The Capt. Renault Award for Gay Outrage
You’ve probably seen the famous self-portrait of Norman Rockwell, in which we see the artist from behind, depicted sitting on a stool, peering into a mirror while he paints himself on the canvas.
Imagine that painting with another layer of recursion, and you can see why I find this post so fascinating. It’s by a gay man named Marten Weber, who took his “husband” on a vacation to a gay pride parade. Did they have a good time?
We partied for four days straight (or rather anything but straight), met some very interesting and some very loud people; we gawked at rock-hard abs and bubble butts, danced to all sorts of music including Boney M if you believe it, shouted “I am Titanium” and “Born This Way” a lot, and drooled over the Mr. Gay contestants on the catwalk before heading to a bear bar with some very drunk Australians and Swedes. All perfectly innocent. It’s summer after all.
We went to the White Party, the Black Party, the Jungle Party and the Foam Party, but the real party was always out in the thronged streets. We lamented the loss of our own abdominal definition and vowed to go on a diet started Monday. At five in the morning we stumbled back to our apartment though alleys littered with vomit, garbage, and used condoms. As the sun rose red and pink, we watched the gorgeous model who never looked at anyone finally get his come-uppance in a side street, and gave him a round of applause as he bent over graciously. Drunk with love and sunshine, we fell into bed.
So that would be a ‘yes.’
But it wasn’t all rock-hard abs and bubble butts. Weber was aghast at what happened next.
Now first, you have to know that there’s an app for mobile phones called Grindr, which uses the geo-location capabilities of smart phones to help gay men locate other gay men near them, so they can then go and have some of that committed, long-term monogamous sex we’re always being told is the only kind they have.
It would have been a wonderful day of moderate debauch, if we had not then made the mistake of turning on Grindr.
After another thirty minutes, the picture became very dark. Nine out of ten men invited us to have bareback sex. I first thought “No Latex” was a subtle hint referring to a non-existent clothing fetish. But “Allergic to Rubber” is not really a medical condition. We were presented with graphic images of orgies “in progress” and almost settled on visiting the “fit, sane, down-to-earth US/UK couple” two doors down the aisle when they also insisted on the absence of protection. So much for “sane”. Somewhat shocked, we switched off our phones and went to sleep. That was on the first day.
The following night I asked a reasonably priced and very sweet gogo dancer to help me in a little experiment. At six in the morning, we posted his beautiful body on Grindr and invited people to have bareback sex with him. The result: two-hundred hits, from shy “hi’s” to blunt images hurling through cyberspace without a space suit. One single intrepid soul sent a message of well-meant concern. The rest wanted to do our friend in every imaginable position, as long as there was no latex involved.
It bothers me enormously. It bothers me that on the very afternoon when we were reminded at the rally that 78 countries still punish homosexuals, I received my first message by an 18yo boy begging me for BB sex. It bothers me that we saw so many young guys so high on E and booze and their own youth that they actively sought to be infected with a virus which still doesn’t have a cure. It bothers me that there was not a single HIV information booth at this event, and that no condoms were handed out. When did all that disappear?
The idea that a “married” gay man who takes his “husband” to a gay “pride” festival ends up being appalled at the behavior of other, even more promiscuous gay men is funny enough, but then the first commenter on the thread, someone named Mike Barrett, writes:
I find this article offensive, but more so that you and your ‘husband’ went out searching for sex. You are a fine example of the lack or morality in the gay community. Did you guys ever hear of monogamy? Its absolutely disgusting that this article doesn’t hit on that point, just about BB sex. What a shame you are a writer for a rag that promotes this kind of activity. How nasty does it have to get before you are devoted to your partner!!
Ah, the irony. Everyone seems shocked but me.
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