How to do the wrong thing right

All of a sudden, feeling proud this year seems impaled on clinical depression, the worst since the height of the AIDS epidemic. In the LGBT community, we pride ourselves as being, in general, a gregariously affectionate people: It’s a total anathema for us not to immediately shake a friend’s hand when we see him, steal a pithy peck on his cheeks or embrace one another with a big grinning bear hug. Resultantly, our community is being particularly brutalized: Two weeks ago, I didn’t know anybody who even knew someone with COVID-19; today, I know of two former boyfriends, one great medical intern and a best friend’s best friend who’ve caught it… and one of them now, senselessly, is deceased.

Since the Fourth of July, especially here in Texas, that voodoo bitch Rona, has suddenly struck home-turf with a hyena’s vengeance. One can hardly claim that the CDC didn’t well warn us of Grrrrl’s sawtooth tsunami a-comin’: The center began screaming itself Hill-Country-hoarse months back, begging our great state’s grating governor (staunch lemming of freshly obsolete Oracle L’Orange that he is) not to take yet another pass, and play herds’ leader.

Thus, immediately, Texas reopened.

And the economic rewards (as we’ve so richly discovered) for leading such a charge entirely too early? Entire lifelong careers have, in but the blink of four hapless months — careers heavily weighted with our community members’ very own — have spiraled down from thriving, to critically endangered, to moribund. One’s mind’s eye can’t unsee the tableau vivant of previously shiny, buff young men hollowly gaping into the ossified emptiness of their six-foot, non-social distancing queues, awaiting their starvation turn at local food pantries. Bartenders to sex workers, personal trainers to professional bodybuilders — entire professions now, exhausted from treading continual riptides, have slipped under without a trace like that swimmer in the opening scene of Jaws. No longer are tequila sunrises being pub-sipped, sex drives being serviced, professional spotters assisting with one’s barbells, clowns entertaining kids’ birthday parties, cruise ships welcoming travelers aboard, park rangers providing tours, nor even 12-pack abs needing daily ’roid nourishment for pro posing tryouts. Uncharacteristically, it’s the pro sports’ bodybuilding worlds — the WFF, the IFBB and the NCP — that are allowing themselves, quite quietly, to be annihilated. Within the shadowlands of all pro fitness insiders, there exists a plethora of top-secret guilt; melting readers, let’s pause briefly with example on just this singularly vanquished profession — it’s whistleblower time!

All bodybuilders understand perfectly well that a certain sexual aspect exists to their sport, if only because it exploits the very weapon of carnal attraction: The Body Human, turned caricature. The definition of bodybuilding requires it stay open for “backdoor” dealings (every pun intended) — what with a hundred grand of yearly-taxable, personal expenses (GH, steroids, Synthol), food, coaching-and-travel expenditures) just maintaining the fees to be a bodybuilder needs “sponsoring.” The “sport” of bodybuilding, in fact, is only alive thanks to the schmoes who sponsor them; thus, its reputation for so many of them being g4p (gay for pay). According to the late, great, enormously buffed Canadian bodybuilder Greg Kovacs, “Gay for pay is as prevalent in the bodybuilding community as protein powder.” Well, hell, another illusion shattered. And another reason to live, to die another day. Keep on a-keeping on, folks.

Invariably, questions I receive from readers come in lengths of three sizes only: postage stamp, sock drawer magazine letter to the editor and epic 19th-century Victorian novel (or, as their categorization labels read under which they’re subsequently filed within my own Seuss-Is-Loose filing cabinet: Fortune cookie petite, Playgirl and War and Peace). Unfortunately, too, it’s the one-liner fortune cookie questions that most seldom see any light of publication, simply because the lion’s share of them are just too damned short to bother answering, some being barely even five words, greeting included (“Dear Howard: What is fill in blank?”).

Nonetheless, my little cookies of fortune, all the most frustrating of 2020’s gay slang acronym stumpers shall be revealed. C’mon, as if you’ve got anything better to do with Rona raging! Just accept it as, say, Dear Howard’s prideful, Christmas-in-July present to you! (Oh, and FYI, my proud readership: For brevity’s sake, I’ve omitted these questions’ repetitiously usual “Dear Howard” prefacing here, as well as each sender’s always anonymously imaginative sign-off sobriquet) . . . So, ready, boiz? Let’s get right to it.

Q. What does BDSM really mean? A. Really, the BD is for Bondage/Discipline; the SM is for Sadism/Masochism: You’d be surprised by how many people this stumps, and though originally conceived as a mutually consensual arrangement, you’d not be a bit surprised by how few of its devotees actually follow any previously agreed-upon format once the sensory deprivation hood comes out, and the “safe word” cacklingly canceled.

Q. What is flip-fucking? A. It’s when two bottoms hook up, having each lied to the other that he’s “fully versatile,” and subsequently end up both having to fuck one another, taking turns, just to ensure each of their greedy butts gets what he came over for in the first place.

Q. What the hell is an EOF? A. Equal Opportunity Fornicator — someone who self-professes that it’s people he’s attracted to, not gender… but whatever gender shows up sure better be swingin’ a juicy fine dick should he opt being bottom.

Q. I’m confused by what “pup play” means — is it some sort of bestiality fetish involving dogs? A. Closer more to zoophilia than bestiality, those who enjoy pup play aren’t necessarily sexually attracted to real animals. Pup play merely translates into the enjoyment of a dom using his sub for roleplay fetish scenarios as his pretend pet puppy — replete with all the paraphernalia such a complex setup involves: feeding bowls, cage, muzzle, leash, fire hydrant and sand box — and of course, too, that prerequisite, cutsie-wootsie, curled little purple rubber dildo tail wagging, adorably, out of barking Little Buster Bear’s twitching behind.

Q. What is the implication of accusing someone as being “gold star gay?” Is it some kind of classism thing? A. Far from any sort of dubiously derogatory “classism” accusation, a gold star gay is simply someone who has never had sex with a person of their opposite gender. (Extra points if a male was delivered by caesarian and thus has lived an entirely cooch-free life.)

Q. On a hook-up site the other night, someone asked me if I could “do decent gob.” First, I hesitated, then said, “I’ll sure do my best,” and the dude just blocked me off! Howard, what the heck is “gob?” A. Gob is slang for oral sex, but with a twist: The person being blown expects total silence out of you, the gobber, and absolute focus upon your job at hand. Basically, “gob” is the porn dialogue equivalency of “Just shut up and suck, bitch!”

Q. What is agro sex — please, don’t tell me it somehow involves farmyards and hayseeds? A. Agro is slang for “aggressive” — overtly hostile, confrontationally unprovoked, belligerently malevolent hate sex. That your hayseed sodomizing should, perhaps, happen to take place in a farmyard would be purely coincidental.

Q. Have you ever heard of chavs? My brother lives in London and says the city is infested with them, which is why the COVID there is so bad — because they’ll fuck anything, they don’t wear masks, and they’re broke. “I don’t know which is worse, he tells me, “chavs or the scallies, but if you’re single and wantin’ to get laid these days, they’re the only game in town.” Howard, WTF is he talking about? A. Ah, yes, scally vs chav, and that age-old question: Which has the bigger cocks? Though more or less interchangeable in appearance, scallies and chavs are, to put it politely, the more antisocial counterparts to our own twunks and twotters here across the pond — with chavs (lower-class, miscreant rapscallions of little schooling and lots of sportswear) being the more twunk representative, and scallies (boisterously disruptive, irresponsible, roguish, jobless and always suspected of committing crimes) being the more twotter representative. Think the movie Trainspotting, or Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. They reeked of nothing but chavs and scallies. Talk about rough trade! Hell, even Rona gives a wide birth to these little darlings.

— Howard Lewis Russell

Have a phrase you want defined, or a corona question lingering? Email and Howard may get to it.