Nature vs. Nurture
Barry Lowe’s homosexuality certainly was not learned behavior – unless you count dozens of hours watching Gordon Scott Tarzan films as a ten-year-old.
“I can’t believe we’re still having these arguments about whether gay people are born this way or whether it’s nurture.” Stewart was annoyed because he’d just read another fundamentalist insisting that gayness was learned behavior.
I had to agree with him – Stewart, that is, not the crackpot Christian. Not sure where I would have learned the behavior that as a 10-year-old I went along to Gordon Scott Tarzan movies in the hope his loin cloth would flap up and I’d see his dick. I had no idea what dicks were for at that age, except for pissing, all I knew was that the hidden part of his anatomy gave me a real pleasurable feeling deep down inside.
Not sure either where I ‘learned’ to rush out to watch Cheyenne on television each week knowing the tingle would be back whenever Clint Walker removed his shirt to reveal his huge hairy muscular chest. Ditto Edson Stroll in McHale’s Navy. This time the chest without the hair but with the muscles. Same with Van Williams, Troy Donahue and Patterson in Surfside Six. I had a scrapbook of male pin-ups out of colour magazines such as TV Week. This was the era before the widespread sale of posters of semi-naked film and television stars.
Even today, a glimpse of Steve Reeves or Gordon Scott stripped to the waist will get my pussy pouting. I do like a man with a good body. My loyalties may have shifted these days to Jason Statham and his abs of steel but nobody ever forgets their first sex crushes.
“I was about six or seven,” Stewart said. “And friends with the girl next door who was the same age. One day we found her father’s Physique Pictorial magazines, you know the ones with men in Greek poses next to pillars, that sort of thing. There was no actual full-frontal nudity. But I remember looking through those magazines made me feel very funny inside.”
Wonder what a suburban dad was doing with those magazines in the first place? Maybe it was for the, ahem, articles.
It did remind me, however, of my early solo pre-pubescent experimentation. My father must have been interested in boxing although to this day I don’t ever remember the subject being brought up at the dinner table. Wrestling in the days of Killer Kowolski, yes, but not boxing. Still, dad had a collection of boxing magazines which were kept in the writing desk in the bedroom I shared with my younger brother. I discovered looking at the men in boxing trunks had much the same effect on me as Tarzan movies.
I would sit in bed flipping through the mags with my pajama bottoms pulled down and my little stiffie poking at the sheet. Well, I did until the day I was caught and the magazines suddenly vanished. I seem to recall words such as ‘dirty little boy’ were bandied about but I had no concept of sex at that age. The 1950s was not an era of sexual permissiveness regardless of the advent of the bullet bra which thrust out women’s breasts like new-fangled rockets. It was the space age, after all.
But I had no interest in women’s chests. My love of Annette Funicello in The Mickey Mouse Club was to do with her sparkling personality not burgeoning buds. And the mammary queens of the 1950s from Monroe through Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren to England’s Diana Dors were of no particular sexual interest. I just wanted my hair their colour: platinum blond. To that end I poured copious amounts of hydrogen peroxide in my hair each night because I knew gentlemen really preferred blonds.
Stewart had the final word on the subject. “We know we were born this way because of Mother Nature. After all, there is no Mother Nurture.”
[Pictured] Gordon Scott in Tarzan (1955).