Where the Boys Are: Urban Gay Erotica by Richard Labonté (Editor) and Erastes ( Author): A Book Review

Warning: This review contains unpleasant  or offensive languages which may not be suitable for readers borne upon with   “ a-la -madre-and -padre attitude” . In short, “hypocrisy ”.  It requires   “parental guidance of our rational thinking”. In short, open your eyes , heart, and mind.


The last erotica I  have read  so far , aside  from  the  X-rated  articles in magazines and newspapers,  is Ladlad : An Anthology  of Philippine Gay Writing  by Danton Remoto and J. Neil  C. Garcia . (Yes, I read such genre.  I am mentally horny. It  is  a natural  feeling among  confederated readers like me. Do not be priggish and prudish. ( laughs ) ) Both critically acclaimed Filipino writers   depicted the life of   queers in the Philippines.  So, the book is   audaciously steeped in homosexual experiences of the open and closet gays and became a best-seller among   the LGBT community. Of course, sacerdotal readers made a scene by taking  a pot at it.

 Where the Boys Are by Richard Labonte bears complete resemblance to Ladlad. (By the way, Ladlad is a Filipino word which means “coming out”.) Unlike in Ladlad  which focuses on gays in general situation, it deals  primarily with gay experiences in  cities. In my own technical terms, “identity peregrination”. Most of the gay characters are searching their real selves.

Richard  Labonté compiled  14 short stories  of  the different  writers who may be  most of them belong to the same confederation. So let me say something on each of them. Kinda spoiler. ( wink! )

Live from  New York by Rachel Kramer Bussel  ( 4 stars )

 Its introduction blew my mind as did a prudish priest  and nun signing a cross.

“ I didn’t expect to get my cock sucked on my first night in New York City, but may be I should have…”

Dear me padre and madre ! A dirty prose it sounds , but  do not be prejudiced. Both man and woman do such thing too. As a matter of fact, because of this untoward incident, the main character found out in the city what persona he has been searching for.

 Unable to Hold Back by Kemble Scott ( 3 stars )

 Raphne , the  gay protagonist,  met  a man his friend monickered VACNE, stands for vagina and  acne.  As a matter of fact, Raphne did not know that he  is gay. He deluded himself into the fact  that he  is a straight guy. It just so happened that he met VACNE in a train.

 My Evil Twin  by Sam J. Miller ( 3 stars )

 “I’m not   leaving this city until I get  a blow job. “

 A story about Solomon and Simon. Solomon has the “evil twin”, so Simon , in a metaphorical way, will exorcise that evil out of his soul.

 One of the Guys by  Jameson Currier ( 4 stars )

 Jonathan, the open gay protagonist, finds  his life in orgies .

 Tiny Golden Kernel by Lee Houck ( 3 stars )

 It’s a question of Nurture vs. Nature.

 Taming the Trees by Jeff Mann ( 3 stars )

 If you are green-minded, you might interpret that the title could be phallic in nature. As a matter of fact, a middle-aged professor, single and gay, living in a small mountain town, longs to make love with the loggers, let alone his favorite Hollywood actors, whom he fantasizes in his jerking off.

 Drug Colors by Erastes ( 3 stars )

 Some closet gays end up in a small world  where they could find themselves openly rather than in a big world where there should be social acceptance. Poor them!

 Other Residences, Other Neighborhoods by Douglas A. Martin ( 4 stars )

 A story about a voyeuristic gay

 Juniper House by Alana Noel Voth ( 2 stars )

 A closet gay sharing his skeleton in the closet with an autistic child at an institution. What is the relevance, Alan ?

 Wild Night  by Simon Sheppard ( 4 stars )

 Have you ever been to a city of horny ghosts?

I won’t forget the threnody  at the ending  :

 “I know,  I know . The struggle for queer liberation comes down to much more than a furtive blow job in the dark. Of course . And times change. New HIV have brought some of us , like lecherous Lazaruses, up from the brink of the grave and back down  on our knees…”

Half-Life  by Dale Chase ( 4 stars )

 A man who has never told his wife that he likes a man more than a woman.

 The Bird and the Bees by Alpha Martial  ( 2 stars )

 In a nutshell, it is all about sex.

 God Hates Techno by Zeke Mangold ( 3 stars )

 Sex in a city is better than in a country side.

 Local Fame by Ted Cornwell ( 3 stars )

 A conflict faced by a gay: fame or love

So, all the stories above are all about gay.

The common perception of “sacerdotal critics “ when they  hear such erotica is that it deals with pornography, completely similar , as they put it,  to x-files between a man and woman. (See? There is no difference. Not only man and woman can do such thing. )That the only purpose is to intensify a reader sexually until he or she becomes mentally and physiologically corrupt. Ridiculous!

But , Holy Moses!  padres  and madres! This book   is more sensible  than the ones you  are always reading.

This  book, along with Ladlad , is an  eye-opener, not that it is erotic and raunchy , so  you end up finding it disgusting , horrendous according to what your religion inculcates in you ,  but a book  geared to educate you what it is like to be a gay  and notably to encourage  gays who are still hiding in their closets.

Another thing I liked in this book is how the stories are couched in  beautiful prose- something  I am envious of, I think ,better than Fifty Shades of Grey. So, in the end, the book is  not that suppressible as some classic gay novels I have read.

Recently, the US Supreme Court upheld is ruling that the right to marriage is now lawfully applicable to the same-sex. If the writers ‘stories above were  intended to raise awareness of the LGBT rights, after many years of hyping up, well,  their  efforts have paid off. This book is no longer revolting like the plague. Someday, everyone will be used to reading such gay genre as they become used to gay culture. Drink to it, Richard  Labonté! ^^

Rating: 4/ 5 stars


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