Sunday, November 22, 2015

Stepping Back

     So… I was thinking, as dangerous as some of you may think, and I’ve decided something. As hard as I try, as much as I attempt to convince myself, I’m really not very happy.
     You’d think that after I got My Hero: The Olympian finished, and it out I’d be ecstatic. Well, I am about that. I admit I felt really good when it finally went live. The response has been good, and the 5 Onion Ring review made me laugh. I mean really laugh.
     So what’s the issue you ask? I’m sad because of all the hate I’ve seen lately. First off, the whole thing in Paris. It scared me. Made me worry about my friends who live there. Gave me nightmares. I cried.
     What upset me even more is the reaction of some people. It was like being a witness to mass genocide and no way to do anything about it. It was so hateful it made me sick to my stomach. I had to stop looking at social media I was so disturbed by it all.
     I think for the first time ever, I am ashamed of my government, or a good portion of it anyway. I’ve always been rather proud to be from the United States, but I think that is starting to become a misnomer. I don’t see us United any more, which is truly sad. It reeks of the segregation of our not so distant past. The way we treated the Asian population and other immigrants that came to this country. We treated them shamefully, and now I see many of us doing the same thing. Just sad.
     But that isn’t what really got to me this week…
     I had been so busy with getting this latest book out that I didn’t pay much attention to some of the things that were going on around me. Sorry, shoot me. That’s just the way I work. I needed to focus on that, and so I did.
     There was some blog post made by an anonymous gay guy, ranting away about the M/M romance genre. I took part of it as him saying that women were ogling gay men and petting them, basically objectifying them. Okay… yes, I’ve seen that. Was I bothered witnessing such an act? Nope. I was right there with him, having a good time. But it did make me ask a few questions.
     Would those same women being doing the same thing if those men were not gay? Would I? I can only answer for myself. No, I probably wouldn’t. That’s just a fact that I know about myself. Having gone to Swinging Richards in Atlanta, where most of the dancers are straight, I know it didn’t do anything for me. Actually made me a bit uncomfortable.
     Now, I tried to see things from this writer’s perspective, and I can see where he might have an issue. Like most gay men, there are times when we want ‘our’ space. A place where it is only gay men. I’ve mentioned this before.
    True story: A friend and I went to a bear bar. It turned out that it was a men only bar. She had a fit. She couldn’t believe that there was a place where she wasn’t allowed. This happened a couple of times and there was always a small tirade to follow. I tried to explain to her that there are places that men cannot go, and I understand that, why couldn’t she?'
     This whole blog post by Mr. Anon and some of the responses really hurt. I remember being crucified over something similar a year ago. I only tried to explain how the majority of men are, but in a way that was supposed to satirical. It was hijacked by a few people who had it out for me, (I have proof of this which is in the hands of an attorney.) The first few comments led the rest of the readers down the rosy road of hate.
     NOTE: There were two of these same people who shamed me for what I wrote, standing up and defending Mr. Anon for saying far worse than anything I said.
     I read the comments from this disturbing blog and became so sad. So many other authors, authors I know, and some readers really went after this guy. But somehow, once again, it turned into ‘so women can’t write M/M’. I am going to say this yet again, for who knows how many times now… I have never said that a woman can’t write M/M romance. Nope, not once. I have said that there are some women who don’t do it very well, and that is me being honest. On the flip side, I also said that there are some men who can’t write it very well either, so there you have it. I hope I never have to say that again, but I’m sure I will.
     The first thing I would like to say to this guy is this…
     Sexual objectivity has been going on since the beginning of time. Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession. It isn’t going to change. If you don’t like it, then don’t be around it and don’t participate. Don’t get your panties all in a twist. Get over it.
     But as a gay man, Mr. Anon made some valid points. A fellow author, Ashley John McLoughlin, wrote a post that blew me away. He is far more eloquent than I. Reading his post, he put down how I felt about the whole issue. I highly suggest you read it. It is so well done, I was speechless. There is also a link to Mr. Anon’s rant via his post. Try and read it with an open mind.

     I’ve been pulling back more and more from social media lately. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until someone pointed it out. I guess it is that self-preservation thing kicking in. It’s so hurtful, hateful and negative. Things I’d rather not have in my life.
     I know I’ve said it before, but after this past week, it bears repeating: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
     For now, I’m going to go crawl into my chair and pull a big black blanket over me and lick my wounds.
     Have a grrreat week, y’all. Be kind.


  1. The responses to that post were horrific, and from so many. It made me sad to see such a hateful response to someone's frustration with the genre.

  2. Thank you for a great post, Max. If social media in recent times has taught me anything it is how to sit on my hands and keep my two cents to myself. It has turned out to be such a mixed blessing. On the one hand there's all the wonderful people I've 'met' and become friends with, people I would have never know existed if it hadn't been for the internet, Twitter and Facebook, people I can't imagine not having in my life any more. On the other hand there's what I've come to think of as 'the bandwagon' syndrome. Everybody appears to be happy to shout their opinion about anything out loud and get offended by anybody who has the nerve to disagree. Before four replies have been posted what was a single person's opinion has become a case of us versus them and all hell breaks lose. I can't yet make myself stay away from social media, as I said, I've got very close friends living there, but I can and I will keep my nose, mouth and fingers out of conflict, especially when they turn personal and therefore all the nastier. It's sad though; with the real world becoming scarier by the day I could do with my virtual world being a safe place.

  3. First of all, I hear ya. After the Paris attacks last Friday, I began to see this uprising tide of shit hurled at Muslims and it really pissed me off since I have so many in my personal life. I wrote my rant on Saturday last week and I have to say, it has been the most "liked" and commented on thing I've written on FB this year and the comments back to me were 100% positive. I didn't have one asshole in the bunch on that thread which is rare. There's usually at least one who speaks up and makes an ass of themselves but maybe because I was speaking about my own family, they shut the fuck up.

    As far as the Anonymous blog, I really wish he would have put down his name. I thought he made some points which made sense and I commented, not on his blog, but on the thread where it was linked, that some of his points were indeed valid. Hell, I'm not a gay man so to speak as if I have a right to do so, just would have been wrong. In summation, I said something along the lines of, "I've never known a man (gay or straight), including those who write MM romance, to walk into a book store and head for the romance section first." Guys just aren't wired that way, but then, I'm not telling you something you don't already know. You write romance but you're one of the male authors of romance who do it right. Some of the stuff I've read comes out sounding more like porn. What becomes old is the men VS. women writing MM romance debate and that's just stupid and *yawn* boring as hell by now.

    My advice is to just stay engaged as much as possible but check in now and then. Try not to worry so much because that will just make you ill. I know it does that to me. And, for God's sake, turn off the news. It sucks big time. I love you, kiddo

  4. Big hugs and dont disappear completely cause I would miss you.

  5. Mr. Vos, you are definitely an inspiration and your authenticity is otherworldly and endearing. Stay true to yourself, regardless of the haters, because true character is hard to find in this world we live in, but you personify that exceptionally. I have learned that validation is not based only on the positive, but the negative shit we face in this world. One thing I admire about you is your unadulterated realness, your blog gives me hope that real gay men and not facades actually exist.Lifetime fan you have in me, and also my never ending respect for your ability in remaining real, raw, and true to life. Stay strong, Max.

  6. A great blog Max. Have a wonderful & comfortable Thanksgiving. Hope you get to play in the dirt! Alaskan ((((HUGS & CUDDLES)))) My blanket is black & orange ... Harley Davidson .... hee hee

  7. I read that anonymous post myself and I just blinked a few times. I think that objectification, male of female, is a matter of intent and context. In other words, there's nothing wrong with a little harmless objectification sometimes, in the right context and with the right frame of mind. I think some people are getting a little too PC these days and instead of getting sad and tired about that I'm starting to find amusement in pointing this out to them. A lot of what we read in MM is meant to be entertaining, and not always serious. We all get slapped in the face at least once a day and we need some kind of an escape :)