Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gay 'marriage' cards

kitschMany years ago, a gay friend of mine said, ‘When gays get it wrong, boy, do they get it wrong!’ He was referring to matters of style and taste.

While our arbiters of style may consist of a disproportionately large number of gays, there’s nothing quite as hideous as the ‘creativity’ displayed by someone who wants to flaunt his style under the horrible misconception that it’s tasteful/adventurous/avante garde/interesting/etc whereas it’s kitsch (in a bad way) or just plain awful.

I shudder when I think of waking up in the chintz-festooned (synthetic fabric, of course) and pillow-laden four-poster bed that dominated the tiny ex council house of some man I’d found attractive the night before. That was on the outskirts of Newcastle. The thought of waking up surrounded by hundreds of porcelain figurines of Disney characters in Epsom isn’t something I feel the need to do again. Then there was Cape Town anaesthetist who had too much money – everything seemed to be orange and brown (this was before the retro seventies look came back into favour) and a preponderance of over-large furniture in leather made me wonder if I’d had sex in a furniture showroom. While not really a fan of minimalism, it has the advantage of reducing the number of cardinal style sins that can be committed in a small, confined space.

I won’t get on to dress sense apart from mentioning how much more common it is to think of ‘mutton dressed up as lamb’ when in the company of older gay men than it is amongst older straight people.

Weddings are the perfect vehicle for the worst in kitsch bad taste being glorified to an embarrassing extent in public. So when it comes to gay ‘weddings’, you just know that there are going to be some spectacular explosions of bad taste. But does this have to extend to gay wedding cards as well?

Strolling around Manchester on Sunday, James wanted to visit Clonezone (WARNING: not office safe!!) to buy a few things like music (yeah, right!) and look at their cards with Mike and Kevin in mind. I decided to tag along as I needed to buy some fags. Well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! I don’t make a habit of wandering around porn shops but whenever I do, I’m always amazed by the bizarre array of gadgets and devices that allegedly heighten the sexual experience. What do those strings of red balls do? Why would you want to stick an electrode up your arse? Do people actually use those 18 inch dildos or are they implements of torture?

It felt as if my eyes were out on stalks but I think that may have had more to do with the class A after effects than any assault on my innocent sensibilities. I did, however, like the idea of the ‘mould a dildo from your own cock’ kits. I can think of someone in particular that I’d like to give that to. The kit, not the result. Maybe both, actually. Anyway, moving swiftly on…

gay marriage cardThere was a large array of cards, mostly of muscle men with unfeasibly large dicks, against one wall. Hiding away in the corner, much like a blushing bride, were the civil union cards. They had every right to blush - some were coy, some twee, and some were stereotypically very pink.

There is nothing inherently wrong with pink (it can look good on the right person and in the right context) and the pink triangle has a very admirable history but I do sometimes wish that pink wasn’t the colour associated with all things gay. It seems to be the colour most prone to being accused of being kitsch or being used in the kitschest way possible. Perhaps that’s Barbie’s fault? But, I digress - back to the cards…

gay marriage cardEven though they all tried to look understated and tasteful, most of them managed to stumble into the realms of the seriously kitsch. And all of them presumed ‘new love’ whereas many civil unions are between men who are very devoted to each other but who have been together for many years beyond their seven-year itches. While many straight people will live together for many years before legalising their bond they do that out of personal choice. I don't know if cards for that specific type (delayed legalisation) of union exist. Probably not. Or, if they do, they're probably ironic or tongue-in-cheek. However, the legalising of gay partnerships that have existed for many years owing to the illegality of such unions is unique amongst the ways in which partnerships have been legalised until now. Not having a straight equivalent, I wonder if anyone has designed cards more appropriate to such unions? Cards for that sort of union have never been necessary in the straight world so possibly not. I’m sure someone, somewhere, has produced cards appropriate for this type of union?

I’ve got two cards to get before the end of the week. Both for couples who’ve been together for a rather long time. I suspect that whatever cards I get, I won’t be entirely satisfied with them.

This selection of cards includes some acceptable ones amongst the sort that don't make me want to rush out and stock up on them.

15 Comments:

Blogger Caroline said...

Is this a hole in the market? Would anyone buy non-kitsch couple cards?

You could submit it as a suggestion for illustration friday! (Not that I expect they'd pick it - none of my suggestions has ever been chosen)

(And where did you get the idea that this is unique to the gay world... many people I know have lived with each other from 5-10 years before getting round to getting married.. and of course some never do)

12:27 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

If they don't pick up your suggestions, I probably stand even less of a chance!

You made a very valid point re straight couples based on the way I expressed myself. I've changed the words now to be a bit clearer.

1:20 pm  
Anonymous xmichra said...

well, two things here:
1. maybe you should make your own card. they have some rather nice stationary now, and the sentiment would be nicer than the couple receiving 100 of the same card (since this does not seem to be a 'hallmark moment'). Maybe you should try and start up a gay greeting card business. I am not kidding in the slightest.. see a need, fill a need.

2. "What do those strings of red balls do", you insert them in your butt. they apparently make the muscles contract and get tighter. A lot of women use these (so I was told when I asked the lady at the naughty store) to strengthin and tighten things up, but i suppose gay men might like that too?? I don't know, as anal sex isn't really my area..

6:40 pm  
Blogger nyasha said...

have learned a few things today! was unaware of the usage of the red balls myself - *blush*.
the "boxer shorts" card is a winner.

9:39 pm  
Blogger nyasha said...

btw, now am curious 'bout that banana muffin receipe you are so loyal to! c'mon, don't keep good things only to yourself!

9:45 pm  
Blogger angel said...

fascinating dude! the card "issue" would never have occurred to me!

personally, i am very anti men in pink. i just can't like it- no matter what the guys sexual orientation might be!

10:36 pm  
Blogger Tammy said...

Kitsh is one of my favourite forms of decoration - am waiting to attack my kids playroom in overstated kitsch - just have to find the time - something along the lines of Barbie goes pink in leopard print with gold and jewels - every little princesses dream!!!

12:01 am  
Blogger Babsbitchin said...

Nomad, you are so right when it comes to this issue. Men that are set in their sexuality hardly want to be refered to in a pink fashion nor do they want their union to be a gay cheesy spectacle. It is the good with the bad on this, all around. And the gadgets they have now a days are certainly interesting to say the least."You wanna put that where?" "First what is it?" I'd not seen the do at home kit, I'll havce to look in to that one. Kisses Nomad!!

12:35 am  
Blogger Babsbitchin said...

Nomad, I was on your blog at the same time. Sweet Dreams Darling be cozy and comfy and may your rest be pleasurable!!

12:39 am  
Blogger Rob7534 said...

Nomad you may want to make a custom card for the ocassion. Get some hard paper or card stock, some card sofware (there are plenty) and do your own spin.

I ussually love to quote a particlarly moving piece of poetry from some devishly lusty poet.

Or your own sassy joke such as, "Someone finally made made an honest man out of you ..." or whatever.

6:26 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Xmichra: You and others suggest I make my own card and I can see why that could be a much better option but I’m a lazy bugger, firstly, and, secondly, I don’t have all the things I need to make cards. I know I could go out and buy them but there’s no time. A greeting card business sounds like a good idea…

So that’s what those red balls are for!

Coffee addict: I also like the boxer shorts card. As for the recipe, I’ll make some banana muffins soon, use my camera to catch the moment and will then post pics with the recipe.

Angel: Pastel colours, on the whole, just don’t do it for me but I’ve seen them look good on some people, usually darker-skinned people. Pink, of course, can be virulently so as opposed to a mild pastel shade but I tend to agree with you about men wearing the colour. I have an orange jumper thingy that has turned salmon-ish pink after too many washes. I wear it because it’s comfortable but the colour is a bit of a shame.

Tammy: you sound as if you could become the Queen of Kitsch! Too right about the princesses going wild for those ideas of yours. Kitsch can be used to great effect – mostly by people who know what kitsch is. Those who don’t tend to use it in the way that is an affront to the senses.

Babs: My rest wasn’t as peaceful as it should have been. I had to move to the couch as someone next to me was snoring SO loudly!!!

Rob: As I said to Xmichra, great idea but I’m too lazy and I don’t have access to the materials to make a good go of making a decent card.

12:36 pm  
Blogger Babsbitchin said...

NOMAD, YOU'RE LEAKING INFO. I WANT ALL THE SORDID DETAILS. I'M SURE IT WASN'T THE SNORING THAT KEPT YOU AWAKE AND THEN MADE YOU SO TIRED? XOXO DAMN CAPS!

5:16 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

babs: at least it's info I'm leaking and nothing more sinister!

It definitely was the snoring that kept me awake as all the shenanigans were over by then. D is a person I've referred to in previous posts who sometimes pops by. He's almost always very drunk and has a tendency to be full of energy for a few hours (nice!) then passes out and snores horribly while taking most of the bed.

7:23 pm  
Anonymous patita said...

no blank cards with tasteful fronts?

I've found these to be good for any occasion:
http://www.edwardmonkton.com/gallery01.php

8:19 pm  
Blogger Rob7534 said...

Your friend D might want to check into a sleep clinic. Exessive snoring to that degree could be Sleep Apnea.

It's treatable, but if left unchecked, it will produce too much strain on his heart, and may lead to stroke and/or heart attack.

I have sleep apnea, but with my Cpap, I sleep soundly, not a peep outta me. And it's continus sleep rhythm, not that waking up all night, and stop breathing phases.

5:11 am  

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