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3 min

Dirt you can’t wipe away

I was trying to get to the bottom of why a straight female colleague was so repelled by a recent Playboy Playmate’s memoir of living with Hugh Hefner.

She and her female cronies were audibly disgusted by the Playmate’s account of group baby-oil sex with the octogenarian Hefner. What was it, I asked, that so turned their stomachs? The fact that he was in his 80s? No, she said. She said it was okay for old people to have sex. Probably just trying to be liberal. Was it the group thing? No (she was getting suspicious of my questions but she remained broadminded). Was it the baby oil? Not even that. What really bugged my colleague was that Hefner had used a towel to wipe himself off with.

That took some thinking, but I soon came up with a general theory of homosexuality. One thing that separates gay people from straight is that fact that we’re more likely to have used paper towels during sex. I asked 10 gay men whether they’ve ever had paper towels handy and seven recalled at least one evening when they pressed a roll of Bounty into service. I asked 10 straight people and, of those who were willing to offer any answer, none had ever used paper towels. None of them could even think of why you would use them in the bedroom. Straight people — so little of life lived.

Yes, heterosexuality is so much less messy than homosexuality, at least when it comes to ass juice. Or is it? South of the border, the struggle to maintain strict notions of mess-free sex lives seems to be falling apart faster than a Mississippi house trailer.

You’re familiar, by now, of how Colorado’s Pastor Ted Haggard eased himself into an admission of having bought drugs and gay sex. Since then, Haggard has gone into reparative therapy to cure him of his homosexuality. Unable to, as one US gay scallywag called it, “pray away the gay,” Haggard will submit to a church-prescribed “cure.”

That cure may involve aversion therapy and perhaps also electro-stimulation. It most certainly will entail being alone in a room with a group of men for regular get-togethers in which they will perform something called the “laying-on of hands.” I don’t know… it somehow sounds familiar.

Meanwhile, Florida Congressman Mark Foley was caught exchanging instant messages with underage congressional pages (one of whom, according to transcripts obtained by ABC News, had a nifty fetish for plaster casts). These two cases no doubt contributed greatly to the thumping the Republicans took in the midterm elections.

Should gay people be pleased? Upon closer inspection, no.

For one thing, the November elections saw state constitutional amendments passed that would prohibit same-sex marriage in Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin (what are gays even doing living in such places?). For another, it’s clear that the Foley scandal disgusted both hardcore Republicans as well as swing voters. They were disgusted over these homosexual romps and no amount of feeling badly about it afterward in a room full of men putting their hands all over is going to sort that out.

So the Republican Party may be ramping up a purge of gay people from its ranks. The so-called Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay and lesbian members of the party, may feel themselves under increasing pressure. The rightwing Family Research Council’s president Tony Perkins recently declared: “Has the social agenda of the GOP been stalled by homosexual members and/or staffers? When we look over events of this Congress, we have to wonder.” The Republicans may well soon be setting fire to a few Log Cabins to cleanse themselves of homos in their midst.

Perhaps the gay Republicans will be blamed for protecting Foley for so many years. Just why an openly gay movement with a general sense of trying to tame the crazier religious elements in the party would be the ones harbouring a self-hating closet case like Foley isn’t quite clear. They might as well be trying to harbour and protect the wildly homophobic, hustler-loving Ted Haggard.

Whatever. Voters — and I mean the ones who keep their paper towels strictly in the kitchen — clearly punished the Republicans. for Iraq, but also for having homos in their midst. No gay or lesbian should be under the impression that a new day has dawned. There are no new signs of tolerance down south.

A neocolonial government in Ottawa that takes its ideology from the Republicans is troubling. Yet as much as some of us like to think that Stephen Harper gets all his marching orders from the White House (and there’s plenty of indication that in foreign policy he does), in terms of same-sex marriage he’s actually listening to Canadians. Two years ago, Tory MP Gary Goodyear declared that legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to the rapid end of society. Now, like other Tories, he seems to have thrown up his hands and acknowledged that the churches are safe, the schools are open and the roads are plowed.

Stock up on towels and give some to the straights of your choice. They’re going to need them sooner or later.