kris Studios in the 1950s. Dom, who by the ’70’s was neither young nor white, was the longtime lover of Renslow, and together they were truly the first to promote the homomasculine leather-bike-and muscle image as both metaphor and reality of the power of masculine-identified gay men–many of them men of color.
I first met Dom Orejudos (Domingo Stephen Orejudos, died September 24, 1991) on a picnic in Lincoln Park, July 4, 1969, and like all artists who are movers-and-shakers I held him close during my publishing career in gay culture, including Drummer, because Dom had been integral part of Chuck Reslow’s pioneering magazines like Mars with its leather and bikes and brooding muscle men, and like Rawhide (1968-1973) which in their use of masculine models and leather pre-figured the quintessential Drummer I tried to create on their roots which I myself had come out on jerking off to the wild fantasies of Mars and Rawhide. Dom also worked for years, up until the late 1970s during my tenure at Drummer, with the Lebanese Lou Thomas at Target Studios, because Renslow, after winning the US Supreme Court ruling favoring frontal male nudity in 1965, basically seeded Thomas’ Target Studio by gifting Thomas in the early ’70s virtually the entirety of Renslow/Orejudos’ Kris Studio, which helped Lou Thomas in his split from Colt Studios in the late 1960’s where A. Jay, who later became graphic artist for Drummer, was also working as a graphic artist and designer.
4. As founding San Francisco editor-in-chief of Drummer, I brought into the San Francisco culture of Drummer, my own eighteen years of activist work in black civil rights in Chicago, beginning in 1961; the peace movement; gay rights; and women’s rights. (I came to the Drummer table with a certain sensibility. One of my first feature articles in the national press was “The Church Mid-Century and the Negro,” 1962, and was based on my work in the ghettos of Chicago at 63rd and Cottage Grove.
Because I believe writers are open to channeling any and all kinds of human characters, the way Shakespeare created Portia, Olivia, and Desdemona as strong womeno, and the way Tennessee Williams channeled Blanche DuBois, the Princess Kosmonopolis, and Violet Venable. I did not shy away from writing lesbian fiction for the straight press (Larry Flynt) or from writing an award-winning lesbian novel, The Geography of Women, one of whose three major female characters was African-American. I also wrote gay erotic stories with integral ethnic themes, such as “From Nada to Manana,” “Black-and-White Double-Fuck,” “Black Dude on Blond,” and “Brideshead of Frankenstein Revisited.” Both “Nada” and “Brideshead” have been reprinted many times by presses such as Alyson and Cleis.)
From 1969-1972 I was chosen four times as the faculty advisor for the then-called “Women’s Awareness” conferences. In Drummer, I featured the first journalistic coverage of the not-then-famous Cynthia Slater, founder of the S&M group, the Janus Society, with additional first journalistic mention of the then-woman Pat Califia. The Catacombs in San Francisco, which was a handballing palace, included women like Cynthia Slater on its weekly guest list. Robert Mapplethorpe also photographed Cynthia Slater because of my introducing them at my home while I was editing Drummer. Cynthia Slater also had an affair with my straight brother, so the integration of all of us influencing each other was as dynamic as anything at Virginia Woolf’s gender-mixing Bloomsbury. The cover of Drummer 9 featured the diversity of, let’s not forget, a drag queen.
5. The first Los Angeles editor of Drummer was the woman, Jeanne Barney, who parted because of creative and political differences, as well as, I think, for geographical differences when Drummer departed LA for San Francisco.
6. I introduced into gay male leather culture symbolized by this issue of Drummer the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe whose social consciousness included not only S&M, and women, but also prominently black men whom he was photographing as great beauties with his formal camera throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s. This Drummer 24 also advertises a film titled Black Heat from Arrow Film. Incidental though it may seem, many San Francisco bars were tied by friendship and input to Drummer, including the No Name, the Leatherneck (with its Latin bartenders featured in photos in Drummer 19, August 1977), and the legendary Ambush, one of whose owners, Kenny X–most may not remember–was African-American.
7. The winner of the first Mr. Drummer contest was the Latin Val Martin who was according to legend the son of a rich Argentinian cattle family. Val Martin appeared in Drummer perhaps more than any other person who was a celebrity and a model. I photographed him in 1981 and those photos are included here. Val Martin appeared on the covers of Drummer 3, Drummer 8, Drummer 30 (in a cover photograph shot by David Sparrow and Jack Fritscher, and then again in Drummer 31 in a duo centerfold of 41 photographs shot by David Sparrow and Jack Fritscher). Val was also the star of the ground-breaking S&M movie, Born to Raise Hell, which was featured several early issues of Drummer after formal premieres in movie theaters in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, where I first met Val.
8. The man who has always been a friend of Drummer and certainly of the leather community from the beginning, is the Bay Area Reporter columnist, Mr. Marcus, whose last name is Hernandez. Mr. Marcus has written more than anyone about leather culture, always reflecting its total diversity. If anyone deserves the title “Mr. Drummer,” Mr. Marcus, who for years has supported the widest range of ethnic and gender choices in the regional and national Mr. Drummer contests which, of course, have always fed photographs of the contestants into the pages of Drummer, thus shaping the magazine’s take on diversity.
9. This issue of Drummer 24 featured the continuing story by Arnell Larsen, that John Embry had commissioned, titled “Revenge,” a ritual fantasy tale of a stereotypical wild cowboy abusing an archetypical “Indian” who gets even with the cowboy for both the night’s humiliation as well as for hundreds of years of racial oppression. This story of inter-racial erotic attraction and fear entertained readers then in that different decade, and, probably, no lesbigay magazine would dare publish it now, although its story line of revenge is not much different than the average female-revenge movie of the week, like The Burning Bed.
10. New Orleans painter and photographer George Dureau, whose own ethnicity can weigh in, was featured in 1970’s Drummer. Dureau is famous for his photographs of black men, of ex-cons, and of handicapped or physically challenged men who are missing arms or legs. Dureau was reconnected to Drummer through Mapplethorpe whose mentor Dureau was, bringing the deepest of New Orleans diversity into the work of Mapplethorpe. Mark Hemry and I shot a video documentary of Dureau photographing one of his favorite African-American models. We also shot an erotic solo video of the same model.
11. Also hugely influential in the ’70s was Craig Anderson’s studio, Sierra Domino, which was located in San Francisco, and photographed black men exclusively. Craig Anderson was a friend as well as a frequent advisor to me as editor of Drummer. His Sierra Domino parties were legendary in 70s San Francisco.
12. Drawings by the Hun have long been part of gay-male culture, and, often featured in Drummer, showcased a diversity of mythically erotic blacks, young jocks, ex-cons, and wardens–all of whom are drawn way far away from any Madison Avenue mainstream ideal of white male culture. Personally, for years, the Hun’s longtime partner, who greatly influences the Hun’s taste and pen, is a man who happens to be African-American.
13. Frequent Drummer contributor, the photographer David Hurles who is Old Reliable has featured, from the 1960s onward, in more than fifty audio tapes and video tape non-mainstream young men who, around his “white trash” base, include many Latins and Blacks as well as ex-cons and homeless gay men. One of Old Reliable’s black stars appears in this issue of page 44.
14. Drummer was the first magazine, beginning in this issue Drummer 24 with the interview with Richard Locke, to glorify older men, like Locke, who were not twentysomething. I myself was sensitive to the existential fact that all of us would grow older, especially because one year in the straight world equals seven dog-years in the gay world. When I began to edit and write for Drummer, I was already 37 years old, the same age as Richard Locke, who was asked a direct question about his ancient age in that issue. From this sensibility, Drummer promoted–as I invented the line, “In Praise of Older Men”–the now high-flying concept of “Daddies,” diversifying the span of age-appeal. Also alternative to the gay stereotype, with my photography and writing, Drummer was also the first glossy magazine to feature “bears” on the cover with a major feature article.
15. Certainly, a statistical study of Drummer Classifieds personals ads, “The Leather Fraternity,” shows the range of sexual inclusivity which Drummer offered up internationally as different races and different cultures sought each other out for erotic liaisons. The words of the time–and these are all taken from this issue of Drummer 24, include “Oriental Master,” “Black,” “Spanish,” “no hang-ups about age or race,” “brown mulatto,” “WASPs welcome,” “hot black men,” “White/Cherokee Indian,” “Italian,” “gerontophile,” “any race,” “submissive white male seeks Dominant Black Master,” “Black wants to meet White, Latin, or Asian masculine men,”
To balance the uncensored reality, there are other personal ads that are proof that hard cocks are exclusionary: “no redheads,” “no fats, femmes, bald,” “no hippies,” “no drug users,” “no snobs, no chicken,” “white master only,” “nobody too involved in gay scene,” “no freaks,” “no blacks,” “no scat,” “no teenyboppers.” Add in here a note of caution regarding judgment: just because a person does not want to fuck with teenyboppers or scat freaks does not mean that out of the sack that person stands opposed to the rights and dignity of teenyboppers and scat freaks. Some ads note upfront the race of the advertiser, so the words “white” and “black” and “Asian” are frequently listed as a kind of truth in advertising, and only one ad that I noticed in this issue said up front, no blacks. This kind of freedom of erotic expression has often caused a stir in gay personals classifieds, but one must judge the rhetoric of human desire with a balanced mind. For instance, if someone turns blacks or Hispanics or Asians or white trash into fetish categories to be fucked, that “accommodation” is perhaps actually quite racist.
16. In Drummer 30: The American Review of Gay Popular Culture, June 1979, our Fourth Anniversary Issue, I pasted on page 86 a quarter-page advertisement for the1979 GAY FREEDOM DAY PARADE AND CELEBRATION, SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 1979. The word DIVERSITY spread across the top of the ad, because DIVERSITY was the theme of that year’s parade. Drummer 30 featured details of American Indian chest-and-nipple ritual in A Man Called Horse; an Arthur Tress photograph of a naked black man in boots (with an erotic meditation on the joys of celebrating racial attraction); eight Zeus Men in Bondage including three photos of black hunks in leather chaps but not in bondage; and one black man whose self-portrait was published in my new reader-reflecting feature, “Tough Customers.” –Jack Fritscher, 3 February 2002
©2002, 2003 Jack Fritscher
AUTHENTIC FUCKING WITH AUTHENTIC MEN IS AN ENDANGERED SPORT.
Good as Gay Lib is, the total gay lifestyle as it has been commercialized means that gay men basically screw around only with other gay men. Gone are the pre-Lib days when a gay guy adventured out to find a straight male to ball with. The gay lifestyle has been merchandised into a ghetto lifestyle.
Faggots fucking with faggots is the ultimate narcissism.
To feel comfortable only with gay men reveals something if not insecure or underdeveloped, then at least lazy, in a man’s self-image and social-sexual awareness.
Narcissus, after all finally drowned in the piss of his own rejection.
Authentic: conforming to fact and therefore worthy of trust, reliance, or belief; verifiable origin; not counterfeit or copied; the real thing.
FORBIDDEN FRUIT JUICE: LOVE POTION #69
The romance of anything is that it is not available just anytime you whistle. Gone with the Wind will no longer be romantic when we can rerun it nightly on our Betamax. Gone is the romance that once was divine. Janis Joplin was a drug romantic because we all knew she was singing so hard on Southern Comfort that her voice couldn’t have lasted another five years. Chicken, precisely because it ages into beef and can’t last, is romantic. So is James Dean. Anything, anyone, out of reach creates in us a romantic wanting.
Gays, older gays tell me, used to be more romantic before liberation freed us to the frank upfront, “Wanna fuck?” When we were still black-leather outlaws, in Authentic Leathers Bought Piecemeal in Authentic Motorcycle Shops, we were disguised and a man had to sort out in an oh-so straight bar who was available. Now Liberation Leathers are conveniently overpriced in the back of any bar so any free-spending leather-drag queen can announce him/her/itself as, “Heeeeere’s TANDY LEATHERS!”
PECS & ASS EVERYWHERE!
Whatever happened to the romance of the hunt? Today pecs and ass are franchised. A man can get laid going down his porch stairs to the mailbox. Gone is the cruising that once kept you guessing, hoping, fantasizing. Gay Sex ‘78 has sold out the fast and easy way. Gulp your choice of Big Macs.
LIAISONS! WHAT’S HAPPENED TO THEM?
Drag queens and “leather frauds,” you should pardon the expression, ought to drop dead. Ever see a guy in new chaps REFUSE to kneel to his avowed god Cock because he doesn’t want to stretch out at the knees his perfectly tailored fit?
Authentic leather knows how to get down.
Try walking up to a dude who drips with leather, chains, and six handkerchiefs, and you find the only way to get an honest reading these costumey nights is to ask him: “Do you mean all those signals, or are they only junk jewelry?” Some of these frauds cruise under so many flags they look like the semaphore version of Hello Dolly.
LESS IS MORE (OR LESS): KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH MASCULINITY
Romance sidles in quietly. Just like the hunter hunts the hunted quietly. How you ever gonna fuck an Authentically 90%-straight man when you’re decked in gay apparel? How you gonna get into a straight bar-n-grill wearing even macho-fag drag? How you gonna “pass” in order to hunt if you drop in at some hot after-shift factory bar, not as an adventurously alone hunter, but accompanied by one-too-many macho-gay pals? Remember that in an Authentic straight joint when gays enter and are noticed, the straights calculate you not arithmetically, but multiply you geometrically. More than two macho-gays entering a redneck bar tilts up on the locals’ pinball minds like a battalion–and from outer space, at that. (They may be wrong, but that’s not the point.)
The point is, if you live in an upfront gay city and if you want to ball an Authentic 60%-straight man for a refreshing change as well as for a celebration of his macho style rather than always our macho style, then you’re better off cruising out by yourself, alone, to bars that cater to Authentic cops, Authentic ethnics, Authentic truckers, Authentic military types, Authentic bikers, Authentic jocks, Authentic factory workers, even Authentic upwardly mobile straight swingers.
COCKSUCKERS UNLIMITED: PERMISSIVE AGE OF SEX FOR EVERYONE
Ain’t no man alive don’t like his dick sucked. Hit the right bars, county fairs, bowling alleys, athletic events, gyms, and you’ll see these Authentic straights hanging out together in one big romantic herd. And they’re mostly all available. But first you’ve got to cut them out of their crowd. It’s as true as Confucius and Dean Martin: “Everybody wants some gay action sometime.” You’ve got to be clever enough, all alone, to signal: Have Mouth, Will Suck. You signal; then you back off. Let him cut himself loose. Give him space to come friendly on up to you. The Code of the Authentic West is: You must help him keep from tipping his hand to his buddies.
A loner-type gay man down in Lompoc singles out, one by one, all the factory workers he can handle. He knows them all, none of them knows the others know him at all. Up in Sonoma, a notso’s-you’d-notice gay biker tramp named “Beemer Len” [Ed Linotti, one of the founders of San Francisco’s first uniform club, the Pacific Drill Patrol] sorts out and sucks up all the scootbum biker trash he wants. He rides as an independent, sometimes with a few left-over Hell’s Angels, sometimes with the really mean and greasy Vagos, but all the time with an eye open to the dick that’s ready at the right time in the right place. Often, Beemer rides alone at night; he gets recognized by aspiring younger bike tramps in their mid-20’s who want to learn authenticity from him and be like him because he himself is so Authentic. Then that something subtle happens, without any of that middle-class boy-was-I-drunk-last-night crap, and his own very real authenticity gets him the Authentic biker he hunts down alone.
SOME MEN ARE 10% GAY.
A 1000 WAYS TO BE GAY
Fucking Authentic Straight Men is not to lessen the value of the Practiced Purchased Macho of our Certified Gay Brothers. Whatever’s right. Whatever suits a man’s taste at the moment. Sometimes a guy’s just too tired to go out to hunt down an Authentic trucker. Instead he settles for a pleasant plop on an Authentic impersonator wearing a Peterbilt teeshirt. Besides, sometimes, the Authentic Real Thing can get a bit dangerous–especially when Mr. Authentic hasn’t fully come to terms with what your mouth is doing to his peepee.
To be gay is to be on a spectrum from Butch to Nelly, like Kinsey’s 1-to-6 scale, from a little bit queer to totally. To be gay means to live a completely gay lifestyle all the way to the polar opposite percentage of being gay for a fast 14 minutes once a month. What the hell is “gay” anyway? If we who call ourselves gay know no more about it than that being gay is a very special gift, then how the fuck are outside straights pokering around in the hand that’s been dealt to us supposed to know a pair of Jacks from a pair of Queens?
Hell, the point is: when a 90%-straight man calls you to his cock, if you don’t go, that maybe is a real crime, or shame, or sin. Since we’re almost 100% gay, we need to lend a helping hand to the adult males begging us with one come-on-or-another to help them acquit that percentage of gayness all men, when they’re honest with themselves, know they have and can enjoy.
GAY ABS & STRAIGHT BELLIES
Gay Macho holds its stomach flat, pushes its chest out, pumps its biceps, and tucks in its chin in the Best Cadet Tradition. Gay Cadets stand at attention in bars just the way their dear old dads wanted them to straighten up (in every sense of the term) when they were slouchy little sissies. Now, liberated and on their own, the Cadets embrace the very rigid posture they resisted when Daddy ordered his Little Soldier to stand up straight and take it like a man. Our believing this kind of war-surplus crap is really the only number where we macho guys can be faulted for being on the edge of unnatural.
Young Authentic Straight Macho, on the other hand, is more natural and certainly more relaxed. They celebrate a hint of a beer gut, a sun-burned redneck, and grease crescents under the nails no manicured Cadet would be caught dead with. Even though “Authentic Authentics” prefer to fuck with their white socks on, they have an adaptability that 100% Gays have lost.
Authentics know how to “pass” in the best erotic sense.
All hunters know how to drag themselves up into camouflage.
Authentics, and this is the lesson Authentics can teach Gays, have the PASSING ABILITY to cross over from the world of straight values to the world of gay sexual values. Authentics don’t necessarily give a flying fuck about gay subcultural values: they stop somewhere on the Tammy Wynette side of Grace Jones.
Authentics have the best of both worlds.
Gay Cadets, even when spiffed up in a three-piece business suit, still shine with an aura, if not a haircut, concentrated in a ghetto camp of their own making. This limits us in a way no free-wheeling Authentic Straight would ever let happen to his head.
Fucking with one’s own gay kind is perfectly okay; but it’s limited if a gay man in a big gay city forgets that a lot of 90%-straight men are out there, outside the gay ghetto, waiting to be hunted down and tongued to death.
Gays can learn from the Authentics how to “pass”–not in the sense of hiding our gayness because we are ashamed of our difference, but in the sense of tastefully signaling both our macho samenesses as well as our availability to help a man who’s only 10% into what we dig 100%. Authentics sometime feel they must bash Flaming Faggots to beat out of others what they cannot beat out of themselves–but when a gay man who is not a stereotype presents himself separated from the baggage of the gay lifestyle, more often than not Mr. 90%-Straight Authentic is going to harden himself to take a little walk on the wild side.
To be remembered in our Meccas of SFO, NYC, and LAX is the fact that not only are 90%-straight men a slightly different kind of fun in bed, they are also our best political allies. Consider this analogy. Their 10% gayness, closeted to the degree they feel it must be, is still enough of a sympathetic percentage that in the closet of the voting booth they can there, as well as in our beds, privately choose/elect what they wish.
The bedroom and the voting booth are the two most private and closely linked sanctuaries in America today.
DISCREET TRUE CONFESSION
There is an intimate group of men in SFO with a list of the hottest straight places to harvest dicks of willing husbands and daddies. You can betcher ass we’re not printing it here. Discretion rules. And besides, why deprive you Drummer hunters of the adventure of finding something Authentically alternate to your nightly gay lay?
Offered as Exhibit A is a “passing run” currently being celebrated with a 23-year-old Air Force man—married and a daddy of a six-month-old baby. My flyboy will never live a gay lifestyle, but for the two hours once a month when he’s down from Travis Air Force Base, it’s a perfectly balanced relationship. For two hours once a month he’s “gay”–whatever that means. When that man goes to vote next time and there’s a Briggs or a Bryant around, I know for sure where his privately consenting sympathies will put his vote.
With us. You and me.
Go out and lay an Authentic 90% Straight Man today. All at once, it’s sex, it’s fun, and it’s politics!
And that’s Authentic action!
©1978, 2003 Jack Fritscher