Friday, February 10, 2006
So what have I been doing?
I got invited to write articles for a magazine. Sounds great, right? I thought so, too. Tell me all about it, I said.
“It’s a magazine about metrosexuals. It’s being created to take advantage on the recent cultural trend of males using beauty products and getting pedicures and so forth. The main focus will be models, but we need filler, so we’re looking for writers. I thought of you. The pay will be weak at first, but you’ll be well rewarded down the road.”
“Have you read my work? I’m not sure weirdness, black humor, and filthy gore are right for a publication like that. Plus, I’m a straight guy with poor grooming and no style. I don’t know, man.”
“Expand your horizons. Challenge yourself. You’ll do great. And I need to stress, this isn’t a gay magazine. Part of our readership will be gay, yes, but our largest demographic will be straight women. The guy who envisioned this whole thing is gay, but he stressed to me this won’t be a fag rag. He wants it clean enough to be traded at Catholic high schools. It will accentuate pretty men, but it’s not meant to be overtly sexual.”
“I’ll give it a shot. I need the money more than my pride. I’m gonna take a lot of shit for this. Oh well.”
So I dashed off a couple short humor stories about skinny guys who wear too much makeup. Nothing mean spirited or derogatory. The founder guy loved them and invited me to join a meeting to discuss the first issue. I went.
All was well until it came to model and photograph reviews.
“Come on Steve, you need to offer feedback here, too. I know you don’t have any interest in looking at pictures of guys on bear skin rugs or in boxers, but I need every perspective available.”
Oh jesus. I thought this was about makeup and hair salons. There's pictures of men in provocative poses in the magazine? I’ve been misled.
Reluctantly I walked over to the kitchen table full of photos. The rest of the staff, comprised of women, gay guys, and trannies all stood silent looking at them. I spoke up first.
“Okay guys, I’m not gonna hold back here. I thought this was more of a fashion thing than a softcore gay porn thing. This looks worse than even that. These guys look 18, and just barely. All I see are bunch of scrawny pale boys posing awkwardly against backdrops of empty rooms with white walls. It’s creepy. I feel like I’m looking at child pornography. I’m disturbed. Really. I feel like a priest.”
Ten faces all turned to me, and then to the owner, who had chosen all the models. He seemed to be chewing on words, figuring out how to answer me.
“This is my ideal guy. It’s not child porn, Steve. All of them are legal. Young, yes, but completely legal.”
Before I could respond, everybody else, including the guy’s mother, all piped in and agreed with me vociferously. Verbal warfare was waged. While they all argued, ten against one, I wandered off to another room and turned on the Super Bowl pregame.
What a strange day that was. 1:05 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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