Sex and the Single Gay by Victor J. Banis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To say that this is related to the C.A.M.P. series is spurious, at best. Other than the cover, expect nothing from Jackie Holmes. Instead this is one of, if not the, first gay self-help book for everything from fashion, to budget, and mostly how to get a man.
Banis, in the 2012 Introduction, comments on his doubts about re-issuing this volume. He mentions that the book is quite dated, which it is, and says the sections on finance and furnishing an apartment still apply. I would argue they kind of don't, but two things are still relevant. The first is this book as a historical artifact is relevant. The second, which took me more convincing, it that you need to make yourself available to meet a man.
This book plays heavily on the “be a doormat” theory, similar to that book “The Ring” that came out a while ago and similar systems that come out every few years telling women (and in this case men) the way to get forward is to go back.
“….you have to learn to listen. Never interrupt him, even if some jealous queen approaches from behind you and sets fire to your coiffure.”
Listen. Treat him like a man. Pretend to like sports.
“You do need ash trays—even if you don’t smoke, he may.”
Now do not go buy an ash tray. But with the internet and cell phones and our busy modern lives getting busier, making yourself available for a man is a very valid point in today’s world.
Along the way there’s several cryptic sixties style jokes that are camp and fabulous:
“I don’t know how you define cruising—to many, unfortunately, it just means running down the street after a handsome number, or leering like the Big Bad Wolf from under Grandma’s bonnet.”
“This, you tell yourself jubilantly as you move in for the kill, is the night. You can virtually see the love words forming on his lips. At that moment, the door bursts open, and your roommate sweeps into the room, followed by what appears to be, by virtue of numbers, the entire cast from a Cecil B. spectacular. Do you:
1.) Hide in a closet with your date;
2.) Persuade your date to entertain the group with his rendition of the mating call of the titmouse;
3.) Suggest a reenactment of the Little Big Horn massacre, with you playing all the Indian parts?”
Now I have no idea what #3 above means, but it’s funny.
Tucked in here are also timeless sage bits of wisdom:
“nothing makes a person look so old as working too hard to look young.”
“What do you consider middle age? Well, ask any twenty-year-old and he’ll tell you thirty. Ask a thirty-year-old and he’ll tell you forty. Never ask a forty-year-old.”
“Nor should you marry because you’re unhappy single—you’ll only be unhappy married.”
And some that no longer make sense, if they ever did.
“In other words, if you are the balding type, run, don’t walk, to the nearest salon and get yourself a toupee.”
And some very dated:
“For instance, let’s say the charge accounts stand at $200.00 and $150.00 respectively. That’s dreadful.”
Mostly though this book is full of stuff that sounds dated and old-fashioned, but that really we could all use a bit more of in our life.
“In the course of the conversations, you’ll learn what he thinks is wrong with his home life, the mistakes his wife (or lover) makes. Profit from them. If he likes boiled filet of motorcycle boot, which she won’t prepare, you’ll exclaim, “Heavens, I’ve been dying to fix some, but I don’t know anyone else who likes it, and it’s too much to fix for just one person.” I’ll bet my last boot he won’t turn down a dinner invitation.”
Will making boiled fillet of motorcycle boot get you a man? No. But it can’t hurt. Like this book.
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