3 min

The impossible dream?

Unattainable but oh so appealing

Credit: Xtra files

A really cute straight guy enlivened my world last summer. Several weekends in a row, he sat beside the pool that lies just below my apartment window, flicking water from his hair and pulling his wet trunks away from his lightly muscled thighs. How do I know he was straight? Because he wore baggy trunks, sat in a Toronto Maples Leaf chair and read a copy of Maxim. And, no, I don’t think he was just posing.

Ah, the eternal appeal of the unreachable. Personally, I’ve always thought the best thing about straight guys is that they’re so low maintenance. No need to worry about putting out or tricking out or even feeling rejected. True straight guys are in a different category, outside the pale of your influence or charm. Cruising them is an act of pure connoisseurship, like ogling early modern masterpieces at the Art Gallery Of Ontario.

Some people, of course, prefer to take a less laid-back approach to inter-orientation relations, but I thought the gay obsession with “trade” had dimmed until I stumbled across Sean Cody’s website ( Cody gets cute “straight” guys to pose for him and occasionally these young gentlemen are so good as to frolic amongst themselves. Cody posts the results to his web site, in the form of pictures (which is free) and movies (which are not). But the best parts of his site are the chatty little stories with which he introduces each of his conquests. There’s a bizarre tenderness to these tales, not to mention more than a hint of wish-fulfilment.

Cody speaks of the joys of teaching a “straight guy how to suck dick and fuck another dude for the first time.” And he says that two of his protégés really seemed to enjoy themselves. “You know, I think that if more straight men would just give gay sex a chance they might actually like it. After all, a mouth is a mouth and a hole is a hole, right?”

Well uh, actually, no it’s not. If it were, we’d all be content with a plastic doll.

In one blurb, Cody helpfully points out that one guy really enjoys getting fucked. You can tell from the intense look on his face. This is unusual for straight guys, he says. Well, yes, I should think so. Though exactly what we mean by “straight guys” here, I don’t really know. If all they wanted was an asshole massage, wouldn’t they just ask their wives?

Like all porn sites, Cody’s is about fantasy and it’s impossible, and probably unnecessary, to assess the truth of his stories. What’s interesting, though, is the way his site – and all the bright young faces on it, each and every one of them aglow with erotic attention – reflect a trend that extends outside porn and into the media at large.

Cruise a straight guy on the street and you might get a murderous glance in return. Cruise him on the big screen or on the TV, however, and your admiration will be appreciated, if not exactly reciprocated. In the virtual world, at least, the straight body is no longer off limits to the gay gaze. In fact it’s positively enveloped in the warm, loving glow of gay eroticism.

Even actors who deny gay rumours seem to invite gay attention. Both Tom Cruise and Ben Affleck have fought rumours of gayness, Cruise with a libel suit and Affleck in the press. But their denials just add to their mystique. Affleck’s latest, in the March issue of Vanity Fair, is featured right alongside a full-page photo of him looking like an exceptionally pretty biker.

Beauty alone is seldom enough to excite the gay imagination. It takes a certain level of sly suggestion. I don’t know whether you caught Kingpin, NBC’s deliciously camp answer to the Sopranos, during its six-episode trial run this past February, but this story of a Latino drug empire made a fairly transparent plea for what you might call the Oz audience. It’s not just that the male leads are model-quality or that the title character (Yancey Arias) has the sort of flawless complexion money can’t buy or even that we see more of his buff chest than we do of his wife’s. He operates in a fierce macho world where the most intense relationships are between men, a world best exemplified by his crazy brother Chato (Bobby Cannavale). Not only does Chato schtupp the sleazy police chief’s insatiable wife, he gets schtupped by the police chief, or rather the police chief’s stand-in. True, this latter act is really an act of revenge, a violent rape perpetrated by prison guards at the behest of the chief, and we’re certainly not meant to condone it.

The chief is blow-torched and then blown away. But like the same-sex rapes on Oz, this one adds to the pervasive aura of homoeroticism. The characters may not be gay, the actors may not be gay, but a certain portion of the audience is and the producers know it.