Friday, June 12, 2015

Gay Men vs. Lesbians?

I have some gay friends who insist that lesbians hate gay men, and since I've never had that experience, I wonder where this is coming from? Is this some kind of sexism or even homophobia? I was very disturbed by the attitudes of some people. P.S. I am a gay man in my forties.

Let me make it clear that well-adjusted gay people, those who accept themselves and don't have a problem with their sexuality, generally don't have the kind of blatant prejudices that afflict so much of society, gay or straight. I once participated in a conversation on just this subject -- lesbians hating gay men -- and, as I'm sure you did, found it to be ridiculous. The "evidence" of this alleged prejudice was all anecdotal. One bartender told me a lesbian waitress was rude to him in a restaurant, so this, of course, means that lesbians all hate gay men. Could he even be sure she was a lesbian, and did her bad attitude have anything to do with his being gay? Probably not. I mean, once a lesbian bartender was kind of unpleasant to me, but she is vastly outnumbered by other gay women whose attitudes were perfectly nice and professional. I think the few gay men who feel this way are defensively covering up their own negative attitudes toward women.

Let me also make it clear that gay men all hating women and lesbians all hating men (gay or straight) is in this day and age indicative of ludicrous stereotyping. Are there some lesbians who may dislike some or all gay men, or men in general, and are there some gay men or men in general, who have issues with women, be they straight or gay? Yes. But generally these are based on one or more bad experiences, which don't really add up to any kind of scientific survey. The truth is, there are gay people who may simply be indifferent to the opposite sex, which is often misinterpreted as "hatred." On the other hand -- and this is very important --  many gay men and lesbians have formed warm and life-lasting friendships with one another.

During this debate with some acquaintances, one guy said that it was simply that his experiences were different from mine. This is true, of course, but a person shouldn't base his attitudes on his own experiences, however valuable, alone. A person should learn and know about other people's experiences as well before forming a judgment. Also, it is often how we interpret personal experience that makes the difference.

That being said, in my experience, lesbians do not in general hate gay men or vice versa. Dare I say it's only fucked up people who have such antediluvian attitudes.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Beware of Gawkers!

Dear Dr Bill,

I have a question for you which I am sure you have heard a million times. 

I started dating a man three months ago, we are both mid 40’s.  He spent 20 years married to a woman, although says he always knew he was gay, and the past 7 years in a relationship with a man, they split 6 months ago.  He is very full on with me and tells me constantly how fond he is of me,  I am fond of him too.  Now, my issue is he has a wondering eye, when we see an attractive man he will not just look but he will gawk, this is making me very uncomfortable and I am wondering if he can be as fond of me as he makes out.  I understand we all look at attractive people, a quick glance I understand, a gawk I kind of find disrespectful.

I have been around the block a few times and realise how men, not just gay men, can be.  I have made it clear that I want a  monogamous relationship as I am tired of playing away, it never really works anyway, nor do I want any mind games (way too old).  It is now getting to the point where I feel extremely uncomfortable if we go out socialising, and I refuse to go onto the gay scene.  When I broach the subject he insists it is in my imagination and that I am being paranoid.  I know I am not seeing things, should I just put up with it and continue, put this down to me having trust issues - or cut my losses before I fall too deep, can men like this change? 

Thanks for your advice

Gawking at someone is downright rude, and his absolute failure to own up to it and apologize is troubling. Sometimes the gawking is done as a signal that the guy you're with a.) isn't ready to settle down with you or perhaps anyone at this point in time and wants to keep things very casual, or b.) he's letting you know that he thinks he can find someone better, obnoxious as that is. This guy has had seven years at least to be with a man, and probably was having sex with men -- sowing his wild oats, so to speak -- all the time he was married, but maybe he needs time to get over the last guy or doesn't want to risk another relationship, or as they say, "just isn't that into you." [If that's the case, don't feel too bad -- it's happened to me and virtually everyone I know. One guy I dated would not only point out "hot guys" but wind up making out with them. What a pig!]

If you want to keep seeing this guy in hopes his feelings for you will deepen and he'll stop acting like a jerk, at least see other men, too. If this guy just isn't interested in a monogamous relationship with you, then move on. Whoever comes into your life next may be just the ticket!

Coming Out and Coming Up

Well, I've said this before, but after finishing my latest book project, I will hopefully have more time to post on this blog (although I have been answering personal questions all along -- however, I'd rather answer them on the blog).

I'll be answering more questions, writing about different aspects of gay life, looking at Gay Men in all their facets, and looking into images of gay men in the media: books, films, theater etc.

If you have a question or an opinion to share, feel free to get in touch!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Daddies -- or not!

What exactly is a daddy? I'm completely confused as to how old a man is supposed to be before he's considered a daddy? Thank you. 

The term "daddy" was originally meant to be a gay man who was also a senior citizen, that is a man who is either retired or on social security, early to mid-sixties or older. It was separate from the term "sugar daddy" -- a man with bucks who supports a young man -- although the two can sometimes be the same. 

Now the term "daddy" has pretty much become meaningless and simply means an older man. This doesn't necessarily mean middle-aged, either. On the gay dating site Daddyhunt the "daddies" often look like 32-year-old porn stars (and often are). But guys in their twenties think of these thirty-somethings as "older men" -- in other words, daddies. Of course this is ridiculous. The site Silver Daddies and some well-known "bear" sites actually feature attractive mature men -- mature meaning at least forty and frequently older, including seniors -- but Daddyhunt is pretty much just a silly marketing tool. It's from the same people as Manhunt and isn't much different. 

I imagine in time the whole "daddy" concept will go back to what it meant originally. In any case, it's just another indication of age discrimination -- the truly older guy can't get a break. 

32-year-old "daddies" indeed!

Bears vs. Chubbies

Is there a distinction between bears and chubbies or chubby chasers?

Yes, a bear is a gay man with facial and body hair. The stereotypical bear is a big man -- not necessarily fat -- but a large, bear-like furry guy. However, the bear community has expanded into different kinds of bears. Bear cubs are younger men, daddy bears are older men (generally seniors), chubby bears are portly guys, and muscle bears are hairy guys with big arms and chests. Otters are bears who are more slender than the average bear; wolves are skinny guys with hair.

It often seems that the chubby chaser movement has completely overtaken the bear movement. Bears were never just supposed to be "fat guys," but people often -- wrongly -- see bears as men who are quite obese or even morbidly obese. These, of course, are chubby bears, not regular bears. (And let's face it, most muscle bears are really chubby bears, their bellies being a much more distinctive feature than the size of their arms.)

When it comes to bears I think a hairy body (as well as a beard or goatee) matters much more than the size of the belly.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dresses and Cleavage in a Bear Bar

Dr. Bill. I hang out at a bar that might be called a bear bar. Now and then a woman comes in from a bar up the street that is known as a drag queen hang-out. I say woman because I believe she is transgendered. She is probably a nice enough person, but she is, unfortunately, rather shrill, borderline obnoxious, and doesn't really fit in with the atmosphere of this bar. Worse, she walks around with money sticking out of her substantial cleavage and encourages the customers to stick money in her boobs. Many of the guys are good sports, but I find this behavior kind of sleazy, as she is not an entertainer for this bar. I'm afraid if I say anything I'll be called a bigot, but I'm also afraid if she isn't discouraged -- especially from soliciting cash -- she'll bring several of her friends to do the same thing. I have nothing against drag queens/transsexuals, but if I wanted to hang out with them I'd go to the bar where they work and hang out. What do I do? I like this bar with its masculine gay atmosphere but if it becomes a drag queen hang-out it will be ruined for me and for most of the customers.

My advice is to wait awhile and see what happens. This gal may just come in for an occasional drink, but if she continues soliciting for cash you have a right to say something to the bouncer or manager. Most gay bars (unless they're outright hustler bars) won't put up with men soliciting cash let alone women or drag queens.

Not everyone finds the drag/ transgender scene entertaining or even relevant in these "bear" days, and I can well understand that an "invasion" of drag queens/trans women would certainly change the atmosphere and dynamics of the bar. There are places that are more appropriate for drag queens. It doesn't make you a bigot if you simply prefer to hang out with guys dressed as guys. After all you are attracted to men. But don't over-react to something that may never become a problem.

Frankly -- and I'm being very politically incorrect here -- I find the drag scene a little passe, although you are right that nowadays many of these "guys" have actually transitioned into gals, although they may retain their penises. Somehow transvestism and transsexuality have become so cemented in the public's mind with homosexuality that far too many people think if you're a gay man you want to wear dresses, which is far, far from the truth. I don't believe we should be transphobic -- transsexuals don't have an easy time of it -- but if a scene is not of interest to you, it just isn't. When it comes to drag shows, for instance -- guys (or gals) in dresses lip-syncing to records -- well, I would sooner have root canal surgery without anesthetic than sit through any more of them.

Like anybody else, most drag queens are nice people and can be a lot of fun, but we certainly know that some of them can be -- well, as you put it -- "shrill and borderline obnoxious," which is true of a lot of people, of course. Because they're ignored by most of the customers, some straight women become very drunk and shrill and difficult in gay bars, and we've all seen our share of "queens" who get all loud and squealing and silly when they've had too much. The transgender community is diverse, of course, and the "shrill," overbearing, over-dressed female has become a stereotype. Not every drag queen/trans woman is like Ru Paul (not that I have anything against Ru Paul). Drag/transgender entertainers -- like any entertainer -- need attention, and if they don't get it ...

Hang tight. Chances are this gal will ultimately want to hang out where she gets more appreciation -- and money.

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 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.


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."