LGBT

Serious two-bite brownie habit

it helps me forget how awful we’ve become


The sex here is awful—and such small portions!

1. SEX

SUFFERING TODAY FROM Eine-kleine-schokolade-kuchen-schade, which is the bewildered, mushed-together feelings of shame, hopelessness and despair I experience walking home from the corner store, having purchased a pack of “Two-Bite Brownies” for later, mindful delectation. But I am desperately empty now and I eat them en plein air.  

It’s snowing lightly and I feel the chilly kiss of snowflakes on my hand as I reach into the brownie bag and pop another one into my mouth. I lick my index finger and press it onto the few remaining crumbs, suck them back, like a crack addict mining the shag carpet, unable to accept that his few fleeting moments of pleasure are done.

This was supposed to be about pleasure, wasn’t it? Or maybe I just used the brownies to, as it were, bribe my anxiety to get out of the house and go see a movie. I feed myself like a depressed new mother feeds the squalling unwelcome alien who popped out of her womb. What do I have to do to shut him up?

I’m tired of being one of the adults, sometimes the only one. I’m tired of peering into the dark and telling myself that everything will be all right. I crave comforting placebos: a hint of childlike sweetness, some undemanding chocolatey depth and a little quotidian complexity. I want a Schubert Impromptu; a Chopin Nocturne; a fugue from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.

I want sanity and order and not quite predictability; more like inevitability, but that of a bud coming into flower more than the fruit’s decay. I want to forget, just for a brief, gooey moment, about death and hatred and everything I’ve broken just by being alive and in the same room.

I want to forget about sex.

Craigslist forgot about sex.

Craigslist succumbed to our never-ending panic over sex, in its common-or- garden and educational forms, after its erstwhile competitor, Backpage dot com, got cocky, if you’ll pardon the expression, and rather lackadaisical about a little matter of underage girls. These knock-off Lolitas, who should have been selling nothing fancier than Girl Guide cookies, proffered their sexual services to stoked-up pervs, for cash, with online ads that left nothing to the imagination, then enhanced them with raunchy selfies that screamed, “Over here, Children’s Aid Society! We wanted to make sure you and the vice squad had lots of evidence!”

The Backpage Horror is a classic example of how you can start out with absolutely no good intentions and a disingenuous belief in laissez-faire, drift into awfulness, then say,

Oh, how did we get here? We never noticed before about the fourteen-year-old girl hookers, and anyway, doesn’t everyone do that—? No? I guess we all kinda got used to it!

Are you sure….?

and not even bat an eye until five hundred police divisions and ten centuries of jurisprudence come parachuting into your call centre.

Because, more than ever, in times of stress and uncertainty, we North Americans cling to the truths that have sustained us through famine, world wars and native genocide: that sex is wrong and sex is sinful; that we endure its distasteful bumps and grinds because, apparently, we are in the grip of a compulsion to produce unnecessary, smaller versions of ourselves with whiny, high-pitched voices and a tendency to spit creamed spinach in our faces.

Sex has become awful, as awful as the people practising it. Sex, primarily, is a weapon that men use against women. Men in positions of power and of trust, your sons or husbands or bosses, maintain their bragging rights in the locker room by casually reducing their female colleagues, employees or trophy wives to scalps on their belt.

Sex is that smelly, messy, hairy chore that needs to be airbrushed, deodorized and manscaped; Sex produces the involuntary squint, the pursed lips and the face hiding from the cumshot’s spray. I am quite fond of you, but may I be on record as saying: I never signed on for body fluids!

Sex is not the naked guy in front of you in the motel room who breaks your heart with his beauty and devours you with his longing while the afternoon sun beats through closed curtains. Sex has left the building, and sex is never now. Sex is just a possibility, the next big thing, the guy or guys, bland and identical as supermarket fruit, a certain number of GPS yards away (maybe even in the next motel room) who are out there waiting to be recruited; so you must log on —sexual encounters without a device no longer exist—line-up ten, then dump nine, exactly what they’re doing to you. The result is that sex is handily avoided, time’s up! and besides, you’ve started to wonder if there’s something suspicious about the way your desktop background keeps changing.

Did you do something malicious to my computer? You are awful!

Sex is the great defiler of the under-prepared and the irresistible tempter of the over-informed. Sex makes us cry, reflexively, “What about the children?” because sex involves body parts, male lust and female mystery, parental control and teenage curiosity, and someone, somewhere is going to have the awful idea of teaching the names of body parts, how to deal with male lust, how to give consent. But if you name those body parts, they’ll start to pay attention to them, and if they can give consent, what’s stopping them from skipping chemistry class, giving consent, and creating a few explosions of their own?

This, I’ll bet you one intact Trojan, is what has driven Ford Nation to roll back the sex ed curriculum in Ontario. It’s homophobia, doing double-duty; pulsating behind the superficial reasonableness of children must be protected; children will be sexualized; children can’t cope with knowing the names of their genitals.

What about the children?

What, Ford Nation is saying, what about the pervy fingers of gay men who itch to stroke and probe and excite and defile; what about innocence, and making children say “penis?”

(There is nothing more taboo than a dick, because there is nothing more contingent, more recalcitrant, more unbiddable. Men must be structural engineers before we’re lovers; our success is one awkward moment away from disaster. We dare not let you see how pathetically, hilariously vulnerable we are.)

But wait! Surely gay men are attracted to other men, by definition? It’s pedophiles who are attracted to children (and specifically under the age of thirteen). What gives?

Conservative minds are simple minds, tirelessly engaged in explaining how stuff works to other simple minds. If it fits on your fender, it’s true. Thus, sex is a necessary evil, gay men are a perverse evil, sex education is a Liberal evil and of course child molestation is an unforgivable evil. BINGO! All for one and one for all and evermore shall be so!

Sex is the great defiler of the under-prepared and the irresistible tempter of the over-informed.

Most abused kids know their abuser; when kids are abused it’s usually within the family circle, by heterosexual men; but never mind, give it up, because het is normal; gay men—perverts, queers, nancy boys, poofs, faggots—are abnormal, thus more logical suspects. This one never changes and this one never dies.

Artful arsefulls of awfulness.

Parents labor under the misapprehension that their children belong to them, like their Ford Fiesta or their fifty-six inch smart TV. Our children are chattels, slaves born of our flesh to be whipped and abused and browbeaten and guilted into doing exactly as we say and believing exactly what we believe: Our alternative facts; the facts that should have been reality if anyone had been paying attention.

But children, saith the U.N., are autonomous beings with rights, and one of these is the right to the best education that can be provided.

This means children have a right to be educated about their bodies. Young men have the right to be educated about treating women with respect; young women want to confirm that their bodies are their own to control; young people want to know how to consent, and, yes, they fully intend to do so.

What about the children? Why do we ask this question when so many acts and omissions prove beyond any doubt that we do not care? Is it a cynical political posture or are we actually so deluded as to think our enraged attempts at control and our denial that every system we’ve built has catastrophically failed are the acts of loving guardians?

We don’t care about exposing kids to violence, whether as entertainment or as live-action classroom assassinations. The lucky survivors are ruined souls: white-haired, soot-faced trauma victims, twenty-first century chimney sweeps.

We don’t care about children living in poverty because we decided not to fix the worst aspects of capitalism: its focus on profit to the detriment of the public good; its monopolies, corporate and social, concentrating wealth, therefore power, in the hands of a very few. We don’t care about crippling student debt or that we’ve sold out universities, once centres of original thought and incubators of genius, to corporations, to be run like businesses with profit as their sole motive.

We don’t care that we’ve fucked the planet, bled it dry, squandered our kids’ inheritance, because we know it will be our kids’ problem, not ours. We’ll be dead when the ice caps melt and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans thunder into shore, engulfing in mere hours what has taken generations and centuries of struggle to achieve; We’ll be dead when democracy is replaced with anarchy, its soundtrack the blasting-off of private space shuttles launching to convey the planet fuckers to another fuckable planet. Our kids will have to deal with that, so long, losers!

We don’t care about our kids.

It appears that all we care about is what our kids will do with their genitals, lest they embarrass us with their sexual virtuosity or raise the ire of whatever fairy-tale ogre whose cult we follow, whose jaws drip blood and bone; the ogre who claims to love us, then shakes us from his sandals like dust.

If we believe god made the world and saw that it was good, why did we trash it; fill the lakes with shit and strip the trees from the hills and poison the air? 

If he made the birds and beasts and everything that crawls upon the ground, and gave Adam the privilege of naming them, why did we cage them for our vicious entertainment, pen them, miserable and terrified, in lakes of their own waste, slaughter them so we could stuff our expanding bellies until we literally died from greed?

If god made our bodies that experience pleasure, why would god not want us to enjoy that pleasure? Why did we choose agony as our only offering and make suffering our primary achievement?

Great big Noah’s Arks of awful.


2. BAD SEX

GAY GURU SHAUN PROULX, venting his righteous anger like an Old Testament prophet but with less sackcloth and more interesting hair, hits the nail on its swollen mushroom head when he excoriates the current crop of fags as douches, albeit unintentional ones. He generously, partially ascribes this to the wiping out of the older generation by AIDS— the men who should have been here to guide them.

“The proof is in the pudding!” one of my awful acquaintances is wont to shout; and I bite my tongue so that I may not lose my cool and man-to-mansplain him that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, idiot!

(Seriously? As long as he’s happy and not focused on me, I’m good.)

The proof of this douche pudding may be the lost generation of guides, or it may be that social media, our beloved burbling cesspit of dreck, has reduced attention spans to nanoseconds and identity to self-serving fakery.

Looking for now, now now! Nope, not fast enough!

You are all fungible. You will do, old shoe, as well as you and you and you. What was your name, again?

Our hook-ups insult us, lie to us, steal from us, gossip about us, go crazy on us. Our hook-ups have never heard of the hostess gift. Our hook-ups are cynical eternal teenagers, wanting an increase in their allowance, and free wi-fi. Our hook-ups don’t like our food or our drinks and are amazed that we’ve read all those books.

Our hook-ups have not brought with them the five things without which they cannot function; we must provide them. Our hook-ups are laughing at us even as they exploit us.

How would my dead comrades—lutenists, and counter-tenors, and artist-inventors of imaginary tribes, and poets, and long-haired angels and choreographers and lovers—how would they even have begun to train these sad, wet pups?

Tabernac ! Marie-Joseph ! Atrocités que vous n’avez jamais imaginé !

And with the older generation gone, gone is technical mastery of sex. My challenge to you, gentlemen: Try to get a decent blowjob from an 18-year-old.

What is this? A half-hearted closing of dry, chapped lips around my dick, no idea of how hard to grip, or where, no consistency or sense of drama, no crescendo in the build-up, and now, thirty seconds in and with their reserves of concentration depleted, their eyes begin to wander. Fatal error! Now they are looking for something shiny that will actually amuse them or something bland and starchy they can microwave.

They never expect what happens next. Their insulting behavior towards me and my dick guarantees an experience, maybe their first, of sexual rough justice. As they reach for their iPhone, I shove their head down on my cock, holding it tightly with splayed, lube-y fingers; I shove it down hard until they gag, and when I hear them gag I don’t release them.

Are you kidding? I watch with pleasure as their faces turn purple and their eyes bulge and water and they start to splutter and flail, and I hold just a little bit longer until they are afraid. Then I let them go; they race back up to the surface like divers whose lungs are bursting, breaking the surface with wild gasps for breath that are close to sobs.

We have nothing at all to say to each other. Correction: You have nothing at all to say to me. You’d have to have something to say to me before I would say to you the many things I have to say to you, but won’t.

And you don’t.

With my compatriots gone, gone, gone to graveyards every one, we have lost the etiquette, the caring, the finesse of sex.

Young man walks into my room at the bathhouse. I’m naked, except, of course, for the army boots; don’t pretend you don’t know the look.

He walks in and flips my limp dick with one hand. Hey, I just arrived and haven’t popped a Cialis yet.

“Do you ever get hard?” he says.

I’m 63. Do I ever get hard? Is that the question?

Oh, I get hard. You’d better believe it.

I also have a refractory period that’s measured in weeks. I last came last Tuesday. My erection’s time frame is geological, like Mount Vesuvius.


What the hell am I doing in a bathhouse?

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How Much is a [Gay] Life Worth?

twenty-five years with the possibility of parole


Bruce McArthur will be 91 when he is able to apply for parole. CREDIT: Pam Davies/CBC

Bruce McArthur, the serial killer who targeted gay men in Toronto from 2010 to 2017 — yes, for eight years — and who evaded capture even after being brought in for questioning as a suspect in 2013, was finally caught, say Toronto Police, “after we got aggressive.” *

* all italic text in this post represents a verified fact or an actual quote.

Don’t break a nail, will ya? Apparently after eight years of abject failure, our bungling boys in blue were forced to butch it up, skip their “Iron John” retreats, ceramics workshops and macrobiotic cooking classes and try something more radical, more “think-outside-the-box”.

“If he’d been black, some scumbag drug user or a homeless person, it would’ve been a different story,” said an officer assigned to the case who preferred to remain anonymous. “We would’ve haunted that muthafucka day and night until he was nailed to the wall!

“For example, we advocate for the full sentence in cases of trafficking in meth — life in prison for those assholes!

“Can you imagine the untold harm it causes to choose to use a drug in the privacy of your own living room that your betters have unilaterally decided is just wrong, except in cases of substantially the same drug being prescribed by doctors, or that will be legal tomorrow, now that they’ve figured out how to make lots of money from it?

But getting back to snuffing out queers, with them we totally throw the book for jay-walking or for looking a little emaciated and not disclosing. Like, one cough in your face and you’ve got the AIDS, no question! Try explaining that to your kids!

“We generally save the gentle, non-investigative approach for white guys who tell a good joke and can obviously hold their drink. That leaves us with lots of energy for the important issues, like covering up our incompetence and beating up perps down by Cherry Beach. I mean, you gotta choose your battles, right?

“Unfortunately, Mr McArthur took unfair advantage and pulled the wool over our eyes by being white and, we naturally assumed, heterosexual. The landscape gardening thing was a definite red herring, but the huge clay pots just shouted macho. What can I say? We all took the bait.

“As far as the anonymous tips go, we naturally figured, bunch of hysterical queens with nothing but animus towards any kind of authority. These guys had no father figure in their lives, so naturally they get antsy when someone with a bulletproof vest tries to tell them what to do.

“Also, when we asked Bruce if he’d lured all those faggots into his van, he said ‘no,’ ” the officer continued. “How could we have known that a serial killer would actually lie? It just boggles the mind! It’s like there’s no integrity anymore!”

Toronto Police have had a few misses in a the past while, and not just with the gay men who “disappeared,” which as we all know gay men tend to do anyway when they’re feeling a bit sulky or crave a little extra attention. There’s also the case of the girl from North Bay who failed to respond to her mother’s phone calls.

“We looked for that kid all over town,” said the rookie assigned to the case, “but I missed the class where they suggested that you should look in the immediate vicinity of where the person was last seen. That was an eye-opener, or in my case, not!”

The young lady in question, described in detail by our contact as “a piece of worthless trash who’d thrown away her life to use drugs and offer her sexual favours to any number of guys,” was eventually found by her mother, who, in her desperation, traveled the four hundred miles from North Bay to Toronto to do the search herself.

By a sheer stroke of luck, the canny mom went to the girl’s last address, looked to the right, and discovered an adjoining entrance where she found a body, and immediately recognized her daughter, who’d been strangled.

“Frankly, we wish the public would not take matters into their own hands. It makes us look like idiots!” our contact stated, clearly put out by this bit of amateur detective work. “And if that mom’s in shock, well, let that be a lesson to her. Leave the heavy lifting to the experts, guys who are able to discover bodies and not get so emotional about it. I mean, isn’t that just like a woman!”

McArthur typically lured his victims into his van, tied them up, sometimes used “g” (the date-rape drug) on them, then suffocated them. After some freaky business with a fur coat, he dismembered the men then buried them in various locations, including in giant planters on the properties of his landscaping clients.

McArthur cleverly avoided allowing the public to suffer distress from hearing details of the case by pleading “guilty,” thus obviating the need for a trial.

Justice John McMahon, at the sentencing, had the following tough words for the perp:

“Bruce McArthur, you are an a evil man who clearly deserves another chance. I mean, consider your age. If you didn’t have parole, it’s like — your life would be over! How would I be able to look myself in the face?

“Plus, you confessed. Obviously serial killers have gotten a bad rap! I say to the public, is there not some good in everyone?

“And there’s a fine line between retribution and vengeance, kind of like the fine line between killing someone because you hate them, and just killing someone for the sheer thrill of doing so. I can’t say that there was any personal animosity, here, just the devil-may-care antics of a landscape gardener who got a bit too enthusiastic with his being annoyed at poofters with, face it, no immediate family to get upset, and mostly brown skin.

“It could happen to anyone!

“We’ll run your sentences concurrently, so you can wow everyone with your best-selling memoir in twenty-five years’ time. Personally, I can’t wait to make a cup of cocoa with lots of miniature marshmallows, snuggle into my big armchair by the fire and have a good, scary old read!”

We attempted to reach Justice — but her voice message said she’s on permanent leave of absence.

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In which I make nice to evangelical Christians…

…to Louis C.K., not so much.

HAPPY NEW YEAR. Welcome to the dank, stinking, deep-webbed birth of two thousand nineteen C.E., the year born with a widow’s peak and with swastika-black cat-eyes wide open; the year that explodes from the belly already signed-up for Uber and deploying its influential personal brand. Two thousand nineteen is the malevolent offspring of The Storm who can read the runes, divine the sinister intent in the charred bones and slippery entrails of a former President’s funeral…

…Look! as the playback enters digital slo-mo and we zoom in on Laura’s face, hard and expressionless as stone. She turns with unnerving calm toward George, her downward glance at his right hand spun out to thousands of frames per second; he passes into her left hand an assassin’s final message… 

…White envelopes. In every shot, members of the congregation are handling large, sealed, white envelopes…

…A specialist commentator reads body language, like a sportscaster: Obama’s bored; Clinton’s agitated; Trump’s the only one engaged. She’s right, it seems, but Trump is simply projecting his fascination with his own inner dialog; he’s wondering who’s next he can sack or screw…

What is in the white envelopes? God, what is it?

What’s in the envelope? What is the most obvious supplement, at a state funeral, to the souvenir program and the hymnal? In the wacko world of The Storm, there’s a white envelope, but what is in it? What must it contain?

“Child pornography,” of course: Our sad, lonely epoch’s psychopathic fantasy, its omnipresent allegory of the unspeakable and the uncontrollable.

Child porn—which undeniably exists, but not, as hysteria would have it, around every corner or as a constant given in the lives of our enemies—like the “satanic ritual abuse” of the 80’s, is our generic catch-all for the worst and our ultimate smear tactic, our most indelible stain. It is Medea’s hideous gift of poison coat and coronet that adhere to the flesh and boil it off the bones.

Our desire to stain—someone, anyone, signals our outraged helplessness and our unbounded paranoia. Our innocence, which is to say our trust, has been violated; we have no one to turn to; we sense we can never be as before. Our acting-out is a cry for help not from, or even about, children, but from ordinary, once-sane adults, from you, your neighbours, relatives and friends.

We’re all reduced to faceless confused casualties, wandering in and out of shiny dioramas constructed for our distraction. We’re eaten alive: our most banal secrets pimped out for ready cash, our daily routines surveilled and mapped to the millimeter.

Our thoughts and even our dreams take only the tightly circumscribed, brightly lit paths offered to them, rat mazes continuously reconfigured by the insidious soul-snatchery of THE DEVICE.

And someone must pay.

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WELCOME to another year in which Parkland’s traumatized students, their teen years abducted then wiped out by the goons of the NRA, continue their quixotic battle for gun-control and try to recall anything of life in the time before, the time when their lives were ordinary kids’ lives, with no dangers more serious than turf toe, a fight with your best friend, the awkwardness of a first kiss.

For their efforts they are mocked by sad-sack dirt-bag comedian Louis C.K., who asks rhetorically, in his new comedy routine, if they think having survived a mass shooting makes them “interesting.”

No, Louis, in fact they’re the only ones in the room who aren’t thinking of themselves or their image. They’re trying to extract what paltry healing or meaning they can from the spilt blood and torn bodies of their lost classmates.

They’ve put aside their private grief to work for the common good of all Americans—even you, Louis. The beauty of what they are doing breaks my heart. They are doing the work that adults have abandoned.

Unrepentant adults, derelict in their duty, were too busy concocting puerile, self-serving fantasies to safeguard their vulnerable children, and instead sent them to school, blind, deaf and dumb, innocent as snow, to be bloodied by bullets, sacrifices on the stone of their stupidity.

To honor the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, to propitiate its gods, to affirm its overriding, universal importance, children had to die. They had to.

American life is a lottery: A madman gets a gun; Kids die. You win some, you lose some. This is— just the way it has to be.

The teens of Parkland are doing what no teen should ever have had to do.

They are making, Louis, the changes that you are too limp to effect, impotent as you are with the pathetic, needy impotence of the flasher. The extent of your comic genius is to diminish their hope, ridicule their bravery and discount their terrible rite of passage, to spit your contempt. You’re revealed not as a fiery preacher of intellectual freedom but as an angry, bitter flop. No, Louis, it’s you who wants to be “interesting.”

Instead, you’ve revealed yourself as a rapist: a rapist who uses words to violate his victims instead of his cowed flesh-puppet, but whose mind is every bit as guilty as if he’d pinned them down until he’d finished.

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RECENTLY I STARTED a new daily regime that involves, as its core feature, acknowledgement of the existence of people other than myself.

You know, and can I just say, seriously: It’s been hell.

This all developed from my attempt to figure out, via highly structured, in-depth research, why more people weren’t paying attention to me. Well, slice me to ribbons under the Queen streetcar if it doesn’t turn out that if you pay more attention to people, they pay more attention to you.

I was fortunate enough to quite randomly pay attention to Mark Landry, whose blog is at Peacehacks.com, and he in his turn, as God is my witness, paid attention to me—just as the Newtonian Law of Blog Attraction predicted.

Then I discovered—in-depth, remember—that he was, and that his blog was targeted to, evangelical Christians.

Ah, yes. Evangelicals. Nineteen sixty-nine marked the riotous start of gay rights at the Stonewall Tavern, and subsequently that new visibility of the gay sub-culture that was like having all our protective camouflage ripped off and being herded into a clearing, ready for the Evangelicals’ open season. And the buttoned-down but very burned-up Anita “Come to the Florida Sunshine Tree” Bryant, as fellow freshman fag-seniors will recall, was perfectly positioned to light the straw at the foot of the stake as Christ’s perky, big-haired Joan of Arc.

Bryant was so effective in her noxious anti-gay crusade that—true story—every fag and every fag bar in North America boycotted Florida orange juice, thereby getting her fired from the Florida Citrus Commission’s ad campaign and utterly destroying any tiny remaining flicker of social cachet that still dangled from the tiara of the Screwdriver, nature’s own breakfast cocktail.

Save Our Children was the slogan of Bryant’s campaign, a once-whispered sentiment now finally heard loud and clear. She was adamant that gay men were out to recruit the young ‘uns and instruct them in our deplorable lifestyle, a toxic untruth that still, sixty years later, blazes barely contained under the surface of the discussion, like the Centralia mine fire of homophobia.

I don’t know if Bryant is dead, yet, but I’m definitely not. On peacehacks.com I gingerly offered my two nickels (inflation) on a post by Mark in which he had suggested his fellow Christians should get with the program and stop vilifying the caravan of Central American desperate and poor. (“Heaven is a gated community!” one gentleman offered; I didn’t check to see if he worked for ReMax or was offering time-share.)

Mark responded to my comment in a way that made me feel completely right and even appreciated for having participated. Later in the day I noticed that he had visited my blog and commented in his turn. Within minutes, I’d received his friendly invitation to write an article for his blog. You can see the results online.

So, pay attention to others and they’ll pay attention to you. I know it seems like desperately uncongenial work, filling in for people’s laziness in not completely re-ordering the universe to put you at the centre.

But it’s all we have.

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» Read my essay on grace, compassion and the power of non-judgment, “Pivot Chords,” on peacehacks.com

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