Saturday, August 09, 2003


That blog a few days ago, when I told you I what I was looking at in Netscape four years ago? I was too embarrassed to tell you that I also was looking at the web Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. And not for the shirts.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003


It's the kind of weather that would make Nelly exhort us to take off all our clothes.

Just you wait, Mr. Nelly. Maybe I will.

I may be unusual in this: for as long as I've had computers, whenever I get a new one--which usually has a much larger hard drive than the old one--I copy all the files from the old system to the new one. What this means is that I never really know what, exactly, is on my hard drive. There's stuff on there from way back.

I was looking around on my computer this evening and came across an old Netscape directory, so I checked out the cache folder and discovered a snapshot of what I was looking at on the web in November 1999. Apparently I had abiding (okay, fleeting) interests in: BIOS upgrades; the 1980s Swedish band Magnus Uggla;; the University of Wisconsin's political science department; the 1950s sci-fi movie The Day the Earth Stood Still; the Simpsons; Biblical exegesis; and the French rapper MC Solaar.

And, oh yes--what made me cringe tonight: the naked male body. The reason I cringed is that in November 1999, I was still in the closet. Other than a few furtive encounters, I'd never told anybody about the appeal the naked male body held for me. So that fall I was, to judge from this archive, sitting in my rented room, looking at naked men with Netscape, and hoping my flatmates wouldn't walk in--probably taking pains to be sure they didn't.

Looking back, it's hard to remember what it was like keeping this secret. How strange that there was this part of me I never, ever talked about. How strange that I was dating women at the time--including one, just a few months later, who I thought could be The One. (You'll be shocked to learn I never told her about the naked Netscape boys.)

There's a lot more honesty in my life now. What a relief.

P.S. The cache also contained this picture.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Appearance versus reality

Ever since the New York Times started running same-sex committment announcements, I've glanced over the listings every week to see who is family. I realize now that the Times wedding pages have been about sexual ambiguity longer than I knew.

I mostly read the Times online, which lists the announcements as pairs of names, like this one that ran today: "Marvin Schofer, James Rosenthal." Clear enough: Messrs. Schofer and Rosenthal were married in Toronto last week.

But the names sometimes remind me of a kind of androgyny that, I'm guessing, has long manifested itself in Times wedding pages. The basis of that androgyny: wealth.

What I'm saying is, I sometimes have to click these links in order to determine whether the couple is, in fact, same sex. In a few cases, that's because the names are foreign to me--Asian or African names, for example.

In other cases, though, the names are--well, foreign to me, because they originate in Waspy American wealth, and wealthy, Waspy Americans have the habit of giving their children what are called, I believe, family names. Family naming, as it were, often seems to involve giving a newborn a forename that is a significant family surname. For that reason, family names are cheerfully unisex, and it seems that the type of families that give their children family names are disproportionately represented in the New York Times wedding announcements.

All of which is to say, I had to click to figure out whether this headline in today's paper represented a same-sex couple: "Brooks Orrick, Burney Dawkins."

Turns out they're straight.

As far as we know.

Brooks is the woman.