Radical Faerie Definition

First a little post script to yesterdays July 4th post- Add to the list of glowing experiences of that day: eating a quarter watermelon, dribbling juice down my chin, slurping loudly, and: a stunning firefly display in the fields and trees while walking home from the fireworks. I’ve never seen fireflies so prolific. And they were richly concentrated in a few trees and fields, as if attending huge all night dance parties. What a magical day!
What and who are the Radical Faeries?

I found a succinct explanation of Radical Faeries while browsing some Faerie web pages. This description is by Cyrwyn, who has written quite a bit on the subject.

Faeries are strange creatures of magical powers and wisdom. Radical Faeries are a loose subset of primarily gay men whose origins were in the 1960’s counter-culture. The archaic spelling refers to the Land of Faerie where the mythical Faeries lived. It was a taking back of a derogatory name that gay men had been called and turning it into a name of identity and power. An almost anarchic sense of freedom and earth-centered spiritualities characterize their beliefs and behaviors. Faeries see themselves as gentle, loving men, nature lovers, healers, shamans, pagans, feminists, fun-lovers, seekers of a wholistic way of life. They believe that our society is unbalanced, too masculine oriented, thus authoritarian, bigoted, violent and warlike. So they work to balance the masculine and feminine within themselves toward an androgynous state of being. They often worship the Goddess, the Earth Mother, instead of the patriarchal God, to restore that balance.

Faeries come from all walks of life. They often have gatherings at sanctuaries, primitive campgrounds in rural areas. Consensus rules at these gatherings. There is no structured political organization or movement. For the most part, individual freedom takes precedence.

This is a little more succinct than my post a few days ago. But it says many of the same things. I believe there is a subtle quality, a spiritual and natural reason for gays in our society. They are not just accidents, detours, dead ends. If respected as a culture, by themselves and others, they can fill gaps in the masculine/feminine dichotomy.

Faerie Spirit

This is the beginning of some ruminations on Faerie Spirit. I don’t feel like composing a finished article, so I’ll just throw out some ideas as they come. These generalizations and perceptions are my personal observations. Ongoing…and perhaps a bit rambling. I’ll also link to other writings on the subject as I find them.

Faerie spirit describes the unique healing attitudes and skills of many gay men. But most of them are unaware of their abilities as healers and seers. They are too caught up in the gay subculture, which mainly tries to fit in, or react to, straight society. Either way, much of gay culture is “dependent” on straight culture to survive. Gay culture struggles with all its energy against straight culture. It often has little of its own tradition or mythology to pass on. And so the spirit is wasted in the paradigm of ageism and sex culture. There’s no room for depth.

Don’t get me wrong. Gay culture has influenced straight culture plenty. The open appreciation of male beauty in every facet of culture is a gift of gay culture. Men are more aware of their beauty, which makes them, well, even more beautiful. Beauty is a feminine quality, and it’s healthy for American men to develop it. Gay culture has influenced most pop culture, and style culture. These are valid but limited contributions. Their real spirit is often repressed.

Most people have some healing abilities. Women (feminine, nurturing, opening) tend to have more healing talent than men. Men (masculine, building, entering) are generally about action, accomplishment, change. Everyone has a balance of Yin and Yang energy. Usually one is favored. Straight men are more masculine, but can have quite a bit of feminine. Straight women may have the opposite balance.

Gay men tend to have a more equal balance of these opposing/balancing energies. This gives them an ability to sense and express energy in ways not available to non gays. I see the two energies as two lenses, the masculine and the feminine, each with it’s own power, and those who have a balance see things in stereo. Or, they could be like two healing stones, which when rubbed together in one person, creates a warm healing energy by the friction.

I’m not saying every gay man is healing and every straight man is not. No, no, no. I’m just saying the ones who have that skill are barely acknowledged, where they should be raised to a position of influence and respect in our community. They are here to heal and should be encouraged.

But that’s not the case. After thirty, most gay men are barely noticed, unless they work their asses off to stay buff. They have to conform to the beauty culture to be respected. The real healers may not compete well in this brutal, judgemental culture. As they mature, they may be ignored, outcast. And their talent goes unused.

I remember one man who I met at a support group. I could see his psychic ability, but he barely functioned in the group, at least around me. I felt he thought I dismissed him, but I was just a bit thick skinned, the way I always am around other gay men, mostly to protect myself from their judgment. I’ll judge you before you judge me, that’s our motto. Not a happy culture. Gay, not happy, sexual, not loving, trendy, not healing. So he and I never connected. Too bad. And part of it was my lack of empathy. My defenses and his defenses.

What are these healing powers I keep referring to? Seers, touch healers, sex healers, mystics, anyone with a valid message to offer the rest of us, whether physical or emotional or political or cultural or spiritual. I’ll try to be more specific as I think of examples. (later)

I sense my un-developed ability. I can see into people, see their weakness, their wounds, and how to nurture them. But I have no training, no mentor, no path, to show me how to focus this crude ability. I know it’s there, but my ego, my fears, my conformity blocks me. Part of the reason for this blog is to explore some of this stuff, in myself and in others.

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Dress Him Up

Why do men never wear dresses or skirts? Why do men always wear pants? And women get to choose? It seems to be a cultural norm in most human societies. Perhaps pants facilitate movement of the legs. I can understand how pants are useful for jobs like construction. Are men anatomically “suited” to wearing pant? Is there some gene that predisposes human men to decorate themselves a certain way, different from women? What about other cultures’ acceptance of certain skirt like outfits, like kilts? (That link has some hilarious photos revealing the limitations, or one could say, overexposure, of kilts. Beware.) Or what about Dhoti’s from India? Or perhaps sarongs from Indonesia? (I found this cute site with the proper way to tie a sarong, and some fun suggestions for this versatile skirt)

Perhaps men haven’t found the right designer to accentuate the leaner lines of a man’s body. Men’s bodies are shaped differently, with narrower hips. I’m sure if the interest were there, a designer would accommodate. I seem to remember some trendy version of kilts showing up on fashion runways for a few years, but it never caught on. Here’s a site where skirts for men are sold. Men in Skirts.

I have worn dresses and skirts. I once found a $50 bill in my dresser drawer, and decided to do something out of the ordinary. I went out and bought a black sweater dress. I am very tall, slim, with no hips, no chest, and pretty broad shoulders. I had a female friend in my orchestra who liked to wear tuxes to work. She was straight, and very fun and cool. She looked great in a tux. I looked pretty good in the dress. We decided to gender bend a little.

So we decked out in the opposite sex outfits, me in my dress (no makeup, just a man in a dress) and her in her tux (with long flowing hair and big boobs) And, on New Year’s Eve we joined the masses of wealthy, upper class revelers at the Kennedy Center. We waltzed (I can’t remember who led) through the grandiose atrium hallway, floating across the royal red carpet, the crowd parting magically before us. We had a blast. (However, my PMS ruined the mood and I slapped her for looking at another woman. Or was it a man? No, actually the dress constricted my movement, and prevented me from doing my finale, a full split at the end of the dance.) In fact, nothing dramatic happened. We just had fun, and lots of champagne.

Another time I wore a skirt with a T-shirt and very large hiking boots to a dance bar in DC. I danced my ass off. It was comfortable and freeing. Though I still didn’t do splits. I’d skip the boots next time around, though. I had blisters for days.

At other times I’ve worn loose skirts. Now that’s comfortable!! Especially with no underwear in the middle of summer. AHHHH! (No problem with the splits, either.) I prefer those ubiquitous Indian wrap around skirts. They come in a fun variety of rich patterns and colors. And one size fits all. Never bunch up in the crotch.

I’ve been to a couple of Faerie gatherings, where men wear anything they want, or nothing at all. Some faeries wore 2 or 3 different dresses a day. Like a mood ring, only with dresses to express the mood. At first it was almost offensive that men, sometimes fat and hairy men, would prance around in wedding dresses. I was intimidated by their audacious freedom. I was paralyzed by my own judgments of them, and the implied judgments of myself. “I would never do something so, so…” So what? Free? Random? Different? But after meeting several of them, who usually turned out to be articulate and sensible men, I realized I was the one with the problem. I met doctors and lawyers who just wanted to let their hair down, so to speak. Soon I was enjoying every rule shredding moment, sifting the bogus chaff from the real seed, the playful core of my self. I didn’t wear any wedding dresses, but then again, I didn’t come with my own wardrobe, either.

Except those times, I’ve almost never ventured away from pants. I feel it would go against the accepted behavior for men. My rebellious days are over. It would attract too much attention. It would be considered weird, freaky, comical. What a shame.

I imagine a society where difference is really accepted. Where I can swish around in a park on a summer day wearing a loose skirt and a T-shirt and perhaps see someone else doing the same.

Dresses are comfortable, and freeing, both for the body and the spirit. I don’t think women should be the only ones with that freedom (or choice of fabulous wardrobe elements).

Two Scents

OK, I know lots of folks have already posted about the new research on how gay men’s brains get off on the stud pheromones of men. DUH! But it’s such a juicy topic (especially on hot days) I had to add a few words, and some other scents.

The words for smells could flow over this page. Cloves. Honey. Tea. Cheese. Fresh Bread. Apple Pie. Roses. Peaches. Roasted Nuts. Fresh Air. Clean Clothes. Wet Wool. Newspaper. Gasoline. Basement. Wood. Pine. Pencils. Elementary Schools. Locker Rooms. Feet. Hair. Hands. Pits. Each smell with it’s own arsenal of subcategories, and each person with their own unique array. And they all have powerful affects on us.

I used to love the smell of gasoline and musty basements. I have no idea why I liked the smell of gasoline. Maybe I had a passionate affair with a NASCAR racer in a past life. Actually, I wouldn’t mind having that happen again…like maybe with Kevin Harvick(left). Or Casey Mears. In either case, I wouldn’t mind the smell of gasoline or oil at all.

kevin Harvick.jpgcasey mears.jpg

Positive association with a musty basement also sounds kind of weird. I remember playing for hours in my grandfathers basement. Maybe it was musty. My sister and I entertained ourselves with toys grampop made for us. Or he would show us all his tools and how they all worked. Those are fond memories. Safe, secure, musty.

I have a pretty good smeller, nice and big, with lots of room for air and those chunky smell molecules to bounce around before lodging in my olfactory receptors. Achoo! Excuse me. Too many words in my nose. Words is all they are. The real smells can barely be imagined. But the real thing short cuts the mind and goes right to our animal instincts.

So, it turns out gay men get turned on by the smells of other men’s bodies. No wonder I didn’t mind taking gym class in high school. Gyms, locker rooms, weight rooms. And I thought I was into being healthy and strong. It turns out I was into being around healthy and strong

Then there’s the smell of good cologne, on a man, of course. Cologne smells different on each man. Different chemistry. Some of my favorite colognes, like Azzaro, glorify the pungent muskiness of men’s natural smells. They actually smell a little like B.O. On the right man, B.O. is yummy! Most of the newer ones, however, like Nautica, have no male edge, and smell more like a woman. Nothing wrong with that. Just doesn’t click in my brain.

I could go on forever about smells, especially male smells. But I won’t get too into that personal head space here. Yet. I just thought I’d put in my two scents about men and "faerie moans". (OK, now you can roll your eyes or groan)

The Wine Lust

I just had the most amazing meal experience. The whole thing had a gestalt resonance that just left me humming with, well, gestalt resonance, and memories. Once in awhile, even at age “whatever I am” things in the universe just go ping, and viola, I have a poetic moment. OK, you’re saying, get started.

A meal with a friend, or friends, should be one of the best experiences in life. OK, not counting the first, and last, times you made nookie. But this is not as messy, and lasts longer, well, a little longer, than nookie. Anyway, my friend Joe and I have this tradition. Every year we celebrate each others birthday by taking the other out to dinner at the best (in our esteemed opinion) restaurant in Columbus. Yes, I said Columbus. No, not Columbus, GA. This is OHIO. (A friend once told me, “If I ever have a reason to visit Columbus, I’ll come see you.”)

You’re wondering if Columbus has much of anything. Well, we have lots of parking. And there’s no trouble, ever, finding a spot, except maybe in the liberal, gay part of town, which tries to be edgy, like a big city, and so we commune with other liberals who bond in the angst of looking for a parking space. And we have lots of Malls. I use the capital “Mall” instead of “mall” because we know our Malls hold the secret to the creation of the Universe. What the rest of the world doesn’t realize is that Columbus has more Malls per capita than many cities, and we are proud to be the testing site for the “average” American profile. I honestly wouldn’t be too proud of that, but hey, I didn’t come from here. (Whew!) And in Columbus, OH, we have the Santa Maria, a replica of the original ship that Columbus used to “discover America”, bringing gifts of disease and oppressive religion. The ship looks pretty pitiful and forlorn, lost along the pitiful waterfront park that clings to the muddy shores of the Scioto River.

But Columbus has a few gems for restaurants. Lindeys’ is one, reliable quality and service, but never stunning. But our favorite is The Refectory, which is located innocuously, in the heart of the inner suburbs. In the old “sprawl”, if you will. But what a restaurant. The service is “old style”, formal. For example, once I got up in the middle of a meal to use the rest room. When I came back my napkin was folded on my chair, and all the crumbs had been cleaned up. In fact, sometimes the crumbs seem to disappear from my napkin while it’s on my lap! Now that’s a trick I’d like to learn! In and out before they know what happened!

Anyway, we have been there at least four times, but only twice a year. Yet, this time, they remembered we like “black” napkins instead of white because we usually wear dark pants and prefer the black lint to the white. I guess you have to be there, but it’s a nice little touch. We sat down and the black napkins “appeared”.

But here’s the really good part. Our favorite part. The Sommelier! David. He’s like a really confident, sexy, football jock, who has us wrapped around his, well, his middle finger. And he knows his wine, to boot. What a combo! Every time we dine there, we ask for him, and within 5 minutes he shows up, and with a hint of boyish panache, announces what wine he’s into right now, like it’s the next best thing to, well you know. And with a twinkle in his eye, describes the joys of it’s bounty. Tonight is was an Italian, dark and handsome, with bedroom eyes, a sculptured chest and tight, fully filled jeans, and…back to the wine, which is called “Amarone della Valpolicella”. Apparently they roll around with these grapes in a straw filled barn for two years before attempting to tame it in casks. It was also from 1990. MMM, a good year for Italians with bedroom eyes. Charmed, we pretend to discuss it a bit, then order what he recommends. And we are never disappointed. And each time, he’s able to up the stakes, showing his stuff to a most appreciative audience.

Well, the wine tonight was magnificent, I exaggerate not. in all fairness, the food played a spendidly commendable supportive role to the star. Though only 15, this mature stud was high strung out of the bottle, but grabbed your attention with his pungent “Stilton”, cheesy smell, luring you in for more. And he had amazing staying power, with an even more alluring feminine charm. As he lounged around our mouths, he warmed up and relaxed, sprawling across our palates in his under-ware, eventually revealing cherry and ripe figs. My, oh my.

After dinner, we relaxed with fine French brandy, namely from the Pierre Ferrnand family. His name is Selection des Anges, meaning Angels Choice, and he brought his younger brother, “Grand Reserve”. Both were fulfilling experiences, but my friend and I decided we like the older brother better. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that. Thank goodness for sinful, unrepentant, sybaritic behavior to balance the world a bit. God must be thanking us for at least attempting to savor the miraculous bounty he put before us.

So, in one night we had a sexy Ohio football player with twinkly eyes, a hot restless graceful Italian stud, and two French boys. Needless to say, we’ll be going back.