Friday, 2 September 2011

We're Both Straight, Right? by Jamie Fessenden

Zack and Larry have been best friends since middle school and are now college roommates. But when Larry hears that other guys they know are getting paid to have gay sex on camera, he convinces Zack that they could pick up some quick, easy cash by being in one of these films… together.

If Zack thinks making a gay porn film with his best friend is disturbing, he is absolutely horrified when Larry proposes they “rehearse” for the film so they won’t be nervous in front of the director. As the they fumble their way through a checklist of sexual positions and acts, Zack finds himself seeing Larry in an entirely new light—a very sexy new light, and possibly a romantic one, as well. But does Larry feel the same? Or is this all for easy money?

ZACK should have known something was up when he saw Larry engrossed in a conversation with Steve Marsh at the frat party. It wasn‘t that Steve was a bad guy, really. Just that he had a reputation for being a little… well, sleazy. Zack wasn‘t even sure what he‘d done to get the rep, though he‘d heard something about fucking a dog on a drunken dare in high school. That was probably bullshit. But it still made Zack a little uncomfortable to see his best friend and roommate spending the entire party talking to this guy. 

Usually, Larry was hitting on every girl at the party. Striking out, generally. He was handsome enough, and built like an athlete, but as soon as he opened his mouth and girls realized how dorky and spastic he was, it was all over. He was lucky to get an occasional pity fuck. But he never gave up trying. Except for tonight.

When I read those first few bits, I was completely hooked by Jamie Fessenden’s voice. Crisp, cute, natural. The perfect voice for this story.

We’re Both Straight, Right? is a short story, an absorbing sixty-two pages. An easy, breezy, adorable read with two of the cutest, most endearing characters I’ve had the pleasure to meet.

Zach and Larry are college students. Best friends since childhood. Zach is the confident, cool half of the lovable duo; Larry is the other half, the one with the good looks that are negated by his dorkiness. Zach, the leader of the pair—Larry the happy, trusting follower.

Until Larry is tipped off by sleazy Steve about an easy, no-fail to make good moolah, that is: playing straight college guys getting it on in porn films. Neither Larry nor Zach have jobs, and what could possibly be a faster way to earn big bucks?

Larry explains enthusiastically to a skeptical Zach: There‘s this whole fetish market for straight guys who are willing to go down on each other. In Larry’s simple way of thinking, he reasons: Other people let themselves be filmed so guys like you and me can watch. It just seems fair that we let them watch us.

One huge bright star of this lovely tale is how Mr. Fessenden managed to develop these to men to perfection in such a short length of time—with the premier emphasis, for me anyway, on Larry.

I’m still sitting here, long after reading the story, trying to analyze HOW the author made ME fall in love with Larry, made ME almost cry at how beautiful and simple and honest Larry was, and yet masterfully kept the blinders on Zach’s eyes.

Incredible writing. Some sort of psychological voodoo, I’m sure, but I just can’t solve the puzzle yet as to how he did it. I mean, if I could see all this achingly beautiful innocence and frankness of Larry, how could Zach have possibly missed it?

Back to the story.

We’re both Straight, Right? is a big-time smile inducer. I’m still smiling. Not only is the plot comical as our precious Larry decides he and Zach need to “practice” for their star roles in the porn film, but the delivery of the story itself—with the author’s mixture of wit and poignancy—is fifty-yard-line, front-row-seat to the adventure of these two guys.

During their first ‘rehearsal’ for the parts:

Zack sighed, as though this was a hardship. But frankly, he was minding the situation less and less with each passing second.

“Okay,” he said, blatantly staring now. “I‘m looking right at your big, hard cock. Does that do it for you?” “Yeah, actually, it kind of does.” Larry was starting to breathe a bit harder and pump faster. Zack couldn‘t believe this was happening. It was completely vulgar and tacky. But the heavy-lidded, open-mouthed expression of pleasure coming across Larry‘s face was beginning to fascinate him… and turn him on.

One thing the author handled beautifully and realistically was Zach’s uneasy transition into his new feelings for his friend: Was he secretly more bigoted than he‘d thought? Or was he secretly more gay than he‘d thought? He couldn‘t deny that he was turned on by what Larry was doing. But was he really turned on by Larry‘s body? Or was he just turned on by how raunchy the situation was? He couldn‘t sort it out.

Fessenden presented Zach’s confusion with his growing feelings for his buddy with such care and openness. As a reader, I always find myself so curious about the inner workings of the mind of characters who run head-on into those brick walls of sexuality—doubting and discovery. And this marvelous story let me inside Zach’s head. I felt the confusion. I found Larry as irresistibly beautiful as he did. I opened up, let the sexual sun in just like Zach did, and felt the tinge of disappointment—for a short while—when good ol’ confident Zach found the tables turned, found his pal Larry to be the new adventurer in the partnership. Larry was the one venturing fearlessly into unmarked territory now, with Zack following tremulously behind.

The actual filming of the porn film—the technical side of it all, the behind-the-scenes procedures—is in itself interesting enough to read the book sans anything else. But throw in Larry and Zach’s first love making, which just happens to be in front of a camera crew, and it’s one of the most delightful parts of the book, worth its weight in celluloid.

Mr. Fessenden is an artist with a sexy paintbrush in painting a sex scene. The intimate scenes are sensual, arousing, perfection. They fit the story, they are tailor made for the characters. They’re real, they’re satisfying, they’re beautiful. A natural, earthy, erotic exploration of two men who slowly learn their desire for each other.

And then, the heart of the book, the developing relationship: It was insane the way Larry filled him up now, as if Zack could sustain himself on nothing more than the musky scent and taste of Larry‘s skin. To hell with food and water! He felt like an addict now, and Larry was his drug.

If you want a breath of fresh air, a helpless giddy smile brought on by the brightest, cutest, burst of sunshiniest, box-of-Crayola-happy book imaginable, you must—absolutely must—get We’re Both Straight, Right?

1 comment:

Tom said...

Sounds great! Will have to read - sounds a lot like Damon Suede's "Hot Head".