Mar 29, 2014

12 Public Penises of Paris

My favorite spot in Paris is the Luxembourg Gardens, the grounds of the French Senate.  It's got everything you want in a Parisian park: geometrically-precise walkway, sculpted groves of chestnut trees, odd buildings in neoclassical style, a guignol (old fashioned puppet show), random concerts and artistic exhibitions, two massive neoclassical fountains, and statues.

106 of them.  Poets, politicians, queens, saints, and figures from mythology.  Everyone from Charles Baudelaire to Princess Anne de Beaujeau to Silenus, the God of Wine.  Many muscular bodies, with enough frontal nudity to rival  Prague or Washington DC.  Here are the top 12 Pubic Penises of the Luxembourg Gardens:

1. Le faune dansant (Lequesne).  A naked faun dancing and playing a trumpet.

2. L'acteur grec (Bourgeois).  A flamboyant young actor from ancient Greece, holding his script.

3. Marius debout sur les ruines de Carthage (Vilain).  Marius, naked except for a strategically-placed cloth, is gazing down on the ruins of Carthage.












4. The Ahaha Sculpture.  A naked man with the word "Ahaha" sprouting from his back.  He has a twin who is making a rude gesture.

5. Jeune vendangeur (Young Harvester, Dumilatre).  The Young Harvester isn't carrying any harvesting equipment.  He's a nude boy.







6. Polyphème surprenant Acis et Galatée (Ottin).  Ok, he's a heterosexual Cyclops who catches his rival, Acis, with Galatea, and smashes him with a boulder.  But he's still naked.

More after the break.















Popeye: Finding a Non-Traditional Family

Critics panned the 1980 movie musical Popeye, starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall, but I loved it.

I loved the world of Sweethaven, a tiny, cramped, desolate seaport, cut off from the rest of the world, where everyone is trapped, like the castaways in Lost or Gilligan's Island:

Sweet Sweethaven
God must love us
Why else would He have stranded us here.





It's the heart of the Depression.  People have no jobs; they must wear second-hand clothes and live in decrepit houses.  They spend their days drinking bootleg liquor, boxing, "horse racing" (without horses), and philosophizing on the futility of life: one day you're alive, full of hope for the future, and the next, you're food.

Everything is food, food, food

To make matters worse, the town is ruled by a Big Man (literally), Bluto (Paul L. Smith, top photo, bear-hugging Bruce Lee in another movie).  He levies arbitrary taxes, forecloses on houses, and beats up people at random.

He is engaged to Olive Oyl (Shelley Duval), whose parents run the local boarding house, but she really had no choice in the matter.  She tries in vain to think of a reason to like him:

He's tall...goodlooking...and large....so large...so large.


Into this lost, shipwrecked world comes the one-eyed sailor Popeye (Robin Williams), not the sophomoric star of 1960s cartoons, but the ultimate individualist from the E.C. Seegar comics of the 1930s, whose mantra was remixed by Gloria Gaynor and became a gay anthem:

What am I?
I yam what I yam!

At first reluctant to get emotionally involved, Popeye befriends Olive Oyl and her family and decides to help out.

 He wins a boxing tournament to forestall foreclosure, and trounces both Bluto and a giant octopus.  On the way he adopts a founding child and re-unites with his long-lost father.


And there's a gay connection: there's no indication, anywhere in the movie, that Popeye and Olive Oyl have fallen in love.  Olive Oyl is ecstatic to finally find someone who "needs me," but Popeye, similarly, sings "Everybody needs somebodys," to his son Swee'Pea.

They work together to raise a child that neither has had a biological role in producing.  They are a non-traditional family.

 The movie is about finding a family, finding a home, not necessarily in a heterosexual embrace, but among people who care about you.


Mar 28, 2014

Beatles Penises: What John, Paul, George, and Ringo Looked Like Naked

Musicians in the 1960s rarely took their shirts off on camera, and nudity was unheard of.  That's why this photo of John Lennon (and Yoko Ono) was shocking when it appeared on their album Unfinished Music #1: Two Virgins (1968).











The rest of the Beatles were less forthcoming about frontal displays, but there are some photos floating around that may be Beatles penises.  Like this 1968 poster, published in Denmark by Permild & Rosengreen.  The author is anonymous.   Paul is rather well endowed, the others not so much.

Untitled (The Beatles in Autopsy), by Curt McDowell (1968) is stylized but based upon photographs that the Beatles modeled for.



A whimsical version of the famous Abbey Road album cover.










And finally, four "real" Beatles penises, carefully labeled (clockwise from upper left, Paul, George, Ringo, and John).  It's actually "The Beatles in America," an oil painting by Jonathan Gent put on display in 2013 at the Museum of Liverpool.  It was part of a Beatles-themed exhibit that was to be auctioned off for charity.  Unfortunately, the painting was defaced by vandals and unusable.

Mar 27, 2014

8 Things Wrong with San Francisco, and Why It's Still Gay Heaven

For gay people in the 1990s, West Hollywood was a sacred site, a safe haven free from the heterosexism and homophobia of the straight world. Everyone visited at least once; almost everyone moved there (like my ex-boyfriend Fred); or tried to (like Oscar, the former lover of Ronald Reagan,).

But if West Hollywood was Gay Mecca, San Francisco was Gay Heaven, a mythical, perfect place, beyond the reach of all but the very blessed or the very lucky.

In the fall of 1995, Lee and I managed it. For a little while.


First we tried the Castro, the heart of the heart of Gay Heaven, but it was impossible -- even the tiniest, most horrible apartment had dozens of people scrambling to fill out applications.

Other gay neighborhoods, South of Market and the Mission, were likewise impossible.  Eventually we found an apartment in "The Avenues," about 3 miles west of Castro Street.

There were lots of things wrong with San Francisco:

1. It was very expensive, and there were no jobs (see My 12 Careers).

2. It was very cold and damp, with a wet wind whipping through you all the time.  And those quaint Victorians?  Drafty, freezing, cramped. Constant sinus congestion, frequent colds.

3. The Muni stopped running at 7 pm, so at night you had to drive everywhere.

4.  When we drove anywhere, we had to spend 45 minutes looking for a parking space, and invariably we ended up parking a mile from our destination,  in a scary neighborhood.

5. We felt guilty going anywhere, due to the dozens of panhandles holding out their cups and chanting "Any change?  Any change?"  If we gave in and deposited change, we were marked as "easy," and aggressive panhandlers would follow us around, demanding money.

6. Crime was everywhere.  People were robbed regularly. Our car would be broken into regularly, even if nothing was visible.  The trunk would be jimmied open to see if anything was inside.

7. There were lots of heterosexual tourists who thought of gay people as an attraction, and kept gawking and taking photographs.

8. And lots of homophobes.  Teens would drive in from the suburbs every weekend and yell anti-gay slurs and threats from their cars.

We couldn't stay there forever.  It never felt like home.  But in spite of the problems, San Francisco was still Gay Heaven.










Not because of the milling crowds of Christopher Street West, or the beefcake-nudity exposition of Dore Alley, or the GLBT Historical Society on Mission Street.

Because of the little things.

A matinee at the Castro Theater.
Browsing in All American Boy on a Saturday afternoon.
The Sunday beer bust at the Eagle.
A quick burger at Orphan Andy's
Climbing up from the Castro Street Muni Station early in the morning, and walking through the bright, cold new day.

See also: The 10 Best Gay Neighborhoods in America

Mar 26, 2014

Fall 1990: Sneaking Chazz into his Boyfriend's Bedroom

In the fall of 1990, I was working at Camp Routh, a probation camp for juvenile delinquents, and sneaking a Gay 101 unit into their sex education class, under the nose of the old-school homophobe director, Denman.  A boy named Chazz turned out to be gay, and asked if I could get him a day pass for his boyfriend's birthday:

"Ramon and me been ...um, you know, like dating for awhile.  This will be our second birthday, and so that's why I don't want to miss it."

It wouldn't be an easy task.  Asking Denman for a day pass to see a "boyfriend" would only result in yelling, Bible thumping, and probably a visit from the staff psychiatrist.

We couldn't even demote Ramon to a "friend."  In juvenile delinquency theory of the 1990s, friends were always trouble, steering kids away from the safe haven of home into late night bacchanals of sex, drugs, and vandalism.

But I had another idea.

Any of the staff members could ask to take a juvenile out as a special reward for good behavior or good grades -- a movie, a basketball game, or a pizza, as long as the expedition didn't take more than four hours, and the juvenile was back by 6:00 pm.  I told Denman that Chazz had submitted an excellent practice "employment application" in my life skills class, and as a reward I wanted to take him to see Home Alone.  He agreed.

Sort of Denman
It was still risky: if anyone found out what we were really up to, I would be fired, and Chazz would spend the rest of his term confined to his cabin.

We left the camp at 1:30, right after lunch, and drove down into the San Fernando Valley.  On the way I quizzed Chazz on every aspect of Home Alone in case someone asked later.

He waited until we were past Pacoima to reveal another problem: Ramon's father was ok with him being gay, but disapproved of his relationship with a "thug," so the visit would have to be clandestine.

"Don't worry, though -- his father works nights, so he'll be asleep when we get there."

Wait -- I was imagining a birthday party, with twenty people wearing funny hats, noisemakers, blowing out the candles on a cake.  I didn't sign on for a secret meeting with Dad snoring in the next room.

 But that's exactly what I got. At about 2:00, we pulled up to a tiny house on Vanowen Street in Reseda, with a spiked fence outside.  Chazz led me around back and rapped lightly on a bedroom window.  It was opened by a Hispanic kid, black haired, dark eyed, thin, even younger-looking than Chazz.
 

Ramon's House

"I'll wait in the car," I whispered.

"No -- what if somebody sees you and wonders what you're doing there?  You have to come in with us."

So I pulled myself up over the stucco into a small, dimly lit bedroom.  The bed was unmade.  The floor was littered with clothes, comic books, toys -- how old was this Ramon, anyway? (Turns out he was 17.)

Chazz and Ramon hugged, then moved to sit on the bed.  I froze with embarrassment and fear. Was I about to see a teenage sexual encounter?  It was legal in California for two 17-year olds to have sex, but not for an adult to watch!

"You can kiss and hug, but no sex!" I said.  "I'll be in the living room."  I grabbed a comic book from Ramon's desk and eased my way out before they could protest.


Ramon


 An hour passed.  I read my comic book, read TV Guide, turned the tv on very softly, listened to rhythmic snoring from Dad.

At 3:00 sharp I figured they were finished -- or should be -- and returned to Ramon's bedroom.  I couldn't knock without waking Dad, so I opened the door and peered into the darkness.  They were lying on the bed in each other's arms, apparently asleep.  Fortunately, fully clothed.

"It's time to go," I whispered.  "Chazz, let's move!"

They didn't hear me.  I walked over and nudged Chazz to wake him.

I didn't notice that the snoring had stopped.

Or that Ramon's father was standing in the doorway, tall, hirsute, muscular, wearing only underwear, staring in disbelief at the 30-year old man bending over his son's bed.  

What happened next is a blur.  I remember yelling in Spanish, grabbing Chazz, and shoving him out the front door.  I remember Chazz giggling all the way up the mountain.  I remember blushing when Denman asked if Chazz had a good time.

Remarkably, weweren't discovered, and Ramon was simply grounded. But I had the nagging feeling that I had been played by a teenage con artist.

Ross Lynch's Top 10 Hunks

Austin & Ally has become the Disney Channel's most popular teencom, due primarily to the charm and charisma of Ross Lynch as aspiring singer Austin Moon, and his chemistry with Calum Worthy as goofy sidekick Dez.

But they aren't alone.  Disney has done a good job of filling the screen with models, beefcake actors, muscular physiques of all sizes and shapes.  Here are the top 10 Austin & Ally hunks:

1. Noah Centineo (left) as Ally's crush Dallas. The actor has also appeared on Jessie, Shake It Up, and Marvin Marvin, and he will be starring in the upcoming How to Build a Better Boy (2014).


2. Cameron Deane Stewart (left), who starred in the gay-themed Geography Club (2013), as Jace, boyfriend of the exuberant Trish.

3. Gabriel Benitez as a keyboard player in the episode "Secrets & Songbooks."












4. Singer/songwriter Trevor Jackson as Trent, Trish's ex-boyfriend.

5. Gregory Marcel (left), star of the gay-themed Sun-Kissed (2006), as Austin & Ally's Stage Manager.














6. Little Person actor/comedian Nic Novicki as "Larry" in the episode "Mixups & Mistletoes"

7. Troy Osterberg (left) as Ethan, a boy who flirts with Trish in "Costumes & Courage."

8. Greg Worswick as Bill, who works at the Surf Shop.











9. Travis Wong as a Ninja in the episode "Real Life and Reel Life" and a dancer in "Viral Videos and Very Bad Dancing."  He also had a recurring role as Yamato the Fighting Robot on Supah Ninjas.












10. Cody Allen Christian, Mike Montgomery on Pretty Little Liars, as Ally's old friend Elliot.


Mar 25, 2014

A Gay Scandal on London's Museum Circuit

London is the City of Museums, with 240, including some that top every tourist's to-do list: The British Museum, the Victoria & Albert, the Tate Modern, the Museum of London.  But leave some time for the Soane Museum, site of a major gay scandal.

Sir John Soane (1753-1837) was a famous architect who designed or renovated many London landmarks, including the Bank of London, Freemason's Hall, the New Law Courts, and the Palace of Westminster.  He was an antiquarian, a neoclassicist, a traditionalist in a world rocked by revolution and changing sexual mores.

 He designed his own home at 13 Lincoln Inn Fields, filled it with a huge collection of art and antiquities, and turned it into a mausoleum, a memory of a long-dead world.

He hoped that his sons would follow him into architecture, but John (born 1786) was sickly and artistic, and George (born 1789) preferred literature and the theater.  Their relationship was so strained that Soane insisted that he was a "changeling," not his real son at all.


After he left home, George published two anonymous articles savaging his father's architectural style.  But the last straw was the revelation that George was living in sin with his wife Agnes and her sister.  Scandalized, Soane cut off all contact.

Then Agnes wrote, complaining that George was violently abusive to her and her young son Frederick (born in 1816).  At first Soane ignored her, but then it occurred to him that Frederick might yet become an architect and carry on his name.  So he encouraged Agnes to leave George, and sent her 200 pounds per year to pay for Frederick's education.

When Frederic graduated in 1834, Soane got him an apprenticeship with his friend, architect John Tarring.

But 1835 Tarring complained that Frederick was involved in the gay demimonde, carousing with a Captain Wentworth (whose military career had been cut short in a scandal involving the suicide of a young officer rumored to be his lover).

Scandalized again, Soane sent one of his clerks to follow Frederick and report back on any "inappropriate behavior."

In Soane's youth gay men and transvestites patronized clandestine Molly Houses (top photo from the Mark Ravenhill play Mother Clap's Molly House), but in 1835 London they could choose from private parties, drag bars, and all-gay brothels.

Evidently the clerk found something, since Soane cut off Frederick's "per annum" and cut off all contact, "for motives which it does not become me to explain," Frederick wrote later.  He also refused to "article" Frederick, so he could never work as an architect; by 1837, when Soane died, he was living in poverty in a single room with his pregnant wife.

Soane bequeathed his house and its contents, valued at 150,000 pounds, to the British Nation as a museum.  Frederick begged to be appointed curator, but was denied.  Finally his cousin Frederick Chamier petitioned the Prime Minister, and got him appointed to a post at the Stamp and Tax Office.  He died in 1880.

You can visit the Soane Museum from 10 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday. There are no statues of naked men.  Or portraits of Frederick.

John Davidson: Hollywood White Bread with a Gay Twist

Everyone was shocked in 1974  to see John Davidson nude in the centerfold of Cosmo.

First, he had quite a nice physique (his privates were coyly hidden).

Second, he was John Davidson.

Hollywood Nice, wholesome, white bread, son of a Baptist minister, star of Broadway musicals like I Do, I Do!, The Music Man, and Camelot.  

Star of two Disney movies: The Happiest Millionaire (1967) and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968).


A singer whose first album, The Young Warm Sound of John Davidson (1964) featured such easy-listening non-classics as "Once in a Lifetime" and "Love Me Forever."  Later he moved on to covers of "Let It Be," "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," and "Easy Come, Easy Go."

A perennial guest star on "square" tv shows that kids wouldn't be caught dead watching: Hollywood Palace, Joey Bishop, Carol Burnette -- not to mention long tenures on game shows (Hollywood Squares), reality tv (That's Incredible) and two versions of his own John Davidson Show.

But Hollywood Nice had a mischievous side.

He starred in the sex comedy Coffee, Tea, or Me (1973), about a stewardess with a husband and a lover.

Here he appears to be the bottom of a four-way encounter with the Hudson Brothers.  Notice that he's obviously being groped.

He was never averse to gay content. The tv pilot Roger & Harry: The Mitera Target (1977), about two buddies (John Davidson, Barry Primus) who solve crimes, may have some gay subtexts.

 And in a 1974 episode of The Streets of San Francisco, he played a drag queen whose female "alter ego" is a vicious killer.

In his 2008 two-man play, "Father/Son and Holy Ghost," he goes back to his childhood, where he and his Baptist-minister dad butted heads over religious doubts and homophobia (John's older brother Porter was gay).

Today Davidson is playing The Wizard in a national touring company of Wicked.

Mar 24, 2014

Top 10 Beefcake Horror Movies: The 1960s

Horror movies in the 1950s were simple: two guys compete over a girl; a monster kidnaps her; they work together to rescue her; one is killed, and the other sweeps her off to a fade-out kiss. All very linear, very serious, very black-and-white.

In the 1960s, horror movies were more likely to contain satire, parody, self-referential humor, Vincent Price, William Castle, and, as the Hayes Code faded away, naked ladies.  Not to worry, though, there was still ample beefcake. Here are the Top 10 Beefcake Horror Movies of the 1960s (some with gay subtexts, too):

1. Tormented (1960): The beefy Richard Carlson of Creature from the Black Lagoon strips again, tormented on the beach by the ghost of his ex-girlfriend, whom he murdered.



2. Mr. Sardonicus (1961): A nice scene of handsome Ronald Lewis scrubbing down in the bathtub before he is is forced to treat the evil Baron Sardonicus, whose face is contorted into an evil mask.

3. Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961). A crazy horror comedy about a mobster trying to get his hands on Cuban treasure, a secret agent out to stop him, and a sea monster that looks like a muppet. Robert Towne as the secret agent spends about half the movie in a swimsuit.

4. Eegah! (1962).  Elvis wannabe Arch Hall Jr., left, plays the guitar at poolside before clashing with hefty Richard Kiel's kind-hearted cave man. In color!


5.I Eat Your Skin (1964).  The muscular Bill Joyce, left, strips down at poolside before jetting off to a remote Caribbean island to fight zombies. Unfortunately, this was his only starring role.

6. The Horror of Party Beach (1964)/The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965); These are nearly the same movie, attempts to cash in on the popularity of the beach genre with girls in bikinis, guys with biceps, rock music, and a monster. In Party Beach, look for John Scott in his only starring role buddy-bonding with his girlfriend's father. In Beach Girls, look for beach buddies Arnold Lessing and Walker Edmiston.






7. Bloody Pit of Horror (1965).  A book publisher and his models go to an old castle to shoot cheesecake photos, and run afoul of bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay, left.

8. Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966): horror-Western pastiche with a strong gay subtext between John Lupton's Jesse James and his sidekick, man-mountain Cal Bolder (last of the discoveries of gay talent agent Henry Willson).




9. Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968: Dracula rises from the grave and begins biting naked girls on the neck, until the shirtless Barry Andrews, one of the victims' boyfriends, decides to intervene (top photo). He gets the assistance of renegade priest Ewan Hopper.

10. Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969): Count Dracula and his wife move into a vacant castle in Arizona and begin biting naked girls on the neck, until the pajama-clad owner (Gene O'Shayne, left) and his serial-killer friend (Robert Dix) show up.







11. Eye of the Cat (1969): Often nude counterculture icon Michael Sarrazin and his girlfriend go to an old mansion intending to rob an elderly woman.  Instead he takes a shower, gets cruised by her nephew Tim Henry, and runs afoul of some cats.

See also: Top 10 Beefcake Horror Movies: The 1950s.


Caligula: Drag as Pure Evil

Everybody's heard of Caligula, the Roman Emperor who ascended to the throne in 37 AD and pursued an aggressive program of reforms, granting pardons to political prisoners, requiring corrupt highway commissioners to pay back taxes, restoring democratic elections, and admitting new members into the elite nobility and equestrian orders of the Senate.  These acts caused him to make many enemies in the Senate, and he was assassinated in 41 AD.







Oh, you haven't heard about his reforms?  Maybe you heard about his insanity, his cruelty, and his sexual appetite: wild orgies, multiple partners, sex with goats, sex with his sisters.

Most scholars think that these stories were invented by his enemies to discredit him.


The original Roman sources don't say a lot about crossdressing or gay sex, since they were not particularly scandalous in Roman times, but modern films have tended to portray a flamboyantly feminine Caligula who demonstrates the depths of his sexual perversion by wearing women's clothes and casting lecherous eyes on men.

He's usually played by actors who specialize in gender ambiguity: Ralph Bates (The Caesars, 1968), John Hurt (in the tv adaption of Robert Graves' I Claudius, 1976), Malcolm McDowell (Caligula, 1979), John McEnery (A.D., 1985), 


Malcolm McDowell's Caligula is probably the most famous, in the one of the first movies to involve  both mainstream actors and hardcore porn (what do you expect when Bob Guccione of Penthouse magazine is the producer?).  Most of the sex acts are heterosexual or human-animal, but same-sex acts and eye shadow are thrown in as indicators of just how depraved Caligula's orgies had become.




The play Caligula, by existentialist philosopher Albert Camus (1944), has the Emperor torn with grief over the death of his sister-lover Drusilla, so he vows to engage in every form of cruelty and sexual perversion imaginable.  He exclaims: "I want ugliness to become beauty; I want to make suffering funny."  So he engages in lots of murders and lots of heterosexual rapes, but just one same-sex act (except in this all-male version at the Teatro Cubana).

But the rapes and murders don't symbolize the depth of his decadence.  What does?  Crossdressing: he dons feminine attire to impersonate the Goddess Venus.

Apparently drag is the epitome of pure evil.


Mar 23, 2014

Camp Lakebottom: Gay-Positive Summer Camp for Monsters

While tv series aimed at juveniles are always heavily scrutinized to censor all references to gay people, writers often sneak in gay subtexts.  Especially animated series.  Some of the most obvious examples are: Dexter's Laboratory, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Phineas and Ferb, Fairly Oddparents, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Adventure Time, and Regular Show

 So I try to catch at least one or two episodes of every new animated series, to see what I can find.

I hit the jackpot with Camp Lakebottom (2013), a Canadian animated cartoon series appearing in the U.S. on Disney XD.





The premise: A boy named McGee (voiced by Scott McCord, left) boards the wrong summer camp bus and ends up at Camp Lakebottom, for monsters.










He befriends two other human kids, the sweet, lovable Squirt (Darren Frost) and tough girl Gretchen (Melissa Altro), to face such dangers as toxic underwear, monstrous marshmallows, a were-chicken, a cursed Frankenstein monster, and the bullying Buttsquat (Carter Hayden), whose family owns rival Camp Sunny Smiles.


To date there have been no episodes about heterosexual dating, crushes, or romances, but several gay-coded characters, including Squirt and:

1. Camp counselor Armand (Adrian Truss), a muscular sasquatch in a purple scarf who is artistic, dramatic, and theatrical

2. Camp handyman Sawyer (Cliff Saunders), a vegetarian zombie whose Mom keeps trying to pressure him into eating brains.  Certainly some gay symbolism there.


The creators are ex-Disney Imagineer and Muppet handler Eric Jacobson, who appeared in a Disney "It Gets Better" video in 2011, and Betsy McGowen, previously Senior Vice President and General manager of Kids WB, who introduced gay subtext shows like Johnny Test and Monster Allergy.



And there are some other gay or gay-positive voices in the cast.

Darren Frost (top photo) is a stand-up comedian whose material is raunchy but always pro-gay.  His routine includes having a gay son. 

Jonathan Wilson (the voice of martinet camp cook Rosebud), is known for his play My Own Private Oshawa, about growing up gay in Ontario.  It was made into a tv movie in 2005.

Steam: Beefcake, Ludicrous Characters, Hysterical Over-Reactions

You're an out-and-proud lesbian dating a college freshman who is just starting to come out.  You invite her to a party to be held on Thanksgiving Day, and she says "Thanks, but I should really spend that day with my family."  What do you do?

That's right -- you throw a conniption fit.  "You're letting your family control you!  You have to choose between me and them!"

You're an elderly man.  In a grocery story, you are attracted to an elderly woman, who tells you that she's buying walnuts for brownies.  You want to make a date with her.  What do you do?

That's right: you follow her around, yelling: "Only fools put walnuts in brownies!  You obviously know nothing about cooking!"  That's guaranteed to get her interested!

You're a middle-aged man.  Your mother died 11 years ago.  Your elderly father shows up at Thanksgiving dinner with a lady friend, and announces that they've been dating for a few months.  What do you do?

That's right -- you blow up.  "You're acting like a fool! You're disrespecting the memory of my mother!"

Just one more: You're a middle-aged divorcee interested in your son's football coach.  One day after practice a woman picks him up; he says "Hi, honey, how've you been?", and they drive off together.  That night he knocks on your door and asks you for a date.  What do you do?

That's right -- you start screaming.  "How dare you ask me for a date when you have a girlfriend!  I'm not that desperate!  I have my pride....oh, she's your sister?"


Steam (2007) has these and many more crazy scenes, as characters scream, argue, and  issue ultimatums in order to attract romantic partners, and have the most histrionic over-reactions to issues that most people in real life would find trivial at best.

You have to see this movie.  It is hilarious.  The characters are ludicrous, utterly bizarre.  No one on Earth would act like they do.

Who wears a tie on a casual movie date?
What parent insists that their daughter, away in college, drive all the way home every Sunday for church?
What pastor drops by for a visit, sees you through the window pretending not to be home, and then bangs hard on the window until you give up and let him in?


And be advised: the plot synopsis on Netflix is completely wrong.

The stories of three very different women intersect in the steam room at the local gym. There, they share an unlikely friendship in this earnest drama.

There is no friendship between the three women, or rather three female stereotypes: elderly black lady (Ruby Dee), middle-aged soccer mom (Ally Sheedy), newly-out lesbian activist (Kate Siegel).

Early on, they all appear in the steam room and exchange trivial chitchat, but they do not discuss their problems and do not socialize elsewhere.  Then the steam room is forgotten as the movie concentrates on the absurd ways that they begin new relationships and the absurdly overwrought objections of their families.

But there is some nice beefcake, including Alan Ritchson (top photo) as the son's football coach who wears the tie on a casual movie date (for which, by the way, the marquee shows the wrong movie), and Cylk Cozart (second photo) as the elderly man's son who goes into hysterics at Thanksgiving dinner.