Tag Archives: Gay Culture


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This article was originally written by The Modern Gay for Match.com

“What’s your type of guy”, she asks. “I don’t really have a type” I respond “but I would probably say that he’s of Mediterranean decent, 6-foot-3, 80kgs, long dark-brown hair, bronzed skin, light eyes, Roman nose, sumptuous lips, slim build with a light covering of body hair and a scattering of tattoos. He’s thirty-two years old, most probably university educated, successful in business, speaks several languages, dresses like a GQ model and has the wit of Russell Brand coupled with the boyish charisma of Harry Styles”. As it turns out, I certainly do have a type.

“What was your last boyfriend like” she inquires further. “English decent, short blonde hair, 5-foot-10, smooth body, 20-years-old, with the style of a surfer and the wit of a doorknob” I reply. As it turns out, my ideal type of guy and the guys I actually date are completely incongruent. Why is this the case? Why is it that our ideal type and our actual type are often entirely different? Can we do anything to bring the two into alignment? This is something with which I have been struggling of late, compounded by the big “three-zero” which looms on the horizon.

What began as a creep towards the age of thirty has now turned into a full-blown gallop and as I approach the next milestone in my life I become increasingly anxious about the type of men that I find myself dating. When I was in my early 20s and dating guys similar in age to me it was fun and carefree. It didn’t matter much to me what their long term goals and aspirations were or even if they had any. Nor was it of much concern whether or not they were the type of people I would be happy to introduce to my parents or friends. Now that I’m in my late 20s and still find myself attracted to those same guys, the things that never seemed to bother me back then have now become of greater importance. Yes he’s pretty but what else does he have to offer? Yes he is full of youthful energy and always up for a good time but does he think that Palestine is a new fragrance by Kim Kardashian? Yes he’s great in bed but would… To continue reading click here.

Image by Mariano Vivanco

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There is a special type of man that every gay guy needs in his life. This type of guy is an essential partner who can make the arduous journey through life that that little bit more pleasant. He will be there to console you during your breakups, dance with you to cheesy diva music on a night out and offer you advice from a completely unique perspective. He is the type of guy that you can talk to about things you can’t with your other guy friends and although you may say, “I love you” to each other, it is a very different type of love. There is a special type of man that every gay guy needs in his life and that is a straight male best friend.

It takes a straight man with special qualities to bestfriend a gay guy. The first quality required is an unwavering comfort in his own heterosexuality. Whether he’s sharing a bed with you on holiday in order to save money or dancing on a podium next to you with his shirt off, doing things that are perceived to be gay does not faze a straight guy who is comfortable in his own sexuality. He will feel comfortable walking down the street with his girlfriend hand-in-hand while you walk next to him with your boyfriend hand-in-hand. He’ll hug and kiss you hello and tell you that he misses you when he hasn’t seen you in a while. He will easily blend into a social situation where he’s the only straight guy, not flinching when your gay friends are being overly flirtatious or affectionate and he’ll relish the fact that you introduce him as your “token straight friend”. For him, being around gay guys is not a threat to his masculinity. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even faze him at all.

A straight best friend doesn’t see sexuality as a defining aspect of your friendship. You are not his “gay best friend” and he is not your “straight best friend”, you are just mates. This is the second essential quality. While some straight girls excitingly seek a gay best friend as some sort of glitzy, novelty accessory, your best mate loves you for so much more than your sexuality. You share similar values and similar tastes in music, sports, humor, books and fashion. Together you can talk about similar experiences in love, relationships, heartache and it doesn’t matter that those experiences are between different genders. Some of these guys may have been your best friends from a time before puberty, when your sexuality was still dormant while others you may have only met after you came out. In both cases your different sexual preferences were never a factor on which your friendship was forged.

Much like with any other friendship, the most important quality that a straight man must possess in order to bestfriend a gay guy is loyalty. It is loyalty that ensures the longevity of any friendship, it is loyalty that helps a relationship survive the ups and downs of life and it is loyalty that binds male friends as brothers. Loyal friends are those who will be there when the club lights are turned on and when the music stops playing. It is during times of personal crisis such as health scares, deaths and depression that a loyal straight friend truly displays his mateship.

Having a straight man as a best friend also provides balance to one’s life. They provide a sounding board on which you can bounce ideas, problems and concerns and receive advice back from a different viewpoint. Often if we spend too much time within our own community, surrounded only by other gay guys we can become caught up in the drama of daily gay life. Having a neutral, outside party with whom we can confer is important for ensuring not only variety but also one’s own sanity. A straight male best friend is also a reminder that in a world where we have been judged, teased and chastised largely by other straight males, there are those in our midst who love, support and care for us regardless of our sexuality.

Image by Olaf Blecker

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What would a gay blog be without a personal coming out story? Following on from my post “43 Lies I told myself while in the closet“, in my latest YouTube video I talk about how I came out to my parents and it may not be the way that you would expect.

There is no right or wrong way to come out of the closet. It can also feel like there may never be a right time. While I was out to my friends, sister and colleagues, I still found it difficult to tell me parents. Perhaps it was the fear of disappointing them or perhaps it was the fear of the unknown? It can be scary to reveal a significant part of your identity to the people you care most about but eventually there is a tipping point, a moment in time when keeping it a secret feels more daunting than telling the truth.

Click here to view my story on YouTube or to subscribe to The Modern Gay channel.

Image  by Yiorgos Kaplanidis

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   Barrett Pall Modern Gay

We are constantly bombarded with images of male beauty. From Instagram to advertising to gay media, we as gay men are exposed daily to other men who boarder on aesthetic perfection. Rarely do we have the opportunity to see behind the picture, to meet the men who make us swoon. Model, trainer and entrepreneur Barrett Pall is trying to change that. Through his blog Artisan & King, Barrett give us a glimpse behind the lens in the hope of inspiring young gay men to live their truth. His open and honest posts which discuss his vulnerabilities and insecurities, allow readers to see underneath the underwear and past the 13,000 Instagram followers into the life of a normal guy who, like the rest of us, is trying to make sense of the world. Barrett uses his increasing public profile to share his experiences, proving that social media platforms can be used as a means to uplift and inspire others. After scrolling through Barrett’s writing you become aware that even those who are aesthetically blessed and living the so-called “glamorous life” have to deal with the same issues as most other 20-something year old gay guys.

In this candid Q&A with The Modern Gay Barrett discusses his sexuality, safe-sex and the challenges facing young gay men in 2014.


Originally, Artisan & King was supposed to be a lifestyle and fashion blog that had both a men’s and women’s section. I would be the men’s counterpart to my best friends female side, who I share my blog with. We saw that there really wasn’t a guy/girl duo and we wanted to fill that void. However, as we were launching, I moved back to NYC in the middle of a break up, enduring my first winter in three years, and just feeling really down. I started writing to get my feelings out of my head, and try to rediscover my positivity, which felt lost in my move back to NYC.


My role models would have to be a couple I met a few years ago that have taken me under their wings. Alfredo Paredes and Brad Goldfarb are a gay couple who are extremely successful in every way. Alfredo is Ralph Lauren’s right hand man, and Brad is an extremely accomplished writer. They met when they were 25 and have been together for 25 years now. They are both wildly successful in their careers, and have remembered to give back, stay grounded, and show kindness to all those they meet. They have been the mentors I so badly needed as I had never really had a vision of what I wanted my life to be until I met them. They’ve showed me a life I never knew I wanted, and now the greatest thing I can dream of would be to end up just like them. To top it off they recently had their first child, and have been the greatest dads from day one. I can truly say I love these guys like family.


I don’t think enough of my generation practices safe-sex. With apps like Grindr, Scruff, and a new one popping up every day the possibility to engage in random sex is so high and easy that sex has become just another activity like brushing your teeth. I think that there needs to me much more care and thought put in when deciding who you are going to take your clothes off with.

I don’t think enough of my generation understand the gravity that things like AIDS and HIV still have today. There seems to be this false sense of security because we have figured out ways to deal with these scary sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Most of my generation wasn’t around, and doesn’t remember the horrific events that took place in the 80’s, and because of that I feel too many young gay men are naive to the real effects these diseases and infections can have.

I also don’t think we as a gay community are as banned together as we possibly used to be because we don’t necessarily have to be. Being gay is becoming more and more accepted, so we don’t feel the brotherhood our community once so strongly held. We are able to mingle in so many different arenas that the bubble has burst in some ways, and gotten smaller in others. I wish more young gay men took time to learn about our history, and make connections with older generations to really grasp how important it is to have safe-sex and see the progress we’ve made, and need to continue to make. Again, these are simply my own opinions.


Community to me means a coming together of diverse people to create a collective unity of positive thinking, changing negative actions and not only realizing a better future, but making one.


I have learned that modeling cannot be your main focus when you are a model. I have three other jobs that I put majority of my effort into. I rarely hang out with other people in the industry, and I try to remind myself that I am more than my shell.

If you allocate all your time to being a model, the industry will consume you. Your self-esteem falls low because you are constantly comparing your looks to the most beautiful people in the world, and no matter how beautiful you are, it gets to you because we all have insecurities. I have learned to be open about this as to not fall victim to the constant scrutiny and rejection. For every “yes” you hear, there are probably 50-100 “no’s.”

Barrett Pall Gay Guide


I hope that people see an image of me and are inspired to get up and change their negative patterns. I have worked very hard for the body I have, and I am proud of it, but it is important to remember that it has been 18 years of hard work. I didn’t just wake up one day and look the way I look. I am also a trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp NYC, and I love being able to help others help themselves. I am aware that we live in a world where sex sells, and if a picture of my body introduces you to my other passions like my blog, my training, or a new health food I am working on than so be it. I look at modeling as my introduction to the rest of my story. This is my one page cover to a very long novel.


I know my answer isn’t going to be super popular, but in some ways I think it has made my experience slightly harder. I think it is important to remember the grass is always greener, and while I am thankful for my genetics because they have opened many doors, there have been many times that my looks have made things harder in ways many people at first don’t understand. Many people just see my exterior and think because of the way I look, and the pictures I am in for part of my career that I am going to be someone they can just hop into the sack with. Hearing the word sexy and my name in the same sentence is so funny to me because I do not see myself in that light. In my head, I am still a skinny kid with glasses, braces and trying to figure out my role in this world. I am someone that loves love, thinks relationships are beautiful, and wants to find my special someone. We all have moments when our sexual urges are strong, but empty sex ends up leaving you feeling even emptier than before. I’ve been welcomed into circles because of the way I look, but at the end of the day I feel most at home with my college friends, most of who are straight.


The hardest part for me was simply allowing myself to understand that all the negative connotations I had had with being gay were falsities embedded in my head from people, who were uneducated, unhappy and confused themselves. Once I was able to simply be who I wanted to be, being gay was not scary, it was amazing. I have said this before, but coming out of the closet is such a freeing experience, and there are so many wonderful people waiting for you with open arms. You may not know them yet, but they are the people who teach you what family truly means.


Being outside under the sun, by a body of water with my loved ones. Having the wind blow, and knowing that my loved ones and I are profoundly ok.


I have, for a long time had a laundry list of things I wish I could change about myself, from my nose to my height to my outty bellybutton. However, as I’ve gotten older I have learned that these things are all part of me, and in some ways have shaped me. I have had to work that much harder with gaining success in modeling because I technically shouldn’t be a model. My nose adds character, and is the result of three good stories of being broken. My bellybutton is the lifeline that connected me to my mother. I am learning to love every part of myself outwardly because in the end, it is what is inside that counts most, but I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t mind being bumped up to 6’2.


I actually wrote a letter to my younger self (read it here). I was going through my journal, which I have kept since I was 12, and I came across countless entries of being sad and feeling broken by others hurtful words. My advice was to stay true to yourself. Know that it not only gets better, but it gets beyond amazing. Be kind to yourself. Love everyday the way you have always tried to do. Swimming takes you farther than you can imagine, so while you may feel burned out, keep pushing. Keep dreaming, loving, and being light in a dark place. P.S. NYU is really really expensive.


Do it. New York City is a hard city. It will eat you up and spit you out if you let it, but if you come here and understand that your dreams require hard work, you can truly have everything you’ve every dreamed of. It is an amazing place to come and feel accepted, meet like-minded people and have fun like you’ve never had fun before. I have traveled a decent amount, lived abroad in Paris and always concluded that NYC is my favorite city in the world. Be forewarned, it is extremely expensive, and if you do not like to work, this is not your city.

Visit Barrett’s blog by clicking here.

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Images by Marco Ovando

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Gay Gym Vintage Workout

I am so tired of worrying about my body. I am tired of thinking how it looks to others, whether it’s toned enough, big enough, smooth enough. Whether my pecs are even, whether my ass is perky or whether or not you can see my six-pack. Come to think of it, I’m also tired of hearing about your body. I’m tired of seeing pictures of your meal preparation, updates about your weight gain or your weight loss, reflections of your rippling back in gym mirrors. I’m tired of your mini-essays about “achieving your goals” and “how far you’ve come in the last five years”. I’m tired of the gay obsession with body image.

This homo-focus on body image is not for me. While others are happy to count their calories and pre-cook their meals a week in advance, I would rather eat out at a nice restaurant, do Pilates, spend time with my mates at the pub or learn a new skill, like French or First Aid.

I’m not sure what it’s like within your gay community but where I live this body obsession seems to have reached a new level of absurdity. This is particularly evident in the lead up to events like Mardi Gras where guys will devote all their spare time and mental energy to a strict health regime in order to look good for one weekend three months in the future.  And for what? To get laid? So that they can be ogled at by other men while they dance shirtless? I wonder what happens after Mardi Gras when they’ve had plenty of sex but they’re still alone.

The pursuit of body perfection is a symptom of the gay sickness that is instant gratification. Sex is so readily available to gay men that they obsess over ways to look more attractive than their competition all in a bid to get laid. They go to extremes such as injecting illegal and harmful substances into their bodies in order to look bigger, hoping that when their body is perfect then they’ll finally be seen as attractive in the eyes of others. But working on your outer appearance will not lead to happiness. After all the sex, gay men, just like the rest of humanity want to be loved. The problem though is that you cannot create meaningful relationships while you’re only focused on the superficial.

Sustainable relationships are not built on sexual attraction only. There are much more important things that create longevity in a relationship. What happens if your partner becomes ill? What happens if they get cancer and their body withers away? What happens when you’re older and your body isn’t as toned as it once was? What happens to your relationship then? What happens when you stop taking steroids and you become fat? How long will your partner stick around then? When I’m 85 and I’m old and grey, sitting in a nursing home in adult diapers, I want to be next to my partner and I want to be able to laugh at the situation with him. Humor, love, respect, friendship – these are the things that last when the rest of you fades away. I want a man who is more than his body.

Recently I was at a gay venue with friends and as I looked around I noticed that everyone was starting to look the same. There were hundreds of men but they all looked like carbon cutouts of each other, albeit of varying heights. They were all similarly dressed and had obviously spent a substantial amount of time in the gym. Seeing these men made me realize how unfortunate it is that gay culture holds up one body type as the ideal and as a result everyone else feels obliged to meet that standard. Sure women have been suffering the same fate for centuries but at least there have been vocal opponents to the generalization of the female body image. Where are the vocal opponents to the gay male image? Young gay men trawl the Instagram profiles and Facebook pages of older gay men (many of whom are using steroids) and feel that this is what it means to be gay. When they can’t meet these unrealistic and unhealthy expectations they feel unattractive and isolated within their own community.

I don’t want to be part of a club that places body perfection above all else and nor would I want my future partner to be either. I value personality over biceps, witty banter over bulging quads, education over time spent in the gym and I hope to find someone who values similar things. Until then I’ll be eating carbohydrates, doing Pilates and drinking beers at the pub.

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Willy-Vanderperre-Modern Gay

There is something disconcerting about older gay men enjoying the company of younger gay guys. While I realize that this isn’t a practice that is typical only to the gay community, there is something particularly unsettling about seeing a group of 60-year-old men socializing with boys 40 years their junior.

Recently I saw images of a group of gentlemen who were probably in their 60s, enjoying a spring day on a yacht surrounded by a dozen scantily dressed young guys who were no older than 23. The sight of the grey-chested men posing amongst the hairless bodies of the younger guys made me feel rather uncomfortable.  I wondered how these young guys had befriended the older men in the first place. I wondered how the older men were comfortable to be photographed in the company of guys who looked like their children. I wondered what the conversation would be like and I wondered what everyone on the yacht hoped to get out of the experience.

I never understood how young gay guys can be comfortable in these situations when they surely must be aware that the only reason they are included is to be the visual stimulation and sexual fantasy of their hosts. While I am completely pro intergenerational friendship, I find it hard to comprehend what a 20-year-old twink and a 60-year-old grandfather have in common. It would be wrong to assume that these boys don’t have legitimate friendships with these older gentlemen but the fact that they all looked adolescent, presented well in speedos and are known to be overly flirtatious makes we wonder on what grounds these “friendships” were formed.

Before you start accusing me of being a jaded, jealous gay I should make it clear that I critique these boys based on my own experiences with older men and women. When I was 18 years old and living on the east coast of America an older lady took me under her wing (so to speak) and taught me a thing or two about the female species. The only thing we had in common though was that her son and I both played football. When I was 19 years old I had my first encounter with a much older Southern gentleman who invited me to spend the summer with him on his plantation in Alabama. The only thing he and I had in common was that we both liked whiskey. Both these early experiences left a lasting impression on me. Although it was fun to be looked after and spoilt, there certainly was the feeling that I was indebted to this man and woman. The attention was exciting at first but that feeling quickly waned when I realized that these encounters were based on superficial characteristics and not on deeper, legitimate commonalities. They weren’t interested in my opinion or my values or my intelligence or my goals for the future; they were interested in something else.

When I was somewhat older and living in Milan I became even more aware of the older/younger gay man relationship. In Europe, particularly amongst the wealthier classes there is a culture of older married men having affairs with young handsome guys and in Milan there were plenty of rich old men and just as many young handsome guys. Although I never had any personal affairs with these men a few of my friends forged “special” relationships. I was often invited to join them and their older companions at complimentary dinners in extravagant restaurants, to sit at tables at the most exclusive clubs and to spend weekends lounging on yachts. This may sound appealing to some but for me they were uncomfortable experiences that I was unable to enjoy. To be frank, I felt like a prostitute. In return for my company I was offered food, alcohol and excessive experiences but there was always the underlying and unspoken expectation that at any time I would be called upon to offer more than my company. I couldn’t partake in this behavior and luckily I stopped it before I lost all of my dignity.

I wondered then and still do now, how some boys my age are so comfortable in these situations. Are they more confident in their sexuality or are they blinded by the gifts and attention? Are they ignorant to the real intentions of their older friends or are they willing participants? Why did I feel cheap and used while others seemed to revel in the company of older men? Maybe I have a stronger sense of dignity and self-worth or maybe I’m not secure enough with myself to enjoy the experience without worrying about the repercussions? Either way, I would suggest to any gay boy who finds themselves in a similar situation to ask themselves “what is this experience worth to me?”. If you’re happy to enjoy a free holiday in exchange for swanning around a pool in your speedos in front of 60-year old men then go for it but if you have the slightest intuitive doubt that something’s peculiar about the situation, rather stay home and enjoy the company of men from your own generation instead.

Image by Willy Vanderperre 

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Rupert Noffs, The Modern Gay NYC contributor, heads to the theater and discovers that if the Devil wears Prada then Satan wears high heels.

Camp! Sassy! Plain old devillsh! If you’re looking for fun this week, and want to escape the New York City chill, head to the Off-Broadway production of SATAN IN HIGH HEELS playing at the TheaterLab from November 1st to 3rd.

The swinging 1960’s was the age of go-go dancers, the fall of social taboos, Woodstock, and “sexploitation” films. Movies like “Lorna”, “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! KIll!” and this, “Satan In High Heels”, were generally exhibited in urban grind house theaters. This version for stage was written by Robbie Robertson and Directed by Mark Finley (Artistic Director of TOSOS. NYC’s oldest LGBT theater company) and stars Karen Stanion as Stacey Kane a sociopathic carnival striptease dancer that sleeps her way to the top in her quest to become a Manhattan cabaret singer. She engages in a series of sizzling affairs with lesbian nightclub manager Pepe, nightclub owner and shady businessman Arnold Kenyon, and Arnold’s naive college student son, Larry.

Stanion plays Stacy Kane as a Marylin Monroe-gone-bad character which was fun to watch – equal parts Satan & Sass! Ron Bopst as Arnold Kenyon was strong as Stacy’s side-kick. Virginia Baeta as Pepe was butch but brassy, Paul Cailoa as Larry Kenyon, Brett Warwick as Rudy Valetine, and Jacqueline Sydney as Felice who knows how to make an entrance. It was Robert Locke, however, who stole the show with his overly camp potrayal of Paul. He had perfect timing. He just needs to savor more moments with his adoring audience. Jim Nugent as the cab driver/Vincent the waiter, Larry Bullcok as the Barker/Louie/Witch Doctor,  Jeremy Lawrence, Mary Louise Mooney and Chris Weikel glued the ensemble together. As a group they worked together well, with no-one shifting focus and all totally in the moment. The ensemble scenes were the high-light of Satan In High Hells, with hints of vaudeville and slapstick.

The set was as simple as they come. Four black chairs used as the main props and an effective projection screen on the wall behind, told the audience where we were. Black and white shots of the Manhattan skyline worked well. It was slightly disappointing, however, to see the capability of the lighting at the Dixon Place Theatre not being used to it’s full potential. We got either black-out or white-out. I would’ve loved a spot-light here or there, especially in the song sequences and even some color…Devil Red, perhaps?

The star of the original 60’s film, Meg Mylles, was sitting front-row center at last night’s performance. What a darling. It was amusing to watch her reactions throughout the show. Especially the moment where Stanion mimes to Mylles’ voice from the famous “The Female Of The Species” scene. I felt frustrated for Stanion, however as she had a slight wardrobe-malfunction with her belt at the end, which, she could’ve worked into the performance (how about throwing the belt to Mylles with a little air-kiss?) but, you could see Stanion was caught off guard …and rightly so! That was brave.

Having only seen moments of the original film, one of the first low-budget “indie” films which brought a new wave aimed as a vehicle for the exhibition of non-explicit sexual situations and gratuitus nudity. I thought Roberston did an exceptional job in bringing the story back to life; which you’d would think is tricky with something that is, let’s face it, pretty dated. He penned a script that even young theater goers could bite into and be satisfied.  There were moments that reminded me of a more sexier Death of A Salesman. A comedy of errors with lipstick, if you will.

The dance scenes were wonderfully choreographed by John Paolillio, with priceless 1960’s trademark moves. If only there were more!

The whole production was brilliantly Directed by Mark Finley who, you can tell, had a lot of fun with his cast. There were moments, however, that could be slowed down to let room for audience laughter and applause. We wanted to, we just didn’t have time! Also, when the actors mimed the ‘teasing of the hair’, ‘honking the car horn’ and ‘writing the check’ these moments had the opportunity to be over-acted. Sometimes, it’s odd for the audience to not actually see these props, so why not make it completely over-the-top and fun? Which is, exactly what this show is all about.

For the love of God, go see Satan!

Side Note: Last night’s performance was at Dixon Place Theatre, and having been a Lower East Side resident for nearly a year now, I thought I’d been to every diner and dive. Obviously not. This space is awesome. Complete with bar, rehearsal space and full theater for 150 people including mezzanine. Dixon Place is a not-for-profit organization and the audience was encouraged to “drink up” at the bar to help pay for the staff and performers. Who doesn’t love a drink with a splash of good karma?

The remainder performances of Satan In High Heels will be playing from November 1, 2 and 3, 2013 at TheaterLab NYC located at 357 West 36th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenue. For more information visit www.sataninhighheels-theplay.com. To purchase tickets click here.

Image Credit: Nir Arieli


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