Journalist Harris (The Rise and Fall of Gay Culture, 1997) dons the drag, turning the hermetic Daniel—bookish, reserved, aging—into the cyber-whore Denial.
Talk about taking your midlife crisis seriously. Harris is not a transvestite or a cross-dresser, just “a shameless opportunist indulging in a fantasy rampant among gay men”: that straight men are sexier than gay men—more robust, more macho—and that they make ideal mates. “When one is taught from birth that gay men are morally reprehensible, diseased pariahs, child molesters, one may not want to select one’s Prince Charming from abominations of the same ilk,” he explains. Vanity is another motive. Harris realizes that he has lost his physical allure; he’s in his 40s, balding. As Denial, he has a stab at a sexual renaissance. With the help of the Internet, his method for meeting men, he’ll get all the sex he wants (and then some); along the way he’ll meet misguided nice guys, psychopaths and losers. The sexual act itself, incidentally, is “as unimportant to [him] as taking a shower.” The best material comes when this “high Solomonic priestess of the pillow” listens closely and dispenses advice to the lonely souls who have made it to his bed. He recalls one john who feels so good after their encounter that the man promises to propose to his girlfriend as soon as he gets home that night. (Harris is happy to have helped.) Throughout, he gains insights regarding sex and class (the poor are more likely to tell him gallant lies, for instance); feels the sting of being in the closet (all of cyberspace feels like a closet); and learns a lot about himself (being a woman brought out the man in him).
Harris goes where few men have gone before in this graphic, candid tell-all.