Like many people, I enjoy Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” I also really enjoy hot shirtless men. Go figure. Well this video combines them both. Yum!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5NRWM3FgqA
I’ve noticed a rather disturbing trend at the gym these days: people are becoming increasingly inconsiderate of others. I don’t know about you, but it just bugs the hell out of me. Gone are the days of alternating sets with someone using a specific machine or bench or even appropriate decorum or behavior within the gym itself. Since these discourteous actions seem to be on the rise, I thought I’d write a post about appropriate gym behavior, so you can avoid someone taking a dumbbell to your head for breaking one of these simple rules.
Rule #1: If you sweat on it, wipe it off!
It’s a gym, and we all sweat and smell while we’re there. I know I get all manstanky by the time I’m done, but when did it become common place for people to walk away from the bench press leaving almost a full body print of sweat behind? That’s just disgusting! No one wants to walk up to a bench to find it dripping with your nastiness. Every single person walks around with a white towel courteously provided by the gym. Use that towel for what it’s meant for and wipe down the equipment. It’s not only good manners, but it’s also hygienic.
Rule #2: Don’t set up camp
It’s important that we all remember we are gym members not gym owners. I don’t own a single piece of equipment at the gym and I certainly don’t act like it. Therefore, don’t become some oversized Kindergartener and hog all the equipment. Do you really need ten sets of dumbbells, three benches, the Bosu ball, a work out mat, and the four machines you’re cycling through? I don’t think so! Only use the equipment for the muscle you’re currently working on. If you’re doing bicep curls, then select the appropriate dumbbells and bench (if you need one) and do that exercise. When you’re done, you can move on to the equipment you need next. Don’t worry, the toys will still be there for you to play with; you just might have to wait your turn like the rest of the adults at the gym.
Rule #3: Socialize/chat away from the equipment
While I have been known to stop a set to chat briefly with someone I know or take an important call, I don’t stand at a machine/bench for fifteen plus minutes getting all the town gossip or stand idle at the equipment while I talk on the phone. If you see someone you know and the conversation is going to last awhile or you get an important phone call, move away from the machine. There’s no reason for everyone to stop their sets because you’ve decided to get all chatty with your BFF. I have no interest in your life and neither do most people, but I am interested in the bench press you’re preventing me from using, so proceed elsewhere. This allows you to get your much-needed dose of chit chat and allows me to move through my routine.
Rule #4: Do I look like I want to talk to you?
I’m at the gym to work out. I’m not there for your entertainment. But some people think it perfectly acceptable to strike up a conversation while I’m obviously trying to work through my set. I have my iPod ear buds in my ears for a reason. I don’t mind the “good morning” or “how are you?” I don’t even mind stopping for a minute to chat with a friend or acquaintance, but if I don’t know you outside the gym, there’s really very little reason for you to think I want to hear about your life or the fact that you like my shoes, even if they are fabulous! So while it’s perfectly acceptable to be polite and cordial, there’s also no reason to become overly familiar. That’s just creepy!
Rule #5: Save the grunting and screaming for the bedroom
I know that men have been doing this in the gym for ages, and I admit that I grunt occasionally when my muscles are tired and I need just a bit more than my body is willing to give. I get that. The grunt is our way of pushing the body passed its limit, but is it really necessary to grunt and scream through every rep for every set?!?!?! The answer is no! Moderation in all things is good, and this applies to those people who turn into apes while lifting weights. We all know you’re really trying to get attention. You’re grunting and screaming is saying, “Look at me! Look at how much I can lift!” But when the woman next to you is quietly lifting weights almost equal to yours, I think it’s safe for you to just shut the heck up.
Rule #6: Put equipment back where you got it
It seems that most people never learned to put away their toys when they were done playing with them. Need proof? Look at the gym floor. It is often littered with abandoned dumbbells, mats, and weights or machines are left with six 45 pound weights still resting on the bars. I mean, really? I have kids I pick up after at home. Do I have to also pick up after lazy, inconsiderate adults at the gym too? It’s really very simple to put everything back where you got it. I know I do it every time, and I still get out of the gym in about an hour.
Rule #7: Wear gym shorts over your bicycle shorts
This has become quite the problem lately mostly for older women at the gym. They wear skin tight bicycle shorts and a T-shirt, thinking all is good. Well, it’s not! I can see your panties through the bicycle shorts not to mention your camel toe. It’s really quite disturbing, so don’t do it!
Rule #8: Give me a break, not advice
While I’m always willing to learn something new, unless I ask your opinion, I’m not really looking for it. I’m not interested in your gym supplement that’s doing wonders for your body or how tightly you squeeze your glutes. Take your supplement and your clenched butt elsewhere, I’m busy.
Rule #9: Limit your gym buddy to 1
While women are typically the worse offenders at this, I have also noticed men to be slowly catching up to them. Having a gym buddy is great. It helps keep you motivated, but do you really need 4 people standing around you while you work out? I mean, come on! Don’t you realize how much time it takes for all four of you to go through three sets of 12 reps? Not only are you delaying the routines of others, but you’re really not contributing much to your own work out. If you have to wait 5 to 10 minutes between each rep, you’re basically just wasting your time–and mine.
Rule #10: Don’t confuse the mirrors at the gym for the ones at home
Now, we all look at ourselves in the mirrors at the gym. It’s how we can tell progress made during the day’s exercise, but is it really necessary for you to stand there and pose like you were competing in a bodybuilding competition? Must you flex your bicep and smile at yourself or take countless pics of your body with your phone? That can wait till you get home. All you’re accomplishing is looking like a complete douche and making us all laugh at you.
Have you seen people break these rules at your gym too? Does it make you as angry as it does me or am I alone on this? Also, let me know if I’ve missed a rule or two.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of hearing right wing extremists spouting that any effort for equality is a war on religion. Here are a two cases in point that drive me crazy. Texas State Representative Louie Gohmert believes that the Employee Non-Discrimination Act clearly proves Obama’s war on religion and opponents of The Affordable Care Act (AKA “Obamacare”) believe that forcing private organizations that use state funds to pay for employee birth control is another sign of Obama’s war on religion.
Let’s look at these for what they really are. The ENDA is a proposed bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. We currently have laws that prevent discrimination hiring practices against race, faith, gender, or physical handicap. What this shows is that this nation, over time, came to realize that discrimination in any form was unjust. In fact, 26 states currently have some form of state law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
To claim that the ENDA is proof of an attack against religion is absurd. The ENDA promises equal protection under law for every citizen in the nation. How could that goal possibly be connected to a war on religion? Isn’t religion, in theory anyway, supposed to come to the defense of those being mistreated? Not according to people like Representative Gohmert from Texas. But then again Gohmert isn’t really trying to defend his religious principles; he’s advocating bigotry against gay and transgendered people.
As for private organizations being forced to pay for employee birth control thanks to “Obamacare,” they too have it wrong. Churches are exempt from this, as they should be, but church sponsored organizations that utilize government money are not. Just like every other citizen and public organization that accepts money from the government, they too must follow the law. The government isn’t forcing people to use contraceptives, even though a majority of people including Catholics do. In fact, “28 states already impose such requirements,” which shows that this, once again, isn’t indicative of Obama’s war on religion.
There is a war in America, but it isn’t a war against religion. It’s a right wing extremist war against homosexuals and those who don’t prescribe to their views with hatred and prejudice at its very core. I just wish they would call it what it is. Though the Westboro Baptist Church is filled with a bunch of loons, at least they don’t hide their hatred. They are upfront about it. I can respect that more than politicians using the veil of religion to mask their bigotry.
If you want to hate me or someone else, then just hate. You’re free to do so in this country, but you’re not free to deny me or anyone else in this country equal protection under the law, and whether some people want to admit it or not, The Constitution of the United States of America proclaims we are all created equal.
In February, I posted about Washington State’s Governor Chris Gregoire signing the Marriage Equality Bill that crossed her desk. Well, unfortunately (but certainly expected), the law has officially gotten a referendum.
As reported by Queerty, “The number of names turned in far exceeds the required 120,577, though there have been some reports of fraud.”
Even with the signature tampering, a recent poll indicates “54% of Washington voters support marriage equality.”
In all, I remain hopeful. Though there are some people in Washington who remain prejudiced against gay rights, the majority supports true equality.
This past Sunday, Father Bob Pierson spoke to Catholics in Minnesota about why Catholics could vote no to the state’s anti-gay marriage amendment.
Father Pierson eloquently debunks common ecclesiastical beliefs on gay marriage.
He points out that the Catholic Church does NOT recognize civil marriage at all. Catholics who enter into marriages outside the church do not exist according to canonical law, whether they are gay or straight unions. Therefore, the Catholic Church, and any other church, should have no say what civil marriages a government recognizes. He further points out that reliable studies, not those sanctioned by bias, disprove that children are negatively affected by gay marriage. According to Pierson, love is love, regardless if parents are of same or opposite sex. And, finally, Pierson acknowledges that if gay marriage is recognized by the government, then the Catholic Church will have to follow government mandates on social services laws, if government money is used for those services. Neither the Catholic Church nor any other church or organization has any right to be excluded from government laws when government money is used. As he astutely states, that would lead to discrimination everywhere.
Father Pierson even uses words spoken in 1967 from “young theologian” Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict. Pierson said, “Our holy father taught in 1967 that we must obey our own conscience, even if it puts us at odds with the Pope. I doubt that he knew that he was going to be Pope when he said that.”
To me, Father Pierson represents the kind of man the Catholic Church needs as a leader, someone who not only understands canonical law, but who doesn’t believe any religion has a right to “force its teachings on others outside the fold.”
Here’s the video if you’d like to watch it.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXB8eACUwjM
(Story via Towleroad)
A few weeks ago, I was introduced to “The Outs.” It’s a six-episode web series produced and located in Brooklyn, NY. The tag line for the series is “Just because it’s over, doesn’t mean you’re over it.” Based on the first two episodes, which are only about 12 minutes long, the series focuses on relationships and their complexities. And even though we might not live on the East Coast, I’m sure we have all been where these characters are at one point in our lives, whether gay or straight.
The story lines are solid and the acting is well done. I’ve included the first two episodes here. The third episode is hopefully coming soon.
I just love Neil Patrick Harris, and in case you missed his opening number from The Tony’s, here it is!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWgFRCw70tA
When I was a teen in the land of the 80’s, hair bands were at the height of popularity. As most other teenagers, I spent hours watching MTV’s video countdown and waiting for my favorite Def Leppard, Heart, Whitesnake, or Bon Jovi video to hit the screen. Sadly, hair bands are no more, which is probably for the best, but the new movie-musical Rock of Ages hits theaters this weekend. If you loved 80’s hair bands like me, then you might be just as excited as I am to see this movie.
Music from Def Leppard, Journey, Foreigner, Poison, and Twisted Sister are featured and are used to tell the story about a small town girl and city boy who are trying to fulfill their dreams in rock.
Here’s the trailer.
The clip above is from a documentary called “The Adonis Factor” by Christopher Hines I recently watched, and it got me thinking about the typical gay male quest for physical perfection. Why do we as gay men put such an emphasis on body image and how healthy is this pursuit on the individual as well as the community at large?
To find the answers, I started by looking at myself. I’m just as guilty at propagating this quest, and most who know me well are at this moment nodding their heads vigorously in response. It’s not like I can deny it. I watch my caloric intake–no more than 1,600 calories per day. For breakfast, I eat a protein shake with a banana and flax seed. I have a whole wheat chicken sandwich, another banana, and a protein bar for lunch, and for dinner a nice meal lovingly prepared by my husband, who knows my caloric and dietary restrictions. I drink water all day. No carbonated drinks cross these lips unless I’m having a vodka and sprite on those rare nights out. I go to the gym six days a week religiously, and I can be quite the bear if my workout schedule is interrupted.
Why do I do this?
Well, I do it to stay healthy. As the fat kid for most of my life, I have no desire to once again weigh 195 pounds, which is what I weighed at my heaviest, and since I stand only 5’6″, we all have to admit I was quite chunky.
But is health the only reason I do this? Of course not!
Looking good means being appreciated by others, and who doesn’t enjoy that? I certainly do, and I’m married with children! So to say that the quest for physical perfection is merely what we do to snag a mate is not true. The strive for physical perfection doesn’t stop once we’ve reached the happily ever after. And it’s not just me. I know many gay men who continue to hit the gym and watch their calories way after they are in a fully committed relationship.
“The Adonis Factor” claims that gay men are “visually programmed” and that “attractiveness is key to a man’s self esteem.” I can’t argue with those points. Like women, gay men are inundated with models of physical perfection in the media daily. The hunky models and the shirtless actors affect us as much as supermodels sometimes spur women to reach for physical perfection. We want to be desired like those hard bodies we see on the screen or in the magazines too. Also, to catch someone’s eye or cause that shirtless muscle man across the bar to stop mid sentence and stare at you with his mouth open just feels damn good.
But I think the gay male’s quest for physical perfection goes beyond being visually programmed or self esteem. I think it appeals to a more base instinct–competition. Men are competitive by nature, and most don’t like to lose. I know I don’t. So while the promise of sex and the boost to our self-esteem are definitely contributing factors, I think so is competition.
Think about it. We work harder, so we can be the best, or as close to it as we are going to get. When gay men see someone with a hot body, do they want to be with that person sexually? Well, yeah. That’s usually a no-brainer. But most also secretly want to have that body longer than just for the night. They want their pecs to be as sculpted, their biceps to be as bulging, and their abs to be just as flat.
You can see it happening at any gym or gay bar. Gay men dress to impress, but their eyes are constantly scanning the crowd in search of a body they not only want sexually but one they wish they could have. The guys with the best bodies are usually either shirtless or wearing the tightest shirts possible, and they typically get the most guys coming on to them. They put what they have on display, and it motivates gay men who fall just shy of them to increase their reps at the gym or the number of sit ups the next day. When the inevitable craving for a chocolate bar or a pizza hits, those striving for physical perfection think about the hot guys at the club or on television, and they pass on the empty calories for the delayed gratification of a flatter stomach and more muscle mass.
And while this makes for a more healthy conscious community, what effect does the pursuit for physical perfection have on the individual and on the community?
There are certainly positive effects. Gay men maintain their bodies for far longer than straight men do, and as a result, typically suffer from less health problems. A study conducted by American Journal of Public Health and reported on in South Florida Gay News states that “… gay men are 50 percent less likely to be obese compared to their heterosexual counterparts.” Since we watch our weight, we suffer less from diabetes, heart disease, or other illnesses related to lack of physical fitness. The study also quotes Dr. Greg Pizzi, a psychologist, who states that “men or women, who are in relationships with men would generally take better care of their bodies, since men tend to be more visual in their attractions and make it pretty clear that they are looking for a partner who looks good.” So while gay men take care of themselves better than their straight brothers, there is no true altruism behind the gesture. They do it to remain sexually attractive and competitive with other gay men.
But this craving to remain as sexually attractive and competitive for as long as possible also comes with a price. I found an article titled “Men are Dying for Sex: Mating Competition Explains Excess Male Mortality” on Phys.org, a popular science, technology, and research news website that focuses on biology, among other subjects. The article states that “men compete with other men for mating partners and trying to make themselves attractive…. This competition leads to strategies that are riskier for men both behaviorally and physiologically, and these result in higher levels of mortality.” While the article focuses on male/female relationships, the information found within it can definitely be applied to gay men.
In the gay community, where gay man battles gay man for physical perfection and mating rights, the results can be dire, as stated in the Phys.org article. A recent survey reported on in PinkNews, a large European gay news site, states that:
48% of gay men would sacrifice a year or more of their lives in exchange for a perfect body.
The research also said 10% of gay men would agree to die more than 11 years earlier if they could have their ideal body now.
Nine in ten gay men admit they enforce ‘unrealistic’ images of lean and muscular men in conversation.
In comparison, only a third of straight men said they would give a year or more for an ideal body shape, and 77% admitted buying into the body image ideal.”
As you can see from the survey, the quest for physical perfection is problematic, when half of our community would die early just to have the perfect body. And if they are willing to die early, then logically this means that many gay men are falling into unhealthy body image issues, such as bulimia/anorexia, steroid usage, and cosmetic surgery. According to the survey, “record numbers” of men are seeking these alternatives. Another study conducted by psychiatrist D. Blake Woodside, a faculty member with the University of Toronto, states that gay men make up a significant portion of the 1 million men suffering from eating disorders.
So not only are gay men willing to die for physical perfection, but many are also killing themselves to accomplish it. Apparently, many gay men will do whatever it takes to be as competitive as possible in the meat market.
This has to stop. Perfection isn’t possible. We are human–gay or straight. As such, we are inherently flawed. The pursuit of perfection is unattainable and if we measure ourselves by our BMI, we may find ourselves alone but with a flat stomach. In our drive to reach perfection and the competitive sexual games played as a result, we focus on the exterior instead of what is on the inside. This is why dating sites like Manhunt or apps like Grindr and Scruff can be problematic. They reduce gay men to profile pictures that other gay men window shop through in order to find the picture that is most appealing, the perfect man with the perfect body. They also add fuel to the fire of left wing rhetoric that gay men are superficial and incapable of maintaining long term relationships.
We need to remember that what’s on the outside doesn’t reveal anything that is lasting. Our bodies will grow old, and they will get flabby and saggy. That’s simple biology.
Instead of striving for physical perfection and being competitive about that, let’s get competitive about being compassionate, loving, caring, industrious, intelligent human beings. If we commit to that with the same verve we pursue physical perfection, there are no limits to what the gay community can do. We could call this the Franklin Factor, after Benjamin Franklin. He was a flawed man, who tried his best to become the best man and citizen he could be. He even kept a journal on his progress toward becoming a better man.
If we as a community strove for the Franklin Factor, something far more lasting than physical perfection, we could bring about societal change that would not only benefit us but future generations, and if we eat healthy and exercise instead of strive for physical perfection, we will also look damn good while we do it.
So instead of trying to be an Adonis, as a community we should grab the occasional slice of pizza, see others for more than just their bodies, and enjoy the lives and bodies we have.
That certainly sounds like a better deal than killing ourselves for the perfect body. What about you?
As you may know, I haven’t posted on my blog since March, and some of you might be wondering why. Well, here’s the skinny.
I’ve been working on getting my novel published that I began working on last year. Thankfully Dreamspinner Press has agreed to publish my book, which is slated for release in September. Obviously, I’m very excited about the opportunity. Right now, the book is in the editing/galley stage. Basically, that means an editor is currently scouring through the manuscript, looking for areas that I will need to address/fix, and a Dreamspinner artist is working on the cover. I can’t wait to see what the artist comes up with. When I get the final rendering of the cover, I will definitely be sharing.
If you’re wondering about the book, it’s tentatively titled 3, and is a m/m/m romance. Just what the hay is a m/m/m romance, you ask? It’s about a relationship between three men, hence the m/m/m, and if you think a relationship between two people (whether gay or straight) is complicated, adding another person to the mix quadruples the complication factor.
Here’s a tentative blurb for the book:
Justin loves Spencer, his partner of ten years, and would do anything to keep him, even burying intense feelings for another man. He never planned on falling in love with someone else, but last year, during a time of romantic upheaval and separation, he did. Now, the “other” man he fell in love with has been in a car accident. The news rouses his suppressed emotions as well as shatters his current relationship.
While Justin works to rebuild his life with the once carefree Spencer, he also feels responsible for Dutch’s injuries, inflicted by the car accident and their terminated affair. What Justin doesn’t know, however, is that Spencer and Dutch also have a secret, a past relationship that started as a friendship but quickly grew into something much more.
Can Justin make amends with the men in his life and forgive their sins? Will Spencer and Dutch absolve Justin or themselves? Or will their lies and betrayals prove that three is most definitely a crowd?
Told from all three men’s points of view, readers travel not only on a journey of discovery but also on a voyage through memory. These men find in their past and their present the events in their lives that ultimately led them to friendship and love, passion and betrayal, but more importantly to each other.
I’ve had some people ask: why switch to romance when your last book was dystopian gay fiction?
Well, the answer is quite simple. When I was making the rounds trying to get Moral Authority published, I was told by several publishers that the idea was great, but that my reading niche wanted books of happier fare and with more sex. Books without them didn’t sell well from new authors with no previous publishing success. Apparently, the combination of romance and sex pulls in the readership and brings in the sales, which is obviously extremely important to both publisher and author.
Well, I can do romance and sex–quite well, in my most humble opinion. But I had to find an angle, something that made my book different from others. I didn’t want to write the standard boy meets boy, boy falls in love with boy, boy screws up relationship with boy, boy and boy separate, and then boy and boy reunite.
I needed something meatier (if you pardon the pun), so when I was coming up for ideas for this new novel, my mind drifted to a trio that I know. (For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a trio is a committed relationship between three people.) I began to speculate how that relationship came about, and my rumination culminated in my novel 3.
It has romance and sex, but there’s more to it than candlelit dinners and between-the-sheets action. The novel explores the concept of a trio, which believe it or not, is becoming more common than you might think, and it delves into the deep psychological and emotional conflict such intense emotions churn to the surface.
I enjoyed writing this novel so much, I have already completed another manuscript. The new one is a m/m romance, but more paranormal than contemporary like 3. It explores Christian mythology and lore while the budding relationship ignites and weathers some dark waters. This new novel is tentatively titled The Gifted One, and is currently being reviewed by my friend and personal editor (and good luck charm) K. K was instrumental in 3 becoming published thanks to her eagle eye and hard-hitting but accurate criticism, so naturally I humbly asked K to look at this new manuscript, which I also plan to submit to Dreamspinner Press.
So as you can see, I’ve been pretty busy behind the scenes that something had to take a backseat. Since my family and full time paying job could never be placed on the back burner, the blog had to, but I’m back for now, and I hope you come back too.
See you in the blogosphere!