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November 2012


Small Town Queer: Straight-Acting

This gay man’s crisis of masculinity has GOT to end. Not tomorrow, not after you read this and discover that I’m brilliant and that you should have been reading all of my thoughts all along; RIGHT NOW. It would seem as of late that every time a gay guy wants to get laid he takes to his social media to find a hook up with a “masculine” or my personal favorite, “straight-acting” guy. If you pay attention, however, you’ll notice that once he’s naked his legs are up in the air like a chorus girl in The Lion King begging for more lube.


What is this over-compensation and impossible standard of masculinity that gay men have? We work our bodies into toned, tanned, fit pieces of machinery, why? So we’re stronger? We’re constantly aware of things that make us “too gay” or might be perceived as feminine. We perk up like a gazelle at the watering hole when we encounter a group of “rough” looking straight guys. Okay, that last one might be for survival. A Gurl’s gotta watch herself. The best example of what I’m talking about occurs in porn.


If gay pornography were a study in academia, I would be a Ph.D. with honors. I’m not going to boast and say I’ve seen more than anyone else, but I’ve seen a lot. A lot, from many genres and qualities, from far-away lands and crappy basement sets in some filthy hotel. You get the picture? (I sincerely hope, mostly for you, that the image you got was not of me ferociously researching the topic.)


There’s not a lot of plot in gay porn. Pizza delivery guy shows up, “Yea, I can think of a few ways you can tip me, bro.” Student is failing the Professor’s class, “Let’s see if we can’t get you some extra credit.” Like most men, gay porn promises a real quick setup followed by the best sex you’ve ever seen. In reality you end up with a mess and a cramp in your leg. The formula is simple, but context is what intrigues me. In almost all scenes, the Top is often so aggressive, so dominant, that it borders on abusive. Some of us are into that, and that kind of desire is fine for fantasy, but to expect it in reality? Is that the kind of “masculine” guy you’re looking for?


My favorite thing is when guys say “straight-acting.” I read this and instantly think: “Are you fucking kidding me right now? How straight-acting are you with that dick in your mouth, honey?” I get defensive like this because it’s such a blow to my personhood. If you couldn’t tell, I’m a very effeminate male. I’m what they used to call a 100-footer: You can see I’m gay from 100 feet away. They say it’s because I sashay when I walk, but I sashay because of a back problem, not because I’m RuPaul. Being one of the
gays who can’t hide it, when someone puts straight above gay, my blood boils.


Back to GAY PORN, there are entire industries like BaitBus, dedicated to the “straight acting” thing. Evidently enough gay men so desperately want to have sex with a straight man that they are willing to pay $5.99 to watch a gay guy butch it up and verbally abuse another gay guy who he “thought” was a busty blonde until he’s offered $500 to bang the guy while driving the 405. I can’t argue with capitalism. As long as there are people willing to create a market for it, they will provide it. But I still hate it.


I sleep at night knowing I’ve fought for the rights of these guys who want to bang straight guys by creating a theory about them. I am only human, and as such I think about things in terms of categories. So forgive me if you feel my theory is reductive or hyperbolic, but I write this, not you, Darling.


I think these gay guys are so attracted to “straight” guys because of the pressures society has put on them. As we all know and have discussed more times than we can count, we are all programmed to be straight. Some of us swim against the stream. Because of that pressure we’ve all at one time or another attempted to fit in. Tried to be “straight.” I know a lot of people who experienced bullying and ridicule because they couldn’t or wouldn’t swim with the current. Is the desire to sleep with a straight man a way to reclaim those emotions? A way to erase the shame and fear you once felt at the hands of those people?


I have to tell myself it is.