Tuesday, 18 December 2012

This week I contributed a guest post to the Top 2 Bottom Reviews blog as a part of the Second Chances anthology blog tour. On the same day the book was also reviewed by host, Gabbi, and "Dirty Martini" received a 4.5 star review. I was tickled pink. Both posts can be read using the links below, and I have also included my post here.

Blog tour post:     top2bottomreviews.wordpress.com
Second Chances review post:     top2bottomreviews.wordpress.com/review

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Are gay men versatile, and does fiction imitate real life? And why does it matter to me? By Bette Browne

Second Chances Blog Tour Badge 20Nov-20Dec 2012(1)

Hi. I’m Bette. Being a “published author” is new to me, so I must admit it’s a bit daunting putting together this post, but it’s my pleasure to do so in support of the Second Chances anthology blog tour. I love the book, and I’m very proud that my story “Dirty Martini” is included in it.
I discussed many possible topics for this post with my publisher, and when “Are sexual preferences within male/male relationships in the real world actually as defined as those often portrayed in fiction and on the television screen?” was mentioned, I decided that this topic could prove rather interesting. It is something I have certainly thought about and would love to know.
I’m a heterosexual woman, and even though I have a healthy obsession (yes, I did use that word) with male/male romances, I really have no idea what goes on in the bedroom of gay couples around the world. Why does it matter to me? In all honesty, it doesn’t. I’m just curious. And as an author writing in this genre, I would hope I am not too far off base. I’m certainly not a voyeur, and I don’t think I’m alone in sometimes looking at a couple, regardless of pairing, and… well, just wondering. I certainly consider a fictional couple when I read them and wonder about the dynamics and whether they could exist as “real.”
My imagination is fierce; I certainly have ideas, but are any of my fantasies justified in the realm of reality? I’ve watched a bit of porn (who hasn’t?), but how accurate is that reality when the models/actors are being “paid” to do whatever. The stories I read that are written by the male authors within the M/M romance genre haven’t shed any light for me either. Characters in those range as well. Having recently read the Adrien English series by Josh Lanyon where the main characters most definitely have defined roles, well… confused again. As for television: Queer as Folk (QAF) definitely cemented the more “defined roles” tag for me. The couples in it were very “non-versatile” (is that a word?). And for me, as I would assume for many, QAF was my first real exposure to gay romance, and QAF was accurate? Wasn’t it?
When I began researching, there was so much more on the topic than I’d imagined (praise, or curse, Google). And what surprised me, according to the research, is that the “majority” of gay men are versatile. I truly didn’t expect this to be the case. I assumed more defined roles would be held. Instead, what I found was men may lean one way or the other, and they may have a preference, but they are still versatile overall. Age groups, geography, as well as other factors varied the results, but it still remains distinct. Men mix it up. They “top” and “bottom.” This makes me happy. I think because if I were a man for a day, I would “definitely” want to experience everything!
When I think about it, my favorite male/male stories, and fantasies, are the ones involving two very evenly matched men, e.g., Cut & Run and its sequels by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux. They are sensational. Those two men have me under their spell. They are men with similar careers and education, both tall and lean (nice six-pack and muscles of course, but not too bulky); men who like to give and take equally. Why does this appeal to me? I think it’s because they are the men who appeal to me in real life, the ones I am physically attracted to, the ones I would date (sorry hubs) if they were straight, and if I can imagine two (or even three) of them together… well all the better. Am I objectifying men? Yes, possibly, it is my fantasy after all.
I’m sure my preferences will continue to come across in the characters I choose to write about, as well as what I read. But as I think about the couples I’ve read and enjoyed—some of my favorites—I realize I really did have a soft spot for Josh Lanyon’s very defined “Adrien-with-an-e English”… Maybe I need to revisit him. It seems I’m versatile too.
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