Gay But Not Happy

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Rodney Manlove is Gay But Not Happy

The cover copy tells us that Rodney Manlove is gay but not happy about it. The name Rodney Manlove sounds so familiar I wonder if there was a series featuring him or I encountered similarly unclever names for gay men in trashy paperbacks.

In the bad old days gay men in popular fiction were usually never about it. The books would end with him staring into his drink or committing suicide. I think the few Greenleaf Classics I read shortly after coming out were the first gay novels (perhaps too grand a term for them) that ended with a gay couple happily in love. This was just before the fat gay potboilers of the Gordon Merrick era.

Wonder if the real Dick Dale (of Hot Licks fame) ever saw this cover? Can't imagine anything so unsexy being put on a book cover nowadays. Looks more like to straight insurance salesmen about to play six holes of golf before heading to the clubhouse for martinis.


There has been a great change since I first knew I was gay. The book above symbolizes another time. Now at 52, I’m unhappy there’s no lover in my life. And then I think of all the troubles I’ve had with lovers. And I think of all those who left this world earlier than they were supposed to leave. One can get unhappy quickly…but what a new world! There is exploration in areas of the mind that leave me breathless. To be 18 again…only if I can know what I learned up to now.

If you are romantic, and so many of us are, lack of a lover can rule our thoughts. I broke myself of that long ago. It was either do it or be miserable.

Yeah, it’d be great to be a young man again with the insights gained from age. But I figure I’d just make a different set of mistakes. Emotions and passions have a nasty way of defeating knowledge.

At least if the gay youths of today grow up unhappy it won’t be because of their sexuality.

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