Tag Archives: Christmas

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever

The Gay Groom at age three on his backyard rink

This is a Christmas re-post of one of my most read blogs…

Continuing with my “Christmas in the 70s” series, I look back gifts.  Not the gifts I wanted and received like my pogo stick, the soundtrack album to The Sound of Music or my Stretch Armstrong (or even the ones I really wanted but couldn’t mention like an Easy Bake Oven), but the one I received almost every Christmas and never ever wanted.

Hockey skates.

With visions of NHL hockey contracts dancing in his head, each winter my father would stand out back of our house in the freezing cold and flood our lawn with a garden hose to make my older brothers and me a backyard skating rink.

My dear old dad wanted your humble blogger to be a great hockey player.  He had me on ice-skates before I was two years old.  The logic being, I suppose, that the earlier I was on the ice then the better skater I would become.

Sadly, for him, this was not to be the case.

Unlike my older brothers, I hated hockey. I hated the cold. I hated the big heavy uniform.  I hated the big smelly bag you carried the hockey accouterments in.  And I especially hated how hockey skates hurt my feet.  I told my dad that skating for long periods hurt my chest (my asthma not yet being diagnosed) but any protestations I made were dismissed by my father with a shake of his head as he would put those damned skates on my feet at the kitchen table each evening and then have me skate in circles around that backyard ice rink.

“You just need more practice,” he would say as he shoved me out into the cold.

On Saturday nights, he would have me sit in front of our huge Zenith color television and watch “Hockey Night in Canada.”  The little Gay Groom did not like watching hockey anymore than I liked playing it.  The games seemed to go on forever and I never really cared who won or lost.  To pass the time as they skated up and down and up and down and up… I would critique the colors of their uniforms:  loved the purple and gold Kings, hated the brown, yellow and orange Canucks, and decided that the Whalers needed a splash of crimson.

I would wait patiently for the end of the game when the camera would move into the locker-room and someone would put a microphone in the face of a half-naked husky hockey player with a bare chests and long sweaty hair.

In those days your humble blogger really dug those Montreal Canadians with their French accents.  Actually, your humble blogger still does.

When I was seven, the time came for me to join the city boy’s hockey league, just as my brothers had, where I played on a team called the Cardinals.

“Shouldn’t cardinals be in red?” I asked my dad when I saw my green uniform for the first time.

“Stop worrying so much about color,” he said.

And I was hopeless on the ice.  I tripped.  I fell over.  I slid on my face.  And at times I simply gave up and lay on my back staring up at the lights on the ceiling as others skated around me.  The lights are pretty from down here, I thought.

“Get up!” my father yelled from the stands. “For Christ’s sake, skate!”

I didn’t feel like it.

After a few games, I was not put on the ice much and spent most of the game sitting on the bench with Tommy Young who was also a terrible skater (and who, incidentally, I would run into at a gay bar a few years later) and discuss important things like Tiger Beat magazine.  Warming the bench with Tommy was fine by me.

(I should mention at this point that many gay men are great athletes and, particularly, great hockey players… and the Gay Groom’s own rottenness at hockey should be in no way seen as stereotypical of all gay boys.  There are excellent gay hockey players out there – I am just not one of them.)

On the drive home from the neighborhood hockey rink after a Cardinal’s game my dad was always quiet.  He was never one to mask his disappointment well and would look shell shocked as he drove (rather like he did years later when I told him why my roommate and I had rented an apartment with only one bedroom).

“But he was on skates before he was two,” he would say quietly say to himself.

When we got home he would make me put my skates back on and skate circles around the backyard rink in the dark.

“You need more practice,” he said.

One night after he made me go out in the backyard to skate circles I waited until I saw him looking out the kitchen window at me.   Then I stretched out my arms wide at my sides and, in the best Dorothy Hamill imitation my lousy skating skills could muster, I started to do big flamboyant figure eights on the ice.  As my father’s eyes narrowed I even managed to throw in a few tiny little jumps without falling.  The final spin never materialized properly but I still finished with a defiant “TA DA!”

It worked.  He flew outside in a rage running over the ice in his stocking feet and pulling me by the shoulder, threw me through the back door.

My dad never made another backyard ice rink.

And as for your humble blogger’s first and only year playing hockey with The Cardinals?  Now the only reminder I have of that unhappy winter is my team photo.

TA DA!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

Worst Hockey Player Ever?

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The Sears Christmas Wish Book (My First Book of Gay Erotica)

Sears Christmas Wish Book Underwear Ad.

A Gay Groom Classic Blog!

——————————————————————————————————————-

Long before the Internet put countless images of beautiful men in various stages of undress at our fingertips with the simple click of a mouse, we young gay boys had to be much more creative in our search for homoerotic visual stimulation.  For me, like many gay men my age, my first secret peek of what lay behind the silver zipper of a pair of man’s slacks was found in the Sears Catalog.

In these semiannual catalogs from the late 70s and early 80s, handsome sexy men with wide chests and chiseled V-shaped torsos would stand close together in intimate twosomes and threesomes smiling or laughing in their underpants, while, if one looked closely, a hand or elbows would wander seductively to the shoulder of the other men standing beside them.

These men seemed to be saying to me: “It’s fun to stand around with other men without your pants on.”

And it looked like an awful lot of fun to me.

A Sears catalog underwear page

I loved looking at men in their underpants.  Their packages, although looking somewhat confined and constricted in their white briefs (I suppose as not to offend the housewives who were buying underpants for their husbands), did provide a little gay boy like me the hint that something exciting and was hidden beneath the bulges of those white, yellow, green, blue or even leopard and python print undies (it was the 70s).

To the young Gay Groom, it seemed that in these little catalog photos, I was seeing a snapshot of a steamy sensual moment that was occurring either just after the instant when these men had stood together naked – or the second just before they were about to strip down entirely.  Though I was unsure what they would do when they did rip off those colourful shorts in wonderful grinning unison – I do know that I really wanted to watch them do – whatever it was they did.  The Sears catalog was my first book of gay erotica.

Early each autumn, Sears would deliver their annual Christmas Wish Book to our door.  The Sears Wish Book was a beautiful and magical glossy catalog full of Christmas gift ideas for mom, grandpa and aunt Doris and then the last half of the catalog was devoted to toys – lots and lots of toys (Stretch Armstrong, Dancerella, Ants In The Pants or Hugo – Man Of A Thousand Faces).  But for me, the little gay boy, I would turn to the pages that contained the photos of men in their Christmas robes, plaid flannel pajamas and long winter underwear.

Sears Wish Book

Alone on the sofa, pretending to be looking at GI Joe With The Kung Fu Grip, I would instead moon over these attractive half-naked men.  Then, with my overactive (and underdeveloped) writer’s imagination, I would create an entire back-story for each of the good-looking men in the photographs.  In my invented story, I would tell myself that these three men (I would name them something like Bob, Tom, and Sebastian) were spending Christmas together because Tom had been thrown out on Christmas Eve by his shrewish and clinging wife, Helga.  Fortunately, Bob and his roommate Sebastian were happy to share their home with their buddy for the holiday.  I could tell by the wide grins on their faces that these men liked being together a lot.

Christmas robes

I imagined that in their fluffy velour robes, these three attractive men would enjoy Christmas morning together without women, drinking hot chocolate out of big red mugs, opening Christmas presents, patting each other on the back, laughing, joking, and trying on all the different colored long underwear in the Sears Wish Book catalog for one another in front of the tree:

“How do I look in these blue drawers, Bob?”

“You look really good, Tom – but you better take em off and try on these red ones!”

“Here, let me help you out of those, Sebastian!”

“Oops, my velour robe fell open!”

“Hey, whatcha got going on under that nightshirt?”

I didn’t know what “Perma-Prest” flannel was – but it sounded sexy.

It was these men of the Sears Wish Book, standing together by a fireplace or in a decorated paneled living room on Christmas morning, which gave me the impression that (somewhere) there were men living happily together – sleeping together, getting up together, dressing together, eating together, celebrating holidays together – and I wanted to be one of those happy men when I grew up.

So, I guess there must have been some magic in that old Sears Wish Book, because eventually I did.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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The Sears Christmas Wish Book (My First Book of Gay Erotica)

Continuing with The Gay Groom’s look at Christmas in the 70s.  I thought I would take a second look at the Sears Wish Book…Long before the Internet put countless images of beautiful men in various stages of undress at our fingertips with the simple click of a mouse, we young gay boys had to be much more creative in our search for homoerotic visual stimulation.  For me, like many gay men my age, my first secret peek of what lay behind the silver zipper of a pair of man’s slacks was found in the Sears Catalog.

In these semiannual catalogs from the late 70s and early 80s, handsome sexy men with wide chests and chiseled V-shaped torsos would stand close together in intimate twosomes and threesomes smiling or laughing in their underpants, while, if one looked closely, a hand or elbows would wander seductively to the shoulder of the other men standing beside them.

These men seemed to be saying to me: “It’s fun to stand around with other men without your pants on.”

And it looked like an awful lot of fun to me.

A Sears catalog underwear page

I loved looking at men in their underpants.  Their packages, although looking somewhat confined and constricted in their white briefs (I suppose as not to offend the housewives who were buying underpants for their husbands), did provide a little gay boy like me the hint that something exciting and was hidden beneath the bulges of those white, yellow, green, blue or even leopard and python print undies (it was the 70s).

To the young Gay Groom, it seemed that in these little catalog photos, I was seeing a snapshot of a steamy sensual moment that was occurring either just after the instant when these men had stood together naked – or the second just before they were about to strip down entirely.  Though I was unsure what they would do when they did rip off those colourful shorts in wonderful grinning unison – I do know that I really wanted to watch them do – whatever it was they did.  The Sears catalog was my first book of gay erotica.

Early each autumn, Sears would deliver their annual Christmas Wish Book to our door.  The Sears Wish Book was a beautiful and magical glossy catalog full of Christmas gift ideas for mom, grandpa and aunt Doris and then the last half of the catalog was devoted to toys – lots and lots of toys (Stretch Armstrong, Dancerella, Ants In The Pants or Hugo – Man Of A Thousand Faces).  But for me, the little gay boy, I would turn to the pages that contained the photos of men in their Christmas robes, plaid flannel pajamas and long winter underwear.

Sears Wish Book

Alone on the sofa, pretending to be looking at GI Joe With The Kung Fu Grip, I would instead moon over these attractive half-naked men.  Then, with my overactive (and underdeveloped) writer’s imagination, I would create an entire back-story for each of the good-looking men in the photographs.  In my invented story, I would tell myself that these three men (I would name them something like Bob, Tom, and Sebastian) were spending Christmas together because Tom had been thrown out on Christmas Eve by his shrewish and clinging wife, Helga.  Fortunately, Bob and his roommate Sebastian were happy to share their home with their buddy for the holiday.  I could tell by the wide grins on their faces that these men liked being together a lot.

Christmas robes

I imagined that in their fluffy velour robes, these three attractive men would enjoy Christmas morning together without women, drinking hot chocolate out of big red mugs, opening Christmas presents, patting each other on the back, laughing, joking, and trying on all the different colored long underwear in the Sears Wish Book catalog for one another in front of the tree:

“How do I look in these blue drawers, Bob?”

“You look really good, Tom – but you better take em off and try on these red ones!”

“Here, let me help you out of those, Sebastian!”

“Oops, my velour robe fell open!”

“Hey, whatcha got going on under that nightshirt?”

I didn’t know what “Perma-Prest” flannel was – but it sounded sexy.

It was these men of the Sears Wish Book, standing together by a fireplace or in a decorated paneled living room on Christmas morning, which gave me the impression that (somewhere) there were men living happily together – sleeping together, getting up together, dressing together, eating together, celebrating holidays together – and I wanted to be one of those happy men when I grew up.

So, I guess there must have been some magic in that old Sears Wish Book, because eventually I did.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Season’s Greetings, 1970s Coca-Cola Style

As we get closer to Christmas your humble blogger finds himself, from time to time, strolling down a gingerbread scented Memory Lane where The Carpenters Christmas album plays and I unwrap Lite Brite and Stretch Armstrong on a shag carpet in the rec room.

Yes, I’m remembering Christmas in the 70s.

For the next few weeks The Gay Groom will be looking back at Christmas in the 1970s with a series of blogs.  This week I was thinking of a wonderful old television commercial that ran every Christmas throughout the seventies (and into the eighties). The commercial begins with one bright candle shining through the darkness as a choir begins to sing.  Next, we see a happy, overly hopeful-looking girl holding a white candle and singing:

I’d like to buy the world a home

And furnish it with love

Grow apple trees and honey bees

And snow white turtle doves…

Suddenly, young men and women of all different races, creeds, colors (and fashions) surround the young girl and join in singing the song.  Finally, as the camera pulls back, we see that the candles being held create the image of a huge human Christmas tree (the original commercial would end with the words: “Season’s Greetings from your bottler of Coca-Cola”).

Apparently, world peace was possible – if we would just buy each other a Coke.

Leaving issues of marketing, consumption and commercialism aside for the moment, for me, that shining Coca-Cola Christmas tree made up of beautiful young people (I suppose there is no ugly people in the Coca-Cola Utopia) was an iconic image of Christmas.  And that sappy song can still cause a lump in my throat (also try and put aside for the moment how most of the girls in the commercial seem to resemble Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Louise Van Houten).

But there was something so sweet and innocent about this idea that generosity (and soda, apple trees, honey bees et al) could bring people together in harmony – and, being a young idealist gay boy, I believed it.  For in that Coca-Cola tree I saw the white guy in football jerseys sitting beside the Asian in a kimono who is sitting beside the Native American in beads and braided hair (OK, try and put aside the stereotypes presented in the commercial as well).

And being a little gay boy in the 70s, I did have my favourites – just take a look at the handsome blonde guy wearing the cowboy hat.  I really wanted to share a Coke with him.

So was this commercial just another example of a silly 70s naivety?  Perhaps.  But, I think the idea was (and still is) admirable.

Seasons Greetings from me (and your bottler of Coca-Cola).

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

Xmas 1972:  Jeffrey, The Gay Groom, as a little fella.  That cardboard Santa Claus behind me is actually a Coca-Cola display ad my father ‘found’ someplace.

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Taking Another Look at the Sears Christmas Wish Book (My First Book of Gay Erotica)

Continuing with The Gay Groom’s look at Christmas in the 70s.  I thought I would take a second look at the Sears Wish Book

Long before the Internet put countless images of beautiful men in various stages of undress at our fingertips with the simple click of a mouse, we young gay boys had to be much more creative in our search for homoerotic visual stimulation.  For me, like many gay men my age, my first secret peek of what lay behind the silver zipper of a pair of man’s slacks was found in the Sears Catalog.

In these semiannual catalogs from the late 70s and early 80s, handsome sexy men with wide chests and chiseled V-shaped torsos would stand close together in intimate twosomes and threesomes smiling or laughing in their underpants, while, if one looked closely, a hand or elbows would wander seductively to the shoulder of the other men standing beside them.

These men seemed to be saying to me: “It’s fun to stand around with other men without your pants on.”

And it looked like an awful lot of fun to me.

A Sears catalog underwear page

I loved looking at men in their underpants.  Their packages, although looking somewhat confined and constricted in their white briefs (I suppose as not to offend the housewives who were buying underpants for their husbands), did provide a little gay boy like me the hint that something exciting and was hidden beneath the bulges of those white, yellow, green, blue or even leopard and python print undies (it was the 70s).

To the young Gay Groom, it seemed that in these little catalog photos, I was seeing a snapshot of a steamy sensual moment that was occurring either just after the instant when these men had stood together naked – or the second just before they were about to strip down entirely.  Though I was unsure what they would do when they did rip off those colourful shorts in wonderful grinning unison – I do know that I really wanted to watch them do – whatever it was they did.  The Sears catalog was my first book of gay erotica.

Sexy 70s undies

Early each autumn, Sears would deliver their annual Christmas Wish Book to our door.  The Sears Wish Book was a beautiful and magical glossy catalog full of Christmas gift ideas for mom, grandpa and aunt Doris and then the last half of the catalog was devoted to toys – lots and lots of toys (Stretch Armstrong, Dancerella, Ants In The Pants or Hugo – Man Of A Thousand Faces).  But for me, the little gay boy, I would turn to the pages that contained the photos of men in their Christmas robes, plaid flannel pajamas and long winter underwear.

Sears Wish Book

Alone on the sofa, pretending to be looking at GI Joe With The Kung Fu Grip, I would instead moon over these attractive half-naked men.  Then, with my overactive (and underdeveloped) writer’s imagination, I would create an entire back-story for each of the good-looking men in the photographs.  In my invented story, I would tell myself that these three men (I would name them something like Bob, Tom, and Sebastian) were spending Christmas together because Tom had been thrown out on Christmas Eve by his shrewish and clinging wife, Helga.  Fortunately, Bob and his roommate Sebastian were happy to share their home with their buddy for the holiday.  I could tell by the wide grins on their faces that these men liked being together a lot.

Christmas robes

I imagined that in their fluffy velour robes, these three attractive men would enjoy Christmas morning together without women, drinking hot chocolate out of big red mugs, opening Christmas presents, patting each other on the back, laughing, joking, and trying on all the different colored long underwear in the Sears Wish Book catalog for one another in front of the tree:

“How do I look in these blue drawers, Bob?”

“You look really good, Tom – but you better take em off and try on these red ones!”

“Here, let me help you out of those, Sebastian!”

“Oops, my velour robe fell open!”

“Hey, whatcha got going on under that nightshirt?”

Sears Nightshirts

I didn’t know what “Perma-Prest” flannel was – but it sounded sexy.

It was these men of the Sears Wish Book, standing together by a fireplace or in a decorated paneled living room on Christmas morning, which gave me the impression that (somewhere) there were men living happily together – sleeping together, getting up together, dressing together, eating together, celebrating holidays together – and I wanted to be one of those happy men when I grew up.

So, I guess there must have been some magic in that old Sears Wish Book, because eventually I did.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Filed under 1970s christmas, 70s christmas, catalog mens underwear, Christmas, gay, gay blogging, gay Christmas, gay groom, gay Xmas, men in underwear, sears, sears wish book

Season’s Greetings, 1970s Coca-Cola Style

As we get closer to Christmas your humble blogger finds himself, from time to time, strolling down a gingerbread scented Memory Lane where The Carpenters Christmas album plays and I unwrap Lite Brite and Stretch Armstrong on a shag carpet in the rec room.

Yes, I’m remembering Christmas in the 70s.

For the next few weeks The Gay Groom will be looking back at Christmas in the 1970s with a series of blogs.  This week I was thinking of a wonderful old television commercial that ran every Christmas throughout the seventies (and into the eighties). The commercial begins with one bright candle shining through the darkness as a choir begins to sing.  Next, we see a happy, overly hopeful-looking girl holding a white candle and singing:

I’d like to buy the world a home

And furnish it with love

Grow apple trees and honey bees

And snow white turtle doves…

Suddenly, young men and women of all different races, creeds, colors (and fashions) surround the young girl and join in singing the song.  Finally, as the camera pulls back, we see that the candles being held create the image of a huge human Christmas tree (the original commercial would end with the words: “Season’s Greetings from your bottler of Coca-Cola”).

Apparently, world peace was possible – if we would just buy each other a Coke.

Leaving issues of marketing, consumption and commercialism aside for the moment, for me, that shining Coca-Cola Christmas tree made up of beautiful young people (I suppose there is no ugly people in the Coca-Cola Utopia) was an iconic image of Christmas.  And that sappy song can still cause a lump in my throat (also try and put aside for the moment how most of the girls in the commercial seem to resemble Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Louise Van Houten).

But there was something so sweet and innocent about this idea that generosity (and soda, apple trees, honey bees et al) could bring people together in harmony – and, being a young idealist gay boy, I believed it.  For in that Coca-Cola tree I saw the white guy in football jerseys sitting beside the Asian in a kimono who is sitting beside the Native American in beads and braided hair (OK, try and put aside the stereotypes presented in the commercial as well).

And being a little gay boy in the 70s, I did have my favourites – just take a look at the handsome blonde guy wearing the cowboy hat.  I really wanted to share a Coke with him.

So was this commercial just another example of a silly 70s naivety?  Perhaps.  But, I think the idea was (and still is) admirable.

Seasons Greetings from me (and your bottler of Coca-Cola).

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

Xmas 1972: Jeffrey, The Gay Groom, as a little fella. That cardboard Santa Claus behind me is actually a Coca-Cola display ad my father 'found' someplace.

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Pot of Mold

On Christmas Eve, the husband brought me home a box of Pot Of Gold chocolate.  Imagine my horror when I opened the box to put out on a candy dish for guests and found this:

Pot of Gold

We never had these problems when Pot of Gold was made in Canada!

Pot of Gold was a Canadian tradition.  It all started when Scottish immigrant James Moir started making candy in his bakery in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia way back in 1815.   Moir’s introduced the Pot of Gold brand in 1928 and at least one box has been under every Canadian Christmas tree since.

Eventually (in their quest for world-wide chocolate domination) U.S.-based Hershey bought the company and in 2007 shut down the Dartmouth plant and moved the entire operation to Mexico (to save costs).

580 jobs were lost.

So after seeing the state of his Christmas chocolates, your humble blogger wrote an email to Hershey’s (which they make rather difficult on the website) and they finally wrote back telling me the mold is not actually mold but “coco butter bloom”:

“Chocolate contains cocoa butter which makes the product sensitive to heat, humidity, and changes in temperature. Exposure to these conditions may cause a harmless discoloration on the surface of the bar known as cocoa butter bloom. At excessive temperatures chocolate can melt, causing the bar to look misshapen and tan in color with a loss of flavor.”

Then they sent me $6.00 in coupons for my $7.99 chocolates.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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The Year in Review (how novel!)

After a year away, I’m afraid my blogging muscles have atrophied to such a point that any attempt to write pithy – yet witty – observances of daily life causes sharp pains in my underused gluteus bloggimus muscles.

Thus my first Gay Groom blog of the year will be short… and one of those “Year in Review” blogs that are mostly photos as not to have to actually work at writing so very much.

I have, over the last week, heard quite a bit about how awful 2010 was.  For your humble blogger, I have to admit that though it was not a red banner year for the world in general (though it was better than 1942, 1974 and 2001), 2010 was a fine year for The Gay Groom. Even this blog had over 15,000 visitors in the twelve months I was away. And that’ s about 1000 times more than read the chapter of my new novel I had published in an obscure literary magazine.

2010 was my first year as a married man.  And marriage, I must admit, is probably the wisest thing I’ve ever done.  But enough about the charm of marriage… we’ll save that for another blog, let us return to the Year in Review since I’m already tiring…

In January the Gay Groom (and card-carrying Liberal) was out on the streets of Toronto again protesting against the Conservative government’s decision to prorogue (shut down) parliament to save their necks:

Jeffrey looking righteously indignant for the camera

A few days later I joined a mass protest in downtown Toronto.  I suggest everyone do one juicy protest each year; just so your principles  don’t rust.

Toronto demonstration against Proroguing Parliament

During the protest I was actually hit with an empty Pepsi can by someone on the sidewalk and called ‘a commie’.   I think it was “The people united will never be defeated” chant that irritated him.  Now I’ve protested for over twenty-five years and had never been actually hit by a projectile before.  It’s sort of a strange badge of honour.

At the end of January I celebrated my 42nd birthday.   The husband flew me off to New York City for the weekend where we took in an opera at the Met and headed out for a birthday dinner in the Village with some NYC friends.  Here’s Sean strolling through Lincoln Center before heading in to see a matinee of Verdi’s Stiffelio:

Sean outside The Met

Inside The Met for the first time

Waiting for our table at Jeffrey's NYC Birthday Dinner in the Village

NYC was so cold that there was little sight seeing this trip, though we did see a few things.   I was finally able to get to the The Neue Galerie on Fifth Avenue to see Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I”.  More photos of my NYC birthday at http://on.fb.me/hfmiCW.

In February the Winter Olympics came to Canada and Canada kicked some major world ass.  Canada ranked 1st in the world with 14 Gold (Germany was second with 10).  The golden moment was the gold-medal Canada-US hockey game on February 28th when Canada won 3-2 in overtime.

Canada wins hockey Gold in Vancouver.

By March we were in desperate need for a little sun on our buns and headed to Palm Springs (for the first time) for a week.  We stayed at a guest house near the downtown area…  and had a lovely time!

Our first time in Palm Springs. Sadly the guesthouse has now closed it doors.

A Palm Springs brunch

Kathy Griffin on stage in Palm Springs

 

While in Palm Springs we bought tickets to see Kathy Griffin’s stage show as well.   We were lucky to have some great weather while we were down there.  More Palm Springs photos here:  http://on.fb.me/fb4nhd

In June the G20 Summit was held in Toronto… and we got the hell out of there.  Now I’m an activist from way back but what exactly were these people protesting?  Everyone with an axe to grind who showed up to cause problems.  The protests, vandalism, car burning et al that ensued showed up we made the right decision to leave for a few nights at a B&B and then a little camping:

Camping during G20 weekend

It was the husband’s first time camping and I was surprised he enjoyed it so much.  We went back to the same campground new Lake Erie a few more times during the summer.  More photos of the G20 Getaway at http://on.fb.me/fxgLXK

Pride Toronto was a week late due to the G20 this year.  During the parade, I marched with my fellow Liberals and Liberal MPP, Glen Murray and Liberal MP Bob Rae:

Marching with my fellow Liberals in the Pride Parade

Jeffrey with Liberal MP Bob Rae at Pride Parade

Jeffrey with Liberal MPP, Glen Murray

More Toronto Pride photos from 2010 at:  http://on.fb.me/dIz6Bx

In early July Canada was graced with the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.  Seeing that I live only a few blocks from where she was having her send-off ceremony, I stopped by.  And, though no booster for the monarchy, I was thrilled to see The Queen walk by… and she even condescended to give us a little chat:

c

Queen Elizabeth's Walk About

A Royal Smile

I also saw Prince Phillip, the Premiere, the Governor General and (unfortunately) the Prime Minister.  More photos of when the Queeen met Jeffrey:  http://on.fb.me/9s9jvb

I took a video of my meeting with the Queen and uploaded to YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xObPl7fOeoI

Later in the summer we spent a weekend in Stratford, Ontario where we saw Christopher Plummer in The Tempest.  Of course he was brilliant!  I must admit I’ve been crushing on Captain Von Trapp for many years!  After the performance Plummer was signing his autobiography:

Jeffrey with Christopher Plummer

For more photos of our Stratford weekend: http://on.fb.me/dL2SwQ

In August we headed back to New York City (very easy by using Porter Airlines out of the Toronto Island airport) and enjoyed the big city in the heat of summer:

Jeffrey in New York City

Saw the BRILLIANT play "The Twentieth Century Way" (part of Fringe NYC). Two virtuoso performances!

There was much more sightseeing this trip than there was in the January cold.  More photos of our summer trip to NYC:  http://on.fb.me/dmdLHc

Phew!  This is taking a long time to do!  The Gay Groom forgot how time consuming a blog is!

Off to take a break of clementines and coffee…

Phew!

Alright, I’m back.  In September, the husband and I headed to Madrid and Paris for two weeks:

 

Sean with Piccaso's 'Guernica' at the Museo Reina Sofia.

Jeffrey and Sean at the foot of the Eiffel Tower

Jeffrey with Otto Dix's "Portrait of Journalist Sylvia von Harden" at Centre Pompidou.

It was the husband’s first trip to Madrid – and he loved it!  More photos of Madrid and Paris at:  http://on.fb.me/9keEdo

In October we celebrated our first anniversary in Montreal:

Saw the Otto Dix exhibition for the second time (saw in NYC in August)

Our First Wedding Anniversary In Montreal

Duck in a can at Au pied de cochon à Montréal.

Montreal is beautiful in the fall!  More anniversary photos at:  http://on.fb.me/dWCtq2

In mid-October the husband and I ran a 5K for Multiple Myeloma.  What is Multiple Myeloma?  It’s a cancer of the plasma cells in the blood.  It is also the cancer that my father has been battling for over a year.

Sean and Jeffrey at the starting line of the Multiple Myeloma 5K.

Together Sean and I raised over 800 dollars for MM research at The Princess Margaret Hospital here in Toronto.

In October I was also THRILLED to meet my favourite living author, Jonathan Franzen.  So many authors can be read creeps when you meet them in person.  Franzen was absolutely charming:

Jonathan Franzen signing books

Meeting Franzen

Christ!  What a long year!

Thank god I’m almost done!

Soon it was Halloween.   And I thought it would be funny for the atheist (raised Baptist) to be a priest for Halloween:

Fr. Jeffrey on Halloween at Woodys

Halloween is like Pride Lite in Toronto.  Lots of folks out on the streets and some amazing costumes.  For more Halloween photos: http://on.fb.me/gLLgAA

But it wasn’t all laughs.  I worked on George Smitherman’s campaign for Mayor of Toronto.  In February it looked like we were going to have the city’s first openly gay mayor – but was by summer the tide had turned.  I was bitterly disappointed when the city chose a fat homophobic slob slob on election night… but what can you do?  Here is Smitherman, his husband and son at the  ‘victory’ party after the election.

Politically, it wasn't the best year.

Then before you knew it, November flew by and it was Xmas again.  My mother was right about how fast the years go by as we get older.  It’s like a snowball picking up steam as it rolls downhill…

Our pride disco ball ornament

Jeffrey showing off a piping hot tourtière.

Jeffrey with a new nifty camera

As usual, Xmas comes but once a year and lasts two months.  Happily I have already taken down the decorations and tree (I like it down on Jan01… though I’m usually sick of it around Dec15).  More 2010 Xmas photos:  http://on.fb.me/gpIU14

So that, in a nutshell, was our year in review.  All in all, not a bad year.  And as we start 2011… and since I’m tired of typing…  your humble blogger will simply wish you and yours the very best for a happy and healthy New Year.

The Gay Groom will also try to blog a little more often this year… one could, if one was inclined, almost call it a resolution of sorts.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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My First Book of Gay Erotica: The Sears Catalog

Long before the Internet put countless images of beautiful men in various stages of undress at our fingertips with the simple click of a mouse, we young gay boys had to be much more creative in our search for homoerotic visual stimulation.  For me, like many gay men my age, my first secret peek of what lay behind the silver zipper of a pair of man’s slacks was found in the Sears Catalog.

In these semiannual catalogs from the late 70s and early 80s, handsome sexy men with wide chests and chiseled V-shaped torsos would stand close together in intimate twosomes and threesomes smiling or laughing in their underpants, while, if one looked closely, a hand or elbows would wander seductively to the shoulder of the other men standing beside them.

These men seemed to be saying to me: “It’s fun to stand around with other men without your pants on.”

And it looked like an awful lot of fun to me.

A Sears catalog underwear page

I loved looking at men in their underpants.  Their packages, although looking somewhat confined and constricted in their white briefs (I suppose as not to offend the housewives who were buying underpants for their husbands), did provide a little gay boy like me the hint that something exciting and was hidden beneath the bulges of those white, yellow, green, blue or even leopard and python print undies (it was the 70s).

To the young Gay Groom, it seemed that in these little catalog photos, I was seeing a snapshot of a steamy sensual moment that was occurring either just after the instant when these men had stood together naked – or the second just before they were about to strip down entirely.  Though I was unsure what they would do when they did rip off those colourful shorts in wonderful grinning unison – I do know that I really wanted to watch them do – whatever it was they did.  The Sears catalog was my first book of gay erotica.

Sexy 70s undies

Early each autumn, Sears would deliver their annual Christmas Wish Book to our door.  The Sears Wish Book was a beautiful and magical glossy catalog full of Christmas gift ideas for mom, grandpa and aunt Doris and then the last half of the catalog was devoted to toys – lots and lots of toys (Stretch Armstrong, Dancerella, Ants In The Pants or Hugo – Man Of A Thousand Faces).  But for me, the little gay boy, I would turn to the pages that contained the photos of men in their Christmas robes, plaid flannel pajamas and long winter underwear.

Sears Wish Book

Alone on the sofa, pretending to be looking at GI Joe With The Kung Fu Grip, I would instead moon over these attractive half-naked men.  Then, with my overactive (and underdeveloped) writer’s imagination, I would create an entire back-story for each of the good-looking men in the photographs.  In my invented story, I would tell myself that these three men (I would name them something like Bob, Tom, and Sebastian) were spending Christmas together because Tom had been thrown out on Christmas Eve by his shrewish and clinging wife, Helga.  Fortunately, Bob and his roommate Sebastian were happy to share their home with their buddy for the holiday.  I could tell by the wide grins on their faces that these men liked being together a lot.

Christmas robes

I imagined that in their fluffy velour robes, these three attractive men would enjoy Christmas morning together without women, drinking hot chocolate out of big red mugs, opening Christmas presents, patting each other on the back, laughing, joking, and trying on all the different colored long underwear in the Sears Wish Book catalog for one another in front of the tree:

“How do I look in these blue drawers, Bob?”

“You look really good, Tom – but you better take em off and try on these red ones!”

“Here, let me help you out of those, Sebastian!”

“Oops, my velour robe fell open!”

“Hey, whatcha got going on under that nightshirt?”

Sears Nightshirts

I didn’t know what “Perma-Prest” flannel was – but it sounded sexy.

It was these men of the Sears Wish Book, standing together by a fireplace or in a decorated paneled living room on Christmas morning, which gave me the impression that (somewhere) there were men living happily together – sleeping together, getting up together, dressing together, eating together, celebrating holidays together – and I wanted to be one of those happy men when I grew up.

So, I guess there must have been some magic in that old Sears Wish Book, because eventually I did.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Our First (Married) Xmas Together

This was the first year the Husband and I celebrated Xmas as a married couple.

Our condo-sized Xmas tree twinkling away in the den

Though it wasn’t the first Xmas we’ve spent together.  In fact we have spent every Xmas together since we began dating in 2000.  That’s TEN Xmases.  A decade of turkeys, putting up (and taking down) the tree, and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” together.  That’s a lot of wrapping paper in the recycling bin!

But this year was special.  This year we were married.

Many people have asked us in the (almost) three months that we have been married, “Is it different?”  “Does it feel like something has changed with your relationship now that you have the wedding license?”

The answer is a resounding ‘YES’.

Though I must admit that I for one never thought our relationship would undergo the change it did.  After all, what could be so very different after signing the papers and cutting our cake?  What indeed!

Yes, a seismic shift occurred.

Now, your humble blogger can’t speak for anyone but his humble self.  I’m well aware that marriage is not a choice given to most of my fellow gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in the world today.  And the Gay Groom certainly knows how fortunate he is to have had the right to marry his Partner up here in Canada.  Further, I am also personally acquainted with many unmarried couples (gay and straight) who are perfectly content in their own relationships without a license or endorsement from the state.

So you don’t need to send the Gay Groom nasty emails and comments about how I’m “belittling the relationships of those who cannot legally get married” or how “my internalized homophobia makes me strive toward the heterosexual concept of a conservative marriage” – trust me I’ve received quite enough unpleasant comments from same-sex marriage-hating right wing nut-bars since starting this blog.  And it’s certainly not my intention to upset my gay and lesbian friends as well.

I can only try and explain how marriage has affected the Gay Groom.

Since October 3, 2009 I FEEL married.  There is a gravity (in the Newton sense) that was not there before the “I dos”.   Neither The Gay groom nor the Husband can simply walk out the door with a wave.  We are connected legally.

And I like it.

Any severing of our entanglements now will require lawyers, fees, time etc.  Just like our straight married friends who chose to end their marriages.  Hence a little of the gravity I mentioned.

But it’s more than legalities.

We have promised in front of our family and friends to stick it out for richer and poorer, in sickness and health and all the rest (including signing the register).  And seeing that neither your humble blogger nor his Husband is twenty-one, we have experienced enough of life before taking those vows to know what we are signing up for.  Trials, illness, hardships and all those unfair and unpleasant things life tosses at one through the years are not a possibility, when you hit your 40s – you know these sorts of things will eventually happen (though we hope as far in the future as possible).

And when these things do happen, I intend to be beside my husband through it all.

But that’s marriage for ya.

And that’s why this Xmas was special for your humble blogger this year.  And at some point, during the celebrations, I kissed the  Husband and told him I loved being married to him.

It IS a wonderful life.

And to commemorate it, the Husband had a bulb made…

Sean and Jeff, Our 1st Christmas

Happy Holidays from Jeffrey, the Gay Groom

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