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Category: Guest Contributors


Well-Hung Hung Ups

Oy sweeties, welcome to my first blog eva… Jewels from Jewetta, and I’m not talking about that pearl necklace around your neck either.  Ok, maybe I am.  That’ll be a topic for later discussion.


I thought loooonnnggg and hard about what I wanted my first blog to be about, and then it “donged” on me… PENISES!  They say talk about what you know and I’ve “known” (in the biblical sense) plenty of them.


Size2Why is it that a lot of guys, especially the gay ones, are hung up on the size of their tool?


Well, after hours of research at the local book stores, truck stops and Google, I have found this to be true… sometimes penis size matters and sometimes it doesn’t.  There are some who have unique personal tastes (affectionately known as size queens) while others, like myself, prefer a variety pack.  Let’s put it this way… some days I’m happy driving a Smart Car and then an Escalade the next.  


I know a lot of you boys get your penis complexes from watching porn, which to be quite honest, is a terrible way to learn about sex (except perhaps that it’s fun).  Male porn stars have larger penises and there are lighting and pubic hair styling tricks that make them look even bigga.  Remember, the camera adds ten pounds sweetie. 


Penis Size

Although most studies report that the average erect penis size ranges from 5-6.5 inches long, and about 5 inches in diameter, how many of us actually carry a measuring tape with us on a date?


You can’t always judge a book by its cover, and you can’t always judge the true size of a penis when it’s flaccid either.  I did that once and almost poked my eye out.  It was a pop-up book, if you get the picture (wink, wink – Thank God for my sunglasses!).  Anyhow, what I’m trying to say is that sometimes guys with relatively small flaccid penises grow to a larger size when erect, while some larger ones don’t grow much at all.  Hence the phrase, “a grower not a shower.”


You know, a study I would really like to see is one correlating the guys with above average sized penises and their chosen sexual positioning (top or bottom).  I think we all know that outcome of that study.


Recently, I watched a British documentary on the size of the male penis, and whether or not guys would talk about it.  This was obviously a straight video, but I learned a lot of valuable information. Here is the link and I encourage you to educate yourselves.


If there is a topic you’d like my pearls of wisdom on in the future, speak up. Until next time sweeties – stay sexy and stay safe – Muah!



Thinking Out Loud: Strong Support

In the summer of 2010 one of my good friend Talia told me they knew someone who was also recently coming out and that I should talk to them about it, see if we could bond over it. Over the next few weeks I reached out and asked to meet up with Dustin. It took a few times of hanging out in a group setting for either of us to be comfortable to talk about our recent experiences coming out but eventually the hesitation gave way.
At the time I was living in Dubuque which did not have a gay bar and I was hesitant to use online methods as a way to meet other gay men. Dustin had started a relationship a number of months earlier with a man so he was more comfortable with his sexuality. My friend Talia and I would regularly plan trips with Dustin to bigger cities to see what gay bars where like. Coming out is a mix of strong emoting and “going out” as a newly accepting gay man can be just as nerve racking and exciting. Experiencing all these new emotions at a bar rather than, for example, a chaperoned high school dance can lead to some decisions being made while badly drunk. As I look back I realize having Dustin as a friend was invaluable for me at such an important time. It was great having a friend who wanted to be exposed to gay culture as much as I did, never leaving me feeling like he was doing me a favor by going out. All the trips we made and people we meet it meant so much to me to know I had someone to go to talk to about the choices I had to make. I didn’t always make the right decision, but I know I would have been completely lost without both Dustin and Talia.
If you are recently coming out and excited to jump into a romantic relationship it is important to first consider getting to know others in the community who will become solid friends. Establishing and building strong friendships was such an important base for me to find out who I was during that summer and as I continue to grow and change those friendships are still vital to keeping me grounded.


Thinking Out Loud: Fear Less

I suffered from homophobia for the majority of my life. I’m not talking about the loud, intimidating, violence fueled homophobia that grabs the attention of headlines and fuels anti-gay protest, but the type of homophobia that lived pervasively and quietly in the back of my thoughts.


I knew I was gay at a very young age. I remember getting my hands on a Playboy when I was in grade school and thinking I was so cool for having been one of the first kids to see one. It was literally about two weeks later I saw an ad on some T.V. channel for an all male swimsuit calendar and being scared out of my mind because I instantly knew that I felt the way towards that T.V. ad that I “should” have felt for the Playboy.


As I continued to grow up I lived with this internal fear of what it meant to be gay and if my friends and family would realize I was. It was always internally uncomfortable when someone asked something like if a party was “gay”. I knew they were just asking if the party was lame but inside I would be thinking about how awkward it was going to be some day when I told them I was homosexual and they had used that slang all the time, plus it always peppers your doubt of if they will be truly mature enough to see you for who you are and look past the current social stigma.


Dating was always hard because while I wasn’t disgusted by girls I didn’t want lie to them because I knew I found their beauty to be on a platonic level. I distanced myself from music and theater programs because I didn’t want to standout as liking something my friends would consider “for homos”. The saddest effect of my phobia is that I didn’t feel comfortable enough reaching out to others, even up through college, who were going through the same thing.


I am by no means saying I should have gravitated towards musicals or ran around hitting on the guys in my high school because I’m a homosexual, but I am saying its ridiculous I let my homophobia get in the way of trusting my friends with what was going on in my life instead of being ashamed of it. I knew what my sexual preference was at the age most young boys do but I felt that I had to hide it to make everyone else like me. It takes everyone their own amount of time to come out, don’t rush it, and I encourage coming out at first to people you suspect will be accepting to form a healthy support, but ultimately stress less and take the fear out of equation.


What I hope a relating reader can take from this entry is to replace some of the fear with confidence. You’re not alone in what you are going through, what you’re going through is a normal healthy variation on sexual preference, a lot of people are aware of that, people who see it otherwise haven’t come to understanding it yet but if you’re able to replace the fear of coming out by showing those around you that you are ok with your sexual preference and that you understand that its normal maybe you will be the one to teach them.



Thinking Out Loud : Starting at the End

JPAs a child and teenager I knew two things about homosexuality; one, you didn’t want to be one and two, if you were, you better not express it.


When I entered college I realized public opinion on homosexuality was changing, hatred and bigotry still existed but it seemed as though the easier going and rational people around me were more frequently speaking up in objection when someone said something in ignorance. With a greater influx of gay friendly media influences, the subject of homosexuality was no longer becoming a taboo conversation subject. I am still unsure if my new college setting or increase in popular media exposure to homosexuality had a bigger impact on my coming out, but at one point I came to the conclusion that being a gay man was something I would eventually want to address because times were changing and I was ready to face the facts. With this hesitant outlook I set about what I thought would be the hardest years of my life.


I will use future blog entries to talk about different aspects of my experience over the last 5 years, but I want to cut to the chase (Spoiler Alert) in this opener as a way to offer hope to anyone reading this and considering taking a similar journey.



I don’t regret any of it.


I’m not just talking about the actions I have done, but I can say with confidence that if I were offered to go back and be born a heterosexual male, I would pass. I believe my life has been more interesting, exciting, challenging, rewarding, confusing, hilarious, and vivid because of my deviation from the conventional life plan.


5 years ago I challenged myself, my friends, and my family to find out who I was. Instead of discovering who I was, I instead set in motion a set of events that would constantly force me outside my comfort zone providing a wonderful, brilliant, and yes occasionally freighting range of experiences which have helped shaped the person I am today and which continues to change the person I will become.



Ryan Bergby guest contributor: Ryan Berg.
When I met Charles, I’d recently moved back to Des Moines from New York City, a stop-off, I’d intended, on my way out west. I sat in a coffee shop getting some work done when my mind began to wander. I logged on to a smart phone social networking application designed for gay men, and received a message from Charles, a college freshman.
We exchanged pictures, made small talk, and before long he got to the point: He was eager to meet right away. He didn’t mince words about what he wanted.
I might have been drawn to his youthful longing. Maybe I was acting out because being back in Iowa felt suffocating to my sexuality, or maybe his boldness triggered my own desire. Whatever the reason, I met with him. And not only did we have sex; we had it without a condom. I knew better. Here was a person I’d been acquainted with for less than an hour. We’d exchanged little more than first names, and yet I still found myself jumping into risky territory.
I’d broken a rule of contemporary gay life. As long as I’ve been having sex, it’s been understood: Don’t endanger your sexual health. Everyone knows it’s a death wish.
But Charles seemed fine with our slip, almost encouraged it. There were moments during our rendezvous where I could have interjected, impressed upon him the inherent dangers of unprotected sex; I could have shaken us both from the irrational haze of our desire. I could have grabbed a condom.
I can’t blame my lapse in judgment on drugs, alcohol, or the shame of being in the closet. I’m educated about HIV/AIDS, having worked with queer youth in New York and volunteered for both the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and Housing Works. I get tested regularly, and have been scrupulous about maintaining my HIV negative status. I know the studies; have researched articles about the resurgent HIV epidemic, climbing syphilis rates, new drug-resistant strains of Chlamydia. So why would I chance my sexual health for this brief encounter with Charles?
Risk is a relative notion. Perhaps I qualified my safety by being in the Midwest where the numbers of HIV infections are lower. Or, because of Charles’ age, and my assumption that he hadn’t had many sexual partners, my risk was lessened. Whatever the calculation, I felt daring enough to engage in a way contrary to my knowledge of the subject.
The more I talked to young men on the smart phone application, both closeted and out, the more apparent it was to me that the younger generation of men who have sex with men in Iowa– like most places across the country– were willing, and often times preferred, to engage in unprotected sex.
When considering risk, public health professionals tend to focus on how rational or irrational a choice is based on the information available. Rarely is it considered how emotions, our sense of self, can alter our decisions. It’s easy to isolate a situation like Charles and mine, and examine it, define it as a momentary lapse of reason. How else could such careless behavior be explained? But new studies show that nearly 50% of gay men using hook up smart phone applications engage in unprotected sex regularly. Momentary lapses are becoming habitual, repeated behaviors.
I grew up watching AIDS patients wasting away on television, and listening to the cries for action by activists as they faced social indifference and political neglect. Witnessing the near-death frailty of once youthful men on TV frightened a whole generation soon to come out of the closet into being meticulous about sexual safety. Later, as anti-retroviral therapies became available, and the lives of those living with AIDS were prolonged, a belief seemed to permeate queer culture. Sex, it appeared, was losing its danger. Youth have become more brazen, often times ignoring a host of complications that come with living with AIDS. One young man I spoke with recently shrugged when I asked about his habitual unsafe sexual practices. He told me it wasn’t a big deal if he tested positive, it’s no longer a death sentence.
People are living with the disease, true, but people are dying too. Even when you’re able to pay for the medication, a litany of problems can arise. The drugs can having serious side-effects, particularly in advanced disease; if patients miss doses, drug resistance can develop; providing anti-retroviral treatment is costly and resource-intensive, and the majority of the world’s infected individuals can’t access treatment services; individuals who fail to use anti-retrovirals properly can develop multi-drug resistant strains which can be passed onto others.
Results from a recent review confirm that HIV-positive adults are at a higher risk for developing cancer than the general population. In particular, people with HIV are about four times more likely to develop cancer than people without HIV and are slightly more likely to develop cancer than people who have had an organ transplant.
AIDS education has seemed to wane from public discourse and prevention instruction seems sequestered to HIV testing sites. Remember the days when red ribbons were fastened to the lapels of a host of public figures, serving as a reminder of the epidemic?
Luckily, we might see the reappearance of such reminders this year. Films like the Academy Award nominated How to Survive a Plague, and Jim Hubbard’s United in Anger: A History of ACT UP, are bringing AIDS awareness back into focus.
Young men who have sex with men need to grapple with, and face the facts these films present.
Youth can be perilous without support and education. As men of a generation that remembers the devastation of the AIDS epidemic, there is a need to reach out to our younger counterparts. Gay male mentors are nearly nonexistent for young men. Most men, myself included, have allowed desires to dictate interactions with younger men. As a result, many like Charles get terribly lost before coming to a healthy, integrated sense of self. Now it’s time to step up, to present ourselves, and our knowledge, in hopes of making the lives of our youth a little less lonely and a lot safer.

Gay Brunch w/ The Small Town Queer

Remember those surveys you used to love to fill out on Facebook and Myspace? I’ve brought them back with some of my Best Brunch Buddies to have a frank, open, and honest discussion about life, love, and the pursuits of happiness as Queer Men.
Judson is 26 years old and self-employed living in Omaha.
Waylon is 33 and works for a Fortune 500.
Drew is 26 and works for a non-profit.
DiAndre doesn’t want you to know his age, but is an artist living in Chicago.


If you could go to dinner with any personality who would it be?
Waylon: I would have to say Madonna (which should be no surprise). She’s a fascinating person, but I think it would be interesting mainly because she has personally known every single celebrity who has mattered in the last 30 years and many from the previous eras of celebrity too.


Diandre: I would really enjoy dinner with Ryan Seacrest. I know it sounds cliché, but this is a man who started as a TV host, ended as “News Anchor,” and now runs an entire production empire. He has swirling gay rumors, and recently broke up with the prettiest dancer in Hollywood. I’m intrigued.


Is a weird sex-face or orgasm-face a deal breaker for you?
Judson: It will only be a problem if I am not allowed to make fun of it.


Drew: I probably have a weird one myself. I have yet to have the opportunity to be filmed while being fucked, unfortunately. No it is not a deal breaker; voting Republican or telling me you only watch Fox News: I hope you enjoy your lonely blue balls.


Have you ever dated someone who wanted to change you?


Waylon: Yes, both. That never turns out well. I think it’s good to learn from the person you’re dating, but it’s bad when you feel pressure to change to please them.


When someone attacks your friend publicly and they aren’t there to defend themselves, do you jump to their defense?
Diandre: I always defend appropriately. I wouldn’t say anything until it needed to be said. However, I’m always a recorder. I’m running to tell momma, honey!


Drew: Darling I read & write books. That should answer that.


Judson: What am I a real housewife? It depends on the situation. I would probably warn them with like “Oh stop it. I love them!” then immediately text the friend to see what I should do.


What words in the Gay vernacular bother you?


Judson: White guys can’t say “Hunty” and I think being called “Mary” all the time is annoying and weird. My mom’s name is Mary.


Drew: Tragic. I hate it I hate it I hate it. Where’s the camp factor in becoming a lame Valley-esque girl without the irony? The overuse of the word “class” gets to me too. So many gays use it like a dog marking its territory. The ones using it are the ones who lack restraint and decency. I prefer being filthy and sassy.


Small Town Queer: Life Lesson

The first day I met Mattie he yelled at me for telling an offensive joke in the Alliance office at Iowa State University. I was freshly 18 and thought I was incredibly hot shit. I’d spent that summer being told what hot shit I was by a group of very wealthy, very powerful, at times very beautiful, Queers.
My personality at the time was less than cute, so I usually tried to feel people out by telling a joke, checking the pulse of the room and trying to proceed. Mattie, at that time, was in the process of proving to himself that he didn’t take nothin’ off nobody, no how, no Ma’am. That day it was his delight to put me in my place and knock the tiara off my spray gelled hair.
Matt and I spent the next 5 months figuring one another out. We both had incredible things to prove that were much more alike than different, but to tell us that at the time would have been certain suicide. He thought I was vulgar and cut throat. I felt he was an uppity-assed Bitch. We would have made a great romantic comedy: I’d be played by Kevin James while Tina Fey took on his role. Box office gold!

It was late February and we’d just finished a fundraiser that I’d chaired. It was a modest success, but nothing you could squeeze praise out of for more than a weekend. At the board meeting I was being yelled at for not controlling the drinking going on backstage. I’ll say it today, “Yes, I knew they were getting sloshed. No I didn’t give a shit. Yes I could have tried to stop it. Had I not been getting sloshed with them, maybe better judgment would have prevailed. Alas, it did not.”
Like I said, I’ll say that TODAY.
On that late February day, I REFUSED to acknowledge that it was my fault. I cast a wider net of blame than a Real Housewife looking for a husband. Matt in turn, wasn’t havin’ it. She put on her calmest voice and her fakest Miss America Smile and read me for filth. I’m telling you a forklift couldn’t have picked my jaw up off the floor. This was the first time in my life I was ever terrified, busted, and turned on at the same time. To this day I haven’t felt that way again (Thank GOD!) and hope I never will. It’s the closest thing I think I have to the experience people get out of S&M.
Much to my chagrin, but having been busted, the next Alliance event was dry. I apologized to Matt after the meeting, and he and I set up a meeting for later in the week at Stomping Grounds, an incontinently located Ames coffee house. I went into that next meeting with a lot more respect for him, and strikingly enough, we started developing a friendship. I stopped trying to be impressive, and he started to laugh. He did something, and I decided maybe he wasn’t such an uppity Bitch. Through the rest of that semester, and well into the next we became very close friends.I like to tell this story because I think I’m so dramatically lucky to have Mattie in my life today. He’s an incredibly vibrant soul who’s classier than this “Bawdy Broad” could ever hope to be. I almost missed out on the opportunity to know him and learn from him because I was too scared to let down my defenses. He had to burn them down, in order for me to open up. I’m very thankful he did that.
The lesson I’m remembering today: I have never once regretted reconsidering an enemy.


Small Town Queer: Deep Thoughts

The hardest times come when I lose innocence; believing, perhaps innocently, that there was none left to lose.
Fragility is something you must grow out of. Like everything fragile, sometimes you break. There are gaps of putty holding you together. Not until you are fired in the kiln do you grow hard and learn how to hold water.
Love is not a patient, kind thing. Love is vigorous and ferocious. Love is visceral and cannot be forced. Love is the captivating emotion.
Anger is only useful if you are powerful enough to channel it. Anger can define your intentions. Anger will ache and masquerade as many things.
An infatuation can electrify you. Thousands of volts are screaming through you. Once grounded, letting go can be impossible.
To grow is to understand that nothing is perfect. Good, bad, ugly and unfathomable exist in all things.
Perspective requires growth. Perspective changes as we do, backing up from the image until we see new shapes. As those shapes change, so does our interpretation.
“No matter what bothers you now, in a year you will laugh at it” –Joan Rivers


Small Town Queer: The Meaning of Sex

Sex isn’t just sweat and an exchange of fluids. Sex can mean so much more, or sensationally, so much less.
Sex can mean hello. Firecly fast and unemotional. Dripping with curiosity and the fervor of discovery.
Sex can mean goodbye. One last shot at holding on to ten years of devotion. Silence breaking in where screams once stood. Ten thousand papercuts bleeding out painfully.
Sex can mean I love you. A tooth paste kiss leading to me mounting you on the sink. Your head banging against the mirror, legs wrapped around Me. Hungrily clinging to one another in mad passion that only thought can describe. Your arms needing to hold Me, while my lips must melt into yours.
Sex can mean red hot critical mass. Up like a redwood lasting for hours. Coming once, twice, then three times until you collapse, thoroughly spent and tired. Falling asleep with him still inside you.
Sex can be inapropriate. Vigorous fear of being found out. Knowing what feels right is wrong. If only for the moment, letting yourself go with tactile abandon with the rush of hormonal adrenaline. Forgetting that you are fucking yourself rather than truck number ten thousand.
Sex can remind you that you’re alive. When hands flush and tingle. Fingertips egnighting sparks on skin that erupt into uncontrollable flames.a forest fire as hot as hell telling you that today is all there is. That this world is too much to worry about how you’re surviving in it.
Sex can be a decleration. Announcing to yourself and the great wide universe that you’ll do whatever the fuck you want, when you want to do it. Forget ’em if they can’t handle our kind. Leaving the deniers behind to forge a brave new existence.
Sex can be a dire contradiction. Grinding unabashedly on one thinking of another. The question of who you came scross the one in your bed or the one in your head. Haunting you stiffly


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.


Small Town Queer: 10 things I learned in Iowa City

Not suitable for view by those who pay for your education.

  1. The Mexicans at Pancheros are TOTALLY making fun of you, therefore it is TOTALLY acceptable to be dissatisfied with the flatness of your made-to-order-burrito.
  2. Everybody’s on something. Whether it’s blow or low blood glucose cuz you’re a crazy-militant-New Pioneer Food Co.-Vegan, or “Omigod! I have four projects due in 12 hours and I spent the last 2.5 weeks drunker than a freshman on prom night. Due to this fact, it should just be assumed that everyone’s on edge and ready to snap.
  3. It’s always time for a drink. I don’t care if it’s 10 AM or Bar close. It’s always time for a drink.
  4. If you flirt with the gay at Konnexions and tell him he’s pretty, you can get a discount.
  5. The best drag queens in Iowa are in Iowa City. There’s one or two in other venues, but Iowa City has the densest population of “WOOOOOOOOOOORK”ing girls.
  6. Really drunk girls at bro bars can’t tell the difference between Queers and Breeders, even when you tell her that her l.e.i. low-rise button fly jeans really don’t go with her pay-less b.o.g.o. strappy sandals.
  7. Walking down South Johnson at 3:35 AM can be hazardous to your homo-health. Like the Asians, stupid heteros travel in packs and carry razor blades in their cheeks.
  8. “I’ve got a meeting I’m late for.” is an acceptable fuck you that will get you out of any conversation with people you really don’t care to see. Like the guy you blew off on MH last night and then saw at Studs and wouldn’t dance with….
  9. Smart phones have been surgically implanted in everyone’s hands. You didn’t say it if you didn’t tweet it, you’re not friends unless you “like” my status on the face, you didn’t go unless you checked in on 4square.
  10. Your friends can get you through anything. Choose wisely, and once you do, you’ll have family.

Small Town Queer: Gay Bar Etiquette

When I took my friend Ollie, who is straight as a Menards 2X4, to a gay bar for the first time he had the natural reaction of sober fear that you would expect to see in a virgin. He was prepared though, before we went out, my friends and I schooled Ollie on some Gay Bar Etiquette. After a few drinks Ollie was havin’ a gay ol’ time and dancing with 7 ft. tall Drag Queen in butterfly wings, fake breasts, and pasties.
(Score for the home team!)
Sometimes following the rules is a good thing!

  • If it’s in a dress, and wearing enough face paint to recreate a Van Gough, you can call it a she. Tip her well and compliment her on how she looks. Yes, we all know she’s lip syncing Britney Spears. You’re supposed to ignore that and be dazed and confused by the millions of sequins.
  • If it’s wearing a shirt, tie, and a bowler hat, you can call it a He. Remember honey, it might look like a man, but you get down into those skivvies and you’re going to find some silicone. Up top you’re probably going to find a tight ace wrap.
  • It helps to start drinking the moment you walk in the door. If it seems your surroundings don’t make sense to you and you feel uncomfortable, remember that it doesn’t makes sense to us either. That’s why we drink. The rest of us are schwasted messes because we’ve learned this lesson already.
  • The lesbian at the bar with five drinks in her hand is buying for her underage friends. If you bump into her and spill something, you best be prepared to buy another round, or you’re going to have very angry gaybies snapping at your heels, and thirsty young queers bite. Hard.
  • That old man sitting at the end of the bar wearing a coat and 300 dollar jeans chatting up the bar tender is the “bar Bitch”. In his younger days he was hot and banged it out with many a boy. Now he’s just irritable and bitchy. Stay away from him unless you wanna get told the twelve million things that are wrong with you.
  • If you tip the bartender well, you will get better service and better drinks. They’re only acting uninterested in you because they are. They probably have a headache and are NOT looking forward to cleaning up the bar after you drag your happy ass home.
  • Do not worry about people of the same sex hitting on you. If you’re not interested, that’s fine. You just point to someone over in the crowd dancing and say “That’s my boyfriend!” Don’t tell them you’re straight, because then you’re creating a challenge.  If you’re hung up and worried about people of the same sex hitting on you, get out of the bar and go drink with the red necks.
  • The kid with his shirt off and hands above his head swinging around the dance floor is on an entirely different planet. Try to avoid bumping into him; he’s probably going to fall over. If he dances with you, gyrate for a moment and move on, it’s in your best interest.
  • Now if you’re standing outside the bathroom and it’s been five minutes, bang three times real hard and say, “Cum already you trashy piece of shit.”
  • The lesbians will be divided up into Polo shirts and dresses, the gay boys into scarves and t-shirts. Now, they’ll mix if one is sleeping with the other, but rarely will they be screwing each other. Don’t try to wrap your mind around sex yet, it’s early.
  • If you go outside to smoke, you’re going to see some shit. Be prepared. I can’t begin to explain to you what’s out there, but don’t make eye contact. If a 7 foot tall thing in a wig is screaming at someone, and their face happens to be REAL thick, it’s probably a “tired” entertainer. If she asks for a cigarette, give her one. If she says something smile and acknowledge that you understand. If you start talking, they will find something wrong with what you’ve said and eviscerate you for it. This is what Drag Queens do for fun.
  • At the end of the night, there will more than likely be a large man or woman yelling at you to get out of the bar. Understand that s/he wants to go home and is sick and tired of looking at your drunk ass. Bottoms up and out ya go. If you’re lucky you found something to keep ya warm that night. If not, you’re drunk and have more than likely ingested a few things that you’ll regret the next morning.

May all your nights be ones to remember
May all your dreams come true
May all your friends be at the ready and always surround you.



Small Town Queer: Strange Sex

What the hell has happened to sex? Yesterday I heard about someone being into “rain coating.” Now I’m nothing if not a sexual anthropologist—ever in search of new and interesting information and a good dig—so I had to explore this “rain coating” thing. But when I asked about it, I was told this:


“Basically I like to bottom while the other guy wears raingear.”


“Like fireman raingear?” I asked.
“Yea! I love the feel of PVC against my skin! I usually have the guy turn it inside-out so I can feel the shiny side of the plastic. I also love when they wear steel-toed boots. I love to lick them clean.”


I was shocked! Not because of his sexual desires, but because I was expecting it to have something to do with urine. (Weren’t you?) The gay sexual arena is full of many different players of many different teams. Some even have uniforms! I, along with other folks my age, have had to learn much more than we ever thought possible about sex. Nowadays it’s just as important to know what you’re not into, as what turns you on. Having slept around for the better part of my twenties, here are a few things I’ve learned:


  1. You will learn more by going out to some open houses before you make a purchase, than going with an impulse buy in the sexual real estate market.
  2. When you wake up in the morning and see several hundred bird sculptures around the room, leading to a bathroom filled with even more renditions of aviation; it’s probably best to be as quiet as possible, get out, and get on with your walk-of-shame before he wakes up!
  3. If you’re above the age of 20 and he opens up the Britney Spears station on Pandora Radio, GTFO.
  4. Don’t completely shave your groin and its surrounding area—“You can’t play ball if there’s no grass on the field.”


Not to be trite, but I often miss the Disney interpretation of sex I had years ago, before I knew about things like “rain coating.” Back then I thought I’d find a nice girl (man) and settle down (get a dog) together and live in a nice part of town (a split-level far from the bars). We’d grow herbs in our back yard (till the dog dug them up) and plant lavender by the garden gate (which the neighbor’s cat would eat; causing it to die, resulting in a feud that lasted decades.) We’d have our friends (former lovers and people we met at the bars) over for cook-outs. (“Let’s all get drunk and talk about people!”) She (he) would handle the grill (He always burns things so I have to eventually take that over) while I handled the potato salad and other side dishes (recipes I learned from Ina Garten that I’m sure will make everyone think I’m a fabulous cook.)


But this is not how love is in our modern day. With a myriad of sexual tools at our fingertips, people are having more sex with less meaning than ever. It used to be about chemistry and flirting with someone from across the room, only to meet for a drink and charm the pants right off one another. Today it’s about how quickly you can text a sleazy message, and how good you look in your profile picture. Sex has become like Domino’s Pizza; “30 minutes or less!” In ten years, I think you’ll be able to teleport to any bath house of your choice.


I went to a family Thanksgiving with my boyfriend at the time, Michael. He was giving me information about what to avoid with his Mother this time, and he told me to make sure I talked to his Dad about old music again, because “He really feels like he connects with [me] on that.” I was warned not to encourage his Grandmother to talk about her health problems, to avoid the topic of politics with his Uncle Geoff, and above all “Don’t do that thing you do with your face when you don’t like something but you’ve decided to suffer through it, everyone can tell!” I let him go on like this not only because I could tell that he was nervous, but because I was very excited to finally meet his Mother’s sister, Teresa.


From Cuba, Michael’s mother and her family immigrated to the United States from Cuba sometime in the 1960s. While all of her siblings had done their best to conform to an “American Dream,” Teresa earned her living the old fashioned way. She decided to prostitute in Chicago for 20 years, and I was dying to pick her brain.


After dinner, I asked Teresa if she’d like to join me for a cigarette in the back yard. “You bet your sweet ass I do!” She said as though I’d asked her if she’d like to take a huge bong rip at a college party. We went into the back yard and exchanged the usual small talk until she pulled a joint out of her pocket, lit it, and said “So what has Mikey told you about me so far?”


I went straight for sentimentality, which was a mistake. “Only that you’re one of the most loving people he’s ever met, and that when he came out you hugged him and told him to quit crying like a bitch.” She laughed, took a deep inhale—smiled—and exhaled. Then, she looked at me and said, “Mikey and me, we’re the black sheep of the family. I’ve seen more dicks than a 3rd shift cashier at Wal*Mart and Mikey….”
“Is gay?” I asked, trying to stifle my laughter.
“Something like that,” She sighed. We stayed in the back yard for over an hour. I tried to get her to talk about her career, but she wanted to talk about Michael. When we went back in the house, Mike shot me a look, and his mother shot her sister the same look, it said: “Where have you been and you sure as hell better have not been getting stoned in my back yard!”


On the way home, he asked me about our conversation, and I filled him in on my new favorite member of his family. “She’s a trip!” he said, as we pulled into my drive way. “All she wanted to talk about was you! I kept trying to get details about little black books and horny politicians, and she wanted to talk about how darling you were when you ate your first bowl of mashed potatoes. I wanted Sex and the City, and I got Family Ties! I want a refund!” I snapped back. Suddenly Michael turned off his truck, and leaned over to kiss my cheek.


“Sex isn’t always that glamorous, I guess.”




About Nathan: Nathan is a 25 year old activist living in rural Iowa. He enjoys late night conversations, Autumn weather, an open window next to a sweaty dance floor, and a divine Bloody Mary. Nathan left Iowa State University in 2008 with an English degree.