Hello Vada

Vada Magazine calls itself “A new queer perspective. Fresh takes, hot opinions, news and reviews. The Young Gay Pretender.” I’m not entirely clear on what that means, but the editorial team looks like a gaggle of young, pretty, gay-hipster geek hotties. Their profile pics make me think of countless skinny, twink-come-nerd boys I’ve known with jobs attached in one form or another to corporate IT departments. This genus nearly universally includes an embarrassing fluency in sci-fi, comic books, and/or Coen Brothers films. They tend to be both oddly anti-sport and, not infrequently but paradoxically, involved in organized soccer, ultimate frisbee, and/or hacky-sack (because it’s so retro). Do I sound contemptuous? I don’t mean to, because I’ve had many a crush on a specimen precisely from this fraternity. In fact, I had an profoundly satisfying month or so of dating a manager of a tech store (for a company that shall remain nameless, but just turn on the news today and try to avoid it), who momentarily had me obsessed with Sims and worshipping his thick, hairy, sculpted legs (curiously attached to a hairless, skinny, flat-chested torso). Yeah, scanning the editorial team of Vada takes me back to good times, and I’d take a stab at knocking the fedoras off pretty much any of their heads, scooping them up in my arms and powerslamming them in the middle of a wrestling ring.

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First on my list, though, is adorkable Editor-in-Chief Stuart Forward, who grabbed my attention yesterday by penning the piece entitled “11 Reasons Why Wrestling is Pretty Damn Gay.” Sweet prose! In laid back language with a subtly structured free-formish style, Stuart catalogs his 11 reasons for questioning how professional wrestling can be associated with hyper-masculinity while, at the same time, being so damn gay. The piece is part autobiography, part testimonial, part confession, along with a heavy dose of queer critique for both the pro wrestling industry and the social construction of masculinity itself. My favorite of the 11 reasons why wrestling is pretty damn gay is #9: pro wrestling’s obsession with men’s asses. Write’s Mr. Forward:

Whether this, Mr. Ass, the Fameasser, Vince McMahon’s Kiss My Ass club, Rikishi’s ass, repeated use of asshole, or just kicking that sonbitch’s ass, it’s fair to say that wrestling masculinity became a bit fixated on ass and doing things to each other’s asses. Just saying. In this bizarre, skewed power game played out in the ring, this generation put ass firmly on centre stage. All totally above board of course. After all, what could be more manly than getting a man to kiss your ass?

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It’s a nice piece that gathers several strands that I’ve heard from many of you homoerotic wrestling kinksters who still keep up with or give a damn about straight-up pro wrestling. But there’s something about the piece that keeps echoing in the back of my mind. Something’s tickling a sensitive spot on my hippocampus. I think it’s this line:

Whilst wrestling evidently did not turn me gay, here are 10 reasons why it may have made my destined path to wooftery a little clearer at the time…

Okay, it’s 11 reasons, but counting is such a modernist construct, so ignore that bit. It’s the phrase, “Whilst wrestling evidently did not turn me gay….”  Honestly, I would not try to claim copyright on any part of my series “What turned me gay… not really,” (though the text is genuinely entirely my own), the device of positing the relationship between mainstream homoerotic subtext and what did (not really) turn me gay is a trope that I feel I have some squatting rights for. Specifically in reference to exposure to straight-up wrestling as foundational exposure to homoeroticism, that was bread and butter around here at neverland for about a year and a half.  The writing style, the social critique, the snarky contempt for masculine pretense, along with a “what turned me gay… not really” twist, and I have to ask… am I Stuart Forward!!?  The fact that Vada Magazine “favorited” my post yesterday on my infatuation with standing headscissors only confuses me more…

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Hello, Jonathan.
~ Bard at neverland

Then there’s Jonathan Pizzaro’s recurring column entitled “Hello Neverland.” Hello, Jonathan. Again, sweet prose and thoughtful writing (though, as far as I’ve found, nothing on wrestling… yet).  Jonathan’s two-part piece on body image, his body, and his learning to love himself has a strong hit of beautiful authenticity about it. I haven’t seen what he looked like when he was cringing at the sight of himself in the mirror, but he looks gorgeous today. In fact, he looks quite a lot like that tech store manager with epic soccer legs! Wait…

Anyway, check out Vada. If they hold onto that slightly self-depracating tone sprinkled on top of clear voices and an undisguised delight in shrugging off homonormativity and the pursuit of acceptability, I’m hooked. And if Jonathan and Stuart are interested in a 3-way no-holds-barred homoerotic wrestling rumble, send them my way. 

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