Manhunt offers ‘Sex over 40’ resource

Manhunt users who are over 40 now have an additional resource from the site aside from the cruise-chat-connect option for which it’s come to be known. The site’s health resource Manhunt Cares announced today it’s new Sex Over 40 resource for “older gay and bisexual men.” The site teams up with Dr. Loren Olsen, author of Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight, in providing information to this demographic.

I’m rather fascinated by this announcement. I had no idea that hitting 40 “can be brutally intimidating” and I’m trying to correlate the idea of the sex toy study as the partial basis for this new resource. Anyway, their hearts are in the right place and since I’ll be part of this demographic soon, well, one more resource couldn’t hurt. Below is the full press release:

—  Rich Lopez

The lap of luxury

RELAX, GO TO IT | Hot stone massages are among the treatments for couples and singles at V Spa.

With Spa Week, luxury facilities like V Spa seek to ‘queer eye’ us all

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

Damn those Queer Eye guys. When they emerged in 2003, they gave away some of our best secrets, teaching straight men to get in touch with their metrosexual side and embrace skin care and days spas.

Only not everyone got the message — and sometimes, not even gay men. A massage is one thing, but a facial? A mani-pedi? But even those treatments are getting their play in the male psyche.

Sarah Long, the spa manager at the Hilton Anatole’s V Spa (which opened about three years ago), says nowadays it is easier to get men in to enjoy the range of services offered.

“A lot of it is they are either scared and don’t know what to expect with a lot of guys there’s a whole stigma of going to the spa — it’s not manly,” says Long. “But absolutely men do this, once they get past that wariness at the beginning. When they are in the first time, you don’t need to give further incentives.”

In order to incentivize that first visit, however, spas like V populate their menus with services such as the “gentleman’s facial” (a lush and soothing skin treatment) to let men know some treatments are intended just for them. And with Spa Week upon us, this might be just the time to check it out.

Spa Week has been undertaken for a while, says Long, usually with twice-a-year windows (in Dallas, April and October) when spas offer a selection of their high-end services at a discount price to encourage new clients.

“We drop the price point for that week on two to three services for $50. It’s really a good opportunity to try out something new without spending a lot of money,” Long says.

This season’s offerings at V Spa include the “restorative facial,” the “revitalizing back treatment” and the “rose-scented pedicure,” all for just $50. “We do try to switch up the services we offer so those who show up every Spa Week can try something different,” Long says.

Whatever gets you in there, V Spa does provide a spectacular service. Not all spa experiences are comparable (though often their prices are). The common areas can make a difference, as well as the treatment room facilities and perks. V Spa, for instance, has a waiting area with an Asian influence (bamboo, dark woods — just like the rest of the hotel) and complimentary nuts and champagne. A technician even gives you a foot bath while wrapping your neck in a warm buckwheat pillow before you slide between high thread-count sheets on a damask-covered massage table. Such luxuries provide added value.

“Especially right now, a lot of us are cutting back, but there are things we had to keep,” Long says. It all serves the main point of a day at the spa: Escape.

“I think relaxation is a huge thing,” says Long. “You should be able to walk in and leave your life for a little bit — have that time for yourself, a moment of piece … like a mini-vacation. You need to know it is gonna be relaxing.”

That means no matter what service you buy, you get all the extras, including access to the health club and pool, the sauna and showers, the robes and cucumber water all for one price. It really can be a Calgon moment that lasts all day.

V Spa at the Hilton Anatole, 2201 Stemmons Freeway. 214-761-7800. Spa Week runs April 11–17.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

Movie Monday: ‘The Mechanic’ with Jason Statham in wide release

Statham sizzles, but The Mechanic fizzles

It’s hard to know whether to be angry at the filmmakers or frustrated with the audience about the gay content in The Mechanic. I suppose we should be glad that gays figure anywhere in this quickie actioner, even though the portrayal is hardly flattering.

Bishop (Jason Statham, above right), an experienced hitman, is training his protege Steve (Ben Foster, above left) how to take out a rival assassin. Bishop says the bad guy is gay, so Steve — a twinkie who looks to weigh 95 pounds dripping in paving tar —seduces him. As they begin to undress each other, straight men in the preview audience emitted audible, horrified chants of “Dude!” and “Gross!” and “Ah, shit, man!” (If they were smarter, they’d be quiet and let their girlfriends get turned on.)

Two stars (out of five). Read the entire review here.

DEETS: The Mechanic starring Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland. Directed by Simon West. In wide release.

—  Rich Lopez

QUEER CLIP: ‘The Mechanic’

It’s hard to know whether to be angry at the filmmakers or frustrated with the audience about the gay content in The Mechanic. I suppose we should be glad that gays figure anywhere in this quickie actioner, even though the portrayal is hardly flattering.

Bishop (Jason Statham, above right), an experienced hitman, is training his protege Steve (Ben Foster, above left) how to take out a rival assassin. Bishop says the bad guy is gay, so Steve — a twinkie who looks to weigh 95 pounds dripping in paving tar —seduces him. As they begin to undress each other, straight men in the preview audience emitted audible, horrified chants of “Dude!” and “Gross!” and “Ah, shit, man!” (If they were smarter, they’d be quiet and let their girlfriends get turned on.)

It’s always a tough call: Do we respect director Simon West for introducing a queer character with a sexual appetite at all, or chastise him for using it like a club, eliciting cheers from the hetero hominids to kill the faggot? Alas, West — director of such detritus as Con Air and The General’s Daughter — is probably not someone worthy of much respect.

The film itself is a breezy 90-minute escapade that doesn’t develop much momentum; the climax is planned, executed and concluded is less time than most films would spend setting up the motive of the character. But it does have hottie Statham, star of

The Transporter movies, shirtless for a bit (alas, his sex scene is with a girl). And of course his Transporter character is gay, according to the director. It’s not much to hang your hat on, but we’ll take the fantasies as we find them.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Two stars.
Opens today in wide release.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 28, 2011.

—  John Wright

Straight men kissing? That’s so hot!!!

Straight men in Britain generally have no problem kissing each other on the lips — and in fact locking lips has become something of a fad for college students, according to a gay lecturer at Bath University who did his PhD on the subject.

The lecturer, Eric Anderson, conducted a survey which found that 88 percent of men are happy to kiss another man on the lips, while almost 40 percent have engaged in “sustained kissing, initially for shock value, but now just for ‘a laugh.'”

Anderson said he believes his research indicates that homophobia is all but gone among young people. The Guardian reports:

Anderson says men are now kissing each other to show their “intimacy towards one another,” but not in a homosexual way. “The kisses seem to be stripped of sexual connotation, and given the percentage of men doing them, they certainly do not indicate a hidden homosexual desire.”

The trend, he adds, is not just in a few UK universities or even limited to Britain. “I’ve interviewed graduate students who did their bachelor degrees at other universities, and been to undergraduate clubs and pubs from Bristol to Birmingham to Edinburgh – I can definitively say that although the percentages might vary depending on the city, the class and the racial background, these kissing behaviours are happening all over the country. I have also found it occurring in a fifth of the 60 university soccer players I interviewed in the US, and have a friend who is beginning formal research into male kissing in Australia after recording it there.”

Call us shallow, but we admit our first reaction to this report was, that’s so hot! Our second was, when is this going to catch on in the U.S.? And our third was, this guy has the best job in the world, which was backed up by this tidbit at the end of the story about his next project:

Anderson is now moving his research on to cuddling. “Last week, I was talking to my second-year students about two straight men cuddling; they laughed, ‘what’s the big deal about that’,” he says. “I polled them, and found that 14/15 said they had spooned another man, in bed, sleeping all night long. Gone are the days in which men would rather sleep on the floor or head to toe; not only do they share beds and cuddle, but they are not homosexualised for this.”

—  John Wright

Born this way

Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why by Simon LeVay Oxford University Press, 2010; $28; 412 pp.

We all have our quirky preferences: Some don’t like it when food touches other food on their plate, or when socks don’t match up. But are our selves shaped by outside influence, or did we enter the world this way? Was our behavior learned or innate? In Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why, you’ll find answers to similar questions of a more intimate sort.

Nearly two decades ago, Simon LeVay published a scientific paper asserting that gay men differed from straight men in their brain structures — specifically, a cluster of nerve cells controlling sex drive in gay men were the same size observed in straight women’s brains. Since publication of that paper, vast amounts of research have probed same-sex attraction and the nature/nurture debate. Here, LeVay takes a deeper look at some of the newer findings.

While some gays and lesbians are surprised later in life by feelings of same-sex attraction, LeVay says that sexual identity, while not always immediately apparent, is present at birth (although women, throughout life, appear to be more fluid). He points to several cases in which male infants were, for one reason or another, “assigned” to live as the opposite sex. In most cases, upon adulthood, the “assignment” turned out to be wrong.

Some theorize that childhood abuse has influenced gayness, but survivors deny it as a factor. Some theories claim that older siblings or domineering parents hold sway. And as for “choice,” LeVay cites several quasi-claims of “conversions” in which therapy reportedly changed sexual preference.

Overall, LeVay says, nothing is cut-and-dried, but the probable reason that someone is gay has to do with genetics, hormones and stress that individuals receive in utero. Studies show, for instance, that mice are influenced by chemicals secreted by their mothers and by littermates. Humans, likewise, are affected in similar ways, which could lay to rest many questions. And one of the hints may literally be at your fingertips.

While there’s no doubt Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why is an intriguing book that makes sense on several levels, there’s one big problem with it: you almost need a Ph.D. to follow much of what LeVay says. It’s steeped in medical lingo, and while LeVay includes a glossary and substantial notes to explain the scientific terms and acronyms, this book is a challenge.

But if you’re up for that challenge, you’ll be rewarded with a thought-provoking examination of a private subject that has a very public focus. LeVay leaves no hypothesis unexamined, which leaves readers satisfied that every corner of this argument has been thoroughly dusted off.

Give yourself some time if you decide to tackle this book, because it’s nowhere near light reading, but it is fascinating — and ultimately a plea for tolerance.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 26, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Not-so-straight acting

Comedian Jason Kane loves show tunes and cats — so why isn’t he gay?

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

HOMO NEUROTIC | Kane’s has accepted himself as a straight man — not that there’s anything wrong with that. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice).

Tucker’s Blues, 2617
Commerce St. Aug. 17–19.
7 p.m. $10.

Jason Kane isn’t kidding himself: He knows when a man proudly talks about his collection of original Broadway cast recordings, the season finale of Kathy Griffin and his two cats, he should expect to be gay-tially profiled as family. He’s one Bette Midler concert shy of legally irrefutable proof of queerness.

Only Kane is straight — and that throws everything off kilter.

After a 12-year stint in New York (and sometimes Boston), Kane has returned to Dallas. He was doing the budding stage actor bit in the Big Apple, but when he found himself couch-surfing with a healthy dose of uncertainty, he headed home to regroup. Without wasting time, Kane has revamped his show Why Am I Not Gay?, which begs the question this week at Tucker’s Blues in Deep Ellum.

“I’m probably one of the gayest straight men out there,” he says. “I’ve performed this show in New York and Boston but coming back, I have to ask the question again.”

When he talks incessantly about being a “completist” and how that demands his need to have every version of the cast recording of Les Miserables (Broadway and London casts), then yeah, this question might come up. But is it fair to rule a man as gay just because his two pets, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer are named after felines in Cats, or that some of his interview replies are done in song?
In his show, Kane deconstructs his own life to figure out what the hell happened. While doing so, he keeps score between “gay” and “straight” labels with tic marks and sings along the way — what better way for a hetero to prove he’s not a homo than through a Sondheim medley?

He tries to justify it.

“I would have no reason to be in the closet,” he says. “I’ve had gay friends for a long time. I sing ‘What Can You Lose?’ from Dick Tracy and a couple of Elton John songs, but I throw in some Barenaked Ladies and the Rolling Stones!”

Kane isn’t trying to laugh his way out of his admitted fondness for Erasure and Madonna and his ease of use with terms like “bear,” “twink” and “homo.” Instead, his show may say more about his audiences than just his funny look at his own professional and personal life. Why Am I Not Gay? takes a peek at the contrasts between gay and straight — which, according to him, are few.

“I think part of the show conveys the message that we really aren’t that different,” he says. “What we do in the bedroom is the only real place we diverge. The more I do theater, the more I realize that you can’t pin the tail on the homo donkey so easily.”

He’s reluctant to compare his high school experience to the gay experience, but he finds some parallels in “not being the cool guy” or being the weird theater dude. Even his parents broached the issue when Kane committed to a life in the theater. Weirdly enough, you could say the misidentification of Jason Kane gave him the gay youth ritual without being gay.

But Kane’s moved past his younger travails and he’s just working with what he’s got, which resulted in creating his own show alongside musical director Daniel Ezell. He’s just going for the laughs where he can get them.

“I know audiences will get the jokes and maybe even relate to them,” he says. “And I know, like in the past, some people will come up and say, ‘I’m still not convinced.’”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 13, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas