Friday, November 27, 2015

Columnist in DC gay magazine talks about the moral underpinnings of "gay male values"

Christopher Cunetto has a column in Metro Weekly Thursday Nov. 19, “Body Talk” (p. 10), a bit of a moral lecture, link here. Note the subtitle online: "Desire does not equal entitlement".  OK, Dr. Phil will love this piece.
The columnist is comingling two different issues.  First, of course, just because “you” feel attracted to someone, you’re not entitled to any specific level of interaction the person, even with an acknowledgement from the person (vocally, a “glance”, or now online).   That’s a no brainer, and not a problem.  I do think that generally that’s a bigger problem with some male behavior in the heterosexual world, but it spills over.  For me, fantasy can work so well that jealousy is never an issue – but that cuts both ways.

But then he gets into a separate issue (which I just led myself into above), making a mental “moral” assessment” of someone based on “appearances” and predefined expectations (of a schizotypal nature). Men do this to women, and can do it to other men.  This was an underground issue during my days of “inpatient therapy” at NIH way back in 1962.   Although personal values, when not acted on, don’t seem like a moral issue (any more than religious belief or lack thereof should be a moral issue), when an attitude is common in a community and held to be “OK”, it can have a toxic effect on others.  Applied on a bigger scale, you can see why there is so much instability in our society, and how it can impact us unpredictably.  People do need to be able to find willingness for committed intimacy from others, regardless of age, race or “looks”, and that’s not the same thing as “entitlement”.
Picture: Yes, among birds, it’s often the male who gets noticed for his “plumage”.

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