Saturday, November 7, 2009

Straight bars, First Fridays and the "Smokin' Gun"

Why does this blank page always seem so daunting once it is opened? I have thoughts all day long that I feel would be good to capture and gather, but once here they seem to flit out of my head, like that gnat you can never catch.

This weekend has been good. Went different places and did other things. Kind of breaking some patterns I guess? Ended up shooting pool and playing foose ball with strangers on Friday night, and it felt different to be at a straight bar, and a dive at that. Most of my free time out and about the last years have been at my locals which tend to be sleek, sophisticated, decorated and decidedly gay. A whole night without getting hit on, just rubbing elbows and conversation with strangers that had no care about sexuality or my apparent lack of interest in the girls. Suddenly the game was shifted? It was about people being people. Gone was the class struggle and social jockeying, just good folks having some fun.

First Friday's was good, spent time wandering the art galleries, absorbing the atmosphere and generally being a kid again. Lots of good music, great food and interesting people. One particular picture kept drawing me back to it, and I spent some serious time pondering it and how it made me feel.

It was entitled "Smokin' Gun" and was hung at Studio B as part of a larger collection. The series was a grouping of dark, out of focus body images and nudes that were hard to decipher what they were, and only careful contemplation and examination would let you discover the subject.

This photo was different, at least to me. As soon as I walked into the gallery I saw it. Who hung a picture of a cock on the wall?! It was a blurred oblique picture of a penis that had smoke rising into the air from its tip. Most people couldn't make it out, but when I walked in, I was drawn right to it. I guess if you know what you have been looking for your whole life, things just kind of click? It wasn't the subject matter that kept me there (even though I do like cock) but the meanings, symbolism, questions and references it stirred in my head. The photo was in no way pornographic, at least by my reckoning, but still it had a powerful and unsettling effect on me.

I have always kind of blamed my dick for all the things that my sexuality and choices has gotten me into. It was like it had a life and personality of its own. If it wasn't for that physical part of me, I have felt, then my life would have been much easier or at least different? It always wanted something, and I always went after it. Lustful and sexual appetites really ruled my formative years, and the search and finding of love as I got older, seemed to take alot of my time and resources. The control it exercised over my life and decisions was huge. I rarely ever told it no. Other guys never told it no. But these last few years, it has heard "No" alot.

It seems strange to be writing about my dick like this, but its been a big part of my life and at times has defined or at least explained who I am. It was a large part of my personality. A source of masculine pride. A living label for what I was and what I desired. I let it define me. Sadly, I let other people define me by it as well. But I am so much more than that piece of meat hanging between my legs! Where did I get the idea that this was most important?

This artistic picture kind of showed me a mental idea, that it was my penis that has killed me, that shot the fateful shot, the smoking gun of the assassination of my youth. I spent years chasing something, that next experience, the closest partner, the new release. All for what?

It also showed me what consequences each shot or choice of partner can have. It brought to mind that sex can be a weapon too of sorts, a means to an end. The guys that I have used it on. The times I have used it on myself. How did my choices and actions effect their lives? How many times did I play Russian Roulette with others lives and myself? Can you ever take any of it back, or do you just live with the aftermath?

I hope this post isn't to raw or real, but I just wanted to get some of these thoughts out. I don't spend alot of time looking back at my past partners, but I needed to just think a bit about the choices I have made with my body over the years. I have had long term relationships that spanned years, to short flings of chance and even some one night stands. No one ever explained to me about having respect for my body, or making wise choices. I have used myself and others like a piece of meat. I have been used as one before too, as a novelty, an idea of lust. Every choice has a consequence.

Not sure if any of that made sense, maybe I will look at it later. It makes me wonder though...

Is art supposed to answer the questions, or is art supposed to ask the questions?


  1. Interesting post. You are having some very interesting reflections. It did bring a verse to mind that you might want to meditate on - 1 Cor. 6:19: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;" How we use our bodies, especially in relatin to others, is very indicative of how we honor God and honor God's creation.

    I look forward to more and more of your posts.

  2. What did you mean by, "How many times did I play Russian Roulette with others lives..."

  3. Max,

    That comment came from a place where I was considering the consequences both to myself and others of impulsively making sexual decisions and not taking into consideration the emotional and social ramifications to each of us. (ie labels, relationships, friendships)