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."

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.