We Need To Talk About Eliot Glazer & #NotAllGayGuys

 
 Illustration by  Fredde Lanka .

Illustration by Fredde Lanka.

 
 

Earlier this week comedian Eliot Glazer took to Instagram to share his thoughts on a Squirt.org billboard in a post addressed to the “not-gay guys” of LA. “I know you have to get back to The Grove or whatever, so I'll make it quick: when you see a billboard for a gay hookup website called SQUIRT.ORG, please know that ***NOT ALL GAY GUYS*** are cool with this."

Oh shit! Let’s unpack that. Are you ready?

Glazer’s fear seems to be that this one depiction of gay male desire threatens to overpower society’s understanding of gay men as more complex creatures. A sense of impending doom taints the entire post; the “Not All Gay Guys” language ties so explicitly back to the much-maligned “#NotAllMen” trend that the reader can’t help but wonder if Glazer is having some sort of men’s rights meltdown.

“We aren't ALL hunting for ‘nonstop hookups’ as if our penises will wilt and fall off if we're not in a CONSTANT state of fucking."

Commenters have rightly taken him to task for centering heteropatriarchal approval, suggesting that what the not-gay guys think is in some way important and that we should all be worried about their not-gay opinions of our gay sex lives. He continues, “...Some of us even WEAR SHIRTS occasionally, although SQUIRT DOT ORG (brb - I taste bile) (...ok I'm back) would have you think otherwise.”

Glazer seems to interpret the ad as a smear campaign against gay men and positions himself as our self-appointed moral savior. “There really aren't many outlets or soapboxes that seem appropriate for reminding you that we're not all as one-dimensional as the evil gay grandpas behind this creepy billboard and company.” Ok! Wow! Somebody’s been binge-watching Girls, because that is some Hannah Horvath-level projecting. And yes, the "you" in that sentence is still fucking STRAIGHT DUDES. Fuck me gently with a chainsaw!

The clincher (ital my own): “This shit is toxic AF and only makes the rest of us look worse by default, so please stop looking at it, k?” Aside from the implicit age bias and assertion that the ad is “creepy,” which further suggests that the sexual behaviors it is encouraging are in and of themselves “creepy”/predatory in nature, Glazer’s main complaint is with the billboard itself: how visible it makes gay sex and how little control he has over the way (straight) people interpret it. He seems to feel publicly shamed by its existence and like he would prefer to navigate his sex life—that we all navigate our sex lives—from the privacy of his own phone. (He ends the rant with the comment, "Oh, and also, we have Grindr. Seriously, who uses a browser anymore???")

His words echo sentiments recorded by the Broward Palm Beach New Times over the fallout from one Squirt.org advertisement posted in Wilton Manors, Florida. “You know, yes, gay men are certainly a little bit more sexually charged, possibly, than other populations,” one offended man was quoted as saying. “But I know we also have schools and families, and we try to be a welcoming community for everybody. And personally if I had a kid, I wouldn’t want them to have to walk past something like this and have to figure out what it is.”

 
 Illustration by  Fredde Lanka .

Illustration by Fredde Lanka.

 

Oh, and here’s a video of a 66-year-old Florida man smashing a Squirt.org ad at a bus stop, also invoking his children and what they should and should not see. While one Instagram commenter declared the ads “predatory” in that they “exploit a desire rather than seek to build a community,” it’s important to get one thing clear: no ad seeks to build a community. The point of marketing is to take your money. These ads are only as predatory as every ad ever. This isn’t about children or taking a moral high ground, it’s about policing desire through homophobia, internalized and violently externalized. A “welcoming community for everybody” is welcoming for children and people who fuck. And people who fuck, for the record, is how the kids got there.

I, for one, hooked up with a guy while I was in the middle of writing this post. And as he took a seat on my face I couldn’t help but wonder about luck, and the chance that—after all of the back and forth, all of the worries about flaking, all of the precedents set that make you start to really feel desperate because casual sex is supposed to be easier than this—a hot dancer will materialize in your house and you’ll get to lick his butt because gay sex is brilliant like that.

And I thought about the hook-ups I’ve had that I don’t want to talk about because of shame, or confusion about what it is that I’m actually looking for, or what compels me to seek out certain kinds of validation. I don’t presume that everyone using apps has felt or experienced the same things, but casual sex does ask you to be constantly evaluating yourself according to a value system that, in the gay community, can be really fucked. Desire should be thought about critically like anything else, not just taken at face value. (Just imagine a diversity seminar taught using exclusively gay porn! LOL *dies*)

It’s simply not true that all sex is good sex, or positive sex, and there’s no harm in acknowledging that. It is, in fact, a necessary step towards having better sex. When Glazer calls the billboard “toxic AF,” I think he is trying to speak to a broader frustration with the ways in which gay male sexuality is depicted. I understand yearning for something deeper and not necessarily knowing how to find it, or, at times, fearing that it doesn’t even exist. It can feel like these platforms set us up to prey on each other and that some people simply have the resources to cope with that better than others. Fending off but internalizing abusive language from random assholes and maybe occasionally having a fun-ish hookup isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and it is important to feel like you have somewhere else you can turn to to feel empowered and affirmed. 

So, sure, I agree that it would be great to see more kinds of queerness plastered on a billboard other than an ad that might as well say “Gloryhole Next Right.” But, I also agree that if you see that sign and think “Awesome,” go for it!

Glazer’s larger concern when he talks about “finding an outlet or soapbox” seems to be figuring out what our shared values are outside the bedroom and how we can best express them. Of course, he is literally addressing these concerns to a heterosexual audience, so I’m not sure his heart is in the right place? Queer community is not and should not be rooted exclusively in who you fuck and how often, but sex is a part of our lives and it shouldn't be marginalized or invisibilized just to save face in front of a bunch of assholes. (All straight people are assholes! Finally, someone said it!) If what's at stake here is finding a way to make our queer complexity as visible as possible, then this post fails spectacularly to capture the urgency of that while simultaneously encouraging us to define our most authentic ourselves on someone else's terms. Awesome!

Frankly, Glazer should be a lot less worried about how straight dudes see him and much more concerned about how we Cock Hungry Faggots™ do. Know your audience, bih!—