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February 8th, 2024

My Retirement Anniversary Is Too Close To Tax Time!

Second anniversary of being retired. And also time to gather my forms and do my taxes. So naturally I decide to evaluate my retirement funds…and stress out about money.

Yes, Yes…you knew the balance would go down when you withdraw money didn’t you. Didn’t You??.

It’s okay. I’m theoretically good for many many years beyond when the heart unit is depreciated and support is no longer available from the vender. But I have to watch my spending more carefully than I did when I was employed and making six figures. I can do that…I have budgeting spreadsheets I’ve created and some rules about what to spend and when. I have excellent health insurance beyond Medicare parts the A and B. Financially I’m good. Not fabulous, but good. I can pay my bills and generally maintain a lower middle class standard of living. Even take a Disney vacation every now and then. These days that puts me in the Very Very Lucky category. But the ability to stress over Everything is just baked into me I reckon.

At the moment a source of stress is that it’s looking like I can either take the two week Disney Vacation this spring or go to California and stay with family out there this summer…but not both. And those are two things I count on to relieve stress. Ha Ha. But I’m still crunching numbers. I’ll know by the end of this month. That’s plenty of time to either cancel my Disney reservations or tell my brother that a California stay will have to wait for next year.

And the fact is that cross-country road trip is getting very tiring now. I have to stop more often, which means more hotel money for the trip both ways. And the anticipation of driving cross country isn’t as exciting as it used to be. I’ve done just about all the parts of the country I wanted to, and some of it now, like Texas and Oklahoma, feel scary in a way they never did before.

Maybe I just fly out to California now and then for a week or two. Thinking about a road trip doesn’t get me excited, it just makes me feel tired now.

Oh dear…I’m 70 now aren’t I. (Looks at the old man skin on his arms) Yeah. That happened…

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

January 8th, 2024

Getting Ready For It

Usually I put the dishes in the dishwasher before bed and let it run overnight, then unpack it the next morning. My mornings are usually pretty aimless these days until I am fully awake. Usually that’s after coffee, my morning exercises, and a morning walk. This is my retirement morning routine I reckon.

But a little tick I’m noticing in myself now is whenever there’s a big storm in the forecast I make double sure to get all the dishes clean and put away, and take care of anything else that needs doing in the kitchen, such as make more ice tea. So when I wake up I don’t have to do anything except make coffee and breakfast, and try to figure out how my day is going while scoping out what’s going on outside.

Weather happens, la de da. I grew up in central Maryland, I am familiar with how the sky does its thing over the seasons. Maryland skies aren’t as dramatic as Florida and Kansas skies, but I have watched them all my life. Our weather is mostly pretty bland compared to elsewhere. The big storms are interlopers, exciting, possibly dangerous, demanding more attention than normal. In the morning I want to be ready.

Looks now like the action here in Charm City is late Tuesday and into early wednesday, then it clears out quickly. But then comes another one. This seems like a pattern settling in. We’ve been somewhat lucky these have been happening in warm air. If one of these happens when we’re getting a cold snap it’s going to dump a ton of snow on us.

by Bruce | Link | React!

January 7th, 2024

Diving Into It

The lab beakers and precision scale for my upcoming project to make H&W Control developer arrived the other day. This is good. They should be precise enough I can compare them to the plastic graduated beakers I’ve been using since I was a teenager and see how much off they’ve been all this time, if any. But these are mostly for the project I have going, to make some H&W Control developer after so many decades without.

I’ve been told the raw chemicals have been shipped finally, and should arrive soon. There is one more item on the list I was advised of on the Facebook darkroom page I wrote about previously, which is a magnetic stirrer with a hot plate for keeping the mix temperature good. That’ll help. My arm got really tired with all that stirring the rapid fix ingredients.

Given the uncertainties in getting my workflow developers and fixers these days, being able to mix up my own from the raw ingredients is a good skill to…er…develop. Although mixing my own HC-110 might be beyond my willingness to risk since the raw ingredients for that developer are Holy Shit toxic. But none of this is a one-shot deal. Certainly if the experiment with H&W Control developer works out. I loved that film. To be able to use it again would be heaven.

I took a stroll over to Service Photo just down the street from me to see if anything has changed since Kodak chemistry became available again. But it hasn’t really. I saw some new bottles of Kodafix which is good, but when I went up to the counter to ask about it I was carefully ignored. The stock of film behind the counter was pitiful. The shelves of second hand film cameras now only had second hand digital cameras. I don’t think they care about film photographers anymore.

I remember being overjoyed to see they’d moved from inside the urban core to just a few blocks from my front door. I think they were the last of the good photography stores between here and DC. I can name them all, including the one I worked for briefly, Industrial Photo in Silver Spring. All gone now. Memories. I have to mail order nearly everything now. But at least I can do that.

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

January 4th, 2024

The Skills You Acquire As You Get Older

Something I am getting really good at in my old age is the ability to flick just one single little pill out of the bottle. I practice mornings and evenings.

by Bruce | Link | React!

December 24th, 2023

A Little Too Quiet Around Here

I completely forgot that today is Christmas Eve. I reckon that comes with being solitary and retired.

I could have sworn it was middle of next week. So the plan today was to buy a few groceries this morning and sit back and wait the holiday traffic out. But my street is pretty empty of parked cars and it’s not a workday for most of the folks here I’m sure. Plus, the entire neighborhood actually pretty quiet.

I have this horrible intuition that the main roads and jammed with last minute shoppers, and the stores are being mobbed, and I am not going anywhere until after Christmas.

Spending Christmas as I usually do being a gay guy who has failed miserably at love, and because the family I’m closest to now is on the other coast, by myself. I’ll give myself a nice Christmas dinner at home and try not to drink too much.

by Bruce | Link | React!

December 14th, 2023

Dick Pics

Back when I was a teenager and big box department stores were a thing, I used to go shopping, mostly for LPs at the E.J. Korvette’s across Rockville Pike. It was classic suburban car culture retail, with a massive, and I mean Massive, parking lot surrounding a huge store that sold everything from lawn mowers to blue jeans to jewelry and watches to TVs. They had a legendary record department, and I would go there often to browse the movie and TV soundtrack titles. In their day they had a bigger soundtrack selection than anyone else.

I would also browse the book department. One day I saw this paperback title on the shelves and my jaw dropped, completely taken by surprise and completely embarrassed.

 

I don’t think I was more embarrassed by the Sticky Fingers album cover when I first laid eyes on it. I could not believe a book with thAT title was allowed on the shelves, even if I knew it was obviously not, could not possibly be about…er…those kinds of dicks. I picked it up and looked at the back cover blurb and saw that it was, yes, a collection of pulp detective stories, which I wasn’t much interested in at the time.

I briefly considered buying a copy as a joke. But I was probably still struggling with my emerging sexuality and didn’t want mom seeing it because she was already questioning my lack of interest in girls and my stash of 16 and Tiger Beat magazines.

Time passes, the universe expands, and along comes the Internet and email and social media and and smartphones and this cover became something of a running gag with me whenever the topic of sexting and dick pics came up. The little inner Baptist boy in me will in no way allow the grown up me to engage in online conversations like that. But the Mad Magazine inner tweenager in me loved joking about it with photos of Dick Tracy, Dick Nixon, Dick Clark, and this book cover.

Once, a certain someone down in Florida told me during one of our conversations not to be sending him any dick pics (I’ve often wondered later if he wasn’t actually trying to give me ideas) and I made the usual jokes back at him. Maybe that’s what started our downhill slide. My sense of humor often irritated him, which irritated me.

So when the other day a friend joked when I was bellyaching about Facebook unilaterally removing one of my posts, that I was posting too many dick pics, and I replied with the cover of this book. He laughed, I laughed. And then I began thinking about it more.

I never really got into hard core noir detective fiction but I have loved some of the movies in that genre. After watching and loving the 1975 Robert Mitchum version of Farewell My Lovely, I decided to pick up a random Raymond Chandler book…he was said to be the gold standard of detective noir…and see if I might want to read him.

At the Crown Books in Congressional Plaza I saw and picked up a copy of one of his novels, I forget now which one, and I Just Happened to flip it open to a scene in it where Marlow is roughing up a young homosexual for some information. Chandler writes that the kid tries to swing back but those little queer boys just don’t have the muscle or the skeletal hardness to put up much of a fight.

The contempt was just dripping off the page and I put it back, and never picked up another Raymond Chandler book. But I still love that film version of Farewell My Lovely. I even bought a copy of the soundtrack by David Shire, which set the tone for the movie perfectly.

But the book I often joked about still intrigued me for, perhaps, a different reason: it’s alleged pulp fiction roots. I have long been a big fan of a particular pulp fiction character: The Shadow. I have a bunch of paperbacks, written by Walter Gibson under the pen name Maxwell Grant, with those amazing pulp art covers.

The only other artist to do the character justice was Michael Kaluta in that amazing series of DC comics that are now collector’s items, and really every time he does the character…

The Shadow was the only pulp character I ever enjoyed reading. For some reason I never got into Doc Savage stories, although those are also said to be a gold standard in pulp fiction. But given how much I’ve enjoyed pulp stories about The Shadow I knew I could actually digest pulp fiction…it just had to be good pulp fiction. If that’s not a contradiction in terms.

So after Yet Another dick pics joke about that book I thought, let me actually try reading it. It’s an anthology so maybe I end up hating some of it, but liking others. So I did a little digging and came up with this hardbound first edition in like new condition, for not very much money.

I posted a version of this to my Facebook page, because most of my friends and classmates still don’t seem to get blogs. Now I wait to see if Facebook deletes this post too. Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of social media…hahahahaha…

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

December 12th, 2023

City Life Has Its Benefits

One of which is the pleasures of walking here and there and happen chancing across someone you know.

I needed some groceries I could only get at the local organic food store, so I take a short walk there. On the way back I pass a guy who is looking at me so I give him a polite wave. Then I hear him say that he knows me and I turn and look more closely. I’m usually horrible with names but pretty good with faces and I recognise him as one of the STScI cafeteria staff from way back when.

He has apparently become a teacher in one of the local schools, encouraging his kids to believe that a life in the sciences is possible to them. He tells me they grow up thinking Baltimore isn’t the center of the universe, and he tells them actually, in one sense, it is. And he talks to them about working at the Space Telescope Science Institute and Hubble and James Webb. We chat for a while, and it’s clear we both have very fond memories of working at STScI.

That really perked me up.

by Bruce | Link | React!

November 24th, 2023

Thanksgiving Family…A Repost

Reposted from Thanksgiving 2017…with a wee bit of editing…

(Note…this did not happen this Thanksgiving because I could not attend the yearly gathering…I caught a flu that I’m still getting over. But in all the digging into the homophobia of the 60s/70s for the upcoming episode of A Coming Out Story, I began to feel that suffocating old stereotype dragging me back to a time when most of us didn’t dare live our lives openly, even if we were fine with being gay. Then this post appeared in my Facebook memories (I will often post in both places) and I had to marvel once again at how the anti-gay industrial complex just Does Not Get Us. And I can just hear them saying Oh, but you’re a Good homosexual. No I’m not. Don’t you dare be putting me into that pigeonhole. I am not a Good homosexual. I am a proud homosexual.)

——-

“Gay Community” is an awkward term, but the language doesn’t seem to give us any other ones. We are people of a shared sexual orientation, and to a certain extent, a shared history of oppression. But there really isn’t all that much uniting us. Things you would expect such as marriage equality and protections from discrimination in employment, housing, and the marketplace, often generate a surprising amount of static among us. And running beneath it all like a hidden underground stream is how being hated, and being taught to hate ourselves, damages our capacity for sexual intimacy, trust, and love. And even that is not exactly a shared experience among us.

There is, and I am seeing more clearly with the passing of years, a distinct generational difference. Younglings living in a more accepting and affirming culture, having more and better, healthier, opportunities to date and discover love and desire in the ways heterosexual kids have for generations, are starting to look more and more like their heterosexual peers when talking about relationship issues. For a gay guy of my generation it is wonderful to witness. But then, inevitably, like snapping back out of a pleasant daydream, I must return to my own life, my own generation because that is where I am fixed in time and place, and where I reckon I will always belong. Among them is where I must find companionship, because only they understand me.

They know what the world was like when John Lennon was alive, and Hendrix was playing at the Fillmore, and Jefferson was Airplane. They know what America was like before Reagan. When music came on vinyl disks and telephones had wires and shopping centers had newsstands and bookstores and we were putting footsteps on the moon. They know me. Or so I would like to believe anyway.

But community is an awkward way of describing us and “family” is even more awkward. Yesterday I had Thanksgiving dinner with as much “family” here on the east coast as I have now and while the host was a good friend with a good heart whose company I thoroughly enjoy, most of the guests were gay guys of my generation, none of whom I really knew very well. A couple of them frequently drove the conversation into territory I found uncomfortable at best and distasteful mostly, and the rest just went gamely along and I kept my mouth shut.

A conversation was started about the first gay bar we’d ever been to, a thing I couldn’t specifically recall but I gave it my best shot: a piano bar called Friends, and later Windows. I can’t actually recall the first time I set foot in a gay bar…or any other sort of bar for that matter. When I was a toddler my maternal grandmother would walk me to the grocery store periodically, and every time we passed by a bar she would point at the door and say “the devil lives there” (yes grandma…and I’ll have what he’s having…) So never mind working up the nerve to enter a gay bar, my first step ever into a bar probably took a lot of nerve, but I don’t now recall it. I remember Friends though, because it was the only gay bar at the time I felt comfortable in. And there was a reason for that. But the topic quickly took off and others of the group took it and ran with it into the backrooms and toilets.

I tried to steer the conversation to When Did You First Come Out To Yourself. That generally went in the same direction. Eventually I made myself a drink and sat some distance from the others and just listened.

Understand…I don’t particularly care what sorts of sexual shenanigans people get themselves into. It’s not that important. In her biography (and I know I’ve quoted this often here on the blog so just bear with me…), the author Mary Renault is quoted as saying that politics like sex, is just a reflection of the person within, and if you’re mean and selfish and cruel it will come out in your sex life and it will come out in your politics when what matters is you’re not the sort of person who behaves like that. People who talk at me that there is more to life than sex are missing it profoundly. Life…the life you live…and sex…the sex you have…is a reflection of the person within and it’s the person within that matters. It matters to me that you aren’t mean and selfish and cruel. The rest is detail.

But sometimes the detail can be bothersome all the same. And especially when you are in the company of others who either consistently don’t get yours or regard them as hangups you just need to get over. And that’s one of those generational things I was speaking to earlier. My generation of gay men, post Stonewall, came of age when the gay rights movement was taking to the streets, angrily, loudly, renouncing the suit and tie assimilationist tactics of the Mattachine Society. It went from Michael in The Boys In The Band lamenting If we could just not hate ourselves so much, practically overnight to No fuckers we aren’t just like you, and we don’t want any part of your straight sexist sex-negative society! Nuance is for reactionaries.

When I was a teenager, I fell in love, as teenagers will. It was wonderful. I wanted that feeling to last forever. I thought I’d found the person who could make that happen. But it didn’t. So I kept looking. And looking. And looking. And now I’m 64 and single and never had so much as a boyfriend let alone a spouse to have and to hold. And here I am on Thanksgiving day with a group of other mostly lonely old gay men listening to some of them talking about the time when a certain bathroom at the University of Maryland was a hookup spot, and random sex with strangers at this or that gay bar back in the day. There’s a reason I couldn’t contribute to any of those tales, but I’m broken in a different way, so don’t take any of this to mean I think I’m better than they are because I don’t.

Oscar Wilde once said that we are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars. No, we are not all in the gutter. But some of us who are looking at the stars cannot help but notice all that darkness surrounding them. And that it is from that darkness we behold the stars. Some of us.

 

by Bruce | Link | React!


If You Have To Ask You Can’t Afford Me

From my Facebook Memories today…

Young, very Very nice on the eyes guy follows me on Instagram. Messages me. Hi How are you doing? So I took a look at his profile. He just joined a day or so ago, posted three selfies, has five followers, and is following about six-hundred or so other guys. Lots of older gay guys like myself. Let me guess…

Hon, you’re stunningly beautiful. Extra especially that one shot with your shirt half off and those big frame nerd eyeglasses. Oh goodness… But I don’t think I’m the customer you’re looking for. Let me explain…

1) I’m what the kids these days call a “Demisexual”. Google it. Took me even longer to figure this part of myself out than that I like guys. Especially cute angel faced ones like you. If all there is for me is visual appeal, there ain’t nothing more going to happen except that maybe I keep stealing a glance or two.

2) I’m a heart patient. I’m on beta blockers. Think of beta blockers as the antimatter of Viagra. Yes, I am not entirely happy with this effect. No, I will not go into why. So even if I was amenable to capitalist relationships, it would be a waste of my money and your time. Which brings me to…

3) As well off financially as I am these days, I really don’t think I have the kind of income that would buy the time of someone as stunningly beautiful as yourself. Even if I was inclined toward capitalist relationships, which I am not (see 1), I could not afford the likes of you I’m pretty sure.

Best wishes in your business endeavors. I am not one to disparage your line of work. But I am thoroughly unsuited for any place in your little black book. I appreciate the interest. And the photos! Thank you! But you need to look elsewhere.

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

October 20th, 2023

Adventures In Home Ownership…(continued)

Trimming the wild overgrowth on the hillside in front of my house with a hedge trimmer…wishing I had a lightsaber…

Just Swoosh…Swoosh… and done!

by Bruce | Link | React!

September 13th, 2023

My Demons…Let Me Show You My Cartoons About Them…

Reposted and updated for my 70th (yesterday)…

This is a script I had for a one-off cartoon was going to do when I turned 60. I did a little pencil sketching on it then dropped it. I’m 70 now and still haven’t finished this one, or dozens of others let alone A Coming Out Story…

It riffs off a running gag in Tim Barela’s wonderful gay comic strip Leonard and Larry, which he described once as a kind of gay Our Miss Brooks. Every tenth year Larry had a birthday all his anxieties about getting old surfaced in a dream that he was having his birthday party while laying in a coffin with a birthday cake on it and his friends making catty jokes about his getting old. Picasso said a mediocre artist copies and a great artist steals. So I stole the idea (with proper acknowledgement). But the only thing I managed to finish was the script. Probably for the best…

Here it is, updated to the 70th birthday. As Joe Friday and my own Sergeant Stoneface would say, The names have been changed to protect the innocent. And especially the not so innocent!

The Big Seven-O!
(Slightly Anonymized)

SCENE: My birthday party. a’La Leonard & Larry, I’m in a casket with the lid open and a birthday cake on the bottom half lid that reads Happy 70th. Surrounding me are my three loves. We shall call them CRUSH1, CRUSH2 and CRUSH3.

 

PANEL 1: (Most of the following panels are as above.)

ME: I really appreciate the party you guys, and this coffin’s a swell gag, but I have to admit the margarita embalming fluid bottles was a brilliant touch.

CRUSH2: I liked the aspirin bottles labeled “For Headaches Due To Lovestruck Bruce”.

CRUSH3: That was 1’s idea.

 

PANEL 2:

ME: (off panel) Ha, ha… Yes, very funny…

CRUSH1: (to the others) Drove me crazy back in high school watching him try to work up the nerve to tell me he had a crush on me.

CRUSH2: (rolling his eyes) I had to deal with Overly Attached Gayfriend.

CRUSH3: Tell me about it. He actually thought we were boyfriends just because I let him sleep with me a few times.

 

PANEL 3: Closeup on Crush2 and Crush3

CRUSH2: Sparks didn’t fly eh?

CRUSH3: (Looking morosely down at his drink) Let’s just say I went Ex-Gay for six years.

 

PANEL 4: Closeup on me and Crush1

CRUSH1: (Smiling, gesturing to me while looking at the others off panel) Quick, tell NARTH! We’ve found the cure for homosexuality!

ME: (Frowning) Ha, Ha. Very Funny.

 

PANEL 5:

ME: Can I get out now?

CRUSH1: Not on your life. We’re selling you off as a collector’s item.

CRUSH2: (gesturing to the ages) The gay man that never had a boyfriend. Too young to be liberated in 1971, too old to marry anyone in 2023.

CRUSH3: You’re a museum piece.

 

PANEL 6:

ME: You sold me to a museum?

CRUSH2: Museum? Are you kidding? We sold you to Disney World.

CRUSH3: You’re going to be a prop in the Haunted Mansion queue.

CRUSH1: I’ll stop by every now and then before my shift to dust you off.

 

PANEL 7:

ME: I’m dreaming all this aren’t I? This is all about my anxieties over getting old isn’t it…and you guys are here representing the three chances for love Vonnegut spoke of…

CRUSH1: We prefer to think of ourselves as your three strikes.

 

PANEL 8:

ME: This is going to turn into a nightmare now isn’t it?

CRUSH1: You’re not asleep dear, you’re hallucinating.

CRUSH2: You drank half that bottle of tequila all by yourself and when you sober up again you’re going to feel like you’re 170.

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

September 11th, 2023

A Bit Worried About My Drawing Hand

Lately I’ve been very worried that my drawing hand is getting arthritis in it, but now I’m pretty sure that it’s just injury to the thumb and forefinger muscles, and it’s the Apple Pencil with Procreate that’s doing it to me.

When I work with traditional media I use a Very light touch. The charcoals and graphite I work with are all very soft and I can get a lot of dynamic range out of them by varying light to just a bit of moderate pressure. Same with my ink pens. I use my dip pens less often now, but when I do I gravitate to the most flexible nibs because I can get the range of lines I like with those. Mostly I use the new pigment based technical pens. I still haven’t the hang of inking with a brush yet, and given how much I’ve come to like Procreate I may never get it. My favorite writing instruments are my fountain pens, especially my Montblanc Diplomat (which I have with me in California) and my Parker Duofold. All I need with either of those is a very light touch.

So my writing/drawing hand is not used to having to bear down much and I’ve been doing a tad more of that with the Apple Pencil and Procreate now that I’m doing more of my artwork digitally. Problem most likely is I just accepted the default sensitivity settings and now I have to spend some time tweaking them.
In the meantime I’m being forced to take a break from drawing for a while until my drawing hand stops complaining.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 29th, 2023

Hey…Wait…Didn’t I Graduate…??

I’ll be 70 soon. Just so all you younglings who happen to be reading this know, that dream about being back in grade school? You know the one. Maybe you’re walking the hallways of your old high school. Maybe you’re sitting in class. And you’re stressing out because you haven’t prepared, and you don’t know the material. And you know you’re going to flunk that class and probably every other class too. And then you wake up and you’re all stressed out. That dream?

Yeah…you’ll still be having it at 70.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 26th, 2023

Approaching 70

Facebook memories this morning brings me back to a Pearls Before Swine cartoon I riffed on briefly a couple years ago. Rat is harassing Stephan about how old he is, asking him if he was alive during World War 2, and Stephan says he wasn’t born until 23 years after that war ended, at which point Rat brings up the fact that his prom was 34 years ago.

Ha ha. Yeah…

My prom would have been 52 years ago now. I’ll be 70 shortly. Oddly enough, still regretting I didn’t get my prom. Or those first dates. Gay teens didn’t exist back in 1971.

Could have been worse I suppose. I could have been born right after the war instead of eight years after and had to be a gay teenager in the late 1950s/early 60s. I’m trying to slug through “Hoover’s War On Gays” by Douglas M. Charles. It’s a Very difficult read. My generation, just barely post Stonewall, had it pretty good all things considered. One of my high school teachers, Bill Ochse, actually brought a group of gay activists to his class to talk to his students, and the mob didn’t burn the school down.

I had him for a class but I wasn’t in that particular class that day. So I watched from a distance as they left his classroom, still talking to Bill and a few of the other kids. How I wished I could have sat in and listened to them. I’ve ached at the memory ever since. But at least I could know back in 1971 that there was such things as gay activists. I could at least know that I wasn’t alone, even if it felt like it.

I didn’t get my prom. It was 1971. Not even Woodward would have been ready for gay teens stepping out onto the dance floor back in 1971. Are you kidding? And even in a better world I probably wouldn’t have been able to take the guy I was crushing on to the prom. He was a catch, stunningly beautiful, smart, decent, lived in the nice neighborhood, and I was a weird kid from across the tracks, unhandsome, crooked teeth, unruly hair, living with a single divorced mother, preoccupied with his artwork and photography. Didn’t get my prom. Didn’t get a boyfriend either.

I’ll be 70 soon. I’ll die having walked from one end of an adult life to the other single. And the fact is there was more stacked against me than the treachery of a few I believed to be my friends (We’ve seen the guys you look at. People who look like that want people who look like that.). Back in 1971 even Mad Magazine thought our claim to having a common humanity with out neighbors was ridiculous (You shout that you are victimized by bigoted attacks. Forgive us if we’re more concerned with Indians and Blacks). The scale of what was taken from us so righteous people could build their stepping stones to heaven out of pieces of our hearts is nearly impossible to grasp. And the teenager I was stopped hoping long ago.

70. It isn’t quite the milestone I was thinking it would be. I really don’t want any more birthdays. But I need to get A Coming Out Story finished.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 13th, 2023

Back When Guys Could Be Sexy And Beautiful And Not Worry About Being Queer Baited

It was an all too brief period of time in young American male fashion. But I look back upon it fondly, and reminisce about the life I once had, before the heart attack, before I found myself suddenly knocking at the door to 70 and realizing that dating and mating part of my life is all in the rear view mirror now, and I didn’t even get to partake because back then gay teenagers didn’t exist and gay men were all better off dead than in love.

I have this theory that the fashions and styles we find attractive as adults are what were in vogue when we were coming of age. We glom onto that period and all those first crushes and first heartbreaks, and forever after it’s what gets the heart beating.

The problem for me (artistically and…otherwise) is that while “retro” fashions seem to have made a comeback, it’s only among the ladies. Long hair low risers and cutoffs haven’t made much headway among males young and slender enough that, IMO, they could benefit from them. Okay…so I could benefit from them.

It’s a shame. So when I get an itch to do some sexy sketching I usually end up riffing on photos of pretty young ladies I see online or in magazine fashion ads. When you know the basic skeletal and muscular differences between the sexes it’s not hard to convert female to male if you really, really like what they’re wearing or how they’ve done their hair. This drawing I posting some months ago being a good example…

I actually sold a print of that one.

I have a folder in my NAS of pose material that maybe I’ll get to someday and make a drawing from. Stuff I’ve got from various online sites and Facebook pages. Like the one I just started following a few days ago of 70s memories.

 

That photo was labelled Teenagers hanging out on Van Nuys Blvd. Obviously from the styles and the cars it was taken in the very early 1970s, or maybe even the late 60s. The time of my sexual awakening and that first magical crush. I’m thinking it’s a night shot under very bright street lamps, otherwise why would the sky above that store in the background be so dark. The comments on it are mostly about how street racing at that location was a thing back in the day. Mostly.

I take one look at this photo and instantly the longhair leaning up against the foreground car (check out the mag wheels) gets my attention. Nice jeans, thinks I…okay…I can do something with that. No smirking, please…I didn’t realize at first…. Anyway, it definitely speaks to that time in my life. Those low risers. That long beautiful hair. The floppy sleave shirt. I don’t think many people nowadays get how wide belts were back then, and the huge belt buckles that went with them. You can’t see the feet, but I’m pretty sure those are bells.

So I immediately grab a copy of the image for my “poses” folder. And I’m already thinking about what I need to change around a tad to make her a cute long haired guy…

I’ll have to adjust her pelvis a tad…oh…wait…

Nope. Don’t have to adjust anything.

The pose was just enough to make it unclear which sex you were looking at. What clued me in was figuring out how to change the curve of the hips to the thighs and then realizing that work had already been done for me. I wish I had his jeans too. And the 20-something body I had once upon a time that fit into them.

And…a boyfriend back then.

I wish I had more beautiful guys like that in my world now. Even if, as I said, that part of my life is in the rear view mirror. It would still be nice to have some beauty in my life, even if it’s just to look at now and then. But American males don’t like those styles anymore because HEY ARE YOU SOME KINDA QUEER OR WHAT!? I’m not even all that pretty, and wasn’t back in the day, and I got cat-called lots just for wearing my hair long. I Still get those cat-calls. HEY HIPPY…ARE YOU A BOY OR A GIRL…HAW HAW HAW…

But what’s refreshing about the comments on that photo on that page is there wasn’t any of that. If you remember those days fondly enough to be following 70s memories pages, then you remember that was how guys dressed and wore their hair back then.

And it was all good. At least it was to coming of age gay teenager me.

So…anyway…if I do something with the figure in that photo I’ll post it here. Probably not use the shirt though.

 

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com


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