O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.
Monthly Archives: April 2011
Moment of Zen: O Romeo…
O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Please keep the people of Alabama and the Southeastern and Eastern United States in your thoughts and prayers. We are experiencing severe weather. Numerous tornadoes have hit Alabama with reports as high as 58 dead in Alabama. The tornado in Tuscaloosa was reported to be a mile wide and hit along along MacFarland Boulevard; which if you know anything about Tuscaloosa, this is one of the busiest area of the city. Many restaurants, stores and the mall are along MacFarland Boulevard.
The storms have been widespread throughout Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. Reports are that up to 80 or more people have died as a result of these lines of storms. If the storms have not reached you yet, I am thinking of you guys and you are in my prayers. Where I live, we still have a few more storms to pass through later tonight, but we are hoping that the most severe weather is passed us.
The Wild Honey-Suckle
Each evening during this time of year when I walk outside I am overwhelmed by the beautiful sweet smell that flows on the breeze and envelopes the sky. The smell is that of wild honeysuckles which grow on the fence around the side of my house. There may be many things that I don’t like about the South, but the smell of wild honeysuckle in late spring is something that I will always love and cherish.
The Wild Honey-Suckle by Philip Freneau
Fair flower, that dost so comely grow,
Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
Untouched thy honied blossoms blow,
Unseen thy little branches greet;
No roving foot shall crush thee here,
No busy hand provoke a tear.
By Nature’s self in white arrayed,
She bade thee shun the vulgar eye,
And planted here the guardian shade,
And sent soft waters murmuring by;
Thus quietly thy summer goes,
Thy days declining to repose.
Smit with those charms, that must decay,
I grieve to see your future doom;
They died–nor were those flowers more gay,
The flowers that did in Eden bloom;
Unpitying frosts, and Autumn’s power
Shall leave no vestige of this flower.
From morning suns and evening dews
At first thy little being came:
If nothing once, you nothing lose,
For when you die you are the same;
The space between, is but an hour,
The frail duration of a flower.
In the picture above, the model is not holding honeysuckle, but it’s the closest thing I could find.
Philip Freneau, 1752-1832, American poet and journalist, b. New York City, grad. Princeton, 1771. During the American Revolution he served as soldier and privateer. His experiences as a prisoner of war were recorded in his poem The British Prison Ship (1781). The first professional American journalist, he was a powerful propagandist and satirist for the American Revolution and for Jeffersonian democracy. Freneau edited various papers, including the partisan National Gazette (Philadelphia, 1791-93) for Jefferson. He was usually involved in editorial quarrels, and, influential though he was, none of his papers was profitable. His political and satirical poems have value mainly for historians, but his place as the earliest important American lyric poet is secured by such poems as “The Wild Honeysuckle,” “The Indian Burying Ground,” and “Eutaw Springs.”
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/philip-morin-freneau#ixzz1KVIHwdwl
Lies and Controversy
On August 21, the gay blogger and youtuber, Davey Wavey (www.breaktheillusion.com), posted a video blog about the “7 Huge Gay Lies” that gay men tell. In the video, Davey explained that the majority of gays lie about:
- how many partners they’ve ever had
- using gay hookup sites
- cheating on their boyfriends
- their penis size
- their fetishes
- having safe sex
- their age
This caused a shitstorm of controversy which, sadly, led Davey to take down the video and post this one instead. The controversy around the video was led by another gay blogger and youtuber named Tyler Oakley, who claims that these are just negative stereotypes and teach young gays bad habits, while also denying ever lying about any of the above. (I’ll take him at his word on this.) I personally have never lied about any of the things above either, though Tyler goes further to state that not only has he never lied about any of these things, but that he has never done any of them. In a comment on Davey Wavey’s original video he stated:
- I’m honest on how many partners I’ve had.
- I’ve never used a hookup site. I met my boyfriend on a blind date.
- I’ve never cheated. I have respect for them and myself.
- I’ve never been in a situation where someone has asked me for my penis size, so I’ve never had a chance to lie about it. Maybe I have a higher standard for the conversations I have.
- I only have safe sex with committed tested partners.
- I’ve never lied about my age.
You should stop perpetrating stereotypes.
Now, if these is true, great for Tyler. Like I said before I won’t say he is lying because maybe he is not. But, I have a few things to say, and I will go through them point by point (all seven of them).
First of all, I am as honest about how many partners I’ve had as I can be, though the exact number is a little fuzzy. (I’ll be the first to say that I had my slutty phase, but I don’t think it was too slutty of a phase.) There are some hookups, that I would like to forget, but I have a pretty good memory of them. To give an example of one of the ones I would like to forget was a guy that I met online. He was a fellow teacher (special ed, which in my opinion makes him a pretty special person). We seemed to have a lot in common, and I enjoyed our chats. We decided to get together for some “fun.” We were chatting after we met up, and he was talking about his kids. Now, I always refer to my students as my kids, so I didn’t think anything more of it. Then he made a comment about his wife. We were kind of in the heat of the moment, and I put it at the back of my mind while we were both naked. In retrospect, I should have stopped him and sent him on his way. I believe in being faithful to a partner, and I felt disgusted with myself for fooling around with a married man. It is not one of the highlights of my life. Not all men are honest about the number of partners they’ve had. I’ve run into this many times. We should be honest with each other, and Davey is right that not all of us are.
As stated in the previous paragraph, I have used gay hookup sites. When you are a gay man in the South, there are several good reasons for this. 1) There aren’t a lot of places to go meet other gay men, especially while living in small towns or rural areas. 2) Not everybody has friends who know other gay friends to set them up on blind dates, and it can be hard to find us in a small community. 3) Sometimes we need to be discreet. There are other reasons, but these are the three biggies. Good for Tyler for not using gay hookup sites, but what is wrong with it? Those sites are not just about sex and immediate hookups, though many guys think of them as such. I have met some great people that I have had a lot of fun with, sex or not, on these sites, and I will not lie about it (though maybe I will be vague about it to some of my straight friends). The point is, why lie? It is nothing to be ashamed of. (And on a side note, we know Davey Wavey has used hookup sites because he has blogged about it, and his naked profile pics are all over the internet.)
I personally have never cheated in the traditional sense of the word, except for the special ed teacher, and that was accidental. I didn’t’ think I had to ask if he was married or not. I was naïve, and I have since learned. Furthermore, you all should know that I am a Christian. In my belief, lusting in one’s heart (as Jimmy Carter put it), masturbating to the image of another man, checking out that hot guy across the room, etc., are all forms of cheating. That brief though is a betrayal of your partner, and you are not being completely faithful to your partner. The old saying “Just because you are on a diet, doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu,” is actually just plain wrong. If you are in a committed relationship, then why would your eye wonder. Truth be told, it is human nature for our eyes to wonder. How do we remedy this? I honestly don’t know, but I have no doubt that we should be honest with our partners. Lies only lead to problems.
Now, penis size… OMFG! I mean really. If I had a dollar for every time a man lied to me about his penis size, I might not be a millionaire, but I’m pretty sure I would be comfortably well off. If I had a dollar for every time any man has lied about his penis size to me or not, I would be at least a billionaire. Tyler wrote, “I’ve never been in a situation where someone has asked me for my penis size, so I’ve never had a chance to lie about it. Maybe I have a higher standard for the conversations I have.” Really, he has never had that conversation with someone else. I’ve had that conversation with straight men and gay men alike and numerous female friends. When it comes down to it, most men lie just a little. I don’t, because honestly, I’m happy with my size. I wish it were a bit longer, but I’ve never had a complaint. And as for Tyler’s statement, “Maybe I have a higher standard for the conversations I have” what kind of fucking boring life does Tyler live. I mean really. (Maybe that is not fair, but I dislike it when people try to act like total goody two shoes.) What the hell does this guy talk about. It is certainly not all that I talk about, but there is nothing to be shameful or deceptive about. I have friends who are very open about these kinds of things, and a couple of beers, sex talk, and you have a fun night ahead. (A tidbit of historical gossip here, the only man in history that it was widely rumored during his lifetime to have a huge penis is Marcus Antonius. Believe it or not, in Ancient Rome, this was a slur. He was seen as being led around by his cock, and subsequently, Cleopatra. If it was so big, how did he keep it hidden under that short leather skirt?) Enough said. Just be honest about your size.
Okay, so I will admit that I don’t always tell everyone I am with about my fetishes. If a guy were to ask, I would tell. We all have things that we find sexually exciting. By the way, Tyler did not address this lie. Does he tell all of his partners about his fetishes? Why did he leave this out? Maybe he really is just completely boring (again, maybe not fair). I’ve never read his blog, and after seeing how he reacted to Davey’s video, I don’t think I want to.
As for safe sex, I haven’t always been safe. I was the top in unprotected anal sex once (long story that involves and orgy and a guy that put my dick into his ass before I knew it, and in the heat of the moment I went with it). Tyler wrote, “I only have safe sex with committed tested partners.” Again good for him, but he never says that he is always honest with them. Also, no sex is totally safe. Tests are not always accurate. Partners are not always faithful, no matter what we want to believe. Oral sex is not completely safe (though deemed low risk if you don’t swallow) even if you use dental dams and condoms. Condoms can break. All kinds of problems can happen. Abstinence and solo masturbation are the only truly safe sex. All the rest is “safer” sex. Again, this is something that I am honest about. There is no reason to lie. Better to be safe than sorry.
I will not, have not, and never will lie about my age. A year older is a thing to celebrate, and it beats the hell out of the alternative (i.e. death). I am happy that I am a 33 year old man. There are more things that I wish I had done before this age (finished my PhD for one), but we all have some regrets. It doesn’t make me ashamed of my age. Have men and women ever lied to me about their age? Yes, they have, and they will continue to do so as long as we have an emphasis on youth. Be honest and be proud.
I don’t think (in fact, I know) Davey Wavey was not trying to perpetuate stereotypes, but in is touch feely gay guru way was talking about honesty. Davey Wavey, from all of his stuff that I have read and watched, tries to get us as gay men to love ourselves and to guard ourselves against the ever prevalent self-hatred that so many of us face at on time or another. I am sorry that he took down the video. I didn’t get to see it before it was taken down, but I can’t believe it was offensive as Tyler lambasted him for. What Davey is like in real life is, I hope, very close to the personality he portrays on his blog and videos. I may not divulge my completely true identity here, but I endeavor to be honest about who I am. Some of my readers who have gotten to know me outside of my blog would, and again I hope, describe me as a loving and caring person. And as a human being, I may have a temper on occasion and my students get to see it every so often. None of us are perfect. I still work very hard to follow my two main rules in life:
Do unto others and you would have them do unto you.
Judge not, lest ye be judged.
I don’t always succeed, but I do my very best. I am sorry that the gay community lashed out at Davey Wavey for being honest about what he sees as problems in the gay community. Never has there been a civil rights movement (at least not in my knowledge), that have taken criticism about and especially from within their community well. A few weeks ago, I was honored to hear a conference paper about homophobia in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. The main person that the presenter was discussing was a gay man (and as I write this I can’t remember his name) who got moved to a behind the scenes position, and eventually out of the movement, because of his perceived sexual immorality, i.e. his homosexuality. However, it was this particular person, who while Martin Luther King, Jr. was receiving the Nobel Peace Prize was called upon to ask King and the other ministers gathered to “stop having orgies in the hotel.” The point is that until we start working together instead of letting the green monster of jealousy and our own ignorance about our community, we cannot move forward. We will only move backwards. Yes, the GLBT community is very diverse, but we have one thing in common, and that is that we are GLBT, we love someone of the same sex, and we have a long road ahead of us for equality.
- Davey Wavey’s Why I Deleted My Video.
- Tyler Oakley’s Post
- Tandy Larson’s An open letter to Tyler Oakley and Davey Wavey
- Tyler Oakley’s Reaction to Larson’s post: “We disagree on the matter.”
There are many other reactions: negative to either Davey or Tyler. I think if you read Tyler’s original post and his reaction to Larson’s “open letter” you will see that Tyler probably took Davey’s comments the wrong way, at least in my opinion. This post is most of all to address the “7 Huge Gay Lies” that Davey outlined in his post. I think the original message is worth reading and that the vitriolic reaction to it tells us (sadly) a lot about the gay community.
For something of more of a lighter mood click “more” below. Warning it contains graphic nudity.
It will not get bigger just because you lie about it.
I wonder if Pinocchio ever grows a mustache, LOL. I’ve never been a huge fan of shaved pubes.
Be happy with what you’ve got.
Moment of Zen: A Good Book
Freud is not really my choice for a good book to read, but a good book can transport you away from all of your troubles into another world of possibilities.
In a conversation recently, a friend of mine asked, “Do you ever have sex dreams?” This was my answer:
I rarely remember my dreams. When I was a kid, I used to remember my nightmares, but very rarely any other dreams. As I have gotten older, the same is true. However, there is one major exception. A friend of mine who lives in Louisiana introduced me to a new vodka that she loves. It’s a hand-crafted vodka from Texas called Tito’s. It has a wonderful smooth taste and mixes well with cranberry juice, which is what I most love it with. I have found that it has one major affect on me. When I’ve had a fair amount of it, not necessarily drunk, but a good buzz, I have sex dreams. I realized this the first night I ever drank this particular vodka. We were out at a bar, and we ran into this really hot guy who we started talking to. Turned out his name was Joe. He was this very hot, tall, dark, and handsome redneck from Georgia. He was very nice, not homophobic like some rednecks, but it was pretty obvious he was straight. Anyway, after we got home that night, I dreamed that he had come home with me. When he undressed he had a beautifully muscular body (not overly done, but had muscles showing in all the right places) and had a huge cock. I began by giving him a blow job and a lot of kissing before he rimmed my ass and then fucked me seven ways from Sunday. We did it in every possible position my mind could think of. I woke up and was quite saddened to realize it was just a dream, but it had gotten me so hot my dick was rock hard and covered in precum.
When I remember my dreams, it is a very sensual experience. I can feel, smell, and taste the various parts of my dreams. Whether it is the masculine smell mixed with cologne, the hardness of his body against mine, the taste of his salty sweet cock, or even the sensation of his cock sliding into my ass or vice versa. It is like the person is really there, or the event is really happening. Often, they are so vivid that when I wake, I find it hard to believe that they are not true.
What kind of dreams do you guys experience? Do you have sex dreams? How real do they feel to you? Do you often remember your dreams? I’d love to hear what you guys have to say about this.
The Gay Caveman Debate
On Thursday, April 14, 2011, I posed Archaeologists Find “Gay” Caveman. Vilges Suola commented that “There’s no reason to assume he was homosexual, transsexual, bisexual or anything else. He wasn’t even a caveman!” This led me to do some further research. A chorus of paleoanthropologists, archaeologists and other bone experts have carefully dissected media reports about the dig, which began to increase after first appearing in British and Czech newspapers. I will admit that as a professional historian and teacher, I rarely choose to teach about prehistoric man, and I have a good reason for doing so. For me, there are prehistoric humans (those before written history), protohistoric humans (those during the beginnings of a written language and thus history), and historic humans (those who have a written history). Protohistoric man and historic man are in the realm of the historian, and prehistoric man is in the realm of anthropology. Though I do teach about prehistoric man, I make sure that my students understand the difference and why I usually start with the development of civilizations (that is those with a written record and those who built towns—though the birth of cities does not always follow with a written language, it often does due to the bureaucratic records needed for feeding and administrating a city). My research led me to several questions about the “gay” caveman: Was he a caveman? How do you classify a man of the Corded Ware culture? Was he even a man? What can we deduce about his gender identity or sexual orientation? Are these questions even important? I plan to answer these questions in this post.
The “man” found in the Czech Republic is a prehistoric man. The Corded Ware culture from which he originated may have had a proto-Germanic language, but no written records survive, and it is doubtful that humankind during this period and in that region had a written language (Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Harrapan, and Yellow River Civilizations had written languages and rich urban civilizations). Central Europe was not urbanized during this period. The Corded Ware culture, however, did not live in caves, and it is an incorrect generalization that prehistoric men are cavemen. Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) humans were cavemen, though the term is rarely used by professionals, and the Corded Ware culture was a Neolithic (New Stone Age) culture or Chalcolithic (Copper Age) culture, thus not a caveman, though he is prehistoric.
Second, is this skeleton even the skeleton of a man? I tend to take the archaeologists who found the skeleton at their word, since they have examined the skeletal remains and determined it to be a man. Until concrete evidence is found to the contrary, then I will believe that it is a male skeleton. Rosemary Joyce has a fascinating discussion on her blog about the problems of determining the sex of a skeleton. It is quite complicated and more in the purview of the archeologists and anthropologists than the historian. However, though Joyce makes an argument that they may have decided the sex too early, she gives little evidence that they were incorrect. Press TV, an Iranian international news network, broadcasting in English, sent a reporter to the Czech Republic and interviewed Kamila Remisova Vesinova, of the Czech Archeological Society. She stated:
The grave in Terronska Street in Prague 6 is interred on its left side with the head facing the West. An oval, egg-shaped container usually associated with female burials was also found at the feet of the skeleton…. We found one very specific grave of a man lying in the position of a woman, without gender specific grave goods, neither jewelry or weapons. So we think based on data that it could be a member of a so-called third gender, which were people either with different sexual orientation or transsexuals or just people who identified themselves differently from the rest of the society.…None of the objects that usually accompany male burials, such as weapons, stone battle axes and flint knives, were found in the grave….From history and ethnology, we know that people from this period took funeral rites very seriously so it is highly unlikely that this positioning was a mistake. … What we see here doesn’t add up to traditional Corded Ware cultural norms.
Another member of the archaeological team, Katerina Semradova, said that colleagues had uncovered an earlier case dating from the Mesolithic period where a female warrior was buried as a man. She added that Siberian shamans were also buried in this way but with richer funeral accessories appropriate to their elevated position in society. (We should also remember that third gender individuals were sometimes seen as magical or spiritual beings because of their ability to bridge the gap between the masculine and feminine worlds.) This grave did not include any richer funeral accessories. In fact, it seems to only have been buried with the oval, egg-shaped container mentioned above. So this is what we seem to be able to gleam from these reports: 1) the skeleton seems to be that of a man, and 2) the body was buried in a female manner with female accoutrements.
Third, what can we know about his gender identity or sexual orientation? The Czech archeological team classified the body as that of a third gender. Considering that gay, bisexual, homosexual, and transgender are all modern terms, what then is a third gender? Historians find it hard to classify pre-modern men and women by a specific gender identity or sexual orientation. Gender can generally be determined by secondary sexual characteristics; however, skeletons, obviously, don’t have a penis, vagina, or breasts. We must look at other determining factors, such as the ones mentioned above. What is a third gender? Will Roscoe gave a good overview of the Third Sex debate, in a paper that was presented at the conference “Lesbian and Gay History: Defining a Field” at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, City University of New York, October 7, 1995. I won’t go into detail about his theories here, but you can read this fascinating piece by clicking on the link above. The terms third gender and third sex describe individuals who are categorized (by their will or by social consensus) as neither male nor female, as well as the social category present in those societies who recognize three or more genders. The term “third” is usually understood to mean “other.” Transgender is defined as when gender identity doesn’t match physical or genetic sex. Third gender is a broader term that covers a wide range of gender identities in a number of cultures, some of whom reject the male-female binary altogether. The term has been used to describe Hijras of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan who have gained legal identity, Fa’afafine of Polynesia, and Sworn virgins of the Balkans, among others, and is also used by many of such groups and individuals to describe themselves. Like the Hijra, the third gender is in many cultures made up of biological males who take on a feminine gender or sexual role. In cultures that have not undergone heterosexualization, they are usually seen as acceptable sexual partners for the “masculine” males as long as these latter always maintain the “active” role. The fact is that many cultures have recognized a alternative gender identification. There were males, females, and others. These others, or the third sex, could be hermaphrodites (those born with male and female secondary sexual characteristics), those who chose to live a life of the other sex, eunuchs, or those who were born with homosexual or bisexual orientation. We tend to think in the form of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions and prejudices of the world; however, many prehistoric cultures elevated women to a higher status than the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions. The male dominated masculine world often arrived with the invasion of Indo-Europeans (though not always) and with the rise of empires, see The Closet Professor Theorizes: Origins of Homophobia. Women were seen as life givers; many prehistoric deities were women, often with large breasts and protruding pregnant bellies. In the quest for male dominance and procreation, we often overlook the seeming normality in the ancient world of those who were of a different orientation of sexual identity. In small nomadic or semi-nomadic cultures, human populations needed to be small for mobility, thus there was not the overwhelming drive to have many children to increase the population and to build an army for defense of conquest. Therefore, there may not have been the prejudice against non-procreating third sex individuals, whether they were homosexual, transsexual, eunuch, sterile, asexual, or hermaphrodite. Therefore, since we cannot ask this skeleton his sexual orientation or gender identity, we can conclude that if the skeleton is male, then he is of the third gender, but that is all we can conclude.
Does any of this even matter? The answer for me is a resounding yes. If the skeleton is a man and was buried in a feminine manner then it will tell us more about gender identity in the ancient world. Third gender history is an emerging field of study and one that I find fascinating. Pre-twentieth century GLBT history is difficult enough because of the problems associated with identifying the sexual orientation of a historic individual. We really do not understand fully the notions of sexual identification and it needs to be studied further. We have a lot of scholars who make quick assessments, or even ahistorical, assessments about homosexuals in history. As we (the LGBT community) discover our place in this world, it helps to understand the positions those that came before us.
For Suggested Readings, click “Read more.”
- Česká Pozice/Czech Position, “Grave of Stone Age ‘gender bender’ excavated in Prague,” http://www.ceskapozice.cz/en/news/society/grave-stone-age-%E2%80%98gender-bender%E2%80%99-excavated-prague.
- “Corded Ware culture,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corded_Ware_culture.
- Daily Mail, “The oldest gay in the village: 5,000-year-old is ‘outed’ by the way he was buried.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1374060/Gay-caveman-5-000-year-old-male-skeleton-outed-way-buried.html.
- Gast, Phil and Sarah Aarthun, CNN, “Scientists speak out to discredit ‘gay caveman’ media reports,” http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/04/10/czech.republic.unusual.burial/index.html?hpt=T2.
- Hartmann, Margaret, Jezebel, “Scientists Ruin ‘Gay Caveman’s’ Coming Out Party,’” http://jezebel.com/#!5790086/scientists-ruin-gay-cavemans-coming-out-party.
- Hawks, John, John Hawks Weblog, “The ‘gay caveman,’” http://johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/meta/communication/gay-caveman-prague-2011.html.
- Heresy Corner, Was the “gay caveman” actually gay? Or even a caveman?, http://heresycorner.blogspot.com/2011/04/was-gay-caveman-actually-gay-or-even.html.
- Joyce, Rosemary, Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives, “‘Gay Caveman’: Wrecking a perfectly good story,” http://ancientbodies.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/gay-caveman-wrecking-a-perfectly-good-story.
- Killgrove, Kristina, Bone Girl, “Gay Caveman! ZOMFG!,” http://killgrove.blogspot.com/2011/04/gay-caveman-zomfg.html.
- Pappas, Stephanie, LiveScience, “’Gay Caveman’ Story Overblown, Archaeologists Say,” http://www.livescience.com/13620-gay-caveman-story-overblown.html.
- PressTV, “Ancient burial site unearthed in Prague,” http://www.presstv.ir/detail/173456.html.
- The Telegraph, “First homosexual caveman found,” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8433527/First-homosexual-caveman-found.html.
- “Third gender,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_gender.
- Williams, Mary Elizabeth, Salon.com, “The ‘gay caveman’ media mystery,” http://www.salon.com/entertainment/tv/feature/2011/04/08/gay_caveman_absurdity/index.html.