After documenting the young gays who listen to poetry as foreplay to hookups, The New York Times has written yet another article about young literary minds of New York meeting and discussing literary things. Only this new one is different somehow. Let's compare the confusingly titled but decidedly straighter "New York's Literary Cubs" with "The Wilde Boys Salon, for Poetry or Maybe a Hot Date."
Every seat was filled — a common sight at this makeshift Greenwich Village salon. No fewer than six men crammed onto a beige fainting couch, cocktails in hand. Handsome waiters could no longer squeeze through, so guests passed platters of steak on toast, shrimp on skewers and salmon in cucumber cups.
Surveying the scene was Alex Dimitrov, a 26-year-old rising poet, who wore a black leather jacket with matching black boots and jeans for the occasion. Sly and delicate, he is the founder and gatekeeper of Wilde Boys, a roving salon for self-described queer poets at which attendees lounge fetchingly and flirtation comes in the guise of academic one-upmanship.
And now, "Literary Cubs":
It was the weekly meeting of The New Inquiry, a scrappy online journal and roving clubhouse that functions as an Intellectuals Anonymous of sorts for desperate members of the city’s literary underclass barred from the publishing establishment. Fueled by B.Y.O.B. bourbon, impressive degrees and the angst that comes with being young and unmoored, members spend their hours filling the air with talk of Edmund Wilson and poststructuralism.
Hm, OK! So those scenes are described a bit differently. But we're just cherry-picking for an easy laugh, right?
From today's "Cubs":
Despite the fact that everyone was young and attractive, no one seemed to flirt or network. Instead, they traded heady banter about the Situationists and reveled in an atmosphere of warmhearted mutual support; it felt like an oral dissertation mixed with a ’70s encounter group.
At one point, a few debated, only half-ironically, whether a new bank in a former Dunkin Donuts nearby was philosophically akin to the French reactionaries’ construction of the Sacré Coeur basilica on the site of the Paris Commune’s insurrection in 1870.
And now, from "Wilde Boys":
The play between art and desire is always in the air. [...] Tall and thin, with a bumbling, affable manner, Mr. Legault was the kind of Wilde Boy who drew interested gazes from other attendees. Young men (and a few women) in cuffed shorts and threadbare T-shirts were perched on chairs and benches or sprawled on the weedy ground. Bottles of wine were balanced on a table covered with free books.
“The crowd’s a little different than when we do it at someplace like Tom’s,” Mr. Dimitrov said with a note of disapproval. “And there are a lot of ‘heteroflexible’ boys here, which is annoying,” he added, referring to the members of the audience who didn’t identify as gay, even if their behavior might occasionally suggest otherwise.
Aha. Good on the Cubs for keeping their baser impulses at bay and moving on to delightfully droll discussions of Dunkin' Donuts, but oh you wicked gays, you naughty Wilde Boys, sprawling on summer lawns and eying each other. Tsk tsk! Wink wink. Ugh ugh.
(h/t Bennett Madison)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.