It ain't just for the ladies any longer...

Howdy and meeYOW to our faithful male readers out there--today is a momentous occaision in the Annals (that's with 2 Ns) of Vitals History--our first male contribution!

Kudos to the Y chromasome! (now, if we can get a certain Snake to write about his deep man-love for Chuck Norris...)

Brokeback Mountain: A Straight Man’s Perspective

So the other week I went to see "Brokeback Mountain" with my fiancée. I can’t claim it was "her idea"—we actually both wanted to see it. We’re definite film aficionados and like it or not, this is a historically significant film. I’ve also been a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal’s work since "Donnie Darko" and felt he was coming off a strong performance in "Jarhead." Heath Ledger I can take or leave, but "10 Things I Hate About You" (and his performance of "Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You") was classic and enough to earn my respect.

Now I’ve had some straight friends joke to me that they didn’t go see this one because they were afraid to discover they were secretly gay; and then they might have to divorce their wives or something. I can’t say I quite had that reaction. I had my inevitable flinch moment when Ledger and Gyllenhaal first kissed (as Liberal as I am, folks, it just didn ’t feel natural to me), but the "sex" after that actually more closely resembled some fights I’ve seen, or perhaps the Greco-Roman wrestling I used to do in high school. A lot of the time I couldn’t tell if these guys were beating the shit out of each other or making love. Ladies, if you like rough sex, this is the one for you. You’ll be fantasizing for weeks after seeing these studs literally maul each other with passion.

But, ultimately, what was harder for me to deal with was not the intimate scenes but the intense feeling of loneliness and despair that permeated the film, particularly in its second half. The emotional weight of "Brokeback" was incredible and it really humanized the story. It’s a tremendous credit to Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana (who wrote the screenplay) that by the end of the picture you’ve forgotten you’re watching a "gay" film at all.

The gay issue inevitably comes up, however, and recently, when I was talking to a woman at a party about the film, she asked me if I was "homosexual friendly" for having seen it. Apparently, she knew a lot of straight men who had taken a pass on "Brokeback," and she was impressed by my willingness to open my mind or heart or whatever.

Is it really that big a deal? Heck, it’s 2006, not the Middle Ages. If a guy can’t make it through a two-hour Hollywood film with his sexuality intact, how’s he going to one day make it through a marriage, fatherhood, old age, death? Let’s get real, people. Then again, come to think of it, I grew up around a group of friends who wouldn’t even admit they masturbated until age 30 or so.

Cowboy Up!

Brokeback Mountain



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