“I think the sexiest thing is a man who owns his own home,” said John Ruble of Pasadena, Calif.
Mr. Ruble resembles a young Johnny Carson-slim, comic, smokes like it’s the early 70’s. He has been a member of the Log Cabin Republicans for 18 years; he has been with Terry Hamilton, the current Los Angeles chapter Log Cabin President, for 32 years. In all that time, has he ever violated that trust?
“I won’t say I’ve never strayed. I voted for Bill Clinton, because I was so pissed at George Bush the First. This time I really don’t have that option.”
He’s so right. As the charcoal-black-suited gay Republicans, who take their group’s name from the slave-emancipating Republican who grew up in a log cabin in Illinois, efficiently worked their press-frenzy “Big Tent” event at the Bryant Park Grill on Sunday afternoon, it became easy to forget that one was in the presence of gay evil.
With their uniformly short hair, their near-uniform body weight of 175 pounds and their tightly knotted ties, one was sometimes overcome with the urge to be fucked right into a suburban kitchen. Perfect credit! Great jobs! Superb lawns! It’s morning in George Bush’s America, and Mr. Gay Republican is ready to tap the ass of Mr. Right.
Though this sample size is quite small-numbering one, in fact-I can confirm that sex with a gay Republican is perfectly manly, satisfying, brutish and just short of short. After the initial panic fades (as in: My mother is going to kill me!), a strange gay biological clock starts striking a dangerous knell: Steal some Chinese babies! Press his suits! Make him coffee in the morning and hurry off with the other brusbands for playdates with the neighborhood medley of international adoptees!
There’s something about an incursion of conservatism here in Liberal City that’s so, well, hot. You can smell the repressed, randy man-funk on them. As one Log Cabiner said, the story is that “we’re all so uptight that when we let loose, it’s the best sex you’ve ever had.”
Gay New York’s secret crush on the Log Cabin isn’t just pity. After all, my Republican didn’t like New York-not just because we’re all crazy commies, but partly because our wrong-politik makes it nearly impossible for him to date here. One Log Cabin apparatchik and R.N.C. attendee explained it, in somewhat inebriated conversation, like this:
Q: So the consensus here is that it’s extremely hard to date as a gay Republican.
A: Well, it’s difficult for us because a lot of people out there in the gay community ask how you can be gay and Republican-and they’re prejudiced against us based on our beliefs in lower taxes and defeating terrorism. And that becomes a problem.
Q: Yeah. Me, I usually go for a man who’s in favor of terrorism.
A: Like John Kerry.
Q: Uh … right. So, if I start dating a gay Republican, how are we going to get along?
A: Are you a bottom?
There is that. When surrounded by our hordes of Eighth Avenue tanorexic turbo-bottoms, the Republican set come up like men on top. The Log Cabin crusaders are exotic fetish here in Manhattan-so gentile they make your teeth itch, their off-black suits insouciantly off-label, and beneath the fine cloth there’s a rabid priapism. They’ll clearly never appear in any Viagra ads.
In his yellow shirt, red patterned tie and slim-hipped suit, adorable Log Cabin communications director Patrick Sammon has the air of a 50’s G-man; he’s the only one who looks high-strung, racing among the reporters, eyes wild. The gay superstars, like national political director Chris Barron and fellow con-hunk executive director Patrick Guerriero, have the cold efficient air of, well, D.C. insiders. The media cluster-fucked around Chris right away, and he took it like a champ.
After all, the hottest thing a man can do in politics is stay on message.
But on Sunday night, they’d changed into their second outfits of the day and were nearly passing as Chelsea residents at Pop Burger, where our out-of-town guests were treated to $19-a-head tabs for tiny burgers, fries and water. They looked virtually normal-except for the older bearded windbag from San Francisco and the extreme manic wack job from the Hudson Valley, who was kept far from the press.
Some went on to the Bowlmor Lanes party for Congressman David Dreier late on Sunday night. “The more I see of New York, the more I think you can have it,” said an Orange County fella there. This party was truly an alien invasion from the dark heart of the Other Coast-I stayed only long enough to accidentally get a handful of the Congressman’s ass and watch a gorgeous young girl from Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office attempt to pick up a rough-and-tumble Polo-shirt-clad politico-boy. (She executed the sidle-up-from-behind-at-the-bar-and-elbow-him maneuver, a classic. Kudos.)
Congressman Dreier had been the object of much discussion among the Log Cabiners. Many jokes were made about his “chief of staff.” Mr. Dreier is now something of a gay hero for voting against the Federal Marriage Amendment, even though back in 1999 he voted to ban gay adoptions in D.C. And in 1996 he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. And in 2003 he got an 85 percent approval rating from the Family Research Council.
In fact, being gay at his party at the University Place bowling ally felt like being at a Nazi rally-except everyone was drinking apple martinis and bouncing to Teena Marie’s “Square Biz.” (“I like sophisticated fun / I live on Dom Perignon, caviar, filet mignon.” Indeed.) They did what Republicans do best these days: consume gay culture without a dose of irony.
Wherever they went all weekend, the Gay Republican cohort had the glazed look of long-suffering performance artists whose revue is suddenly, surprisingly sold out. This, they had claimed, was their year: Having stuffed the ballots for the delegate-nomination process, they claim 50-odd delegates and alternates to the convention. Now they’re our decade’s Young Communists-alluring, stylishly retrograde, newsworthy, corporately dangerous.
But by the end of the first day of the convention, their luck seemed to have run out. Earlier efforts to remove a plank from the party platform calling for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage-probably included as a sop to conservatives-had failed before they arrived. But in late negotiations, Senator Bill Frist even rejected a platform plank that would simply have acknowledged that some party activists were against the marriage amendment. All this while they watched in horror as conservative elements proposed-and won-additional planks that called on Republicans to reject even domestic-partnership benefits and civil unions.
The poor Log Cabin guys were getting it from both ends. They professed amusement at lefty protesters outside the Log Cabin “Big Tent” event. Early on Sunday, Ann Northrop, veteran demonstrator and former media operator, was outside demonstrating with a merry band of four or five. The cops shuffled them out of sight and sound, though they were on a public sidewalk. “I understand your side,” said Ann sympathetically to one of the dozens of cops that surrounded her. “You don’t want any dissent seen anywhere.”
More anti-assimilation protesters came later, and for a moment they looked so colorful and fun beyond the sea of black, red and blue sartorial conservatism. “Get a picture of me with the protesters!” has already been a frequent cry among Republican visitors, as well as “Is that the best they can do?”
Matthew McTighe, an H.R.C. campaign lobbyist, Republican and total fox, ignored the protests outside Bryant Park but has noticed the gay Republican version of “badge bunnies,” those gals who exclusively chase cops and firemen. “I have friends, Democrats, who have crushes on gay Republicans; that’s the type they seek out. Is it purely a political-party-affiliation thing-or is it something they seek out? Or are gay Republicans just better-looking?” Mr. McTighe was sporting full-on suspenders with his suit. With his long eyelashes and deep eyes, he’s perhaps the most gorgeous man in attendance, but is occupied-he met his lover of five years at (naturally) a Super Bowl party. The boyfriend happens to be further to the right than Mr. McTighe, which came as a happy surprise: “It didn’t come out till the fifth or sixth date, actually.”
Because, yes, mostly they only mate with their own kind. “There’s a lot of really good-looking guys here,” said Mr. McTighe, “and they run in the same circles.”
Fashion marketer Karen Kim was wearing a really fabulous little pink summer dress and taupe sandals, her sunglasses perched on her stylish hair. What was she doing at this 99 percent male event? “I’m their token straight chick. I help them pick out guys.”
Wherein lies the essential hotness of the gay Republican, Ms. Kim? “What defines them is, they want to be individuals,” she answered. (Ms. Kim even bought her boyfriend a new John Varvatos suit for the event so that he wouldn’t stand out.) “They can go have cocktails at Sutton Place or wherever-all these frat-boy places-and be completely perfectly fine about it, because they’re not all out and about. They want to have fun shopping, but they want to be able to keep their money. They want lower taxes, they want certain freedoms, they’re very fiscally conservative because they work 10 times harder than most people.”
That’s at the crux of it. Daddy works hard, and, unlike our local emo boys and artsy do-gooders, he doesn’t whine about it. Sure he’ll expect dinner to be warm at whatever hour he gets home from his Big Important Manly Meetings, but that’s a small price to pay for that kind of personal security in these terrorist times, no? You’d marry one of them for the same reason you’d vote for George Bush-because the government-generated fear of terrorism or the self-help-movement-generated fear of being alone had gone to your head, and, desperate, you’d arrive at a highly illogical yet somehow sensible conclusion.
After all, self-hatred is surely expressed best in the bedroom, and the more glamorously appointed bedroom the better, right? Maybe every homosexual actually does adore a Beltway-chic boot in the face. At least with these politicos you know that corrupt leer is only for you, nancy-boy.
Still, though a Log Cabin pinup calendar would sell well, it’s not entirely a movement of Howard Roarkian super-hunks. “They’re not all lovely,” said Mr. Ruble. “There are a few I could point out …. They can’t understand why they can’t get a boyfriend. Well, it has nothing to do with their politics.”