Before you get all lovey-dovey and swoon over Hunk of the Day Broderick Hunter, here’s a little tidbit of information that might tip the scale to bitterness and envy (and let’s not even talk of what’s tipping my scale these days, cause it’s too much): Mr. Hunter doesn’t work out. He plays some basketball and goes on a jog once in a while. In the words of Madonna, that’s one of life’s little fuck-overs. Unless you’re Mr. Hunter, then it’s nothing but a blessing. The rest of us mere mortals can only sigh. Congrats to Mr. Hunter on being named Hunk of the Day!
It might surprise some of you to know that I once dabbled in basketball. Stop shaking your heads in disbelief, it happened. I may not be your average basketball player, being about half the height of most basketball players, and to be honest I didn’t actually play the sport, but I was a “manager” for the girls’ basketball team at Amsterdam High School. Junior Varsity, of course. It was in ninth grade, and by “manager” it meant bookkeeper and scorekeeper, though in the end I turned out to be more of a cheerleader and entertainment-provider than anything else.
I still remember when Kate and Missy approached me in the hall and asked if it was something I would consider doing. I didn’t know if it was their idea of a joke, nor did I know the first thing about basketball, but I accepted because I wanted to add to my extra-curriculum activities to get into a good college. Yes, I was fun like that. Still am.
I suppose part of it was that I was starting to feel lonely, and the reaching out of a friend or two meant a lot.
On the radio, Billy Joel sang, ‘We Didn’t Start the FIre’ and it seemed the perfect catch-phrase for a fourteen-year-old at any point in time, when blame was all we had and the beginning of adolescent angst settled in.
Back to basketball. I got to attend the games at home and, more excitingly, away, when we’d board a bus and I’d be the only guy in a pool of girls and feel perfectly safe and happy. Even back then, I was one of the girls, and I relished the role and trust implicit in my accepted presence there. Missy was the other manager for the Junior Varsity team, and she had done it all before. Thank God, because I had no clue what was going on.
There were a few times when she couldn’t make it to the game, and I was on my own. I could keep track of the fouls that each player had, but not much else. At one of the home games, someone foolishly left me in charge of the big scoreboard, and let me tell you, people get so bent out of shape if one little point is given to the wrong team. They will let you know as soon as it happens. Like, from all the way across the gymnasium. It’s palpable. Every single time. I never understood that – there are so many points flying left and right, what’s the big damn deal?
And that thirty-second clock? What a nightmare. Who has the sense and wherewithal to reset that thing over and over again? But people will pay attention to that too. Eventually (well, in short order) they took me off the scoreboard part of things, and I went back to keeping track of fouls with a pencil and paper. I’m always better old-school.
It obviously wasn’t the basketball part of the experience that appealed to me, nor, in the end, was it the addition of another extra-curricular activity that thrilled me, but the simple relaxed friendships I made with girls. Far less treacherous than my tricky dealings with boys, my friendships with girls were easy and fun. Girls may be awful to each other, but as a boy I had some bit of protection from that drama. I was also too small and well-dressed to be much of a threat or object of desire. They could confide in me (and too often did, something that I didn’t always honor, to my eternal shame) and I could count on them to appreciate my sense of style and humor.
For a young gay guy, there was safety with girls, something that was always in question in a locker room of guys. Being part of the girls’ basketball team saved me in ways I wouldn’t realize until later, forming a bedrock of security that would be missing from some of my own family sometimes. It was an acceptance that was unhesitating and sure, and when you’re fourteen and unsure about everything, that was of paramount importance. Those of us who have trouble as adults are usually missing that foundation. I was lucky to find it when I did – on the girls’ basketball team.
(Just don’t ask me to keep score.)
The hour is dawn. The road is mostly empty. Ahead, a bridge rises, high over a river, somewhere before the border between Massachusetts and New York. On my way to Boston, in the early morning light, I speed along the Thruway and turn the music down for a moment. The hum of the Mini Cooper and the faint drone of its heater rise slightly above the rush of the road.
It’s one of those moments when I remember to pause and listen to the quiet. I don’t do that as much as I should. There was a time when I drove through cemeteries, turning down the stereo to honor the dead, and restoring the soul in such stillness and silence.
At first it is a bit unnerving. So much noise and background chatter informs the bulk of life now. We are so scared to be silent. Yet it is so necessary, especially as the holidays approach, as our lives become ever busier, as the mayhem of living catches up with us all. As I get older, the riot of my heart may be somewhat diminished and assuaged, but other concerns take its place. The demands of a relatively new job, the ticking of the almost-40 clock, and the simple fact of being alive at this strange, dismal, wonderful, deafening time all take their toll. Finding peace is not always as simple as turning down the music and sitting quietly, but it’s one way to start.
As I cross the bridge to another day, I hasten to see the rise of the sun. In too many ways, it’s easy to be jaded and cynical and weary of the world. A sunrise like this, in a moment of quiet between two worlds, restores the order and quells the chaos.
The biggest social event of Albany’s holiday season, at least for Andy and myself, is the Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Celebration to benefit the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York. We’ve been attending for the last thirteen years or so, and it traditionally marks the beginning of all the holiday excitement, as well as a chance to catch up with friends we don’t get to see every day (and make fabulous new ones too.)
Of course, it’s also an opportunity to dress up, which for me is no mean feat. A few years ago, a lovely woman came up to me and whispered that she always looked forward to seeing what I’d be wearing at the event, and since then I’ve put in a little extra effort into making sure that the ensemble for the festivities was worthy of such notice. This year, the inspiration was Tom Ford’s Atelier d’Orient line of Private Blends, specifically ‘Fleur de Chine’ and ‘Shanghai Lily.’ Once you have an inspiration point, the rest is easy.
Unintentional planning for this night actually began a number of years ago, when my friend Stephen (Suzie’s brother, for those of you who know the players) was visiting us. He was living in Hong Kong at the time, and had brought back one of those ubiquitous headdresses that girls wore (based on a traditional Qing Dynasty headdress.) While it was intended for his niece, I begged him to bring one back for me the next time he visited. A holiday or so later, he had a gift for me. With a few additional embellishments, it was the perfect focal point for the ensemble. Once you have that pièce de résistance, the rest is even easier.
The next part consisted of a silk kimono I’d found in a Japanese shop in Cambridge, MA. I was in Boston for New Year’s, and on a cold morning I hopped on the T to Porter Square to find a bowl of hot noodles. After warming myself with some soba, I stopped in a nearby shop and found a richly-colored kimono, lined with red silk and awash in flowers. At the time, I used it as a robe, and filed it away for future possibilities.
Being as this was scheduled to take place on one of the colder days we’ve had this season, a pair of pants would also be required. (I mean, this isn’t a garden party.) I had a colorful pair with a shade of aqua that would go nicely with the make-do obi I fashioned out of a long piece of sea-foam-hued fabric (this mish-mash of Asian-inspired accents lost any and all sense of authenticity when I looked to Tom Ford for inspiration.) The pants were actually what I had worn for our post-wedding-celebration brunch.
A proper get-up like this requires a very special coat, and though the coat is usually seen the least, for me it’s often the most important piece of the outfit, especially when it gets this cold. Besides, the most fun part of the evening is sometimes the ride to the gala, when the excitement and anticipation is high, second only to the ride home, when you get to talk about all that transpired during the evening. And if you’re doing it in a fancy coat like this, it makes all the difference.
This was a coat I’ve been wanting to wear for the longest time, but was never quite able to locate its perfect purpose until this evening. It was a SoWa Market treasure, one that was excavated in the middle of summer, with an eye for a winter unveiling. A thick embroidery of cranes and flowers, with a rich floral brocade of gold thread was backed by the most vibrant red, and spritzed with a little ‘Fleur de Chine’ and ‘Shanghai Lily’ – and its sumptuously oversized proportion allowed for all the excess silk of the kimono sleeves to nestle cozily and comfortably inside.
In case you haven’t noticed yet, everything that had gone into this outfit was something I had already owned. The shoes and socks, however, were the brand-new additions that brought it all together. Procured from Seattle, they were the riskiest part of the entire operation, as walking in them proved challenging. (And standing on wooden stilts all night is murder on the heels.) They were more than worth it though, as no other shoe I owned would have worked. (Cinderella knows this.)
Thus ends another Beaujolais Nouveau outfit – and thus begins planning for next year’s sartorial assault…
It turns out that Jesse Metcalfe isn’t the only man who can channel rough-trade sexiness, turning the lascivious into the luscious, and the bulging into the breathtaking. Allow me to introduce male model Parker Hurley, the Hunk of the Day, in his first appearance on this website. You never forget your first time, and Mr. Hurley makes a delectable splash in his. Talk about your fancy crotch rocket… oh wait, that’s Harley, not Hurley. Nevermind.
One of the best ways to secure a Hunk of the Day nod is to come out as a gay man. Witness the crownings of Adam Lambert, Neil Patrick Harris, Tom Daley, Robbie Rogers, Jason Collins,
Josey Greenwell, Matthew Mitcham, Chris Salvatore, Gareth Thomas, Nate Berkus, and Cheyenne Jackson for just a spattering of those proudly gay men who were named Hunk of the Day – and add country music man Ty Herndon to the list. Mr. Herndon has been making music for two decades, and recently came out publicly. In a genre like country music, that’s not the easiest thing to do. Congratulations to him on that – and on this!
Finally, an image to fix the Internet that Kim Kardashian’s greasy ass supposedly broke a while back. This is Jesse Metcalfe in some gritty, raw and rough poses. It’s the only known antidote to the Kardashian Curse. Mr. Metcalfe has been featured here previously, in nothing but his underwear, and in his very first Hunk of the Day crowning.
And a brief glimpse at how he gets a body like that.
The featured photo of this post goes back to 2004 or 2005. You see, my memory falters after about 2003 or so. I can remember what happened in November of 1989 better than I can remember what happened in November of 2013. It’s a sad reality of the aging process (appended by my new bifocals.) Back in 2004 (or 2005) I crouched in the backyard as the sun went down, and waxed all contemplative.
A single strand of bamboo rises on the right side of the photo, while dried miscanthus, already devastated by the frosts and the winds of late fall, backs the middle and left. A wooden fence, bright and relatively new at the time, lends a bit of structure to the goings-on. It’s been about a decade since this was taken, and I’m not sure which has aged worse – myself or that fence – both are pretty worn. Yet still we stand, season after season, struggling with the rough days, basking in the good ones, and meeting in a mostly happy and fortunate middle.
Today I look out the window and study that wooden fence, as one might study the lines in their face, or the gray in their hair. The wood is lined with water stains, gray with age, and haggard with edges torn by the claws of scurrying squirrels, yet it’s a testament to the test of time. Eventually, it will fall – all things do – but another will rise in its stead. Good fences make good neighbors, someone once wrote, and we all could stand a couple of boundaries in our lives. The biggest one I’ve found is time, and no one ever surmounts it.
This is the perfect example of how drastically a haircut can change a person’s appearance. Meet Hunk of the Day Bart Grzybowski. In the first few photos, he is shown with his trademark long locks. Long hair has never been a personal preference of mine (I grew up in the era of Fabio and never quite recovered.) But it works on Mr. Grzybowski, I’ll allow that. I think, however that his shorter do in the final photos works much better. As always, I’ll leave it to the viewer to decide.
Chop chop, clip clip…
In addition to his work as an actor and model, and his interest in fitness and design, Derek Yates is also vying to be Ellen’s gardener. (I would too, but it would be on merit rather than fitness. I know flowers, but I don’t know how to say no to dessert.) Mr. Yates can add Hunk of the Day to his laurels, and rest on that for a while.
It was the lone light in the night. A single spot of warmth. We hovered around it, pressing close, shaking and holding out mittened hands over its heat. Behind us the darkness nudged us closer. The cold kept us together. Together they corralled us around the fire, where we made a friendly circle of flushed faces and sparkling eyes, fire dancing in pairs of irises.
I watch the heart of the fire go blue. I don’t know if it’s a trick of watching the firelight for too long, or if it’s really happening, and I don’t care – I just like the way it looks. A hypnotic and mesmerizing effect, it entrances the senses, and though the iciness laps at our backs and lassoes our feet, we stand there listening to the crackling of the wood, the dogged rush of the wind, the muffled laughter through scarves. This is how we get through fall.
Winter will be another story.
You might be expecting a wish list for the holiday season, and I’d be lying if I said another one wasn’t on the way, but it turns out that my most favorite things in the world aren’t colognes or messenger bags or shoes, but far simpler: words. Here are a few of my favorite strings of them:
You do anything in the world to gain a reputation. As soon as you have one, you seem to want to throw it away. It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. – Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n. ~ Milton, Paradise Lost
When the times are a crucible, when the air is full of crisis,” she said, “those who are most themselves are the victims. – Gregory Maguire
Another thing they knew and shared and believed was that no one could really help anyone else, that sadness is solitude, but you could love someone, without reservation or fanfare, just love them, without expecting anything in return and, sometimes, it would be enough. – Whitney Otto
There were moments when he looked on evil simply as a mode through which he could realize his conception of the beautiful. – Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
“People who claim that they’re evil are usually no worse than the rest of us.” He sighed. “It’s people who claim, that they’re good, or anyway better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.” – Gregory Maguire
It was about wanting something that you have idealized to the point that, when you have it, you are still longing for it. Something can be yours and not yours in the same breath. – Whitney Otto
There have been many a male model featured here of late, and of always. It’s just the sort of guy candy for which this site has, for better or worse, become known. A quick list of former featured pretty men includes the following:
Today’s honor, however, goes to Josh Kloss, a model who also dabbles in acting and directing. Introducing Mr. Kloss, who turns the black and white into full-blown color. Just watch…
Following this weekend in Boston, I have about 80% of my holiday shopping done. Only about 30% of that shopping was for me, so put that in your holiday spirit pipe and suck it down. In honor of that, I’m posting this hilarious and touching video of a little girl demonstrating her new Flutterbye Fairy. God knows I love a good fairy post, and if you watch this I’ll bet you will too.
Tis the season!
Bring in the Yule Log!
Stoke the fire!
(And if you’re looking for gift ideas for moi, check out my newly-updated list on Amazon. Not for the faint of heart or light of pocketbook.)
The rain came, cold like it does in the month of November, but there was hardly time to complain about it. There was a shift in the atmosphere, and those throwback days where summer echoed in the sun seem to have disappeared for good this year. Now we wait until they return. It’s dark when I get up in the morning, and dark when get out of work at the afternoon, and none of that makes me very happy. My friend JoAnn was lamenting that, and somewhere in me I found the hope to say, ‘We will make our own light.” So that’s what I’m going to try to do.
Before it got too dark, however, JoAnn threw her annual Fall Party, and it was by all accounts a smash.
November 14 marked StandUp Day, a day honored by Ben Cohen and his StandUp Foundation in a effort to stop bullying and homophobia. A great cause deserves a great front-guy, and Mr. Cohen is certainly that.
Setting up his own warm front was Tom Brady, in a few rare shirtless shots.
As God is my witness, I’ll never go hungry again. After all, tomorrow is another day.
The mightiest oak began as an acorn.
This is a big reason why I need to get back to Boston more.
There is such a thing as a thirty-year-old Virgin.
There was also the time when Madonna was Evita.
The Hunks of November did their work by keeping things hot here, so a big round of thanks goes out to Scott Cullens, Louis Virtel, Olly Murs, Nacer Chadli, Diego Furoni, Christos Birbas and Christopher Marchant.