Philipson, Robert. “Very Good-Looking Seeks Same: Gay Profiles in Search of Love”, Xlibris, 2010.
Reading the Ads (For Fun and Profit)
There is something about reading the personal ads and sometimes they are very funny even though that may not be the intention Robert Philipson, a new poet, takes a look at the gay personals and reports back with humor and poetry. These are not the kinds of poem you would think to read to mom and if you use public transportation, you might want to put this into a brown paper book cover if you read on the bus or train.
I am going to say that Philipson wrote these with tongue in cheek but it makes no difference really because of the talent he shows as a poet. Using the personals as a jumping off post he takes us on a tour of this unique part of the GLBT experience. The ads are not really of long term relationships but rather for instant gratification. We get a very funny look at those who place these ads and at the people who sometimes answer them. We have a look at the entire rainbow of our subculture from the married man who wants to remain discrete to the Christian master and each of these is a story unto itself. What is so interesting is that we see the very funny become very sweet and sensitive. I can assure that it is not easy to bring such opposite emotions together.
We must ask ourselves if these men are looking for love or just sex and it takes a man who understands the situation and has the words to describe it.
We are all aware that poetry is emotion based literature and it is very difficult to combine emotion and humor. I have always felt that if we cannot laugh at ourselves then we are missing a great part of life and Philipson does this with apparent ease. The book is divided into five sections and Philipson gives us a brief preface with his poem, “The Promise” in which he puts the whole idea of personal cruising into context and sets the satiric tone that is to follow.
Part One, “Cox Populi” is made up of various men who advertise for love—the intellectual, the mover, the master, the captain, the very good looking (aren’t they all, I mean, no one advertises falsely). Part two, “Net Gains” is about those that answer the ads while Part three, “Net Losses” is about those that are losers from the get-go from the married man to the homophobe. Part four, Life on the Net” is about internet hook ups while part five “We Are Family” is a series of poems about the stereotypes we find in GLBT culture from the Snow Queen, to the Leather Queen to the pagan as well as many others
There were times that I felt as if I were laughing alone as I read but it didn’t upset me very much. I soon realized that I was actually laughing at myself. It takes a sharp poet to write poems like this and to combine lyricism with reality, imagery with reality. These two qualities in Philipson make the reader sit up and notice, especially because all of us can identify with several of the poems. For here. We have had the same experiences yet here Philipson tells us about them with poetic grace and a great deal of humor. For example:
“when some of you won’t consider guys
Who are more than 180 lbs.
or less than seven inches.”