By Corey Bono

Contents: Highly purified water, Propylene glycol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Dimethicone, and Cellulose. It comes in a 250 ml bottle with ecstatically happy yet modestly printed and symmetrical people decorating the outside. It’s white, slightly liquid, has the off-putting smell reminiscent of silly putty and is very important. Its purpose is to bring people together. It smoothes things out, makes things more pleasurable, and allows for impossible things to slide together. Without it, gay sex is rough. Really rough. Its hard enough living through this world trying to fit in to the stereotypes of being a man and being gay, and you’d think the sex would be the easy part. But gay sex just doesn’t happen without lube. Gay relationships can’t function without lube. Lube makes things smooth when both of you are trying to understand what it is you feel with each other, incapable of expression and wary of tenderness, trying to balance what it means to be masculine and emotional to another man. It does the hard part of bringing bodies together in ways that doesn’t happen anywhere else.

But lube also makes other things possible. It joins parts of you. Every guy masturbates a lot. It’s a guy thing. Once a day, twice a day, three times a day…three times a day and maybe a good night quickie…and you’d think a word with “master” in it means you know what your doing. I thought I knew exactly how to get off. But then I bought some lube. And lube made it a whole different experience. New things opened up. I found masturbating to become not just a physical thing, but also an emotional, primal, and special thing. Lube brought parts of me together. I began to massage that little packet of the erotic within me like Audre Lorde; not some superficial “damn that’s hot” but something deeper, something real. I found love. Inside. Love with my body, love with my soul. Love to my self that I had never found before.

Maybe its because I’m a man. “Be a man”. The number of times I’ve heard that growing up from my dad. Man up. Don’t be a pussy. Bro code. The rules to being a man, from what I have learned from my brother and friends are: no showing emotion, control yourself, be in charge, be better than everyone, and don’t be the faggot. Growing up on a farm there’s a strong gender role that is man. Man is strong. Man is not emotional and never cries except for very, very serious situations. Man can fix cars and sinks and toilets and vacuum cleaners, which women, being women, can’t do. Man builds houses with his hands and tears then down with sledgehammers. Man does not love. Man kill. Man does not be one with self, man just be.

But what if you’re not that? What does it mean? Am I any less than a man? Is the logic behind these questions a default that by not doing these rules, you are a woman? What if some days I’m creative, emotional and peaceful? What if other days I want to conquer and beat the shit out of something and spend an inappropriate amount of time taking a crap? Does this three-letter word fit me then?

Muscles? Anger? Rage? Am I any of those? I was once. I believed it once. A long time ago I lived by Bro Code. I fought guys who made me feel weak or called me a fag. Black eyes. I did exactly the same to the other guys. High school is a bullring. The biggest, fastest, tallest, unemotional and scary guy won. The guy with the hot girlfriend won. He won guys. He won girls. But in every sport, in every game man plays, there’s just one winner. That means a lot of us aren’t that man. Who aren’t that strong. Who lost. And you’re the boxer in the ring, blue shorts against red shorts, jab, jab, uppercut, hook, day in and day out, fight the man, beat the man. But sometimes the bell never rings to save you from that round, his glove meets your temple with the force of an iron door and you fall.


The darkness surrounds you. Your coach’s screams go unheard. Vick’s rancorous tendrils work their way through your nostrils but can’t wake you up. All you can do is lay there and stare at the ceiling when you realize it. When you lose to the man and realize that you will never win. The hardest punch I ever got was when I realized I was gay. The coma that came afterwards, the shame of losing, the pain of it was immense. The plunge into the darkness and shivering from the ice filled me. My gloves were no longer fighting material. My knuckles couldn’t throw a punch back. For a long time I laid on that mat and he stood over me, staring at me holding his fist to my face and calling me what I never wanted to be. A faggot.

I wanted to fight back. I didn’t want to lose. And I stared at him dead in the eye and saw my own. That the fight you put in day after day is not against someone, it’s against yourself. A reflection. A mirage that is never seen but always sensed like an ex-lover. It stands in corners of our consciousness and silently speaks. And our battles are fought not on the streets and in the trenches, but in the corridors of the labyrinthine mind like assassins in the streets of Venice. And I realized that fighting myself meant that I would never win. I’m always knocked out at the end of the fight. And with that I slowly started to dismantle him. I fought him with my mind not my fists, with words instead of guns. I wrote and drew and painted and made. The torrent of creativity spun by emotions coursed through my veins and out. And I began to grow; the fortresses I built around my heart began to melt, for they were made not of stone but of the weaknesses of sand.

And slowly, one by one, I began winning the rounds. And slowly, one by one, I began finding the lost pieces and assembling myself. I found that I could love, and I wasn’t afraid of it anymore. That sex didn’t have to simply be something that hurt, but a deeper connection. And slowly I had found what I had lost all along.

And that’s when I walked into Good Vibrations, and bought a bottle of lube, proud and happy to be gay.

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