[Those of you who have been following my activities for a while know that I used to post online chats with novelists, theater people, TV actors, and the like. Well, it's time to start chatting again, and I could think of no better way to relaunch these conversations than to begin with my BFF, Mike Valentino, sum straight guy from the South. He's always thought of me as big old 'mo, and I've always referred to him as a hillbilly (after all, he was born and raised in South Carolina and recently moved to rural North Carolina), so I thought this would be the perfect way to perpetuate our stereotypes of each other.
And, yes, this chat really did happen. The following conversation took place last Saturday afternoon via an Internet chat room.]
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: What are you wearing?
MIKE VALENTINO: A leopard-print leotard and combat boots with red laces and a large plastic cross around my neck.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: That's adventurous, but it doesn't turn me on, so it's an unacceptable answer. I will simply picture you in your underwear.
MIKE VALENTINO: And you? Fishnets...? Damn! I should've said fishnets!
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: I am wearing nothing.... I am not typing with my fingers.
MIKE VALENTINO: Funny, when I type with my dick it looks like this: jkuhjif rfed fedfdujirejksdjk. Accuracy is not my strong point.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: I'm looking at the keyboard, and it seems that your cock is curved funny.
MIKE VALENTINO: It hangs to the right. One of many imperfections.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Thank you.... I'd like to talk about the rural South a bit. I mean, when I say rural South, that's not an exaggeration, right? You are in the thick of it.
MIKE VALENTINO: Right now, yes. Sum of the dialogue I've written [on my blog] might be altered or outright fabricated, but there's a lot of truth to any satire.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Have you ever been to the big city? Any big city?
MIKE VALENTINO: No. I'm from Charleston [South Carolina]. Born and raised.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Compared to where you are now, Charleston must seem like a metropolis.
MIKE VALENTINO: Hell, yes.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: What are the differences?
MIKE VALENTINO: Charleston is pretty big compared to most cities in the South.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: I assume you're now in "God's Country."
MIKE VALENTINO: More so than I ever imagined. Charleston had its religious zealots, but this place takes the cake. I actually was raised in Charleston's more outlandish holy-roller church.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Why outlandish? They accepted women into the parish?
MIKE VALENTINO: Ha. I've never seen a culture use religion to justify politics and gender issues more than here.... The church I was raised in was the biggest in the Charleston area.... But if half the population attended, the other half considered it a cult. That's just how the church was viewed.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Is there any sign of social progress anywhere in North or South Carolina?
MIKE VALENTINO: Yes.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Where?
MIKE VALENTINO: I don't want anyone to get the impression that the South is a huge shithole. Because it's not.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Wait wait wait. You're saying that the South is NOT a huge shithole?
MIKE VALENTINO: Depends on where you are. And who you're talking to. Charleston is a college town. Charleston is probably the most liberal Southern city behind New Orleans.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Yeah, but "Charleston liberal" is different from "San Francisco liberal." What's the most non-liberal thing that Charleston thinks IS liberal?
MIKE VALENTINO: Faith. I believe faith is always restrictive. So, to me, faith is never forwardly moving.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Ah. So where do all The Gays go?
MIKE VALENTINO: To Charleston. As well as the Jews and French Huguenots.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Well, the French Huguenots are not acceptable anywhere. So that's fine.... So The Gays DO have places to go?
MIKE VALENTINO: In Charleston, yes. Not in "podunk." You couldn't survive here if you were an out queer. No one would hire you.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: There must be gay bars in Charleston then. Or "a" gay bar. Or an Ikea.
MIKE VALENTINO: There are several gay bars in Charleston. Charleston is a pretty progressive city. I don't think you did all your homework.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: I come into these things unprepared. Except for the lube and box of tissues.
MIKE VALENTINO: Gag.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Have you ever been to a gay bar?
MIKE VALENTINO: I actually went to a drag show with Bekki and a few friends before we moved.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: How did you like the drag show?
MIKE VALENTINO: It was very entertaining. I actually dragged my straight friend there. He just graduated from the Citadel, a prestigious military college. He's a fireman, he hunts, very right wing.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: How did he take it?
MIKE VALENTINO: After a while, he was having more fun than anyone.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Mm-hm. I won't ask, if he won't tell.
MIKE VALENTINO: No!
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: So did you get hit on?
MIKE VALENTINO: No. There were hardly any queers there. A bunch of chicks. And of course I had my dame hangin' off my shoulder the whole night.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: I love walking through the Castro in San Francisco (the gayborhood) and watching the straight men cling on to their women for dear life.
MIKE VALENTINO: I was a little uncomfortable at times.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Mike, don't run away from your feelings!
MIKE VALENTINO: I don't have feelings. Except anger.
PRINCE GOMOLVILAS: Have you ever seen a celebrity or someone else, where you thought, "Okay, if I HAD to suck a cock, it would be his?" Don't say no because I'll know you're lying. Pick a cock, any cock.
MIKE VALENTINO: Bekki actually posed this question to me and a friend a few months back. The friend said Bob Dylan. I said a young Elvis. I respect Dylan tremendously, but sleep with him...? Elvis was a stud.
[Addendum: Check out Part 2 and Part 3.]