LGBT UK Film Toast; Nose Jobs Self-Esteem; Gay Naked Birthday

LGBT UK Film Toast

As is most often the case these days, I came across a fantastic LGBT film, Toast, by accident. And it was originally a British TV film, which was even more surprising because here in the US quality TV films are not exactly the norm. And I had absolutely no idea Toast was based on the true life story of cookery career writer, Nigel Slater, until the final credits came on.  

From Wiki:

Young Nigel Slater (Oscar Kennedy) is keen on cooking while his mother (Victoria Hamilton) – who suffers from chronic asthma – is a poor cook whose speciality is toast. As her illness worsens, so does Nigel’s relationship with his father Alan (Ken Stott). After Nigel’s mother dies, his father begins to spend his evenings with newly divorced cleaner Mrs. Potter (Helena Bonham Carter), whose signature lemon meringue pie is a hit with Mr. Slater; Nigel would later try to extract the recipe from her. Alan and Mrs. Potter embark on a relationship, and soon both move from Wolverhampton to a remote part of the Herefordshire countryside with Nigel, who dislikes his father’s new partner.

This isn’t just a film that will attract LGBT viewers. It’s also a film that will attract those who have ever seen a nasty middle aged man do a complete change when he remarries a much younger woman who knows exactly how to get what she wants. And this one, the second wife, is about as bad as they get in real life.

There’s also a very poignant first gay kiss scene. You can read more here.   And here. As you’ll see the reviews are mixed, but most of the negative comments came from hetero reviewers who don’t have a clue. I also have a feeling the film hit a nerve with a few younger second wives who marry much older men who don’t like seeing the truth (smile).

Nose Jobs Self-Esteem

I thought this article was interesting because it’s titled, Can a Nose Job Make You Happier? I’ll mention why it caught my eye in a second. But the gist of the article is that getting a nose job may or may not make you happier because there’s not enough research right now. So why bother writing the article?

Trading in an extra-large nose for one that’s more petite may not be the confidence booster you’re looking for says one new study.

It’s a very misleading first line because the information that follows clearly states there’s not enough evidence. But I can tell you, from personal experience, having a nose job or any other cosmetic surgery does make you happier and it does help with self-esteem. I know we’re all supposed to believe that all happiness comes from deep within, and that looks shouldn’t matter. And to a certain extent I do agree with that. But I also can tell you the day I had my nose done in 1990 was a day that changed my life. It was a fantastic out patient procedure, it made me feel better about myself, and it was one less thing in life to worry about. And in my case, which isn’t always guaranteed, it helped me breathe better, too.

So for any of you who are thinking about a nose job, or any other small cosmetic procedure, and someone tells you how beautiful you are on the inside and they try to talk you out of it, tell them to mind their own business and get a life. Trust me, you will feel better. It might not change your entire life, but at least you won’t be thinking about that big nose anymore. The interesting thing is that people who know you well won’t even notice the difference in most cases. But you’ll notice it, and that’s all that matters.

For those who are happy with their noses, good for you. I wasn’t and I fixed mine.

Gay Naked Birthday

An editor at Gay Star News, Jean Paul Zapata, celebrated his birthday at a nude beach in Spain. I’ve never been to a nude beach there, but I’ve been to other nude beaches and it’s very enlightening.

There must be something about the open and accepting environment of a nude beach that prompts members of the LGBT community to gravitate to Mar Bella’s soft sand and warm waters.

Yeah, that’s it. It’s the warm water and soft sand that attracts gay men to nude beaches. And don’t forget about that bright blue sky and those puffy white clouds.

What else could it be? Certainly not all that swinging penis.

In any event, it’s a great article about Mar Bella, and there are a few excellent travel tips for those who are planning a trip. I know a lot of people who have been to Spain and they love it.

The gay area in Barcelona is concentrated in the eastern side of the Eixample (pronounced ai-shum-plah), or Gaixample as it’s come to be affectionately known to locals. To my knowledge, public nudity is only allowed on the golden sands of Barcelona’s clothing-optional beaches, but the city’s openness and acceptance of the LGBT community is felt everywhere, day or night.

You can read more here.

Photo attribution.

Young Gay Men, Choices, and Self-Esteem…

As I’ve already stated on this blog, AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN was sold to Alyson Publications this past month. It’s official. And I’m proud, humble, and very honored. As a gay reader, I’ve been a fan of their books for a long time. It also leaves me to believe that they saw something in the book they liked. And for that I’m thankful.

But this post isn’t about the book or the sale. It’s about interpretation and social responsibility. I recently read a review of AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN by a book reviewer who refers to herself as “Book Utopia Mom.” Here’s the link to the review I’ve passed the review on to a number of my gay friends who’ve read this book, and they were both shocked and confused. Not because it wasn’t a great review, but because she’s so far off with respect to certain facts that still exist within the GLBT community.

Here’s a quote from the review that makes no sense: “Never really believable for him to be in the situation he is, it’s hard to feel sorry for him when he doesn’t look at options.”

First, you have to wonder how much explanation she needs in order to get the point. He doesn’t think he has options, and that’s pointed out clearly in the book. He’s certainly not living this way because he likes it. At least this is what I’ve heard from all the gay readers who have read the book. Just the idea of “options” leaves me wondering what she’s thinking. Some people don’t know they have options. He doesn’t have support from anyone.

The plot revolves around a good looking young gay man who is tossed out of his home when his family discovers that he’s gay. He has little education, no money, and he’s all alone in the world. All he has are his looks. So he finds employment and a place to live with an older gay man (who is in the closet and couldn’t care less about gay rights) who takes advantage of his vulnerable situation by forcing him to walk around naked after work. There’s no sex between them. I could have done that. It happens all the time with older gay men and younger gay men who need some kind of support. I’ve witnessed it happen, and I’ve always stepped in to help the younger gay man out of the situation. I actually had a friend who was brought to this country by a wealthy, older attorney. The attorney “kept” him as his lover and he became an emotional hostage. The guy didn’t know he had choices. So I helped him get into school and out of his self-destructive situation, and he became a nurse in Atlanta with a thriving career. In the book, I did the same thing with the main character. Someone comes along, offers him a choice, and his life changes.

My point in the book, and in this post, is that there are young gay men who don’t think they have choices. They allow themselves to be taken advantage of all the time. This is why so many of them wind up on the streets. Part of this is low self-esteem, because they still haven’t learned to love themselves as gay men. And part of this is fear of living on the street. Because there’s not much opportunity out there nowadays without some kind of support. And in case any of these book reviewers haven’t noticed, we’re not all equal yet. The GLBT community is still fighting, daily, for the same equal rights everyone else takes for granted.

I’ve learned to take all reviews quietly and move on. AN OFFICER… has had some great reviews and I’m thankful for them. I’m eternally thankful to my agent and publisher for helping get a book like this out. But when a book reviewer questions a fact (not to mention my experience as a gay man as compared to her experience as a straight woman), and doesn’t understand that there are young gay men out there suffering from abuse who don’t know they have choices, I have to say something. Because now it’s not about reviewing books. It becomes a social issue that goes way beyond that. And as a gay man I simply can’t sit back and allow it to happen. I want to be able to sleep at night.

I’m sure this book reviewer didn’t mean anything personal (I hope anyway), and I truly do believe she wrote the review because she’s not aware of certain situations that still occur in the gay community. But ignorance is not an excuse when you decide to make public statements about what I consider a sensitive topic.

If anyone is interested, especially the gay readers of this blog, you can click onto the reviewer’s link above and place a comment on the reviewer’s blog if you agree with me. I want all my books to be sexy, romantic love stories with a happy ending, but I also want them to be socially responsible and real. I’ve been writing GLBT fiction for a long time, I’ve been published by all the gay presses, and I’ve worked for free for many publications to help get the message out. I take it very seriously when someone makes light of a serious GLBT issue that’s happening all the time.

I like to add that since I wrote this post I’ve spoken to this reviewer. She was very kind and very gracious in mentioning that her intentions were not meant to offend anyone. I believe her and don’t think she meant any harm. And I think we both learned a few things.

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