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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Stinkies

“Steve, are you on AZT?”
It was a hot, steamy summer back at the beginning of AIDS. AZT was the first in the long line of drugs that the researchers cooked up to treat folks with HIV.

At festival after festival that summer, I'd been fielding indirect questions about my health from well-meaning people: “Steve, are you...OK?” Ah, the pagan rumor-mill. Well-known (and beloved) public gay guy, therefore, must have AIDS, right?

My current boyfriend was the last person from whom I expected to hear such a question, though.

“Gods, Don,” I say, a little miffed; I felt as though my integrity were being called into question. “We've been sleeping together for weeks. If I had HIV, don't you think I'd have told you by now?”

He apologizes handsomely. (He always was good at making up.) Still, it seemed an odd kind of question.

“Why do you ask?” I ask in turn.

“Your sweat smells like guys' on AZT,” he says.

Well, it was—as I'd said—a hot, steamy summer that year, and between the two of us we had indeed been working up a good deal of sweat. (“Is it possible for two men to have a baby together?” goes the world's oldest gay joke. Answer: “Theoretically no, but...they sure do keep on trying!”)

Still, it wasn't until long after the relationship was over that I finally puzzled out the answer to Don's question.

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  • Steven Posch
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    I once read an article by an anthropologist who was interested in why Americans--of all people--should have invented deodorant. He
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    Salads just taste better if you chop up a slice on onion. Most dishes are improved with a couple of slices of onion and a couple
You Find Community in the Strangest Places

I was seven. We'd never moved before.

Finally my mom kicked me out of the house. “Go and make some new friends,” she said.

I wandered aimlessly through the backyards until I came to a little knot of kids, playing Tarzan. The oldest girl, Debbie S., was Tarzan.

I felt a thrill of homecoming.

We played Tarzan all that afternoon: climbing trees, ape-dancing, chanting the war-chant of the Jujus (NA-na-na-na-na NA-na-na-na-na NA-na NA-na NA-na-na-na-na). I was Jane.

A year later, Debbie and her family moved away. I never saw her again.

Still, I have no doubt whatsoever that some day out there I'll run a dyke named Debbie S.

When we do, I know exactly what I'll say.

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In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Dreams of a Queer Language

I sometimes wonder if heterosexual predominance may may not be largely a matter of semantics.

When it comes to pronouns, it's way harder to talk about same-sex relations.

Then he climbed up on his shoulders, and he....

Which he is he?

If, back when, I'd had the shaping of English myself, there would today be multiple male (and female) pronouns, the better with which to avoid such ambiguity.

One wonders: just how would that work?

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Don't use pronouns in any context unless the reference is clear. Use names when there are several possible references for a prono

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Dreaming Little Stevie

In the dream, I'm in a roadside museum, looking at exhibits. At first, I'm the only one there.

Then the door opens, and a couple comes in with their way-gay teen son, waving hands and all.

“Gods, kid,” I think. “Tone it down.”

I listen—I can't help but listen—as he enthuses rapturously over the exhibits. I start to watch. He's no great beauty, but he's got that freshness of young things. He's smart and funny, rather appealing, really.

Suddenly he's there beside me, standing a little too close, and we're leaning together over the same case. He comments perceptively on what we're looking at. We talk. Our talk never turns personal, but I have a realization.

“I really like this kid,” I think.

From the door his parents call.

“Come on, Stevie, time to go.”

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Children of Thunder

During a power outage, you can always tell where the pagans live.

Just look for the candlelight.

A big Thunderstorm blew through one night. Lights were out all over south Minneapolis.

My boyfriend at the time lived just down the street. I walked over. We undressed and stood holding each other.

He looked into my face.

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