When I was a kid I always had a bulletin board on the wall beside my bed. I loved to change it up weekly — sometimes daily — with images I’d cut out of magazines. There would be sunshine smiley Real People host Sarah Purcell tacked beside some cute picture of an ostrich or Muppet character . . . a Donna Summer “Bad Girl” ad . . . and a hunky shirtless Harrison Ford thrown in the mix (’cause I really liked him). We were a family of voracious magazine readers: People
, Rolling Stone
, Rona Barrett’s Hollywood
— all that pop culture shit. We ate it up!
I remember distinctly one night going to Lansdowne mall (in Richmond, BC) to buy my very first GQ
magazine. I was buying it for “the fashions.” I was only 16, so I was way too young to get away with purchasing Playgirl
, so this would have to do . . . for now.
Bruce Weber was the photographer at GQ
at the time, and his photos of touchable masculine perfection got me very excited indeed. For the next few years my room became a shrine of V-shaped mesomorph goodness. My bulletin board, closet doors and walls were adorned with a slew of sexy tanned faces, wet pouty lips, flirty hips and chests . . . with hair! It was a totally uncontrollable and natural impulse to share who and what I was to family and friends — to myself. I didn’t say it in words; I said it with sexy pictures of men that turned me on.
In the 1980s through the ’90s, practically every gay man had a black-and-white Herb Ritts “hunky man holding a tire” poster or a Colt calendar hanging on the wall. Hey, anyone still have his Dale Hall graphite masterpiece Lion Humps Man
There would inevitably be stacks of worn and sticky porn magazines or After Dark
back issues under the coffee table and Bruce Weber or Tom of Finland art books on the top. Really classy guys would proudly display original artworks of nude men over their couches or their queen-sized adjustable beds. Sometimes a miniature Michelangelo’s David
would adorn the nightstand with a tattered EF Benson paperback by its side. Oh, those were the days.
In my 20s I had graduated art college and my first apartment was crammed with my large canvas works of brooding men with big hard dicks . . . all angst-ridden, sexual and very graphic. The bulletin board was now adorned with nude men with raging hard-ons and tasty, hairy assholes. Totally hot stuff. To lighten it up for company, I made little flirty skirts out of black tassels that I pinned on the boys’ naughty bits. Family and friends, God love them, didn’t seem to care.
Now that I’m in my late 40s, save for a few framed vintage beefcake photos, I’m pretty tame. My computer dashboard . . . not so much.
So I couldn’t help but wonder: are men still dirty decorating? Has the internet killed our need to display cock in the home? And how do loved ones react when confronted with GAY?
LA writer and artist Anthony Moses Sanchez has three pages from a vintage Allboy
magazine in his closet near where he keeps his leather gear. “One is a centrefold of Cameron Jackson. However, this is the first time I’ve ever hung ‘dirty’ pictures in my living quarters. Otherwise, I have tasteful homoerotic art on my wall and gay erotic fiction on the bookshelves.”
“The funniest thing? Straight stoners being ‘grossed out,’ shocked, confused. Or folks who couldn’t understand how a single dad could have big huge penises all over the walls,” says artist Pete Dako. “The art (cartoon pages of blowjobs and rimming) may have contributed to losing more than one cleaning lady, but most people who know me know I have a history of printing underground comics and have always promoted and displayed the work by myself or others . . . forever. I think they just ignore it.”
“There’s no porn stuff around my house, but there is a lot of drag stuff everywhere! I can’t be bothered to hide it because I’m going to need it soon enough, and it defines who I am,” confides Winnipeg’s drag superstar Pictoria Secrete. “If you can’t handle it, get out of my house and don’t let the doorknob hit you in the ass because I have to touch that knob later.”
Queer blogger Blue Guitar has a lot to say about his lifetime of dirty decorating. “My first husband wanted our house to be ‘de-gayed’ when his parents visited. I had an office in which I refused to ever change anything — including my nude male musician pictures that were plastered on the wall.
“My current hubby and I have some nudes about the house. I have two original drawings of nude guitarists (with large dicks) by Brian Bednarek. We haven’t moved anything for either set of parents.
“I have only paused once when a friend came over with his eight-year-old in tow. But I figured if I pretended that it was nothing, the kid would pick up on that vibe. But I knew he noticed, and he came up to me soon after and looked me steadfast in the eye and said, ‘I know you guys aren’t brothers, right?’”
Many art enthusiasts, vintage beefcake devotees and porn lovers — with massive collections — are very discreet with their graphic images. When former art gallery owner Dennis O’Connor displayed his art in his three-level home, he did a very clever thing: the art got dirtier as you went up the three flights. Man-about-town Matthew Simpson hangs the dirty stuff up high too, over his kitchen cupboards. I truly think gay men will always feel the need to share their sexy stuff with the world. We just can’t repress our libidos, and that’s a very beautiful thing.
John Webster is the man behind sissydude.com
and has many sticky things in his apartment.