Go-Go Boys are Just Naked Panhandlers.

The go-go boy walks by and leaves a cloud of bowling-alley wax smell; his body, lubed up for the lights and turned blue-and-then-red by flashing strobes, looks sticky and insubstantial.

Hungry men of all ages stare up at stuffed crotches and marble thighs. They curve dollar bills into underwear that cost as much as the boy’s weekly food budget. They leer; they stare; they feel economically superior and physically inferior all at once.

And it occurs to me: go-go boys are just naked panhandlers. They are engaging in the same basic activity: a bare-bones display of themselves, in the hopes that it will move someone to give them a dollar. And people give for a lot of reasons, with pity being right up by the top. Pity and the momentary relief of feeling like no matter how poorly you might be doing economically, there’s someone worse off – there’s a desperate human being literally begging for one of those crinkled damp singles in your pocket.

I’m not saying this to be mean to go-go boys. I work closely with and consider myself friends with a lot of people who are panhandlers, so I recognize the courage and the sense of self that are necessary for both forms of soliciting the public.

But I do find it ironic/offensive that the fine upstanding Chelsea men who are so happy to ogle a gym-addicted go-go stud will then turn around and lobby hard to oppose the opening of a homeless shelter in their neighborhood, using deeply problematic fear-mongering language about “those people” taking over “our streets,” all with a heavy, hard-to-miss racist subtext when you consider what a disproportionate percentage of the homeless community is African-American.

The club was lame. The party was lame. The go-go boys and the bad music and the anti-homeless hostility of the property-owners and “community leaders” in the city’s foremost queer neighborhood had me depressed.

Posted on: July 27, 2010, by : Sam J. M.
File under: Blog