How To Be Gay As F*ck

All gay

Many faces. All gay.

As is the case with most popular news items that have absolutely no impact on our actual lives, the reactions to the NFL bullying story have become more interesting than the story itself. We’re not even two weeks in, and it has already spawned numerous national sub-conversations about masculinity, sports culture, football, hazing, and half-niggers.

Oh, and faggotry. You can’t forget about gotdamn faggotry.

One of the more popular theories bandied around social media about this story is that Jonathan Martin is gay, and this incident was either the result of a lover’s quarrel gone bad (which would make Richie Incognito gay as well) or Martin’s Dolphins’ teammates having a problem with his sexual orientation.

This may very well be true. Thing is, there is absolutely nothing in this story that would suggest that. Nothing.

But, because Martin’s demeanor and background (introverted, from an upper-middle class background, Stanford-educated, etc) don’t fit our expectations of what a Black male professional athlete should be like—and because he chose to solve his problems in a way we don’t expect Black men to—he must be gay. At least according to some people.

Anyway, although I was taught in a 4th grade biology class that there was only one way to be a homosexual man—be attracted to and/or sleep with men—life has taught me there are hundreds of thousands of things a man can do to definitely let everyone know he really, really, really, really must want to have sex with men. Here’s a few.

Not want to fight

Always want to fight

Smile too much

Be too happy

Match

Read

Sing

Sing in church

Go to church

Join the church choir

Live in Atlanta

Move to Atlanta

Visit Atlanta

Be soft-spoken

Use umbrellas

Be single past a certain age

Don’t have children

Use straws

Sleep with a lot of women

Don’t sleep with enough women

Go to the gym too much

Shower with other men in the locker room

Feel a certain way about showering with other men in the locker room

Love sports too much

Don’t love sports

Take pictures with a transgender model

Be a model

Be an actor

Be a dancer

Be HIV positive

Eat pussy

Enjoy a woman’s touch or tongue on certain parts of your body

Befriend gay people

Hate gay people

Wear skinny jeans

Be skinny

Sag your jeans and sweats

Wear jeans and sweats that actually fit

Use body wash

Take a woman’s side during a disagreement or argument

Be friends with women

Like women

Have female friends

Have no female friends

Be Chris Bosh

Own a loofa

Apply chapstick

Eat a banana, or any other phallic-shaped food, in public

Be an adult virgin

Cry (especially if it’s about some gay shit)

Recycle

Drive certain cars

Have manners

Use emoticons

Take a lot of pictures of yourself

Walk funny

Talk funny

Get molested as a kid (Or sexually assaulted as an adult)

Order certain types of drinks

Order colorful drinks

Order drinks in certain types of glasses

Hold your drink a certain way

Don’t drink

Dance too well

Be Drake

Listen to Drake

Not agree that Drake is gay

Be Kanye West

Be post-808′s Kanye West, especially

Be Kanye West today, especially especially

Enjoy anal sex

Not be sexually attracted to a certain woman

Be sexually attracted to thin women

Make too much eye contact

Don’t make any eye contact

Compliment a man’s looks

Have a man compliment your looks

Be too good-looking

Write something titled “How To Be Gay As F*ck”

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

On How To Play A Woman And Have Everyone Ok With It (Hint: Be Gay And Be “First”)

jason collins

A little over two weeks ago, as my entire family was gathered at Sunday dinner, discussing the plans and preparations for my sister’s upcoming (June) wedding, she (my sister) unexpectantly broke down in tears and rushed out of the room, running upstairs. My parents and I looked at each other baffled, each of our faces simultaneously stuck on “Was it something I said?” mode. After the shock wore off, my mom went after my still hysterical sister, whose cries could be heard downstairs.

After a few minutes, my mom returned to the dinner table, alone.

“The wedding is off”

“Wait! What? What happened?”

“Rick broke up with her this morning. Said he didn’t want to marry her. Apparently didn’t give any reason for it.”

This news, while shocking, wasn’t necessarily surprising. They (Rick and my sister) met in college, and dated for eight years, and eight years is a hell of a long relationship gestation period. I know there are exceptions to every rule, but it’s been my experience that “eight years of dating” = “yeah, he doesn’t really want to marry your ass.”

I think my sister sensed this as well, but she still tried her damnedest to believe in their future together. She’d invested so much energy, so much time, sweat, love, and tears into this relationship she wouldn’t allow herself to think otherwise. Also, she wanted to have children—multiple children—and she was aware that as she got older (she’s 33), she honestly didn’t have much more time to be able to do that. Quite frankly, she needed this relationship with Rick to work.

As I mentioned earlier, I had an idea that this was coming. But, there was no urge to remind her or anyone of this. Instead, I was filled with rage. I thought about all the pre and post-wedding preparations my parents made, and the stress that put them through. My dad even developed an ulcer. I thought of all the people—friends and family—who’d saved up and altered their schedules to attend the June wedding. I thought about all the awkward conversations my sister was going to have to have for the next several months when co-workers and acquaintances who haven’t heard the news yet will ask her about Rick and the wedding. I thought of how she always wanted to be a wife and a mother. Even as a kid, she’d joke about wanting to have enough kids to field her own basketball team. Yes, she can still get married and yes, she can still have kids—despite what the media might tell you, a 30-something woman breaking up with a man isn’t a death sentence—but realistically, the chances of that happening are much lower now than they were even five years ago.

I wasn’t the only one filled with rage, either. Since hearing the news, my parents and I have both struggled to juggle the surreal ambivalence of wanting to be supportive for my sister and wanting to shed Rick’s blood. Some days, I’m so consumed with antipathy that I think about what I’d do to Rick if he ever had the misfortune of crossing paths with me. I know these feelings will eventually pass, but right now it’s all I can think about.

I imagine most people would also feel that strange combination of feelings—anger, confusion, disgust–if their loved one was hurt in a similar way. I’m sure you’d feel even more strange if the man who broke up with your sister so suddenly was being celebrated nationally—hailed everywhere as a hero—for basically the same reason he broke up with your sister so suddenly. Perhaps this reason makes him a pioneer, a vanguard, a spearhead to newer, better, and more progressive America. But, while bravery and a willingness to stand alone, to do what others haven’t done are part of its definition, “heroism” also implies a certain selflessness, a benevolent altruisticness, and knowing what this man did to your sister and your family, you’ll never be able to call him a hero.

I’m sure by now you’ve deduced that my story about my sister was a bit of an allegory. If you hadn’t figured it out, well, my story about my sister was a bit of an allegory. I wrote this from an hypothetical perspective of a hypothetical family member of Carolyn Moos—the woman who Jason Collins dated for eight years, proposed to, and broke up with a month before their wedding.

I didn’t write this to discredit or dismiss the bravery it took for Collins to make his recent admission, nor am I so myopic that I can’t see how an act like that has the potential to make a positive impact on thousands, even millions of lives. I also am fully aware that I have absolutely no idea about the inner workings of Collins’ and Moos’ relationship, and I couldn’t even begin the fathom how it must feel to spend decades trapped inside of a box, forced by societal constraints to live a lie.

I am, though, aware of how much of an influence perspective has on perception, and the Collins’ case—and the prevailing reaction to it—is an perfect example of that. A big part of the reason why Collins is being lauded as a hero is because he told his story first. Think of how much different everything would be if our first news about Collins’ sexuality was told by a scorned ex-fiancee who wanted to set the record straight after being led on for a decade.

There also lies the uncomfortable fact that his “heroism” is predicated on the fact that he very likely deceived and even hurt people—people very close to him—for a very long time. Lemme put it this way: If Collins was “Rick the civil engineer who just broke up with your sister a month before her wedding” instead of a guy who’s really, really, really good at playing basketball, and the story of Rick finally coming out was told from your sister’s perspective, I doubt you’d throw many positive-sounding nouns and adjectives in Rick’s direction.

Yet, Collins’ position as a professional athlete has made us assign a heroism to an act—publicly admitting that you’ve been living a lie—that isn’t really all that heroic. Yes, you cannot discount the role societal expectations played in Collins’ life, as I’m sure he did not set out to delude or hurt anyone. And yes, what Collins’ did—either intentionally or unintentionally lead a woman to believe their relationship was something that it wasn’t—has been done by men everywhere (me included). My eyes are filled with planks. This is exactly my point. If you take away the “firstness” and the homosexuality and just look at it as a “man spends decade deceiving woman who was in love with him” perspective, what separates him from the thousands of men (and women) reading this today? Obviously, being shitty at relationships doesn’t mean that you can’t be a hero. Just not when the heroism is directly linked to the shitty behavior.

You could argue that since Collins himself wasn’t completely sure of his sexuality—in his own words, this realization was “baking” for 33 years—it doesn’t really count as deception. Basically, deception isn’t truly deception if you’re genuinely deluding yourself. This is a valid argument. I don’t agree—a person unsure of their sexual preference telling someone they want to get married sounds like true deception to me—but it is valid. You can also argue that anyone hurt by Collins’ lie is America’s fault for forcing a man to think that he had to live that way, not Collins’. This is also a valid argument. I don’t agree—while America may have made it very difficult to come out as gay, America doesn’t force you to get into long relationships with women (What’s wrong with just not seriously dating anyone?)—but it is valid. But, the argument that context makes Collins a hero, that the impact of his admission supersedes any possible collateral damage caused by him living a lie, isn’t.

I applaud Collins for being real with himself, for having the courage to be free, for being the first active male athlete in one of our major sports to stand up and tell the world that he will no longer pretend to be something he isn’t, for having the balls to be the first member of a club that will likely grow much sooner and much larger than we think, for “outing” himself when he apparently didn’t have to.

But, as we rush to praise him for being first, we can’t forget that it came with a very human cost. If this still makes him a “hero” to you, fine. I understand. We all have our own definitions of the word, I guess. For now, though, I’ll be safe and just call him a “man.”


—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

This Is Me Not Writing About Jason Collins

Jason-Collins-is-gay.-Image-via-@SInowBecause I’m not writing about it, you totally didn’t hear about Jason Collins, “active” NBA center being the first major sport – active – player to come out and let the world know that he is gay. Well, it’s possible that you did hear about it, but I’m still not writing about it.

No way no how nuh uh, good bye.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, goodbye.

So about that thing I’m not writing about…a lot of people will. In fact, I’m fairly certain that over the next few days there will be numerous articles, segments, etc about Jason Collins and his decision to come out via Sports Illustrated. And to be clear, it was a bold move. I’m not sure how “brave” it is anymore, but the act in and of itself often includes both courage and bravery.

Let’s back this truck up for a second. For years, there has been this undercurrent that there would be a big deal when an active athlete in baseball, football, or basketball came out it would be a big deal. Twenty years ago, I think it would. It’s just that its not twenty years ago and conservative strongholds like Chik-fil-a catch hell for not being “tolerant enough.” If ever there was a perfect climate for a gay athlete to come out, its now. Hell, Brittany Griner says that she’s a lesbian in an interview after she gets drafted and it barely moves the needle. I do realize that many people assume most WNBA players are lesbian but that’s an assumption and misguided.

In fact, when the news that Jason Colilns acknowledged he was gay came out (no punt intended), I barely gave it more than two seconds of thought. On ESPN, it was below the news that Tebow got cut from the Jets. It’s just not as big a deal anymore. It is a deal because it’s an athlete, but its also not an athlete that millions of kids look towards either. Not that it matters, but I forgot he was even playing.

AND HE WAS PLAYING FOR THE WIZARDS! IN WASHINGTON!

As an aside, just to make sure you all know that I do respect his decision to do so and realize that it is not easy to do what he did, I have quite a few gay friends. And each time they came out to me I could see a bit of hesitation. I could see that they were concerned at the outcome. I have and had nothing but respect for my boys that gathered the gumption to take the chance to be honest with me about who they were. I appreciated that they thought enough of me to share that part of themselves.

Everybody’s not ready to accept that the whole “gay thing” is here to stay. I’m sure that amidst all of the support Jason Collins got from the Clinton’s and various NBA players – including Kobe who had to have his own come to Jesus sensitivity training moment – there are some players who, while maybe not as uncomfortable as they once would have been, just don’t support that lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be about homophobia either. Some folks just don’t agree with the lifestyle.

And that’s okay. But in terms of societal shifts, the winds of change have come, swept, and painted with all the colors of the wind. More than half of the nation is okay with the idea of gay people being allowed to get married. It’s here. Sometimes you do end up on the wrong side of history.

Back to Jason Collins, who I’m totally not writing about. He will hold the distinction of being the first active roster (though he’s a free agent) player coming out. He’s a “pioneer” so to speak. But the truth is, its a total non-story story. At this point, its like, “okay, he’s gay. Who cares. The Wizards suck! Booooo….who cares if you’re gay. YOUR TEAM SUCKS!!!!”

To some degree I wonder if a more popular player or a football player were to come out if something would be different. But I’m inclined to think that we’ve just moved past the tipping point into ho-hum territory. You know how people tease a secret or something they need to tell you for so long that the hype of it all overshadows the actual event. The moment of impact tends to be completely dull. While you’re waiting for the world to explode somebody hits you in the back of the head with a pebble and yells “boom”. You’re left wondering why they held you in suspense for something that wasn’t that deep and they’re wondering why you don’t care as much as they think you should.

Basically everybody’s disappointed.

And while this news isn’t even remotely disappointing, my point is that there’s no story here. Jason Collins is gay. Congrats to him for feeling the desire and need to get that out. If he is now afforded the ability to feel freer, then I’m both happy for him and wish he’d gotten the chance to experience that sooner.

I wonder how much the media will try to squeeze out of this before it dawns on everybody that times have indeed changed. It’s a story and all. But its really not anymore. I suppose you have to say something though. Acceptance might not be universal, but fighting that battle seems futile now.

Dammit, I talked about Jason Collins.

Don’t be like me, be better than me.

But since we’re talking about him, what do you think about a current athlete coming out as gay? Does it matter? Does it move the conversation? What does it all mean?

Talk to me.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. DON’T BLAME ME, I WASN’T EVEN TALKING ABOUT HIM aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

Is Frank Ocean Gay?

As is the case with most celebrity news that has absolutely no impact on my life (and by “most celebrity news that has absolutely no impact on my life” I mean “all celebrity news“), the tone of the conversations sparked by Frank Ocean’s “coming out” have proven to be more interesting than the news itself.

For instance, a quick glance at some of the comments sections attached to the articles discussing Ocean last week shows discussions diverging into numerous sub-topics more about Frank Oceanâ„¢ than Frank Ocean. Some of these peripheral conversations were semantics-based (“Since Ocean isn’t a rapper, can he really be considered to be the first known African-American male hip-hop artist to come out?“), some dubious (“It’s interesting that this news breaks a week before his album drops“), and some questioning the story’s relevance (i.e.: “Wait. Who the hell is Frank Ocean, and why should I care about him coming out?“)

To me, though, the most interesting Ocean-related tangent has to do with how his “coming out” has been a virtual Rorschach test for our feelings about sex and sexuality. There aren’t many people who wouldn’t consider a man who has exclusively dated and slept with men for his entire adult life to be gay. But, when things aren’t as cut and dry — and, with Ocean, they’re definitely not — there seems to be more questions about appropriate labels — and the appropriateness of even having a label — than answers.

If the presence of male-on-male sex is your way of measuring whether a man is gay, how would you describe a man who claimed to have fallen in love with another man if they never actually had sex with each other? What if this man was the only man he felt this way about? Basically, what if he wasn’t into men at all but just one particular man? What if he was a teenager when this all happened?

Now, the paragraph above is obviously a not-so-veiled reference to Frank Ocean’s Tumblr post, and I’ve obviously made a few leaps with my interpretation of its content. All I (and anyone else outside of his sphere of influence) know for certain is that he stated that he fell in love with a man when he was 19. Everything else is speculation.

Yet, in Ocean’s case — and in the case of many others — our (and “our” in this case is “Black people’s”) definition of what makes a man gay seems to be amorphous, continually shifting to encompass any behavior outside of what we consider to be the hyper-hetero norm. Fell in love with a man? Gay! Not currently sleeping with multiple women? Gay! Enjoys it when a woman stimulates his anus during sex? Lives in Atlanta? Gay! Not into sports? Gay! Advocates for gay rights? Gay! Enjoyed “Dreamgirls?” Gay! Named “Tyler Perry?” Gay! Wrote a blog critiquing the criteria used to determine what’s gay? Gay!

You know, you can argue that, when it comes to men, the way we come to define “gay” and “straight” (intentionally leaving out bisexual because, well, the Council of Determining Gayness has ruled that bisexual men officially can’t and therefore don’t exist) isn’t at all dissimilar to how we define Black and White. Basically, just as one drop of Black blood makes a person Black, one “non-straight” act or thought makes a man forever gay. Is Frank Ocean in fact gay? I don’t know. I do know, though, that the presence of “one drop” might not be enough for us to make that determination.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

30 Seconds.

The days of general courtship are gone. The good old days of seeing a woman, talking to her, getting her phone number, and waiting a day to call are damn near extinct. Today, the game is brand new, largely because everybody is crazy nowadays.

A few years ago, I was getting off the train, and I saw this young lady reading the book “On The Down Low.”  The first thing I wanted to do was walk over to this chick and say, “don’t believe everything you read sistah.”

And you know what? She would have pegged me as one of the DL brothas referenced in the book – all in a matter of seconds. That’s when it dawned on me: the first few seconds of any interaction between the sexes is the most vital. People say first impressions are lasting. Well, I say first impressions aren’t only lasting anymore, they are damning. I blame changing times and attitudes about dating…and that book “On the Down Low.” I honestly think that book has done more damage to the dating scene in the black community than Bobby and Whitney.

I’ve never read the book so I can’t comment on its contents, but the author, J.L. King’s appearance on Oprah and the eventual bestsellerizing of his book have f*cked up the game something awful. I’ll admit that there are DL brothas out there. I work at a club where we have a night where they run rampant. But I’ll be damned if EVERYBODY is a candidate.

The big problem is that there is a dating gap in the black community. Yes there are more successful women then there are black men.  And now all these women are looking at random things Black men do to determine if he’s gay from jump, creating a further rift because now you’re just PISSING us off.

And what does this have to do with the first 30 seconds? Well, its been stated that women know whether they would sleep with a man within the first 5 seconds of meeting him. Well, I doubt that now. Maybe it USED to be that way, but, like Obama, sh*t changed.

It USED to be that a man was aiming to convince the woman that she wouldn’t lose anything by taking a shot on him. Getting the woman to smile sincerely, or laugh was usually a good sign. It’s all a game and everybody knows it so you just used your best stuff…even if your best is just being yourself.

So what’s the game like now?

Well, within the first 30 seconds the dude must convince you that: he’s NOT gay, isn’t a convict, isn’t on drugs, has no kids, has a kid but is taking care of his kid(s), has a job, has a LEGAL job, doesn’t live with his momma, that he’s NOT gay, doesn’t live with another woman (or man) that he’s sleeping with, isn’t married, that he’s NOT gay, doesn’t live with his baby momma, has a car, has a car that runs, passed the SAT on his first try, can spell onomatopoeia, can’t spell B-R-O-K-E, isn’t broke, that he’s NOT gay, etc.

It’s so crazy to me that it used to be that a man would have to do something to convince a woman that he was gay somewhere along the lines, if it wasn’t readily apparent.

Now men, specifically black men, have to prove that we aren’t.

I’m not saying men aren’t to blame at all here. Dudes been acting really crazy behind women as of late. I don’t know what happened but men are becoming as erratic and emotional as women are STEREOTYPED to be. But still…

Fellas…just remember you got 30 seconds to convince this woman that you are worth talking too, AND that you aren’t some DL brotha. I’d tell you how to do it but I have no idea because nowadays, everybody’s a suspect.

So sad, JoJo.  So sad.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P