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Tim Gunn Urges "Project Runway" Competitors to "Make it Work!" (Dec. 1, 2004)

Tim.gunn2On Dec. 1, 2004 the fashion-design reality show Project Runway debuted on Bravo and its viewers were introduced to the debonair, yet avuncular, co-host, Tim Gunn, and his catch phrase - "Make it work!".  (Not to be confused with RuPaul's catch phrase - "You better work!", from 12 years earlier.)  A few years later the show moved to Lifetime where it still airs - and Gunn is still part of the show.  Like the cast of another Bravo that debuted the year before, Queer Guy for the Straight Guy, Gunn distinguished himself with his approachable nature.

 

At the time he was hired for Project Runway Gunn was dean of New York's Parsons School of Design.  Since then he has hosted another reality show, Tim Gunn's Guide to Style; left Parsons to become chief creative director of Liz Claiborne; was hired as a spokesman for Macy's; and has published four books, the first which was titled Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style.

 

 Cher_snapoutofitWith all of this professional success, it came as somewhat of a surprise when Gunn revealed that he has been single and celibate for nearly 30 years, ever since a relationship ended that he never got over.  Reading this, I thought of a friend of mine who lost a partner in a car accident and another whose partner was murdered.  Both bounced back from these crushing losses and started new and successful relationships.  So when I read how Gunn has chosen to deal with his heartbreak I wanted to slap him like Cher did Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck and scream, "Snap out of it".  

 

 


Andre Braugher Plays the "Straight Man" in Gay Role on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

ImagesCA91N7Q2I'm not a big fan of Andy Samberg's, but I've been tuning in to his new Fox sitcom, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, because one of its characters, captain Ray Holt, is gay.  Played by Emmy Award winning actor Andre Braugher, it's quite a departure from his usual dramatic roles (e.g., Homicide; Law & Order).  He serves as a great foil to the man-child played by Samberg.  Braugher joins a small list of African American actors who have played a regular character who's gay, including Michael Boatman in 90s sitcom Spin City (as Carter Heywood); Matthew St. Patrick in Six Feet Under (as Keith Charles); and Nelsan Ellis in True Blood (as Lafayette Reynolds).

 

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Brooklyn-nine-nine-andre-braugherAlthough the focus of the show is on Samberg, it is Braugher's captain Holt who gets my attention.  I'm captivated by his soulful gaze and the comedic gravity he brings to the role.  And although viewers have been told that his sexual orientation kept him from being promoted to captain back in the 1990s, his orientation is only occasionally referenced.  However, it has also been established that he has a partner, whose name is Kevin (I think Edris Elba would be perfect in that role.)        

 

And although chances are good that the show may not live past its first season, I enjoy the show because its silliness is nicely tempered by the adult presence provided by Braugher.


"Jingle Bells" or "Jingle Balls"? Kmart Decks the Halls with Charmingly Risque TV Ad

Kmart_jingle_bellsNow this is some "ballsy" advertising!  Kmart recently unveiled a holiday ad for the 2013 season for its Joe Boxer line of men's boxer shorts (titled "Show Your Joe").  In it six studly bell-ringers go from ringing traditional bells to shaking their balls while showing off their boxers in a quasi Chippendale's production.  Although risque, it's also charming, and Kmart maintained some dignity as the bell ringers kept their tuxedo jackets on throughout.  Gay apparel indeed - and a delightful ad you don't want to fast-forward through!  Double cllick here to view it.

 

Here are a few other holiday-themed posts you may enjoy:

A Salute to Ads that Spread Holiday Cheer 

Bette Midler Spreads Holiday Cheer in Honda Ad

Martha Stewart's First Christmas Special Airs 

 

 


Mario Lopez Teases & Pleases on "Nip/Tuck" (September 19, 2006)

Sean_christian_niptuckThe TV drama Nip/Tuck was created by Ryan Murphy and aired on cable network Fx between 2003 and 2010.  It told the story of two high-living Beverly Hills plastic surgeons, Sean and Christian, and their high-end clients and sexual conquests.  Although they were heterosexual and bedded plenty of women, the two had a big-time bromance going on between them, and a homoerotic vibe characterized the series. 

 

Niptuck_showersceneEnter Mario Lopez, who was introduced early in Season 4 (Sept. 19, 2006 to be exact).  He played a recurring character, a plastic surgeon, Mike Hamoui, with a killer body.  Christian encountered Mike in the shower at the gym and couldn't keep his eyes off him, jealously ogling his beautiful butt and washboard abs.  It's one of those scenes you want to watch over and over again.  To watch it in its delectable entirety, double click here.

 

Mario_lopez_a_chorus_line Mario_lopez_louganisAt the same time as this jaw dropping appearance, Lopez was also competing on Dancing with the Stars (he and his partner came in second).  Nine years before his Nip/Tuck shower scene, he had another water-oriented acting role, portraying Olympic diver Greg Louganis in USA Network's movie Breaking the Surface.  In this role he spent considerable screen time strutting around in a Speedo.  And two years after Nip/Tuck, he made his Broadway debut in A Chorus Line, playing the part of Zach, the director (pictured, far right).  It was reported that Lopez demanded more form fitting clothing, especially since hunky Nick Adams, who played the assistant director, got to wear tank tops that showed off his great physique.  


Jane Lynch Has Breakout Role Playing a Lesbian in "Best in Show" (September 19, 2000)

Jane_lynch_bestinshowJane Lynch had many supporting TV roles throughout the 1990's, but it wasn't until she appeared in Christopher's Guest's movie Best in Show in the autumn of 2000 that she registered on my radar.  Ironically, although she didn't come out publicly until a few years ago, she played a lesbian dog trainer in the film (photographed here with Jennifer Coolidge).  At the end of the movie there's a hilarious scene where Jane's character talks about her and her partner's new publishing venture, American Bitch, a magazine that focuses on the issues of the lesbian purebred dog owner.

 

After Best in Show she appeared in a number of other high profile movies between 2003-2009, all which I happened to see:

  • A Mighty Wind - Another Christopher Guest film, Lynch played a reformed porn actress who became a singer in the squeaky clean folk group, the New Main Street Singers.  This is my favorite of her roles.

Jane_lynch_mightywind.

  • The 40-Year-Old Virgin - Here she played the cougar store manager, Paula, who was more than happy to be Steve Carell's "fuck buddy".
  • Talledega Nights - She played the upstanding Christian mother of Will Farrell's race car driver character, Ricky Bobby.  (Virgin and Talledega Nights both grossed more than $150 million.)
  • For Your Consideration - In a cameo role, she portrayed an all-smiles Mary Hart type on an entertainment show.  This was yet another Christopher Guest film.
  • Julie & Julia - She was delightful as the sister of Julia Child (played by Meryl Streep).

 

Sue_sylvester2One trait of Lynch's I love is her friendly and dazzling smile, something that's missing from her most famous role, since 2009, of the villainous Sue Sylvester on the TV show Glee.  Sue is one of those classic TV characters who's quickly embraced by viewers but then soon becomes overexposed in ensuing episodes (see also: Kramer from Seinfeld; Mimi from The Drew Carey Show; Urkel from Family Matters; and Fonzie from Happy Days).  I can't stand seeing her in that warmup suit - and with that awful scowl on her face.  

 

Jane_lynch_annieBy 2010 Lynch seemed to have become the new media-annointed public face of gay America (a role previously played by the likes of Harvey Fierstein, Rosie O'Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres).  She did some commercials, hosted the Emmy's in 2011, hosted SNL and recently finished a one-month gig on Broadway in the musical Annie, playing Miss Hannigan (and performed a number from it at this year's Tony Awards, pictured).  And this summer she's hosting the primetime game show Hollywood Game Night on NBC. 


 

Recap of the 2013 Tony Awards - One More Gay Man's Opinion

In the afterglow of last night's 2013 Tony Awards, here's another gay man's opinion, limited to 10 observations ...

 

1. Neil Patrick Harris' opening number was spectacular, but then I thought he went flat.  Perhaps the Billy Crystal syndrome?  His mash-up of titles of musicals and plays is tired; one joke at Mike Tyson's expense was enough; and his tux was unflattering and looked like it was made from itchy flannel.

 

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2. A few years ago the theme of the Tonys was "Broadway - It's Not for Gays Anymore!"  This year I didn't even hear the word "gay" mentioned.  However, there was plenty of gayness.  Besides NPH, out actors Zachary Quinto, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Alan Cumming, Andrew Rannells and David Hyde Pierce had stage time; Christopher Durang mentioned his partner; and actors who appeared to be seated in the audience with their same-sex partners/boyfriends abounded (e.g., Nathan Lane, Harvey Fierstein, Jerry Mitchell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson).

 

Jesse_tyler_fegruson_2013tonyawards 

 

3.  As he closed his acceptance speech after winning for Matilda, Gabriel Eberts thanked "Mom, Dad and Scott", leaving many viewers to wonder whether Scott was his partner, dog, agent, or brother.

 

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4. Kinky Boots choreographer, Jerry Mitchell, gets my vote for sexiest man in attendance.  And although he looked great in his red tux jacket, the oversized bow tie was an unfortunate choice.

 

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5. Cyndi Lauper, Billy Porter, Cicely Tyson and Patina Miller all gave wonderfully heartfelt acceptance speeches.  Tyson's slow and deliberate delivery of her acceptance was in refreshing contrast to the rat-a-tat-tat style of most of the other winners (see Judith Light, below).  And Miller's gown was gorgeous, the most beautiful of the night.

 

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6. I love Judith Light and was delighted that she won another Tony, but her overwrought acceptance was a repeat of last year's.  OK Judith, you won the Tony, you can stop acting!

 

Judith_light_2013_tonyawards 

 

7. I thoroughly enjoyed the musical numbers from Matilda (it reminded me of the number from Spring Awakening a few years ago) and A Christmas Story, but wasn't blown away by the Kinky Boots number, which just seemed like generic Broadway.

 

Matilda_2013_tonyawards 

 

8. The actor who portrays Simba in The Lion King appeared on stage twice.  And although he had a dazzling smile, his pecs were a bit too man-boobish for my taste.  (Or perhaps it was the make-up on his upper chest area that accentuated them.)

 

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9. Instead of Cherry Jones or Cynthia Nixon, this year's token lesbian was Jane Lynch.

 

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10. Finally, whose idea was it to pair somewhat diminutive Mayor Michael Bloomberg with Amazonian Sigourney Weaver?  (I suppose it could have been worse - he could have been accompanied by her and the equally towering Jane Lynch.)  Also, despite his glowing report about Broadway attendance, just a few days ago there was an article in the Times reporting on declines in attendance and box office revenue.

 

Mayor_bloomberg_2013_tonyawards 

And if you still can't get enough of the Tonys, here are links to recaps from the previous two telecasts:

2012

2011

 

 


New York's Sexiest News Anchors & Reporters

 

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When I first moved to New York in 1979 I watched the CBS affiliate's local news and was drawn to Rolland Smith (right) and John Stossel (long before he went over to the dark side at Fox News).  Nowadays my exposure to news broadcasts comes from the eight TV monitors I see at the gym while I do cardio, providing me the opportunity to take in many hunky talking heads at once.  For this post I've narrowed it down to two dozen who turn my head - five of them are openly gay.  (Please note that this post was originally published in 2013 and I've tried to keep it current since then, with additions, and mentions where my choices are no longer working in New York.)  

 

NEW YORK'S FINEST

  • Steve Lacy (Fox 5/ late-40s?) - Straight from central casting, Steve looks like the straight twin of MSNBC's Thomas Roberts (see below).  He took over evening anchoring duties at the beginning of 2013.  Actually, his photos don't do him justice. 

 

Steve_lacy  Steve.lacy

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  • Rob Schmitt (WNBC-4/ 36 years old) - The new kid in town (that is, when I first wrote this post seven years ago; in fact, he's no longer working in New York any longer), Schmitt was hired away from LA's CBS affiliate in the summer of 2013 and anchors Channel 4's 12 noon newscast.  A little more dashing than Steve Lacy, he has Thomas Roberts' (CNN) good looks. 

 

Rob.schmitt.wnbc Rob_schmitt_about_us Rob.schwartz

 

  • Phil Lipof (WABC 7/ 46 years old)  - Sadly, Phil was hired away by the ABC affiliate in Boston (WCVB) in the fall of 2013.  Still, I'd like to keep him on this list, at least for a while, as an honorary member.  Although he wasn't a weatherman, he seemed to be the guy WABC liked to send out into bad weather.

 

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  • Mike Woods (Fox 5/ 52 years old) - Woods has been with Fox 5 since 2001. What makes him stand out is the fact that he enjoys flaunting his body and has done a number of on-location weather reports shirtless.  (Something fans of The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore have always hoped for.)  Openly gay, I bumped into him at the Monster after I wrote this post and told him of the honor I bestowed upon him (he was very personable).  And in November 2014 he received another honor when People Magazine named him the sexiest news anchor.

 

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  • Raphael Miranda (WNBC 4/ 42 years old) - Another gay weatherman, Raphael's profile on WNBC's website mentions that he's gay and has a partner.  However, I rarely see him on the air.  When he first joined the station a few years ago I'd chuckle because his presence seemed to unnerve the sports anchor, Bruce Beck.

 

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  • Matt Brickman (WNBC-4/early-30s?) - Yet another weatherman, but straight.  Local Jersey boy who got established in Minneapolis before returning to New York last year.

 

Matt brickman wnbc weatherman

 

  • Maurice DuBois (WCBS 2/ 54 years old) - He has the sexiest name of any on this list.  DuBois has been with WCBS since 2004; prior to that he was with NBC's New York affiliate, WNBC, for seven years.  (The first photo is current, the other is from the mid-2000s.) 

 

Maurice dubois 2017

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  • Rob Powers (WABC-7/ 55 years old) - Bright eyes and a great smile.  I like this photo because it looks like someone poked a finger up Rob's ass just as the photo was snapped.  He left WABC for hometown Cleveland's WEWS (also an ABC affiliate).

 

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  • John Chandler (WNBC-4/ 40 years old).  Has spent the last six years at the station.

 

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MORE CUTE THAN SEXY

  • Sheldon Dutes (WNBC-4/ mid-30s?) - He's a general assignment reporter who regularly appears on WNBC's morning show Today in New York.  He possessed a boyish charm, enthusiasm and a great smile.

 

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  • Chris Glorioso (WNBC-4/ late-30s?) -  Probably the same age as Tom Llamas, he looks like Llamas' fair-skinned twin.  Both also have a serious demeanor and are somewhat stiff on camera.  But while Llamas is now an anchor, Chris is an investigative reporter.  

 

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  • Pat Kiernan (NY-1/ 51 years old) - He's been with cable new station NY-1 since its inception in 1992 and still exudes the same boyish charm.  He's the person I wake up to in the morning.

 

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  • John Schiumo (NY1/ late-40s) - He was also at NY-1 for a long time, but not as long as Pat Kiernan.  And in 2018 he left the station to join a PR firm.

 

John_schiumo_ny1 

 

  • Joe Torres (WABC-7/49 years old) - As he's gotten oldler, his face has gotten puffier and more wrinkled, like a shar pei dog, but he still retains his boyish charm.

 

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  • Harry Cicma (WNBC-4/ 38 years old) - Relatively new to the New York market, he's been a sports announcer on WNBC for a couple of years (and also does on site reporting during bad weather).  He has a very approachable persona and reminds me of some of the cute, eager phys ed teachers of my youth (including the flat-top).  

 

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THE STUDS OF NETWORK NEWS

Since the TV networks are headquartered in New York, I've stretched the boundaries of this post and included some of the "big guns".

 

  • David Muir - (ABC/ 46 years old) - Muir, and his great shock of hair, took over anchor duties on World News Tonight from the unwatchable Diane Sawyer in Sept. 2014, and it's boosted the newscast's ratings.

 

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  • Richard Engel - (NBC/ 46 years old) - NBC's dashing Middle East correspondent.  There was speculation about his sexual orientation but he married in May 2015 and he and his wife are expecting a child (thanks to one of my readers who brought this news to my attention).

 

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  • Tom Llamas (ABC/ 40 years old) - Very boyish, with a little bit of peach fuzz above his lip and somewhat imperfect teeth.  Of Cuban heritage.  When I originally wrote this post Llamas was on NYC's WNBC.  Then in 2014 he moved to the NBC News division and in the winter of 2015 he moved over to ABC where he anchors World News Tonight on weekends. 

 

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  • Jacob Rascon (former NBC correspondent/ 33 years old) - Like Llamas, Rascon is another rising star.  He moved to the network in 2014 after spending time as a general correspondent for KNBC in LA but then returned to local news in Houston four years later.  He manages to exude a sexy swagger even when wearing a dorky ski hat.

 

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  • Jeremy Diamond (CNN/ late-20s?) - Diamond appeared on my radar in the spring of 2017 and is the youngest of the guys chosen for this post.

 

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  • Martin Bashir (ABC/ 57 years old) - Of Iranian heritage, Bashir is the oldest of the bunch here.  His most recent reporting job was with MSNBC, which he resigned from late in 2013 after making an unfortunate comment about Sarah Palin.  Before MSNBC he was an anchor for NBC News Dateline and ABC News.

 

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  • Thomas Roberts (MSNBC/ 47 years old) - Openly gay, there are also photos of Roberts shirtless on the internet, but unlike Fox 5 weatherman Mike Woods, he's never gone bare chested on-camera.

 

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  • Don Lemon (CNN/a very youthful 54) - He's the shortest of this group, only 5'6".  He became a news story for a while in 2011 when he revealed he was gay.  He bares a striking resemblance to Pharrell Williams (sans hat).

 

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  • Van Jones (CNN/51 years old).  A commentator rather than a reporter or anchor, I've included him nonetheless by dint of him being so telegenic and sexy.

 

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  • Rick Folbaum (Fox News/ 47 years old) - Folbaum used to be an anchor on the Fox affiliate in New York.  He's sexy, in that uptight, married, right wing, I'll-meet-you-at-the-rest-stop, kind of way.

 

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  • Anderson Cooper (CNN/ 52 years old) - Then, of course, there's golden boy, Anderson.  Another newsman I'd categorize as being more cute than sexy, Cooper is known for his cute smile, beautiful blue eyes and disarming giggle.

 

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  • Boris Sanchez (CNN/ early 30s) - The fifth chosen from CNN's roster.  Nicely plucked eyebrows.

 

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  • Sam Brock (NBC Nightly News/ 30-ish).  Young Sam came to my attention during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Seeing him usually made hearing the latest bad news about the virus a little bit easier to take.  With or without a mask.

 

Sam brock nbc news reporter

  Sam brock nbc

  • Colin Jost (SNL Weekend Update/ 37 years old) - Finally, his inclusion may be a bit of a stretch, but Jost is too adorable to overlook.  After working behind the scenes as a writer at Saturday Night Live since 2005, Harvard graduate Jost took over anchor duties from Seth Meyers when Meyers moved to Late Night.

 

Colin.jost.snl

 

 

Nick_markakis2 Nieto_mexico_presidentTwo other posts you may like are "A Salute to Major League Baseball's Sexiest Players" and "The Aphrodisiac of Power: Sexiest World Leaders".

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Actor Robert Reed, aka "Mr. Brady", Dies of AIDS (May 12, 1992)

Rock_hudson Anthony_perkins Liberace In the early days of the AIDS crisis it was common to assume that any man stricken with it was gay.  As a result, AIDS inadvertently outed a number of its celebrity victims.  Although their close circle of friends may have known about their sexual orientation, the general public was largely unaware.  However, once news that celebs such as Rock Hudson, Anthony Perkins and Liberace had AIDS their "secret life" became known.  It was an unfortunate way of being outed.  And in some cases family members vehemently denied that AIDS was the cause of death.

 

Robert_reed Mike_and_carol_brady Such was the case with actor Robert Reed, best known for his role as architect-dad Mike Brady in the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch, which aired from 1969-1974.  Until he died of AIDS on May 12, 1992, the viewing public was largely unaware he was gay.  He was 59 at the time of his death, which was relatively old since AIDS victims were largely in their 40s.   Although his Wikipedia bio disputes that he died of AIDS, another Wikipedia article lists Reed among celebrities who died from it.  Other articles site that he was HIV+, which was a contributing factor to his death from colon cancer.

 

22 years would pass before the next cast member passed away, actress Ann B. Davis, who portrayed the Brady's live-in maid, Alice.

    

 


Barbra Streisand's 1st TV Special, "My Name is Barbra", Airs (April 28, 1965)

My_name_is_barbraSpringtime was an important time for Barbra Streisand's early career as her first TV appearance (Jack Paar, 1961); two Broadway shows; two TV specials; and her Oscar for Best Actress (Funny Girl) all occurred in March or April.  The first of her TV specials aired on April 28, 1965.  Titled "My Name is Barbra", it coincided with the release of her album by the same name. 

 

The special was shot in black & white and featured no guests, just Barbra.  Amazingly, the hour-long telecast was jam-packed with 27 songs (actually, less than an hour when taking commericals into account).  The special was critically acclaimed, won three Emmy Awards, and was followed in 1966 by her next special "Color Me Barbra" , which would be another tour de force.    

 

 


Oprah Winfrey Gets the Low Down on the "Down Low" (April 16, 2004)

Down_low_oprah The phrase "on the down low", or the DL, refers to men of color who, while not identifying themselves as being gay, have furtive sex with other men.  This urban slang was picked up by the media at the turn of the 21st century and it picked up steam a few years later with articles in TIME, The Village Voice and the New York Times Magazine.  Then Oprah introduced it to her viewers during an episode of her show that aired on April 14, 2004.  

 

 

Downlow.hip-hopOf course, while the DL may be a black construct, men with wives and girlfriends who sneak off to have sex with other men is hardly limited to blacks.  It's been explained that the term was coined because of an aversion many black men have to being labeled as gay.  (Based on the black men I've known, it's quite a generalization.)  Apparently, in the minds of these men, having sex with a man isn't the same thing as being gay, which they equate with being effeminate.  (I wonder if a similar term has been coined in Arabic for Muslim men?)   

 

 

Grindr_logo Today, thanks to online chat rooms and the iPad app Grindr, sneaking off for a quickie has never been easier or more tempting.  (Fooling around in the steam room at the gym is so 20th century.)  Because of these new means of communication, wives and girlfriends would surely be freaked if they knew the extent to which husbands and boyfriends play around with other men before work, during lunch and after work.  

 

  

Gay_newyork_george_chauncey However, it's hardly a new phenomenon.  In the book Gay Manhattan, which talks of gay life in the first half of the 20th century, author George Chauncey revealed that it wasn't uncommon for a straight blue collar guy to have a gay acquaintance on the side to get him off (without reciprocation) whenever their wives weren't able to provide for all their sexual needs.