I’ve been a fan of Matt Bomer for a long time. I’ve also been following all the articles about him playing the lead in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey with newly conflicted emotions. On the one hand, I think he might be too good for it. On the other, I think it’s time *openly* gay actors started playing straight male parts just as straight actors have been playing gay male parts in films like that Busted Back Mountain.
And speaking of parody like Busted Back Mountain, here’s a great video parody of Matt Bomer starring in what might be a future trailer from the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Keep in mind, I said parody. It’s not real.
Vagina: The New Normal
I’ve written a lot of posts about how I’ve been on the fence about The New Normal. And I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I might not love everything about it, but I do love most of it. So I’ve been watching faithfully each week as they prepare for the new baby. Last week was particularly interesting because Bryan was asked to get more involved with the birth, and he decided to go to these holistic birthing classes to find out what they were like. That alone was parody at its best. Ultimately, they all wound up in the back of a Range Rover on the side of the freeway helping one of the women in the birthing class give birth to her child. And one of the things Bryan mentioned was that he’d never seen vagina before, and he didn’t seem too excited about seeing it at that particular time.
Of course I think they handled it well because once the miracle of birth took place Bryan forgot all about his issue with vagina and he discovered there’s a lot more to birth than he’d realized, mostly in a deep emotional way. And he forgot all about his phobia…for the time being anyway.
But Bryan’s issue I’m talking about with vagina is interesting. I’ve never seen one. I’m not joking about that. I have never seen a real vagina. Why would I see one? There’s never been a need for me to explore vagina up close and personal and I’ve managed to live a full life without ever seeing one up close. That is by no means a reflection on how I feel about women, not in the least. I’m usually the first to stand up and defend women in all cases involving equality. I was seriously disappointed/devastated when Hillary Clinton did not get the nomination in 2008 after I’d helped campaign for her. So disappointed I’ve never embraced our current President 100% and I’ve backed away from anything political since then. And as a gay man I can even relate to women because I know all too well what it’s like to live in a world dominated by straight men. Trust me, gay men don’t have it much easier than women when straight men are involved. We often even get the same sexual harassment. I think that’s changing. I think it will continue to change. But we do, indeed, still live in a world that straight men rule.
Although I’ve actually never written any snarky vagina jokes or scenes in any of my books because I’ve always been cautious about insulting women with vagina jokes (I know it’s a sensitive issue), I have seen it and heard it all my life from other gay men. So those who read gay fiction, or M&M romance, take into consideration that when some gay men write about vagina, like it was written in the most recent episode of The New Normal, they are not attacking women and not degrading women. They are only reacting to a normal instinct we all share as gay men with regard to vagina itself in a way that’s meant to be humorous. It’s camp; it’s sometimes snark. But it’s never meant to denigrate women in a serious or harmful way. I don’t think I know one gay man that would not stand behind women’s rights. So when you read posts like this one below, where someone doesn’t understand the mindset with which gay men think, take it with a grain of salt. She also lacks a sense of humor, too.
Some examples: In the pilot of The New Normal, Nana (Ellen Barkin), whose granddaughter Goldie (Georgia King) will go on to serve as a surrogate for David (Justin Bartha) and Bryan (Andrew Rannells), insists of a lesbian couple with a baby that, “those are ugly men.” True, Nana is not very p.c., but while The New Normal pushes back against many of her racist and homophobic ideas, lesbian-bashing sticks around into the next episode. In that half-hour Bryan, who in the pilot explained, “I faint at the sight of vagina. They’re like tarantula faces,” says that he and David have to have one last wild night on the town “before we fully morph into an old lesbian couple, minus the frowns and the gingerbread man bodies.” I agree, I suppose, with my colleague June Thomas, that these might be the kinds of comments that gay men make when lesbians aren’t around. But I don’t actually think they’re funny or insightful, and the stereotypes here were ancient when Alison Bechdel broke them down in her decades-old Dykes to Watch Out For comic strips.
I have many lesbian friends. Two of which I’ve talked about here on this blog many times before, whom I happen to consider best friends. They are both true feminists, one is beautiful and feminine and breaks all the stereotypes, the other is more down to earth and aggressive. It’s really the perfect balance. Both are college graduates, both have professional careers, and both are brilliant and beautiful. When I’m with them, we joke around about things like this all the time. It’s not just something gay men do when they are all alone. It’s something good friends do when they are alone. My lesbian friends make penis jokes and growl in horror at the thought of penis, and I laugh at each joke and I don’t take offense to it. So a clever writer could take a TV show like The New Normal and turn it completely around with two lesbian main characters who make penis jokes. It’s all relative.
The point I’m trying to make is lighten up a little. It’s not mean to hurt. It’s only meant to be funny, just like the sculpture Marie Barone made in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond in the photo above.
New Adult Genre
I have been posting about the new adult genre for a couple of years now. I remember when the concept first came out and so many literary agents blogged about how it would never be taken seriously. I remember how so many others laughed at it and just dismissed it completely.
And guess what? They were all wrong. Not only is new adult becoming a valid genre, it’s gaining in popularity all over the place and new adult books are doing well.
I’ve been incorporating new adult characters into my own gay erotic books for a while, and I haven’t been doing this by accident. When I think of new adult, I think of people between the ages of eighteen and thirty years old who are just beginning to make their way into the real world and build their lives. And nowadays that can be an interesting experience, considering student loans, lack of jobs, changing sexual attitudes, and a multitude of other things I could mention that would turn this post into something else. And because a huge part of life for new adults is sex, I’ve been writing about it in books I’ve written like “The Computer Tutor.” In my upcoming book with Riverdale, “Fangsters,” I’ve even written the main vampire characters as new adult, but in this case they are new adult vampires trying to figure out how to get established on their own terms…in spite of older vampires. I know that sounds a little far-fetched, but the concept of new adult is still there in the storyline, and the vampires do have human friends who are also real life new adult characters.
In any event, here’s an interesting article I found that defines new adult in more detail. It also gets into romance and new adult. I don’t totally agree with everything, but I do agree with most of it.
Enter the New Adult genre. These are the same stories that have always existed about 18-25 year old protagonists, but now they have the label to make them theoretically easier for those college-aged readers to find. Bookstores, especially those online, might create New Adult shelves, as they try to increase the discover-ability of these stories.
Even though there is some speculation on how new adult is being defined, I find it interesting that so many were wrong just a few years ago in the way they dismissed the entire concept. So much for gatekeepers, because this takes publishing to yet another new level. A lot of what we’re seeing with new adult (Anastasia in Fifty Shades) is being defined by small e-presses, small indie presses, and self-pubbed authors who decided to push their own gates open. Of course those who have been making the most profit from it, ironically, seem to be those who dismissed it a few years ago. Some things don’t change.