February 2008


Before Nifty

It’s hard for me to imagine what the world was like before two critical events: Stonewall and the Internet.

Stonewall was the most critical moment in the gay rights movement in the twentieth century, the moment when the drag queens of New York City told the police that the harassment had to end and that they weren’t going to lie down and be prosecuted any more just because they wore women’s clothing and liked to sleep with men.

The straight-acting gays who object to the queens and flamers really ought to be thankful for everything the drag queens have done to create the possibility for straight-acting gays to be out.

The later event, the invention of the Internet, allowed the possibility for people in remote areas who didn’t have access to adult bookstores and gay bars to realize that they were gay. As a tool for assisting the internal self-awareness of being gay, the Internet has been an invaluable tool; it helped me come to terms with myself.

One of the sites that I found myself exploring early on in the early day of the World Wide Web was a website hosted at Carnegie Mellon University, called Men On The Net. At the time it was put together by a CMU staff member and consisted of two distinct parts: a directory of gay porn sites and a collection of gay erotic stories.

Between the Communications Decency Act, CMU’s lack of partnership benefits, and whatever else was going on, the site was split in two: Men On The Net was turned into a for profit-gay porn directory and the gay erotic stories collection, now the Nifty Erotic Stories Archive, became a non-profit organization and storehouse of erotic gay porn easily accessed by people all over the world.

A vast quantity of textual porn is archived with new ones added everyday – but gay erotic stories did not begin with the Nifty Erotic Stories Archive. Porn, gay or otherwise, has been around since cave-man days—crude drawings on the walls of caves demonstrate this and in the 1970s and 80s, gay erotic stories could be found at dirty bookstores and in the post.

It was back when I was in Portland, Oregon, after stumbling through the world famous Powell’s, that I found another bookstore, Counter Media, nearby, one that stocks, among many other things, vintage porn—both hetero and gay.

I was enchanted as I recognized some of the scandalous hetero-covers that one occasionally sees in magazines illustrating, humorously, what once passed as porn.

Meanwhile, I delved into the (relatively) inexpensive vintage gay novels. There were so many to choose from and I couldn’t possible read all of them so I picked out four based on the clues that were given to me—or because they seemed like they could be incredibly scandalously funny.

I ended up with four books. First was Dal Temple’s “Swap Meat” (Published by Trojan Classic), with the short store description of “Horny Rockers + Fans.” The band, staying at the YMCA in Houston has a lot of action and revelations, including the revelation that one of the band members hung out as a kid at home naked, with Mom and Dad, and that he had gotten head when he was 12 at the toilet in the park. I paid $5 for this gem.

There were two books that I bought because they were branded “Adam’s Gay Readers”—so I assumed they were just right for me. One was Dirk Van Damm’s “Rub a Big Stud” and the other was Dick Fourme’s “Dorm Dicks”. Cover price: $3.95; I paid $3.50 each. The former was set in a gym and the later on a college campus. Rub a Big Stud was an intriguing story about gay sex at a gym between the employees with a valuable moral lesson: don’t try to betray your coworkers because you’ll end up losing everything. Dorm Dicks’ greatest moral is that one should bluntly tell your roommate if you want to do the nasty with them because they might end up sleeping with somebody else.

Finally I picked up Sebastian Lamb’s “A Perfect Pair” for $5. Published by 69 HIS, I was intrigued by the incestuous nature of the story it told and by the introduction. Seriously, the dominate story of love in the book is between two twins—even as one tries to separate and live alone, he is drawn back. I’m not sure I want to decipher the moral of the story; I’ll leave that to you. Instead I was bought the book because of an incredible offer made in the introduction in which the publishers tell us the greater purpose of the publisher:

HIS 69 paperbacks are designed with the male-interested reader in mind, and we at Surree Limited Inc. want to make these novels the perfect reflection of what you, our readers, desire. Your comments and suggestions, and any other sexual matters of concern to you, are therefore solicited IN ABSOLUTE AND STRICTEST CONFIDENCE, in our attempts to give you exactly the type of book you wish to read. You need not even sign your correspondence to make it a valid consideration in the editorial process

We therefore urge you to write us, in exact detail, about the types of books and situations you wish to read about. Not all letters can be answered due to the amount of mail, but all letters and comments are considered when making editorial decisions. No matter is too complex to approach us with, and noting is too difficult for us to attempt… but only you can do it, by communicating with us, and only if you take the time to write us with your specific requirements.

I think I would pay to be the one opening their male mail.

I wonder how often the flunkie read the letters broke down laughing each day.

1 comment to Before Nifty

  • B.

    Heh… sorting through the mail really would be a fun job. In my experience reading erotica is usually anything but erotic.

    There’s always something lost in translation and I end up viewing it as comedy…