I found this racy matchbook on the ground at a gas station in Canada when I was a kid. I was on a fishing trip with my dad, uncles, cousin and grandpa. Upon seeing it, I pocketed it. In time, it became a staple of my old-man black, fake-leather wallet I carried; I stuffed it in a secret part of the wallet unlikely to ever be casually searched by nosy parents, teachers or little sisters.
550 posts categorized "ME"
Hey, I'm nothing if not gender-neutral. I just got and already love my Snugg iPhone case in leather. It's really cute (if very hot pink), soft and the phone fits in there...well...snugly. For a quick-draw, you just pull a tab to pop out the phone.
In case hot pink isn't your thing, it comes in all the colors of the rainbow at TheSnugg.com. Great Mother's Day gift idea.
My parents expressed surprise (but were supportive) when I eventually came out to them, but something might have been caught had they looked at my Peanuts calendar from the early '80s, which dutifully noted the particulars of the injury and subsequent death of Princess Grace. I also noted that she was buried that following Saturday.
Queens stick together.
Selfie-Esteem: Selfies may be leading to the rise in plastic surgery.
Original photography by Matthew Rettenmund
"I've never had any plastic surgery. Except I had an eye done once."
It could have been a conversation between Joan Blondell and Eve Arden in the late '60s, but it was a conversation between two middle-aged (if we live into our nineties) gay men in 2014. One of them was me.
I'd asked a pal of mine about cosmetic surgery and was surprised my friend didn't "count" the surgical correction of a drooping eyelid. Apparently, the lid could have obstructed his vision so was classified as something he needed. He told me it—however you'd classify it—had gone well and had never been something he regretted.
In anticipation of this post, I'd asked male acquaintances and Facebook friends for their experiences with plastic surgery, and had received a raft of responses, right in line with statistics that show men are catching up to women in this arena. As of 2012, about a million American men were opting for plastic surgery of some kind every year, including sharp increases in men seeking facelifts, lipo and breast reduction. That accounted for only 10% of procedures overall, but the numbers feel outdated already.
"I've had lots done!" one friend wrote me. "Nose job, 3 gynecomastia operations, lipo in chest and abdomen, regular botox and Radiesse injections in the face. Whew! It's a lot of work and money to try to look decent as one ages." Judging from his youthful Facebook visage, the money has been worth it. Aside from wearing compression vests for "weeks" after lipo, which he described as a bit of a pain, he told me, "I would definitely recommend these procedures to anyone who feels they need them."
I've had lots done!
Still another friend told me of having a nosejob to balance out his hair loss. It turned into two nosejobs when the first left his schnozz a bit too reminiscent of a shark's fin. He's happy with it now, but warned that his female friend's new nose had left her looking like a dog. Hyperbole? No. "I mean, like a dog who should be eating Alpo out of a bowl," he clarified, suggesting her nose had taken on a canine appearance. She, too, had had it fixed, and was now happy. Both he and his friend felt they needed the work done, and both had eventually wound up with the result they expected.
So, judging from statistics and my unscientific poll, the number of people who feel they need plastic surgery seems to be skyrocketing...the most interesting word in that sentence being "need."
My whole life, one of the few physical traits I could always count on for compliments was my smile. In fifth grade, when I was as large as, well, two fifth-graders, we were assigned to write something positive about another person's appearance. Worried I was too ugly for words, I waited impatiently for my best friend Dan to show me what he'd written about me:
"Matthew has a great smile."
To this day, my teeth are suspiciously white, even though my dentist would probably give me an "eh" on my dental maintenance. Perhaps all that soda had burned away any film that would otherwise over my chompers, or I'm just genetically gifted in that regard.
But I've noticed that I no longer hear compliments about my very white teeth, because nowadays, there are so many options for whitening one's smile.
But which works the best? I think I have an answer.
Several months ago, I received a free kit from Smile Brilliant, which offers an elaborate tooth-whitening system you can take advantage of from your own home. The gist is, you use their kit to make impressions of your teeth, then they mail you back teeth-whitening trays custom-fitted to your mouth. (Pictured at left.) This way, their tooth-whitening product can work on your teeth in the most effective manner possible, so much so that they offer guaranteed results with a "no questions asked, money-back guarantee."
But who would be my guinea pig?
I recruited a good friend of mine with a charming smile who nonetheless had noticed some yellowing over the years. Look, even if you make it into your forties, the whiteness of your teeth probably won't—there's no shame in doing something proactive about brightening up that grin.
So my friend accepted my offer of a Smile Brilliant kit and began the long journey of whitening his teeth. (It's actually a short process, but he became busy and so used the kit over a period of weeks.)
I prodded him in the same way your tongue works over your teeth to get that stray piece of popcorn out of the way. He replied:
"I did a two-hour session this weekend, and a two-hour session the weekend before that, and two 45-minute sessions previously, for a total of five and a half hours."
The results were undeniable—what started out as somewhat dingy teeth have ended up sparkling white. He wasn't sure the difference was that dramatic until seeing his dental selfies side-by-side, which made him text me:
"I can definitely see the difference! My teeth are as white as they are going to get!"
My research suggests that in order to get the same level of whitening (we're not talking about whitening strips and other garbage treatments) from your dentist, you'd have to spend about $500, probably more here in NYC. Smile Brilliant wants just $89.95.
This is a big week for self-improvement posts. I've written about my experience getting Snatched and will soon publish a lengthy journal of what happened when I visited one of Manhattan's top plastic surgeons. Please let me know of any other similar topics you'd like to see me tackle.
BOY CULTURE REVIEW: ***1/2 OUT OF ****
I wasn't gay-fat, I was fat-fat. But I hid it well, except for when I didn't.
I had been 248 pounds at one point in my life, but I had been 192.5 pounds at one point, too. So while it had been many years since my peak, it had been several since my valley—and how green was my valley! I was just over 213 pounds, and all of the extra weight had crept back on in spite of doing weights with a trainer twice a week ("some of it's probably muscle!!!") and cardio once a week. For years.
I decided to sign up for Mark Fisher's Snatched in Six Weeks because, after a long bout with being marginally in shape, I wanted to get myself closer to the "but you look great!" status my friends had been untruthfully asserting I'd already attained.
The problem, I assumed, was that I am an indefatigable eater with a sweet tooth, and I lead a fairly sedentary life. I'd read that Snatched in Six Weeks was an intense, fat slob-proof way to lose weight and get toned, and I'd seen the transformation of actor Christopher Sieber (on social media) and my friend Josh (in person). How could I not wind up looking better at the end of it?
It took me longer to get into a class than it might take to get into a pair of size "Twink" jeggings; Fisher only offers them at set times, then never makes room for latecomers. When he posts the new classes, they fill up immediately. No, I couldn't get any special treatment if I agreed to review it or pay more.
So I waited.
And I finally got in.
And this is my take on the whole journey.
Here's some MDMA, to your health!
Honeymooners star (and "Fake Alice") Sheila MacRae dies at 92.
Bachmann: Tea Party is an "intellectual movement." (More like bowel movement.)
Shrill Palin lambastes Obama via Dr. Seuss (probably the only author she's read).
Obama's foreign policy is not weak, it's effective.
Cardinal Dolan scared shitless that Pope Francis might endorse civil unions.
HOLY SEE-WORD!: The Pope drops the F-bomb accidentally.
A Frank Spinelli primer—must-read!
Lena Dunham brought her brand of funny to SNL.
Misgivings about Matthew McConaughey and Dallas Buyers Club.
A Work Unfriendly look at nudity that gives "well hung" a dark new meaning.
Francois Sagat will be your mistress tonight:
Kenneth's book apparently comes in a handy (very) LARGE-print version...
What a great, loungey vibe that place has, especially when well-stocked with glitterati and literati (and probably some illiterati once the booze began flowing).
It was a Chip Duckett joint, so naturally a good time was had by all.
I brought my out-of-towners Kurt and Warren, who are connoisseurs of NYC fun, cute boys (a late-night Adonis visit may or may not have happened) and Kenneth's book. We hung out with the likes of Scooter LaForge, artist extraordinaire and body beautiful (and unashamed Madonna queen), and legendary funnylady Margarita Pracatan (pictured at right and below), who confessed that when she has no idea what the hell someone is saying to her, she laughs. (This works well, except for when a southerner is recounting the loss of his wife. Oops.)
My babies are six years old today. Crazy. They were the picks of the litter. Well, they were the ones that were left and that we could take. I'd bet anything their brothers and sisters haven't had half as great a life as they have, but I hope they're happy and healthy. Hyphen (L) and Sash (R) were given oatmeal as their birthday treat. Impossibly, Sash (after only hearing it six times in her life) understands that "Happy birthday!" means good things are about to happen.
Get a dog and love it, if you can. Or a cat. Or another animal. They can be pains in the neck, but they're worth it.
Openly gay Jason Collins signed to Nets!
Why is Miley blowing Abraham Lincoln?
Will G Lounge be the next Chelsea fixture to go?
My dirty book is still selling like hottt-cakes...get yours for 99 cents.
Gays are more likely to bareback with a hottie. "His dick was sickening!"
If you're an NYC photographer in need of lights, click here.
IN-THE-DARK CONTINENT: Uganda Pres. Museveni signs disgusting anti-gay bill.