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CDarklock
04-11-2008, 12:57 AM
I'm writing a screenplay which has a gay supporting character, whom I'm intending to portray as someone looking for true love but unable to find it. Sort of a tragic hero figure. I need to have a frank and honest discussion with someone knowledgeable about how gay men try to find true love, how it typically fails, and how the gay community typically regards these efforts.

Maryn
04-11-2008, 05:08 PM
I'm straight, but I've had gay friends, and now our kids have some gay friends. The gay guys I've known seek love the same way straight girls and women do. They spend too much time on appearance, because that initial attraction is vital. They put themselves 'out there' at places where potential soulmates might be, so they can meet people. (Gay bars and clubs, certainly, hanging with gay friends who have other gay friends, attending parties, working in gay-owned or gay-friendly businesses, etc.) Sadly, they get their hearts stomped on by guys who were not as great as they first seemed--often after sexual intimacy, too, so it smarts even more.

Just like girls do. But when they find true love, it's worth it.

Maryn, not seeing a lot of differences

aliajohnson
04-11-2008, 05:21 PM
I've two gay siblings and, as far as I can tell, their search for love progressed the same way as my straight brother's. Whether someone looks for a soulmate at work, bars, online, through a match-maker, etc, has less to do with sexual orientation and more to do with personal preference and/or level of comfort with each of those avenues.

Barber
04-11-2008, 06:00 PM
Pssst, sweetie....gay guys aren't looking for love.

Naw, I'm only teasing. You have to figure out what kind of a gay character you're designing. Will he be into the gay scene? Because I once had two roommates living in the gay culture, and to be frank, they were quite a mess in the love department. Um, tragically so. And so were there oodles and oodles of pretty, twenty-something-year-old friends.

My advice would be to make him a character who just happens to be gay rather than a gay character if that makes sense. There are gay males who have only (or mostly) straight friends and a better grip on family values, commitment, etc. I've actually written a gay character who really resists the gay culture (I've based him on what I learned through having those roommates), and it's easier than writing a strictly gay character because I didn't have to pull in the seedier side of that community. Nor did I have to get too political. If you want to hear more of my findings / experiences, PM me. :)

As for having him find true love, I don't know where the story's set, but positive relationships (for adults) often come out of the office (though the employment's sure to crumble shortly thereafter).

IceCreamEmpress
04-12-2008, 01:26 AM
I think that there are more similarities than differences between any person's quest to find love with someone of any gender. Now, someone looking for love with someone of the same gender does have, in most contexts, the added issue of societal barriers and disapproval.

Read The Search for Love in Manhattan (http://www.joelderfner.com/blog/) if you want the self-described "Gayest Gay Man in America"'s story about the search for, you know, love.


Which he found.

HeronW
04-16-2008, 09:41 PM
Both sexes with same or opposite attraction look for meaningful one-night stands, true love, and everything in between. The 'gay culture' is more a media effect rather than protraying individuals and their goals. Much has been made of revolving door relationships between gay men but that's also true for straight men & straight or gay women--it's the person who chooses. Many times the hype and the expectations are so plastic, nothing will work.
Repeating the pattern of looking for a certain good type while chosing another who isn't is doomed to failure.

veinglory
04-17-2008, 03:10 AM
'How it typically fails'? I hesitate to say this but the gay man futiley seeking love in a venal subculture is fast become... tired as a characterisation. In terms of how this would work culturally, it would depend on the culture, a gay King Country sheep farmer is going to have rather a different experience to a gay African cell phone company CEO.

CDarklock
04-17-2008, 04:56 AM
'How it typically fails'?

Yes. Given that a gay relationship has failed (which, by definition, all of this character's have - no assumptions about other people are intended), what are the likely reasons it failed?

In hetero relationships, failures are typically because of gender differences. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. But when both people are from Mars... that's probably not the problem.

I'm tempted to theorise the problem is usually infidelity. "Queer as Folk" supports this interpretation, but watching Logo on cable is probably a bad primary source for the reality of gay culture. Much of what I see there is heavily propagandised, when I contrast it with my own experiences.

Yeah, I know, I should just go out to a gay bar. The problem is that the questions are by nature threatening; the gay community has been extensively victimised by people who say they want to "help", but have an awfully peculiar idea of what "help" means.


I hesitate to say this but the gay man futiley seeking love in a venal subculture is fast become... tired as a characterisation.

Really depends on where you put it. Make it your MC, yes. Drop it in the middle of a bunch of straight people, yes. Drop it into a group of gay people who aren't seeking love, remove the "futility" angle (which is inaccurate anyway; if gay people never found love, they wouldn't want to get married), and don't pass judgement on the subculture as "venal" - I think it's rather less tired. Surround this character with a gay couple that has found love, a young college student still discovering what being gay means, and one (only one) raging flamboyant queen... you have a spectrum. You don't hit every corner of the community, but you hit enough of it not to stereotype unfairly.

The catch is that I have enough experience being around gays to understand the other four - they're a lot like me, strangely enough - but not the one looking for love in gay culture. The easiest solution to the problem is to remove this character, but I think he represents the particular subset of the gay community with which straight men can most productively relate. I'm not looking to appeal primarily to a gay audience, but I'd be really disappointed if a gay audience found my characters totally unbelievable.

IceCreamEmpress
04-17-2008, 05:09 AM
In hetero relationships, failures are typically because of gender differences.

What?

No.

No, that's really not the case.

The main reason cited by heterosexual couples who are getting divorced is tension over money. The second most common reason cited is that the partners have differing sex drives (and that seems to be relatively evenly split between "man wants more/woman wants less" and "woman wants more/man wants less"). And number three is communication--that might be where your "different gender styles" would come in.

You seem to have some preconceptions about relationships in general that are a bit outdated and overly simplistic. In any case, people are not statistical samples. If you make the relationships believable to you, they'll be believable to others.



Surround this character {gay man looking for love} with a gay couple that has found love, a young college student still discovering what being gay means, and one (only one) raging flamboyant queen... you have a spectrum.

Wow, that sounds almost exactly like Paul Rudnick's play (and film) Jeffrey.

veinglory
04-17-2008, 05:31 AM
A spectrum, or a series of what might sympathetically be called modern archetypes. In scanning gay fiction these days I look for characters that seem more like real people. That's just something that's bugging me right now having watched Jeffrey, read Jeffrey, Jeffrey-lite and Jeffrey with grit, black Jeffrey, Jeffrey with sex scene etc etc. Time for some Bob, Barry and Hone in my opinion.

CDarklock
04-17-2008, 06:47 AM
heterosexual couples who are getting divorced

...are married, which is a different animal than looking for love. Married is after you've found love, when you want to keep it.


Wow, that sounds almost exactly like Paul Rudnick's play (and film) Jeffrey.

Yeah, particularly the part where it's not in Manhattan and nobody's sworn off sex to avoid AIDS.

You know what? It's really more like La Cage aux Folles. Because, you know, any story with gay characters must be one or the other.


In scanning gay fiction these days I look for characters that seem more like real people.

I think I've done okay in that regard with the rest of the gay characters. It's not a gay coming-of-age or coming-out story, it's more about how a group of straight men with little understanding of what being gay is and means can come to terms with themselves as straight men by increasing that understanding.

Most of the gay fiction I see is ruthlessly focused on how difficult it is to be gay. (To clarify, I mean fiction about gays, not necessarily by gays... hmm, is "gay" as a noun offensive?) This isn't, in my experience, normal - most of the gay people I meet are perfectly happy to be gay, encounter few difficulties being gay, and generally enjoy their lives. I want to see those people on the screen. I'm tired of the screen being dominated by angst-ridden gay people who can't figure out who they are or where they fit. I want to see the generally content and well-adjusted gay people I actually meet in the Real World, and all the angst and confusion shoved over there with the straight people - because I think that's where it really is, most of the time.

After all, there aren't any gay people with their shorts in a bunch over whether straight people can get married.

Ravenlocks
04-17-2008, 10:49 AM
It sounds to me like you're having the problem because you're defining the character based solely on his sexuality. Presumably his relationships fail because of an emotional flaw inherent in him as an individual, probably the same flaw he'll have to overcome in order to find true love (and there's the internal story right there).

Off the top of my head (and these are probably cliches): Maybe he has trouble trusting anyone, so as soon as they reach a certain level of closeness he pushes them away whether he wants to or not. Maybe he's a control freak and very set in his ways, and he has trouble having someone else around, so after the novelty wears off his relationships devolve into useless bickering and jockeying for control until they finally dissolve completely. Maybe he's an introvert who's perpetually attracted to extroverts, but they tend to bail on him because they can't understand that he needs his alone time. Or anything else. But there's no single reason why gay relationships fail, any more than there's a single reason why hetero relationships fail. They fail because people are people, and people don't always get along or stick around for the long haul.


a gay couple that has found love, a young college student still discovering what being gay means, and one (only one) raging flamboyant queen...
These are stereotypes. I would say, instead of focusing the story around gayness, focus on the protag's flaw, then build characters who reflect it in one way or another.

ETA: Oops, I just noticed the part where he's not the protag. In that case, make his flaw reflect something about the protag and the protag's journey.

Penguin Queen
04-17-2008, 04:46 PM
<..:>
Most of the gay fiction I see is ruthlessly focused on how difficult it is to be gay. (To clarify, I mean fiction about gays, not necessarily by gays... hmm, is "gay" as a noun offensive?) This isn't, in my experience, normal - most of the gay people I meet are perfectly happy to be gay, encounter few difficulties being gay, and generally enjoy their lives. I want to see those people on the screen. I'm tired of the screen being dominated by angst-ridden gay people who can't figure out who they are or where they fit. I want to see the generally content and well-adjusted gay people I actually meet in the Real World, and all the angst and confusion shoved over there with the straight people - because I think that's where it really is, most of the time.
<..>.

While that is, of course, a laudable intention, I still agree with others here who have said that your defnition of the character as a gay man is too narrow. Thats certainly how it comes across to me. Why does a gay man fail to find love? I dont know. Why does a tall man, a red-haired man, a race-driver, an accountant named Henry fail to find love?
You need to approach your character differently. Having a gay man doing or failing to do whatever is putting the horse before the cart. Poeple fail to find relationships because of who they are. Not because theyre tall or red-haired or of above-avarage IQ or queer. So you may have this bloke who can't find love, and he is incidentally queer. But if you intend to make him so from the outset, I think there is a high likelihood he will remain a cardboard cutout.

There are of course additional stresses on gay relationships that straighs dont have to grapple with: being in a minority, being - esp. if living in small-town and/or conservative areas - regarded as immoral, wrong, mentall ill, damned by the deity of your choice etc.; having one or both partners insist on remaining closeted; having one or both partners forcibly outed... You could have your character be in the military, say, which in the US is something less than tolerant (let alone offering equality) to LGBT poeple.

Maybe you want to avoid the pitfalls of making mistakes out of ignorance when writing about a group to which you dont belong, and again this is laudable. So, read some novels written by gay people (Amistad Maupin springs to mind). There must be a US equivalent of Stonewall (LGBT rights pressure grup in the UK) that put studies & material on their website regarding, say, statistics about relationships & relationship breakdown, domestic violence etc. in LGB relationships.

CDarklock
04-17-2008, 06:13 PM
It sounds to me like you're having the problem because you're defining the character based solely on his sexuality.

Let me explain my process. It seems different from what people expect.

I'm not defining the character yet. I'm defining the problem, which will help define the character.

Take, for example, the problem of "unfamiliar with the city". A person unfamiliar with the city has certain qualities: he's not from the city, lives far enough from the city that travel there is inconvenient, and doesn't travel enough to overcome the inconvenience. You can't make someone who was raised in downtown Chicago "unfamiliar with the city". If you put him in a Chicago suburb, you can't give him a car, and that opens up a whole new set of problems. So the problem, which is important to the plot of the story, drives the definition of the character. And once you identify where your character is from - say, Roosevelt, Utah (population under 5,000) - you know other things about the character. You know what jobs he's likely to have had, and what sort of people he normally sees, and what religion he probably is, and all of that has had an impact on his life.

I know, from the problem "seeking but not finding love in the gay community", that this character is a gay man. That's all I know. This much is required by the problem as I understand it. But since my understanding is incomplete, I could proceed to flesh out the character with qualities that - in an actual gay man - would make it trivial to find love in the gay community. That character is every bit as inauthentic as the Chicago native who is unfamiliar with the city. He needs to be in an emotional Roosevelt, Utah.

You can't apply the "gay" label as an afterthought. Those who do simply don't get it: being gay pervades your existence. It affects you long before you know it's what has been affecting you. It's so integral and essential to your life, that life has no meaning and can't be understood without it. You might just as well define two characters the same way you normally do - Joe went to Harvard Medical and is a pediatrician, while Bob went to MIT and is a particle physicist - and then say "oh yeah, they're also conjoined twins". It simply doesn't work.

You might get away with a character defined as though he were straight, who has just realised he's gay - but that's the only time you can realistically do this, and all the same, that realisation is inevitably the key to a puzzle that everyone around him has seen. Being gay may be new knowledge, but he was always gay.

EDIT: neglected to address this bit.


In that case, make his flaw reflect something about the protag and the protag's journey.

That journey is from homophobia to understanding. That's why there have to be all these gay people.

Ravenlocks
04-18-2008, 01:33 AM
That journey is from homophobia to understanding. That's why there have to be all these gay people.
I have a feeling the journey should be deeper than that. Why is the character homophobic to begin with? That's the real emotional issue that has to be resolved. It's the true journey. The understanding he develops is just a result of dealing with that issue.

The lovelorn gay character's journey should somehow reflect the deeper reason behind the protag's homophobia.


I'm not defining the character yet. I'm defining the problem, which will help define the character.
So being gay puts certain limitations on how the guy looks for love. For instance, he doesn't look for it with women. And he has to be careful not to hit on straight men. But he's still an individual, and his relationships are still going to fail because of individual things about him. You can't group all gay people together and say their relationships fail for X or Y reason. I think you already have the problem for your character: he's gay and he can't find love. Now it's time to dig deeper and figure out why not.

If the whole point of the story is to show straight men that being gay is okay, I think there may be problems with the story. Because it really is defining people based solely on their sexuality, as I said before. Being a woman I know I hate being defined by my gender, and if someone told me it pervades everything I do and I can't understand life without it, I'd tell them where to go.

What you need is a great external story (strong non-sexuality-related goal for homophobic protag), and then make it impossible for him to achieve that goal without the help of a number of other characters who have important things to contribute but also happen to be gay. So eventually he has to deal with the reasons he's homophobic and work with these people to get what he wants. Your CHARACTER is the one defining them by their sexuality. You shouldn't be.

My $0.02.

CDarklock
04-18-2008, 02:33 AM
I have a feeling the journey should be deeper than that.

Are you aware that many writers don't like to discuss the detailed specifics of work in progress? Because you seem to be prying a bit here.


You can't group all gay people together and say their relationships fail for X or Y reason.

Right, but you can group all the people whose relationships usually fail for a particular reason into one place and pick one of the bigger groups.

That's how you avoid things like having one character after another after another whose wife or girlfriend left him for a younger and better-built man who made more money. That doesn't really happen too often in the real world where the rest of us live, but somehow it seems to have happened to every cop, detective, and private eye character ever written. Especially the angry, violent, loose-cannon ones.


Being a woman I know I hate being defined by my gender

Defined exclusively by your gender, sure. But if I want one of my characters to be pregnant, it has to be a woman. End of discussion. If the only character trait she has is pregnancy, sure, be offended. But if she's more than that, what's the problem?

I'm looking for direction on making this character more than just "gay dude #4". If I don't get enough of it, then he gets written out, because I am not having any "gay dude #4" on the cast list. I would rather not tell his story than do a crap job on it.


What you need is a great external story (strong non-sexuality-related goal for homophobic protag)

There are no sexuality-related goals. The journey is an unintended side effect of another goal entirely.


So eventually he has to deal with the reasons he's homophobic
and work with these people to get what he wants.

More or less, although I've added my own twisted sensibility to it.

Ravenlocks
04-18-2008, 04:17 AM
Are you aware that many writers don't like to discuss the detailed specifics of work in progress? Because you seem to be prying a bit here.
I wasn't intending to pry. You stated what his journey was. I was only posting my thoughts in response.


Right, but you can group all the people whose relationships usually fail for a particular reason into one place and pick one of the bigger groups.

I still feel you should start from who the character is, not what group he belongs to. But maybe that isn't what works for you. In any case, my suggestions are always take 'em or leave 'em.

CDarklock
04-18-2008, 04:59 AM
You stated what his journey was.

In response to your challenge that the supporting characters should take their personality from the protagonist's journey, which is precisely what I'm doing. Moving beyond that just edged a little out of my comfort zone.


I still feel you should start from who the character is, not what group he belongs to.

It seems to me that I am starting from who the character is - or, at least, who the character must be. Every character starts out with a function in the story, and that function dictates some part of his description. I don't have enough to finish the description, so I'm casting about for direction on that front, and the single most common criticism I get is that the description I have is too shallow.

Which feels rather like saying "I wish I could eat a donut" and having people respond "well, you really should eat a donut first, you know". It's frustrating as hell. ;)

Medievalist
04-18-2008, 05:05 AM
Err...

Why are you starting out with a didactic agenda?

Why make being queer any different than being Swedish? Or Dutch? Or, gawd help us, a Walloon?

IceCreamEmpress
04-18-2008, 05:17 AM
Look, your story actually IS a lot like Jeffrey in that it's about a man looking for love surrounded by various gay stereotypes.

You asked for realism, so I gave you a link to the blog of one of my best friends and his search for love amid the red-hot molten core of the mainstream gay scene in Manhattan.

A recent book in the same vein is Fool's Errand by Louis Bayard.


I think that coming to "Expert Advice" and then being hostile and defensive to the people who give you feedback is probably not a wise move, but it's your life and your work.

Medievalist
04-18-2008, 06:29 AM
Oh, the heck with it; I don't see this actually even approaching resolution.




I know, from the problem "seeking but not finding love in the gay community", that this character is a gay man. That's all I know.

What makes you think that he has to even participate in "the gay community"? (Substitute ghetto there and try that on for size.)

Queer people are everywhere like every other sort of people; at work, at church, at school, at the market, ...


. . . being gay pervades your existence. It affects you long before you know it's what has been affecting you. It's so integral and essential to your life, that life has no meaning and can't be understood without it.

WTF? If being het doesn't define a person's existence why would being queer?

That's absurd.


You might just as well define two characters the same way you normally do - Joe went to Harvard Medical and is a pediatrician, while Bob went to MIT and is a particle physicist - and then say "oh yeah, they're also conjoined twins". It simply doesn't work.

Why the hell not? It absolutely does work. People are a lot more than their sexuality. You probably know and work with queer folk that you don't even realize are queer -- because if you're not directly affected by someone's sexuality, it doesn't matter.

If a person isn't seeking a partner, het or not, or isn't available, het or not, sexual orientation doesn't matter in the ordinary run of things. It's like being Swedish. You might not know that Rachel or Mike are Swedish, until you hear them speaking fluent Swedish with their sisters, or whatever. But it's not like that one fact makes them Other and Alien suddenly. They probably like lutefisk, but well, it's not like there's anything wrong with that...

Look at books by people like Elizabeth Bear, or Joseph Hansen's mysteries, where gay characters aren't primarily important because they're gay--it's just a facet of their characters, like being Swedish, or good at baseball.

Focus on the person, not the plumbing. Take being gay at face value -- he's sexually and romantically attracted to other men. Fine. No big thang . . . but maybe he's looking for the wrong kind of person for the kind of person he is, or the life he wants . . . that's the real issue, not queerness.

poetinahat
04-18-2008, 06:50 AM
Can't help but wonder: Why does this character need to be gay? Deciding he's gay before understanding his issues and motiviations seems like it might be putting the cart before the horse.

If this character is the only gay one in the cast, as I infer from the way the OP is phrased (otherwise, it'd be "a screenplay with gay characters"), I'd think the first question to ask would be how this character feels being a gay among straights.

aliajohnson
04-18-2008, 08:16 AM
You can't apply the "gay" label as an afterthought. Those who do simply don't get it: being gay pervades your existence. It affects you long before you know it's what has been affecting you. It's so integral and essential to your life, that life has no meaning and can't be understood without it.






Wait, what? My sister doesn't define herself as "a lesbian. . .and some other stuff." Her values and interests outside of the bedroom define her. Her work, her wife, and her children pervade her life. I'm not privy to her every thought, but I'd be willing to bet that when she wakes up in the morning she thinks something along the lines of "I need to fix the boys breakfast and get them to school." Or maybe, if it's a Saturday, she just rolls over and thinks, "my wife is hot." I sincerely doubt she wakes up and thinks, "holy crap! I'm a lesbian!" Likewise for my gay brother (minus the kids, and substitute hot wife for hunky partner.)

When they were first coming to terms with the fact that they were attracted to members of their own sex, then yes, I imagine being gay was the primary focus of their thoughts and energy. But that's a whole different ballgame.

CDarklock
04-18-2008, 08:22 AM
Why are you starting out with a didactic agenda?

Because the protagonist needs to be taught something. While he will certainly learn it whenever I say he learns it, no matter how he is "taught", I need the audience to find his epiphany believable.


Look, your story actually IS a lot like Jeffrey in that it's about a man looking for love surrounded by various gay stereotypes.

My story is about a homophobic straight man who learns that homosexuality isn't what he thought it was, which is not a damn thing like Jeffrey.


You asked for realism, so I gave you a link to the blog of one of my best friends

...the self-described "gayest gay man in America".

This character is not even the gayest gay man in the script. Your friend is the wrong model. Among other things, Philip would emphatically not sign up for a site called "men4sexnow.com".

This is in no way a judgement about your friend, who is highly entertaining and kind of cute. I wouldn't have sex with him, but I might feel him up and tweak his nipples during a cab ride... if he bought me a few drinks.


coming to "Expert Advice" and then being hostile and defensive to the people who give you feedback

This is not "Expert Advice", it is "Story Research", and feedback is not research. So please, pardon my exasperation at continuing to get all kinds of opinions and criticism about something I've deliberately been reticent about describing (rendering much of this opinion and criticism entirely invalid for reasons you will not be given), when all I really want is the answers to the same three questions I've been asking for a year.

Medievalist
04-18-2008, 08:40 AM
This is in no way a judgement about your friend, who is highly entertaining and kind of cute. I wouldn't have sex with him, but I might feel him up and tweak his nipples during a cab ride... if he bought me a few drinks.

OK.

That's just simultaneously idiotic and offensive. You've just got a twofer and reminded me of a Winston Churchill joke around the phrase "haggling about the price."

It really really fits.


This is not "Expert Advice", it is "Story Research", and feedback is not research. So please, pardon my exasperation at continuing to get all kinds of opinions and criticism about something I've deliberately been reticent about describing (rendering much of this opinion and criticism entirely invalid for reasons you will not be given), when all I really want is the answers to the same three questions I've been asking for a year.

You know what?

They're stupid questions.

They are, in fact, offensively stupid questions. Lord knows were I a gay male, I'd avoid that cab with fervent devotion.

You don't seem to be listening to a number of really gentle posts pointing out that they're stupid questions and that you're almost willfully digging yourself into a hole by asking the wrong questions .

I'm out of patience, and have the distinct impression that I've managed to get stupid spilled all over me.

Bravo
04-18-2008, 08:41 AM
Personally, I find the idea of a homosexual man complaining about misogyny absolutely hysterical.


Don't they inherently reject the suitability of women for certain purposes on purely ideosyncratic grounds?

I think that's funny.

so hows this "novel" coming along cdark?

CDarklock
04-18-2008, 09:10 AM
What makes you think that he has to even participate in "the gay community"?

Nothing. I just arbitrarily decided he would. I'm the author; I get to do things like that.


If being het doesn't define a person's existence

It does, every bit as much as being gay does.


People are a lot more than their sexuality.

That's right, they are. But you can't throw the sexuality away - or change it - without also changing who they are.


Focus on the person, not the plumbing.

Focus on the story. The people are made for the story, not the story for the people.


When they were first coming to terms with the fact that they were attracted to members of their own sex

...it was every bit as critical and life-altering as when one first comes to terms with the fact that one is attracted to members of the opposite sex.

aliajohnson
04-18-2008, 09:16 AM
...it was every bit as critical and life-altering as when one first comes to terms with the fact that one is attracted to members of the opposite sex.

More so in some ways, would be my guess. Or at least considerably more difficult. I'm not sure what your point is. :Shrug:

ETA--what's with the finishing my sentence for me? Kinda liked it the way it was.

Medievalist
04-18-2008, 09:20 AM
Heterosexual Questionnaire*

Please answer the following questions as honestly as possible if you engage in the heterosexual lifestyle.

1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?

2. When and how did you first decide you were heterosexual?

3. Is it possible that your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?

4. Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a fear of others of the same sex?

5. If you have never slept with a member of your own sex, is it possible that you might be gay if you tried it?

6. If heterosexuality is normal, why are so many mental patients heterosexual?

7. Why do you heterosexual people try to seduce others into your lifestyle?

8. Why do you flaunt your heterosexuality? Can't you just be who you are and keep it quiet?

9. The great majority of child molesters are heterosexual. Do you consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers?

10. With all the societal support that marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexual people?

11. Why are heterosexual people so promiscuous?

12. Would you want your children to be heterosexual, knowing the problems they would face, such as heartbreak, disease, and divorce?

* Created by Martin Rochlin, Ph.D., January 1977

Here's the thing: These are mostly stupid offensive questions. Substitute the word homosexual, or Walloon, or L.A. Dogers for heterosexual, and the questions are still stupid and offensive.

CDarklock
04-18-2008, 09:25 AM
That's just simultaneously idiotic and offensive.

Oh really? (http://www.joelderfner.com/blog/2002/03/)


They're stupid questions.

How, exactly, are they stupid?

Straight relationships have patterns; they start certain ways, they end certain ways. Why don't gay relationships have similar patterns?

Straight people have opinions of the way a straight man picks up women. Why don't gay people have opinions of the way a gay man picks up men?

Medievalist
04-18-2008, 09:44 AM
Oh really? (http://www.joelderfner.com/blog/2002/03/)



How, exactly, are they stupid?

Straight relationships have patterns; they start certain ways, they end certain ways. Why don't gay relationships have similar patterns?

Straight people have opinions of the way a straight man picks up women. Why don't gay people have opinions of the way a gay man picks up men?

Oh dear lord in heaven preserve us.

Look and admire the flexibility of the gendered pronoun:

Last weekend I was at lunch with B.N. and there was a cute chick who kept staring at me. I boldly gave her my phone number on my way out. Later that afternoon, she called. Her name is N. (I assume she has a last name, but I don't know it.)

So we went out last night to a bar called Pop Rocks (her (bad) idea). I'm not quite sure how we managed to get in, since they clearly had an age requirement of 12 and under, but there we were, shrieking in each others' ears and looking ghastly under the unflattering neon lights. At one point I tried to get a little familiar and she said, "this isn't a date—it's an official hang".

What did she think, I gave her my number because I wanted her thoughts on Frida Kahlo?

I asked her what it would take to turn this into a date, and she said, "I don't date people this early—I don't even know you yet."

Then she exchanged phone numbers with two other guys in the bar.

Then she spent the entire cab ride home alternately feeling me up and tweaking my nipples.

Then she wouldn't let me come up to her place because it was a mess.

Women baffle me utterly.
-----
My point is that people are people -- gay, Swedish, moderately happy, or Walloons. You're making assumptions that dating behaviors are entirely different for queer and non-queer.

That initial blog post, removed from the context of the blog, could have been written by a het male, or a het female, or a lesbian or . . .or . .. or.

We're all people. We have more in common than we have differences.

We all love.

CDarklock
04-18-2008, 09:46 AM
Please answer the following questions as honestly as possible if you engage in the heterosexual lifestyle.

You got it.

1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?

I think you just are what you are. Social conditioning leads you to assume you're a certain way, personal experience molds that, and ultimately you figure things out.

2. When and how did you first decide you were heterosexual?

When I couldn't get an erection with a man. I was fourteen; he was twenty.

3. Is it possible that your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?

Yes.

4. Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a fear of others of the same sex?

No.

5. If you have never slept with a member of your own sex, is it possible that you might be gay if you tried it?

See #2.

6. If heterosexuality is normal, why are so many mental patients heterosexual?

Because most mental patients are overwhelmingly normal. They tend to have only a few abnormal behaviors.

7. Why do you heterosexual people try to seduce others into your lifestyle?

Those who do this are primarily doing it because of insecurity. It threatens them to think there is an alternate view of the world, and they want it extinguished so they don't have to think about it.

8. Why do you flaunt your heterosexuality? Can't you just be who you are and keep it quiet?

I generally do. Most of my neighbors have no clue that my wife and I enjoy an open marriage where both of us are free to take additional partners of either gender at any time, and they certainly don't know about our BDSM activities.

9. The great majority of child molesters are heterosexual. Do you consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers?

Yes. I also consider it safe to expose my children to homosexual teachers. I do not consider it safe to expose myself to teachers of either variety.

10. With all the societal support that marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexual people?

Marriage is not the only form of stable relationship. Far greater numbers of young singles are choosing long-term cohabitation over marriage. Furthermore, the statistics on marriage frequently fail to take into account the number of pre-existing marriages, resulting in an inflated divorce rate.

11. Why are heterosexual people so promiscuous?

Most people are as promiscuous as their options. Ugly heterosexual people tend not to be promiscuous, because there are few partners available; gorgeous heterosexual people (such as myself) tend to play the field eternally.

Okay, I'm not gorgeous. Just damn attractive.

12. Would you want your children to be heterosexual, knowing the problems they would face, such as heartbreak, disease, and divorce?

I want my children to be whatever they are, and feel comfortable with it. I actually worry that one or both of my children will discover he has some kind of sexual differentiation, and end up mentally torturing himself over it for no good reason.

* Created by Martin Rochlin, Ph.D., January 1977

Oh, him. Thoroughly detestable man.

Here's the thing: These are mostly stupid offensive questions.

Really? Because I got through the whole thing without being the least bit offended. What's your problem with it?

Medievalist
04-18-2008, 09:49 AM
Really? Because I got through the whole thing without being the least bit offended. What's your problem with it?

They're leading questions.

They're using the same rhetorical technique/figure in the common "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

poetinahat
04-18-2008, 09:56 AM
Most people are as promiscuous as their options. Ugly heterosexual people tend not to be promiscuous, because there are few partners available; gorgeous heterosexual people (such as myself) tend to play the field eternally.

Optimus! Is that you?

aliajohnson
04-18-2008, 10:03 AM
Really? Because I got through the whole thing without being the least bit offended. What's your problem with it?

:rolleyes:


I'm walking away from this thread.

CDarklock
04-18-2008, 10:20 AM
Oh dear lord in heaven preserve us.

You're still not getting the irony. This blog is written by the guy I was talking about. The gay guy proffered as a model for my character. I really did read his blog, I really do find it entertaining. You have to click the "About Me" link to see if you think he's kind of cute. I know people who'd really like him; my wife certainly would.


You're making assumptions that dating behaviors are entirely different for queer and non-queer.

Not at all. I am simply perceiving that a gay date is different than a straight date, because it arises from a different cultural framework. I'm pretty sure that it's like a well-constructed sequel: 20% totally new, 20% new but similar, and 60% exactly the same.

Look, the bare fact of the matter is, in any given community - there are ten times as many straight people as gay people. And smaller communities
have different standards and expectations. They can afford to have different standards, because there's more room for individuality. This holds true throughout all sorts of communities; you see the same thing in companies, where the small company will accept far more unusual behavior from employees than the massive multinational. It's just the demands of human culture. As community size rises, homogeneity becomes more desirable to the members.

Notice, for example, that throughout Joel's blog he keeps inviting people to his house and cooking them dinner. This is very strange in the heterosexual community. Usually, a straight man takes his date out to a restaurant - a neutral territory, where he is unlikely to take liberties. Joel doesn't do that; he wants the opportunity to take liberties, and his dates are okay with that.

What I don't know is whether this is normal. Is this the way gay men normally date - in someone's home or apartment, with said someone acting as host? Because straight men don't do that; if they're going to prepare dinner, they tend to do it at the woman's house, bringing groceries with them when they arrive.

CDarklock
04-18-2008, 10:29 AM
They're using the same rhetorical technique/figure in the common "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

I didn't really see that. The one and only question that bothered me was the one about mentally ill people. It's easy to answer when you're talking about the majority group, but a minority group makes it rather tougher to answer.

Had it been the original, speaking about homosexuals, I might have been tempted to answer "because some jackass doctor like you decided homosexuality was a mental illness".

Some of the questions were a little inane, though, and it's hard to see any real scientific conclusion coming from them.

Medievalist
04-18-2008, 10:40 AM
Notice, for example, that throughout Joel's blog he keeps inviting people to his house and cooking them dinner. This is very strange in the heterosexual community. Usually, a straight man takes his date out to a restaurant - a neutral territory, where he is unlikely to take liberties. Joel doesn't do that; he wants the opportunity to take liberties, and his dates are okay with that.

Dude, you totally need to get out more.


What I don't know is whether this is normal. Is this the way gay men normally date - in someone's home or apartment, with said someone acting as host? Because straight men don't do that; if they're going to prepare dinner, they tend to do it at the woman's house, bringing groceries with them when they arrive.

WTF "normal"??

You're still Not Getting It.

It's normal for Joel. Cooking at home is not necessarily related to being gay.

Marvin likes to bring dates and non-dates home to cook for them because Marvin is an incredible cook--and likes to show off a bit.

Jack likes to bring dates home because well, he's a cheapskate, and thinks Stouffer's is just as good as Mama Leone's, and he doesn't have to tip some snotty waiter.

Louise likes to meet dates at the bar because there's free parking there, and she doesn't have to worry about car fare.

Sam brings his dates home because in Grayson Falls there's just the one restaurant and everyone knows he and [Diane? Jeffery? Susan and Mark?] aren't together anymore and well, the wait staff all sort of hover, hoping to see True Love. It's just less stressful to cook at home.

Kristine [Frank?] likes to bring dates home because [s]he can tell the [man, woman, couple, Walloons] "You know that wine really needs to be finished. Why don't we kill the bottle and you can just crash?" More often than not it works, and she gets lucky.

Medievalist
04-18-2008, 10:46 AM
Had it been the original, speaking about homosexualdd it's hard to see any real scientific conclusion coming from them.

You might want to explore the concepts of Parody and Teaching Teaching Tool and Heteronormality.

The author, who died in 2003, was sort of a pioneer in terms of social awareness.

CDarklock
04-18-2008, 11:00 AM
It's normal for Joel. Cooking at home is not necessarily related to being gay.

And going to restaurants isn't related to being straight, but that's what straight people normally do.

You're essentially denying that patterns exist in human culture, which is clearly false to anyone who pays any attention at all. Culture is nothing but the establishment of patterns, the definition of normalcy. Refusal to acknowledge them doesn't make them go away.

Penguin Queen
04-18-2008, 07:47 PM
<...>
You can't apply the "gay" label as an afterthought. Those who do simply don't get it: being gay pervades your existence. It affects you long before you know it's what has been affecting you. It's so integral and essential to your life, that life has no meaning and can't be understood without it. <...>

And you know that how exactly? Even if you're gay yourself - which I believe you to have said you're not - extrapolating from your own opinion and/or experience to make assumptions about everybody else will not work and sure as hell ont be accurate.
According to your theory there, my existence would be utterly pervaded by being queer. Actually, it isnt. Sure, it's a very important part of me, but there are qualities of myself that are more impportant and essential to the person I am than being queer.
You seem to have a very odd idea of what makes a gay/lesbian person.



<...>That journey is from homophobia to understanding.

That surely is the problem of the homophobe, not of the queer guy. You're looking for a cardboard cutout to use as a foil for your homophobe. Good characters are not constructed in that way, IMO.

Autodidact
04-18-2008, 08:28 PM
Hmmm. Interesting.
1. I'm not a gay man; I'm a lesbian.
2. Seems like you're looking for some gay men to talk to about this, which is a good idea IMO.
3. Writers often put themselves in the head of people very different from them, so putting yourself inside the head of a gay man should be do-able enough to be credible.
4. The core idea is really a math thing. If you're a gay man, you're (1) a man and (2) your possible dates are men. So if you're a man, start with thinking about yourself and how love, sex and dating feel to you. Now imagine that you don't have to deal with women, they way they're different from you, the way you don't understand them, etc. Basically, your dating pool shares this important characteristic with you, gender, which can be convenient but has its own drawbacks.

For example, generally speaking, on average, (insert as many limiters and caveats as you need) men tend to value appearance in a possible date. So your dating pool cares about your appearance. So you have to take care with your appearance.

To use another example, men in general on average etc. etc. (cover my butt with limiters and caveats) are more interested in casual sex than women. So, bearing in mind the whole disease HIV issue, it's often easier to interest another man that you don't know very well to have sex with you, and this raises the question for you whether that's what you want, or whether you are only interested in a serious relationship.

And like that.

Oh, and birth control and unwanted pregnancy are a non-issue.

HTH.

Ken
04-18-2008, 08:36 PM
after rubbing elbows with Medievalist in another thread :) I can tell you that she is exceedingly intelligent and well read, possibly even on the level of a scholar. So if she says that such and such is the case everbody here should really give it some long hard thought, as she is most likely right in her assessment.

CDarklock
04-18-2008, 11:46 PM
And you know that how exactly?

By listening to the people who lecture me about how I don't know anything about gay people. It's quite fascinating, really. I'll say I don't believe people are born gay, and someone always pops up to say I don't get it, and probably never met a gay person that I knew was gay, and I'd probably be happy if there were no gay people, and it's just so hard to know that you're surrounded by people who wish you didn't exist, just like your father does.

That's a common story. I see it a lot. I never hear it from people I see out and about in the gay community, but it just gets told way too often. I think it's something that some people have to deal with when they're just coming out, and they think their family will be supportive, but then they find this ugly homophobic cream filling in some member of their family. Usually a father; sometimes an older brother. Sometimes the mother.

I think when this happens, you self-seclude to some degree, and thereby conceal the impact of these experiences from the world at large. So it's difficult to measure. And I don't think anybody really gets it except the people who have been through it, but I can sort of get it. I just put myself there, and think about how I would feel. I know what it was like when I told my dad I was leaving the military, and that's an analogously important issue to him.

But I never hear anything even remotely like that from lesbians. So I'd suggest that maybe, just maybe, lesbians don't have that particular problem. I'd need to do more research to speculate as to why, but I recall a study some years back (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/511828) demonstrating that all women have some degree of physical sexual response to lesbian scenes, while men either did or did not respond to gay male scenes - there was no gradation. One might follow this up by proposing that lesbianism is a minimal deviation from the norm, while gay men are a radical deviation. Consequently, the lesbian is less deviant than the gay man (no value judgement to be implied by the word "deviant"), and therefore more acceptable in all strata of society.


extrapolating from your own opinion and/or experience to make assumptions about everybody else will not work and sure as hell ont be accurate.

I know! That's why I came here, to do some research, so I can correct the inaccuracies before I put them into my screenplay. Isn't that sort of the point?


According to your theory there, my existence would be utterly pervaded by being queer.

If something is important to you, you'll never be the same without it. To say that being queer doesn't change who you are is to say that being queer isn't important. I believe that is a stunningly incorrect position.

I wouldn't be the same person I am today if Elton John hadn't confessed bisexuality in Rolling Stone when I was six. That's not even my sexuality, and it changed my life. It alerted me to an entire world I didn't know existed, and it's a fascinating world. So claiming I don't know anything about that world after examining it for thirty years is rather likely to be incorrect - but one of the things I definitely do know is that it looks different from the inside.

I can't see the view from the inside. I need someone on the inside to describe it. Even if I go out and date gay men for a year, I'm not on the inside, because I'm not gay. I don't know how it feels when you're gay. To me, dating gay men would feel awkward and dishonest, like I was deliberately leading people on for no good purpose.


You're looking for a cardboard cutout to use as a foil for your homophobe. Good characters are not constructed in that way, IMO.

I actually agree with the latter part of this, but you're off-base with the former. I have a cardboard cutout, which is not a good character. I'm trying to improve the character by fleshing him out so he isn't cardboard anymore.


So if you're a man, start with thinking about yourself and how love, sex and dating feel to you. Now imagine that you don't have to deal with women, they way they're different from you, the way you don't understand them, etc.

This is a productive angle, but I've already been down this road. I've gotten some good direction from it, so it's good advice.

The difference between women and men in dating is productively viewed as being like a game of chess. The man aggressively presses the attack to gain checkmate, because he wants to win. The woman simply prolongs the game defensively, because she wants to play. Men don't date because they want to go to dinner and a movie. They date because they want sex. The experience, for them, is an economic exchange: you get what you want, now I get what I want. It's a form of prostitution.

Women date because they want to date. The date is fun for them. They do want to go out to dinner and see a movie, and afterward, they want a man to pay attention to them.

So to the woman, this is not even remotely prostitution, because sex is not attention. The average man doesn't pay attention to much of anything during sex, except himself. The scene in American Psycho where Christian Bale poses for himself in the mirror during sex is only a slight exaggeration. The woman is trading like for like: you spend time with me, and I'll spend time with you. The frustration, for the man, is that he's exchanging for something else: I'll give you what I have (time and money), then you give me what you have (da booty). And it's that fundamental difference in preferences that creates most bad relationships.

In the gay community, there are things you would expect to happen - if you don't really think it through. You would expect that a gay date happens in virtually no time; a gay man sees another gay man, they make eye contact, and off they go to the men's room to exchange blow jobs. And in the 1970s, this was very much the perception of how the gay community worked, because some portion of the community really did (and really does) work that way. We all know what a glory hole is; if there was no demand, there would be no supply. (I received an email from a local club not long ago advertising the newly installed glory holes in their men's room. I love living near Seattle; it's the single most sexually liberated city in the country. Yes, I've taken San Francisco into account.)

But it's not the whole story. Walk into a couple of gay bars, and you'll find that this is clearly not the way the community works. You see gay men on dates. They talk, they hold hands, they eat dinner, they dance. They look and act an awful lot like straight couples. And from a purely theoretical stance, it's simple to see a strong potential reason.

The outcome is not really in doubt.

Both men on the date are going to have sex. Just not yet. They have the same freedom the straight woman has: I can prolong this as long as I want, and whenever I am willing to have sex, sex is available. It is an economy of abundance. The availability of the eye-contact encounter simply enhances this - if I don't have sex with him, I can simply go have sex with someone else. But there will be sex for either man if he wants it. So there is little pressure to get directly to the sex; one can enjoy the evening, and the company of a partner, secure in the knowledge that at the end of the game both partners get to win.

The straight woman also has an economy of abundance: the man will continue to pursue her as long as he sees a better chance of sexual success with her than he sees with another woman. Indeed, other men will pursue her simultaneously. She can "trade up" whenever she chooses.

The straight man, on the other hand, has an economy of scarcity. He has few realistic opportunities, and those opportunities are time-consuming and expensive to pursue. It doesn't help that most straight men are completely oblivious to whether a given woman is realistically accessible - a fat old man in a t-shirt will happily run up and hit on a Swedish bikini model even when she's already surrounded by clearly younger, better-looking men in Armani suits. Straight men take wild, unlikely risks based almost entirely on the expected payoff, not the likelihood of success.

So the sociopolitical climate in which gay men date isn't a mystery to me. What is a mystery to me is what two men do on a date. How does the date get established? How is it decided what will happen? When a date is going badly, how does one tell? Anecdotal experience is helpful... but it's so varied. What are the patterns? I can construct a gay date with variables in the place of actual activities: they meet, and X happens, and they make a date. On the date, Y happens, and then Z, and they know the date isn't working out so A, B, and C.

But I don't have enough domain information to replace the variables. It's like Mad Libs without the parts of speech; you can't just stick any word in the blank, you have to use "noun" or "adjective" or "verb". Think of it as set theory. X comes from this list, then Y and Z come from this list, and A, B, and C come from these lists over here. I just don't have the lists.

Granted, we probably can't make lists that represent every last member of the gay community properly. But I do think we can make some lists which are not going to be inaccurate, or offensive, or naive. And by looking at the lists, I can design dates which are interesting and entertaining without being cliche, and the character can be formed around the notion that he's the kind of person who would realistically be likely to go on those dates.

I don't think this is a bad plan. I think it's unusual, but I don't understand why there's so much resistance to the idea. Surely other people have similar processes, where you can't tell who a character is until you know what's going to happen.

CDarklock
04-19-2008, 12:56 AM
after rubbing elbows with Medievalist in another thread :) I can tell you that she is exceedingly intelligent and well read, possibly even on the level of a scholar.

I have seen her other posts, and I heartily concur that she is indeed exceedingly intelligent and well read - even in the posts here. My disagreement with her has nothing to do with her intellect or her education, merely the specific point she is making.


So if she says that such and such is the case everbody here should really give it some long hard thought, as she is most likely right in her assessment.

I have rejected Medievalist's assessment that gay people are just people like all other people, because it is clearly false. My own experience clearly indicates that gay people form a unique and distinctive community; a community with its own customs, culture, and standards, which differ from those of other communities. I find it to be a fascinating community, in much the same way people become enamored with the French Riviera or Tokyo's akihabara district.

It would be foolish to propose that the Riviera is just like any other beach, or that the akihabara is just like any other collection of shops. It is clear and obvious that these places have their own special qualities, their own distinctive charm. And to suggest that gay men date and fall in love the same way straight people do is to deny what makes them special and distinctive.

I'm pretty sure Medievalist's objection is not intended to deny that gay people have specific and distinct value. I think her problem with the questions is that she sees this as a boolean choice: either gay people are special as gay people, or they are special as people. This is a fallacy of the undistributed middle. Nobody, and I do mean NOBODY, is just gay. They are any number of other additional things, and every last one of those additional things has its own specific and distinct value in addition to the specific and distinct value of being gay. If you remove any of those things, it's not the same person anymore.

So you can't design someone as straight, and then drop "gay" in the mix and be done with it - any more than you could design someone as gay and then take it out. Characters are not like a steak, to which you add salt and pepper and maybe some cayenne for kick. They are more like loaves of bread, everything carefully measured and combined, the yeast hydrated at the proper temperature for the proper time, kneaded and left to rise repeatedly, baked in the proper fashion. If you just throw more stuff into it haphazardly, things tend to go wrong.

BenPanced
04-19-2008, 02:38 AM
Yes. Given that a gay relationship has failed (which, by definition, all of this character's have - no assumptions about other people are intended), what are the likely reasons it failed?
Fidelity issues. Money. Job woes. Simple incompatibility. Religious differences that can't be overcome. The seasons have changed. You name it, it's in there.


Not at all. I am simply perceiving that a gay date is different than a straight date, because it arises from a different cultural framework. I'm pretty sure that it's like a well-constructed sequel: 20% totally new, 20% new but similar, and 60% exactly the same.
The only difference between straight and gay couples dating is in a gay couple, both participants are men.


So the sociopolitical climate in which gay men date isn't a mystery to me. What is a mystery to me is what two men do on a date. How does the date get established? How is it decided what will happen? When a date is going badly, how does one tell? Anecdotal experience is helpful... but it's so varied. What are the patterns? I can construct a gay date with variables in the place of actual activities: they meet, and X happens, and they make a date. On the date, Y happens, and then Z, and they know the date isn't working out so A, B, and C.
You keep answering your own questions. We meet each other through a personal ad or mutual friends or at Nina's Coffee House. We decide to go out to a movie and dinner or the NASCAR semifinals or the ballet. During conversation, I've decided B is being a jerk because B voted Republican in the last election. B can't figure out why I don't go to church any longer and thinks I smell funny. Based on some perceived flaw or character weakness or we simply don't get along, we decide the first date was the last and never contact each other again. Or because we both dig the films of Fritz Lang and our favorite authors are the same and we both have cats and B likes my smile and I like B's blue eyes and long hair, we decide to go on another date.

Sound familiar?

veinglory
04-19-2008, 02:50 AM
"I have rejected Medievalist's assessment that gay people are just people like all other people, because it is clearly false. My own experience clearly indicates that gay people form a unique and distinctive community"

Thise two things are not contradictory. However the notion that gays have "a" community is not the case. Not even any given city has "a" gay community. You need to give a more specific context. I could tell you a little about reasonably contemporary university-based gays social groups in 4-5 different cities. Each was very different and I can't generalise to the gay every-community.

Whether talking about individuals or communities anything generic is also stereotypic.

Ken
04-19-2008, 03:04 AM
I guess it's okay to draw distinctions so long as you're not reinforcing negative stereotypes. As others in this thread have suggested a good way to do this is to focus on the specific traits of the characters, and who they are as individuals. If you do this with lots of care and attention everything else will naturally fall into place, making for a convincing and engaging portrayal. Good Luck. Sure your novel will come out fine in the end, Cdarklock.

Soccer Mom
04-19-2008, 03:29 AM
I'm hetero and I live in a very small farming community. I'll bet my hetero "lifestyle" and "culture" is a lot different than that over someone living in, say, New York City.

Someone's culture and lifestyle are shaped by a lot more than their sexual preference. You are narrowing your field to much by focusing on one aspect.

CDarklock
04-19-2008, 03:30 AM
You keep answering your own questions.

I tend to think other people keep misunderstanding them. I have a great deal of information and understanding about gay culture, but it's outside information. I need inside information.


During conversation, I've decided B is being a jerk because B voted Republican in the last election.

As a straight man, I see instantly that this is a bad way to look for a long term relationship. Is this really typical of a gay man seeking "the one"? How in the world can you expect this to work?

It's possible that I can't even get what I'm after, which is a dating history that gay men find plausible and straight men find similar to their own. If this is really the way gay men disqualify potential mates, there is never going to be any meeting of the minds on this subject, and the character has to be written out.

Which is productive. If it can't be done, it can't be done.


Thise two things are not contradictory.

Actually, they are. "Gay people are just people like other people" - "just" being a synonym for "merely" or "only" - is incompatible with "gay people have a unique and distinctive culture". You can't be unique and distinctive at the same time you're like everyone else.


However the notion that gays have "a" community is not the case.

The notion that gays only have a community is not the case. Beyond a certain population threshold, you don't have a community, you have a collection of subcommunities. However, the community continues to unite these subcommunities through common factors - and they remain offshoots of that core community unless and until two things occur.

1. The core community grows to the point that it reinterprets the boundaries of acceptability.

2. The subcommunity begins to be perceived as outside that boundary.

This is precisely what happened to bisexuals, who were once happily accepted as part of the gay community, and are now largely marginalised with admonitions to "make up your mind" and "come back when you're ready to be honest". There is still a B in the GBLT community, but it's only really welcome when they want a show of numbers.

And yes, I've heard a lot of complaints about this. From bisexuals. You know, the experts on how the gay community really treats them? But it's primarily male bisexuals. Female bisexuals don't seem to get the same treatment; after all, queer is queer, if you have the right plumbing. (Which doesn't matter, right? Right.) But the male bisexual frequently finds that because he's marginalised in the gay community, his opportunities to find love with a man are reduced to near-zero, so he ends up turning to the convenient availability of women... eventually getting married, and having kids, and now nobody knows he's bisexual. He becomes even more invisible than other non-hetero men.

And while I hear a lot of heart-wrenching stories about the agony and shame and confusion of being effectively forced into the closet, the gay community largely doesn't give a shit and just denies everything. Which is exactly the way any community behaves; after all, it's what happened to the gay community during the 19th century in the first place. They were pushed out of mainstream society, forced to form a subculture, and the mainstream community denied everything.

Insert your own Nietzsche quote here. Fighting monsters, looking into the abyss, whatever.

BenPanced
04-19-2008, 03:47 AM
As a straight gay man, I see instantly that this is a bad way to look for a long term relationship. Is this really typical of a gay straight man seeking "the one"? How in the world can you expect this to work?
Changes mine.

So straight men don't reject women because of political differences. Pull the other one because that's where the bells are.


It's possible that I can't even get what I'm after, which is a dating history that gay men find plausible and straight men find similar to their own. If this is really the way gay men disqualify potential mates, there is never going to be any meeting of the minds on this subject, and the character has to be written out.

Which is productive. If it can't be done, it can't be done.
It was AN EXAMPLE in a purely HYPOTHETICAL situation. Yes, I would reject a potential "the one" because he votes Republican. But that's me. You cannot put this blanket over an entire segment of the population because it ain't gonna work.

CDarklock
04-19-2008, 04:25 AM
So straight men don't reject women because of political differences.

Not if the known extent of those differences was one vote, no. Straight men tend to give women a great deal of latitude in their political, religious, and social opinions. It is normal for a heterosexual couple to materially disagree on a great many subjects that are important to both of them, provided they can come to a mutual understanding acceptable for both.

In the example where someone voted Republican, and the man doesn't understand why, he would ask. If he wasn't particularly perturbed by the answer, he'd overlook it.


It was AN EXAMPLE in a purely HYPOTHETICAL situation.

I don't see the relevance of an example that doesn't represent typical behavior.

BenPanced
04-19-2008, 04:56 AM
.

eqb
04-19-2008, 05:07 AM
I don't see the relevance of an example that doesn't represent typical behavior.

There's your key mistake. If you want to create a three-dimensional character, ask what's plausible, not typical.

And as for what's plausible... You already have good answers from everyone.

Medievalist
04-19-2008, 06:41 AM
Whether talking about individuals or communities anything generic is also stereotypic.

Yes; exactly. Just looking at my local area:

There are several communities at the university--it's a very large place, and there are a number of queer communities within it.

Then there's the local area--there are queer residential/business communities that are known to be queer friendly; there are businesses to cater to specific subcultural aspects of the various communities.

All are different. All of them use language/slang in markedly different ways.

But at the individual level, none of that really matters; there's a lot of variety. I see the same sorts of how-did-you-meet and when-did-you-know-you'd-found-the-one stories from my male and female queer friends as I hear from my male and female non-queer friends.

Medievalist
04-19-2008, 06:50 AM
Straight men tend to give women a great deal of latitude in their political, religious, and social opinions.

How very thoughtful of them.

I feel so fortunate . . ..

And look at all the lovely Freudian subtext that's just been spilled on the forum floor. And yes, I now have even more stupid all over me.

CDarklock
04-19-2008, 08:56 AM
You already have good answers from everyone.

Not really. I have an answer, but it's from what people didn't say, not from what they did.

Gay men are completely lost when it comes to forming long term relationships, and don't really know how or why they happen. They blunder their way through one relationship after another, completely unaware of what does and doesn't work, until they stumble over the right person purely by chance. This is probably because where straight men have dad to give them "The Talk" and a thousand years of literature revolving around "boy meets girl", gay men pretty much just have forty years of literature about casual sex.

So Philip isn't going to teach Joey anything. Joey's going to teach Philip how to look for lasting relationships, turning the tables, and creating a new dynamic: Joey doesn't overcome his homophobia so he can work with gay people to solve his own problem. He overcomes his homophobia so he can help a gay man solve a problem that has nothing to do with him. It's a pure transcendence, because he derives no benefit and there is no self-interest. He helps simply because he can.

Which breaks the lock on fleshing out Philip's character.

Philip is originally from Wisconsin - Green Bay fan - and has been attending classes at the University of Wyoming. He played a little high school ball, and stayed closeted until he got to college because the other players wouldn't have understood; once he was turned down for a football scholarship, but received a partial academic, he decided he'd be happier if he just came out. (His father, a former Coast Guard POFC, continues to deny that Philip's coming out was anything more than a staged attempt to embarrass him in front of his military buddies.) He's going to graduate this year with a degree in civil engineering, which he detests and has no clue why he studied - which is basic self-delusion; he took it because it isn't offered at UW-S in his home town, and required him to leave - and is honestly rather lost in the question of what to do with his life after college. He thinks he'd be much happier with a life partner, and has hoped over the past two years to find one that both appreciated his public masculine image and respected his private emotional fragility... which isn't really all that pronounced, he's just got the same typical worries and concerns most men do, and thinks it's because he's gay. Appreciation for masculinity is easy to get from the gay community when you're 21 and have a football player's body, but someone to share your feelings can be rather more difficult to find.

No cardboard in sight. Thanks for the help.

Medievalist
04-19-2008, 10:36 AM
I have rejected Medievalist's assessment that gay people are just people like all other people, because it is clearly false. My own experience clearly indicates that gay people form a unique and distinctive community; a community with its own customs, culture, and standards, which differ from those of other communities.

Great. We've got a tourist, folks!

The issue isn't that there isn't "gay subculture," the issue is that you want a monolithic box to label Teh Gay Culture. And it's not like that, not anywhere. There are lots of gay subcultures, and they vary widely in terms of geographic area, social class, age/generation of the members, and particular kink. There isn't a single "gay culture."

There are gay men who cruise bars. There are gay men in long term monogamous relationships. There are celibate gay men. There are all sorts of men who love other men -- and for most of them their primary identification is not "gay male." They are Rick, and John, and Marcus. They are Writer, Cook, Teacher, Carpenter, Equisterian, Farmer, Musician, . . . every kind of person imaginable.

There's a lot of variety and individual differences -- just like with heterosexuals. Fancy that!

Gay men tend to meet in pretty much the same varieties of ways hets do, and you keep arguing with people who know, from personal experience, far more about it than you do.

And in some cases, you also insultingly deny them the validity of their own lived experience.


And to suggest that gay men date and fall in love the same way straight people do is to deny what makes them special and distinctive.

This is bullshit, and offensive in the extreme. It's blatantly heteronormative as well--you're essentially denying gay men the capacity to love "in the same way." You're implicitly establishing a "right" and "normal" way of loving -- and then saying "but it's different for gays." And "You can't have that; you're queer, so it must be different for you."

People fall in love. They fall in love for the same reasons, and in the same ways. They've been doing it for thousands and thousands of years. And gay men have been falling in love and writing about it for thousands and thousands of years -- roughly 3,000, give or take a couple of centuries.

And gay men, and lesbians, and queers of every stripe fall in love for the same reasons as everyone else.


I'm pretty sure Medievalist's objection is not intended to deny that gay people have specific and distinct value.

You umm, really really need to check your assumptions dude. The strawman is a rhetorical fallacy typically employed by the irrational.

If you had a clue, at all, you'd note that you've pretty much managed to diss a fair number of folk who know a lot more about this topic than you, because it's part of our lives.

You've just essentially denied them the validity of their own experience.

Nice going there dude!

dpaterso
04-19-2008, 12:35 PM
This feels more like a focus exercise for the author rather than a genuine research question, and it's veered into inflexible stance argument rather than open debate. I don't think there's anything to be gained by allowing it to continue. Feel free to convince me otherwise via PM.

-Derek