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Boys vs. girls. (last word).

I can't explain it. I know it's sappy, boilerplate, impossibly soapy, and woefully lacking in girl action, and I know that for all those reasons and more, liking it makes me a bad lesbian, but I can't help it. I like--no, it's tawdrier than that--I relish, I lose myself in Queer as Folk.

How is this possible, I ask myself? Shouldn't I be berating this shallow, idle thing with Malvolian contempt, backhanding it high-handedly from some mordant critical perch? Shouldn't I be denouncing it (in what is by now my wonted way) as the insidious vehicle of the entrenched "gay left orthodoxy"? I guess. But my heart isn't in it. Or, rather, it is, and all my critical faculties have gone awry.

I'm hooked, and the reason I'm hooked is no more profound than this: I dig ogling pretty boys doing it on-screen. I've always had an abiding preference for gay over lesbian porn, and Queer as Folk is, let's admit it, a kind of elevated soft porn. Perhaps even a plum of the genre.

And, well, gay porn is just better than the alternatives, mostly because it's the prettiest--all those meticulously waxed, copiously oiled, yogically supple limbs wrapped dexterously about, searchingly astride, or supinely beneath each other,, all those peachy crack-tile areas where the pneumatic muscles meet, the proffered, polished goods reveal themselves, and those perfect puckered bungholes wink under the lights.

Yes, it's far superior to the lesbo equivalent, which always looks as though it's been shot in an interrogation bunker under the Salvation Army--and not in the good way. More often than not the butch, who looks more like an underpaid government bureaucrat than a nubile dynamo, wears her shabby boxers throughout--because, no doubt, she has "issues"--and judging by the 'roid acne on her scapulae and the ashen cast of her skin, it's probably a mercy that she does.

Not exactly cable-ready.

But sex isn't the only porn on offer in Folk. The main attraction is just plain old proverbial eye candy in the form of glossy-lipped, apple-cheeked, exfoliated pretty boy punims peeking out from perfectly pomaded locks.

And that's as it should be, as far as I'm concerned, because if you watch porn of whatever variety--sitcom to hard-core--aren't you watching it for the action and the merchandise? It's certainly not for the writing. And if the merchandise doing the action looks like it fell off the back of a truck at the state fair--or worse, quit its day job at the DMV--why bother?

But, of course, that's how lesbians would do it if they were running Queer as Folk, and that's exactly why nobody would watch it if they were. The two lesbians who appear on the show at present are a little on the haggy side as it is, and they don't even look like real dykes. Take one look at any issue of On Our Backs, and you'll understand why.

And as for the story lines? Yikes. If dykes dominated the show, we'd be spending all our time at the local animal shelter instead of whooping it up at the tasty Babylon club where the Folk boys play out their fantasies and ours.

I hate to say this, but it's just true and always has been, stereotype or not. Fags worship beauty, and they throw a kick-ass party. In short, they know how to live in the make-believe. And it's precisely that quality, captured expertly in Queer as Folk, that makes for great television. For all my complaints about its dangers and indiscretions, I must confess, there's always been something about the gay party scene that made me want to keep peeping through the keyhole. And so I do, because in TV land nobody gets hurt, and for once politics or anything else remotely serious just doesn't matter. I like it that way. So sue me.
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Title Annotation:author commens on television program Queer as Folk
Author:Vincent, Norah
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 15, 2003
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