Gay man (a questionnaire)
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1. You've very frequently expressed your attraction to effeminate gay men but I don't recall that you've expressed the specific qualities to which you're attracted. Which qualities attract you to a man, and why? Cite three examples please.
There are personal qualities: 1) The grace to try to accept life's annoyances. An appreciation of the inescapable ironies of being alive. 2) Clarity is the first word that come to mind. Not that they see the world in the same way that I do but in that they aren't fuddled and muddled by prejudice, they can sort of step aside and see the world something like it is. Perhaps another way of saying this is a lack of unjust hate. 3) An interest in life, not necessarily in people or politics but something more than a passive consumption of commonplace entertainment product. Rephrased: individuality.
Physical qualities: 1) I'm most strongly drawn towards people smaller, lighter than myself. I'd like to be able to pick him/her up in my arms, carry the heavy box for him/her. (Not that I can't be drawn to virility but have opted not to). 2) Playfulness with appearance, clothing. 3) This list isn't working out. I certainly prefer femininity but can find lust after anybody if I feel like letting my whim or mood take me that way..
2. You seem to be up to date on the current gay literature scene. What three books or stories do you think are essential for the modern gay man to read?
Not me. I've read very few gay books. I like Alan Hollinghurst's The Swimming Pool Library tremendously and enjoyed his subsequent novels as well. I like Joe Keenan's two gay farces. I've enjoyed some of Rob Rodi's silly novels but they are pretty lightweight. Because I read one I tend to think of a good biography of Wilde (naturally nowadays Ellmann's) good reading for any gay man. It shows how life has changed for us over the last hundred years. And there'd be something to be said for reading Vidal's City & the Pillar but only to see what American gay gay life seemed to be to gay men in the 50's. The closest I can think of being an essential gay book would be anything that would convince bare-backers that safe sex is the only sane course.
I'm not really comfortable with the idea of an essential. Which books are involving, engaging, clarifying for me isn't going to match others people's personal inclination and taste. Pity that most people's inclinations are commonplace.
3. I think that there is a generation gap between me (age 44) and most of the men with whom I associate (largely ten years younger). Do you believe that there is a significant difference between younger gay men and us elder, more stately gents? How would you express (define) that gap? (For reference, I would express it as the difference between the movies The Boys in the Band and Parting Glances.
I'm of a transitional age. Not long before I came out being gay was dangerous in most places. You might not go to jail but you'd get the shit kicked out of you. Some of that lingers on nowadays. Wonderfully, sane can young gay guys fuck and suck with happy abandon. I'm not one much given to apocalyptic scenarios but the possibility of a homophobic cultural reversion is very real. I probably feel that more strongly than the average gay youth.
I'll own a happy feeling of social transgression when I discovered how lovely a man can be. That is diminishing, and with it whatever might be called gay sensibility. Foolish as it is I can't help but wish that gay men would be distinguished by something other than how often they buy lube and condoms.