Nov 22, 2014

10 Ethnic Groups on my Bucket List

On The Simpsons, Homer sings "I could love [e.g., have sex with] about a million girls."

A million?

Assuming a 50-year sexual life, that's 20,000 per year, or 384 per week.

That's a lot more than gay men could ever hope for.

If you spent every waking hour in the bath house, and if you were extremely attractive, you might get as many as 10 partners per day, or 70 per week.

But in real life, people have other interests and obligations, they don't have a superheroic physique, and they're usually involved in relationships that require monogamy or "sharing."  They might average 10 partners per year.

Or only one.

Homer goes on to list the various ethnic groups he is interested in: "I could love a Chinese girl, an Eskimo, a Finn. I could dig a Deutschland chick...."

That sounds more promising.  There are only about 6,000 ethnic groups in the world.  Could you "love" someone from each one?

For the purpose of this study, "loving" will be defined as "an event in which you see your partner naked in a private setting."  Clubs, bath houses, nude beaches, and dates that don't end with a bedroom won't count.

An "ethnic group" will be defined as a group identified by a distinct language and culture.  Generic white Americans and African-Americans don't count.

After careful calculation and checking my journals, I find that I've "loved" guys from 41 identifiable ethnic groups.

18 European
8 East or Southeast Asian
5 African
5 Latin American
2 Middle Eastern
2 Native American
1 South Asian

5,959 to go.

If I really want to sample the vast variety of  masculine beauty in the world, there are a few left on my bucket list:

1. Faeroese: from the Faeroe Islands far to the north of Britain (population 44,000).  Like the famous swimmer Pal Joensen (top photo).

2. Yakut: a Turkic-speaking people of Siberia.  There are 478,000 Yakut speakers, including 10,000 in the United States, so there's hope (second photo: a Yakut wrestler).

3.Ainu (left): the original inhabitants of Japan were not of Asian ethnicity, and their language was like no other in the world (there are only about 10 native speakers left).  They liked beards so much that the women got their chins tattooed to make it seem like they had beards, too.  Today there are an estimated 25,000-100,000 Ainu in northern Japan.  The most famous is Oki, who performs electro-pop versions of traditional songs with his Oki Dub Ainu Band.

4. Chukchi: from remote northeastern Siberia, near the Bering Sea.  The 16,000 Chukchi speak a Paleo-Siberian language.  Their shamans change from male to female when they travel to the spirit world.

 5. Hawaiian (left): 400,000 people claim to be part Hawaiian, but only 140,000 claim to be Hawaiian alone, and only about 2,000 speak the language.

6. Jivaro (left): about 20,000 of the former head-hunters, divided into several different tribes in the western Amazon region of South America, mostly in Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.  I visited Colombia, but didn't meet any Jivaros.

7. Tuareg: there are about 1.2 million Tuaregs, a nomadic people of the Sahara, mostly in Niger and Chad. Formerly called "the blue people" because the blue dye in the men's turbans rubbed off onto their faces, they speak a Berber language.

8. The Mbuti (left): one of several "pygmy" tribes in the Congo, there are about 30,000 Mbuti, most still living as traditional hunter-gatherers.  The men have an average height of 4'9."  Sounds like my kind of guys.

9. Greenlander: The northernmost country on Earth, Greenland has a population of about 60,000, most of whom are Greenland Inuit.

10. Aboriginal Australians: The original inhabitants of Australia have the oldest cultural traditions in the world.  They have legends about walking to Australia over a land bridge that hasn't existed for 14,000 years!  There are about 600,000, divided into many different tribes with distinctive languages and customs.  Ritualized same-sex behavior is commonplace as an initiation rite.

I visited Australia 20 years ago, but didn't get a chance to meet -- or "love" -- any aboriginal guys.

But there's always next year.  Maybe these guys are on Facebook.

See also: In Quest of the Bushman Penis

Nov 21, 2014

Spring 1971: Two Men Can't Live Together

Ever since I moved away from gay neighborhoods in 2006, I've heard a constant drone of "Buy a house!  Buy a house!  Buy a house!"

In the straight world, you have to live in a house.  Apartments signify immaturity, irresponsibility, or poverty.  They mean that something has gone seriously wrong with your life.

But I don't like houses.  I like apartments.

1. Someone else does all of the mowing, shoveling, grouting, tiling, and repairing, things that I hate with a passion.
2. Apartments are near the shops, theaters, bars, and gym.  In houses you have to drive.
3. You can hear other people, voices through the wall, footsteps from upstairs.  Who could ever be lonely?
4. Houses are scary, with attics and basements and crawlspaces.
5. It takes 30 years to pay off a house.  Who wants to live in the same place for 30 years?
6. Houses are occupied by heterosexual nuclear families.  Gay people live in apartments.

When I was a kid, I didn't know that apartments existed.  I thought that everyone lived in a small square house with a living room, a kitchen, two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a basement.

My first shock came in the third grade, when my friend Bill invited me to his house: there were four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a separate "family room"!

Around that same time, there was a game show called Dream House, in which couples competed to win rooms full of furniture.  Rooms I had never heard of before: dens, studies, game rooms, rec rooms, breakfast nooks.

I was hooked!  Whenever Mom went to the store, I asked her to pick me up a "House Book," a magazine featuring floor plans for people looking to build houses.

So many styles!  Gothic, Tudor, Princess Anne, Ranch, A-frame, Federal, French Colonial, Art Deco, neo-Classical!

And filled with such a clutter of rooms!  Drawing rooms, conservatories, parlors, pantries!  Rooms for sitting, for listening to music, for watching tv, for reading books, for just sitting in the sun!

Why did you need a separate room just for mud?

I got a ruler and some graph paper and started drawing my own floor plans.  Big houses, small houses,bungalows, mansions.

 A foyer with a statue of a naked man in it.

A sunken living room where my boyfriend and I could entertain guests.

A kitchen with a center island where we could cook.

A library of 30,000 comic books.

Not surprisingly, my parents never suggested that this newfound passion might lead to a career as an architect.  My future career was already decided: lineman at the factory.  Instead, Mom played the Wife card.

One Saturday afternoon in January 1971, during the Christmas break, I was sitting alone in the living room, working on a floorplan on a clipboard.  Walking through, Mom happened to glance over my shoulder.  "Don't forget a nursery!  Your kids will need a place to play!"

"There won't be any kids living there," I answered, preoccupied.

"Well, won't your wife be lonely?"

"No wife either."

"You certainly don't want to live in that big house all by yourself!"

"No.  Bill will be there, too.  We'll sleep in the master bedroom.  And we'll have two dogs and two cats."

Now my mother became firm and somber.  "Two men can't live in a house together."

"Sure they can.  What about My Favorite Martian?"  

"They live in an apartment -- you know, where a house is divided into a lot of little rooms?"  She sat down next to me, as if she was about to share a sad truth of adulthood.  "Sometimes, when they're just starting out, two men will share an apartment.  But only until they find the right girl and get married.   Then each one gets a house of his own."

"Why can't two men buy a house, if they want to?" I asked.

"If they tried, they'd be arrested!  Houses are just for married couples."

Some local ordinances did indeed prohibit landlords from renting to "known homosexuals" through the 1970s.

I looked down at my floorplan.  Suddenly it looked vast and cold and empty.   There could never be a cute boy waiting there when I came home, only a wife.  I thrust it aside.

"What if they never meet the right woman and get married? Then they could live in an apartment forever, right?"

Mom laughed.  "The things you worry about!  That never happens! Sooner or later, you'll meet the girl of your dreams, and get married.  Then you'll go to work in the factory so you can support her, and pay for the house."

So the three Big Events of my future were linked -- marrying a woman, working in a factory, buying a house -- three aspects of the same heteronormative prison.

Maybe if I escaped just one, the others would fade away.

I never went to work in the factory, "discovered" girls, or lived in a house.  Except for a few years of renting rooms from Derek in West Hollywood and Barney in Wilton Manors, which hardly counts.

 I refuse to buy, rent, or live in a house, in spite of everyone around thinking that there is something seriously wrong with me.

I like apartments.

See also: Dad Takes Me to See Naked Men

The Indonesian Temple of the Penis

In Central Java, Indonesia, on the slopes of Mount Lawu (and eight hours by car from Jakarta), there's a low-sloping truncated pyramid called Candi Sukuh, or Sukuh Temple.

Covered with bas-reliefs of people in erotic poses.

Surrounded by statues of naked men, gods, and monsters.

An elephant-headed god  and his dog dancing with two men who are forging a sword.. Most of his gigantic penis has been broken off.

Men having sex with men.

Men having sex with beings of indeterminate gender.

A life-sized statue of a naked, muscular man grasping his two-foot long penis (it's so explicit that I can only show you the base).

There are phallic symbols everywhere, carved into the walls, protruding from walls, lying on the ground.  There was once a 6-foot tall penis rising from four giant testicles, but it's been removed to the National Museum in Jakarta.

The temple looks like a smaller version of an ancient Mayan pyramid, leading some para-archaeologists to claim that Mayans traveled halfway around the world in 300 AD. and established a beachhead in Java.

Or that both cultures were remnants of ancient Atlantis, or Mu.

Or that it was built by aliens and holds secret messages about the end of the world.

But relax: it's Hindu.

The elephant-headed god is actually Lord Ganesha.

The giant lingam (Hindu phallic symbol) contains a Sanskrit inscription proclaiming that this "sign of masculinity is the essence of the world."

Another inscription allows us to date the temple at 1440 AD, long after the Mayans.

Indonesia is staunchly Muslim now, but previously it was the site of several powerful Hindu kingdoms, including the Majapahit Empire, the largest in Southeast Asia, extending through modern-day Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

In 1440, Majapahit was in decline, falling to internal disputes and the incursions of the Muslim sultanates to the east.  So a crew of artists and builders came out to the jungle to ask for the help of Lord Ganesha, the power of masculine energy, and the penis.

See also: Top 10 Public Penises of Hinduism;