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It's nice when people take time out to send me email stating agreement over some opinion I've expressed on this web site. (the emails usually read, "Yes, you are gay. Now stop fruiting around and write something new.") It feels good to strike a chord, even unwittingly, and learn there are others out there – total strangers – who fully concur with my personal set of beliefs. Well, that's all about to change with this entry.

Here's the deal: I don't think it makes you gay just because you beat off to images of Brad Pitt.

I usually don't like to set sentences off by themselves, naked and defenseless like that, but I think this one needed a little air around it so readers like you could take a pause for better retention. Now let me explain. Is beating off to images of shirtless men a little, for lack of a better word, gay? Sure. And is Brad Pitt a gay icon? Yes, but what serious-eyed, muscular man or quick-witted overweight Asian woman isn't a gay icon? In truth, I believe Brad Pitt is much, much more and I sort of resent the idea that he's been cordoned off as a gay icon, to be enjoyed only by the gayest of eyes. I think his appeal transverses the already flimsy (but pretty clearly defined) borders of sexual orientation. He was put on this planet for all of us to marvel at, each in our own way.

Brad Pitt is good looking. Fuck that – Brad Pitt is a some kind of weird, sculpted masterpiece. It is still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that he sometimes wears sweatpants and opens mail and performs oral sex on Jennifer Aniston. The actual sex act seems, like those other items I just listed, a bit beneath Brad Pitt. It means being charitable and leaking things and possibly putting scratches in his body, which is made of marble dipped in some kind of expensive foundation make-up you can only buy in Okinawa, made from the tears of grateful orphans on their birthdays. That's just it. I don't think Brad is even on the top of most women's lists of "men I want to grab me in the dark." He's a purely asthetic creation. Therefore, Brad Pitt should not be allowed to have sex, nor should he be expected to participate in interviews where he has to talk about what kind of underwear he wears and what cheap, domestic beer he drinks to try to understand what "normal" (i.e. fallible) people are like. I attest that Brad Pitt learned to fart from books on tape. Brad Pitt has his eyes cleaned in a gem tumbler. The guy is so objectively attractive that I can even beat off to Meet Joe Black without the slightest tinge of remorse. NOT A TINGE.

I don't care whether you're straight, gay, or still waiting for the test results from the Princeton Center – Brad Pitt is a good looking man. And he's not good looking in that way that makes straight guys want to punch him in the mouth. (sorry, jimmy fallon.) I have plenty of straight friends who will admit to being shocked and amazed by Brad Pitt's physique to the point of great admiration, which then gives way to envy and self-doubt. That's because when Brad Pitt first marched out shirtless in Thelma & Louise, with a blower dryer tucked into his jeans, we all knew the bar had been raised on women's baseline expectations of us. And when my friends are witness to Brad Pitt's unswaying power over all humans, I don't think it means they want to kiss Brad Pitt. I just think they have the decency of taste and honesty of heart to acknowledge that which is scientifically true: that guy is very fuckable. And admitting that does not come with gay intentions. In fact, I would go as far as saying if you're a man who can't or won't recognize how attractive Brad Pitt is to all sexual orientations, it makes you stupid. Yes, stupid. A very stupid person. Because that's like being afraid to say David is a great statue and a perfect example of male physique just because Michaelangelo chose to include a flaccid cock in the sculpture. Stop being so scared of the truth, and start beating off to images of Brad Pitt, heterosexual male. And while you're at it, you are permitted to beat off to images of Michaelangelo's David statue. Go wild. Consider it a bonus package.

But the real reason I can confidently make the leap from recognizing Brad Pitt's magnetism to promoting the idea that beating off to images of Brad Pitt does not make you gay is that Brad Pitt, to me, is purely wish fulfillment. Beating off to images of Brad Pitt does not (necessarily) indicate an object of sexual desire; it is merely a celebration of what you'd – what we'd all – like to be. It would be like beating off to an image of a Ferrari – something we've all done, I'm sure. I look at Brad Pitt and I don't think, "Man, I need that guy inside me." I think, "Man, I need to be that guy!"

It's similar to watching a pornographic film. Yes, you are usually thinking about how there are pretty girls with breasts and vagina parts and they're all excited and shrieking and bunching up their hair and they forgot to take their shoes off and this is hot and you want to salute that hotness by beating off on your butterfly chair from Urban Outfitters and then hopping to your dresser with your pants around one ankle and wiping the salute-juice off you with a Puffs Plus and yes maybe this makes you feel like what you just did a few seconds ago was not as awesome as it was perhaps embarrassing and slightly soul-killing but at least you'll sleep soundly tonight. Right? BUT...there's this other part of beating off to pornographic films where you're watching two giant black studs have sex with a Peace Corps volunteer and you're sort of thinking, "I want to be those guys." You're projecting your wishes through the remarkable example the black studs have set. You're not beating off to those guys, necessarily. You're just sort of saying, "Hey, fellas, tag me in!" It's no different than how Donald Trump beats off on a stack of his best-selling book, The Art of the Deal or the way Fonzie would beat off in the mirror and, through gritted teeth, he'd growl, "I'm so fucking cool I'm so fucking cool. Who's the coolest? Answer: ME. Exactamundo!"

Beating off to images of Brad Pitt is more like a step in the right direction toward self-improvement, and any girlfriend worth her salt would be proud of your efforts. I cannot stress this enough. This should be a rule from now on. Beating off to images of Brad Pitt is absolutely not gay, unless you beat off into a Joey Fatone coffee mug. That, I'm afraid, is as gay as the day is long.

[By the way, after today I will be well on my way to edging out The O'Reilly Factor Online to become the #1 search result for the phrase, "beating off to images of Brad Pitt." Sorry, Bill. Looks like your fans need to work harder.]

WE FIRST MET ON 06.24.2004

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