Joe Newton
Five Questions

In Vegas I made the mistake of telling my "friends" I had an "accident." The girl giving me a lap dance was grinding too hard and I blew my load. Within minutes the nicknames started: Sticky Pants, Pocket Paste, et cetera. I took my medicine for three days in Vegas and thought that would be the end of it. Then before I walked in the door at home my brother was calling me Sticky Pants. Now my boss and coworkers are calling me SP.

The problem I have is that one of my so-called friends is out to ruin me. He had Sticky Pants business cards printed up with my name on them and is passing them out. I'm getting married next month. What are the odds the wife-to-be will learn about SP before I die? Do I tell her the truth now? Or should I kill ALL of my so-called friends? The pricks think it's funny that they are going to ruin my life.

Sticky Pants

First, it's too bad your friends aren't living up to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's new slogan: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

Second, you're a dumbass, SP. Your first dumbass move was telling your friends you blew a load. If you're old enough to get into a strip club and straight enough to blow your load during a lap dance, you should've known better. Of course they're razzing you--that's what straight men do. It's how you people display affection and/or hostility. Still, you've learned a valuable lesson: In the future, SP, what happens in your pants in Vegas, stays in your pants in Vegas.

Your second dumbass move was failing to laugh off the nicknames. You say you "took your medicine," but how well did you take it? Ask any seventh grader: If a cruel nickname visibly upsets the person being stuck with it, people redouble their efforts to make it stick. You were bothered, they could tell, and the end result is that SP may be your nickname forever.

What to do about the wife-to-be? Confess all. She's going to hear about it sooner or later--and keeping SP a secret only hands a very powerful weapon to the asshole who's trying to ruin your life. As for the asshole himself, well, the less bothered you seem by SP--yes, even the business cards--the sooner he'll start tormenting someone else.

Finally, I called the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on your behalf. Rob Powers, vice president of public relations, seemed shocked--shocked!--to find that stripping is going on in Las Vegas. When I asked if he would call your asshole friend and tell him to knock it off--to leave your sticky pants in Vegas, per his organization's slogan--Rob told me he had to go. "My boss is on the other line," Rob said. "And I really wouldn't comment on that regardless."

I recently came across some pictures of a guy who deliberately caused his colon to come out of his anus--

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Savage Love for a public-service announcement.... Stranger writer Eli Sanders has received e-mail badgering him about whether or not he intends to come to Danger!, a Gay City forum called to discuss, well, basically the pieces Eli has been writing in The Stranger this summer about rising STD and HIV rates among gay men in Seattle. If anyone at Gay City had the balls God gave day-old fruit flies, they would've asked him to sit on the panel. But they don't, so they didn't. Here then are the questions Sanders would've put to Gay City if he had been invited to participate:

1. When people point to the rising HIV rates as evidence that Gay City is failing at its HIV prevention mission, Gay City supporters counter with this argument: "The rise may look bad, but you don't know how much worse it would be if Gay City weren't here." How much worse do you think HIV rates would be but for Gay City programs like CAMP? Or Gay City University? Or Capture the Fag?

2. Among the "tough questions" Gay City plans to ask at its forum: "Is there a core group of people within the community responsible for the rise in HIV and STD rates? Or is it more complicated than that, and is that very attitude part of the problem?" The health department certainly believes there is a core group of badly behaving gay men in Seattle, many of them HIV-positive, who are helping to fuel the current rise in STDs. Data clearly support this conclusion. So a more important question would be this: Does Gay City think talking about the core group represents an "attitude problem"? Why? Does Gay City, which is not run by epidemiologists or medical professionals, know something that the epidemiologists and medical professionals at the health department do not?

3. And to follow up: Why do Gay City leaders, and other leaders in the gay men's health movement, continue to act like it's 1982 and public-health officials are all gay-hating meanies who don't know what they're talking about? Listen to this quote from Gay City's Fred Swanson: "Epidemiological approaches and public health approaches using the medical model are not necessarily good for community health." Could this hubristic "I know better than the doctors" attitude be part of the problem?

4. Here's another "tough question" Gay City plans to ask: "Sodomy may be legal according to the Supreme Court, but is it immoral?" Here's the no-brainer answer: No. Now we can get on to the more pressing questions on this topic: Is it immoral to be HIV-positive and fuck some other guy in the ass without protection if you haven't informed the guy that you are HIV-positive? Is it immoral to infect other people with HIV, whether maliciously or through negligence? Will Gay City ever come out and say publicly that the answer to both these questions is undeniably YES?

5. Fred Swanson gave gay health workers like himself credit for the years of falling HIV and STD rates that preceded the recent nationwide rises. It's a dubious claim. The reason gay men got safe real fast in the early years of the AIDS epidemic had far more to do with the fear of death. It's quite obvious that when AIDS drugs started becoming more powerful and more widely available, people started being less safe. Why? The fear of certain death was gone. The big failure of the gay health leadership has been its inability to replace the fear of death with messages of personal responsibility and a discussion about basic morality. If Swanson is not going to talk about personal responsibility and basic morality (i.e., "It is immoral to expose others to HIV"), then what bright ideas (and not utopian dreams of universal sex ed and such, but actual workable ideas) does he have for stopping the spread of HIV in an era of life-extending HIV drugs?

Sanders and I will be at the forum, and we look forward to hearing answers to these and other questions.

Danger! HIV, Anger, Fear & Blame takes place Thurs Sept 4 at the Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, 7 pm (doors at 6:30 pm).

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