5 Nice Things

How much does a person’s appearance matter when it comes to friendship? We all like to think we’re much more evolved and appearance in meaningless but there will always be those few friends who exist in our lives for purely superficial reasons. It’s not always a conscious choice and you might not realize how much visual appearance can impact how you feel about someone. In case you’re skeptical, I devised a game to help clear up how genuine your feelings are. It’s pretty simple, think of someone in your life and think of 5 Nice Things to say about them that have nothing to do with their appearance. Although the exercise is simple it can’t be a very powerful tool. Listing negative traits is easy. If you had to list the reasons why you hated your enemies you could probably produce 5 reasons in 5 seconds. But if you had to list 5 good things about your husband or best friend it might take a little longer. The exercise helps you remember why you love someone in the first place.

This all started last year at a party when my friends were all discussing one of their mutual acquaintance. For our purposes I’ll call him Sheldon. I had never met him but had heard a lot of stories. From these stories I came to two conclusion. First it was clear that Sheldon was an incredibly irritating person. Second it was just as clear that everyone found him incredibly attractive. So much so that they overlooked all his annoying habits. I was curious to get the groups consensus  to see how accurate my assumptions were. Everyone had nothing but positive things to say and everyone liked him as a friend. Thumbs up for Sheldon. However as everyone talked I noticed that all the positive things being said were mainly concentrated on the physical. No one was mentioning any of negative traits I had heard so much about in the past. That prompted me to give them the simple challenge: “Say 5 nice things about him that have nothing to do with the way he looks.” Everyone went silent. Obviously it’s hard to think of these things when put on the spot so I gave them a very generous amount of time. Many could only think of one or two attributes that fit the criteria. Even to this day I’ll bring this question up to the same group to see if they’ve thought of any more traits. After more than a year still no one has thought of anything new.

As I said this can also remind us why we love the important people in our lives. Take my boyfriend for example. Many people know him for his wonderfully adorable face but there is a lot more that I also love about him.

The 5 things I love about Russ that have nothing to do with his looks are:

1. His sense of humor
2. His strong work ethic
3. The fact that he has a good relationship with and loves his family
4. His outgoing personality and ability to talk to anyone
5. His love of music, musicals, and kittens

 

Unique Gift Ideas

The Dog Lover
Personalized Pet Portrait $39 @ Red Envelope

Hipster
$45 @ Uncommon Goods

The Every Guy
$20 (for one) @ Uncommon Goods

The Wino
$69.95 @ Uncommon Goods

The Crazy Cat Lady (or Gentleman)
$35 @ Uncommon Goods

The Science Nerd
$38 (for a set of 4) @ Uncommon Goods

Brad The Music Man
Personalized Mix Tape Doormat $38 @ Uncommon Goods

We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used To It

After the Stonewall riots in 1969 the gay rights movement was born and spread around the country. The activists in those early days had a much more radical in your face approach. They weren’t going to conform to anyone’s ideas of how they should look or act. The famous rally cry of “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” is a perfect example of that in your face style. The young gay movement was like an angst filled teenager pushing limits and testing boundaries. They were filled with raw emotion and they often had to scream and shout to get noticed by law makers. Not surprisingly the pushy attitude didn’t win over many fans. Gay people were still seen as immoral trouble makers on the edge of society.

As time went by the gay rights movement grew and matured. It seems somewhere along the way the leaders of the movement shifted their campaign platform away from provocation and anger to one of inclusion and assimilation. As they say, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. The message became “We are all the same. We are all equal.” The focus was on the idea that we are just like straight people and thus we should be given the same rights. Gays starting to mix and blend seamlessly into regular polite society in growing numbers. The move worked. As we can all see, gay rights activists have been incredibly successful in the last several decades bringing enormous strides both socially and politically. The Same and Equal philosophy is now much more than a political strategy. It has become a deeply held belief amongst many in our community.

I’ve talked before about my unique college experience of living in a university sanctioned gay dorm. That was in the very early 2000’s and even then a lot of the criticism we got centered around the belief that we shouldn’t be so separated. Many believed that to make a bigger impact we should disperse ourselves amongst everyone. A lot of people I meet now still hate the idea of a segregated community. When I tell people I live in the gayborhood of Dallas I get a mixed reaction. Several gay people have pointed out that the idea of living in a predominantly gay area is their version of hell. It seems that assimilation is the new version of trendy gay culture. Apparently the new gay model is to have a mixed group of friends.  A straight guy best friend is your point of pride and a fact that you are very quick to point out to everyone who meets him. You go to straight bars because you can’t stand just how over the top gay bars can be. Ugh why do they have to be so gay?! You don’t understand why your sexuality has to matter. 

This is what those early leaders fought for. We finally got to a place where no one cares about your sexual preference. Our culture that once existed mainly in gay ghettos has now been absorbed into mass market media. We are welcomed with open arms by those who once banished us. We truly have assimilated and become just like them.

And part of me hates it. This post was inspired by my friend Ed. He got into a heated discussion on Facebook with someone about the topic. He pointed out that he missed the radical activism of our early gay leaders while the other person valued total integration. My favorite quote from him during the discussion was “I want to sit in my gay coffee shop, drinking my gay coffee, reading my gay book.” I have to admit I agree. I love living in a gay bubble. Regular society is utterly beige. While the idea of mainstream acceptance makes sense on paper, part of me feels like we are losing part of our culture. Remember, the cult will only accept people who do exactly as they’re told and drink the Kool-Aid. Our country is considered the great melting pot but at some point are we going to melt down so far that we will totally lose who we once were? Don’t get me wrong I don’t knock the gay rights movement for moving toward the beige center of politics. To win the war there will always be casualties and unfortunately radical activism was one of those casualties. Regardless part of me will always be drawn to the in your face ‘I don’t care if you like it’ punk style attitude. Why do we have to be the same to be equal? We should be equal because we’re all human beings not just because you suddenly want to be our friend.

With support for gay rights continuing to grow around the world, the ‘We’re All the Same‘ philosophy is here to stay and honestly it has my respect. You can’t ignore the tremendous success modern gay activists have had. Throughout it all though, there will always be a part of me that wants to get in your face and shout WE’RE HERE, WE’RE QUEER, GET USED TO IT!

 

The Facebook Comments I Was Too Polite To Make

Now for a moment of bitchiness. I try and use self control to avoid Facebook fights whenever possible. Here are some of the comments that never saw the light of day:

“It just occurred to me that deep down you might just be a horrible person.”

“We are all so lucky to have someone as perfect as you to point out our mistakes. You are truly doing God’s work. Don’t listen to all those people who will say you are just and insecure loser that has to point out the imperfections in others in order to avoid acknowledging your own problems. They’re just jealous of your greatness.”

“When are you going to get some much needed therapy?”

“I find your inspirational religious themed messages confusing considering the amount of anonymous bath house sex you have.”

“Do you realize that you’re exactly the type of person that you hate?”

“I agree that a Facebook “Happy Birthday” can be impersonal but I can tell you from personal experience the people who complain about such things never do anything else. There is no card, no text message, no in person hug.”

“Why does every new selfie you take look like it was taken with a webcam from 1998?”

“I forgot we were friends because I’ve had you hidden for so long.”

“No I do not want to give money to your Kickstarter. Regardless of the claimed reason, I am certain the money is just going toward your past due rent.”

“I always thought that was stupid. I’m glad you were forced to change.”

“Why are you always so completely miserable every single day? You really seem to hate everything about your life but are unwilling to make any changes”

Safety In Numbers

Like Ugg boots, pessimism is a trend that won’t go away quick enough. There seems to be a growing sentiment that everything is getting worse. Modern days are painted as dangerous and awful where as the past is looked at through rose colored glasses. Have you noticed the past is always talked about like a fairy tale where cities were safer and people were nicer. It was Oz and we were Dorothy. However the past might not be as nice or as safe a place as you remember it being. After all kind hearted Dorothy was being hunted by an evil blood thirsty witch. In fact statistics prove that crime rates in the this country have actually been on a steady decline for years. Life is actually getting better.

To help prove my point I did some research and pulled real crime stats. Reading an online article can be informative but you can never really know how completely accurate the information is and therefore I wanted to get the data directly an official source. (Wikipedia was not used at any point for this post) In this case the source was the FBI. Their crime statistic website was very helpful and provided all the information I needed and more. I decided to make it easy and start 20 years ago. In the last 20 years there have been Republican presidents, Democrat presidents, a national terrorism tragedy, an economic boom, and an economic bust. It seemed like a good span of time to study due to all those changing variables. The most current data on the FBI’s website was for 2012 so I looked back to 1992. As you can see crime has been dropping for some time. (All number are US only statistics)

Violent crime totals
1992: 1,932,274
2012: 1,214,464

Robbery totals
1992: 672,478
2012: 354,522
Motor Vehicle Theft totals
1992: 1,610,834
2012: 721,053
Aggravated Assault totals
1992: 1,126,974
2012: 760,739

Murder and non-negligent manslaughter totals
1992: 23,760
2012: 14,827

I know our country isn’t problem free and there is still plenty to worry about but at least you can rest easy that we are actually creating a safer place for new generations.

*It should also be noted that in 1992 the US population was 255,029,699 and in 2012 it was 312,780,968.

All date can be found at  http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/index.cfm and click on Table Building Tool to get this information or more in depth date. There you can also get state specific numbers.


	

Create Your Own Shirt

Thick via Type Tees

Last weekend I went to New Orleans for Southern Decadence. To put a fun spin on the weekend I decided to create custom shirts inspired by my recent post. I used two different companies that offered create your own (CYO) shirt services. Type Tees and Cafe Press. Here are my findings:

Type Tees

Type Tees is an iPhone app created by the folks over at Threadless.com where you can easily create a custom shirt directly on your phone. With the trusted name of Threadless behind it, I decided to give this new one a try. Also I was hoping the shirt quality would be higher than all the other create your own site. 

Pros
1. Ease of Use- Type Tees is very easy to use and it can all be done on your smart phone. 
2. Shirt Colors- There are 15 different shirt colors to choose from. The font and font color selection is also as large. (Don’t be fooled by my designs, I just happened to really like the gray and blue combo)
3. Speed- Once you submit your order the shirts are created and shipped very quickly. I was actually shocked at how quick they came.
4. Softness- As I had suspected the shirts from Type Tees were a softer cotton than all the other heavy and stiff CYO shirts I had worn in the past. It was a very similar shirt quality of their sister brand Threadless. 

Belly Size Queen via Type Tees

Cons
1. No pictures- As the name suggests, Type Tees is only for shirts with words or phrases. It does not allow you to add any images or pictures.
2. No tank tops- This is a tee-shirt only service
3. Sizing- I ordered and XL and it fit like a Large. Be prepared to order one size up. Also they only go up to XXL which in reality probably fits like a XL.
4. Not available on Droids. 

Free Rim Jobs via Cafe Press

Cafe Press

I had never purchased anything from Cafe Press but the site has been around for a long time and they are probably the most used CYO shirts company.

Pros
1. Variety of Style- I went to Cafe Press because I specifically wanted to create custom tank tops. Not only did they have tanks, but also ringer tees, regular tees, and several other choices.
2. Customization- With Cafe Press you can add pictures and designs to accentuate your shirt which gives you a lot more freedom for creativity. My Free Rim Jobs shirt would lose all it’s cuteness if it didn’t have the little bear mechanic to support the pun.
3. Fit- The shirts and tanks from Cafe Press fit very true to the size on the tag. Especially the ringer tee which had the most comfortable fit off all the shirts. Also sizes go up to 4XL depending on which shirt style you choose.

Cons
1. Shirt Color- Although they have wide a variety of shirt styles, they have a very very limited selection of colors. If you want a tank top for example they only come in black or white. Regular tees have an expanded selection of black, white, blue, gray, yellow and green.
2. Softness- The ringer tee was slightly better than I had expected but both tank tops were that cheap thick stiff cotton that is so common amongst CYO shirt companies. 
3.Speed- Cafe Press wasn’t slow by any means but because I had ordered from Type Tees first, it felt like they took forever to send me my order.

Thirsty via Cafe Press

It should also be mentioned that the prices for both sites were very similar. I did get the tanks on sale so I saved some coins. Overall I liked both companies for different reasons and I would definitely use both again depending on what kind of shirt I needed. Because Type Tees is an app you can create your shirt the moment you think of it and it feels a little bit more like instant gratification. Cafe Press however allows you many more design options if you don’t want to be limited to only a clever phrase. Thumbs up to both and in case you’re curious the Thick shirt seemed to get the most positive attention all weekend.

Gold Star Gay via Cafe Press
*Thank you to JPepping for his help and design of the Free Rim Jobs shirt*

An Open Letter to Joan Rivers

Dear Joan,

When I read that you had passed away I was truly crushed. Sarah Silverman said it best, “I am broken inside.” It touched me much deeper than I expected it to. I was lucky enough to have seen you live in Dallas a couple years ago and even though I didn’t know you personally I can honestly say I will miss you.  Yesterday as I sat in Subway on my lunch hour reading all the comments and articles I tried very hard not to openly cry in public. It’s was one of those moments in life when you have to push down so much emotion that you are certain it will turn into an ulcer one day. Joan even in your last days at age 81 you were more relevant than most comedians half your age. Your resume speaks for itself. You were a comedian, a legend, a pioneer, an icon, and one hell of a funny lady. You practically invented the red carpet pre-show on E!. E! Fashion Police was my favorite show and it will never be the same without you. I first became a Joan Ranger way back in the mid 80’s as a very young gayling watching your day time talk show. I can still clearly remember watching a segment where you interviewed Elsa Clench about fashion trends. I have watched your documentary, read your books, seen your live performances and tuned into every red carpet you were ever on. You survived the worst that Hollywood had to throw at you and you came out on top laughing. Back in the early 2000s when I was in college and Napster was at it’s peak I downloaded a comedy routine of yours. I assume it was from the early 80s by the pop culture references. (Johnny Carson was still on the air) One of my favorite jokes was “Did you hear Sears had a fashion show? They opened the catalog and just pointed.” I laughed so hard. It still makes me laugh when I listen to it now because through all the upgrades, new computers, and new phones, that comedy routine is still on my iTunes play list. I listened to it again a couple weeks ago at work and it was just as funny. I will always adore you Joan and you left a legacy that will not be forgotten.

My thoughts and sympathy goes out to Melissa and the rest of Joan’s family.

Sincerely,

The Gay Gasp

P.S. I ‘ve chosen not to post this link of Facebook because the sarcastic and bitchy comments aren’t needed. 

Southern Decadence 2014

I’m on my last day of my first trip to Southern Decadence in New Orleans. The festival which celebrates who knows what is weekend long party that brings out the masses. 

Drinking 
Having never been to New Orleans at all there were a couple of things I wanted to check off my list. I should mention that this was a party weekend and not a siteseeing culture weekend. First item to be crossed off the list was a visit to the infamous Rawhide. Know for its legendary dark backroom, this is one bar not for the faint of heart. When we walked in (after a $5 cover) it was completely dark and a friend usered me to the back for a closer look. I’m not sure how to get across how packed it was back there. It was so annoyingly full that any minor chance for sexiness was gone. GONE. We didn’t stay long as our trip was more of a “to say we had done it” adventure and most of my time was spent trying to get to the bathroom. After that we headed back to the gay end of Bourben St for more drinking. If you’ve never been to NOLA it’s set up like a never ending street party. All the bars are open floor plans and people generally drink and congregate in the street. It’s easy to over do it because NOLA bars don’t have the normal 2am last call so you can drink till the sun comes up. Many people are fond of one of the many specialty frozen drinks offered. I tried a Purple Daiquiri (Purple Drink) at The Blacksmith which tasted kind of like a purple freeze pop. Basically think of a alcoholic Seven Eleven slurpies. There was also a banana flavor that was to die for and if you’re diabetic that’s not a far stretch. The other bar on my must see list was The Phoenix. It’s basically like the Rawhide but half a point classier. It too has a ‘backroom’ thats located in their second floor attic/loft space. This sexspace had more lighting and even a bar in it but again was so backed it made any chance of coatis impossible. Also being an attic in August you can imagine that it was a little warm to say the least. Best part was that soon after we reached the top of the stairs the man in the sling fell out of it with a very loud thud on the floor.  I liked the Phoenix better than Rawhind only because they had a little block party set up outside and the people watching was top notch. There were hot cubs in jock straps intermingled with a tall skinny man dressed as Disney’s the Sorcerer’s apprentice complete with Hannes undies and a fanny pack.  (No I’m not kidding) It was sensory overload of good and bad. 
The Food
As you know I’m not the most adventerous eater so most of the food New Orleans is famous for is lost on me. I felt no need to try any cajin seafood dishes and instead stuck to my usual pizza and burgers. However I was told to go to Cafe Du Monde regardless of my pickiness. We headed there early Friday afternoon and their world famous beignets were as good as expected and surprisingly inexpensive. Tip: if you ever come to NOLA, Cafe Du Monde is open around the clock and it’s less busy in the late evening. Also there is a To-Go window so if the restaurant is busy you can also avoid lines and carry them away. 

The Pool, The Bearrun 
Southern Decadence felt very much like a bear run with a lot of non bears included. This is a great trip if you and your partner have opposite taste in guys. There were horny packed pool parties on the roof of the Omni during the day where guys got drunk and got off. Unfortunately no hotel is complety sold out just to the gays/bears so there is a good chance of having the random straight family in attendance at all times. Even still Growlr was heavily stocked with eager new faces that were 0.0 miles away. It really is like a bear run with no run package. It was also fun because there was a different crowd than say TBRU or Tidalwave where you see many of the same faces. Granted there was definitely over lap at Decadence but with a health mix of unknown, unfucked faces. Thumbs up to the Ducks and the Omni, I’m glad I took everyone’s advice and stayed there.

The City
After spending about 4 days in New Orleans I must admitt I didn’t fall in love with the city’s charm as everyone does. The building are pretty and charminng but the city is also dirty with pissed soaked streets and an ever present stench of garbage. Not being a huge drinker I guess the novelty of street drinking is lost on me and I suspect that’s a big reason why people love it here. Like I said, it reminded me of a run and if this whole party was moved to another city that had the same open drinking laws I think I would like it just as much. I guess the actual city didn’t really make it or break it for me and it was the people I enjoyed most. 

Overall I give Decadence two thumbs up and would like to return again. With that said, I will remember not to book such a late flight on Monday because I am very ready to go home, kiss my boyfriend, and get back to a normal schedule.