Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
August 17, 2004

Cruising...for books
Author/s: Bruce Vilanch

I was looking for something sexy to read on the beach this summer, because nothing says “Troll!” louder than a copy of Bill Clinton’s 957-page memoir tossed casually onto an Ikea towel. So I strolled into my local gay bookstore, the Purple Planet, and grabbed a shopping basket. Things have been a little lean at the Planet lately, what with most of your snappier gay titles now available at the big chains and everything else obtainable online. Nevertheless, the old curiosity shop was filled with old curiosities like me mincing up and down the aisles in rapt fascination, glancing periodically toward what used to be the back room, now an espresso café. The times they are a-changin’. The books, not so much. Here are a few opening lines I happened upon at random:

“Being the water boy for the varsity lacrosse team was tiring, especially after a day of bullying from his classmates, but it was worth it because there was always a chance he would see Larkin toweling down after practice.”

“'This is going to be the most exciting lesbian family cruise ever!’ Monica shrieked to LouAnne. ‘Should the boat be making that rumbling sound?’ her partner answered back.”

“The alley was dark, and he could almost see the Hudson River through the forest of sweaty, glistening, humping, heaving, moaning, writhing, swearing leather-clad ironmen pressed together in the sweltering August heat.”

“All of the footmen at Lord Merryvane’s countryseat had been chosen for their broad shoulders and glorious blond forelocks, which, of course, Lord Merryvane never had seen in the light of day, rising as he did from his secret vault as the sun’s last cursed rays faded from the sky.”

“The children all liked Father O’Conlon. Or at least that’s what they told their parents.”

“Horst Von Wessel awoke in a cold sweat. One more day, and how could he be certain no one in the SS knew his dark secret?”

“People have asked me for years why I have been unwilling to reveal the things that only I could know, having served for so many decades as Susan Hayward’s hairdresser.”

“Zack never knew what to wear at the Emmys. His Armani tux was hopelessly out-of-date, and he didn’t want to embarrass the rest of the cast, but then, they all had husbands and wives, and he was bringing his mother.”

“This is the story of a man whose life was buried by the media because of the incendiary nature of its living. This is the story of Mel Freedlish, gay lover of both Lee Harvey Oswald and John Lennon.”

“I suppose there are some people who think there is no such thing as a power lesbian with a little black book—but, oh, how wrong they are.”

“The trees at Wickenwood bent and swayed with the ill wind that blew in across the bayou. Soon the master’s drunken son would be staggering down from the big house, velvet rope in hand, looking for the slave whose manhood matched the size of that rope. But Samson had disappeared, and someone would have to pay.”

“As upset as he was by Reagan’s passing, Morgan couldn’t resist doing a merry little jig when his broker called in the middle of the funeral to report that offers on the Fire Island beach house were moving into the seven figures.”

“The studio wouldn’t hear of it. The biggest action star in pictures going to Broadway to do a musical on the life of George Michael?”

It’s a good thing I was parked close to the bookstore. That Bill Clinton book is a mother to carry around.