Macho Men

We all remember the Village People and their unique portrayal of a number of standard sterotypes and fantasy characters from the swinging gay New York City of the 70’s. My question is: Why should we let them remain the end-all and be-all of kooky stock character types? Why, when there are so many other pigeonholes waiting to be filled and acknowledged!

Here is your chance to “show your Underalls” by identifying your six Personalized Village People for these swinging fin-de-siecle times. What sorts of guys do you usually go all ga-ga over? What does it take to tickle even the mildest and most innocuous fetish you have, or at the very least, what do seem to fall for over and over again, good judgement be damned?

For example, my Personal Village People would have to include:

  • The Architect: Always so fashionably but simply dressed, with a very precise haircut. A workaholic like me, and able to discuss design theory. Has great modernist furniture.
  • The Rudeboy: Such a fun-loving imp, channelling all that physical aggression into jumping around and skanking. Wears cheap suits, but knows how to work ’em with just the right hat and shoes. Appreciates bad band name puns.
  • The Funky Geek: Understands dorky computer junk, but more importantly wears cool glasses and knows where all the good local thrift stores are. Appreciates my finely-tuned pop culture sensibility and is insecure enough to really appreciate a good thing when he finds it.
  • The Hipster Leatherboy: Scruffy or skinhead, often with goatee. Thinks of himself as thoroughly modern and liberal, if not downright revolutionary. Has artistic ambitions, and oozes sexual potency. Could also be identified as the Gen-Y rebel. (Johnathon Schaech in “The Doom Generation” is a good example.)
  • The Inaccessible Foreigner: Smart, creative, and devilishly good-looking, with sharp verbal wit and a creative profession. Seems perfect except for those visa problems and steep airfares. Has accent that could charm a rabid doberman.
  • The Bike Messenger: Maybe he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, but with those legs and that ass who cares? And funky tattoos. Stamina is also a plus, and he probably follows a lot of hip local bands and reads zines.

    Other classic archetypes that one might consider:

    The Randy Farmhand

    The Randy Farmhand

    The Mighty Gladiator

    The Mighty Gladiator

    The Old-Skool Leather Daddy

    The Old-Skool Leather Daddy

    The Curious Sailor

    The Curious Sailor

    The Skinny Hipster

    The Skinny Hipster

    The Deap-Sea Diver

    The Deap-Sea Diver

More Than Advanced Life Forms from the Future

Now don’t think that I mean to dis Dexter X. He gets a lot of credit
for being the most Devo member of the Man or Astro-Man? invasion force.
He just swings a little further out of “cute but nerdy looking” territory
than I generally prefer. Again, these guys grabbed me immediately from
the first moment I just sat down and listened to them. Aside from surrounding
themselves with a powerfully intriguing air of mystery, they ooze that sense of dorky boys finally breaking free from the shackles of oppression and showing the world what
moxie they’re really got.

Pictured below are Birdstuff, Dexter X — the Man from Planet Q, Star
Crunch, and Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard.

Man or Astro-Man?

He’s Got a Devilish Haircut

There are plenty of places to go for more comprehensive information about Beck, so I won’t bother you with all the biographical information or the discography or anything like that. I’ve only recently had my eyes opened to the real appeal of Beck. Though I have certainly known who he is for a long time, I never went out of my way to listen to him much, and I never really knew much about what he looked like.

A few months back, though, I caught an episode of Sessions at West 54th featuring Beck and the Ben Folds Five and my life changed. Well, maybe that’s a little extreme, but I discovered that Beck is pretty damn amazing. Aside from having the funk, Beck has got an incredible pop culture sensibility and a real flair for collaging sounds together that I really dig both musically and conceptually. And to top it off, he projects this sense of the clever nerd done good, and I always fall for that.

I have HAD It!

One of the recurring themes of my sad, sorry life is my inability to find that ideal sidekick who’s just the right combination of brainiac, goofball, sidekick, hipster, nerd, sexual dynamo, little kid, and muse. Granted, I’m pretty fussy, but I can’t be the only fag in the world whose criteria are so inconveniently eclectic, can I?

Are you wondering if you’re the kind of fella I might like? Browsing around
here in the RumpWeb will certainly give you some idea of the kinds of things
that capture my interest. Of course, you probably wouldn’t even be considering
all this nonsense if the things here didn’t strike a chord with you already.
As far as the looks and style issue is concerned, see if you fit the bill
by checking out the next page for some visual references.

NOTE TO THE OLD-FASHIONED: If you don’t want to think about this sort
of thing, DON’T GO LOOKING AT IT! I’m not saying there’s anything smutty
ahead — there’s definitely not — but there is some pretty strong imagery best left to the eyes of those who care for it, and I don’t want to hear any clucks of
disapproval because you’ve got a hopelessly fifties attitude about my penchant
for other guys.

Continue reading “I have HAD It!”

Shocking Personal Facts About Sparky

Hi boys and girls, I’m Sparky, known to my parents, relatives, co-workers, and many of my pals as Dan Rhatigan. (To my dismay, many of the kinfolk still refer to me as "Danny," the diminutive of my name that I seem destined never to shake.) I’m the egomaniac behind Rumpus Room, and your host for the evening. I am a professional graphic design nerd. I wear much nicer glasses now than the ones you see before you.

Born youngest of six (Irish Catholic — go figure) 1970 in Staten Island, New York, to Betty and George. Had overactive imagination as a child (was convinced for a long time that I really was a superhero, and also set up my room so my Star Wars figures could move around more easily while I slept). Went to St. Sylvester, Regis High School, and Boston University and turned into a real smart alec. Comfortably settling into a new pad in scenic Fort Greene (near Spike’s Joint, for those in the know). Ardent desire to leave the country before Congress really fucks things up here. Gay (and lonely as hell, but that’s another problem altogether), and convinced I came that way — no big deal for me. Listen to inordinate amounts of Ella Fitzgerald, Man or Astro-Man?, David Byrne, Elvis Costello, Brave Combo, Beastie Boys, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and mambo. I’ve got the funk, and I don’t mean I need to take a shower. Have always wanted to tap dance and play the accordion. Never
driven a car in my life.

For a sense of perspective on my life and work, check out the Rumpus Room Manifesto. A lot of my thinking about my life and my goals has changed since that was written a few years back, but the immediacy of it still tells a lot about how I’ve gotten to where I am today. That is to
say, I don’t feel a lot of the frustrations I mentioned quite as accutely as I once did (and I’m not as insufferably whiny), but they set the stage for a lot of growing that I have done since then. But enough of that wishy-washy "feelings" claptrap.

NOTE: I have selfishly refrained from including links to bands and things that interest me, since I’m trying to hold your attention right here for now.

The Rumpus Room Manifesto

Originally written in February 1994.

I tend to feel disenfranchised, outcast, eccentric. I’ve got feminist sensibilities that make me feel guilty because I’m a man. I feel like my manhood is skewed because I’m not a straight man, so I can’t buy into the whole straight, white male cultural elite mindset. I feel alienated from the gay community because I can’t fathom or play the social/power games I see all over it, I bristle at a lot of its affectations, and can’t understand its rituals and customs. I feel separated from my friends for being too weird or not weird enough. I have no lover, so I don’t feel like I belong to a cozy twosome. At work I feel too young or too powerless and impatient.

My vision of the Rumpus Room . . . is to define my place, my sensibilities, my ideas.
Ideally, others will respond, but this project is too personal for me to make concessions for the sake of popularity. I want to use Rumpus Room to explore my philosophy, my humor, my politics, my aesthetic, my abilities.

My vision for the magazine (my marketing vision, my conceptual vision) is to give other people a chance to respond to what’s in Rumpus Room, not allow it to become so half-assed that it becomes accessible to the lowest common denominator.

The rumpus room is a place to gossip, to gab, to argue, to tell jokes, to watch TV, and to play cards and stuff. It’s the rec room, the family room, the living room.

Imagine you’re hearing a low wolf whistle

If you’ve come this far, you should know right off the bat that I’m not holding out for some unearthly hunk that’s so far out of my league that I may as well be playing another sport altogether. Attraction is a delicate balancing act of looks, personality, wit, style, and all that other junk. It’s too hard (and it would be too misleading) for a simple guy like me to try and come up with a bulleted list of stuff that makes me all hot and bothered and sappy and mushy. Of course, I also know what will make me lose track of what I’m thinking if I see it walking down the street. So to give you some idea of what sets my hormone’s a-raging (as far as purely external qualities go), here are a few quick things to look at.

Sparky Gets Dissed Again

Over and over, I keep thinking of that one thing you said: "You’re
the last person I want to . . . hurt . . . like this."

I’ve got a fucking news flash for you — TOO FUCKING LATE! You hurt me,
and you hurt me a helluva lot. You hurt me with your cowardice, you hurt
me with your self-absorption. You hurt me because you knew that I was falling
for you harder and harder, and you didn’t have the balls to tell me straight
out that you didn’t feel the same way. You let me continue to feel sorry
for the troubles you were having, and you kept neglecting to hint that maybe
I was one of them. You told me you liked me, and that you liked being with
me, and maybe you did. The fact remains that you didn’t say shit when
your feelings started to change,
even though you constantly dwell on
everything that bugs you.

It was like I had to pull fucking teeth to get you to even suggest that
things weren’t okay. I had to ask what was wrong, and then say the words
for you, only to have you numbly agree. That first time, I felt like I was
completely losing control because you couldn’t even get out a whole sentence.
I had to do all the work, and most of the talking, and you just gave up
and said you wanted to be with me. Couldn’t you just be honest enough to
come out and say it? Why did you have to make me say all those things about
how much I cared about you and about how scared I was about that? When I
told you that appeasing me — sticking around even though you didn’t feel
anything — would be far worse than simply telling the truth about whatever
you felt, why did you do it anyway? What kind of a chickenshit bastard
are you?

The other night, after we spent the whole day together having fun, after
I made you dinner again, what were you thinking when you just picked up
and walked out without so much as a handshake? Were you thinking it would
be easier to just tell a little lie and see how long it would take for me
to put all the pieces together? Maybe it was easier for a coward like
you, but it was a pretty rotten thing to do
to someone who had invested
as much in the relationship as I had. It was pretty rotten to make me call
you and demand an apology and the truth.

The worst part of all this is that I would take you back in two shakes of
a rat’s ass if I thought I had a chance. Your moodiness is a problem I can
deal with — I have with lots of other people before — so that in itself
is not enough to scare me off. If I thought that you could love me anything
like the way I was starting to love, I would set myself up without hesitation.
Maybe you’re fucking screwy, but other than that (maybe because of that?),
you are incredible.

I think that’s what stings the most. I’ve had so much trouble finding all
these nebulous, rare qualities that I value in people, and you had so many
of them. You were offbeat and quietly funny and smart and unpretentious
and fucking beautiful in just the right way. You also had other qualities
that I hadn’t realized I needed so badly in a lover — you made me feel
calm, relaxed, like I could really pull it all together for once. You were
most everything I could have wanted, and now I can’t even think of who else
could pull it off, certainly not how I could even meet someone like that
again. You’re a bastard because you couldn’t feel for me, even though I
"did nothing that was ever wrong." You’re a bastard and a chickenshit
asshole and I want you and I need you and that pisses me off more than I
can really say.