April 18, 2006

Thoughts on Dan Savage's Lecture

Last night everyone's favorite sex advice columnist, Dan Savage came and spoke on campus as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series. His coming was originally independant of 'Gaypril,' though it was eventually co-opted. I have a five page paper that I need to start, so I don't have time to write a detailed post, but I do have the time to write a few bullet points on the subject.

  • He opened with asking for a show of hands of all the straight people in the audience, then the gay people, then the closeted gay people. Over 80% of the audience raised their hands for being straight, which surprised both him and me, then a few scattered hands for people who admited to being gay, and no one admitted to being closeted. And, as one might expect in a room full of straight boys whose sexuality might be questioned, the room reeked of cologne, and nothing gender neutral: this was the manliest musk possible short of sweat, and it hung in the air like London fog

  • Probably the most entertaining part of the lecture, both for the audience and for Dan Savage, was the sign language interpreter at the side of the stage. There's nothing quite as funny as watching an overweight middle-aged woman sign things like "shove his face into his pussy" or "sliding his tongue into his pooter". Once Dan realized the humor possible, he let loose with a string of sexual acts that made her appear to have manual Tourettes: masturbation masturbation fist fucking cocksucker faggot masturbation dyke pussylicker anal whore.

  • He didn't so much make a speech but take written questions from the audience, which he answered with glib remarks and told an occaisional antedote. He brought a pitcher of beer onstage with him instead of the usual water (that's the way we roll in Madison), but it made me think of how pretty much any gay guy I know could have done the same thing, with a little alcohol in him. I mean, it's not so hard to compose a witty, sexually charged retort to most questions (there can only be so many questions he can answer before he starts repeating himself).

  • I guess ultimately I left amused yet disappointed. I would have preferred it if Dan Savage had come in with prepared remarks or even a short speech about something instead of just composing a rehash of his article onstage. I find his books and longer personal narratives to be much more interesting than his column, which I think gets to be an experiment in finding new ways to answer what amounts to be the same six or seven questions.

  • Perhaps the most interesting thing, for me at least, was the fact that I bumped into DPB in the lobby beforehand. He's looking good, definitely lost weight, but more importantly, he smiled and said hi as we passed each other. (I suppose if I were more clever I would have asked Dan Savage the question on what that means, and DPB would know that I was talking about him, and we would have run across the auditorium and embraced in a Hollywood style.)

Here lies a most ridiculous raw youth, indulging himself in the literary graces that he once vowed to eschew. Now he just rocks out.