Nico Lang on Gay For Straight Guys
There's an interesting piece in Huff Po written with a pithy tone meant to be quasi sarcastic at times that's eye-opening, but also falls short in a few cringe worthy places. It's another one of those open letters, with flaws. I think we're all getting a little sick of them. I know if I see "Open Letter" on something now I often just roll my eyes and skip over it. And that's shame, too, because it could be interesting if it wasn't trying too hard to be so Internet-y cool and hip. In spite of this old time Internet approach from 2009, the article does touch on a topic that many find interesting, which is the attraction gay men may or may not have for straight men and locker room behavior in general.
The piece, written by Nico Lang, a contributor to the LA Times, makes a few broad generalizations and blatantly attacks the straight men who are wary about having a gay man in the locker room with them. I think this is a shame, too, because what Lang fails to realize is that it takes time to get beyond misconceptions that have been ingrained in people for many years. And by taking such a nasty, vituperative approach he negates us all once again instead of disabusing the misconceptions he's talking about, which is what I think he's trying to do with this ill-prepared, immature rant.
To this 14 percent, I have a message for you: Get the fuck over yourselves.
Honestly, do you really think that gay men think about you? Unless your name is Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Ryan Gosling (who everyone on the planet wants to bang), most gay men aren't that into straight guys. We already tried getting straight dudes to secretly fall in love with us in high school, and it just leads to a trail of sadness and shame. One of two things happens: either a) He uncomfortably reminds you that he likes vaginas (and you'll agree to disagree); or b) You have one beautiful, drunken night that he pretends he doesn't remember and then he ends up married 10 years later. (You'll pretend you didn't get the invite.) As adults, gay men learn to indulge in different types of sexual masochism, like S&M or dating guys who are emotionally unavailable (read: total dicks).
First, count me out of the Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ryan Gosling equation. I have no interest in "banging" either of them, thank you. Second, if so many gay men were not into straight guys than the adult entertainment industry wouldn't be making millions with web sites designed and geared toward the gay/straight fantasy. I'm not linking to them, but there are plenty out there. All it takes is a simple search and you'll see what I mean. Third, I didn't fall in love with straight "dudes" in school. I knew better than that. I liked high school. Not all gay men have a rough time in high school either. Fourth, Lang needs to get a better take on BDSM and stop spewing ill-informed comments out to the world about BDSM. Unlike what we are led to believe by the ill-informed, after I wrote my article in Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey I researched extensively and found out that the BDSM lifestyle does NOT mean someone is fundamentally flawed, nor does it infer there's something terrible in a person's background that caused them to be part of the BDSM lifestyle. This, I found through my research, was what most people into BDSM found issue with in the novel, Fifty Shades of Grey. It's actually socially and politically incorrect for Lang to make this assumption, and in Lang's quest to be so politically and socially correct he falls short again.
What I think any straight man in the NFL (or any sports league) needs to understand about having gay men in the locker rooms, or being around gay men in general, is that what a person thinks (man or woman) deep down is completely different from what they do openly. In other words, gay men will never embarrass straight men or act on any silent attractions they may or may not have for straight men. And gay men would never risk the embarrassment or ridicule themselves by acting on any sexual thoughts with a straight man...the same way a woman wouldn't do that either. But more than that, as it stands, there are (and have always been) plenty of gay men in locker rooms everywhere and no one even knows they are gay and nothing sexual or embarrassing ever happens. There are plenty of bi-sexual men, too. There's only a problem when someone *acts* on a sexual thought, anywhere, which is completely different from thinking it. Unless you're a mind reader you'll never know what anyone is thinking.
So, basically straight men in locker rooms...or anywhere else...have nothing to worry about because it's the rare gay man who will ever approach them and do something inappropriate. I would also imagine that gay athletes who are in locker room settings all the time, and have been most of their lives, are already so desensitized to being around other naked men sexual thoughts rarely ever cross their minds. Think the person who works in the candy shop all day and can't stand to look at candy anymore. When you're around something all the time it often becomes invisible, and sometimes repulsive. I've posted before how when I go to a nude beach it's awkward for the first five minutes, and then it becomes nothing at all.
While the reaction (and anxiety) some straight men are having to the thought of openly gay men in the locker room is valid to a certain extent because it's new to them, it's just not realistic and they have nothing about which to worry. I have several good straight male friends and I think the friendship/relationship aspect between straight men and gay men is highly ignored and underestimated. I often feel closer to the straight male friends than the gay male friends because I can be more comfortable with them and I'm not under any peer pressure at all.
On the other hand, I think Nico Lang's heart may have been in the right place. But he should at least broaden his horizons and read Fifty Writers and Fifty Shades on Grey and apologize to the BDSM community for suggesting people are into "S&M" because they are fundamentally flawed. That's just not a cool thing for a so-called journalist to do.
You can read his "Open Letter" in full, here.