Sunday, October 26, 2014

Farewell Larry

Cary Grant has lunch with reporter Larry Quirk
LAWRENCE J. QUIRK 1923 - 2014.

Larry Quirk was my best friend and long-time companion for over thirty-five years. He was a true original. He worked for the studios, was a Hearst reporter, wrote one gay novel Some Lovely Image, and many, many books on films and celebrities, including Fasten Your Seat Belts, the national bestseller about Bette Davis, and The Kennedys in Hollywood. I met him many years ago in Julius, the theatrical/gay bar in the West Village, and despite a significant age difference we became fast friends. We were both in the Gay Activists Alliance, although he left the group before I did. His uncle was James R. Quirk, the editor/publisher of Photoplay magazine during its golden age, and together Larry and I tendered performing arts awards at various venues. Larry enjoyed promoting and helping people who were just starting out and needed a break, as well as those in the twilight years who deserved some latter-years recognition. After many years together, I became his caregiver in his final decade or so. He lived 91 full and mostly active years. Believe me, there was nobody quite like Larry Quirk. I loved him very much and will miss him deeply.

William Schoell [aka Bill Samuels]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bi When It Suits Him

I recently met a guy who keeps telling me he is bisexual and dates women as well as men. When I ask him if he has a preference -- men or women -- he won't say or says he has none. My question is, why should I bother dating a guy who may ultimately wind up with a woman for one reason or another. He did admit that the women he sees do not know he is bi. I'm afraid he is not really being honest with me and using his "bisexuality" to keep me at bay, so to speak. 

Well, he certainly isn't being honest with the women he allegedly dates, is he? There's a word for men who tell other men that they dig women but never tell the women they date that they also dig guys and it isn't "bisexual" -- it's closet queen. Not to be politically incorrect, but I believe most men who identify as bisexual -- whatever the reality of their sexuality -- do wind up in standard heterosexual relationships, however satisfying or unsatisfying they may find them.

I have known cases where men tell other men they are bisexual simply to keep things very casual -- "don't get hung up on me, baby" and that sort of thing -- but if he's sending you a message to keep your distance, then there's obviously not much of a future with him whether he's gay or bi, is there? Move on.

My advice. Fuck him one last time and forget 'im!

Getting Affectionate



Good Evening, I came across your blog when looking up Gay Dating Etiquette.  I have been single for about 11 yrs.  I joined OurTime.com and met someone about a 1 1/2 months ago.  We have been on 4 dinner dates and have a great time.  Each time we greet and end with a handshake. We always agree to do it again.  I know we have great chemistry.  But how/when would be the time to show more affection?


Last Night was our 4th date and the discussion turned to both of us sharing the darker side we experienced.  I found him even more attractive.  I texted him and told him is was a fun dinner and followed up with asking for a date this upcoming Tues or Wed.  He texted back and agreed to Wed.



I am confused.  I am liking him more and more each time I see him. He has told me he thinks I am attractive, and that he met someone that casually knows me.  His friend asked what he has been up to.  He said he met a great guy and has been enjoying that.  I guess I have his attention.



Please help.  I just don't want to get any older and still be alone.  I really enjoy this guy.



Thank you for any advise you can offer.


Four dates and not even a good-night kiss yet? What are you waiting for?

Seriously, it sounds as if each of you is waiting for the other to make a move. You've gotten to know each other, enjoy each other's company, and find each other attractive. If he won't make the first move, then you'll have to do it. 

It is easy enough to be affectionate. You can give him a gentle, loving pat on the cheek. Squeeze his shoulder or thigh. Put you arm around him. Some people aren't comfortable with Public Displays of Affection, and some gay men are still in the closet, so I would suggest taking him to a gay bar where he might feel more at ease. Try to sit side by side either in the bar or restaurant, wrap your arm around him, and give him a kiss on the cheek. Hopefully he'll turn in your direction and you'll be kissing on the mouth. I think you'll know when the time is right. Hell, even if it isn't, give it a try! What can you lose?
If he has some problems or issues it's better to know it sooner then later.

This may lead into a question of "my place or yours." I would suggest telling him that you're not just interested in him as a sex object, but have romantic feelings as well. That way he'll know what your intentions are and you can better gauge his reaction.

 I'm not saying that sex should be hurried, but if you're hoping for a possible long-term relationship with this guy, sooner or later you'll have to know if the two of you are compatible. Stick to safe sex, use a condom, and enjoy yourself. 

Have fun and good luck!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Homophobia is Alive and Well

I wanted to draw your attention to a podcast I listened to today that I personally found a bit disturbing.


It's a weekly podcast hosted by the author Bret Easton Ellis, where he discusses Hollywood, movies and popular culture with a different celebrity guest each week. 

This week his guest was actress turned director Rose McGowan, who organized the "Gay-in" at the Beverly Hills Hotel in May this year, in protest against the anti-gay laws in Brunei.

She's very articulate and makes some good points about, for example, people being hypocrites by boycotting the hotel while doing business with Saudi Arabia. But unfortunately during the interview (listen from 27:30 to 42:00) she launches into a rant about the gay community and gay men in particular.

She accuses gay men of being misogynistic, in her own words "just as, if not more, misogynistic than straight men." This really upset me, because although some gay men can be very disrespectful towards women, referring to them as "cunts" or "sluts", [straight men, too -- Bill] I know a great many gay men who have fantastic friendships with women, and are very supportive of gender equality and feminism. [Hear! Hear!] What really got my goat, however, was when she asserted that "not one single gay man has spoken out in support of women." Here I call bullshit. [You said it!]

I'd really appreciate if you could listen to that segment of the show, because I've heard this opinion voiced so many times by so many different people, and it always upsets me. I'd love to have a really pithy come-back when people say that to me! I think such a common accusation leveled against gay men would make a great topic for Ask Dr Bill. What do you think?

Btw it's the podcast dated 10/6/2014.

Darren 

Many thanks for calling my attention to this. I agree that that old stereotype of gay men as women-haters -- which is essentially what this lady is saying -- should have fallen by the wayside by now. How a man thinks about women [or some women] depends on the individual man -- not on his sexual orientation. 

Rose McGowan is a young lady who seems unaware of a lot of facts about the gay community and the gay rights struggle as well as the community's relationship to other human rights organizations. Many years ago New York's Gay Activists Alliance, the country's first militant [non-violent] Gay Rights group decided to focus on gay rights only because in previous groups the members -- also committed to black rights, women's rights, etc. -- were so busy rushing off to one rally after another that they never got anything done pertaining to gay rights. GAA supported other organizations and the members could selectively choose to attend any rallies etc. that they wanted to, but if they hadn't stayed focused on gay rights they never would have achieved anything. You can say the same thing about gay groups that followed, and women's and black groups as well. NOW [National Organization of Women] may well have supported gay causes but you can believe they stayed focused on feminism or they would have accomplished little. McGowan seems to think that because some states have gay marriage that the whole struggle is over and gay groups should just disband or lend a hand elsewhere. For heaven's sake, didn't the fact that the gay movement expanded to become the LGBT movement, embracing and including bisexuals and transsexuals, prove that many Gays and Lesbians were not solely focused on themselves? Besides, with the scary things going on in Russia, China, Turkey, and other nations pertaining to gay/human rights violations, only a totally self-absorbed stereotypical "Hollywood" type would think there is no homophobia anymore. That's just as ridiculous as saying there's no racism or sexism. Or is that just "narcissistic gay self-victimization" as Ellis calls it? [More on that later.]

Well-adjusted gay men are not misogynous -- either toward straight women or lesbians -- and as you rightly point out many have loving relationships with females. Self-hating gay men may have issues, but it's simple ignorance for McGowan to "indict" gay men and suggest that most, if not all, fall into the sexist category.  In my experience there is often a bond between many gay men and women, both of whom have been subjected to abuse by what used to be called the "hetero-sexist" society. I have personally met many male "feminists" and I myself have supported women's rights my entire adult life. McGowan is taking incidents -- unpleasant gay men she has met -- and using them to back up her theory, which is so homophobic in one sense [the old "gay men hate women" canard] that it's almost scary. I am not familiar with her work, which hardly makes me a woman-hater, but she has perhaps on occasion gotten negative reactions for one thing or another from men who happen to be gay and allowed this to knock her scales out of whack. 

Not to slander heterosexual men, and not to indulge in the kind of generalizations that characterize Ms. McGowan's thinking concerning gay men, but I think "straight" men in general are a lot more misogynous than gay men. It usually isn't Out and Proud gay men who rape women, batter their wives, become deadbeat daddies and so on. Gay Men don't get sore at women due to romantic disappointments. Sure, there are fucked up gay men out there, but to say they are typical of the community is ludicrous and offensive. 

I have a feeling McGowan doesn't mean to be homophobic, but is speaking out of simple ignorance. Both she and Ellis exhibit that kind of [admittedly stereotypical] lopsided, off the cuff, kind of superficial thinking that seemingly dismisses people who fight for gay rights or have concern for gay issues as merely belonging to a cult of victimization or as being "morons." Some people actually care about gays in other countries who are suffering terrible abuses; others just care about themselves or what's going on with their careers, no matter how much they may protest otherwise. It's like "Some bitchy queens diss my work -- gee the gay male community must be fucked up." 

And consider where Ms. McGowan is hoping to find men [gay or straight] who are progressive and committed to women's rights [or gay rights for that matter]: Hollywood? (Forgive me if I'm indulging in some stereotyping of my own.) Even Ellis doesn't seem much committed to anything; perhaps in this I'm unfair but he gives no opposition to McGowan's words.

Sadly, you can always find men of whatever persuasion who have a problem with women (and vice versa). To suggest that most or all gay men have that problem ignores both history and reality.

If you want a comeback when someone brings this up to you again say: "I don't have a problem with women; maybe you have a problem with men like me."

Abused Boyfriend and Church Elder

Dear Dr. Bill. Just this past Sunday my boyfriend told me that when he was a 16 he started attending church and the bishop of the church took interest in him. He said the bishop was highly respected as a man of God and all the parishioners led him to believe that he was special because the bishop favored him. When he turned 17 he went on a trip with the bishop and the bishop coerced him into sex. The thing that's startling to me is that sexual contact continued for several years. He said he was brainwashed, coerced and taken advantage of by a man that he looked up to. I am having a hard time processing that sexual contact continued for so long. I love him, but I do not know if he's gay. He says he is not. I don't have a problem with him being gay, I just don't want to be used as a beard. He said he is not attracted to men and has never been with another man. I don't know if I should leave or stay!? I support gay rights and I want to support my boyfriend, but I do not want to be used as a coverup for him. That's not fair. 


In most cases when men admit to having had sexual relations with men for years, I can be a Doubting Thomas when they claim to be straight. However, victims of sexual abuse are an entirely different matter. They can grow up to be confused as to their sexual orientation. The problem in this case is that while your boyfriend was a minor -- and could be considered a victim -- he was not a child, as such. One could almost argue that while it was statutory rape due to his age, his being on the cusp of adulthood almost made it consensual. [Of course the bishop was wrong, wrong, wrong. It was a betrayal of the worst and most selfish kind.] The sexual contact continued well into adulthood. A little boy may be confused into thinking that he is doing the right thing and is not being victimized, but an adult is another matter.

I think you should tactfully suggest that your boyfriend get counseling, which victims of abuse should get in any case (if he hasn't already). He may feel such deep shame over what went on between him and the bishop that he can't help but deny his homosexual feelings, if they exist. Only a compassionate and educated counselor or therapist can determine exactly what's going on with his sexuality if he can't figure it out or accept it for himself. If he has a genuine attraction for men, his denying it and feeling guilt over it, will only make it worse for him. And if, as you say, he is ultimately gay [or bisexual with a preference for men], you don't want to be his beard.

Best of luck. 


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Gay Men and Liquor

Are gay men more prone to alcoholism, especially as they age?

Here we have another issue that depends greatly on the individual. First there is a difference between actual "alcoholism" -- an honest-to-goodness addiction to alcohol -- and heavy drinking that may be caused by, in part, [temporary] problems in a person's life. This remains true regardless of the sex of the individual or their sexual orientation.

It has always been true that some people turn to alcohol in times of great stress, as the "buzz" or more that they get from drinking can help them temporarily forget their problems and feel good for a time. This should not necessarily be confused with true alcoholism, an insidious and progressive disease that has nothing to do with an individual's problems or the stress in their life, although it may be exacerbated by same.

A lot has been written about the aging gay man, who is alone (especially if a partner has died), and who may be afraid he is losing his attractiveness and the ability to attract a partner for sex and romance. I dare say this has more to do with growing older than it has to do with being gay. Straight men also suffer the same insecurities, the fear of loss of virility and the ability to attract women, as they grow older. Some men age well; some men do not. How a man deals with getting older often depends on other factors in his life such as his health, financial stability, number of friends and so on, none of which have much to do with sexual orientation.

Because of the isolation that some older gay men feel [and undoubtedly straight men as well, particularly if they are divorced, single or widowers] there are those who insist that aging gay men are more prone to alcoholism, but the truth is much more complex.

There are those in the gay community, as well as the straight, who turn to alcohol for solace (which, as noted, is not the same as genuine alcoholism) and those who don't. There is no indication that there are more alcoholics in the gay male community than in any other segment of the population.

Who's "Macho" and Who Isn't

I know that some gay men are effeminate and others aren't. What is the difference? Are the gay men who sleep with women, who are bisexual, more masculine than men who just sleep with other men?

Well, I would have to say definitely not, and not just judging by the number of "big queens" I've met who have or have had girlfriends or insist they're bisexual.

Most gay men are not stereotypical, and their outward demeanor -- be it butch or femme -- generally provides no clue to what they do in bed or whom they prefer to sleep with. There are "queeny" guys who are Tops, and very masculine men who are Bottoms. Macho guys who only sleep with guys, and not-so-macho men who [want to] sleep with other men but have wives or girlfriends.

In other words, it's a highly individual matter. In general, men who identify as bisexual -- rightly or wrongly -- do not have a more masculine demeanor than guys who identify as gay. Some, unfortunately, think they are more masculine because of the out-dated, pre-Stonewall thinking that says a man isn't a man unless he has sex with women. I don't need to comment on how tiresome and self-defeating that attitude is, but it does account for the "bisexual" label more often than many would like to admit.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Health Care Horrors

The past few weeks have been difficult to say the least. As I had to come to the very difficult decision of putting my older partner, who has many physical and mental issues, into a nursing home. Along this dark journey I have encountered many people, some of whom were compassionate and helpful and others who were ... not. My partner is a veteran but we had a highly unpleasant experience with the VA's Primary Home-Based Care Program. In general, health care and nursing homes are not that sensitive to gay/LGBT issues. Over the next few weeks I'll be relating my experiences, both good and bad, with the VA, physical rehab centers, and nursing homes. I have to say that I found SAGE -- a group for older gay people -- to be very helpful on a variety of matters. Dr. Bill

Boyfriend and Gay Porn

Hello Dr. Bill.

I have a little problem and I need your help.



Me and my boyfriend have been together for 2 years. We are in our late twenties. We are a great couple, respect each other, and have great sex life. He treats me well, is very honest with me, and his friends and family love me. We are planning to live together next month.

The problem is that I found gay porn on his lap top - and a lot of it. There's also straight porn in there, shemales, foot fetish porn, but the problem is that the gay porn is a lot, more than 50%! And it's not just website history, he has it downloaded and saved - both photos and videos. I've noticed that the porn downloaded from 2 years ago is mostly straight, but this year's porn is mostly gay. 

I have many close gay friends, and they never mentioned to me that my new boyfriend is weird. I support gays, but I believe it's bad for me and him to be together if he is a closeted gay, we might suffer more in the future when he admits, because we have a very serious relationship and might end up married!


I am sure that he loves me, and our love is not a lie, but I don't know if he has gay feelings which he is repressing, or he just likes weird porn. 


He is very religious, and for a period stopped having flings and adventures and was looking for the right girlfriend -- I am that right girlfriend.


He also says he doesn't have a problem with gay people, so he is neither homophobic, nor really supportive (he says it seems unnatural to him, but it's their private matter, so who is he to judge?) So, he's somewhere in the middle. I don't know what to make of it. [Thinking homosexuality is "unnatural" is homophobic!]


He says he never had a gay experience, but as all people, during high school wondered about his sexual orientation: straight, gay, bi? He never experimented to confirm, just realized he is straight.

I talked to him about porn, told him that I know he watches, and I don't like that he hides that from me. but I didn't tell him I had actually seen his porn folder. I told him it's very important to me to tell me what he watches, so that I know what he likes. At this point, he wasn't very defensive, he was open with me, told me he loves our sex life, but that he watches some weird porn and that doesn't mean he likes to try it. He mentioned the gay porn when giving me a short list of what had he watched, but didn't single it out. He said his father exposed him to pornography beginning at age six and he has always watched a lot of it.


One red flag though, is that when we were about 1 year together, I joked that he likes men, and because I had made that joke before, he snapped at me, but then was really sorry. It is weird because he is a very nice guy, and never before, nor after, has he offended me or raised his voice to me.

My only concern is that he might be a closeted gay/bi because of the porn, and I think that should be resolved for both our sakes. I have helped one gay friend of mine to get out of the closet, I know how it feels, but now since this is my boyfriend, it's totally different. And I am asking you and not my gay friends, because I believe if I tell anyone I will jeopardize my boyfriend's privacy and maybe hurt his feelings if he finds out I've been doubting or asking.


Please help me.

There's no easy answer to this one because there are cases of people who like to look at pornography in all of its varieties without necessarily wanting to engage in similar behavior, but when half of what he looks at is gay-oriented ...? Also, people who are very religious often repress their homosexual nature because they are dealing with issues of shame and guilt and denial. They try to satisfy their homoerotic urges by watching gay porn, figuring they're not really gay if they aren't actually having gay sex. His snapping at you when you joked about his liking men, especially if you didn't mean it in a nasty way, could mean that he's very touchy about the subject, another indication that he could be closeted. His feeling that homosexuality is "unnatural," as well. You can understand that if he feels that way and is privately gay/bi he is bound to have feelings of what we call "internalized homophobia" or self-hatred. And honestly, I don't believe that everyone wonders about their sexual orientation in high school. Mostly people who are gay or bisexual and a little confused.

His having looked at porn when he was a child is another issue. Showing a child pornography might even be considered a form of child abuse. Something more serious may have happened in his childhood that has made him confused over his sexuality.

The problem is that the only way to really learn the truth is to have a frank talk with your boyfriend -- without being negative or accusatory. As you say this needs to be resolved. There are far too many women who marry guys who finally come out of the closet years later, and it's devastating for them. If he has an attraction to men, he needs to deal with it and accept it, even if he needs professional help or at the very least counseling to do so. There is also the question, if he's bisexual, of whether his main attraction is to men or women. [In any case, if he has never fully explored his homosexuality, he will undoubtedly want to do so some day.]

Also, if he was abused or molested as a child, he should also seek counseling or therapy to help him deal with those issues. 

I'm sure you understand that there's just no way to be certain at this point, as frustrating as that may be for you. If he is able to resolve these issues, on his own or with help, it will at least help you to make a decision about a future with this man.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bill's Media Watch: 306

I have to say I really hated a movie called "306", written, produced and directed by [to my surprise] an Out filmmaker named Elliot London.What's even more disturbing is that it's being called a "gay" movie.

The film, which runs about ten minutes, has no dialogue. It shows a young man, who lives with his lover, receiving a text message to take over a shift. It's not bartending, but hustling, as the young man arrives at a hotel room where an older man gives him a drink, a blowjob, and then sodomizes him, apparently without using a condom. The young man, looking disgusted and disheartened, goes home and climbs into bed with his lover, to whom he mouths the words "I love you so much" as he hugs -- her

The ending isn't really a surprise. What's surprising is that a young Out filmmaker would make such a regressive movie. Yes, one could argue that it looks at all of those sad men out there who are gay but who can't and won't identity as such (don't get me started on "gay for pay") -- call boys with girlfriends, married men who screw hustlers in hotel rooms -- but there have already been so many books and movies and plays about those men who live in the shadows of gay life, do we really need another one in the 21st century that adds nothing to the discussion? And what are we to think of the "hero?" He has unsafe sex for money, then goes home to sleep, literally and figuratively, with his presumably unsuspecting girlfriend.[Bet she'll be contacting Dr. Bill any day now.]

Frankly, most male prostitutes tend to be self-hating losers. The guy in this movie, who is attractive and seems intelligent and upwardly mobile, would probably not be a hustler in a million years, especially if he's so full of internalized homophobia that he thinks of himself as straight. There may be other reasons why he's "acting out" -- insecurity, an attraction to men, certainly -- but the movie doesn't go into them.

"306" presents the outdated image of homosexuality as being something negative, dirty, something to be ashamed of, while the hero's hetero relationship is almost presented as if it were pure and perfect [until she finds out he's given her HIV, of course]. And if the character is supposed to be "bisexual," the contrast between his straight long-term relationship and his comparatively sleazy, casual gay "encounters" is so homophobic as to be mind-boggling! On the odd chance that London meant his film as a cautionary tale for women -- ladies, do you know what your boyfriend is really up to when he's somewhere else? -- it backfires badly; it just doesn't come off. 

What was London thinking? Or was he even thinking? So many things could have been said and done with this little movie and its small cast and settings. 

A muffed opportunity and a complete waste of ten minutes.