Could Christwire’s Gaydar Detect MY Gayness?

So, Christwire.org has an article up this week with 15 ways women can tell if their husbands are gay. What, is “an enduring physical and romantic attractions to other men” not a good enough check these days? Apparently this is a problem in our nation. Could it be that the incredible stigma against being gay has forced men to hide their real identity and lead false lives? The way the article reads, the men just don’t know better. In fact, “homosexuality can pop up at any during a long-term relationship.” It’s like sexual orientation whack-a-mole!

And no, I’m pretty sure this is not a Poe. [Hmm… it really has to be. But it’s a good Poe, because it surely has folks on both sides fooled. If people believe it is real, does that make it real?]

I don’t know that I’m the most stereotypical gay. The closet is a figment of my imagination at this point, so I wouldn’t be fooling anybody, but my behaviors don’t necessarily fit. Let’s take a look at how Christwire wants women to identify gay men and see how I fit. (Forewarning: All gay men are obsessed with sex, drugs, and their own bodies.)

By the way, the picture is your first clue: if he’s skinny (skinnier than you), hairless, and has messy Elijah Wood hair, you might be in a really stereotyping photoshoot.

1) Secretive late night use of cellphones and computers

Hmm… I suppose I’m not really secretive about my late night computer use. It’s about 9:30 PM right now as I’m working on this post, which will be visible to the world wide web, so I guess that’s not very secretive.  The author (a man) tells women that “for the sake of trust, a married couple should share everything, including phone logs, email accounts, chat friends and website histories.” Why do I have a hunch a man could easily set up this arrangement specifically to make it easier to hide what he was doing? Hello, Google Chrome Incognito.

2) Looks at other men in a flirtatious way

Alright, guilty as charged. In fact, I struggle with being subtle with my flirtation. I admitted on this week’s Queer and Queerer that I openly objectify my attractive friends. Sorry unattractive friends; when it comes to ogling, I’m as superficial as the next guy. I particularly love my straight male friends who openly flirt back; now that is trust and security in masculinity. Kudos, boys, for getting over yourselves.

3) Feigning attention in church and prayer groups

Not me. While churches might be the best place to pick up dudes, this atheist doesn’t need any closet cases in his life. Sorry, boys, but you won’t have me to prey pray on.

4) Overly fastidious about his appearance and the home

Well, I shower. I don’t have the “certain amount of grit” that “natural men” who sweat and smell have, but I don’t tweeze or get picky about my shampoo. Heck, I’m so old-fashioned I still use a wash cloth and bar soap. That’s gotta give me some straight points. Remind me what this has to do with whether or not I like cock? (Sorry potential employers who are reading this; I’m just being derisive for humorous effect. I hope you’re laughing!)

5) Gym membership but no interest in sports

Nope. Well, not really. I’m not interested in sports, but I don’t have a gym membership either. Just think how much I’ll be able to enjoy life without all the time wasted on my body for the sake of appealing to other guys who are so superficial that not having a six-pack is a deal-breaker. I can be healthy without spending every day trying to look like a Chippendale. Please. (Also, not a big fan of bathroom sex here. Hey! That’s what the article alleges!)

6) Clothes that are too tight and too “trendy”

I do think I look better it fitted clothes, but I’m hardly trendy. My wardrobe largely comes from Kohl’s, Old Navy, and Aeropostale. To all the gay men out there who just fainted, I do at least own one item of clothing from A&F (a super comfy cashmere scarf!). I certainly don’t own skinny jeans, and I don’t have to look at my butt in the mirror to know it looks good, thank you very much.

7) Strange sexual demands

So get this, heteros. If you want butt-sex from your lady, or you want her to tie you up and use you, that means you’re probably gay. You’re not allowed to be adventurous (or even curious) without having “deep emotional abnormalities.” Fetishes are fun. I don’t know who this Stephenson Billings guy is who wrote this POS article, but I’m worried about him. TALK ABOUT REPRESSION. (I’d rather talk about kink!)

8) More interested in the men than the women in pornographic films

There are porn films with women in them? Gross.

(I love you ladies, but… you know.)

9) Travels frequently to big cities or Asia

It’s true that gay culture only exists in Asia. Wait, what? I mean, it’s true that gay culture only exists in big cities. It’s annoying. It drives me crazy that central PA doesn’t have any bathhouses. I mean, where’s a guy supposed to go for lots of random anonymous sex in middle America? (Just kidding, folks, I don’t even know where to go with this one… Thailand?)

10) Too many friendly young male friends

Long hugs with young guys… nice. Incidentally, it was a straight man who bought me that scarf I referenced earlier. He was a good guy. And roommate. I miss him.

He was straight; I promise.

I guess I do have lots of young guy friends, but I’m a young guy, so, I guess, that’s just the way it goes.

11) Sassy, sarcastic and ironic around his friends

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

12) Love of pop culture

Meh. Apparently, “genuine heterosexual men” avoid gossip websites, Glee, and The Golden Girls. I don’t read gossip sites at all, and I’m not overly thrilled with The Golden Girls (at least not like my gay breathren), but I do love Glee. I’m going to say that this one does not adequately apply to me. Do I care that Chelsea Handler is going to host the MTV Video Music Awards? Who?

13) Extroverted about his bare chest in public

Uhhhhh… nope. No shirtlesness, no speedo at the beach.

14) Sudden heavy drinking

I don’t need to hide my distress. No drinking binges, no smoking, no crying. Sorry, Christwire.

15) Ladies, have you dated men in the past who turned out to be gay?

I did date a few girls in high school. Two of them are currently married. I should go ask them…

So how did I score? Only like… five? But you know what? I am gay.

Hey men, don’t beat yourself up. You don’t have to change who you are to be gay. Just come out and be yourself and be happy. Don’t ruin these poor women’s lives. You don’t need them worrying that they’re going to Hell because they think they’ve been infected with teh gay.

I guess I get an extra point for saying “teh.”



Hatemail! I’m a “morally bankrupt piece of subhuman scum”!

Hatemail is fun.

I mean that. You know, sometimes people write long treatises disagreeing with you, and those can be frustrating, but hatemail and disparaging comments are just funny.

The comment came from Aaron on my post about the book Negrophilia. As you recall, this was a book that was heralded by WingNutDaily because a black man was promoting white privilege. It was absurd and needed called out.

Before we get to Aaron’s comment (which has little to do with Negrophilia), you should learn a little about him. I was able to find him on Facebook because he provides his email, and while I will protect his information, I will point out that according to his profile pic (the only thing I can see), he identifies with a group called the Unorganized Militia: Propaganda Corps. From what I can gather, this seems to be a pro-2nd amendment (pro-self-defense, pro-gun rights, “pro-America”) group who are apparently anti-racist. This helps illuminate some of the contradictions and misperceptions in Aaron’s comment, but does not account for the inconsistencies in his approach to social justice.

At any rate, let’s see what Aaron had to say.

Come on people! You can’t take Zack Ford serious.

Well, he’s not even ten words in and already has a grammatical error, so the irony abounds.

The guy has a “Donate to queer or queerer” banner up and he looks like the poster boy for arrested development; and that is just what has been purposefully placed to draw the visual attention first.

Technically, I have a “Donate” button for people who want to make a Paypal donation for the work I do here on the blog and a “Queer and Queerer” button for people who want to listen to my delightful podcast with Peterson Toscano. If you expect me to split the money you donate with Peterson, you better specify that when you make the donation!

Now, I’m not sure who the “poster boy” for Arrested Development would be, but if it’s Jason Bateman or Michael Cera, I will take that as a HUGE compliment. It could be that Aaron meant actual arrested development, as in the antiquated term for severe mental impairment. Even if that’s the case, I still take the notion that I’m cute enough to be a poster boy as quite the compliment.

At closer inspection he has put “ZackFord Blogs | Behold the musings of Zack Ford, a politically-minded white, gay, male, nondisabled, middle-class, atheist educator with a passion for social justice.” at the very top of the page. The guy’s schtick is to be outrageous, like a clown. So, how serious should he be considered?

Well, I do try to be funny, although it’s a dry, sarcastic funny that doesn’t always register. I think the people who are the most funny are often the ones to be taken the most seriously. I trust what I get from Jon Stewart a whole lot more than most of those “serious” journalists on the other cable news networks.

In all actuality, if one considers just how many “Hal Turners” there are being Federally funded by traitors matching his individual definition within the Criminal Government, I’d say not much. His “job” is to be an underminer of ethics and morality. He is most likely funded some how by the cowards within the NSA and FBI to perpetuate their treasonous actions against the People of America and Humanity in General by espousing thier nonsensical and absurdist rantings which they hope will distract people lone enough while they continue to sell everyone out to global corporate bankers.

Now, given that he just compared me to a white nationalist/supremacist, I wonder if he didn’t quite read what I’d written. My point was to challenge white privilege, not reinforce it. For what I know of him, I am no more a fan of Hal Turner than Aaron seems to be.

I would not consider this blog my job. It certainly doesn’t pay like one. The three cents I make each day aren’t really my motivation for writing. I also really struggle with conspiracy theories, because they tend to be so rooted in general paranoia, so Aaron’s lost me there.

I am with Aaron on despising global corporate bankers, though. My hope is to raise awareness—to educate—not to distract with nonsense. I wrote something similar myself earlier this summer.

So, don’t take this guy too serious.

His grammar might be wrong, but at least he’s consistent.

He’s just a morally bankrupt peice of subhuman scum who will always ever contend points with absurdities in hopes to make himself appear supperior while building philosphical foundations made up mud and shit.

The angrier people are when they write, the worse their spelling gets. That’s my hunch, at least for Aaron’s sake.

So, I’m morally bankrupt. This is because I challenge racism? Or religious privilege? Or just plain bad ideas?

Subhuman scum. I’m glad to know that I’m both dirty and do not even qualify as a person.

My points are absurd… or he just doesn’t get them.

I have philosophical foundations made up of mud and shit. From what I learned about some Native American tribes in Elementary School, structures made of mud were sturdy and well insulated. I didn’t even realize I talked all that much about philosophical foundations. I just try to be rational, is all.

The latter of which the guy has a deranged fascination for, his being admittingly gay. He is either a packer or receiver of it. Is it any wonder that he espouses it also?

Somehow the fact that I’m gay is connected to my fascination with muddy/shitty philosophical foundations? I’m not sure I even understand that. I mean, I’m assuming Aaron’s got some moral conflicts with homosexuality that he’s implying here. It’s interesting that he struggles against racism and yet perpetuates homophobia. Bummer.

Ah! No, I get it now. I have a fascination with shit. Because I’m a fudge-packer or something. I get it now.

Well, actually, that is wrong. The world doesn’t need to know the details of my sex life, but I’ll share this much: I’m neither a packer nor a receiver. Not all gay men like anal sex; I’ve never had it. So there. Stereotype busted!

I wish Aaron had made one relevant point. Then I wouldn’t have to make fun of his comment in a full post. But, well, there you have it.



ZackFord Vlogs – #8 – Motor Vehicle Precautions from Central PA Newspapers

Read The Daily Item for yourself:

» Liverpool woman in critical condition today following fall from moving RV

» Peaceful morning disrupted today by a bulldozer



A Perry County Woman Named Loretta Lehman Gets It Right

I just feel the need to crosspost this Letter to the Editor from today’s Patriot-News. Please feel free to defend Lorette on the online version of the article, where she is already being called a hater herself by people who “have gay friends.”

The long list of people we are encouraged to hate:

Union workers — because everyone should enjoy working for $3 an hour.

Illegal aliens — because it’s easier to hate them than the people who have hired them for decades.

Unemployed — because even though they paid unemployment insurance they shouldn’t expect to collect on it.

Welfare folks — we’ve been told to hate them for so many years it’s now part of our DNA.

Non-Christians — because religious freedom went out of style with the Mayflower.

Environmentalists — because their selfish dream of clean air and water has destroyed our economy.

Liberals — because you can never trust anyone who is not driven by pure greed.

Trial lawyers —- akin to a weasel except for corporate trial lawyers.

Minorities — but only until we ourselves become a minority.

Gays — because God has zero tolerance for fornication among those who are not church leaders.

If you listen to politicians and the corporate interests that run our media, you’ll find these groups are targeted over and over. It’s been a distraction as the middle class slowly vanishes.

LORETTA LEHMAN, Wheatfield Twp.

I think she left out judges, whose personal lives and professional standards are scrutinized just for fulfilling their Constitutional obligations.

Rock on, Loretta.



Of All The Shows To See In Vegas… I Saw The Chippendales

Never underestimate the power of the blogosphere.

One of the greatest aspects of being at Netroots Nation was connecting with the bloggers that have been my role models. I could look at my RSS feeds and look around the room and see the writers who generate the content I look to everyday.

In the case of meeting Joe Jervis of Joe.My.God, there was an unexpected perk!

Joe posted about the fact that we were in the same hotel as the Chippendales show. It turns out the show’s publicist, Randy Slovacek, is a fan of Joe’s blog (how could you not be?) and invited him (and those of us lucky enough to be standing in earshot when he got the news) to come to the show.

Now, before I say anything else about the show, I’ll say this. Its primary audience is the ladies, and they eat it up! In fact, their drunken bachelorette/birthday antics are as much a part of the entertainment as the men themselves. But—and Randy was insistent about this point—the show is extremely welcoming of gay men. I can testify that this is the case.

Randy had our little #lgbtnn10 contingent set up towards the back, in what was apparently the Olivia Newton-John booth. We thought this was for the best, as we didn’t want to get in the way of the ladies in the audience having a good time. (This may have also been in the best interest of our physical safety.) I would encourage this tactic for other gay men who choose to attend, but trust me, you’ll still enjoy the show.

I laughed pretty much the whole time. My face hurt by the end. It was an incredibly entertaining evening.

Now, I don’t know what you all know about Chippendales. Maybe you think they’re just strippers. Maybe you think they’re just models. Your only frame of reference might be the classic Chris Farley SNL skit. That’s about all I knew going in (aside from what I’d seen plastered all over the hotel).

I knew nothing.

Yes, their bodies are amazing—almost unreal. But these men have talent! Bryan Chan, for example, does some excellent live singing and also emcees the show. Others join in with live guitar or rapping. (I have to say, I found the men even hotter when they exhibited their musical talent, but as a musician myself, I suppose I’m a bit biased in that regard.) Of course, the choreography defines the show, and these men can move. There were also two extra dancers (who I guess are not official Chippendales, persay) that added some extra impressive dance talent to the show.

There were skits. There was audience participation. There were special effects and set changes. It truly was a theatrical experience! Randy and I chatted afterward for a bit about the creative vision behind the show, and there really is a lot of thought put into it. You might have one scene that gets hot and heavy, the next might be of a classier variety, and the next more light with some audience participation. The ebb and flow keeps the show engaging and interesting, without ever skimping on the hottness.

I also sort of noticed that the show has a lot of similarities to drag. Obviously the appeal of Chippendales is slightly different than drag’s “intrigue of transvesticism” (as Tim Minchin calls it). But consider: they both have lip-syncing and choreography; they both depend on physical spectacle; and they both can be extremely cheesy (or campy, as in the case of drag). They’re sort of two ends of the same stick—men portraying the extremes of men and women. I don’t think this observation detracts from either kind of show, but is definitely interesting to consider. (I actually saw a great drag show later that night; if you’re ever in Vegas, go see the fabulous Shawn M at Free Zone. She does an amazing Sarah Palin and Madonna, and she’s a delight to chat with as well!)

One last thing I have to say about Chippendales is that the guys were actually quite nice. A few of them even came out and greeted us with handshakes and bro-hugs. Can you say you’ve been hugged by a Chippendale? I can.

Now, Randy informed us that the entire cast is currently straight. Word on the street is that this may not be the case, but I will not delve into Vegas gossip here at ZFb. Ultimately, I don’t think it matters. I find the strippers in gay bars to be way too sexual and “dirty” anyway. Contrastingly, the Chippendales men look great, they’re clearly having a good time, and it’s a classy and entertaining show for everybody.

I have to really thank Randy for inviting us to the show and treating us so well, including drinks and gift bags. It was quite a generous gesture, and I was under no obligation to praise the show as I have—the show earned it. If you go to Vegas, make sure you head over to the Rio and see the Chippendales. GAY MEN ARE WELCOME!!

I also want to thank Joe for writing an awesome blog and for being a great new friend. Our night at Chippendales will be a memory I won’t soon forget.



Glee: Why We Love It, Why We Watch It

(Note: Spoilers ahead! Go watch the season finale if you haven’t yet.)

Like a good (gay) son, I got my mother hooked on watching Glee. This was a mistake. Now, every week, she wants to watch, but then I have to hear about everything she doesn’t like about the show. The most common complaint? “The plot is so unrealistic.” My most common response? “Duh.”

But I think there are all things that we don’t like about Glee. Here are a few of mine. Don’t worry, I’m not going to dwell on these; I’ll only be talking about Glee in a positive light after I get through them.

First and foremost, given my background in music education, I hate how easy they make show choir look, especially with the absurd quantity of songs they develop.  The same goes for “the band” that just happens to always be there to slavishly play at the group’s whim, plus the sets that build themselves, the lights that set themselves, and the costumes that sew (or buy) themselves. (I got over all this back at the pilot, but it’s still in the back of my mind every week.)

I hate Sandy Ryerson, the creepy-ass glee club director, who luckily hasn’t been around as much as he was at the beginning. Similarly, there are some weeks where I hate Kurt too. Gay men have only been demonized as pedophiles since they first started coming out—can’t we make them just a little less creepy and stalkery in 2010? Similarly, it’d be nice if Artie could show us what it means to be a part of the disability community instead of playing out the tired old “I still want to walk/dance” plot line. I think we got enough of that from Jason Street on Friday Night Lights, thank you very much. And let’s not get started on the racist jokes that make it into almost every episode.

And last but certainly not least, the show absolutely drives me crazy with all its loose plot lines. I don’t expect full treatment of every character in every episode, but can’t we at least pretend that the previous episode happened? For example, Burt kicked Finn out of their house. So……… what happened to Finn? Nada.

But when I sit down and think about these things, I remember something very important:

Glee is unique.

That’s the entire reason Glee works. It doesn’t try to be anything else. There’s really no model for a television show like it. It lives in its own world.

And I think that’s why we’re unfazed by our own critiques. See, we try to fit Glee into the schema we have for all other television shows and it just doesn’t work.

We see an uplifting show about a group of outcasts succeeding and we think, “Oh, this should have a lot of positive messages like a good after-school special!” Nope.

We see a complex serial drama with interweaving story lines and think to ourselves, “Oh, I can expect to see the next part of the story in the next episode!” Nope, not necessarily.

We have watched so much reality television that we see things on Glee and think, “Oh, that would never happen,” but yeah, on Glee, it does.

What is this amorphous quality that makes us like Glee despite all its incongruities? Why is it that we continue to be obsessed about a show that simultaneously drives us kind of crazy? How does it make us cry when we feel like we haven’t even gotten sufficient character development?

The answer, my friends, is not so amorphous. Glee is musical theatre.

Did you not realize? It’s been hiding there all along.

Most people that I know who claim to not like musicals say it’s because they think it’s unrealistic the way people just break into song. Well, duh, it’s a musical. Hey, this conversation sounds familiar…

Have you ever wondered why “camp” (as in over-the-top extravagant expressionism), and by association, the stereotypical personality of gay men, is all associated with musical theatre? That’s what makes musical theatre work! Musical theatre has to take itself too seriously and be over the top. (And for gay men, this reflects the freedom of not conforming to masculinity as part of hiding in the closet.) For example, in Oklahoma! (a classic), Curly doesn’t really care that it’s a beautiful morning; he’s just horny for Laurey (who later has one of musical theatre’s many drug-induced ballet “dreams”). Realistic? Not entirely. Frankly, think of any musical’s impact and imagine it working without the music. It doesn’t. Let’s not even consider Cats. Yikes.

Music enhances the drama. Music helps us escape the drab reality we live in and takes us to a heightened emotional state. It communicates things we can’t say with words. It builds a connection between us as human beings that is unique. Just as the music lifts us just a little above reality, so too are we then able to appreciate plots that are a little above reality. It’s the music that grounds them for us. The plot lines, at face value, are absurd and campy, but they still reflect real emotions and feelings we can appreciate. The music lets them make sense, and if anything, the impact is all the greater for it. The whole experience is an emotional extravaganza, and when it’s over, we float back down to earth.

Think about this week’s finale. I was really bored by Vocal Adrenaline’s performance of Bohemian Rhapsody,” but I loved the way it was juxtaposed with Quinn giving birth (which we knew had to happen in this episode). It was kind of hokey, but it still worked. It used music to tell the story. (Psst… that’s musical theatre.) And of course “To Sir, With Love” and “Over The Rainbow” made us cry. Hell, “To Sir” even made Sue tear up! Those songs communicated something that mere spoken word couldn’t have replicated. Music is that venue and we just get lost in it and it feels wonderful.

Further proof is in how barren we feel by the emotionally charged scenes that do not include music. They feel quite real, and often quite salient. Think back to when Will finally found out that Terri was faking the pregnancy and the way he unloaded on her. It was so raw, but felt so validating after weeks of her scheming. There was nothing fantastical about it. The same was true of when Kurt’s dad lectured Finn for calling Kurt a “fag” (which I think was one of the most important scenes the show has ever aired). These are the little clues that remind us that the show takes itself seriously and that we should too. Of course it’s absurd most of the time; that’s by design. But it’s that “camp” that helps us appreciate reality all that much more.

Glee isn’t fabulous because Jane Lynch is funny or Cory Monteith is cute. It’s not because Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison sing our pants off every week. It isn’t even because of Madonna, Lady Gaga, or Journey. In the end, all our little complaints melt away and we love Glee because Glee reminds us what it feels like to love one another.

Musical theatre is kind of weird; I’ll be the first to admit it. Think whatever you want of it, but you can’t deny it makes you feel. Glee has successfully encapsulated that for us in weekly supplements in a way television has never tried. It brings us together and I think it deserves a standing ovation.



Is This Why I’m Single?

Yesterday’s Dilbert comic had me asking the question, “Is this why I’m single?”

Dilbert.com

I’d like to think that I have more of a bit-by-bit approach, although the use of the list would be more efficient.

I guess the Dilbert characters are all “angry” and “aggressive” when they express their atheism and skepticism.  They’re always hurting people’s feelings.



Some Days Just Suck (A Poem)

I’m not feeling the greatest about life today. We all have days like that. I thought I’d write a little poem to demonstrate how atheism can be uplifting.

Some Days Just Suck
Zack Ford – May 18, 2010

Some days just suck.

Some days you don’t feel useful.
Some days you don’t feel worthy.
Some days you don’t feel competent.
Some days you don’t feel loved.

Some days just suck.

Some days there is no one to blame.
Some days it’s no one’s fault.
Some days nothing can be done.
Some days are just the way they are.

Some days just suck.

Some days you can’t flirt.
Some days you can’t visit friends.
Some days you can’t give of yourself to the world.
Some days you need a little affirmation anyway.

Some days just suck.

Some people give God credit for good days.
Some people give God blame for bad days.
Some people give God credit for bad days.
God doesn’t have a plan.

Some days just suck.
And that’s that.

And some days are all the better for it.



Congratulations to a Face For Equality Getting Equality!

Many readers will remember the poignant story of Carol Benevy, who I met at the National Equality March and featured in the Faces For Equality collection.

She and her wife have been together since 1998, have been domestic partners (NJ) since 2004, have been in a civil union (NJ) since 2007, and then last year had no legal recognition of their relationship when they moved to Virginia.

Well, just a few weeks ago, Carol and her wife Jodie got officially married in Washington, DC, and now have the legal recognition to match the title they’ve been using for years. Congrats Carol and Jodie!!

To see more Faces For Equality, check out the whole collection of profiles by clicking below.



Do I Have a Successful Blog?

Do I have a successful blog?

I try to do both, but like the smartass in today’s xkcd, I spend more time thinking about content. I want readers who come to the site because they are interested in the content, and hopefully want to interact with it.

How am I doing, dutiful reader(s)?