Apr 23, 2016

Adrian Zmed After Dark

On an episode of The Simpsons, the family goes to a review featuring the once-famous:
     We are the stars that you thought were dead,
     Like Bonnie Franklin and Adrian Zmed.

People who weren't watching television or going to moves during the early 1980s probably thought "I didn't think Adrian Zmed was dead, I never heard of him."  But during that brief few years, the sultry black-haired Romanian-American actor -- and his amazingly ripped physique -- was everywhere.

He sang and danced as a John Travolta clone in Grease 2 (1982), also starring Maxwell Caulfield.

He partied with Tom Hanks in Bachelor Party (1984).

He bonded with William Shatner in the police drama T.J. Hooker (1982-85).

He hosted Dance Fever
He guest starred on Bosom Buddies, Love Boat, Hotel, Glitter, and Empty Nest.

He appeared in Battle of the Network Stars (a reality series that was really an excuse to get male tv stars into speedos).  He didn't win any awards, but he got to hug Scott Baio.

His full-body speedo shots were more than enough to draw the attention of gay fans, but his characters always had a blatant interest in same-sex chums, regardless of whether they got the girl in the end.

In Grease 2, for instance, the plot revolves around an "opposites attract" between greaser Johnny (Zmed) and uptight British newcomer Michael (Maxwell Caulfield).

And, unlike most beefcake stars of the 1980s, he was aware of his gay fans, and actually played to them.  He remains a strong gay ally, like his "bosom buddy" Tom Hanks.

By the late 1980s, the Adrian Zmed train had stalled, perhaps overloaded by overexposure.  Though he has never stopped acting -- in 2007 he appeared in the soap Passions and in Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Special -- the era of speedo shots is long gone.

Apr 21, 2016

When Doves Cry

The summer of 1984 was the summer of "When Doves Cry," by androgynous musician Prince.   I don't usually like sad songs, but there was something so wistful about the self-rencrimination, something so poignant about the fear of being abandoned in cold, cruel world:

How can you just leave me standing,
Alone in a world that's so cold?
Maybe I'm just too demanding.
Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold.
Maybe you're just like my mother,
She was never satisfied 

It was especially evocative because I heard it constantly as I drove south from Rock Island toward Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas, a cold, dark, perilous realm bereft of light and hope, where I would spend the worst year of my life.

This is what it sounds like
When doves cry

Of course we all thought that Prince  was gay.  He was so svelte, so androgynous, so downright feminine.  He wore make up and women's high heels, and purple.   In his 1981 "Controversy," he himself seemed to be unsure:

I just can't believe all the things people say
Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay?

In "I Would Die for You" (1984), he announced himself as genderqueer:

I'm not a woman, I'm not a man.
I am something that you'll never understand.

He was a breath of fresh air amid the ultra-macho cowboy Reagan years.

But "Cream" (1991) eliminated all speculation, with lyrics that are too dirty to reprint here, and an utterly disgusting music video.  Let's just say that he was proclaiming his heterosexuality, big time.

After that I didn't pay much attention to Prince.  I was vaguely aware that in 1993 he changed his name to a combination of the male and female symbols, again announcing his androgyny, then in 2000 back to Prince again.

And in 2001, that he had become a Jehovah's Witness, a hard-core fundamentalist church that flly embraces that ancient Hebrew text about ritual purity as evidence of God's hatred of non-heteros.

In 2008, he compared gay marriage to the horrible abominations that caused God to destroy all of humanity with the Great Flood: "God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough."

He then clarified that he meant gay marriage, gestured at his Bible, and said "It ain't right."

Later he said that he had been misquoted, but when asked again about his opinion concerning gay marriage, he refused to answer.

In 2013, his song "Da Bourgeosie" describes his disgust over a girlfriend who claimed to have left "the dirty world," but was still having sex with women.

Prince died earlier today at his home near Minneapolis.

I feel strangely melancholic, like I'm 23 years old again, driving down Interstate 55 south of St. Louis in my Dodge Dart, staring into a bleak, desolate future as everything I know and love recedes into the past.

How can you just leave me standing,
Alone in a world that's so cold?

Apr 18, 2016

What's Wrong with Open Relationships?

In gay communities, people who have open relationships are often criticized as shallow, sex-obsessed, afraid of true intimacy.

Or sometimes they're pitied.  If only they could experience the unmitigated joy of monogamy, being with only one person for life!

I've spent five years in monogamous relationships, and twenty in open relationships.  I'll take the open.

Here's why:

The cultures of the world have many ways of determining who is responsible for raising children.  The most common are:
1. Polygamy: several women have children with one man.
2. Polyandry: one woman has children with several men
3. Mixed: anyone in the clan can have children with anyone else.

17% of the world's cultures practice monogamy: one woman has children with one man only.

Monogamy ensures that men know that they are the biological father of the children they are raising.  But it has some drawbacks:

1. The wife becomes property, her vagina a commodity that can be bought and sold.  Through the 18th century, if a married woman was raped, the husband was assumed the victim.  If she was unmarried, the victim was the father.

2. The penalty for a wife who "cheats" is severe, but for the husband, the penalty is mild.  It is even expected that he have a "mistress" on the side.  90% of the people prosecuted under the adultery laws are female.

3. The husband and wife are expected to live alone, with their children, in"single family homes" which puts a severe strain on the world's economic resources.  Multiple-family dwellings are much more efficient.

Same-sex couples don't need to worry about pregnancy from an extramarital encounter, so why do they practice monogamy?  I have heard the following objections to sexual activity with people outside the relationship:

1.It increases the risk of sexually-transmitted diseases.

Unprotected sex increases the risk of STDs regardless of whether you are in a relationship or not.  Should single gay people avoid sexual activity, also? Wrap it up!

2. The partners may find someone they likes better, and end the relationship.

Will spending an hour in the bedroom with this guy tell you if he likes The X-Files and Buddhist philosophy, if he will be supportive of your career, if he will fit in with your friends?  Of course not -- all you will find out about is his bedroom performance.  If your relationship is so fragile that it will end because you found someone better at oral sex, is it really worth preserving?

3. Heterosexuals don't do it.

Of course they do, just not as often as we do, for an obvious reason: women lose prestige by having sex, but men gain it. Think of the terms used for men and women with multiple partners: stud vs. slut.  So it takes work to persuade a woman to have sex with you, but to get a man to have sex with you, all you need to do is ask.

4. It must be disgraceful.  You wouldn't want people to find out, would you?

I would prefer that my mother, minister, and boss not be apprised of my latest three-way.  Also I wouldn't want them to know what I did with my partner last night.  And I don't want to know what they did with their partners, either.

5. It detracts from the joy, fulfillment, and fun of the relationship.

I don't see how.  It's a joy to cruise together, to evaluate prospects.  It's fulfilling to watch your partner in action with someone they finds especially attractive. And it's fun to discuss afterwards.

6. I prefer monogamy, and everybody on Earth has to do things my way.

If you and your partner are both into it, feel free to only have sex with each other.  Or to not have sex at all.  It's really none of my business.  But at the same time, you don't have the right to judge me over something that my partner and I enjoy.

Semi-Open Relationships

I don't have strictly open relationships, where either partner can do anything with anybody at anytime.  What's the fun in that? I want to be there.

My relationships have usually been semi-open.

1. Either partner can engage in social activities with anyone he wants, including events that are typically considered dates: dinners, movies, and so on.

2. BUT no bedroom activity can occur without both partners being present.  All three will participate, or if one of the parties isn't into it, he can just watch.

3. At bath houses, sex clubs, and bear parties, the partners will cruise together whenever possible, but separate sexual activity is permitted.

4. If the partners are in separate cities, they can engage in bedroom activities with close friends, including "sharing" dates and romantic partners.

It's worked so far.  Twenty years of semi-open relationships with no STDs, no jealousy, no crying and recrimination, no breakups because he found someone better, and a lot of fun.

An uncensored version of this post is on Tales of West Hollywood.

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