9.01.2008

The Question of Manhunt


a few weeks ago, i happened to read an article in Out magazine about the online "hook-up" site that has somehow permeated contemporary amercian gay-culture ... if you don't instantly know what i am talking about you must either be NOT gay or living under a rock. what but no other than manhunt.net is what i am referring to. being no manhunt "novice" myself, my interest was immediately piqued by this article which in short argued that manhunt was systematically "destroying" "gay culture" ... through a self-inflicted methodology of de-humanizing gays inside out, through the ways that gay men see each other as sex objects and/or as simply other gay men. by becoming a veritable "EBAY" of gay sex and gay "looking for sex"... the article argues ... manhunt has made it easier and easier for gay men to objectify each other into nothing more than a list of "stats" : height, weight, race, dick size, sexual position, interests, etc, etc.
.
now to me, this is one of those questions, that sort of answers itself ... i mean ... manhunt is a sex site ... a site that clearly and relatively honestly from the get-go comes across as a virtual meeting place for men who want to meet each other for relatively "no strings attached" sex. now to argue that it is "dehumanizing" gays amongst themselves ... well come on, its a rhetorical statement isn't it? i mean, NSA sex to me is nothing if not "de-humanizing" by its very nature. this is not to say that people are necessary always mean, malicious, manipulative or discorteous (or otherwise de-humanizing) in the process of nsa sex (although many are) ... but the way this article frames manhunt ... it almost seems to suggest that manhunt "should" have been something more than just a hugely popular online sex site ... because of it very attractability (which is based on NSA ...ergo de-humanizing .... sex mind you) ... it could have been a medium for a real gay "social" connection ... a bringing together of our "gay" brothers ... an understanding and motivation beyond our carnal lust for each other .... to a higher level of social conscientiousness .... blah blah blah ... very ala mid 80's gay social reactionary stance to the then fresh AIDS epidemic. unfortunately, most gays who log on simply ... as the logo of the site on teh front page declares ... "sign on ... get off".
.
so boohoo .... manhunt is legitimizing the meat market mentality of gays and ng manhunting into a "re-closeted" activity. yes, gays may be out and open, but our dirty sex lives are still kept behind closed doors and firewalls apparently .... thanks to manhunt! well... hello ... its sex! it should be behind closed doors ... honestly .... your raunchiness and sexual proclivities is not tea time conversation. so go manhunt all you want ... but remember, there is "real" life in the sense of the way one acts just to interact with the rest of the world (which, if you'ev forgotten is actually straight) ... and there is "another" life ... that should be in a sense somewhat more ... discreet. completely as legitimate as the "real" life mind you ... but hey ... staright people get sent to jail if they fucking on the streets ... and oh my god ... a lot more gay people seem to get away with public sex than straights! (we kind of have it lucky!)
.
the real kernal of value though in this article's view on manhunt in my opinion, is the nuanced discussion of how gays even amongst themselves don't seem to discuss manhunt or manhunting ... as if online hook-ups were still taboo in someways. get with the program people ... a poll in 1990 revealed that 2% of gay "first" experiences were thanks to the internet, 10 years later, the same pole revealed that 78% of gay "first' experiences were thanks to the internet. for better or for worse ... internet dating .. internet fucking ... IS ... a way of life. so what's with all the hush hush?
.
because we don't want to look like whores. we play with whore jokes all the time, but you know those are jokes about other people or even if as half serious jabs at ourselves, are aimed to keep a levity of general mood and not an entree into a serious introspection into our sex lives. we like to think of ourselves as lucky enough to run into wonderful people in our various stops in our social circuits ... the hollywood inflected bumping into each other at the super market or coffee shop, etc... which leads to instant attraction, a spark ...a chemistry ... that leads to the classic 3 dates before sex, that leads to a real "relationship". well ... i think that does happen still ... but i would argue, a similar, multi-setp, equally as valuable process is also evolving through manhunt ... despite the volleys against it as a dehumanizing EBAY of dicks, asses, biceps, and other delicious male body parts.
.
what i think people forget is that NSA sex is part of the quest for ... something more .... and i would think has always been. i think there is the impression that in the past it seemed like people didn't have to try so hard to find "the one" ...because there just weren't that many ways to find "the one" ... ergo, a smaller selection set. if technology and just general advancement of civilization has had any "detrimental" effect on our mating habits , it may be just that it has made it that much more easy to find something ... but that much harder to find the "one" thing that we actually want. so, in this day and age we have to laboriously sift the ever growing end of season bargain bin, to find the slightly scuffed but otherwise immaculate Prada bag that "we've always been looking" for. on such a sift though, we of course had to feel up tons of other bags ... but hey ... nothing worthwile is easy right?
.
manhunt. net is a tool ... sure a tool that can be used just for nsa sex (and there's nothing wrong with that either) ... and it can be a tool to find "love". it is a veritable swiss army life of gay sex and love. the possibly de-humanizing aspect of the site ... to be simplistic about it ... are the users. in real life or virtual life, there will always be "players" who have programmed themselves to see other gay men as "conquests" and not as real people who have feelings and dreams ... manhunt makes their lives somewhat easier ... so maybe that service to the slime of the earth is not one of the website's moral selling points. but also in real life and virtual life, there will be the "good boys" who have although grown up with the internet cable stuck into your butts and have probably experienced the whole spectrum of gay sex via the internet (lots of NSA fucking!)... still ... deep inside ... yearn for "love" or some new fangled approximation of it (thats another musing all-together). manhunt is just a too ... a tool as sharp, as dull, as exacting, as indiscriminate ... as its user.
.
on that note, i'd like to mention that i have been lucky enough to have a found a man that i have consistently (and singly) dated for now almost a month now. not really near "boyfriend" territory yet ... but well, its in a territory i haven't seen in quite a while. and i have manhunt to thank.
.
manhunt may be destroying gay culture, but it may also be helping me find the man of my dreams. i'm gonna be selfish ...
.

1 Comments:

At 9:52 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Whoa that's exciting! We need to catch up. Do you have power yet?? I read that Manhunt article too... I have my own opionions but we'll have to discuss...

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home