Of the fistfuls of men in the room last night, there were few—if any—interested in my vagina. There’s nothing like disinterested (nonthreatening) masculinity to inspire a desire for masculinity. 69 or so beautiful dudes, groomed just the rightest slightest, in one big, disco-Fleetwood pumping hall. They were all, “guh-gay-gay,” I explained to my friend Dana, when she asked why I didn’t hit on any of the men that made for, “the most wondrous sight of my spring, so far.” I did try to hit on you—you, tall in that sweatshirt, you, cute under that ballcap, and you, you with the twinkly eyes—but God didn’t endow us with hormones of complimentary desire, did he?
BUTT magazine remains my all-time favorite magazine for the same reason that room was the most wondrous sight. Men. Objectified. With happy consent. Men objectified, posing sexily for a camera, for an imagined viewer that isn’t me. BUTT magazine was founded in 2001 as a, “pocket-size magazine for and about faggots.” Online it’s a, “zine for queens on your screen.” Its paper is pink, as is its web background—a signature pale pink with a touch of violet, complementary to the plethora of cocks it portrays.
Michael Bullock established BUTT in America. The magazine is Dutch, but Bullock brought it to us, acting as its U.S. publisher from 2004 to 2011. Michael Bullock was why we were all in that room last night. We were there to celebrate his latest endeavor, a book of short story, a single one in folio, called Roman Catholic Jacuzzi.
Roman Catholic Jacuzzi has been referred to as an “autobiographical novella” but it only makes the novella page count (50-plus) by being typeset at 20 pt. It reads like a children’s first chapter book: perfect bound, with about a centimeter in spine, hefty, like you’re a big boy now, but with print inside so large even a myopic shoulder reader will be able to make out its words, words like “ritualistic orgies” and “semi-hard cock.” Subway reading.
Whether it’s a novella or short story doesn’t matter as much as it matters that you know, “this is not a work of fiction.” It is an exposé. A truth. This really happened.
So what happened? Well, not too long ago, our Michael Bullock was on a writing retreat at his go-to East Coast gay-owned-and-operated private lodge and campground. He’d been there before and thought he knew what to expect: communal meals, figure drawing classes, sex with men. This retreat around, though, he was advised, upon arrival, that he must keep to his cabin, as there was a very private group occupying the central space. What kind of gays would, already isolated deep in the Massachusetts woods, require such added discretion?
“CLOSETED ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS!”
Of course, Bullock couldn’t not engage, and the narrative that he tells, of his hesitations, frustrations, anger, and lust when faced with this cabal of hypocrites is hilarious, righteous, and wild. That should be sufficient description to inspire your picking up a copy, I think. Remember: it’s true. Remember: its title. The climax of the story does take place in a jacuzzi but whether there’s a climax or not—buy the book.
There were no readings at Bullock’s book launch last night at Artists Space. There was Honey Dijon, the fabulous. There was frankincense and myrrh. There was the Harlem-based gay and lesbian gospel choir Lavender Light. There were vodka cranberries, vodka tonics, vodka sodas, and Modelos in the can. There were more beautiful men in one room than I could count, including a few models I recognized from the pages of BUTT. None of whom wanted my butt, but I like it like that.