"You what?!" My regular lunch with Andy was not starting well. "I sent Melanie home with a couple of gay videos. What's the problem?"
"Tell me you mean Torch Song Trilogy and Beautiful Thing."
"No, more like Powertool and Man With The Golden Rod. I ask again -- what's the problem?"
He looked angry. "Fuck, Kevin, is nothing sacred? I mean, there are some things you just don't do. Sending unemployed divorcees home with gay smut so they can get off is just twisted!
"Feature it: Melanie, all set up with who knows what kinds of toys and things, fingering herself at the sight of guys getting off? It's just wrong! Those images are our life! They are what set us apart from them! And Powertool? I mean, really!"
"Us and them?" I was incredulous. "And listen, she could just go into any porn shop and buy the tapes herself, so what's the difference?"
The server arrived. I ordered green tea and sushi.
"The difference, Kevin, is that she doesn't. It's an unwritten code, like going to a bathhouse. It's a boy thing. You wouldn't dress her up in drag and take her to the Spa, would you? Bad enough that the trannies are trying that gig!"
I laughed. "Well, the trannies do have to go somewhere, but that's a different issue. She did tell me she wished she could hide out and watch the guys cruising at the baths. But you're missing the point. What she was saying was that, aside from finding the idea of boy/boy sex a turn-on, she wishes the attitudes in straight dating were as direct. You know, like the personals: "Hot slim blond with big tits and a tight, shaved pussy travelling to Toronto weekend of the 4th seeks hung, uncut beefy sailor type for all-out, no-strings oral and more at my hotel.'"
"That's not dating, it's just promiscuous sex."
"Exactly. Instead, it's usually "Attractive mid-40s professional woman loves fine dining and theatre seeks executive for dates and possible LTR.' And since when are you such a prude? Seems to me you ran an ad looking for some very specific no-strings-attached action not that long ago. So where's the harm in straights going for it, too? And you can't tell me you've never been turned on watching straight porn. I know better."
"Yeah, but it's not the women I'm watching. And don't start in on me with your Kinsey scale this and your fluid-human-sexuality that. I'm talking about boundaries, about things that are more basic. Melanie doesn't need to know about fisting and back-room sling parties any more than I need to know about the difference between clitoral and vaginal orgasms. Where's the benefit in any of that?"
I sipped my tea. "Well, Andy, for one thing I think we'd all get along better if we understood each other more. Seems to me that Melanie's interest could go a long way toward helping her understand what we're all about. And maybe, just maybe, you could find yourself slipping off that perfect Kinseyan 6 pedestal just long enough to get to know a woman beyond hello and a handshake. Not to have sex with her, necessarily, but maybe to become a little less parochial in your attitudes."
"Parochial?!! I'm friends with lots of women!"
"Sure. Hello and a handshake. Women are barely on your radar screen, Andy. How many women were at your last party?"
"Don't you start with me, Pollyanna. You know we don't invite women to those parties. Never have."
"And never will. Remember our first march after the bathhouse raids? How angry we were that we weren't being treated as equals? Somehow, the closer we get to equality, the more we want to be marginalized. Seems to me, we've all become subsections of subsections in society. Gays are only men, lesbians are women fighting a separate fight, and the straights are all over there. None of us get to be just one community.
"Not that we all have to sleep together, but isn't being one community what we were really marching for back then? Now we're accused of selling out because Smirnoff's and Labatt have floats in a parade that's more about celebration than liberation. Seems to me, giving Melanie a couple of porno tapes might do a lot more than widen her masturbation repertoire. Call me a Pollyanna."
I started into my tuna. Andy looked like he was enjoying his beef teriyaki.
"This is really good!" he said. He seemed glad for the opportunity to change the subject.