Tag Archives: masculinity

Love in Black and White

Black black

The funniest part of that night: he brought me Hennessy.

Hennessy!

Everyone who knows me knows I don’t drink brown liquor. Besides, we had a conversation about my love for tequila days prior. I didn’t really understand.

But stereotypes are powerful like that.

An orchid kind of love this was not; but it’s the closest thing I’ve had to effort in a long time.

When was the last time someone sought me out?
When was the last time someone worshipped my body? (and not the other way around)
When was the last time someone made it a priority to please me?

Admittedly it was nice. There wasn’t really the spark I hoped for, but what we lacked in chemistry we made up with in kink.

“Ask me again if I’m an experienced top.”

I thrusted harder…deeper this time. A shiver ran through his obliques while a smirk emerged from his lips. He wanted to be disrespected and I was happy to oblige. Got to give the people what they want no?

One Mandingo fantasy coming right up!

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want…specifically from men. And whom to get it from. I’ve also been thinking a lot about my place in the sexual marketplace and how that bodes for my personal goals.

If there’s anything the last situation taught me, it’s companionship ain’t shit if you don’t see the person on a regular basis. Especially the way we socialize men to enter a space, get their needs met and walk away. I’m actually really tired of my future husbands coming and going as they please but not taking my feelings into account.

“I got feelings too.”

By the end of the night I ran out of lube…and excuses. There was no reason to stay in this cycle of disappointment. If I wasn’t getting my needs met, it was my job to find what I was looking for elsewhere.

Hell, I didn’t have to look far. He was on his knees licking up the rest of the cum off the floorboards.

The joke’s on me.

Tammy Hennessy

Quotes of the Week: Special Frank Ocean Edition

Ill Doctrine: Frank Ocean’s Independence Day from ANIMALNewYork.com on Vimeo.

I have experienced this. And I have loved him.
Jay Smooth (Animal/Ill Doctrine)

Frank Ocean is triflin! He was trying to take that girl’s man.
As told to Pharaohc1ous

I thought Ocean might just be playing with characters when I first heard his songs using male pronouns. In a sense, he is — but in the same way that anyone on the down low does. The character you create may be your own tragically false self.
Ann Powers (NPR)

Being gay in the black community is still frowned on. The black community has a lot of growing to do. We really really do.
The Skorpion Kevin Simmons via Twitter

At least Frank Ocean had the courage to come out. You’d be surprised, some of these rappers are so far in the closet they’re in Narnia.
Novel via Twitter (and he would know!)

I commend Frank Ocean for coming out and saying it, but it’s not a first because there’s plenty of black male gay singers. Even when they don’t admit it, you kind of know. If you heard somebody like… I don’t want to say a name, because people will talk… but like somebody in the Wu-Tang Clan or something, if they came out then that would be groundbreaking. That would be totally challenging.
color Chuck D unimpressed

The glory of Ocean’s “coming out,” is that he never used the words “gay” or “bisexual.” The New Orleans native only described love between two people. His choice of language was paramount: Sexual orientation must be acknowledged beyond the labels and above the groin.
Clay Cane (HuffPost Gay Voices)

There is “coming out” and there is “I love this man.”

The former allows heterosexuals to feel good about themselves; it creates space, otherness, between “straight” love and “gay” or “queer” love; it maintains the status quo.

The latter, meanwhile, is a declarative statement devoid of labels. It is expression. It is — to sound slightly trite — a human thing to say. Love is love; there is no otherness; the status quo is threatened, if not outright attacked.

There is no shame in declaring one’s love for another.
Mensah Demary (Thought Catalog)

Frank Ocean gay, this nigga gettin endorsements, more sales, etc. Bitch! Only thing I got when I came out was condoms & HIV brochures.
AmazinXai with a good point

Peace to Frank Ocean and all of us trying to be fully self actualized and free.
Josie Pickens via Twitter

Every single one of us is born with peace and tranquility in our heart. Frank just found his.
Russell Simmons (Global Grind)

My son is brave and honest and I am very proud of him. I wish more people in the world could be brave enough to be who they really are.
Frank’s mom Katonya Breaux Riley via Twitter

But you’re not an activist. You’re a Black man in America whose star is on the rise, working in hip-hop and soul, where gender constructs are cartoonishly fixed.
dream hampton (Life and Times)

People must come to recognize that gay and bisexual people also have hearts, emotions, relationships that are just as significant as anyone else’s. I hate that we still have to fight to get folks to see that in 2012…
Jamilah Lemieux (Ebony.com)

The courage he displayed in his beautiful and eloquent letter was touching on many levels. Frank broke down a wall that should never have been built. The overwhelming show of support from his peers was awesome and inspiring. Island Def Jam is so proud to stand beside Frank Ocean — the artist and man — now and always.
Island Def Jam President Joie Manda

Hopefully, in the wake of his letter, the urban community will fully embrace Ocean for his honesty and bravery. It’s impossible he’s alone.
Gerrick D. Kennedy (LA Times)

The world accepted R. Kelly after peeing on a little girl.
The world accepted Chris Brown after beating on his girlfriend Rihanna.
Will we accept Frank Ocean after him writing about his first love being a man?
Wes (AconnectionTV)

You never lose when you live your truth.
Charlamagne Tha God (power 105.1 The Breakfast Club)

Mandingo in the Middle

sandwich-fail-neds-meaty-mandingo.jpg

Image from Epic Fail

My current landlord offered me my new apartment on the spot. In fact, he showed me one that wasn’t even on the market yet. I was so confused, I didn’t even have all the paperwork ready. Why was he being so nice to me?

“I’ve been doing this for thirty years now. I can tell when someone is good people. You seem like a nice guy.”

Ah yes, for the purpose of obtaining new living arrangements, my clean cut demeanor comes in hand. But for the purposes of invoking fear in the hearts (rectums) of bottoms, this is a handicap.

Indeed, success in the sexual market is often determined by how closely you fit your racial stereotype. Black masculinity with its thug-infused signifiers sits atop the hyper-masculine mountain. And I’m a ham.

Basically my androgyny is killing my sex life.

I’m tall, but not that tall.
I have a deep voice, but I laugh a lot and use proper English.
Brown skinned; I’m neither Xem Van Adams “light bright” yellow nor big black fuck ox dark.
etc. etc. etc.

People find me attractive, it’s just they don’t know what to do with me. Or they know exactly what they want and are ashamed to ask for it.

This also works backwards: many guys who aren’t normally attracted to black men make an exception for me because whatever it is they’re filtering by isn’t applicable to me.

I had a Latino guy who had “no blacks” prominent in his ad tell me last week I was OK because I wasn’t that dark. Thanks? Ugh.

I’m at this really interesting turning point in my sex life and it’s time to make some big decisions.

…to be continued.

My Sex Is Mental

mentalsex.jpg

from Growing Up Lammy

It’s time for some mind sex, we ain’t got to take our clothes off yet
We can burn the incense, and just chat
Relax, I got the good vibrations
Before we make love let’s have a good conversation
Dead Prez – Mind Sex

Before we go any further, I have a confession to make:

I don’t have a lot of sex.

No really, I just got into double digits not too long ago (penetration-wise anyway). I’m not a prude or anything, it’s just usually not that exciting unless there’s some sort of intellectual/emotional connection. Call me conservative, but I believe sex truly is better with someone you love.

My first love, we never had sex. I blame him. As the standard everyone is judged against, if the mental banter isn’t there I’m not interested regardless of the physicality.

More importantly, I don’t understand the logistics of sorting dating partners by physical appearance.

Let’s say you like big breasts, what happens if your girlfriend gets a reduction?
Or what happens if you prefer really big dicks and the biggest one you’ve come across happens to be attached to a complete idiot with bad body odor. Is it worth it?

I see so many people fixated on particular body parts/physical characteristics and it doesn’t pragmatically make sense to me. Don’t get me wrong, I have tastes just like everyone else, that’s not what I’m saying.

For example, as mentioned before, I keep running into these guys who are fixated on if I cum a lot. It’s an extension of the virility associated with the hypermasculine stereotype of black men. And I’m like, “Does it matter…what if I don’t cum a lot? Is that a dealbreaker?”

Often times it is.
Yes Dorothy, it’s not enough just having a big penis these days.

Besides, what is a lot of semen anyway? Like a tablespoon? More? No one quantifies these things, how am I supposed to do a performance evaluation if you don’t specify the criteria for judgment.

It’s gotten so bad to the point I have to lie about my degree/profession because people get these crazy “Oh you have a degree in sex, you must be good at it” expectations.

Thanks for the added pressure!

Truth is I like talking about sex more than having it. And if we’re going to do anything physical, I choose quality over quantity any day of the week.

Unless I need to get off.

Spotlight: Beyond Masculinity


As fabulous as I am, it’s about time I introduce you to some other sex masters doing great work.

Trevor Hoppe, a fellow critical masculinity scholar edited this really great anthology called Beyond Masculinity. It’s a wonderful collection of queer men’s essays on gender and politics.

With a wide range of topics, experiences and decent racial representation, there is something for everyone. My favorite (natch) is a piece by Keith M. Harris: IN THE LIFE ON THE DOWN LOW: Where’s a Black Gay Man to Go?

Do we really think that the worst thing that can happen to a black man is that he be called a faggot?

Several of the essays are in audio form, you can subscribe to the feed on iTunes.

A true Renaissance man, Trevor has a lot going on. He has a Youtube show: The View From The Bottom (womp womp), a blog and is working on more degrees. If you like Beyond Masculinity give him a shout on his site or leave a comment below.

Spotlight: ilikejoaquin

In an effort to give you more of why you’re probably here; to explore the intersections of race and sexuality, we’re introducing this new category. I can’t think of a person I’d like to share more with my readers.

I started watching Joaquin in 2008, in the heydays of YouTube. I was arbitrarily searching for homo-related content and stumbled upon his original Gay Series.

And yes he’s cute and all that, but if you actually listen (like I have for over three years) you begin to see he actually has something to say.

I think gay men of color take for granted the access we have to one another today. When I was a teenager there was no Youtube, no Noah’s Arc, no Grindr. I had to figure it out pretty much by myself. With so many people sharing their stories online today, it’s easy to find a gay boy who looks like you (even ethnicity wise).

He discusses relevant issues, but isn’t preachy. I don’t think people realize the power of just documenting your life, whether you do it for yourself or some other reason.

In the research we call this lived experience. How do young gay/bi Filipino men negotiate their masculinity (for example)?

Some of my favorites:

And You Are?
I’m bias because I’ve seen it live, but yeah, it still makes me smile.

I’m Gay & Confused
They say you never forget your first…(the Gay 001 video)
But yeah, speaking of Noah’s Arc, not having a lot of gay friends and being single at 28, 29, 30, LOL

Being Gay and at Your Best
Perhaps I just needed to hear this tonight, but of all his self worth/self love videos (and there are a few) this one is my favorite.

If you don’t put your best in something, then what are you doing?

He just started a new series: growing up gay. And extra stalker points if you want to read his writing on his WordPress.

Summary
Demographics: gay, Filipino, 20s
Location: The Bay Area, California
Highlights: poetry, dance, drag, self reflection (Variety)
Tagline: We from the Bay Y’all, We Da Best

Scavenger Hunt: There’s actually an interesting story about where the name of his channel comes from. Bonus points if you find the video with the explanation.

My Masculinity, My Femininity, My Androgyny

I don’t understand men.
I don’t even understand what I don’t understand about them.
They’re a most inscrutable bunch, really.
Maureen Dowd – Are Men Necessary?: When Sexes Collide

I don’t have any brothers.
I had limited contact with my uncles growing up (most of whom are now dead).
My father was never around (always at “work”).

Admittedly I think I got into critical masculinity studies because (to a certain extent) men are foreign creatures to me.

That scene in commercials where the (white) father is playing catch with his son in the front yard? Yeah, wasn’t really my experience growing up.

My first real experience with “manhood” was actually in first grade English class. You see, I have small hands.

When you’re a boy, small hands mean you have “really nice handwriting for a boy.”

When you’re a black boy, small hands mean social suicide.

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photo by Nathan Bolster

My script was perfect…I even did calligraphy for a while; but I couldn’t palm a basketball.
I aced art every year, but I couldn’t throw a football (properly).

It didn’t really bother me, but it seemed to freak out everyone else. The girls in my class were upset my handwriting was “prettier” than theirs (already encroaching on female territory at six) and other boys didn’t know what to do with me because I didn’t know the cues of being a stereotypical boy. For example, my next door neighbor was cool, but he liked eating bugs so that relationship didn’t last too long. I spent a lot of time alone as a child.

In fifth grade the weirdest thing happened: I randomly became popular for a good two months.

“Tony you got the Barkleys?!”
They were so excited. Of course I knew who Charles Barkley was, but I didn’t know I bought his sneakers and they were the “it” shoe of 1994. I bought them because they were black (I always liked darker shoes as a child). Womp.

In junior high I would excel at sports that didn’t require big hands: tennis, track and wrestling. But the gold standards in boyhood are team sports, so I eventually took to my creative side (which was championed more by teachers and adults in general). In seventh grade I would begin my “career” in journalism working for the school paper.

In high school I was more asexual than anything. The “gay” boys were all flamboyant and that wasn’t me. Besides, in the black community, nerd trumps fag in the put-down department so they focused on my intelligence. No one really cared what I was doing with my penis. I was now editor-in-chief of the high school paper and we were best in New York state two years in a row. I was one of the most powerful non athletes in my grade. You don’t mess with the press.

Freshmen year of college (in Pennsylvania) several women tried to get the business, but I’m proud to say I still have my gold star. I liked women, but not in the same way I liked other men. I lost my virginity at 21 when I returned to New York which started another “crisis” of masculinity (what does this whole top/bottom thing mean anyway?!)

I can’t remember when people started coming to me for sex advice, but it’s always funny when one of my straight identified male friends come to me like “Yo Tony, I’m having problems with my girl BLAH BLAH BLAH…” I listen, then usually give a five sentence explanation complete with action plan to remedy the situation. You can see the light bulb go off in their head.

I was socialized by women; women make sense to me.
But those silly boys…

That probably explains why I don’t have a lot of gay male friends. Gay men are still men and they confuse me. At least straight boys care about girls…and I know stuff about them.

Finishing undergrad in NY was fun. I was dressing differently, carrying myself differently, but didn’t self identify as masculine. During that time I would joke 60% of my masculinity was being black, 30% my voice and the rest other traits. It wasn’t until people discovered my choice in music that people would suspect I was gay.

It wasn’t until a particular psychology teacher introduced me to the BEM Sex Role Inventory in 2004 that I started to make sense of it all. Psychologist Sandra Lipsitz Bem theorized masculinity and femininity weren’t in opposition to one another, but that every human has the capacity for both traits based on cultural expectations. Today, I still score high on both traits (which makes me androgynous).

In grad school one could argue I was the most masculine of the bunch. I was the only male who wasn’t officially out to his family. One day the “when did you come out” conversation happened and the other four guys had silly stories of getting caught messing around at thirteen and such. I didn’t have much to contribute to the conversation.

Today, I’ve embraced the fact many people read me as masculine (it makes dating more interesting to say the least). But if you asked me, I’ll tell you the truth: I prefer Mandy Moore over Jay-Z any day.