January 18, 2011


Arthur, age 4
Auburn, Washington (1972)

Not long after this pic was snapped, I remember looking at an article in Mad Magazine about possible future nudity in cartoons. It had completely non-graphic nudity featuring characters from Pogo and Beetle Bailey, but I remember when looking at it, for the first time I got a funny feeling "down there." Only later did I realize that all the characters depicted were male.

"Hippity-hopity, Easter's on it's way"
In 1st grade, I would chase down and kiss Kevin on the playground. He didn't really like it, and the other kids would tease him when he got kissed, but I didn't see anything wrong with it. These days this would be called "not respecting boundaries."

It must have been on the long bus ride home from kindergarten when one day the kids on the school bus started chanting, 'Arthur wears panty hose! Arthur wears panty hose!' The driver got on the PA and said, 'Hey, Arthur does NOT wear panty hose!' Gee, thanks a lot.

Later in grade school, the kids started to develop more accurate vocabularies, and started to call me "fag."  'Hey, I'm not a fag, whatever that is.' Other contributors to this blog wish they had a name for what they were when they were growing up. I had a name, and I didn't like it. The name seemed so arbitrary that when I was teased, I started calling back, 'Oh yeah, well you're a fag too.'  Then everyone started started ignoring me completely. So at least I never got physically beat up much through my junior high and high school years.

When I was about 10, my father and his brothers gave my grandmother a Playgirl magazine as a gag gift for her 60th birthday.

"What's 'Playgirl?'"
"It's Playboy, but with pictures of naked men."
*GASP* "I wanna see!"

In 6th grade I had a crush on another boy when we went on a field trip with 6th graders from another school. He had dark tousled hair, and I couldn't stop being around him. I didn't know what was going on, but I knew I had to stop behaving that way, and I kept it hidden for 30 more years.

Then the depression got so bad I figured being honest with myself was better than keeping my parents happy by keeping them uninformed. Looking back, I wonder how I could not have known sooner.

Arthur's first, famous-person same sex crush:
"Dirty Dan" from Sha-Na-Na
Must be the tousled hair

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"


AAllen said...

I forgot to add: when I saw "A Christmas Story," I couldn't understand why Ralphie didn't like the bunny suit he got for Christmas.

Paul K said...

When I was in 6th grade (1962-63) a boy who I knew through the grapevine hated me with a passion cornered me one day so he could explain up close and personal exactly why he did. I will never forget the look of fury on his face, the spittle in the corner of his mouth. He called me "handbag...which is another word for purse, which is short for percy" (a typical anti-gay slur in those days) he explained with rage. I stood frozen, not reacting at all. I suppose he expected me to react like a handbag, start crying, run away, I don't know. I had at that young age perfected a look of disdain that hid the turmoil inside - I was not going to let them see me suffer! So instead of following up on his threat to beat me he slunk away.
Words can hurt. They can leave scars. For me, in addition to the usual taunts of "fag" "queer" "homo" and even "percy" Handbag has a special place in my hall of shame.

AAllen said...

Today I was able to find and buy a copy of the 1999 CD-ROM collection of Mad Magazine, so I bought it and looked up the article mentioned above. It is from Issue # 130, October 1969: "If This 'Nudity' Trend In Movies Ever Spreads to the Comics."

toycoon said...

Hey Arthur,
I remember that article in MAD very well. Beetle Bailey had a sweet ass!

I first saw that article in a MAD Super Special #5 from the 70's as the original article was in an earlier issue.

AAllen said...

Hey, my mother is a published photographer and she doesn't even know it! By coincidence, I attended my first furry convention last month. Who would have guessed it?