News Round-Up: August 4, 2021

H Scott Apley

Some news items you might have missed:

ABC13: H Scott Apley (above), an anti-vaxxer and a leader in the Texas Republican Party, died just days after being diagnosed with COVID. His wife and 5-month-old son tested positive as well. Apley mocked federal “hand-outs” during the pandemic on social media, so it will come as no surprise friends have set up a crowd-funding campaign asking for $35K for the family. Continue reading “News Round-Up: August 4, 2021”

Michael Henry: Which Is A Bigger Turn On – Confidence Or Vulnerability?

Funny/smart guy Michael Henry
Funny/smart guy Michael Henry
Michael Henry (screen capture)

During a perfectly socially-distanced afternoon in the park, funny guy Michael Henry has a question for John Hartman about the men he’s attracted to.

Before Henry can get to the question, though, we find out Hartman has an ‘issue’ with oversharing on a range of topics including erectile dysfunction, never tipping bartenders, and flatulence in libraries.

Anyway…

Henry is specifically curious to know if men’s confidence is a turn on for Hartman.

“The reason why I ask is because a good friend of mine told me his number one turn-on when it comes to men is confidence,” explains Henry. “And I thought, ’No, no, no, no, no, no.’”

But Hartman lands on the other side of this spectrum: “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, dummy. Who doesn’t love a confident man?”

Apparently, not Henry. Which leads Hartman to flip the script and ask, “What do you like then? Insecure, emotionally damaged men…like you?”

Ouch…

The discussion quickly turns into a pros and cons comparison of confidence vs. vulnerability. Henry finds men who are sure of themselves in work and life just fine, but really digs guys who are insecure about those things, too.

John Hartman
John Hartman (screen capture)

“Weirdo – I don’t want to hear about his insecurities,” says Hartman. “Don’t tell me you’re uncomfortable with your bald spot or your weight gain. Own it!”

“Nothing makes my d*ck more limp than a guy whining about his misfortunes,” he adds.

Hartman admits he’s drawn to a more stereotypic kind of guy as he rattles off qualities like “assertive,” “sturdy,” an achiever of “big things” with a deep voice, a beard and a three-piece suit…although now the conversation is more about masculinity and not confidence.

Obviously, attraction is more than a simple ‘this’ or ‘that’ equation. But Henry raises a valid question about how and what gay men find to be a turn-on.

I have to admit I’ve said for years confidence (not cockiness) is a definite turn-on for me.

Let me know in the comment section, readers – where does confidence land on your dating spectrum?

You can find more coverage of Michael Henry’s short queries on queer life here.

Before Dating Apps Like Grindr There Was…The Hanky Code

What would the hanky code say about a red bandana in your right back pocket
(photo via Depositphotos)

On a Throwback Thursday note, I was recently reminded of the so-called Hanky code used predominately by gay men in the 1970s and 1980s as a method of sexual signaling.

Before we had dating apps like Scruff and Grindr to pretty much ‘lay it all out there’ in terms of what sexual practice, fetish or role one preferred, there was the hanky code. The practice was also referred to as the ‘bandana code’ or flagging.

Basically, men would stuff a colored bandana in their back pocket – left position meant you liked to take the top bunk or dominant role while right pocket wearers were letting the world know they preferred being on the receiving/passive side of the spectrum.

And there was a whole rainbow of interests to express interest in.

Stores that catered to gay men would sell a variety of bandanas along with free decoder lists so guys could make sure they were sending the appropriate signal.

A red hanky indicated an interest in fisting; light blue meant someone might be on the hunt for oral sex; a yellow bandana was a pretty obvious signal for watersports; and green would act as an advertisement for hustlers.

An early version of the hanky code
(screen capture via Wikipedia)

Of course, there was always the chance that a newbie gay might think the hanky thing was just a cool fashion choice. Inevitably, though, a friend would let them know what that brown bandana hanging from their right belt loop really meant.

Eventually, the hanky code became quite an extensive list of hues and shades differentiating to such a degree as to separate light blue, robin’s egg blue, teal blue and navy blue. It practically became its own language.

As time went on the hanky code became quite extensive in colors and shades
(image via Penn StateCC BY-SA 4.0 License)

Some credit a journalist for the Village Voice in early 1971 for coming up with the system while others say Alan Selby, founder of Mr. S Leather in San Francisco, created the first hanky code as a way to sell an accidental over-shipment of bandanas he received.

According to The History Project, the hanky code was predominately used early on by gay men interested in the BDSM movement or the leather subculture. But it soon started to spread into the queer mainstream by the 1970s.

But the nonverbal shorthand began to fall out of favor in the 1980s as anonymous sex habits grew to be frowned upon thanks to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its devastating effects on our community.

Most trends tend to evolve over time, though, and by the 1990s a black and white checked bandana became a way to flag someone as embracing safe sex practices and HIV awareness.

As we moved into the digital age, with increased embracing of the internet, use of the hanky code eventually faded as more overt fashion choices regarding sexual predilections emerged in the gay community like leather harnesses, collars, and more.

But the hanky code is important to remember as a part of LGBTQ history beginning in the 1970s as we grew more confident about signaling not only our identity and visibility in public but also reflecting the queer zeitgeist through the years.

(photo: Muzzlesf, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

(h/t BosGuy)

Matthew Dempsey Says It’s Ok To Be ‘Needy’

Matthew Dempsey (image via Instagram)

In his latest YouTube video, psychotherapist Matthew Dempsey explores not only why but how we should speak up to make sure our needs are met.

It makes sense that we should always ask for what it is that we want, but many of us often don’t.

Maybe we were ‘the best little kid in the world’ and taught ourselves to not make waves in order to be loved?

Or perhaps we learned to be a rebel at a young age and now we don’t take any shit?

According to Dempsey, both perspectives can “stem from our own underlying fear that we’re really not worth caring about.”

Recounting a recent chapter in his life where he stood firm on what it was he wanted in terms of dating, Dempsey makes the case that it’s ok to tell people what it is we need.

As Dempsey puts it, if friends or lovers can’t give or respect what it is we need from them, then maybe we need to love those folks “from a distance.”

“We have to forgive the people who aren’t able to meet our needs, and we have to invest like hell into those who can,” advises Dempsey.

Dempsey addresses the issue much better than I can, so hit the play button below.

And you can click these links to check Dempsey’s thoughts on body positivity, fear of losing sexual freedom, ‘pretty privilege,’ and what makes a gay ‘daddy.’

New Boo Sent His Nudes To A Lot Of Guys – Does It Bother You?

As the world grows bigger and bigger thanks to the internet, parts of our lives make their way out onto the interwebs.

The ‘Dear Prudence’ advice column over at Slate received a question about how to handle the news that a new-ish boyfriend has shared his naked pics (and video) with what seemed like too many guys in the past.

The writer (male, 22) says he’s been dating his boo (male, 24) for five months and the bf recently shared that he’d sent his naked self to over 100 guys over the past few years before the couple got serious.

The bf says he’s since deleted the pics he received over the years and isn’t sharing pics anymore.

But the writer still finds the news unsettling as it bothers him that “1) so many people have seen such a sensitive part of him; 2) if he sent it to that many people, odds are that there is some content of him online and still in the hands of many people; and 3) these people still follow him on social media, know who I am from his posts, and know that we are together.”

Apparently, sending nude pics is a foreign dynamic for the advice seeker and doesn’t understand why his now-steady “would want to do that to so many, even when single.”

Scrolling on Twitter recently, the questioner saw a nude photo on Twitter, and it somehow came up that his boyfriend had exchanged pics with that guy. Color the 22yo officially freaked out.

The writer wonders how he can stay in the relationship without “being miserable and thinking about how many people his steady has sent nudes to?”

‘Prudence’ gets down to brass tacks in her response: “Before you and your boyfriend got serious, he was a single adult who enjoyed sharing photos of his body with other adults.”

Prudie acknowledges that new relationships can open up “fears and insecurities” for folks but reminds the young man that no one did anything wrong.

In that the number of people who have seen the boyfriend naked seems to bother the young man, Prudence asks, “What number of people that have seen him naked would have made you feel comfortable? What’s the correct number of people he should have sent nudes to?”

The final words of wisdom from Prudie encourage the young gay to communicate with his bf about his fears as well as finding “a way to let go of your desire to control his past.”

When I first met my husband many years ago, he shared some of his sexual history with me and it turned out he’d had much more experience than I.

I remember it kind of gave me pause at the time. I wondered if I might be too ‘vanilla’ or not adventurous/experienced enough for him.

This was back in the 1990s and I got over my concerns. Twenty-five years later, we’re very secure in our relationship, but I remember feeling those insecurities.

Today, with all our new-fangled technology and dating apps, sharing pics among gay men seems de rigueur.

What do you think, readers? Would it bother you to find out over 100 men had seen your guy naked? Or is this to be expected today? Let me know in the comment section.

(image via Depositphotos)

Are These Two ‘Queer Eye’ Celebs Dating?

Two stars of Netflix's 'Queer Eye' pulled an April Fool's Day-in-July Instagram hoax
Queer Eye stars Jonathan Van Ness & Antoni Porowski (via Instagram)

Fans of the Netflix ‘make better’ series, Queer Eye, had a social media meltdown when two of the show’s stars, avocado-loving foodie Antoni Porowski and mustachioed grooming guy Jonathan Van Ness, posted a photo on Antoni’s Instagram account of the two just about to engage in a hot and heavy make-out session.

Accompanying the photo was the caption, “I guess Amurica’s birthday’s our anniversary, babe,” complete with heart emoji.

Aw….

Over 700,000 fans ‘liked’ the post and 1,100+ commented with an array of rainbow and heart emojis.

One fan offered to be the flower girl at the boys’ wedding.

Another penned a voyeuristic, “I would watch.”

Some commenters, though, warned that if the July 4 announcement was not on the up-and-up, they would be done with the duo.

Wrote one fan, “If this is fake, I’m literally never French tucking again.”

Well,…

Today, Van Ness fessed up, taking to HIS Instagram to calm fans down, saying, “It was all Antoni’s idea [pride flag emoji], but maybe someday we will fall in love.”

He added a hashtag that read, “not a couple but it was fun right”

Fellow Queer Eye cast mate, Bobby Berk commented, “How much do I have to beg you to keep the jvntoni account up and running just for the content?”

Berk added, “Made the news and everything – that’s when you know you’re ICONS!”

In truth, it appears this is how the two jokers spent their July 4th holidays:

A post shared by Antoni Porowski (@antoni) on Jul 5, 2019 at 7:20am PDT

Happy Bday America 🏳️‍🌈 One of the things that makes me proudest to be American is the ability to openly dissent. To speak negatively of your government in many countries isn’t permitted, I’m grateful here that we are able to call things the way we see them. That being said, trans women of color are being killed by guns, queer lives are being taken by guns, all Americans lives have been effected by gun violence. The house passed a bipartisan gun violence bill to help close the loopholes in the background check system in gun purchases, it won’t get a vote because of @senatemajldr – it is supported by over 90% of Americans & 75% within the NRA. Or the #equalityact which also enjoys overwhelming public support which we desperately need passed to ensure equal rights for people despite sexual orientation or gender expressions at a federal level. What makes America great is our diversity, our ability to speak TRUTH to power, and our ability to VOTE. Use today to connect with people you care about to see what matters to them about what we want to see happen here in the United States. Do we want a senate that won’t even vote on bills passed by the house? Do we want leaders who openly defy the constitution, engage in subvert and overt racism or do we want fairness and equality? Do we want to sanction police brutality or do we want to feel safe around law enforcement? I want an America that is more fair, more united, and allows the opportunities that I’ve been able to have for all. To achieve change we have to talk to each other, let’s celebrate today but keep on speaking your truth to power. 🏳️‍🌈🇺🇸🇺🇸
A post shared by Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) on Jul 4, 2019 at 7:06am PDT

When You Miss Being A Couple But Can’t Give Up Sexual Freedom

Therapist Matthew Dempsey has a new web series, Cost of Two Sandwiches, where he sits down picnic style to offer his brand of "queer psychotherapeutic guidance" to LGBTQs who are struggling with personal issues like coming out, dating, religion, sex and body image.  In the latest episode, Dempsey chats with Sterling - a gay man who loves being single, but also thinks he wants a serious relationship.
Sterling (L) and therapist Matthew Dempsey (R)

Therapist Matthew Dempsey has a new web series, Cost of Two Sandwiches, where he sits down picnic style to offer his brand of “queer psychotherapeutic guidance” to LGBTQs who are struggling with personal issues like coming out, dating, religion, sex and body image.

In the latest episode, Dempsey chats with Sterling – a gay man who loves being single, but also thinks he wants a serious relationship.

It turns out Sterling was in a great relationship for nearly several years, but five years ago he felt a sexual itch and wanted to scratch it.

He approached his partner at the time about opening up the relationship to accommodate Sterling’s desire to “sexually explore.” The couple went to therapy together, and the boyfriend even agreed to try an open relationship, but assured Sterling, “I will leave.”

So, the two went their separate ways and Sterling has spent the past five years loving being single and being sex positive. In his own words, he’s “been exploring the f**k out” of his sexual self.

But, on some Sundays or Tuesday afternoons, he finds he misses having a partner to “stabilize” him. The problem for Sterling is he’s afraid of losing his sexual freedom.

Dempsey: “What would you say is the thing that scares you the most about being in a relationship?”

Sterling: “That I won’t get to hook up with anybody else.”

Sounds like a “having your cake and eating it, too” kind of situation.

Is this about fear of commitment? Or taking care of sexual needs?

Dempsey brings up a few issues that are central to the issue including compatibility in relationships, coping with our sex drives, and adopting relationships that align with societal views.

Hit play below to see how the chat plays out, then share your thoughts in the comments.

Is Sterling selfish? Or is he just trying to understand himself?

Blake Mitchell On The Challenges Of Dating An Adult Performer

Porn star Blake Mitchell says he finds dating to be tough as an adult performer
Blake Mitchell (image via Instagram)

Helix Studios porn star Blake Mitchell wants you to know that, yes, it is possible to be lonely with over 200K followers on social media.

In a new video posted to his YouTube channel, Mitchell laments the pressures his career has on his personal life.

First of all, the handsome adult performer finds there are a lot of folks who may appear to have dating potential, but then it turns out his celebrity is what they’re after.

“I have had situations where I have been interested in someone, and we have been hanging out for a while, when they suddenly start asking me for a shout-out, or for me to promote this or that,” he shares.

And even if he finds someone genuine, his porn celebrity comes into play again when out and about on a date.

“I’ve been out to the bars before and people will say things to me that, because I am a sex worker, they think it is acceptable to say to a total stranger: complimenting my… size, or my body, making sexual remarks to me,” says Mitchell. “Besides making me uncomfortable, if I am with someone who I am interested in, this can be a little embarrassing.”

A post shared by Blake Mitchell (@mrblakemitchell) on May 31, 2018 at 10:53am PDT

And then there’s the fact a busy porn career involves lots of travel which can have an impact on relationships.

“My significant other has to sit at home while I make frequent trips across the country,” says the 20-year-old. “While they are left home alone, I am having sex with other people, sometimes several other people.

“And on top of all that, it is all being filmed and uploaded to the internet, where they are very likely to see it. This has made it very hard to find someone who will put up with me filming porn, let alone be happy and supportive about it.”

All that said, Mitchell makes it clear he has no intention of giving up a career he’s passionate about and enjoys. He sums up his thoughts by thanking his fans for their support and positivity.

“I appreciate and am deeply grateful to be in the position that I am, to have so many of you want to follow along and engage in my personal journey. But that doesn’t change the fact that all of that support and positivity, it’s all confined to my cell phone, to a 3×6” piece of plastic, metal, and glass. When I’m laying in bed at night, and I turn my phone off to get ready for bed, I’m alone. At that point, it doesn’t matter if I have 1 million or 100 subscribes, when I turn my phone off for the night, I have none.”

Watch the handsome Mr. Mitchell explain below.

MTV’s New Dating Show “Undressed”

MTV just released a teaser for it’s upcoming new series, Undressed.

Billed as a dating show, two strangers are given 30 minutes to undress each other and then, through the course of answering questions and performing challenges, decide if there is a chance for romance between the two.

The promo video features a gay couple, presumably au natural in bed, with one asking the other, “As a gay man, how could you vote for Trump?”

The new series debuts August 16 at 11PM on MTV.

You can watch the promo at this link (it was unavoidably auto-play, and I find that annoying for my readers)