Thursday, June 17, 2004

previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)

Eugene Volokh triggers a gay civil war

Well, not really. Eugene's original quotation of Marilyn Zielinski's theory about what it takes for a man to be sexy was quite interesting:

I think almost any man can be sexy, can become a good flirt, can learn to attract women, if he is truly willing to. Like most social skills, the general principles aren't that mysterious, and are quantifiable if you pay attention....

But most men don't really want to be sexy; they want sexy to be them. I don't mean to man-bash, men are one of my favorite genders, but it's such a waste of resources. Like you, I know tons of great women. They're (list of all the good adjectives), and people want to be around them.

And I know a fair number of (good adjectives) single men, but [it's generally] also clear why they're single. They don't listen, and won't; they won't get a real job; they're boring but don't want to acknowlege it or do anything about it. Hey, if that shirt was "in" when they were in high school, no need to see if any ads/mannequins/humans under 60 wear it today.

I don't have a single female friend who hasn't asked herself, "What am I doing wrong?" and been totally open -- often too open, in a self-blame-y way -- to the answer, and to changing the answer, often with great success. But I almost never find that men ask that question, or are even willing to hear the answer, let alone do anything about it. Instead, single men in my experience behave as if the only life possibilities are being the way they are, or acting. The idea of growth and change don't make the radar.

This has inspired two very different responses from two different gay men.

First, Andrew Sullivan weighs in:

If women weren't so damn forgiving of slobbiness, if they weren't prepared to look for the diamond buried in the rough of a man's beer-belly, men might have to shape up a little. The only reason gay men are - on the whole - better turned out than straight men is because they have to appeal to other shallow, beauty-obsessed males to get laid, find a mate, etc. The corollary, of course, are lesbians. Now there are many glamorous lesbiterians, but even the most enthusiastic Sapphic-lover will have to concede that many are not exactly, shall we say, stylish. The reason? They don't have to be to attract other women; and since women find monogamy easier, they also slide into the I'm-married-so-what-the-hell-have-another-pretzel syndrome. When straight women really do insist on only dating hot guys, men will shape up. Until then, it's hopeless.

For a somewhat different take, Eugene follows up his original post with the following reprint of Geoffrey Murry's Queer Eye view:

I find it is often a man's resoluteness in the face of what I shall call here adversity that makes him sexy. It is his adamantine surety of place as he strides into a room that makes him noticed. Were he to be engaged in the constant questioning of himself that Marilyn suggests, I reckon it might be more difficult for him to pull this off.

As an example, I offer what an observer of gay male culture might call the fetishization of the straight man. It is not that he, the straight man, is so much more attractive or well dressed than a gay man. Quite often the opposite is true, with the average gay man perhaps being better groomed and tailored than the average straight man. Rather it is the sheer *effortlessness* with which an attractive straight man can achieve his attractiveness that makes him sexy; his insouciance wins the day.

Gay men simply try too hard, often attempting to look perfect, which always fails and leaves him looking simply . . . false, stilted, fabricated. The straight man (the metrosexual and Marilyn's dream men aside) rarely goes to this length, and it is the imperfection in his appearance that gives it the veracity of the virile.

The one thing I'm sure of is that Sullivan and Murry should probably not date each other.

We here at welcome any and all contributions to this pressing debate, regardless of sexual preference.

posted by Dan on 06.17.04 at 06:12 PM


"Rather it is the sheer *effortlessness* with which an attractive straight man can achieve his attractiveness that makes him sexy; his insouciance wins the day."

It's just the variables. If it were an easy formual, then it would be too easy to get laid. Some girls dig you, some girls don't. Some girls need persuasion, some girls don't. Sometimes it's on, sometimes it's not. Why lose sleep over it?

posted by: Carleton on 06.17.04 at 06:12 PM [permalink]

It's the look in the eye.

posted by: Sissy Willis on 06.17.04 at 06:12 PM [permalink]

So, what they're saying is that homosexuals are anal retentives who have to have perfection and can't deal with the reality of the flaws?


posted by: Bithead on 06.17.04 at 06:12 PM [permalink]

From those of us (and we know who we are) who are D**NED attractive to women, and know it, what can we say?

It would be rude to make a big deal of it. It just...IS. Like a zen thing, or something.

Is it that we run 5 miles a day? Maybe.

Is it that we can recite poetry, at the slightest provocation, in order, as Robin Williams says, to "woo women"?


Is it that we play the guitar?

A possibility.

Is it that - hey, why are you guys upset about? Why the closed fists?...I didn't mean anything by it! Wait! Wait! Forget about it! I can't help it if I'm beautiful!! AAGGGHHH...

(Sound of scuffling, fists. A man, being carried and dropped into a dumpster.)

Nothing to see here. Carry on. Dreadfully sorry.

posted by: JC on 06.17.04 at 06:12 PM [permalink]

Not certain if it even relates, but I thought Andrew self-styled himself a "bear" - big, hairy and somewhat slovenly (kinda like the stereotypical hetero).

Seems to me that "bears" attempt to do the same thing that heteros do - an appearance of effortless sexiness.

posted by: Jody on 06.17.04 at 06:12 PM [permalink]

Sully of Jesse Ventura: "now that's a bear!" If Sully were a bear, would he fawn over another bear?

In any case, sexy schmexy. Just memorize the Discovery Channel pattern and all your problems are solved.

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 06.17.04 at 06:12 PM [permalink]

"Gay civil war"?

I thought it was called a catfight.

posted by: Al on 06.17.04 at 06:12 PM [permalink]

Here's the full Sully quote from 4/16/04: "BEAR WATCH: Jesse Ventura just got even sexier with that beard. If that were possible."

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 06.17.04 at 06:12 PM [permalink]

So, what they're saying is that homosexuals are anal retentives who have to have perfection and can't deal with the reality of the flaws?

More likely that men in general "have to have" [i.e., want] perfection and can't deal with the reality of the flaws. And like straight men, gay men are very forgiving of flaws when sufficiently drunk and/or horny; it's in the long term that the desire for perfection rears its ugly head.

posted by: Jon on 06.17.04 at 06:12 PM [permalink]

Oh, I dunno, Jon.
I spent around 20 years playing weddings, sometimes two a week. I'll tell you; There's a lot of, shall we say, less than desireable brides out there, which would seem to counter your argument.

And lest anyone think I'm being cruel; let's remember that at least half the people in the world are below average. (grin)

posted by: Bithead on 06.17.04 at 06:12 PM [permalink]

Good job

posted by: gay on 06.17.04 at 06:12 PM [permalink]

Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?