A spat of sorts between Andrew Sullivan and Dan Savage. You can read Dan Savage's riposte here, which apparently started the whole ball rolling.
My eye is jaundiced on a number of counts. For one thing, I seem to remember a stir several years ago when Mr. Sullivan was discovered to have posted a profile on some M4M website or other seeking bareback sex wearing a Muir cap and a leather vest or some such. And Mr. Savage may have a newly opened mind (he and his other half are off to IML this year), but when I used to read his column fairly religiously, I was often irked by his dismissive attitude towards BDSM. I seem to remember him finding it all too byzantine for his tastes.
So setting aside their difference of opinion on whether or not "leather queens" (ahem) and marital monogomogamy are compatible, I'm struck by the ambivalence in both of them about BDSM. Perhaps I'm presuming too much--and Sullivan in chaps could well have been one of those "I read it on the internet so it must be true" phenomena--but I think that from that time on, I pretty much assumed that Andrew Sullivan was kinky but kept that under wraps because he gets asked to appear on This Week With George Stephanopoulos and such. Since I like the guy (even though he was WRONG WRONG WRONG on going into Iraq and my reliance on his weblog was one of the reasons that I was WRONG WRONG WRONG about going into Iraq) I was no doubt predisposed to to ascribe kinky tendencies to him because I liked him.
So now that Sullivan is all married and all, here he comes casting aspersions at "leather queens" (ahem).
And it's not even funny or clever or amusing. And I often find Sullivan funny, clever, and amusing.
So what the hell?
Not that I'd demand that Andrew Sullivan out himself as kinky as we used to demand that closeted homos do back in the early '90s. But does he have to get all nasty and... uh... queeny about the whole thing?
And then there's Dan Savage. Again, loved the guy. Like I said, read his column religiously. But as SM came to mean more and more to me, the little "Eeeeeeeeew's and whatEVER's he'd offer when some of the folks who wrote him letters would reference fisting or japanese bondage or whatever just started to irk me. Now, Savage was never outright condemning of BDSM as far as I recall. Just taking that snotty looking-down-his-nose, oh-PLEEESE, there-but-for-the-grace-of-God attitude. Y'know, queeny.
And now, Dan Savage and his boyfriend or husband or better half or whatever the hell he is are off to IML this May.
(And that, I think, tells you all you need to know about IML.)
So what gives?
If I wanted to be all snide and cutting and queeny about the whole thing, I would address them each as follows.
So, Andrew. So let's just say that once upon a time, your sexual predilections veered from the currently proscribed ONLY within the context of a committed monogomogomous relationship sealed with the bans of marriage and ONLY in the missionary position and ONLY in total darkness into things a bit more colorful. Or, at least, one color in particular: black. As in, black leather. Or, seeing as you're english, black rubber probably. But now since you're all married and all you have to prove to someone--yourself perhaps--that you're really a true believer you feel the need to drop turds upon that which formerly held some small degree of fascination for you. In psychology, that's called "Reaction Formation." We all do it, but in this case, did you have to go there?
Okay. So, Dan. You were always cool. In that very cool way of not even caring about being cool makes you very, very cool. And that's really cool! And folks from across this great land of ours would write to you there at The Stranger in Seattle and divulge their erotic doings in the hopes that some of that cool would rub off on them, too. And a big part of the authenticity of your cool is the great irony that as a the Dear Abby of Sexual Exploits, you presented yourself as just a wee bit stick-in-the-mud quiet and retiring type. That's cool! So now that there's a Museum of Sex in New York City that has several exhibits devoted to kinkier aspects of sex, and now that we have benighted kids on Bravo's Make Me A Supermodel gettin' all fetish-y in their competition, maybe you came to suspect that kink was becoming cool? Oh, Dan. You're still cool! And you always will be cool! Relax. You don't need to arrange for the grandparents to watch the wee one for a four day weekend whilst you and your boyfriend or partner or husband or spouse or whatever he is to you and head off to Chicago on Memorial Day Weekend so you can maintain your coolness creds. You are and always will be cool, Dan. Your books will sell for as long as people who care about cool patronize Barnes & Noble.
Okay. Now about this whole deal of leathermen and wedding rings.
As it so happens, I would have to say that Mr. and Mr. Dan Savage and Mr. and Mr. Andrew Sullivan are the only monogomogomous married gay male couples that I know of who are happy. Although I don't know know either of them personally. I know and have known personally countless monogomogomous married gay male couples who were plainly miserable. (Just my limited experience! I could be wrong!) But I do know several--I think I would even say "many"--gay leathermen and lesbian leatherwomen who are in longtime relationships filled with joy and laughter and love and friendship and just being crazy for each other absent that monogomogomy thing.
Okay! Time for a couple of Sweeping Generalizations On Scant Evidence!
Vanilla + Monogonogomy = Unhappy
Leather + Love - Monogonogomy = Happy
Or maybe that's just because leathermen are way smarter. Truth!