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Jumping on the Bandwagon

Call me cynical, but lately I’ve noticed a lot of companies – and writers – jumping onto the 50 Shades bandwagon. I even saw a competitor company to my own promoting a conference with the slug line 55 Shades of EA/PA.

I guess it’s to be expected. Twilight came out and all of a sudden we were inundated with supernatural storylines featuring brooding teenage looking 1000 year old vampires looking for love with sullen moody teenagers. Love triangles involving a variety of supernatural figures, all gym buffed, hot, misunderstood and needing love to fulfill the centuries that streamed ahead of them.

Harry Potter spawned a wide selection of children wizard novels. So the spawning of books – particularly cheaply put together eBooks was to be expected. I was coming home from work last night and thought, “maybe I should join the followers. Put together a bit of kink, write a bit of S&M and bondage and get myself a sale or 10.”

From everything I’ve heard, it’s not as though most of these novels are well written or particularly original. I was talking to a friend of mine recently about me writing some Queerotica. I even downloaded a couple of them off Amazon to see what the competition was like.

Frankly it was – at least the ones I read – total nonsense. I also noticed that for the most part gay based erotica isn’t written by gay men. I guess that explains all the looks of ecstasy as the gay virgin is topped for the first time, and why there seems to be an abundance of straight “football” player type characters raping a twink only to discover they were in love all along.

It got me thinking about sex, or more to the point, it got me thinking “is that what people think really goes on in a gay man’s bedroom/locker room/public toilet/car park.”

I read some ratings on some of these books – well short stories mostly – after I’d downloaded them. I found them amusing. The gay guys who’d bought them raged against the stereotypes and 1 dimensional characters. The women who read them raved about the sex. All in all I came  to the realisation that where gay sex is concerned, the fantasy seems to be much hotter than the reality, particularly where eBooks come into it.

I’ve read only one short story that I thought was good. The whole story quite obviously leads up to the “moment”. The build up and time frame was 1 night. It ended with the characters in love and frankly married off. The epilogue, set three months after the story we had witnessed, had with the characters moving in together, a love affair based on Homer Simpson boxer shorts.

It’s the only one I’ve read where both the male and female readers liked it. I think, quite frankly that even in erotica there is room for romance. All of us are searching for it. For some it’s the never ending process of kissing frogs, hoping they’ll turn into a Prince. For others, it’s the opportunity to find the one person out in the 7 odd billion on this planet who makes us feel like we’re wanted.

I haven’t given up on the idea of writing a little gay themed erotica story. Who knows, it may be fun. I have idea’s a plenty, that’s not a problem. What I do find a problem is finding an audience. See I was thinking about this and frankly the female readers don’t seem to want to read “the truth” they want the anatomy. The glistening muscles, the musky man scent, the pert bum and unrealistic overly large appendages these short novels make it seem are for everyone to find in your nearest gay bar.

I think the fascination with sex detracts from the reality of the experience. Gay people are like everyone else. We all just want to be loved. The media portrayal of homosexuals as animalistic sex fiends does all an injustice.

For those who find homosexuality a problem, it gives them the “reason” they need to justify their bigotry. For those who are homosexual it makes them think the search for love is wrong. That they’re not doing it properly.

Recently there was an article in the gay press about Grindr, an iPhone social networking app that allows gay men to meet via GPS. The author of the article took users to task over their use of the terms “straight acting, masculine, no fairies”. I get the authors point. But I personally think it’s more than just internalised homophobia.

The desire to belong, to not stand out, to not be bullied and hated is ingrained in all of us. We want to belong to something. To someone. To be a part of something more than simply us.

I spent many years looking in the mirror and hating who I saw. He wasn’t gym-buffed. He was balding. He wasn’t what you saw in movies or on magazine covers. He starved himself to fit into clothes that never felt comfortable – although I do miss that pair of pants I bought for Mardi Gras one year, that had a mesh strip down the side. They were hot.

He drank to overcome insecurity, to belong, to feel a fake confidence he could never feel sober. He walked through life alone, claiming he never noticed if anyone was interested – that’s true I never can tell – and believing that because he wasn’t super straight or super fae that he didn’t belong anywhere.

He walked the middle of the road and to a degree he still does. He walked it alone.

I guess the point of this post is that there is a place in the world for fantasy, but people need to remember that is exactly what it is. Fantasy.

The reality of life is never going to measure up to the media portrayal. There will be ups and downs. So long as you can live with the man in the mirror, can recognise the importance of that person then all in all, you’ve got a wonderful opportunity to live a remarkable and happy life.

For me, it took time to get used to the smile that is now common place on the mirror man’s face. It took time to accept myself and to realise while I may not be the face you see staring at you from the cover of DNA magazine – or the body lets me be honest – I’m still worthy of love, not just from others but also from myself.

I guess this post sort of took on a life of it’s own. Sometimes they do that.

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43 year old Australian writer currently working on the first of a planned three book Epic Fantasy series. When he's not writing policy discussions, or tales of swords, Gods, and magic, he can be found making a mess in the kitchen, and turning perfectly good ingredients into crimes against humanity.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: My Week In A Nutshell 5 « Writing in Shadows

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