- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Michael Thomas Ford's syndicated column My Queer Life has been providing insight and countless laughs for millions of readers, and now his collection Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me and Other Trials of My Queer Life compiles some of his greatest hits. Ford's style combines the deadpan sarcasm of David Sedaris with the witty observations of Dave Barry for a unique take on conveying the ups and downs of life. (Okay, okay...he's not quite like Dave Barry. Let's face it, Dave Barry is probably not going to write an essay on how to maneuver your way through online chat rooms named "str8collegemen4gays.") Take, for example, Ford's classic opening essay on his disappointment that life isn't like all the porn movies he's seen.
I decided I was going to have to take a much more active approach if I was going to be successful at porn stardom. I sat down and made a list of the most popular locations for finding sex, based on the porn films I'd seen. The list went like this (in order of frequency):
- 1. Apartment complexes in Laguna Beach.
- 2. Beaches on deserted islands.
- 3. Gyms.
- 4. Locker rooms in high schools after football practice.
- 5. Video stores (X-rated sections).
This, as you might well imagine, was not entirely helpful. California was on the other coast. Deserted islands are hard to come by. And high school administrators are not frequently as open-minded as one might think. In the end the gym and video store were the only real possibilities. I decided to try the gym first, since the video store didn'topen until noon and I was ready for action immediately. Throwing on some shorts, I packed up my bag and left.
The gym at 9 o'clock in the morning bore little resemblance to the stud-filled athletic facilities of my porn-viewing experiences. Instead of rooms crammed with well-built men wearing tight shorts, no supportive gear, and lots of oil, I found myself surrounded by fifty-two middle-aged women in floral-print leotards and headbands gyrating to Paula Abdul while attempting to get in shape for their daughters' weddings. It was hardly the stuff of homo fantasy.
This passage is hilarious, but it's also a somewhat painful reminder that because of the underexposure of gay and lesbian life in the media, and the lack of icons and role models that results, most gay men coming to terms with their sexuality have only porn movies and bar activity on which to base their concepts of dating. With one amusing, and sad, anecdote, Ford is able to poke fun at the ludicrous repetitiveness of porn while offering a telling reflection on its unfortunate significance. This kind of humor, informed by sensitive and intelligent social commentary, is indicative of all of Ford's writing, and it shines in each of these fine essays. It's also refreshing to see Ford unafraid to embrace stereotypes on the one hand (like lusting after straight men such as Alec Baldwin) and willing to shatter them on the other (it's so pleasant to know that at least one other gay man, besides myself, doesn't see what the fuss is over Barbra Streisand). Ford is also clever enough to realize that he has plenty to say about aspects of his life that don't relate to his sexuality. It's a common misconception that sexual identity permeates every aspect of a gay man or lesbian's life, but some of Ford's cleverest essays are on such nonsexual (but equally ripe for satire) topics as adult education or racking up a huge credit card bill. Michael Thomas Ford is a man who knows how serious life can be. He's written more than 20 books, including the outstanding The Voice of AIDS, The World Out There: Becoming Apart of the Lesbian and Gay Community, and 100 Questions and Answers About AIDS. But he also knows that humor can sometimes be the best way to make a point. Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me and Other Trials of My Queer Life gives readers the lighter side of 29 aspects of life, every one of them sure to keep you laughing.—Matt Schwartz