Between the Lines

Much Ado About Dick

Richard Burnett

Just because dykes and fags are getting more ink on the pages of our nation’s magazines and newspapers doesn’t mean the coverage is improving. The last month did offer up a few nuggets, though, notably the irascible and very funny Frank magazine, which duly satirizes and punctures our political and celebrity windbags coast-to-coast.

Take, for instance, this delicious blurb (March 7) on one-time Canadian Olympic gold-medal swimming champ Mark Tewksbury:
“First Tom and Nicole. Then Jennifer and Puffy. Now it saddens me to hear of the break-up of Mark “Backstroke” Tewksbury and his longtime beau, Ben “The Swiss” Kiss,” Frank reports. “The handsome couple’s three-years-plus love affair has come to an end and Ben has moved to Berlin to pursue a stage career, while Mark remains in Toronto to squeeze papayas at his granola cafe. The official word is that the two simply wanted to pursue separate dreams, but my friends in the florist community claim Mark and Ben were always more absorbe din themselves than each other.

“During Ben’s long absences in Berlin, Mark was often spotted doing some late-night birdwatching in some of Toronto’s finest parks or cruising gay clubs in Montreal. Avid pianists routinely work themselves into a tizzy upon seeing the washed up swimmer all alone at Stock, one of Montreal’s male peeler joints.

“Of course it’s doubtful Mark remembers where he’s been. He told a gay magazine that he was addicted to party drugs — a revelation that surprised the florist community about as much as his 1998 admission that his Olympic gold medal came with matching earrings.”


The gay mag Frank refers to, by the way, is Toronto’s fab (for whom I also occasionally write), which sent out a press release last month stating the drug The Tewk admitted being addicted to was in fact grass and not ecstasy.

Montreal’s last remaining English-language daily, The Gazette, meanwhile, recently proved its reporters can write as badly as many of their colleagues over in city’s French-language dailies. In a Feb 26 front-page feature on Laval soccer coach Claude Huard who encouraged teammates to masturbate, reporter Monique Beaudin slanders an entire community when she reinforces the stereotype that all gay men are sexual predators: “The father, who accompanied his son and teammates on trips to New York, Britain, Sweden and Denmark, said he had no suspicions that anything inappropriate was going on between Huard and the children, who were in their early teens,” Beaudin writes. “He said he and another parent only once ever questioned why Huard, who was in his early 20s at the time, never seemed to have a girlfriend.”

On the other hand, Gazette columnist Elizabeth Bromstein did quote yours truly in a column about men loving men after Bromstein read The National Post’s weeklong February series The Perfect Man, which the right-wing broadsheet launched with a fawning front-page headshot of none other than — go figure — Cary Grant who, for those of you going “Hunh?”, enjoyed taking it up the ass. Of course, the word “gay” didn’t figure anywhere in the Post series.

So, when Elizabeth asked me what I like in a man (Feb 6), I told her, “Well, I’m always looking for a sugar daddy, but a friend told me that at my age I should be a sugar daddy.”

So, Liz said, your perfect man should have money. “I think he should be able to pay for his own vices,” I replied.
As for my favourite celebrity men? I like Laval sprinter Nicolas Macrozonaris, who helped anchor the Canadian track team at the Sydney Olympics. Because, I told Liz, “He’s about 20 years old and reminds me of Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause. He’s gorgeous [and] he’s ambitious.”

Stateside, meanwhile, ab-fab New York mag published its awesome, comprehensive “Gay Life Now” issue (March 5) that officially outed Rosie O’Donnell and Kevin Spacey (unless, of course, you read the tabs), the week before I “officially” outed Ricky Martin in my syndicated column Three Dollar Bill.

“I’d love nothing more than to rim Ricky’s rosebud, except that Puerto Rican maricon won’t come out of his glass closet,” I wrote in Hour (March 8). “And I can’t stand closet cases. After all, generations of gay and lesbian pioneers have given up cushy jobs and cushy lives so dykes and faggots everywhere can live full lives with dignity and respect.

“Except our bottle-blonde studmuffin would rather piggyback on their shoulders and live a publicly closeted life in the lap of luxury, like so many other superstar faggots who’d rather sell five million CDs or theatre tickets than 500,000.”

My Ricky rant came on the heels of a great quote from syndicated Savage Love columnist Dan Savage who wrote in the Seattle-based alt-weekly The Stranger (Jan 25), “Did everyone see Ricky Martin dancing with George W. Bush in front of the Lincoln Memorial last week? I felt the same shame watching Ricky dance with [Bush] that African Americans felt watching Ben Vereen tap dance for Ronald Reagan. Ricky Martin denies he’s gay, of course, but come on. Ricky hasn’t been arrested in a men’s room with a cock in his mouth, but it’s gonna happen sooner or later. (And when it does, gay magazines will slap Ricky’s picture on their covers and declare Ricky a hero in the struggle for gay rights.) The full reality of the new Bush era didn’t hit me until I sat watching that closet case shake his bon-bon with the worst thing that’s happened to this country since, well, ever. It’s going to be a long, ugly four years, kids.”

Anyway, back to New York magazine. One feature, titled “I Want My Gay TV” and penned by noted cultural critic Daniel Mendelsohn (he wrote New York’s explosive cover story on the gay “velcro mafia” a few years back), trashes the God-awful American remake of Queer As Folk (just renewed by Showtime for another 20 episodes).

“It’s a show in which the characters have no character precisely because all they do is have sex or think and talk about having sex with other men, which is, in most cases, what “being gay” boils down to once you strip away the other 90 per cent of waking life,” Mendelsohn rants. “When you think about it, the only breakthrough in the new big breakthrough shows is to depict gay people doing what it, curiously enough, never thought to be soul — or character-defining in the case of straight people: having sex.”

No one says that about HBO’s all-girl Sex and the City TV series (which Bravo! airs in Canada on late Friday and Saturday nights) which is, of course, all about sex, sex and still more sex. Except for — natch — NYC-based Sex in the City columnist Candace Bushnell - whose column the TV series is based on: Bushnell recently trashed the two gay writers of the hit TV series because dick-obsessed character Amanda (played by Kim Cattral) is nothing, Bushnell snaps, but a drag queen obsessed with men’s body parts.

“Women,” Bushnell quipped, “don’t talk like that.”

Richard Burnett’s syndicated queer-issues columnThree Dollar Bill can be read locally in Hour magazine and The Ottawa X Press, as well as on the web at or at (click on the “scene” link and scroll down to TDB).