Feb 11, 2017

50 States, 50 Naked Men, Part 2

This is the Part 2 of my list of men I dated, hooked up with, or saw naked in each of th 50 states.  They have to be guys who lived there, not tourists.


27. Alaska.  Flew up to Anchorage for a job interview.  No time for hookups, but I did get a sausage sighting in the men's room at the Club Paris.

30. Nevada.  If you think trying to pick up the bartender is tough, try the croupier at a blackjack table at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

31. California.  Waking up with a straight boy in my bed at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

32. Washington.  Sausage sighting of a pilot in the men's room at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.


33. Arizona. In Flagstaff during the Great Redneck Roundup of 1995, Lane and I hooked up with a Hispanic waiter.

34. New Mexico.   Summer 2004: visiting my friend Larry in Santa Fe, cruising in the Navajo Nation, and picking up Jason, the Tucumcari Twink.

35. Oklahoma.  On the way back to Los Angeles from my semester in Nashville, I stopped for the night at a hotel, and went to a gay bar.

36. Texas.  A year (actually just 9 horrible months) in Hell-fer-Sartain, the worst place in the world, but the most memorable was the New Age/Astrology devotee.  I drove all the way down to Galveston to spend the night with him, and in the morning accidentally dropped a ceramic bowl full of plums.  That seemed symbolic, somehow.


45. Alabama
.  During my semester in Nashville, Larry and I drove to Huntsville, Alabama to see the U.S. Space Center.  I met an older African-American man who argued about all the good George Wallace did for the country.  We brought him home anyway.

46. Arkansas.  While driving back from Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas, I stopped at a rest stop with a glory hole, and watched a guy in the next stall.

50. Missouri. 36 hours of cruising at Lambert International Airport, but I'm going to go with the guy I met at a diner on the way back from Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas.

51. Tennessee.  When I was a kid, we visited Smoky Mountains National Park, on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky, and I got a nice sausage sighting of a teenage Indian god.

The full list, with nude photos and explicit sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

The Phallic Art of sub-Saharan Africa

If you're interested in African or African-American men, you should take a look at the traditional art of sub-Saharan Africa.  There are hundreds of cultural groups with a variety of artistic styles, but they have one thing in common:

An appreciation of the penis.

The male bodies are usually stylized, with little of the anatomical precision of European nudes, but the penis is always big, blatant, the focal point of the piece.

The Fon, the traditional leader of the grasslands of Cameroun, is apparently chosen based on his monumental phallus.

The Magbetu people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are known for their elongated heads, traditional cannibalism, and elongated penises.

A terracotta figure, with an unusual penis -- gigantic, but not aroused -- from the Nok culture that flourished in Nigeria between 1500 BC and 500 AD.

More after the break.

The Glory Hole at the Rest Stop in Arkansas

Forestville, Arkansas, May 1985

In 1984, just after getting my M.A. from Indiana University, I took a job in Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas.

I hated every minute of it, except for my Italian class and the few occasions when a well-hung redneck shared my bed.

On May 8th, 1985, I packed my stuff into my car -- actually, I threw most of it out in order to travel light -- dropped off the apartment key to my horrible illiterate landlord, and drove to the horrible campus of Longhorn State University, where I gave my last final exam to my last horrible class, graded it, and turned in the grade forms to the horrible department office.  Then, at 3:05 pm, I walked out into the parking lot, got into my car, and drove.

The quickest route home took you through godforsaken Texas for five hours, and I wanted out as soon as possible.  So I drove east for two hours, not stopping for food, gas, or bathroom breaks until I saw that "Welcome to Louisiana" sign, breathed deeply, and vowed never to set foot in Texas again


And I haven't.

I planned to drive the whole 20 hours home straight through, but I'd been up since before dawn grading papers and cleaning my apartment, so at around 12:30 am, I couldn't drive anymore.  I  stopped at a rest stop on Interstate 40, near Forrestville, Arkansas.

After an hour or so, I had to go to the bathroom.  so I went into the little bathroom building, chose a stall, and and sat down.  It had a glory hole looking directly into the next stall!

The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Feb 10, 2017

50 States, 50 Naked Men, Part 1

I've been to 48 of the 50 U.S. states, and met men in most of them.  Here are my favorite naked men in each state (guys I've seen naked, not including locker rooms, bathhouses, bear parties, and boyfriends).  They have to actually be living in the state, not tourists.


 1. Illinois.  Tough call, since I grew up in Rock Island and went to college there.  But I'm going to go with Dylan, the 28-year old retro twink met in 2015.  He acted like it was still 1985.

2.  Indiana.  Another tough call: visits to relatives twice a year, graduate school at Indiana University, visiting my parents in Indianapolis.  I'm going to go with Tyler, the "son" of my first boyfriend Fred, who I met in 2012.  He was actually the son of Fred's housemate, but I still got a weird family vibe.

3. Iowa.  Davenport, Iowa was right across the river from Rock Island.  Plus I've been to Des Moines several times.  But my favorite hookup was with a 48-hour long date with Sammy, the son of my old speech teacher Mr. Blowfish, a Swedish-Vietnamese art history professor who took me on a 36 hour date in Cornell, Iowa.

5. Minnesota.  At a conference in St. Peter, Minnesota, I picked up a Vietnamese undergrad at an art gallery, but ended up on a date with his gym rat cousin.

6. Nebraska.  In 1980 my boyfriend Fred and I moved to Omaha for a terrible month.  He brought home Mike, a teenager from his youth group at church.  Years later I tried to find Mike again.  He had died, but I found out from his nephew that he kept a picture from that night all his life.

8. Wisconsin.  We lived in Racine, Wisconsin from Kindergarten through second grade, but of course I was too young for sausage sightings.   I didn't meet anyone in Wisconsin until January 2014, when I went to Milwaukee for a post-Christmas vacation, and picked up Superman.


9. Connecticut.  When I was living on Long Island, my first year in grad school, I went out on a date with a guy who lived in Greenwich, Connecticut, three hours away by train.  I spent the night, and the next day he gave me the wrong directions, so I had to spend 2 hours standing on a train platform.

10. Maine.  In 2010, my boyfriend Troy and I went to the gay resort town of Ogunquit, Maine.  I don't care much for resorts, but we did manage to pick up a guy on the beach.

11. New Hampshire.  Drove through, but didn't stop.

12. Rhode Island.  In 2000, Yuri and I visited my friend Zack, who was studying at the Rhode Island School of Design.

13. Vermont. On the way back from Maine in 2010, Troy and I stayed overnight in Burlington, Vermont, and hooked up with an undergrad French major at Middlebury College.

Middle Atlantic States

14. Delaware.  I've only been here once, when Jermaine, the Biggest Guy on My Sausage List, took me to Bowers Beach for his uncle's 50th birthday party.

15. Maryland.
  November 2016: Three guys in my bed in Baltimore, each more hung than the last.

16. New Jersey.  
When I lived in New York, one night I broke every rule of gay cruising and ended up in the house of a cute Hispanic guy, with his parents in the next room, somewhere in New Jersey.


20. Florida.  I lived in Wilton Manors for 4 years, but my most memorable hookup was probably when David and I drove down to Key West, and picked up the hitchhiker.

The full list, with nude photos and sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Feb 9, 2017

Behind the Iron Curtain: A Radio Free Europe Commercial from the 1970s

During the early 1970s, when fear of the Soviet Union was rampant, a tv commercial appeared depicting a boy with rusty chains wrapped around his head, being brainwashed by Soviet propaganda.  A voiceover solemnly intoned "They took his country.  Now they're taking his mind.  Millions of children are growing up behind the Iron Curtain in Albania ... Bulgaria ... Czechoslovakia ... Hungary ... Poland ... Romania ... Yugoslavia."

I thought the boy was cute.  Maybe I could rescue him from his brainwashing!

In the school library, I found books on most of the countries "behind the Iron Curtain," with lots of pictures of boys and men.  They weren't sitting in dark rooms with chains around their heads.  They were dancing in traditional costumes, swimming in public pools, going to school, or just posing in groups.

But that made the brainwashing more insidious, I reasoned.  It was even more important to go to those countries and rescue them:








I recently found the commercial on youtube.  It was directed by Jack Goodford, who also directed Mr. Magoo Cartoons for the UPA Studio.

Radio Free Europe was an anti-communist group broadcasting news and information from its base in Munich.  It still broadcasts to 21 countries in 28 languages.

R.E.M. has a song called "Radio Free Europe."  I don't understand the lyrics:

Keep me out of country in the word
Deal the porch is leading us absurd
Push that push that push that to the hull
That this isn't nothing at all

Feb 8, 2017

10 States Where Being Gay was a Felony

In 1970, sexual acts other than heterosexual intercourse were illegal in every state of the U.S. except Illinois. Sometimes specific sex acts, sometimes just "sodomy" or "the crime against nature."  Most applied to heterosexuals as well as gay people.

Some were misdemeanors, but most were felonies, serious crimes according to criminal law, resulting in lengthy prison sentences.  In some states, it was the same penalty for having sex with your date and killing him.

During the 1970s many sodomy laws were repealed.  Some states added new laws that applied only to gay people, such as "homosexual conduct" in Texas.

During the 1980s and 1990s, more sodomy laws were invalidated through court cases.

But it was still illegal to engage in same sex acts in 16 states in 2003, when the Supreme Court case of Lawrence v. Texas invalidated all sodomy laws in the U.S.

That was only 12 years ago, so many gay people over age 30 have committed multiple felonies in the U.S.

Here are the states where I engaged in acts that could be prosecuted as felonies:

1. Kentucky.  

When I was in graduate school at Indiana University in 1983, Viju and I drove down to Kentucky for a concert in Louisville, and spent the night.
Sodomy, buggery, or bestiality. 2-5 years.  Invalidated in 1992

2. Texas 

I lived in Texas for about nine months while teaching at Hell-fer-Sartain State University (1984-85).

Homosexual conduct.  2 to 15 years. It was reduced to a misdemeanor in 1993, and invalidated in 2003.

3. Nevada 

When I was living in West Hollywood, we drove into Las Vegas to go to the casinos about three times.

The crime against nature. 1 year to life. Repealed in 1993.

4. Tennessee.

I spent a semester studying Biblical Hebrew at Vanderbilt University (1990).

The notorious crime against nature.  5 to 15 years.  Invalidated in 1996.

5. Georgia

I don't remember why we went to Atlanta, but I remember being confused by a dozen streets named Peachtree.

Any act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.  1-20 years. Repealed in 1995.

6. District of Columbia.

One of my favorite cities in North America.  Flew out twice in the early 1990s.

Placing his or her sex organs in the mouth or anus of another. 10 years.  Repealed in 1995.

7. Virginia

I visited friends in Norfolk for a week in 1996.  Probably went to DC, too.

The crime against nature.  2-5 years. Invalidated in 2003.

8. North Carolina.

They took me down to a resort on the coast of North Carolina.

The crime against nature with mankind or beast.  3-5 years.  Invalidated in 2003.

9. Montana.

We drove cross-country in 1995 to visit Rock Island, and passed through a number of felony states on the way back, including South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho.  Fortunately, we only spent the night in Montana.

Deviant sexual relations.  10 years to life. Invalidated in 1997.

10. South Carolina.

On the way from New York to Florida in 2001, I spent the night in South Carolina.

Buggery. 5 years.  Invalidated in 2003.

Cruising in a Straight Bar

Plains, February 2017

I've dated or hooked up with men in 38 states and 20 countries, I've met them in art galleries, restaurants, museums, movie theaters, monasteries, doctor's offices, bookstores, comic book stores, department stores, bath houses, sex parties, bear parties, and on the street.

But tonight I'm going to try to meet men in a completely new and different place:

A straight bar.

For the first 55 years of my life, I never set foot in a straight bar, not even when I lived in Ohio and Upstate New York.  You couldn't meet guys there -- you couldn't even check out the beefcake without angry rednecks yelling "What are you looking at?"  And what if a woman tried to pick me up?

But on the Plains, there are no gay organizations  except for a student club, no meeting places except the gay-friendly coffee house,  which is not great for cruising.  And Grinder is getting old, with the constant "Top me, Daddy!"

Besides, most of the gay men in town are "post-gay" -- fully assimilated into the straight world, with mostly straight friends, hanging out at straight venues.  So, logically, where do they go to meet men?

Twice in a row, when I stopped into the Red Rock, the student bar-restaurant downtown, to grab a sandwich, I hooked up almost immediately -- without even trying!  I can only imagine my success if I give it my best shot!

9:00 am Saturday

I haven't gone to a bar to cruise -- look for guys for dates or hookups -- for years.  I remember many Saturday nights in West Hollywood, at Mugi, Basgo's, the Gold Coast, or the Faultline: blaring disco music, semi-darkness, the smell of cigarette smoke and poppers, of guys with beer bottles popping up from their crotches.  The interview -- the grope -- the joy of getting that phone number.  The agony of having the guy you like snatched away.

Giddy with anticipation,  I spend most of the day preparing, checking every detail.

No sore throat, sinus problems, cold sores, or flatulence.  No sex for at least 24 hours.  Get a hair cut.

Buy snacks and beverages to offer him.

Clean apartment.  Change the sheets -- use the good ones.  Hide the valuables.  Jar of condoms and "trick towel" ready.

Research current events and the local sports team for conversation topics.

3:00 pm

The gym.  No cardio.  Blast the chest and biceps.

5:00 pm

Light dinner, mostly easy-to digest carbs.  Shower, shave, mouthwash.

Cruising outfit: very tight black t-shirt, tight jeans, black shoes, leather jacket.  Carry keys, breath mints, handkerchief, money, driver's license, pen for writing down phone number.

9:00 pm

Show time!

The full story, with nude photos and sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Feb 7, 2017

John Stamos

Gay boys all but ignored 20-year old John Stamos when he was playing streetwise Blackie on General Hospital (1983-84).  Not many watched soap operas, and his pleasantly slender physique seemed bit too androgynous as Nautilus-toned man-mountains came into style. Besides, he had a girlfriend.

Some started to notice when John starred as aspiring rock star Gino Minnelli on Dreams (1984-85), which aired after Charles in Charge on Wednesday nights.  It offered lots of shirtless shots -- by this time John had joined a gym -- plus buddy-bonding episodes like "Friends" and "Boys are the Best."  But it only lasted for 12 episodes.

After 25 episodes of You Again? (1986-87), playing Jack Klugman's estranged teenage son -- which was switched around so often that no one saw it -- John finally found a place in gay teenagers' hearts in Full House (1987-95) on the TGIF ("Thank God it's Friday) block of kid-friendly Friday-night shows. 

He played Uncle Jesse, who moved in with his brother-in-law Danny (Bob Saget) and another male friend, Dave (Joey Gladstone), to help raise Danny's three daughters after his wife died.  

Alternative families are a standby on tv, but aside from the basic non-heteronormative family structure -- and John's smile -- there was little for gay teenagers to like.

He rarely took off a shirt -- when he did, the moments were mostly cute rather than hot. Only one episode showed him in a swimsuit.

 Nor did the friendships result in much buddy-bonding.  The guys all got girlfriends, and the daughters got boyfriends, and gay people were not mentioned, ever, even though the show was set in gay mecca San Francisco.  

In an Advocate interview, John states that he wasn't really aware that he had gay fan at the time -- "people weren't as out back then."  But he's made up for it since, as one of the most gay-friendly actors in Hollywood, even when depicted in TV Guide.  He played a gay wedding planner in the tv-movie Wedding Wars (2006).  He engaged in a same-sex kiss for charity at the GLAAD Awards.  

When The Office refused to air a joke in which a character pretends to be gay by imagining that he was "in a steam room with John Stamos," the blogosphere assumed that the screen hunk had objected -- but he quickly proclaimed that he had nothing to do with it, he loved the joke, and he would be more than happy to film any attendant fantasy sequence.

Feb 6, 2017

Looking for a Hula Girl: Erasing Gay People from Ebay

If you want to see just how thoroughly gay people are erased from the world, do some online shopping:

Allposters.com suggests that "men" will like posters of female breasts (labeled “Goals”), and women lowering their panties and asking us to “Lend a hand.”

A total of 25% of the 274 posters for men and 36% of the 131 posters for women assert that only heterosexuals exist.

Calendars.com offers The Boyfriend of the Month, featuring “that perfect guy that anyone would consider a great catch!"  So far so good.

But there's also a a Chippendales Calendar, “a must have for every female!”
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar is “a favorite with men around the world!”

At Gifts.com, the category For Him offered lots of gifts for straight weddings and anniversaries, personalized His N Her Pillow Cases, a “Weekend of Love Kit” with an image of a man and woman from the Kama Sutra, and “Life Lesson Figurines,” about men getting into humorous scrapes that assume hetero-coupling: “Just because you like it, doesn’t mean she will”; “When she asks for a backrub, sometimes she just means a backrub.”

 Amazon.com, the mega book and everything else site, wins the award for the most egregious insistence that gay people do not exist.

The introduction to the Boyfriends/Husbands Gift category amply references the “white knight” who has “swept her off her feet.”
The introduction to the Girlfriends/Wives category rhapsodizes about the “woman in his life,” with never a same-sex partner acknowledged or implied.

Ebay, the online auction giant, displays the least erasure of any of the websites I observed, perhaps because the item descriptions are not written by homophobic advertising agencies.

Orlando Bloom, star of The Lord of the Rings and The Pirates of the Caribbean series (left), appears on 728 items up for auction, but less than 10 asserted that no gay men exist: a photo “for the ladies”; a Pirates of the Caribbean t-shirt that is “perfect for guys -- no picture of Orlando Bloom on the front!”; a poster of a shirt-less Bloom reclining on a large white pillow (“Great poster, ladies!).

192 auctions offer items emblazoned with the likeness of Zac Efron, the star of Hairspray and the popular High School Musical franchise (top photo). There are posters, photos, articles of clothing, school supplies, pillowcases, and even light switch covers. But only four of item descriptions specify that all potential bidders, and all potential recipients, must be girls. The others exclaimed: “Everybody’s favorite teen hunk!”, or “A great addition to any fan’s collection!"

Still, it wasn’t hard to find erasure:
A dart board emblazoned with a picture of a male model, advertised as “Ladies, here is your dart board!"
A mug showing ladies in a state of undress “for the men!”
Euphoria Cologne, to “attract the opposite sex!”
A photo of Taylor Lautner  “for the ladies.”

A T-shirt emblazoned with “Got boys?” in a parody of the popular “Got milk?” ads, “tailored for the ladies!”
A fishing lure in the form of a mermaid, “Guaranteed to catch all fishermen!”
A Hawaiian hula boy bobbler for a car’s dashboard, “looking for a hula girl.”
A "dainty" pink tool set, "for women only"

And my favorite: a selection of action-adventure DVDs for men to watch "while your wife is out shopping."  You could also get a chick-flick set for women to watch "while your husband is out hunting."

Me kill saber-toothed tiger, you cook!

Searching for Beefcake on the Plains

Plains, February 2017

I like hookups, but they're a lot of work. You have to find the guy, interview him, deal with stupid or annoying questions, clean your apartment, take safety precautions, do 100 push-ups so you're buffed when he knocks on the door.  Then you have to be on top of your game for an hour of socializing and sex.

But beefcake watching -- looking at cute guys with no intention of approaching them -- is simple.  No preparation or strategizing necessary.  Didn't shower this morning?  Feeling cranky or depressed?  Got a runny nose and a sore throat?  Not a problem.  Just go where the cute guys are, and gawk away.

On the Plains, the beefcake is plentiful, and the heterosexuals, assuming that no gay men exist outside of New York and San Francisco, don't get insulted when another guy looks at them.  You still have to be careful: face-crotch-face, no eye contact unless you know them -- but it's not a major crisis if they notice you looking.

Today is my long day -- on campus from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, teaching four classes including one three-hour night class, breaks only for my office hours and the gym.  It's a heavy schedule. But fortunately, it provides for ample beefcake-watching.

9:30 am.  

A big class, 98 students in a giant lecture hall.  Not a lot of muscle: mostly first years, fresh-faced twinks.  My favorite is Ryan (not his real name): medium height, slim, glasses, unruly black hair, shy, scared.  He needs nurturing.

He's absent today.

3:30 pm

Enough time for the campus gym and a little course prep.

I look forward to running around the indoor track, where the basketball players divide into shirts vs. skins: endless tight bare torsos!

Today there are about six basketball games going on down there.  They're all fully clothed!

This is getting serious.

The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

5 Cartoon Couples That You Thought Were Gay, But Probably Aren't

I'm all for subtexts. This blog is about finding gay connections in texts where the writer, director, and fans are all yelling "No, no, no!"  And I've found them in dozens of children's tv shows, from The Flintstones in the 1960s to Adventure Time today.

It's easier to find them in juvenile media, where the heterosexist mandate of ending every story with a boy-girl kiss is not so aggressively policed.  All you need is:

Two characters of the same sex who display little or no heterosexual interest, and have a passionate, intense, exclusive relationship.

Some character pairs have been bandied around for years as emblems of gay subtexts, but unfortunately, they just don't cut it:

1. Batman and Robin (Adam West, Burt Ward) from the 1960s tv series. The Dynamic Duo may have been domestic partners in the 1940s comic books, but by the 1960s they were presented as a heterosexual father and his heterosexual adopted son.

Lack of hetero interest: No
Exclusive: Yes
Passionate, intense: No

It was still fun to watch Robin being a "damsel in distress," threatened by the villain and rescued by "my hero" Batman.

Especially in the first season, before they censored Robin's skin-tight briefs.

2. Shaggy and Scooby, Scooby-Doo.  You already know what they look like, so here's Robbie Amell as Fred in Scooby-Doo!  Curse of the Lake Monster (2010).

Scooby-Doo is multi-generational cartoon/movie series about four teenagers and their semi-sentient dog (the titular Scooby-Doo) who solve paranormal mysteries.  The beatnik Shaggy and Scooby often go off exploring on their own, and jump into each other's arms.  But come on -- it's a guy and a semi-sentient dog!

Lack of hetero interest: Yes
Passionate, intense: No
Exclusive: No.  They're part of a group.

3. Bert and Ernie, Sesame Street.  This one gets a lot of play, including a petition to have the two get married on the air.

But have you actually watched this show?  Ernie is Bert's annoying, tag-along little brother.  Of course they love each other, but there is no passion in their relationship.  And I don't even think that they live together; they are too young.  There must be a parent off-camera somewhere.

Lack of hetero interest: Yes
Passionate, intense: No
Exclusive: Yes

4. Peppermint Patty and Marcie of the comic strip Peanuts have often been envisioned as a lesbian couple (here on a episode of Family Guy).  But in the strip, they are portrayed as heterosexual friends.  Each has a crush on Charlie Brown, as well as other more fleeting heterosexual romances.  And their interactions are neither passionate nor intense.  The only hug I can remember occurs when Marcie's mother makes Patty a skating outfit.

Lack of hetero interest: No
Passionate, intense: No
Exclusive: Yes

5. Bart and Milhouse, The Simpsons, shown here as adults, after Milhouse bulks up.  Certainly the two are inseparable buddies, and Milhouse has many gender-atypical traits.  He's even characterized in his permanent record with the antiquated phrase "homosexual tendencies."  But he has a major crush on Lisa, and Bart has had any number of girlfriends.

Lack of hetero interest: No
Passionate, intense: No
Exclusive: Yes

But don't worry, there are still dozens of juvenile media characters for whom the gay subtexts ring loud and clear.  Let's start with Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick.

Feb 5, 2017

How to Survive a Football Game

No matter how you guard against it, if you live in the United States, sooner or later you will be forced to watch a football game.

It's a national obsession, especially among heterosexual men.  It's all they think of from August through February, and they believe that it's all you think of, too.  So you will be interrogated on favorite teams, favorite players, favorite plays, asked how the game went last night, and invited to watch.

Of course, there are reasons you may want to hang out with guys who watch football.  They tend to be more muscular than your run-of-the-mill straight guy, and they like hugging and grabbing each other at every point.

The snacks are good, too.

If you go to or watch all of the available football games played from August to February, you will devote 12 hours a day, every day, to The Game.  No one can do all of that, so straight guys usually confine themselves to one game per day, and read the newspaper or watch ESPN to find out the other scores, so they can discuss them incessantly with their friends.

1. Professional football is played by members of the NFL (National Football League), which is divided into two conference of 16 teams each.  Each team will play 24 games during the season, plus a playoff to decide who is best in each conference.

That's a lot of games, but don't despair. You just need to memorize who won in the last few games played by teams from cities in your state (or, to be on the safe side, adjoining states).  Unfortunately, the two conferences aren't divided by geography, so you'll just have to scan to find them.

For instance, when I lived in Dayton, masquerading as heterosexual only required me to know about the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cleveland Browns, and maybe, to be on the safe side, the Indianapolis Colts.  Now I live on the Plains, so all I have to know about are the Minnesota Vikings, and to be on the safe side, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.

Memorize the names of the some of main players -- called quarterbacks -- so you can ask "How did ___ do last night?"  For the Minnesota Vikings, that's Teddy Bridgewater and Christian Pounder.

The Superbowl, in January or February, is the big event of the year, with the best teams of the two conferences squaring off.  You should know who won for the last five years: Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints.

2. You should also know something about college football.  Colleges are divided into four Divisions by the National College Athletic Association (NCAA).  You only have to know about Division 1, the 128 biggest colleges, which is divided into 11 Conferences.  Unfortunately, they're not divided by geography, either, so figure out the ones that are closest to you (in Minnesota, the Golden Gophers).

You also might want to know about the Big Ten, which actually has 15 members: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, and so on.

Be careful around Christmastime: that's when the various conferences decide which team is better at "bowl" tournaments, and there are dozens of them, most with silly commercial names: The Hyundai Sun Bowl, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl, etc.

Straight guys will be following all of them, but the only you really need to know about is the Rose Bowl (January 1st), in which the Big Ten and the Pacific-12 conferences pair off.

3. If you're ready for the advanced stuff, try showing off your knowledge of high school football!  They are divided up into divisions and ranks, too.

Rock Island High School, my alma mater, is nationally ranked at 7120 and state ranked at 217.  It's in the Western Big Six.

Do you have a headache yet?

Think of it this way: all of the statistics, rankings, divisions, and conferences boil down to a group of extremely muscular men piling up on each other, grabbing each other's butts, adjusting their crotches, and then getting naked in the locker room.

Almost makes it all worthwhile.

See also: Hating Sports.

The Naked Goldenboys at Football Try-Outs

Rock Island, August 1975

"All entering sophomores invited to try out for junior varsity football," Dad reads from a brochure that came in the mail.

"That's nice," I say, immersed in a course catalog.

"You dropped out of wrestling and judo," he points out.  "You have to play some kind of sport in high school."

"Is that a rule?  I don't like sports. Besides, I'm going to be busy with orchestra, jump quiz, Spanish Club, Writers' Club..."

"Yes, it's a rule!  And stop pretending that you don't like sports.  You're a boy, aren't you?"

"Well...I wouldn't mind the track team, I guess."

"Why not football?"

"No way!" I exclaim.  "Football is gross!"  Of all the sports I hate, football is the worst.  Guys pounding each other into a pulp over some stupid little ball.  Why don't they just give everybody his own ball -- that way they wouldn't have to fight over it.

"Football players always get the cutest girls," Dad says, assuming that I, like "every boy," decide on courses of action solely on their likelihood of acquiring girls.

"What kind of date can I go on in Intensive Care?"

"Don't get smart!  It won't hurt you to try out, at least."

When Dad says "Jump," you say "How high?"  I have no choice but to try out.

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