Savage Love Dec 20, 2017 at 4:00 am

Loving Lesbians


ITALY--a fake letter!
ITALY: a young George Costanza?
@Dan the Man: (re your spot on response to ITALY): "2.Women-straight or bi or lesbian- don't need "saving". They need respect, they need to be taken seriously, they need body autonomy, and they need loving partners and political allies." BRAVO!!
And another grand-salami-out-of-the-park response for the clueless dipshit, MASA.
Dan, I LOVE you!! You just plain rock, and once again made my Christmas and gave me hope for 2018 and beyond! Many thanks and Merry Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day (for Canadians), and Ramadan to you, Terry, DJ, and everybody.
@#3 beat me to it but I still gotta: Dan, I love you! I am a little impressed you didn't straight out suggest the ITALY was fake. The only reason I waver on that is that perhaps there is a communication problem since the guy is supposedly Italian.
@ 1 may have a point. ITALY reads a bit as if written by someone who never met any lesbians in real life, yet eager to save while putting them down.

Related or not, Dan discussed LW’s possible attraction to masculine women while the letter does not give any such indication.
"while almost all effeminate guys are gay"
Wrong, Dan. Wrong.
(I thought butch men were more highly prized in the gay community?)

ITALY doesn't say he's attracted to women with "masculine swagger." He says he's attracted to "melancholy and perhaps insecure" women, and tellingly, he says he'd "rather protect and embrace [them] than take [them] to bed."

I think Dan's point 6 is spot on. ITALY doesn't want a relationship with an equal. Perhaps he doesn't want a sexual relationship at all. He wants to be a white knight. He has some romantic view of women as helpless creatures who need saving. Perhaps he's drawn to women who've been so damaged by men that they're claiming to be lesbians in order to avoid being hurt again. Perhaps he's drawn to lesbians because he doesn't want to get hurt in a relationship, despite this frequent "instant falling in love" that he experiences.

This letter makes me SO glad I'm not 22 anymore.
Maybe they have that look in their eyes, LW, because you are hitting on them. Insecure you say? Maybe you're misreading their signals, sensitive as you may see yourself as. And sporty.
What a pre Christmas column. A hetro ques. A homo question. A political comment.
Another year done and hasn't it been a stinker, just like this Queensland weather.
Lucky you guys have been here to share the year with.
Does ITALY want to 'take' the women he falls in love with 'to bed'? I would think he does; and, as he understands it, it's his girlfriends who demur at this, because they're uncertain, insecure or lesbians. But one would have to think something more is going on....

It seems that this young LW has both the impulse to 'protect' women and the impulse to have sex with them; and these impulses are badly-integrated in the complex of his attitudes towards a person he understands as 'love'. It’s more usual for him to want to protect his gf, to express his love for her Platonically, than it is for him 'to show her a good time', 'to fuck her senseless', 'to explore every orifice'--whichever expression, denoting lustfully unbuttoned, purposeful (but still respectful) sex you want to use. I'd imagine his girlfriends have responded to his chivalry or backwardness in different ways, certainly--but some may have wanted to excuse him or to take the pressure off his reluctance to perform by telling him they were gay.

It isn't the case that lesbians in their early 20s in Italy are typically insecure and melancholic. Some are bolshy. Some are overt feminists unlikely to date a soulful young man who falls in love with them. The LW is likely going to have to think about sexual politics, too, as he considers his own attitudes to the people he desires.

Incidentally, ITALY did not suggest he believed all women need saving by a man. He recognised he had a 'white knight' complex and attributed his being drawn to lesbians to this self-conception. But then he wondered whether that could be the entire explanation, since evidently there were adorably self-doubting straight women who metaphorically 'needed saving' too. This was the line of thought. Let's not beat down on a sweet, thoughtful though perhaps confused guy by painting him a deep-dyed sexist.
Dear Dan, I'm really preoccupied by homosexuality. Only in women though.. I'm a 100% straight guy. I even play sports. It's something familiar in their eyes that makes me feel close to them. I don't want to have sex with gay women, I just want to hug them and tell them it's OK. I have a girlfriend I can't have sex with and now I think about how easy it would be to be gay all the time. For her. Why do I want to be around women who don't want sex with me? What's going on with my sexuality?

LW2, just ask him to pose for you if you want to capture his perfect junk on film. And agreed butt out of his outside dating it's none of your business unless you're asking to join in on dates.

Encourage. Inspire. Criticism is crude.
I also have a tendency to be attracted to lesbians. What Dan calls "masculine swagger", I think of as a freedom from mainstream gender roles/norms (what Dan calls "play[ing] the girly girl"), which to me seem silly. I guess my point is that perhaps the conformities Dan takes for granted, could be things we grown beyond.

"undermine our Democratic norms"

Dan, that's small "d", "democratic norms".
Hmm... I wonder if the problem is not that he's attracted to lesbians, but that's he's attracted to unavailable women. For some people, there's something about longing for someone you can't have that's more appealing than having that person, even if they believe they want them. Women that are clearly into him are just too simple. There's nothing to overcome, no yearning, no story, no romance. I don't have enough information to know for sure, but it's something to consider.

It's unfortunate (for me) that men with feminine swagger are mostly gay. I've met a few straight men who had it and they spent a lot of time subtly apologizing and beating themselves up for not being more manly. I found it sad and irritating at the same time. It's refreshing when men are not ashamed to be that way, but I rarely see that in someone who is not gay.
'...girls who are insecure/sad/melancholy,...'

Geez, this guy is just 22? How many lesbians, or actually bi, women has he ever even met?

I'm another (yes another) straight guy who's drawn to women who aren't Kinsey zeros. My exes have been with more women than I have, but they were certainly not gold-star lesbians since they wanted me.
""while almost all effeminate guys are gay""
Wrong, Dan. Wrong.."

Beat me to it BiDanFan @ 6.

Could we not just get the hell over what women and men are supposed to look and act like, and stop making assumptions based on socialized bullshit?
Philophile @ 11: Hah! Nicely done.
Harriet @10: Good hetero, and for that matter, lesbian sex can easily be had without exploring every orifice. This is not a turn of phrase many non-gays would find seductive.

I don't think ITALY is a sexist, beyond the extent to which Italy is sexist, which is a fairly large extent. Cultural differences sometimes have a huge impact on people's attitudes towards relationships, gender, etc. Italy is a macho culture "where men are men." I'm wondering whether ITALY himself may be queer (gay or bi), but instead of this manifesting in him seeking out men which is NOT OK in his culture, he seeks out the company of queer women. Perhaps what he really wants is a BFF who will support him in exploring his own sexuality... he's just too young to know it yet. Just a possibility.
Love Philo @11's take on ITALY. May be the case, may not be, but nicely posed, Phi!

As for the dick pic guy, no one is going to suggest (NSFW!) ?
If ITALY is fake, so is DICKPICS.
I just can’t picture a universe where someone actually writes these kind of letters to Dan. You’re in a relationship with this person, ffs TALK TO THEM!!
Re DICPICS - maybe the boyfriend takes bad dick pics on purpose for some reason. Like he doesn't want photos that are good enough to be identifiable, or he's trying to reduce the chances of people passing it around, or he feels weird trying to pose his penis. Why is DICPICS so concerned with this, anyways? The boyfriend is clearly getting enough action on the side to satisfy him, bad pics or no. Is DICPICS planning to pimp him out or something? Or is he/she worried that someone is going to see them and judge him/her for settling for such an ugly penis? So many possibilities to ponder...
These letters! It's like some nerdy tech coder is experimenting with algorithms that generate stereotypes. What would a young Italian man hope for? Melancholia women who need his chivalry, especially when they are feeling shame for fucking their girlfriends! What would a committed gay boyfriend hope for? That his boyfriend sends more pleasing pictures of his beautiful cock to his potential hookups! What would a MAGA chud think of political disputes? That weak liberals are just whining because they don't like the president!

If this is the real world, then no wonder we're all seeking distraction.
curious2 @12, given the situation in the US, Dan using a capital for Democratic is to highlight how important such norms are. And people can capital any word they like, haven't you noticed?
LW3 is a republican/ Russian troll. They turning up a bit lately, emboldened by trump and his ways. Pretending this is about not liking some guy, you know, get over yourselves.
There is a real crisis happening for US Democracy, this is not a drill. We've got our own little version here in Australia. Emboldened by trump as well.
Let's hope Meuller drops a nice big New Year present for all of us.
Anyway. It's Xmas, time for some form of love expression.
You capitalize the D in Democratic if you are referring to the party. It is a proper noun. Dan wrote "our Democratic norms" which makes sense if by Democratic principles he means the things that the Democratic Party stands for. If he meant principles of democracy, then it should be lower case as democracy is not a capital noun. I don't know what you mean by People can Capitalize However they want To. I mean, sure, it's a free country, but most publications attempt to follow standard rules. Otherwise it wouldn't be much different between articles and comments, ha ha. Anyway, in this case, I think Dan might've been referring to the norms of the party so did it right.
What #6 said, except I think they're confusing "most effeminate men are gay" with "most gay men are effeminate."

I have masculine swagger; rarely wear dresses or skirts; and "makeup" means bb cream, mascara and lip gloss. But I'm 99% straight and, even with spending as much time as I did in LGBT bars (always with LGBT friends), I was only hit on once by a lesbian... and she was hitting on *everybody*.

Don't despair, ITALY. The woman you want is out there... and she loves dick.*

*If a woman who wants to fuck you is what you really want. I, like others here, have my doubts.
Love in the Time of Cholera—Jesus, Florentino is a total stalker and the original Nice Guy (so she owes me sex). I thought I could count on Dan for an updated reading of that novel.

Also, my partner is a professional photographer and has long maintained that what is offensive about dickpics is the poor quality of the photography. Artistic incompetence is not sexy.
@6 BiDanFan: "This letter makes me SO glad I'm not 22 anymore." Amen, sister! I'll drink to that.
@8, @9, @22, & @23 LavaGirl: I know, huh? If Mueller pulls some New Year's ITMFA magic, the overwhelming majority of us can raise glasses.
Good grief, Charlie Brown! ITALY at 22 sounds like my conservative male college friend (whom I mentioned in great detail from a recent SL, so I won't elaborate further here) from way back when he and I were also in our early 20s and later, when reaching our 40s. UGH! I cringe at the very thought of anyone insisting that I need "saving"---or being changed into his / her idealized fantasy mold of the perfect GF / wife / mom, etc.
Pales @25: Nope, I'm not confused. "Most effeminate men are gay" is not true in my experience (I'm only attracted to men if they're effeminate, and there have only been a few occasions when said man has turned out to be gay), and "most gay men are effeminate" does not jibe with my perception of the gay male scene in general. Harriet and perhaps Ricardo, if he checks in, could shed more light.

Pales, you discovered "lesbian sheep syndrome." That describes the phenomenon whereby when two women fancy each other, both are too shy to make a move, so they stand there staring at each other and doing nothing. (It's a good thing a man is required for reproduction, otherwise the species would die out.) Don't take your not getting hit on personally! ;)
EmmaLiz, the whole world isn't privy to the Democratic 🎉 Party. I see words capitalised or darkened etc all over the internet.
Grammar nazis seem to be on the rise along with the trolls.
Trump thru his UN rep, is saying that any country which goes against the USA on his Israel position, names will be taken and those countries will lose aid from America. Wow. This guy is serious about getting his Bully Boy badge.
@17. Bi. I did consider whether ITALY was queer and feeling his way towards an exploration of his sexuality. More to the point, I think, he's considering this, too; it's part of why he's writing to Dan (I'd guess) and why he insisted that he was '100% straight' and even played sports. (Like Tom Daley!). But if he says he's 100% straight, then to a degree we perhaps need to take that as read. He could very easily be tentative about expressing his sexual desire towards women and still be firmly male in his gender 'orientation' and straight in sexual terms.

The only circumstances in which I've met bi and gay Italian women in their 20s are Anglophone educational institutions and multinational organisations. They have been broadly like British and American lesbians--in how they presented themselves, in their explicit politics, in their self-awareness and degree of articulacy. Sure, there have to be Italian women in their 20s looking tentatively to come out, to explore and avow their sexuality, in the company of a supportive, non-judgmental 'boyfriend' figure. But the scenario ITALY paints has something romanticized about, almost as if it's his (or someone else's) fantasy.

I _did_ give two other alternatives to 'explore every orifice' to mean 'have enthusiastically desiring sex'.... Actually, it's something I would more presume in having sex with a woman, which would be unusual for me; with a man, I'd imagine more that I'd have my every orifice explored :) .... There is a serious point here, in that (especially in the current climate) it can be difficult for 'sensitive' or tender straight men to summon the directness, the roughness, if you like, to be dominant, to be happily sexually assertive, in bed. Now, of course, there is nothing at all sexist or demeaning in domming a female partner (or partners) in enthusiastically consensual sex. But, especially for a 22yo or maybe a bi man of any age, it can feel as if this dominant attitude converges with derogation. As a loving friend of his former partners or loves, ITALY is aware most of wanting to give them a cuddle. And this is fine--but not all that he expects of himself, or maybe what his dates or partners expect from him....
@29. BiDan. There's a shortage of manly gays, not a shortage of effeminate gays--surely this won't be a controversial view. I can understand Dan's statement that 'most effeminate men are gay' because campness is men is stigmatised, in a form of homophobia but more generally a form of gender policing; and so on average fewer straight men than gays who are naturally camp would give this tendency free rein.

I'm an effeminate gay man (I couldn't suppress most of the features that queer me if I wanted to)--but I wouldn't want to be taken entirely as a characteristic figure of gay male culture. My female identification is too strong, and I prefer all the new prefixes to -sexual, like pan- and sapio-, to homo- or even bi-!
I can identify with ITALY, in that I find myself frequently attracted to plainly gay women, for reasons I don't explicitly understand (although the "red cross" mentality isn't it - save these women from what?).

Which leads to the question: why would gay women have more masculine swagger?
BDF, Harriet, LW from Italy, etc-

Speaking out of turn here, I wonder if there is a difference across the pond? I don't know if most gay men are effeminate or not (no dog in that fight), but having lived in various countries, I can say that it's far more common to see obviously effeminate men who are also obviously straight in Europe and Asia. It's why "gaydar" doesn't really work across cultures. In the US, of course I'm sure that there are plenty of effeminate straight men too, but I don't see them out and about as often as far as I know. When I see obviously effeminate men here in North America and am in a situation to find out a little about them, it almost always turns out that they are gay. Like I said, not at all the case in Europe or Asia. Also, I think here with younger people it's different too, at least based on what I've seen of the current batch of high school kids.
Lava, I'm hardly a grammar troll, type carelessly myself and agree that it's annoying when others get nitpicky about these things as the poster above trying to call out Dan on the capitalization of a D. But Dan is a professional writer and an editor, and he is aware of capitalization rules in standard English, and he was answering a question from a Republican about why Democrats are upset with Trump by making a comparison about how Republicans felt about a Democratic administration in the very recent past. So while it's possible that he's being careless with his editing as the poster above seems to think (which tends to vary depending on how much he sleeps/smokes) or that he's taking liberties for emphasis as you seem to think (highlighting democracy), I think it's far more likely that Dan (professional writer, not online commenter like us) is actually capitalizing the D because he's talking about Democrats and in standard English, Democrat and Republican are proper nouns.

In any case, I don't care any more about it than you do. It's just an easy thing to talk about here! So much easier than trying to figure out people's sexuality based on their mannerisms, ha ha.
@31 LavaGirl: At this point of global white-collar criminal insanity, the only good RepubliKKKan is a dead RepubliKKKan. What amazes me is the number of people who ecstatically supported Trumpzilla, and cheered on his lies, hatred, sickening misogyny, disregard for environmental issues, and affordable healthcare are mostly the very ones who stand to get butt-hurt the worst by the recent atrocious GOP tax handout to the rich. I'm still trying to figure out what their attraction was and incredibly still is among blindsided GOP apologists.
Sorry, Dan and everybody for going off on a political tangent in SL.
Back to Loving Lesbians.
@36, EmmaLiz, I wasn't referring to you.
Grizelda, Dan open the political talk by throwing in a letter about it. Impossible to ignore, eh?
".. and didn't undermine our Democratic norms..",
I can't see EL @36, how these words pertain to any party.
@39 LavaGirl: With all the craziness going on in the world, sadly, this is true.
But then again, those of us who AREN'T mad as hell right now must be asleep at the wheel.
@34. EmmaLiz. 'Most effeminate men are gay' is not at all the same as 'most gay men are effeminate'.

Without venturing a view on the second, I will say, 'more gay men would be camp(er) if they weren't policing a male gender norm'. Probably both in Italy (I'm not a million miles from Italy at the moment) and the US.
Harriet @32: Well, men do have fewer orifices to explore, that is true. I was just thinking mainly, particularly given your use of quotation marks, that if someone I was flirting with in a bar suggested we go home and "explore every orifice" I'd laugh, then run.

Harriet @33: There are different kinds of effeminate. Are "effeminate" and "camp" the same thing? I often see gay men who look very masculine -- short hair, muscular bodies -- but who talk with a discernibly camp accent. Would that be considered "effeminate"? I think of "effeminate" as representing my beloved long-haired, eyeliner-wearing goth boys, or cross-dressers, most of whom are straight or bi. (Experience in the US and the UK.)

Sporty @34: My theory is that you want what you can't have, or your male ego relishes the thought of "turning these women straight." Why do lesbians adopt a "masculine swagger"? The same reason otherwise manly gay dudes affect a camp accent: to signal their queerness to potential partners.

Emma @35: In my world, you're correct about younger people. More of them are comfortable exploring their gender identities and presentations than was the case Back In My Day. More are comfortable with having a fluid sexual orientation. Of course, that could just be my subculture, but even compared to the goth scene in the 90s things are far more open. I had an interesting experience a few months ago, when I met an absolutely beautiful young man at a club. He was a tourist from Israel. A gay acquaintance and I both fancied him, and discussed how we were completely unable to tell what his orientation was. It turns out that gaydar doesn't always work across cultural lines: this guy was gay, and surprised that I hadn't been able to tell "from his mannerisms." I gestured to the clubgoers around me, noting several who were far more effeminate than he was but straight or bi.

Emma @36: Ha. Dan makes A LOT of typos. FWIW, I agree the d in "democratic" should be lower case when indicating the concept of rule by the people, upper case for the party represented by a donkey. The former Washington Post copy editor has spoken.
@Bi @43:
> Why do lesbians adopt a "masculine swagger"? The same reason
> otherwise manly gay dudes affect a camp accent: to signal their
> queerness to potential partners.

Or because it feels more natural to them. I think for most it's not an 'adoption' at all.

Certainly in my limited experience, what reads as gay will vary from culture to culture. My (straight) boyfriend of many years was often taken for gay in America, when he was simply a well-dressed European. Even within American culture--when I moved to the middle of the country from California many many people assumed I was gay merely because I had quite short hair. I also remember going to see Ira Glass read in the Bay Area one time, and having my friend from Boston be amused at all the guys in the back trying to yell out to him that he's gay, and should just admit it--to which my friend had this to say: "C'mon, guys, that's not gay, that's East Coast Jewish."
I'm surprised no one has referenced the song There! Right There! from Legally Blonde, The Musical. Gay or European? That's the central question of the song.

As far as lesbians with masculine swagger - for me it isn't an affectation, it's just who I am. My power tool collection is also the envy of many of my straight male friends. The only thing I'm lacking is the stereotypical short hair...
Ciods @44: I suppose it could be argued that straight women adopt a "feminine swagger" to attract men; that "masculine swagger" is the natural, unaffected state.
Moral of the story: never assume!
ITALY sent me his question via Instagram — so I'm pretty sure he's for real, based on the back-and-forth we had there, the pictures I saw of him with his GF, etc. I edit letters for clarity and brevity, which can sometimes remove details that could out someone but the absence of which makes the letter seem less real or credible. The odd fake makes it in, of course, and I don't lose too much sleep over it — every question is a just a good hypothetical for every reader save one — but ITALY's isn't one of them.
@6, Saying that effeminate men are likely gay does not say that gay men are likely to be effeminate.
Hey Dan, Happy Christmas to you and your family.
@43 and @44 - I've considered this, but many gay kids exhibit queer "affectations" well before their sexual years. I'm pretty sure Dan has reported as a kid he played with dolls and he preffered to bake with his mother rather than play tag or whatever with the other boys. I suspect most gay kids "know" they're different somehow, despite having no conception of queer sexuality, or the concept that other people could be queer. Obviously this isn't universal but that's not exactly uncommon backstory for gay men either (and the obverse for women: hated dolls, loved sports, etc).

@43, w/r/t wanting what I don't have... there are plenty of straight women I can't have as well. But I was also a 6 year old who thought Annie Lennox and Ellen Ripley were the the hottest things around (I'm aware they're not gay and/or real), so I've suspected that I was "born" with this particular attraction [and yes, a femmy gay woman doesn't do anything more for me that their straight twin sister would].
DS @ 47
Hi Dan! Long time reader, blah blah, the usual. Don't care if you've changed, keep it up, etc. Pleasantries aside, I just read the current reader advice recent column. The idea brought up by the “broken” first letter is the reason I thought ITALY is fake, viewing it as an intentional yet subtle way put down lesbians:
“girls who have that something more in their eyes? Something melancholy and perhaps insecure? Girls whom I'd rather protect and embrace” because we all know there’s something wrong with them.
As for the editing, I felt that letter could have been cut shorter and some of the questions repeated themselves.

Other than that I’m a happy non-binary genderian.
Happy eighth and a Merry Christmas to you too.

Speaking of holiday spirit, and also addressing a Lava question/request on a different thread, Sportlandia’s comment @ 50, “I suspect most gay kids "know" they're different somehow, despite having no conception of queer sexuality, or the concept that other people could be queer. Obviously this isn't universal but that's not exactly uncommon…” is a very accurate observation as my opinion.
Sportlandia, happy holidays to you too.
CMD, then address the points Sportlandia has made, rather than just diss him. Challenge his perceptions!
I'm not gay, or queer, though lots of energy sure went down at the convents I went too. How is his perception any different to Dan's masculine swagger.. not sure what that even is. Maybe he means us women who wear flats, and we don't do the heels walk.
Oh. You agreed with him, CMD. Zero points for my comprehension.
@52 i know you think you're being charitable, but really, don't both. the time of the year, or who wrote the whatever don't have anything to do with accuracy.
@47: Hey, Dan, Merry Christmas to you, Terry, DJ (do you still have Stinker?), and everyone.
Thank you, too, for responding to this thread and further clarifying the authenticity of ITALY's letter.
VAB251 @48: FUCK SAKE. I know the difference and I am saying neither is true.
Sportlandia- I think your comment had some accuracy in it regardless of timing. Not sure re your position on Christmas, but if that helps I no longer wish you a merry one.
Not sure that's possible CMD, taking back a Happy Holiday/ Christmas greeting. Once the goodwill has been sent, it's out there still.
Happy Holidays to all.
If Meuller could pull a rabbit out of his hat and legally bring down this atrocious Evil Empire under Trumpzilla, it certainly would be a Merry Christmas / Boxing Day / Chanukah / Kwanzaa / Ramadan et al. for all of us in the 99.999999%. I want ITMFA for Christmas with true peace and justice for all.
@6 BiDanFan: Wow-------how did I miss this comment from way back towards the front of Loving Lesbians? Add I-wonder-what-I-could-change-about-her sexual obsession (like French composer Hector Berlioz's idee fixe in Symphony Fantastique) and your description of ITALY would be a dead ringer for my aforementioned giggling conservative male college friend. While explaining the definition of idee fixe (a fixed idea, or fixation) I asked him if he saw a glaring significance to anyone living and breathing. After an irritated response of "No!" he still didn't get the connection (denial?). He was too busy idealizing. ITALY seems to have a similar problem.
Ms Fan - I think you and Mr Savage would perhaps each not count a large portion of the other's sample size. You omit camp; he'd likely omit your goths. I'd suggest going by Mr Hunter's standards rather than those of anyone with a vested positive interest.

While I accept your personal experience, you can only count those men to whom you're attracted and find out; I suggest that your attraction is assisted by the receptiveness of many of its objects. Perhaps a majority of the effeminate men who don't attract you are gay and more particular about sending negative vibrations (for a literary reference, I shall turn this time to Mrs Woolf, The Waves, and Jinny in her prime, with her black No signal and her golden Come). Also, you don't see the effeminate gay men who don't care for mixed spaces. (This gives me the idea for a Titanic Award.)

This probably horseshoes for Mr Savage. But whose standard to take? I mentioned Mr Hunter, but I'm not sure whether it should come from a non-admirer of men or from someone whose taste in men runs exclusively to the entirely masculine. (Mr Rhone, perhaps, who was such a fan of "Man Up"?)
@43. BiDan. The quotation marks don't denote anything I'd actually say--more that I'm speaking metaphorically. I'm from the generation where it seems flat-footed to be quite literal--'may I touch your nipple?' and so on, though I understand that might embody a more equal gender norm, especially between men and women. Both the types of effeminate men you describe are rarely entirely gay, yes. My sense is that a fair few gay men 'man up' to assume a social identity in the gay community e.g. go to the gym to put on muscle, project themselves as more manly in the gay context than they do in life broadly. The stigmatisation of effeminacy is wrong; but this phenomenon probably isn't as such, in that being gay does, after all, and among other things, give guys another way of being a man.
Happy holidays to all those prepared to receive the salutation and 'bah humbug!' to the rest!
Venn @62: Good to see you again! Thank you for your comments. I guess "effeminate-camp" and "effeminate-androgynous" are indeed two different things, each of which can lay claim to the E word. I have spent some time as a presumed fag hag, with my Gay Best Friend, in spaces which were roughly 90% male. That was, I admit, roughly a generation ago... where does the time go?
Aren't most men-only spaces geared more towards the bear scene?

Regardless, I have enjoyed enough effeminate men to maintain my challenge of Dan's claim that "almost all effeminate guys are gay." I offer a rephrase: "being effeminate is more acceptable in the gay community." This is a claim with which I would have no quibble.

Harriet @65: And a happy holiday to you too!
I think I got it! The main problem is that he's into unavailable partners. But it's only unavailable AND gay women.. he's got some attraction to queerness. And he's not going to experiment with a guy..

Somehow I forgot, I had a friend very much like this. He solved the problem by taking hormones, identifying as she, then dating other transwomen. My old drug dealer had a similar story too.

CMD do you think Italy is pre- trans?
Merry Xmas eve!

And a Christmas cookie for BDF. We kinda get along now right? I like it.
Merry Christmas / Kwanzaa / Boxing Day / Chanukah / Ramadan et al to all celebrating.
Okay. This time nobody can accuse Griz of cheating.
The (real) kids were feral, the adults stoned or drinking and the weather hot. Done for another year, here. And Melania is sending instagrams of herself pouting a Xmas message. All puckered up guys.
Dr Zhivago @ 63
My car was driven to the curb last night on a snowy road, front wheel is out of alignment and I’m taking it to the shop tomorrow.
Any “your car will be getting fixed fast” spells in your arsenal?

Philo @ 68
My initial thinking was that ITALY is fake, and is there to put lesbians down. I may have seen too much into it, it could be that ITALY is just not the smartest Christmas cookie in the jar.
I doubt they’re pre trans based on the letter. The attraction to women is prevailant, and the type is not screaming “lesbian” as this person always finds it out later.
Yet you mentioned a while ago a male-born friend who was attracted to lesbians and is now identified as one after transitioning, so who knows.

@62 vennominon: Thank you for rejoining us and the recent comment thread(s) in Loving Lesbians. Wishing you and everyone all the very best this holiday season.
@66: BiDanFan: I think you touched upon something in the phrase "effeminate camp" relating to guys. I'm certainly more comfortable around effeminate guys than he-male macho ones.
@68 Philophile: Thank you for leaving me an opening I could not resist (@69).
Thank you, Philophile @68. Let's hope this Christmas truce extends into next year!
And merry 69 to you, Auntie Griz.

Griz @73 re Venn: Yes, the sort of effeminate men one sees on RuPaul's Drag Race, for example, would almost certainly be gay. And Venn's right -- this sort of "femininity" would send such undeniable "gay" signals that I'd immediately think "oh, I'm not his type" and not waste further time, regardless of how attractive he might be. Dan's "almost all" has excluded guys like glam-era Bowie, Brian Molko, Marilyn Manson, Tom-Hiddleston-as-Loki, Ben-Barnes-as-Dorian-Gray, and every hair metal rocker, in addition to the goths no one but me has heard of (google the bands "London After Midnight" and "IAMX" for examples). Harriet is right: lots of ways of being a man.
Ms Fan - It got interesting wondering who would be the most just judge of the question, or even the definition. I don't have any particular vested interest in who's right, but wondered why you and Mr S would be so at variance.Two things didn't occur to me at the time, that might be amusing in different ways.

One is a general point that cis women generally do not receive in their youth the training that is drummed into a good many effeminate or androgynous boys NOT to sashay, etc. Not that I did, or at least not on purpose; I doubt I've ever been aware of how I moved or gestured, or that much more aware of how I spoke. The amusing part is that my mind's not immediately recalling those old scripts, as perilous as they were at the time, shows how they completely failed to adhere. Now I can imagine possible offsetting advantages, but I'm not sure if anything could have the same force as intensive contrary training in youth.

The other thing I remembered was a passage from Mr Maupin expanding the parameters of defining a man as effeminate from not just his appearance, mannerisms and speech but extending all the way to his bathroom. I'm fairly sure it's from the first Tales of the City book. Mr M's stand-in Michael Tolliver, comparing notes, describes his general experience of dismay when one meets someone who seems quite macho and hunky, goes with him back to his place, and everything is going perfectly until one goes to the bathroom and finds it's sufficiently chichi for a Gabor sister.
Ms Grizelda - Best of luck to you in your ongoing travails.

I'd ducked in once or twice when I happened upon a thread about someone who would not take No for an answer, and nobody brought up the great prototype of PPP, Mr Collins. I upbraided Ms Cute and Ms Ods about that. But it did seem that someone had to be the leaven in the lump, and this place likely needs a GRA not in thrall to any outside influence.
Venn @76: In a rare coincidence, I am currently re-reading the first Tales Of The City book and remember the part where Michael expresses his burst bubble upon discovering the manly men he fancies have bathrooms full of moisturisers. Hurrah, you've finally used a literary reference I recognise!

A decade or so ago, straight men who moisturised were referred to as "metrosexuals." That's fallen out of style, replaced by bearded and plaid-shirted lumbersexuals. I prefer waxed chests to waxed moustaches any day.
There is one thing I can definitely clear up for the assembled company, the case of the LW who sent Mr Savage a picture of a license plate reading NO TRUMP, which she took to be a political message, in so doing offending the car's owner, a dedicated bridge player.

One of the contributors to the thread did well at explaining the rationale behind some players' preference for playing in no-trumps despite the slight bias in the scoring favouring playing with spades or hearts as trumps if the partners hold at least eight cards in the suit. Mx Wanna made the interesting suggestion that opening the bidding 1NT or 2NT was along the line of being GGG. That would be more like the takeout double, usually of the opponent's opening bid, promising partner support for any of the unbid suits; an opening bid in no-trumps is more like meeting the minimum threshold of decent behaviour to avoid being cut out of someone's life. Even more, though, opening the bidding in no-trumps most closely in Savagerian terms compares to setting very clear boundaries early in the relationship. Partner will much more often be able to pass the opening bid than an opening bid in a suit, due mainly to the narrow range provided of opener's high card strength.

But, as for the reaction of the car's owner, I suggest that it would highly likely be the same even if the politics were reversed (say, a Pres Trump-D had been elected over Mrs Dole). A comparable situation could be a discussion of football over elevenses in a London office, interrupted by a new transplant from New York thinking they were talking about the Giants or the Jets. Card games with a trump suit have been prevalent for centuries; whist (the great-grandparent of contract bridge) had clearly attained pre-eminence by Miss Austen's time.

There's likely also an element of annoyance in how fractured society has become. I remember a discussion on the McLaughlin Group after Frank Sinatra died about how he'd seemed to represent a time when everybody knew the same popular songs, etc. In the generation before mine, it seems as if almost everyone played bridge. Or, if they didn't, they at least were familiar enough with bridge terms. An example from an even earlier time is in Agatha Christie's story The King of Clubs. The four Oglanders claimed to have been playing bridge for over an hour when a film star appeared at their window. They'd left the table and cards out. Poirot examined the hands, first expressing surprise to Hastings that Miss Oglander had bid one no-trump instead of three spades, and then noticing that there was no king of clubs, a card which he later found still in the box.

But these days, non-players cannot devise even a rudimentary fake, and many people's first association of a key bridge term is with someone who perhaps took the name largely for its meaning of asserting superiour status and is appropriating the meaning of the word to make it all about himself.
@ 79- An interesting muse on bridge, thanks Ven.
So, are you pulling a Who and coming back or is it nothing but holiday time killing?
LW2 needs to introduce his bf to , a lovely body and trans positive site by a female Kiwi lawyer. Perhaps propose a contest to see who can get an A grade first?

Also, gentlemen's apps! Delightful and perfect, thank you LW!
@20 how is it different from a lousy profile pic? You want your s.o. to be out there best foot forward no? To have the most success they can have? Wouldnt you maybe help them pick out outfits for dates or advise on haircuts if that's more your thing? Plus, if they're dating in the same pool as you, you want to show off your favorite dick (or second favorite?) a little bit, no? You never know when a threesome might pop up, so to speak.
The women who incessantly accidentally date gay guys is so common as to be a trope. I may not be a fan of the LW's writing style but guys who are super into butch dykes is A Thing and not at all rare, and why can't there be the male version of the lady on her fifth eventually gay bf? I think we're all in favor of more butch straight girls and fem straight boys, but I'm sure both are actually in pretty high demand (scarcity!) and not just in liberal areas.
@34 straight women doubtless would be more likely to have masculine swagger if it didn't repel insecure dudes when we're young, which is most of them. Luckily it tends to repel the right ones.
@75 BiDanFan: Thank you--as a matter of fact it indeed has been, what with a Christmas gift poster of Brad Pitt as J.D., shirtless, in a Stetson, Levi's and nothing else (!!), grinning and holding up a hairdryer as a mock gun, playing 'Simon Sez, everybody down on the floor!' (in an Oklahoma City, OK motel room allegedly on 1921 N.E. 23rd Street). Oof......"Thelma (and Griz) kinda took to him"........
And so true, too, as you, vennominon, Harriet, Dan, and others have stated--so many ways to be a man. Rest in Peace, David Bowie, John Entwhistle, Keith Moon, and so many others!
Is Roger Daltrey (a.k.a. "Tommy") still alive? I know Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) is still going strong.
@77 vennominon, Dan, and everybody: Please forgive me, first in advance for another dramatic novel, and second, if you went back to the previous SL where I admittedly got a bit wordy by Page 2 about a friend who could not accept the word "No" (regarding marriage and children). Thank you for your kind comments. I have been quite emotional lately, and going through a lot, health-wise (biology, cycle of life), getting therapy for military related PTSD, and halfway through a wonderful one-year online program through the Berklee School of Music in Boston. I just wish my hormonal level and computer browsers, software, et. al on my Mac would just behave themselves (I have a next door neighbor already giving me the cold shoulder treatment for past emotional outbursts lately, even through thick brick walls. I have asked around; so far, she's the only one complaining. I left notes under the doors of my closest neighbors on my floor, just telling what's going on about noise---chiefly, my screaming 'You goddamned worthless piece of !@#$****ing shit computer--blah blah blah!'--wailing, fists pounding on my library table, accompanied by hard-to-control sobbing when my computer acts up--even after faithfully clearing my cache, being fully equipped with a surge protector, back up drives, and external drives, etc. Unfortunately, as Griz enters menopause, my doctors tell me in unison that Mrs Marcus-level fits of irritability (i.e. from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: 'Get your hands off me! Don't you touch me!') crying spells (oh, lovely) are part of "The Change" I'm afraid my Mac is smarter than I am, and it appears to be an ongoing battle between love-fear-hatred between myself and a 2015 Mac OS-X that can technically taunt me because it has all my life's most passionate work---hopefully not at its disposal at will.
I'm amazed I haven't broken anything (yet), and that my prickly next-door neighbor hasn't bitched about the yelling guys on the 3rd floor blasting whatever crap they've got on their stereo with a thumping bass at late hours of the night.
But I am doing well in school for a 53 yo basket case, and now am 2/3 of the way done with my 2nd Symphony, in loving memory of my beloved parents. are you?
@85: I suggest a cup of camomile tea and Emily Dickinson poetry.
No @83: Hmm. Perhaps women who are accidentally drawn to gay guys because they like their femininity should buy some black clothes and hit the goth clubs. There they'd find the effeminate men who aren't gay. (Note, this is not meant to suggest that femininity is the only reason a woman might find herself drawn to gay men. But if it is, it could bear investigating.)
I don't often feel that I'm lucky to be bisexual, but posts like these do remind me it has some up sides!

No @84: Amen to that. If I can adopt mannerisms that scare off misogynists, bring 'em on.

Griz @85: Glad school is going well, tech problems notwithstanding!

This reminds me of something that occurred to me recently: we regulars are largely an ageing bunch, aren't we? I guess the millennials wouldn't be able to handle this level of discourse on their iPhones. I'm 46 and feel like I'm on the young side here. Which is a shame because it would be great to hear more from the post-AIDS-as-death-sentence generation. I'm sure their perspectives are different from ours.
Hi CMD, that's cool you remember my old friend's story. Let's call her M. I didn't know my drug dealer's story too well, but she was a trans lesbian too. Back to M, as far as I knew she never started suspecting girlfriends were lying about their sexuality like Italy.. but she hung out at gay and lesbian bars, maybe most of her friends were queer, dated a self identified lesbian while male identified, and I'm pretty sure that an unreciprocated lesbian crush or two came right before the idea to transition. In her case, obsession with lesbians seemed to be the problem and transitioning into a lesbian the solution. But maybe he's just a scared bi dude, or straight but doesn't really like sex, or so committed to abstinence with his distance girlfriend that he's developed this defense mechanism to cheating, or he has it in for women who won't have sex with him. It's pretty weird that he's not seeking out local straight/bi women for sex if he really is young, hetero, and likes sex. & I'm so sorry to hear about your car. Wishing the best for your fine axle. If I may offer.. Shop around for good labor & parts. And always keep looking for that awesome forever - mechanic. Don't give the guys who strip your lugs and who can't shim your starter properly a second chance. And I do see your point, melancholy and insecure are not super flattering descriptors, and don't seem to fit with the masculine swagger theory.. I'm thinking Italy is melancholy and insecure, or he finds melancholy and insecure people to be easier to manipulate.

Yo No... I've never known anyone who accidentally dated a gay guy, let alone several. I question this supposed trope. I messed around with a couple gay guys, but they weren't pretending to be straight. I've been afraid that might mean I'd get trans feelings, but so far imagining myself as a gay guy has been an occasional lark not nearly an obsession.

BiDanFan, I think your commitment is as solid as my own,lovely lady. Bring it 2018!
I don't know what to conclude about ITALY. He's so careful to specify that he's more about being the Red Cross type white knight than having sex, that I actually wonder whether he's ever had sex with a woman. There's all this flowery talk, but nothing about feeling actual passion for a specific woman or women in general. Hmm, could he be asexual, but also trying to conform to expectations and pressure to marry and reproduce?

And, for the record, "insecure/melancholy/sad" are NEVER synonymous with "masculine energy". They sound more like a textbook definition of a stereotypical drama-obsessed Victorian maiden, not of modern-day young women.

Or is ITALY projecting what he hopes young gay women are like, especially in a macho presumably still religious country such as Italy, especially when one has the Vatican going on and on (and on) about homosexuality being an intrinsically disordered condition.

If these young women are really gay, then might they be latching on to him as their "beard", to get parents or relatives off their backs by showing that they do have a boyfriend ... and that it is exactly the necessity for hiding that makes them insecure and melancholy, knowing they can't be open, so choose a safe, straight-appearing bf.
@89 Helenka (also a Canuck): "I don't know what to conclude about ITALY. He's so careful to specify that he's more about being the Red Cross type white knight than having sex, that I actually wonder if he's ever had sex with a woman. There's all this flowery talk, but nothing about feeling actual passion for a specific woman or women in general. Hmm, could he be asexual, but also trying to conform to expectations and pressure to marry and reproduce?" just about described my departed old male college friend to a T (See my comments in Savage Love: Devastation, but be warned, however; some comments are pretty lengthy), the only difference being that my friend repeatedly threw himself at me sadly out of sheer desperation (family / religious expectations and pressure to marry and reproduce) and frequently wanting something---or someone---he couldn't have and control.
@89: "And, for the record, "insecure/melancholy/sad" are NEVER synonymous with "masculine energy". They sound more like a textbook definition of a stereotypical drama-obsessed Victorian maiden, not of modern-day young women."

Well, if your life is dictated by machismo/marianismo, it's not impossible that these cartoonish stereotypes are enforced on the women in his life, or his particular lens on the women surrounding him.
@87 I'm a token Millennial. Still listen to the pod every week. Honestly, I feel like the regulars here would find my tranche boring. I'm squarely in the Recession Baby cohort, and like many of my peers, I'm a bougie suburbanite who wants to settle down. But am flailing toward the precicipe of a new decade next month.

Really enjoyed Esther Perel's new book. I think she nailed it, that people are looking for a best friend and soulmate in their spouse now. I think it puts a lot of pressure on dating, especially where I'm living, where the average age of marriage is 24.

I can't say I have much experience with extracurricular dick pics or insecure Italiano men. (The only experience I have with the latter was a very hot young man who was very uncreative in bed - wham, bam, grazie signorina !)

We're a generation that may be sexually active, but I hardly think we're liberated.
DC270 @92: Thanks for chiming in. (I thought this thread was over!)
Haven't people always been looking for a best friend and soulmate in their spouse?
I'm surprised there are still places -- presumably in America? -- where the average marriage age is so low. Personally, I believe we could halve the divorce rate by raising the minimum legal age for marriage to 25.
My Italian ex was definitely uncreative, but very very good within his limited repertoire.
Happy birthday in advance. I remember how I panicked for the year leading up to my 30th, then when I got there, I felt a bit foolish because nothing had changed, I was still me! :)
Well, I guess not "always." Up to the baby boomers perhaps, when breeding was a given, maybe people were looking for a suitable co-parent for their children first and foremost. Women were looking for a "good provider." But we Gen Xers, or at least some of us, dared to hope for more.
DC270 @ 92
"We're a generation that may be sexually active, but I hardly think we're liberated."
In the U.S., I'd say that many in authority would consider flat-out ignorance to be the ideal state for young people especially when it comes to sexuality (and other areas as well).

Cue the recording of Rick Perry babbling about how well abstinence-only so-called sex ed is working for Texas. ::shudders in remembrance::
re LW2, DICPICS - I think I've heard it all now...
BiDanFan @29: "lesbian sheep syndrome" is definitely a new term to me. Good to know!

EmmaLiz @35: I think you're onto something re: how "effeminate" reads across cultures. When I lived in Miami Beach, two German guys sublet the apartment next to us for a few weeks. I presumed they were a couple and was kinda confused when they hardcore hit on me. Then I realized they're just European.
What manner of man is this. Some says he can cure any sickness & diseases, some says he has the powers to heal broken relationships, family and marriages, some says he's a God on Earth. I'm so short of words to describe this man called Lord Doctor Zakuza. I've never seen a miraculous doing in my life not until i met Lord Doctor Zakuza online who helped me to get my wife back from her Ex-lover. If you need any help to get back your Ex-lover, wife, husband or you want help to get cured from any diseases like Hepatitis, Herpes virus E.t.c. Then contact Lord Doctor Zakuza now via E-mail:
Hi everybody. I recently saw a testimony about Dr. Todd in a blog I visit for relationship and dating counseling problems because i had been having serious issues with my boyfriend and we had been dating for six months, he just suddenly changed,he wasnt returning my calls,he started cheating,he was hurting me in many ways i never thought possible and I just thought I should try it*maybe out of desperation of some sort*..and I contacted Dr. Todd..At first everything felt dreamy and unbelievable,his consultations and solution was a little bit easy and strange and I was scared a little coz I heard read and heard lots of stories of fake spell casters,scams and i never really believed in magic..I played along with a little hope and and faith and I sent some few stuffs after everything and it worked like a miracle,everything went to a while new direction,it was and is amazing...I guess it was all good faith that made me read That particular post that faithful day..I hope he could help other people too like he did me...I did a little and I got everything I wanted and wished for*my husband,my family and my life back. E-mail:
Hi everybody. I recently saw a testimony about Dr. Todd in a blog I visit for relationship and dating counseling problems because i had been having serious issues with my boyfriend and we had been dating for six months, he just suddenly changed,he wasnt returning my calls,he started cheating,he was hurting me in many ways i never thought possible and I just thought I should try it*maybe out of desperation of some sort*..and I contacted Dr. Todd..At first everything felt dreamy and unbelievable,his consultations and solution was a little bit easy and strange and I was scared a little coz I heard read and heard lots of stories of fake spell casters,scams and i never really believed in magic..I played along with a little hope and and faith and I sent some few stuffs after everything and it worked like a miracle,everything went to a while new direction,it was and is amazing...I guess it was all good faith that made me read That particular post that faithful day..I hope he could help other people too like he did me...I did a little and I got everything I wanted and wished for*my husband,my family and my life back. E-mail: manifestspellcast@gmail. com

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