Saturday, February 22, 2014

How I Lost Faith in All of Humanity, And Particularly All Gay Men

Many years ago, this was a moderately popular blog, sometimes averaging up to 800 unique visitors a day (24,000 a month).  I was trying to create something akin to some of the popular celeb/pop-culture blog like, but with an extra-gay spin.  I lost interest for the most part because, really, I never believed in simply promoting half-naked men's bodies to get web traffic.  And yet I did it.  And then I pretty much stopped.  I don't know if anyone will ever read this, and that is actually somewhat reassuring because it's going to disclose a lot of very personal feelings.

Mea culpa time.  This is a different kind of blog post.  For a while, I was writing for did some celebrity interviews (Kathy Griffin, Sarah McLachlan, others who I liked, some to whom I was assigned) for which I was initially paid, and then I ended up writing some very personal commentaries, unpaid, that were frightening to state publicly, but which actually garnered direct responses from people all over the world.  That made me feel like there really are some good people out there, even if they are hard to come by.

I would have pitched something like this diatribe to the Advocate, but after my assigning editor left a couple of years ago, the new editors who came in displayed--at best--a reluctance to reply to my communications, and generally a total disinterest in my thoughts.  That's fine.  Things change.  I remember a time when LGBT publications existed for a reason, but now that LGBT civil rights are progressing here in the U.S., it seems like Out, the Advocate, Instinct, Attitude and all the others have shifted editorial focus from advocacy and awareness to any excuse to show Abercrombie and Fitch-standard models in underwear or swimwear.  That's progress.  It's click-driven online traffic, and trying to raise awareness about crimes against humanity in Nigeria, Uganda, Russia and other places in the world.  Those aren't our top concerns as American gay men.  We care more about names like Andrew Christian, Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein than we do about the women of Pussy Riot who were sent to a work camp for two years, or about any of the gay people who have been locked up in Moscow or Lagos or slaughtered in Uganda for being gay.  If there's a waistband wrapped around flat abs, we're in.  Otherwise, why bother?  This week the big news from Out is #mycalvins, a Twitter hash tag that encourages people to post pictures of themselves in Calvin Klein underwear.  It is relevant because it's about skin, it gets clicks, and probably some advertising cash from the Calvin Klein company.

On the left is what Abercrombie & Fitch sells: The standard body image to which all gay men aspire require as a prerequisite for any base level of respect.  On the right is Mike Jeffries, the anti-gay and racist mastermind behind Abercrombie & Fitch, which has been sued countless time for all levels of racial, sex- and looks-based discrimination.  Jeffries is worth $150 million, and every single gay publication has accepted the standard his company set as the standard appearance for gay men.  They also take advertising money from Abercrombie & Fitch, and they promote and celebrate the Abercrombie & Fitch company, delivering profits directly to a major anti-gay force that celebrates discrimination and hatred.  The moral of this story is a real-world moral no one is ever taught outright: Unkind, cruel, hurtful behaviors are rewarded in real life.  They are rewarded monetarily, they earn abusive people even greater power, and they are supported and endorsed by veritably everyone.    
I am judgmental.  Over recent years, my Myers-Briggs personality type changed from INTP (introvert, intuitive, thinking, perceiving) to INTJ (judging).  I've become a judgmental cynic.  I don't like that about myself, but I accept it.  

The past couple of weeks, though, have done something else to me.  I have been pushed even further, and now cynic doesn't even touch on my world view and my opinion of people.  I have, finally, after 35 years of life, lost all faith in human beings.  I love and value my family.  I don't trust anyone else.

Melancholia is my favorite movie.  I don't know another person who thought it was worth watching.  It is overwrought and melodramatic to the extreme, but the character played by Kirsten Dunst is the personification of my feelings about life now, at age 35.  I don't see any good in the world anymore.  None at all.  Dunst's character Justine's husband is an absolute fabrication of a human being in my life's experience, as far as a romantic interest who cares about more than outward appearance, but I see my family as being a lot like him.  They really care about me and love me, but I can't bring them anything but suffering because of my life's circumstances.  I wish I could make the people I love happy, but every force in my life other than those few people is negative and it has corroded my ability to experience joy.  The ending of this movie made me ecstatic because it offered the only good thing that I have learned to appreciate in life: relief from suffering.
I am depressive by nature.  My psychiatrist tells me that my baseline is "melancholic," and for three years I have worked to accept that about myself.  I have some trauma in my past from abuses suffered as a gay adolescent.  I didn't have a single friend from seventh grade through my high school graduation--not one.  That had a real impact on forming my psychology.  I recognize that I have a victim mentality a lot of the time, and I've worked very hard at turning that around, but right now, I feel victimized by myself for having believed in an idea as ridiculous as that of Santa Claus: that people are inherently good, and that there is good in the world.  I have always forced myself to believe in that thing called karma and the so-called golden rule.  I do unto others as I would have them do unto me.  Don't mistake this for meaning I think of myself as a superior person.  What I have just realized is that I am a weak person, and not someone who is holier than you because of what I always regarded as a virtue.

The Last Straw

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling, well, melancholic.  Since having moved into the city of Washington, D.C. four years ago (I grew up in the region, but never before lived in the city.), I have met a fair number of people in an often desperate attempt to make some gay friends.  I have plenty of non-gay acquaintances and a couple of gay-couple friends in the suburbs. Gay men seem to like having me around when my place is that of third wheel, but nobody wants to be around me one on one.  Could this be because I am a Debbie Downer?  Yes, absolutely.

But here's the reality that I've been trying to deny and just can't anymore: I am 35 years old, which is too old for gay men, at least in this city.  On my best days, in the best available lighting, and from the best angle, I am average looking--at best.  I am not an Abercrombie and Fitch model.  I used to work out at least five days a week so that I could at least have a physique acceptable to other gay men, but then a few years ago I developed sudden multiple sclerosis-like symptoms (still unexplained) that made me largely bedbound for the better part of two years, and that gay-approved body melted away.  

I am not wealthy.  And I don't aspire to be.  I am not impressed or motivated by political connections, social status, or job title.  This makes me a poor fit for Washington, D.C. in general, but in particular for the gay community here.

People have denied it to me every time I have said it, but through scores of trials and consistent evidence, here is the truth: gay men in Washington, D.C. are only interested in: 1) standard "good" looks; 2) social status; 3) youth; 4) money.  When I developed my neurological symptoms, the few people I had come to know as casual acquaintances vaporized.  I was alone, aside from my loving family.

Nothing was ever diagnosed, but I improved remarkably this year.  I had stopped meeting gay men altogether, and that actually made me feel a lot more confident and satisfied with who I am as a person.  My therapist took this as a sign that I should start meeting people again after a two-year hiatus.  I was hesitant.  But I took her advice.  This is what happened.

I divulged all the above information in order to "screen" the people who I knew would be bad for me.  If someone could handle all the above emotional baggage, then maybe he might not be a terror in my life.  It made sense.

The first guy I met, via a gay mobile app, was very friendly and we had a good conversation.  Within minutes of departing one another's company, he blocked me.  I was shocked and stunned and hurt, although I recalled that this was common from previous experience, and one of the reasons I stopped meeting people.

It was a shock.  I listened to the advice of my therapist, though, and decided that was his issue, not mine, and I met another guy.  You can safely assume what happened.

I was devastated.  Back to the shrink, back to the same advice: their problem, not mine.  As in the movie Groundhog Day, the same experience was repeated over and over.  I began to tell people that "people only meet me once and then they block me, and I don't understand why."  I thought this would at least shame them into not doing the same.  Every guy would tell me either, "that has happened to me.  You can't take it personally," or, "that's terrible.  I would never do that.  If we don't hit it off, I would say so."  Well, about half those guys blocked me after meeting once, and the other half simply ignored every single message that followed.  It's not an exaggeration.  It's a rule.

I have been Charlie Brown kicking at the football.  I know Lucy is going to pull it away when I kick, and I am going to fall and be embarrassed and hurt at my core, but I do it anyway.  Hope and desperation motivate these behaviors.  I have become Charlie Brown.

Two weeks ago, I was feeling this way--very sorry for myself.  And I was wasting time on the mobile application Scruff--it's essentially the better-known Grindr, but in my experience, guys there are more willing to converse and are not there exclusively for sex.  Still, opening the app means confronting a wall of tiled thumbnail photos of gay-standard muscular torsos, tanned and sculpted, and made unhuman by cropping the head out of the picture.  This is what gay men want.  Anyone who questions it need only go to a gay app, a gay meeting website, or even the magazine Out.  In Tori Amos's song "Blood Roses," she sings "sometimes you're nothing but meat."  Presumably she was singing to women about the way men objectify them.  Well, guess what?  She was singing to gay men, too, about the way we objectify ourselves.  People will continue to deny it, but the reality is right there for anyone to see.


In any case, on this one particular day, I began chatting with someone whose screen name was "PUFF."  It was a reference, made clear in his Scruff and Grindr (where his name is "Burnr") profiles, to his adoration for marijuana.  Many years ago, this would have been a deal breaker for me before even having begun the conversation.  I have to date never taken marijuana or any other recreational drug, but I am softening along with the rest of society and from my experience with people who smoke it, marijuana isn't half as destructive as alcohol.  I have become proud of myself for overcoming that prejudice, to be honest.  And given my conversation with this PUFF person, overcoming the prejudice was to my benefit.  He did chat a lot about marijuana even though I said I am not interested in it, but he also seemed kind.  He inquired about why I was feeling so depressed.  He told me there are a lot of terrible people in the world.  He told me I am attractive.  I told him I am not.  He said I am and he said that, more importantly, I am
obviously intelligent and insightful and creative, and that he values those things.  He wanted to meet me and talk.  He invited himself over to my place.  I told him no.  And then, eventually, I told him OK.  I gave him my address.  He came over.

This guy was, as are the majority of guys I have met, very friendly in person.  He was just nice.  Somewhat unusually, he also seemed to be actually interested in me.  He told me that we have chatted online for a long time and that I always used to refer to him as "Mr. Hahn."  I didn't remember that and said that he was probably mistaking me for someone else.

He complimented my paintings (which are strewn all around my small studio apartment) and encouraged my creativity.  He asked why someone like me would be so down.  I told him about my experiences with gay guys, and I told him about the stress I endure at my job, particularly a lot of unnecessary anxiety caused by one executive who simply makes life difficult for a lot of people for reasons that are unknown to me, and I told him about my medical issues.  In short, I shared a lot of information, and he asked a lot of questions.  About an hour into our conversation--influenced by my paintings and my blabbering on about work--he told me that he is hiring for a creative director and that I would be a good candidate for the job.  I did not ask where he works or what he does--this, in retrospect, emphasizes the self-centeredness of my conversation, but it also becomes important to what followed--and he said that I undersell myself and that I really should apply for the job.  He boosted my confidence.

And then he suddenly jumped to his feet and walked to the door.  "I can't ask how old you are," he said.


"For legal reasons.  If this is a job interview," he said.  "Do you speak any other languages?" he asked.

"I can read French, but I am not fluent," I said.

He shook his head, now standing in the open doorway.  "No," he said.  "We need Spanish.  Anyway, the United Way is not hiring anymore gays.  You know, we've reached our quota."  And he suddenly left.

I sent him a message on Scruff: "It was nice meeting you.  That conversation took a strange turn."

About ten minutes later, he responded: "I had to get out of there.  I needed an excuse."

I didn't understand, but I was deeply offended and I told him so.  I told him that if he wanted to leave, he should have just said he wanted to leave and should have gone.  I was not holding him hostage and didn't want him there if he didn't want to be there.  I didn't even want to meet anyone in the first place.

He wrote "this is why you lose everybody" and then he blocked me.

I was devastated.  What did that mean?  I couldn't ask because I was blocked.  I was angry.  I wrote about the experience in my Scruff profile.  This guy, this PUFF, this Mr. Hahn, had included the screen names of a number of men who he said are "fakes/pic collectors" in his own profile.  So I wrote about him in mine.  Essentially, I wrote what is recounted above, along with a note to anyone who might be anything like that not to contact me.  I said I do not want to speak with, much less meet, anyone else who is even remotely like "PUFF."  PUFF OFF, I wrote. I was very, very angry.  And I was in bed from the time we met on Saturday morning until I had to go to work on Monday.  I couldn't even think straight--how did a meeting with someone who seemed like a decent enough human being turn into such a confusing, deeply disturbing nightmare?  Because you're an idiot, that's why, I couldn't help telling myself.  You've been through this a zillion times, idiot.  Why would you put yourself through it again?  Why did you even take a chance?  Because you're an idiot.  I slept and dreamed about this for a day and a half.

Then I went into work mode.  Over five days, I put about 75 hours into a conference that is part of my job.  It is always physically draining, but this time particularly so because I caught the flu at the same time, and I ended up in bed for a full week, from Wednesday until the next Wednesday, with a high fever.

On the Saturday that fell between those Wednesdays, one of the best people I have ever known--a truly selfless, kind, never-complaining, intelligent, and always underestimated woman--died.  She was 55 years old, and she died suddenly from the flu.

I am still devastated.  I am not religious, but I always have willed myself to believe in karma--good begets good.  This woman was the kind of person who was kind not for any kind of reward--she lived as modestly as anyone I've ever known--but just because it was her nature.  People took her for granted in life, and she worked her ass off for 55 years and then died.  She was never rewarded in any way for who she was while she was alive.

Two days ago, I got a message from PUFF on Scruff.  (The ridiculousness of these Muppet-y names takes a lot away from the emotional significance of these experiences, but I can't change that.)  He had changed his screen name to TUFF, though, evidently because I had written about him on my profile.  His message read something along the lines of: Against my better judgment, I am contacting you to tell you to remove what you have written about me in your profile.  It has already harmed me and it could cause damage to my career.  The United Way does not discriminate against gay people, and we do not have a ban on hiring gay people.  I said what I did because I found you quite unattractive and I didn't have the balls to say so.  But you need to remove what you wrote.  I appreciate your cooperation.

Let the record reflect that I am not stating
that the United Way has a hiring freeze on
LGBT people.  I stated that someone who
works there told me that.  He retracted that
statement, per the cover-your-ass explanation
in the screen capture above.
Either way, I credit this individual with being
the singular tipping point who made me finally
abandon all hope and faith in human beings.
This is not an overstatement.
I removed the specific reference to United Way, because, in all honesty, my mind went straight to lawsuits.  This is a gigantic charitable organization with huge coffers, and I am a puny individual who could be squashed with the wink of one executive's eye--and our Mr. PUFF TUFF is an executive there.

But then I thought about it and realized that I am not stating any opinion of my own.  I am not committing slander or libel or defaming anyone.  I quoted exactly what this guy told me.  I didn't even ask.  I never asked what he does for a living.  I never asked where he works.  He began to solicit my talents for a job I did not inquire about--even if it was, as he claims, only because he found me to be ugly in person--and then he told me, without any context whatsoever, that "the United Way is not hiring anymore gays."

That sent shockwaves through me and it still does.  Who would ever say something like that?  I wouldn't, and I didn't.  I repeated what one of its executives told me without any context whatsoever.

The next morning, I got a message from Scruff that my account had been suspended for violating terms of service.  PUFF/TUFF had reported me.

I contested it.  I did not slander or libel or defame anyone.  I quoted someone who insisted on meeting me when he knew I was already severely depressed, and he insulted me physically, professionally, and characteristically.  My personal integrity and character are the most important things to me in life.  That is what has sent me reeling, and what has caused me to give up my hope and faith in people.  It turns out, that integrity that I have paid such attention to retaining and cultivating all my life does not matter to anyone.  It has no value.  People who have powerful positions and money to back those positions up can disregard anyone's integrity and go on a senselessly hurtful, injurious, predatory rampage for personal fulfillment without any recourse whatsoever.  They are immune to it.  This is a world of haves who have power to abuse others and have nots who hold onto false hope and live according to feelings of personality integrity that are equally false.

One day after I was suspended, I got a message from Scruff saying that all the "offensive material" in my profile had been deleted, and that my account has been reactivated, but that it will be monitored and that if I break the terms of service again, I will be permanently banned.

I don't expect anyone to have any sympathy for me, but this is the summary of my life as I see it:
  • I have worked very, very hard at all of the jobs I have ever held.
  • I have worked hard to pursue creative interests and education related to the things in life that I have valued to date.  I was an honors student in college and because of the worthlessness I felt about myself when I was young, I always felt I would be dead by age 25.  I am 35 years old now, and so I have exceeded my own expectations about what I would accomplish.
  • I have always, always lived by the so-called golden rule.  I now accept, as of this week, that it is no more a part of the real world than Santa Claus.
  • I recognize that I am entirely self-involved and caught in a cycle of self-pity that contributes to my depression.  
  • But I also recognize the reality, which I denied for a long time, taking responsibility for these things myself, that every single gay man I have met in the past four years in Washington, D.C. has rejected me outright because of my appearance or my social status, and not only rejected me romantically but rejected me as a valid human being with any intrinsic value.  I have simply been erased from existing in their worlds.
  • I used to write for a major LGBT outlet, and I have believed strongly in advancing LGBT civil liberties.  Right now, I am thinking that I may have been wrong all along.  I have always been gay, and I have always been out, and I have always held and lived according to what I thought were basic tenets of living a "good" life: respecting other people, respecting oneself to the greatest extent possible, living honestly, being kind.  I have forced myself against all contrary evidence over and over and over for 35 years that these things were real values in a real world, but every single experience with every single gay man has been contrary to this.  The gay men I've met in Washington, D.C. truly value standard good looks, gym-hardened bodies, youth, money, and professional standing and connections.  Not only do my values not figure into theirs, but they do not figure into the real world.
  • The woman I knew who just died--there is no justice.  She was as close to a saint as I have ever known.  Obviously senseless deaths occur, but hers hit me hard and it feels like a proverbial ton of bricks being dropped on me to give me the message to pay attention to what has been going on in my life all these years: good is not rewarded.  It is not even valued.  
My faith in humanity is gone.  It's gone for good.

People who have no integrity and who do not respect others take power and are given power by others.   The word "bully" is popular today, and we can use that, but it diminishes the significance in the real world.  These people become powerful.  They become executives.  When they do things that harm other people, they never, ever suffer any kind of repercussions because they are backed by powerful entities.  They always get their way.

At age 35, I have finally learned this lesson.

I do not plan to become one of these people.  That is not who I am.  But I do expect to withdraw even further from society and from everyone else because the very difficult-to-accept truth that has been pounded into me by a vicious universe is that "good" is arbitrary and certainly not rewarded.  "Bad" is real because it is demonstrated regularly by many people's very real and very damaging actions--and bad behavior is always rewarded.

I have become a full and absolute cynic.  I do not believe in trying anymore.  I am mourning the loss of my dear friend who died senselessly from influenza, and I am mourning the loss of hope that I carried with me for 35 years.  I won't fall for it again, ever.

I also will not be silenced.  I mentioned Tori Amos above, and one of the songs that changed my world for the better long ago is "Silent All These Years," in which Amos sings "Sometimes/I said sometimes I hear my voice/And it's been here/Silent all these years," and how she was able to regain power over her own life by using her voice.  I keep trying to do that and I keep being silenced.  It doesn't matter.  I can be annoying, and I can be self-indulgent, but I can't be silent for the sake of making other people happy.  These are people who want to exploit me--use my words without compensating me and then throw me in the trash, use my body once and then block me from ever appearing on their radar again, take my money to use their app and then censor me from speaking the truth while allowing an executive at a major charity to solicit illicit drugs and sex and slander other users by name while denying me the same right.  The right to my own voice.  No.  I won't accept it.  Eventually someone is probably going to put out a hit on me because I can't keep my mouth shut, but so be it.  There are no good people in this world, anyway, from all evidence I have been shown.

I have run out of hope and, I think, I don't have any ability to feel joy anymore.  But I absolutely will not shut up.  The good news for the rest of the world is that nobody has to listen, and my voice doesn't have any power anyway.  Except to me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How To Inspire a Movement

If you haven't seen this, watch it.  It could change how you see things.

Remembering the Brewer Twins

Before Abercrombie & Fitch cornered the market on naked outdoor romps in black and white, before Bel Ami took the 'twincest' fantasy too far, at the dawn of the Internet in the mid-1990s, the universe graced us with Derek and Keith Brewer--better known as the Brewer Twins.

These blond surfers, who turned 40 a couple of months ago, were mainstream male models who had major ad campaigns with GAP, Guess?, YSL, and others.  Here you will see why People magazine selected named them in 1998 as two of the most beautiful people in the world.

But what stands out the most in our memory is the scandalous Bruce Weber photo shoot that teased the world with question of exactly how close the male supermodels were.  According to the twins' website, one of them is now married--but these pictures will live on forever.  Make sure to jump for the raciest of the photo set!  You won't be sorry you did.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Jesse Metcalfe Shirtless: Then and Now

Show us your tits!

Jesse Metcalfe has never been shy about showing off his bare chest.  Here he is in his breakout role as the lawn mower (snicker) in the first season of 'Desperate Housewives':

Everyone loves a Twinkie, but we think Jesse has really grown into his moobs and looks even better as an older gentleman.  Jesse deserves a WOOF, don'tcha think?

Did Britney Spears Rip Off Mika??

I've been thinkin'
Just sittin' thinkin'...

These are the opening lines of Brit-Brit's new song "It Should Be Easy ft."  The song has got me thinkin'...

Now, before we say anything critical, just for the record, we like the song.  We like Brit-Brit.  She has the voice of an angel with a sinus infection.  It's all part of her charm.

Not so charming is that the song feels like a total ripoff of a Mika song--and it seems like nobody's even concerned with hiding that.

Britney's new song is "It Should Be Easy."

Mika's old song: "Relax, Take It Easy."

The choruses are just too similar to be a coincidence.

What do you think: are the producers behind the Britney curtain just "inspired" by Mika's 2006 song, or is this a case of plagiarism?

Listen, and then discuss.

Christopher Fawcett is Perfect (Almost) on Vacation: 20 Perfect Pictures

It's time to look at Chris Fawcett doing what (as far as we know) he does best: looking perfect.  (If you think "perfect" is an overstatement, make sure to jump for some NSFW photos that are just...too much to handle.  Literally.)

Our only criticism?  He is seen smoking in one of these candid shots taken while he was vacationing somewhere fabulous with his boyfriend.  Yes, his boyfriend--also perfect looking.  Are you surprised?

In Memoriam: SexyPaul Walker

The world lost a beautiful man when Paul Walker, age 40, died in a recent car accident.  Some of his best moments--just looking hot or just being himself--are captured here to memorialize him in an admittedly too-shallow way.

Do consider making a donation to his charity, Reach Out Worldwide, in his memory.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful For...Regina Spektor

I'm not going to post a full review of Regina Spektor's newest release--Regina Spektor: Live in London, a CD and full blu-ray concert DVD--because there's no real point in gushing about her brilliance. I watched the full concert last night and was simply blown away by Spektor's talent. I'm watching it again right now. If you haven't given Spektor a chance for whatever reason--maybe you heard "Fidelity" on the radio and thought it was stupid, maybe you think she's too girly, maybe you just don't like her style of music or writing--you ought to go see her perform sometime. The New York-based Russian immigrant plays piano, keyboard and guitar. She sings a cappella. She writes all her own music and lyrics. And she's completely genuine, and even seems to be embarrassed by the attention she gets.

Just watch this performance of "Eet" before you make up your mind.

Robyn Goes Back To The Future

Body Talk Pt. 3 came out yesterday, fulfilling Robyn's newest perfect pop formulation. Pt. 1, released last spring, was a mixed bag of dance-pop (Dancing On My Own, Fembot), electro-hip-pop (None Of Dem), and avant garde or unexpected acoustic tracks (Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do, Jag vet en delig rosa). The song Hang With Me takes up real estate on parts one and two of Body Talk--acoustic on the first and mixed perfectly on the second. Body Talk Pt. 2 overall is edgier, with explicit (but fun) tracks like Criminal Intent and U Should Know Better, featuring Snoop Dogg. Part two ends with the stunning ballad Indestructible--Acoustic Version. From that name, we knew to expect a dance mix on Body Talk Pt. 3. Robyn doesn't disappoint.

Just as she did with her two versions of Hang With Me, Robyn pulls off the rare trick of making both an acoustic and an electronic-mixed version of Indestructible sound like the original. The acoustic version is as close as Robyn gets to a power ballad; the part three version is power pop. On the whole, Body Talk Pt. 3--brief at five tracks--is the most cohesive third of the trilogy.

On yesterday's issue, every song is pure dance-pop--no balladry, no hardcore. In Indestructible, she opens the EP singing, "I'm going back through time at the speed of light." The sound is very retro--a sonic theme that continues through every song on the EP. When she revs up her Time Machine engine (the second song on the album), we're solidly in the 1980s. And if you weren't sure from what decade Robyn was pulling, she gives you a handy Back to the Future reference ("All I need is a time machine/All I want is a delorean"), which is the song's extended metaphor. Call Your Girlfriend, the third song, opens with a fairly contemporary sound, but we're in full ABBA mode by the chorus. You'll love it, even if you didn't know how much you missed Electric Light Orchestra. Get Myself Together and Stars 4-Ever would have been perfect in the mid-90s, and they're pretty perfect now (although probably the weakest two songs on this mini-album, in my opinion).

Considered as a whole, Body Talk--parts one, two, and three put together--make for an astonishingly polished, diverse, and failure-free album. Normally an album with 24 original songs has some serious misfires, but at its worst, the weakest songs in the bunch (In My Eyes, Love Kills) are better than serviceable. It's incredible that Robyn isn't better known in the U.S., but at least she's appreciated by critics and the people who know her music.

Here's a taste of Part 3, if you're one of the sad few who don't have the album yet. Let's go back in time...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall Bounty: More Hot Chris Fawcett

See more--or buy the clothes off his supple bottom--at Undergear.