Oct 25, 2014

Beefcake in "The Little Mermaid"

Of all the authors that teachers foisted upon me as a kid to embrace Rock Island's Scandinavian heritage, the absolute worst was Hans Christian Andersen. I hated fairy tales anyway -- who needs fairy godmothers, when there are rocket ships blasting off to Jupiter?  -- and these were grim, morbid, horrible:

"The Little Mermaid": A mermaid sacrifices her life to save a handsome prince.

"The Brave Tin Soldier."  Yeah, he's brave, until he gets too near a fire, and melts to death.

"The Snow Queen." A cold person keeps kidnapping children and freezing them to death.

"The Little Match-Seller."  A girl selling matches freezes to death.

"The Garden of Paradise."  A prince dies.

One or two of his cautionary tales were ok -- "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Ugly Duckling."  But really, who wouldn't rather be watching Fractured Fairy Tales on Rocky and Bullwinkle?

Later I discovered that Andersen was gay or bisexual in real life.  In fact, his psychiatrist invented the term homosexual from the Greek homo (the same) and the Latin sexualis in order to diagnose his condition.

Gay but depressed.  No wonder his characters keep dying.

I've never seen any of the film versions of Andersen's fairy tales, but I understand that Disney let The Little Mermaid, Ariel, live, in the 1989 animated version.

And displayed Prince Eric shirtless, although probably not as suggestively as this fan art from Lucien-Christophe on Deviant Art.com.

If you want to see beefcake in the Hans Christian Andersen oeuvre, you need to seek out the occasional stage version of "The Emperor's New Clothes" (above), or The Little Mermaid stage musical.

Eric doesn't display much, but King Triton, Ariel's father, is bare-chested.

Although sometimes the actor wears a ridiculous beard.

Oct 24, 2014

My Careers as an Actor, Tour Guide, Chemist, Stand-up Comedian, Translator, Minister....

In December 1991, I returned to West Hollywood after my semester in Nashville completely discouraged.  I had spent 2 years at Indiana U., 3 years at USC, and a half a year at Vanderbilt, and what did I have to show for it?  A M.A., a lot of useless knowledge, a mountain of debt, and no job prospects.  What else could I do besides become a college professor?

I took the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory.  I read What Color is Your Parachute?  And I tried:

1. Spring 1992: Actor.  I got good reviews in my college plays, and I had some connections in the industry, like Richard Dreyfuss.  How hard could it be to get a job in a sitcom?  So I signed up for an acting workshop.  My first improv scene was: "Boomer, you're returning from a long trip. Your wife meets you at the door, and you hug and kiss."  I ran.

2. Spring 1992: Stand-up Comedian.  I was good at telling jokes, so I signed up for a class with Judy Carter, who wrote the Comedy Bible.  She said: "Your shtick should be about your relationships.  Boomer, are you married?"  I shook my head.  "Divorced?  Widowed? Separated?  Living with a girl?  Going steady?"  Finally I told her "Gay," and she yelled: No!  You can't be a gay comedian!"  I ran.

3. Summer 1992: Translator.  I bought some dictionaries, worked on some sample documents, and contacted a lot of translation agencies. I expected to get assignments translating Rimbaud, Verlaine, Thomas Mann, and Garcia Lorca into English.  Turns out, surprisingly, the greatest writers in world literature were already translated.

4. Fall 1992: Juvenile Probation Officer.  All I had to do was meet with the delinquents once a week to make sure they were going to school, getting vocational training, keeping away from drugs, and so on, and teach an occasional class in "life skills."  Great, except I had to be in the closet all the time.  If the boss suspected that I was gay, I would be fired instantly: "We can't have a homo working around kids!"

I endured the homophobic comments from the kids, police officers, case workers, and everyone else for about nine months.

5. Summer 1993: Writer. I tried to write a fantasy novel, but I had a problem with the plots.  If you're not walking across the continent to vanquish the Dark Lord by throwing something into something, what else is there?

 So I wrote a Gay Guide to Religion, scientifically ranking every Christian denomination in the U.S. by its level of homophobia.  My agent hated it: it's a slap in the face of all the conservative Christians!  

6. Summer 1993: Architect.  Why not?  I loved old buildings.  It would require going back to school again, but it wasn't hard getting a job as an Architectural Assistant at Gruen Associates, the guys who invented shopping malls. Meanwhile I signed up for some architecture classes at UCLA.  Who knew that they would go bankrupt and lay me off after a year?

7. Summer 1994: Tour Guide.  Why not?  I went to Europe every year anyway, and I spoke five languages.  I decided to specialize in taking gay tourists on tours of Scandinavia, Estonia, and Russia.

Ok, I had never been to those places (I would a few years later), and I didn't speak any of the languages,  but I figured it was a good niche.  Turns out I was wrong. 10 ads in gay magazines, no customers.

8. Fall 1994: Employment Counselor. Most resume services charged $5, but I figured I could charge people $200 each to give them a job test, write their resume and cover letters, and give them interview tips. Surprisingly, this plan didn't work.

9. Fall 1994: Minister.  Back in junior high, I thought that God had called me to become a missionary.  Maybe He wanted me to become a minister!  I called the Metropolitan Community Church, and signed up as a student clergy.  It wasn't as glamorous as I expected: they put me in charge of the church hotline, which unfortunately got a lot of questions that weren't related to religion: Where's the best cruising area in town?  If I say I'm gay, how much money will you give me?  How big is your..."  

10. Spring 1995: Computer Technician.  I figured I could pay my way through seminary by becoming an IT professional.  I had to take apart a computer and stare at the innards.  Enough said.

Seeking a change of venue, we moved to San Francisco in 1995.

11. Fall 1995: Chemist.  Maybe I should become a professor, but not in the humanities.  Maybe the sciences were the place to be.  So I signed up for three introductory science classes at San Francisco City College.  I failed calculus and physics, and only passed chemistry by studying six hours a day.

12. Spring 1996: Veterinary Assistant.  It didn't require as rigorous a scientific background, there was a veterinary hospital just two blocks away, and I love animals.  But not necessarily injured, limping, whining animals in pain.  Maybe I should go back to the humanities.

Then one day I was walking across the campus at Berkeley, and I glanced into a classroom and saw the name "John Locke" written on the blackboard.  I took it as a sign: go back to graduate school, get your Ph.D., become a college professor.  But not in the physical sciences or the humanities.  Go into the social sciences.

In the fall of 1997, I enrolled in a fourth graduate program, in sociology at Long Island University.  This time I graduated.

Oct 22, 2014

Fall 2006: The Nude Car Wash

At the end of every semester, students fill out a Teaching Evaluation, answering questions about how much they liked the class.  They should like it a lot. The Evaluations are used to decide whether you keep your job, and "adequate" is typically an average of 3.5 or 4.0 (on a scale of 1-5).

That means that being out in the classroom is simply out of the question.  Just one homophobe giving you a "1" on everything can lower your class average to below "adequate," and a class of 20 is guaranteed to contain at least 3 homophobes (more if you're teaching criminal justice).

So how do I stay "in the closet" in class, at least to the3 or more homophobes?  It's really not difficult, even though I mention gay people or gay issues in every class. Heterosexuals are so eager to believe that there are no gay people in the world that just a few tricks can maintain their illusion.

1. I never mention my romantic relationships at all, ever. Hetero professors throw in their husbands and wives every ten seconds:  "Today we're covering chi square.  My wife hates chi square," or "I would have finished grading your exams, but it was my wife's birthday, and..."  Not me.

2. Several times during the semester, I mention something that happened "at church."  Heterosexuals tend to believe that being religious and being gay are polar opposites: all gay people are anti-religion, and all religious people are anti-gay.  So of course if I go to church, I must be heterosexual.

3. I mention my background in wrestling, judo, and bodybuilding.  Things haven't changed much since I was in high school thirty years ago: heterosexuals still tend to believe that all gay men are frail, wispy things allergic to muscles, so anyone who knows his way around a gym must be heterosexual.

My "secret" is usually safe.  Occasionally I get statements on course evaluations like "I think the professor is a fag!", but not often.

So I was surprised in the spring of 2006, when I taught a course in "Drugs and Alcohol in American Society" at the University of Dayton.

  There was no unit on gay people, although I think I mentioned early medical attempts to connect AIDS deaths to gay men using poppers (amyl nitrite).  At the end of the semester, a conservative fratboy business major named CJ, who was squeaking by with a C-, told me, "If you let me turn in an extra credit assignment, I'll mow your lawn every week all summer with my shirt off."

I stared, too shocked to speak.

"Ok, all the yardwork.  All summer.  Come on, a whole summer of eye candy!"

Finally I managed to say,  "I don't have a lawn.  I live in an apartment."

The full post, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood

Spring 2004: My Kentucky Kinfolk Grow Up

My mother's family moved to Indiana when she was seven years old.  She was born in Magoffin County, Kentucky, in the Appalachians, where the Hatfields and McCoys feuded, where ultra-fundamentalist churches handle snakes, where everyone goes barefoot and listens to Country-Western music and rides around in red pickup trucks.


My Uncle El was old enough to stay behind, working on the farm, then for the gas company, marrying, and having a huge number of children -- 12 in all.  Three were my age or a little older, El, Graydon, and Dayton.

We met in Indiana, at my Uncle Paul's wedding, where we saw the Naked Man in the Peat Bog.

 During the summer after 7th grade, my parents and I drove down to visit.  I liked hanging out with them so much that for years I thought of Kentucky as a "good place," where same-sex desire was open and free.

I didn't see them again.  When I was a kid, we always went to Indiana to visit our other relatives instead, and when I was living in West Hollywood and New York, I flew back to Illinois twice a year to see my parents and brother and sister. There was no time for Kentucky.  And the years passed and passed and passed.

I got my Ph.D.  I moved to Florida.  I hadn't seen them for 30 years.

At Christmastime in 2004, I was back in Rock Island for the holidays, when the phone rang.  My Uncle El had died on January 1st, his birthday. Did I want to drive down for the funeral?

I had only met him twice, but I wanted to go.  I wanted to see Kentucky again.

Uncle El had 12 children, 31 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren, plus brothers and sisters, cousins and second-cousins, and third cousins, and some friends who weren't even relatives, all filling up the Maysville Baptist Church, the Prater Family Cemetery, and then the white frame house on a mountaintop that I remembered from 30 years before (except now it had running water, an indoor bathroom, internet access, and cable tv).

Was Kentucky still a "good place"?  Not hardly.

It was heterosexuality as far as the eye could see.  There were Howards, Shepherds, Praters, Gearhearts, and Handshoes, all reuniting over casseroles and pies and cakes, all introducing boyfriends and girlfriends and husbands and wives and kids,

Graydon, now 43, was working for the power company in Michigan.  Dayton, 45, and El, 47, ran an auto repair place in Mayville, Kentucky.  They were all married with children, and some grandchildren.

My parents cautioned me to not "talk about guys"  (their code for "gay topics"), lest the Bible Baptists lynch me, so when I was asked "Where's your wife?" and "Did you leave your wife back in Florida?", I replied with a vague "Oh, I'm not married."

When I was asked "How old are your kids?", I replied with a vague "Oh, I don't have any kids."

When men gave me an inclusive nudge and exclaimed "You know how women are!" or "You know how wives are!", I responded with a noncommittal shrug.

Was there even a glimmer of gay potential in this paeon to heterosexual marriage and reproduction?

Maybe a glimmer.

1. Cousin Graydon and his wife were big fans of Will and Grace.  "That Jack always cracks me up!"

2. I told Cousin El about Angels in America,  the HBO miniseries about gay people that aired a couple of weeks ago, and he smiled politely.

3. Cousin Dayton introduced me to his 15-year old son,  Joel, "a real lady's man!"

"Dad, that's lame!" Joel protested.

"But it's true!  He's always hanging around with girls.  He even joined the drama club at school, just so he'd have his pick of the girls."

"Dad!  I joined drama club because I want to be an actor!"

Wants to be an actor?  Always hanging around with girls?  

"I lived in West Hollywood for 13 years," I said.  "I know quite a bit about the movie business. When I get home, I'll send you some of my old books."

"That'd be cool," Joel said noncommittally, anxious to be rid of the oldsters.

When I got back to Florida, I sent Joel a box of books: a history of Hollywood,  my old textbook from acting class, some Shakespeare and Ibsen, and "accidentally," Geography Club by Brent Hartlinger, about a teen who starts an undercover gay club at his high school.

He sent me a nice card, thanking me, but not mentioning Geography Club.

Some glimmers of gay potential.

See also: Kentucky Kinfolk; and The Amish Teenager in Red Underwear

Oct 21, 2014

The Flash: Gay Characters and Subtexts in a DC Comics Reboot

The Flash is one of the primal characters of the Golden Age of Comics, appearing in 1940 and rebooted several times as DC consolidated universes.  Flashes include Jay Garrick, who gained super-speed after accidentally inhaling "heavy water" in 1938; Barry Allen, who got splashed with chemicals, and named himself after his childhood hero; his nephew Wally West; and his grandson Bart Allen.

The new tv series returns to Barry Allen (Grant Gustin, left), who experienced a Batman-like trauma early in life, when his mother was killed and his father was framed for the murder.

Raised by the kindly Detective West (Jesse L. Martin), he has grown up into a police investigator and paranormal specialist, a moody Fox Mulder.  Then, after being doused with chemicals and hit by lightning, he discovers that he has become a "metahuman" with special powers.

The accident created other metahumans, too, with various powers.  Some are good, some evil.  And there's an Agency with a sinister interest in them.  And Barry's dousing with chemicals wasn't really an accident.  It has something to do with who killed his mother....

Sounds like there's going to be a lot of Batman-X Files - X Men mythology included with the mutant-of-the-week.

Will there be any gay content?

Lots.  Even a couple of gay characters: Barry's boss, Captain Singh (Patrick Sabongui, left), is gay, although this fact hasn't been mentioned yet, and his boyfriend Hartley (Andy Mientus) will become a super-villain, the Pied Piper.

Barry is played by Grant Gustin, who played a gay character on Glee.  

Iris West (Candice Patton) was Barry's girlfriend, then wife, in the comics, but here the two were raised together, so a romance between the adopted brother and sister might not be on the table.

Barry has a buddy bond relationship with Eddie Thawe (Rick Cosnett), a coworker with a dark secret who will eventually become his arch-enemy, Professor Zoom.  They may have a Superman-Lex Luther thing going on.

And there will be ample beefcake.  Many superheroes and villains will be dropping by, including The Arrow (Stephen Amell), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell).

Oct 20, 2014

Harry Houdini and the Gay Ghost

Born in 1874 in Budapest, Harry Houdini was a magician, escape artist, and showman.  And one of the few men of his generation for whom we have beefcake photos.

One of his favorite tricks was the "overboard box escape": he was handcuffed and manacled, then nailed into a box, which was thrown into the ocean.

No doubt seeing his powerful, muscular body nearly nude in chains was half the fun.

Several contemporary movie hunks have replicated the famous pose, including Paul Michael Glaser (in The Great Houdini, 1979) and Johnathan Schaech (in Houdini, 1998).

But Houdini has a gay connection other than his beefcake appeal to both male and female audiences:

1. He married Bess Rahner, in 1894, and remained married to her until his death in 1926 (she died in 1943). They had no children, reputedly because she had a problem that kept her from ovulating.  Some people speculate that she was intersexed.

2. He starred in several silent films produced by his close friend and fellow magician Arnold DeBiere. They were not financial successes, and one of them caused him near-bankrupcy.  He blamed DeBiere,  leading to a loud public "breakup."

3. He developed another close friendship with Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories and an avid spiritualist.  They, also, had very loud, very public "breakup," and the resulting bitterness led Houdini to spend the rest of his life as a spiritualist debunker.

4. He purchased -- or at least was a frequent guest in -- the Laurel Canyon mansion owned by R.J. Walker, a furniture magnate whose son killed his male lover by pushing him off a balcony.  The lover continued to haunt the mansion until it burned down in 1959.

5. He died of peritonitis while performing in Montreal.  He was entertaining some young male fans in his dressing room, when McGill University student J. Gordon Whitehead punched him repeatedly in the stomach.  Eyewitness accounts are contradictory; no one knows why.  Did Houdini invite the blows to prove his toughness?  Or was Whitehead responding in homophobic rage to some gesture or statement?

Fall 1983: The Halloween Homophobe

When I was growing up, my church deemed alcohol the worst possible sin, worse than murder or reading the Sunday newspaper or talking to a Catholic.  We couldn't eat food that once contained alcohol, like "beer batter shrimp."  We couldn't set foot in a bar, a restaurant that sold alcohol, or a grocery store with a beer section.  Some Nazarenes wouldn't let the doctor swab their arms with alcohol before giving them a shot.

 I've overcome many of the strictures of my childhood, but to this day I can't bring myself to drink anything alcoholic.  I've never had wine.  I've had only one and a half cans of beer in my life.

Why one and a half?

It was 1983, my second year at Indiana University, and my friend Viju and I had just moved into an apartment together.  On the Saturday before Halloween, we invited several of our gay friends and their dates to a party. We provided homoerotic snacks like penis-shaped cookies, plus Cokes and Sprites (and some of the guys brought beer).  We planned some double-entendre laden party games, an erotic Chamber of Horrors in Viju's bedroom, and finally the Halloween costume contest at Bullwinkle's.

I was going as Pan, the Greek god, with shaggy leggings and horns, Viju was a cop, and Jimmy the Bodybuilder on Crutches said he was coming as a vampire,  Joseph from the Gay Student Alliance was a shirtless Zorro, Terry from Eigenmann Hall was a drag queen witch, Mark the optometry major was Superman, and his date, a shy but extremely cute undergrad named Scott, was a gymnast.

Jimmy took a long time to get up the stairs, so I heard him coming, and opened the door to say hello.

My jaw dropped.  His  "date" was his friend Tony, who was straight,  and didn't know that Jimmy was gay.

Apparently Jimmy hadn't realized that it was a gay party.

In the 1980s, you simply did not come out, to anyone, except maybe your family and closest childhood friends, and then only after extensive preparation.  But in a moment a straight guy would be in our tiny living room with six gay men who weren't closeting their behavior.

Thinking fast, I yelled at Tony, "Where's your girlfriend?"

Straight guy! Closet time! Mark and his date, Scott, immediately slid apart.   Joseph grabbed the tray of penis-shaped cookies and rushed them into the kitchen, Terry took off his wig and earrings to transform his costume from witch to Uncle Festerand Viju ran to slam the door to the erotic Chamber of Horrors. Someone turned on It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  

Tony helped Jimmy through the door.  "I don't have a girlfriend," he said, glancing around the room, probably thinking "whoa, sausage fest."  "I was hoping to meet some girls here."

Glaring at Jimmy for being such a dope, I said,  "Sure, sure.  We're going trick-or-treating in the girls' dorm later."

You're probably thinking: why bother to closet ourselves?  It was seven against one.  What could he possibly do?

We soon found out.

Tony asked to use the bathroom.  I pointed the way.

A moment later, I heard his shrill voice: "Boomer, get in here!"

Apparently he had opened the wrong door.  He was standing in my bedroom, where there was a replica of Michelangelo's David on my desk, and the wall by the bed plastered with pictures of naked men torn out of In Touch and Mandate. 

"Where are the girls?" he asked.

"What girls?"

For a moment he just stared, speechless.  Then the tirade began.  "Are you trying to tell me that you're queer?  Don't you know that this lifestyle spreads diseases?  Don't you know that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because they were homos?"


Suddenly he became more conciliatory.  "Look, it's probably not too late.  You could rethink your decision."

Rethink your decision!  I was already angry with him for forcing my party into the closet, and this was the last straw. "Oh, gee," I yelled, "I had no idea.  Thanks for the heads-up!  I'll turn back to straight right away!"  I tore down some of the pictures from my wall, wadded them up, and threw them at his feet.

Then I ran back into the living room.  "Boobs!" I grunted.  "Boobs and football and...um, beer!"  I grabbed a can of beer, popped the top, and guzzled some.  It tasted horrible.

Tony followed, no longer conciliatory. "Did you guys know that Boomer is a homo?  He probably wants to take you back into his little chamber of horrors and do nasty, perverted things to you."

Um...yes, I was counting on it," Joseph said.

"You're queer?" Tony asked.  "Maybe you're all queer! Did you invite me and Jimmy up here to try to turn us that way, too?"

Of course, we should have shown him the door.  But we were not "out and proud."  We were coming from the dull despair of the 1970s Midwest, where gay people, when mentioned at all, were portrayed as utterly despicable.  Some of us were still working through feelings of guilt and shame, the nagging doubts: What if we really are sick?  What if God really does hate us?

"Count me out,  I just turned straight," I said, roiling with rage. "Boobs!  Football!  Beer!  Hey, turn the game on! This show sucks -- Charlie Brown is a fag!"  I drained my beer -- it still tasted terrible -- and started another.

Viju glared at Jimmy, "Hey, psychology major, maybe you should tell your buddy something?"

Jimmy hung his head.

"Oh, no, not Jimmy, too!" Tony exclaimed.  "He's handicapped!  Couldn't you perverts leave him alone?  Stick to the schoolyards!"

"Hey, I've never done it in a schoolyard!  Schoolbus, maybe!"  The room was starting to spin.  Was this what it felt like to be drunk?  "When I was six I married the boy next door."

Tony ignored me.  "How can you do those...those disgusting things?" he continued, this time addressing Mark and Scott.  "Do you hate yourself that much, or are you trying to get back at your parents, or do you just hate God?"

Scott the shy undergrad looked like he was about to cry.

Enough was enough!  I walked over to Tony and calmly poured the rest of my beer on his head.

That's why I've had only 1 1/2 cans of beer in my life.

Surprisingly, Jimmy and Tony stayed friends.  It wasn't Jimmy's fault, after all, that he had been "brainwashed" by a pack of "perverts."

And as my reward, I got to spend 7 minutes in the Chamber of Horrors with Scott the shy undergrad.

See also: The Bodybuilder on Crutches; Is Joseph Gay or Bisexual? and Do Gay Men Play Strip Poker?

Oct 19, 2014

Johnathan Schaech: Playing to His Gay Fans

This is one of the iconic images of the 1990s, a bodybuilder with a Superman hairdo oiled up and flexing against an indeterminate background.

It burst onto the scene in 1994, and suddenly appeared on bedroom walls across West Hollywood.  We all thought that the model was gay, or at least aiming his biceps directly at a gay audience.

Wrong on the first count, maybe not on the second.

He was 25-year old Johnathan Schaech, a fitness model who had just broken into acting with a recurring role on the Melrose Place spin-off Melrose Place (1994-95).

During the mid and late 1990s, Schaech's biceps could be seen everywhere.  Everyone in San Francisco assumed that he was gay, even when he starred in the hetero-romance How to Make an American Quilt (1995) and The Doom Generation (1995), Greg Araki's tale of a three-way romance between alienated, homophobic teenagers.

Everyone in New York assumed that he was gay, even when he starred in Welcome to Woop Woop (1997), about a con artist in a colorful town in the Australian outback, and Finding Graceland (1998). A guy who thinks he's Elvis, a girl who thinks she's Marilyn Monroe, and Las Vegas.

Plus the usual tv movies about evil boyfriends who terrorize their exes and poor boys who find love with rich women.

Finally, in 2001, he married Christina Applegate, formerly of Married...with Children, and was interviewed in The Advocate, and we discovered that he was heterosexual.  But an ally who was fully aware of his gay fans, and even played to them.

Schaech continued to work in the 2000s, appearing in a couple of movies every year, but he never managed to quite find his niche.  He was too pretty to play Man-Mountains who take out small countries with their bare hands, too buffed to play New Sensitive Men who learn to cry and care.  His roles became increasingly small, hetero-erotic, and fully-clothed.

They Shoot Divas, Don't They?
Mummy an' the Armadillo
Living Hell
Sex and Lies in Sin City
Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2
Hidden Moon

Plus two kind-of gay roles:
Splendor (1999), about two guys in love with the same girl who decide to share

If You Only Knew (2005), in which a heterosexual guy pretends to be gay so he can share an apartment with the girl he is crushing on.

More recently, Schaech has been starring in tv series like The Client List and Ray Donovan, and become a writer/director/producer.

See also: Harry Houdini and the Gay Ghost.

The Hillside Penis of Cerne Abbas

Who isn't fascinated by lost civilizations and ancient mysteries?  Stonehenge, the Palace at Knossos, Mayan temples, Easter Island, the serpent mounds of Ohio.  But the museums usually hide the gay connections, and the tour guides skip over them, insisting that everyone in ancient times was heterosexual.

Not with the Rude Man of Cerne Abbas: his gay connection is visible for miles.
He's is a chalk figure of a 180-foot tall giant carved into a hillside in Dorsetshire, England.  His disproportionately small head and curvy arms lead some people to believe that he is modeled after aliens who visited the neolithic Britons.

Neopagans believe that he is the image of an ancient Celtic god, or a Roman depiction of Hercules.

Most historians believe that he was carved during the English Civil War as a parody of notoriously conservative Oliver Cromwell.

But they can all agree on his best feature: a penis that extends 31 feet up against his chest.

Double the average penis/height ratio! The Icelandic Museum of the Penis has nothing like this.

Heterosexuals traditionally spent the night on the penis to ensure fertility, and gay men, because it's fun to spend the night on a giant penis.

You're not allowed to walk up onto it anymore.

The Rude Man is unique.  The only other male hillside figure in England, the Long Man of Wilmington, lacks a penis (though he was "vandalized" with a 6-foot tall one in 2010).

He has been the subject of several songs, and used for everything from condom ads to a PSA about testicular cancer.  When The Simpsons Movie premiered in 2007, a chalk figure of Homer Simpson appeared next to him.

In the series finale of the bromance comedy Men Behaving Badly (1997), Gary and Tony (Martin Clunes, Neil Morissey) must give up the sofa on which they've had so many adventures, and somehow they end up with it on the Rude Man.  There's something touching about the long-term partners saying farewell on a giant penis.

The village of Cerne Abbas is about 25 miles from Glastonbury and 40 miles from Stonehenge, so you can easily see all three in a weekend.