Today's gay-savvy straight people assume they know what queer men want for the holidays. But even if they follow Will & Grace and back same-sex marriage, homo- friendly heteros have no idea what gay men desire, because just as the times and trends are marching on, so are many queers—into two divergent, and sometimes sparring, camps. Circuit Boys and Indie Fags are differently colored bars on the rainbow flag, so despite straight people's good intentions for the gays, they'll have to take those generic gifts (Barbra Streisand records, Timberline boots, et al.) back to the mall. For anyone feeling a little ignorant about the tastes of these extreme cultures, we offer dueling gift lists to help you get acclimated.
STOCKING STUFFERS: Contrary to gay society's consensus that becoming a Circuit Boy simply requires a regimen at the gym, much fussiness goes into the lifestyle. Give your buff chum the mundane accessories that enhance his Greek god-like appearance: protein powder for his lousy-for-the-kidneys, spectacular-for-the-pecs diet; disposable razors for that undesirable nipple, back, and butt-cheek hair; fluorescent flags for his go-go gyrating debut; and bottled water to prevent dehydration on the dance floor.
MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION: XY's sexy, Entertainment Weekly's glittering with all its stars, but Men's Health is essential reading for CBs who want abs like champagne bottles, biceps that balloon, and a booty that's as shapely as J-Lo's and as hard as Gwyneth's. Each month the magazine features an alarmingly handsome hunk with a smooth body on its cover; who knows why they put on a hetero front by publishing navigation guides to women's G-Spots.
CD: We'd recommend Madonna's latest greatest hits wrap-up, GHV2, but CBs prefer her vocals after they've been re-mixed. While he awaits Mrs. Richie's next 42-minute Maxi-single, your little club music aficionado can listen to Masterbeat: White Party 2001. The circuit party's official compilation will spark up his memories of his house diva-, Ecstasy-, and indiscriminate sex-inspired romp in Palm Springs last March.
ECLECTIC VIDEO: Like a gay version of Valley of the Dolls, Circuit's so cheesy it's like cinematic fondue-and tasty at that. This tale of a studly Midwesterner who's seduced into the somewhat sketchy L.A. circuit scene, the men are sizzling, the drama's at a glowstick-cracking pitch, and some of the one-liners are worth memorizing ("He's like tofu; he blends into everything"). Right now Circuit's on the gay film fest circuit, so unless you've got the digits of director (and former Playgirl centerfold!) Dirk Schafer, you'll have to have to find a bootleg.
T-SHIRT: Whatever shirt you buy a CB will end up sweat-soaked and tucked inside his PVC pants come late Saturday night, so think basic and sturdy, like the tees sported by the Abercrombie & Fitch models all CBs aspire to be.
WHEELS: Know how they say straight men compensate for a little penis by buying a large car? Similarly, circuit boys often attempt to squash their insecurities by manning giant metallic muscles with four-wheel drive.
DRUG DE LA NUIT: Trying to select one drug for a Circuit Boy is like trying to satiate a sweet tooth with a single Snickers bar. You could attempt to accommodate his personality. He's self-conscious about his shapely but not bulging calves? Give him steroids. Is he always the last to venture onto the dance floor? Crystal will get him grooving while he's still stuck behind the velvet rope. The light effects at nightclubs don't impress him? K will make him feel like he's crawling across the dome at a laser show.
ALL-EXPENSES-PAID NIGHT OUT: The CB hotspots blaze for a while-always on that strip of Pike just above Broadway-then surprisingly turn into gay ghost-clubs. First there was ARO.space, then Spintron, then Ego, now Arena. While the joints last about as long as a tan in Seattle, there'll always be a steady crowd of pumped and preened CBs looking to get glistening each weekend. Warning: Don't let your friend waste all his one-liners on the cute doorguys and bartenders; they usually opt for cooch over cock.
FANTASY GIFT PACK: Though it's perhaps the priciest, this is also the most obvious gift on your circuit beloved's wish list: Buy him a stack of first-class airplane tickets and just as many pairs of angel wings that he can strap onto his veiny torso at such upcoming circuit parties as Blue Ball (Philadelphia), Red Weekend (Montreal), The Green Party (San Francisco), and (insert color here) Ball. Select his itinerary at www.partyfinder.com, and hope that eventually your little circuit soir饭tracker finds his way home to soggy Seattle.
STOCKING STUFFERS: This season avoid the typical armbands, forearm tattoos, studded belts, and wallet chains. Instead, give him something that's practical, compact, and sure to further his career as a hipster: a homemade bible of music trivia! Just tear out all the pages of a regular pocket-sized bible (or Koran, if they come mini) and replace with blank sheets. Bind together using an adhesive and jot down every useless fact, rumor, and exhortation you can think of about the most random and esoteric bands out there. When he's having an off night or just feeling rusty he can make a trip to the boy's room and return with the confidence of naming track four on that killer EP from 1997.
MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION: For music fans, don't bother with Spin or Rolling Stone, and skip the pretentious Brit-pop periodicals. Go with No Depression, the bi-monthly, alt-country rag that will keep his collar blue. Singers like Ryan Adams, Neko Case, and Kelly Hogan are about to break huge, so have him read about their old-fashioned storytelling contemporaries.
CD: With small-time heroes Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs you'll impress, seduce, and conquer. The songs on these three discs are like cigarettes, both pleasing and caustic. He'll see you as a bitter poet with romantic tendencies. By "Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits," he'll drop the coffeehouse artspeak and you can drop your pants. Needless to say, "Papa was a Rodeo" makes for some interesting foreplay games.
ECLECTIC VIDEO: Martin Scorcese's 1967 short film, The Big Shave. Seeing a man go from a routine shaving accident to peeling his face off has never looked more beautiful. If you know an Indie Fag on the verge of a nervous breakdown, this might be a fun one to surreptitiously insert into the jacket of Bridget Jones' Diary. Merry Christmas!
T-SHIRT: Extra-tight Montreal Expos tee. Major League Baseball has announced it'll cut two teams by the beginning of the 2002 season. Montreal is sure to be one of them. While most gays don't know a fielder's choice from their own ass, the irony/underdog factor here is key. Talk about vintage.
WHEELS: Driving a car is so un-indie. Instead, buy him a 10-speed. The '80s are coming back so why not start with transportation? Remember: extra bar parallel to the seat makes it a boy's bike. You could buy him a helmet since it's the law, but it wasn't in the '80s so what's the point? His new wheels will look splendid in the living room of his rental home in the Central District he shares with his seven best friends.
DRUG DE LA NUIT: If you're the type of person to give drugs as holiday gifts you should be ashamed of yourself: Why wait until the end of the year to share the love? If you must, stay away from the party drugs (Ecstasy, crank, etc.) since those seem to require an affinity for whistles, grinding in chains, and exchanging gym stories. Go for opium! It's sexy, romantic, and doesn't require much planning. Plop down to some Pink Floyd or Radiohead's OK Computer and puff away. You'll melt into the moment and feel light years ahead of those idiots grinding their teeth. If you can't score opium, go with the old standby: freebasing anthrax.
ALL-EXPENSES-PAID NIGHT OUT: For recession's sake, start with buying him Olys at the Cha-Cha. When you get dizzy from the red lights bouncing off the dyed black hair, trot across the street to R-Place where you can upgrade to Henry's. Treat him to a game of darts before dropping him off at the Eagle where he can meet the love of his life or be taken against his will (either way, it's a gift he'll remember).
FANTASY GIFT PACK: Start with a $100 shopping spree at Atlas Clothing, where his money will go far beyond a few Atari tees. Next, whip out the Super-8 and make a spontaneous movie. Buy him a latte at Bauhaus and tell him his work as a filmmaker is genius. Let him know he's uncompromising and risk-taking. Play pinball and video games at Shorty's over beer and hot dogs. End the evening by taking him to a surprise cabaret night at Theater Schmeater, where the Typing Explosion performs his very own poetry and Belle & Sebastian serenade him with a personalized set. Finally, talk him out of suicide.