Category: Brandon Baker

"Pool Boys" by Brandon Baker; 31 Gay Londoners; Learn Spanish Jean Paul Zapata; Second Chance by Ryan Field

“Pool Boys” by Brandon Baker

I’m going to be kind right now and keep my review of an article short and simple. I could go into detail in my quest to disabuse young gay man-about-town, Brandon Baker, of a few misconceptions he has about gay men and gay resorts, but it’s usually easier to get right to the point. I’m talking about a harsh article/review/commentary Brendan Baker wrote for Philly Magazine about a gay resort in New Hope, PA where I live.

Here’s one of the nastier quotes from the piece:

At a glance, the Pool’s dynamics this sunny afternoon can be outlined in Doppler waves. Behold, Wave No. 1: a Speedo-clad brigade of 50-plusers (the older crowd here is, shall we say, European in this sense: There’s no body shame, even when there should be) in the outer circles of the 150 sprawling chaise lounges, minding their own business as they flip over like pancakes to tan their leathery rumps (one of which pokes through a jock strap).

Aside from the fact that this over-written article seems to be promoting body shame at a time when many people, gay or straight, are trying to break away from that tired Madison Ave. concept of the perfect air-brushed body we’ve all been trained to believe is the only way to look, the rest of this article takes on the same snarky tone. But seriously? Who promotes body shame? What kind of person does this?

Just one more quote, and only because it’s such a broad generalization about gay men:

RECALL, IF YOU WILL, Jersey Shore’s cringe-worthy, beach-tee-ubiquitous “GTL” (translation: “Gym, Tan, Laundry”) motto for Shore-goers. It has always applied to gay men. While everyone else spends winter hibernating with Ben & Jerry’s and Netflix, we spend it working the gym circuit with our trainers, getting creative with kale recipes and force-feeding our bodies protein so as to be pool-ready when we hit the doorstep on Memorial Day.

Well. There you are. I guess I must be missing something as a gay man, because I have never once spent more than a moment wondering about beaches, pools, and baking in the sun to get skin cancer. I know some do, but not all of us. And it’s generalizations like this that promote the worst images of the LGBTI community, images that feed bad TV shows and films. In fact, I don’t do pools…ever. I don’t have the time or the patience.

This article is the worst kind of review out there because it focuses on all the most exaggerated aspects of a business or product…or even a group. In this case, Brendan Baker take quotes from people who no one in the town of New Hope takes very seriously and makes it appear as if this is actually what The Raven Resort is like all the time. It’s really just a quiet LGBTI resort with an excellent restaurant where attorneys and real estate brokers meet for lunch on weekdays, both straight and gay. I’ve been there for memorial services, weddings, and many other events totally unrelated to what I can only label as “swimming pool culture.” Last night Tony and I had dinner with the original owner of The Raven. The Raven was called Le Camp in the early days, long before my time.

You can read more. And I highly suggest you take into consideration this commentary by Brandon Baker is only a sensationalized account focused on the worst stereotypes that mentions nothing about the more important aspects of the LGBTI community in New Hope. The thing that bothers me the most about it is that while many of us are fighting for equality and trying to deal with people like Theresa Santai-Gaffney who wants to appeal gay marriage in PA, a skinny gay man with a sense of entitlement is slamming a strong part of the gay community with vituperative commentaries. If it hadn’t been for those doughy middle aged men Brandon Baker wouldn’t be able to get married now. But then again, a sense of entitlement never went well with respect.

It’s really more of an opinion piece so I can’t say it’s bad journalism. But I do think there must have been a sale on cute, pithy adjectives that day and you might not want to read it on a full stomach.

Side note: this was my best impression of practicing self-control.

 31 Gay Londoners

Now here’s an article with some heart. 31 gay Londoners have complied a list of what freedom, equality, and having protection means to them. These people make me proud.

For Pride In London, LGBTI people and their allies were asked to interpret the theme #FreedomTo in their own incredible, individual way.

From celebs like Tom Daley to equality campaigners like Paris Lees, from leaders of gay campaigning groups like Ruth Hunt to everyday people, they did not disappoint.

You can check some of them out here.

There are LGBTI people of all ages celebrating this. I didn’t see any standing next to a pool.

Learn Spanish: Jean Paul Zapata

One of my favorite young gay male journalists, Jean Paul Zapata, put together a quick piece about learning Spanish, and how the language is not the same all over.

That’s the beauty of the language. Spain’s Spanish is different to Spanish spoken in Central and South America Every country has a different accent, a different slang, a different flavor. ]

This guide is going to be based on Latin American Spanish, but the terms are quite basic and are so understandable in most, if not all countries.

You can read more here, where there’s a list of ways to pronounce words in case you’re heading to any pride events in a Spanish speaking country. The comment section adds a few more. I find it interesting. I speak book Italian fluently, but very little Spanish.

Jean Paul Zapata is a travel editor and reporter for and I’ve posted about him several times before.

Second Chance
by Ryan Field