Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where are the "Edgy" Guys?

I was recently at the Eagle in New York one Sunday night and I noticed a lot of guys in alligator shirts and designer clothing and I swear I felt like I was in some twink bar catering to the fashion or hairdressing set. Where were the edgier guys, the shaved heads, the tattoos, the grizzled older macho men that I go to leather bars to find? Is leather culture on its way out? I heard that the Mr. Leather contest in New Jersey was open to women! What on earth has happened to the leather scene? Anon.

Well, I'm no expert on the leather scene, but I don't think it's on its way out any time soon. I have also been to the Eagle on a Sunday and observed the same thing you did -- I was the only cueball [shaved head] on the roof deck! I believe Sundays attracts a wider variety of men at the Eagle and perhaps everywhere else.

I think leather bars know that some men come because of the masculine atmosphere and aren't really into the leather or fetish scene. So they set aside one night when only men in full leather regalia are admitted [Thursdays, I believe, for the New York Eagle].

It's possible that hardcore leather fetishists and gay men into kinkier scenes hang out in other places and have their own clubs. [And of course the leather scene is not strictly gay.] I know some hardcore leather men think of most modern-day leather bars as, as you imply, fashion shows. [At least the New York Eagle isn't as bad as the Boston Eagle, which is by no stretch of the imagination a leather bar. At least that was the case. It may have changed, but probably not.]

As for women in "Mr. Leather" contests? It sounds completely idiotic and pointless, as there can always be [and probably is] a Ms. Leather competition. Sounds like political correctness run amok. UPDATE: Actually there is one contest for men [Mr. Leather] and another for women [Ms. Leather]. It is not true that women compete in the Mr. Leather contest, at least not in New Jersey. There was no Ms. NJ Leather in 2008, but there was a Mr. NJ Leather.

Try the Eagle on another night and you might find some of those edgier guys you were talking about.

In the meantime, here's a link to a piece I did on the leather/fetish scene for The [now defunct] New York Blade.

Dating Sites for Big Guys

Dr. Bill, I am a larger guy. I am also very honest and do not want to hide things. I have decided to be upfront in my profile about my body size. This is usually one of the first things we discuss if we talk over the phone. Should I change this? I believe this is one thing that will come out especially if we meet. If my body size is going to be a deal breaker I feel this should be shared up front. I am very discouraged and feel like giving up. I have tried several dating sites with no luck. If you know of any sites that cater to older (59) men who are large I certainly would appreciate your help. Thanks.

Never give up! I have to say right off the bat that I am always seeing large guys -- be they a bit [or a lot] chubby or simply big and tall men -- being cruised in bars [especially bear bars], so I know there are plenty of admirers for larger men. And yes, even older larger men.

Be upfront about your size on any web sites. Some guys are positively turned on by large men. I used to be a lot heavier than I am now and I was always amazed at the guys who seemed to be turned on by my sheer bulk or by my belly. [When I lost weight I used to joke that I'll lose all my boyfriends, but luckily that didn't happen. There's someone for every size!]

If you lie and say that you're thin or small or what-have-you, the truth will come out when you meet face to face, so what's the point? As I say, I believe there are enough men who are into big guys of any age that there will hopefully be men who are interested.

Check your profile and see if there are any other things that might be a problem. While honesty is always the best policy, you don't have to tell them everything!

I find that big men are much admired in the bear community. Even if you're not a hairy, bearded bear type, you can still find admirers. [If hairy guys are a turn-off to you, I can also tell you that many bear sites also have smooth-skinned men on them].

You might have tried some of these sites already:

BiggerCity, the web site for gay chubby men and their admirers. And there are similar sites if you google.

Silver Daddies for older men and the men who admire them. Recommended. Lots of older guys, big guys, chubby guys etc. Something for every taste. for bears and bear admirers of all ages, types and sizes.

Bear411 Ditto. As I say, big men are appreciated in bear culture.

Good Luck!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Letting Go and Moving On

I am a gay man and I have a platonic friend, another gay man in his early forties, who has come out of the closet and left his wife. Well, let's say the two are divorced, but he never really left. They do everything but live together. My friend badly wants to be in a committed relationship with a man, but I've told him that any guy he gets serious about is going to be a bit put-off by all the time he spends with his wife, [Everytime I go over to his place she's there!] which has already happened more than once. He says he's fully accepted that he's gay, totally gay, and he and his wife have become good friends, which is fine as far as it goes. What can I say to him to make him understand that it's okay to be friends with the ex-wife but that he needs to keep boundaries if he's ever going to move on. By the way, they have no children. Anon.

I can see what the problem is here and it's a common one in these situations. Often when mixed marriages end because one partner comes out, it's the straight spouse who has trouble moving on -- but sometimes it's both of them.

Your friend was in the closet for quite a few years, I imagine, and now in middle age he's part of a whole new community. It's understandable that he would still need his wife's friendship [and often what couples in these mixed marriages have going for them is friendship and little else] because he's still testing the waters. The wife was probably his best friend for many years, and still is. The trouble is that while he's looking for a new relationship, she may still be in love with the guy and is reluctant to move on. The fact that she's at his place all the time indicates that she still needs to be in his life, but there's a difference between being part of someone's life and clinging to someone who wants and needs to move on. It's good that they're friends, but you're right that boundaries need to be set. As they have no children together, there is no reason for her to be hanging out with him excessively.

I assume from what you say that a couple of budding relationships ended because the wife was around a little too much and made the guys he was dating uncomfortable. That's understandable. Any man who wants to enter into a relationship with your friend needs to know that a.) the wife is over him and is not going to be a problem and b.) he's over his wife and is ready to move on with someone new, specifically a man.

His ex-wife needs to start dating. Know any single straight guys? You might have your friend suggest that his wife contact the Straight Spouse Network, whose whole purpose is to give support to heterosexuals who are or were married to gays.

Also understand that your friend probably feels a great deal of guilt. Coming out for him was a reason to celebrate; but it was probably devastating for his wife. He married this woman under false pretenses, and he doesn't want to blow her off because he already feels bad enough for what he's "done" to her. At the same time, they have both got to understand and accept that the "romantic" part of their relationship is over.

Both of them can find happiness with new people while remaining good friends, a happy result that often comes about when mixed marriages come to an end. Hopefully your friend will realize that sooner than later.

Gay Husband?

Hi there. I suspect my husband is gay. I honestly can't say that I think he has ever cheated on me, I don’t even know if he’s ever had sex with a man. However, I have many many reasons to believe that he has lots of internalized homophobia. Thing is, I don’t know what to do about it. I’m so unhappy that I’ve started considering leaving him. For a very long time, I thought it was me, but I came across this article the other day, and it just made me think. Funny thing is, I actually asked him if he is gay, a long time ago. Anyway, I’m rambling. I hope you can tell me something, anything, that can help. Thanks for the wonderful blog, has great information.

Thank you. Now I'll see if I can address your problem

You haven't given me a lot to go on here, but I assume you think your husband might be gay because of homophobic attitudes on his part? Men who are constantly going on about "fags" and the like do generally have issues. It may be that they're repressed homosexuals themselves, or it may be they have a serious inferiority complex. [Inferiority complexes are one of the main causes of prejudice; an insecure person needs to feel "superior" to as many people as possible, including entire groups of people.]

You approached the gay issue many years ago but it's obvious that you need to do it again. Don't accuse him of being gay. Even if he is homosexual he probably does not identify that way and may be in serious denial. Tell him that it doesn't make him a bad person, that there's nothing wrong with being gay, but that both of you are unhappy and things need to be resolved. If he admits he has an attraction for men, suggest he get counseling at a gay center or therapy from a gay or gay-friendly therapist to help him deal with it. If he's adamant that he's not homosexual -- there may be other issues as I suggested -- he may still need therapy to help him deal with those issues. At this point it's too early to go into what might or should happen if he comes out, as his true sexual orientation is yet to be absolutely determined.

One thing you should do is contact the Straight Spouse Network. This is an organization for people who are married or were married to gay or bisexual spouses. As they say on their website:

The Straight Spouse Network (SSN) is an international organization that provides personal, confidential support and information to heterosexual spouses/partners, current or former, of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender mates and mixed-orientation couples for constructively resolving coming-outproblems. SSN also offers research-based information about spouse, couple, and
family issues and resources to other family members, professionals, community
organizations, and the public. SSN is the only support network of its kind in
the world.

They may be able to provide information and support. In the meantime if you'd like to email me with more information -- more details on why you think your husband is gay -- I'll be happy to discuss this with you further.