We Need Your Stories!

4 12 2008

bottom_monologues

Hey guys! I’m Trevor — one of the three organizers of “The Bottom Monologues,” and I’m thrilled to see this project in motion. “The Bottom Monologues” is first and foremost about cutting through all that bullshit stigma that plagues queer communities about taking it in the butt. We’re bottoms, and we’re proud of it thank-you-very-much! It’s kind of like the “Vagina Monologues,” with a few obvious differences :)

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we can get this thing on stage, we need to hear from YOU! Yes, that’s right, I said you. Not a bottom? That’s cool. You probably still have a few ideas that you’d like to share about bottoms or getting fucked. So let me explain this process a bit:

I. First, we’re collecting *your* stories about *your* lives as a bottoms, tops, versatiles, or none-of-the-above. We’ve developed this lovely online questionnaire for your fill out that asks some pretty broad questions about bottoms: what is a bottom, what’s great sex as a bottom, what’s different between tops and bottoms — that sort of thing! I think it’s a pretty fun exercise, since most of us really don’t get to talk about bottomming out in the open. Which is exactly what this project is all about!

II. We’ll collect all those amazing and fabulous stories and look for consistencies across them. What’s similar in the stories we get? Is there a particular narrative that pops up in many of your stories? And of course, we’ll also be looking for stories that stand out from those similarities and challenge the those common themes.

III. Once we’ve had a chance to pour over the data, we’ll do our best to distill the stories into “composite characters” — our best effort to boil down dozens of stories into one. These will be the products that will be shown on stage in the “Bottom Monologues,” an expression of the diversity and richness of bottoms’ lived experiences. You may not see the word-for-word account of your fabulous experiences in the final product, but you can be assured that it has had an impact on the stories we’ll tell on stage.

I hope you join in on this amazing project. Help us bring the “Bottom Monologues” to life. It will be fabulous. You can have a hand in making our vision happen. Join us! Tell us your story today!


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10 responses

10 12 2008
Searle

Ok. Cute idea.
But let me say here, since youre comparing this to The vagina Monologues:

1. The word ‘Vagina’ doesnt make anyone giggle…it makes them feel generally awkward, threatened, scared. Which was the point of calling it ‘The Vagina Monologues’. The word ‘Bottom’ is not its equivalent. Why do you think Buzz Feed linked here? Because Its funny! ‘Gay & Lesbian’ is still closer to ‘vagina’ in reaction among most people.
2. We have enough trouble being accepted as gays, let alone wanting to get married, to get into the nuances of the ‘diversity and richness of bottoms’ lived experiences’ and take it as seriously as ‘vagina monologues’ was taken.

Why cant we think of collecting human, humourous, truth-of-life filled stories about gays among families work and friends, their difficulties, tragedies, friendships, loneliness, achievements and joys?
You know, get people to see that we’re in their midst, and just people, not ‘other’.

You’d have much broader audience for those stories…and every gay person has one to share.

Seems to me the only audience for the ‘Bottom Monologues’ is going to be frat boys and bored/sentimental gay men looking for a diversion. But if thats ok with you, thats also cool, i guess. Or maybe i just got it wrong (which is totally possible)

cheers, and wishing you all the best,
S.

11 12 2008
elibey

Hey! Thanks for the response. I think Trevor responded to a number of the points raised in your comment in his subsequent blog post entitled “Why ‘Bottom’”….but I do think a question about “who is the audience?” is worth asking and answering.

The initial events that sparked this project all occurred at the most recent National Gay Men’s Health Summit. All three of us involved in organizing are gay/queer men and advocates/activists for queer men’s health. So I don’t think it was ever really our intention that this project would be about educating the mainstream world about the queer community. (That is certainly a worthwhile idea, but it was not ours.) This project isn’t even intended to educate the world about bottoming.

Trevor and Alex can certainly correct me if I’m mis-speaking on their behalf….but I think our original vision was that this would be a project that is largely BY queer men, ABOUT queer men and FOR queer men (or at least for queer community members, regardless of gender).

I disagree, as Trevor also states in his blog, that “bottom” is something that people merely giggle about. I think the act of bottoming, and the resultant identity associated with it, is something into which is woven a very complex dynamic that includes (although not exclusively) issues like power, shame, stigma, intimacy and risk. Based on my experiences, both professionally and personally, actually engaging in some of these conversations—many queer men out there are hungry for an opportunity to explore these issues….and it is in that desire that our project finds its inspiration!

—Erik

20 12 2008
Marianna

Hello,
Just wanted to say congratulations on such a cool and important initiative.
Marianna

27 12 2008
toddyenglish

I love this idea! I’d love to submit my own story for the bottom monologues. lol. Hopefully this makes it to youtube as I don’t reside in the area they will be taking place.

2 01 2009
Robert

Well, I filled out your survey. Sorry, I didn’t go much into details. Maybe, if it is alright with you guys, I’ll submit another more detailed survey later. I actually have a lot more to say than what I indicated when I submitted my survey to you.

I actually agree that there is plenty of stigma in saying you are a bottom. Or even being a bottom and not saying. Too many men associate a bottom with someone who wants to be lorded over and dominated. Like “oh he let me fuck him, so now he’ll wait on me hand and foot and do everything I say.”

I also note how the word slut tends to get thrown around a lot at bottoms. It’s not much different than the sexist use of the term slut among heterosexuals. Only the one who gets penetrated can ever be deemed a slut or a whore. But a guy who tops, no matter if he has as much sex as the bottom he’s calling a slut or a whore, or even more sex than the guy he calls a whore, he never sees himself as a slut because he’s the top. Just like in the heterosexual world, only the woman can be a slut. Or at least, if slut is used to refer to a man, it’s a badge of honor and not of scorn. I think this line of thinking is what I think of as heterosexualizing the gay paradigm, borrowing sexist sentiments from heterosexual society and applying them to the gay world.

11 01 2009
trashygourmet

So… no lesbians allowed?

24 02 2009
Bears are Fat

Hi –

Who owns the content that is submitted?

Is this work part of Trevor’s research at University of Michigan? If so, has his University IRB reviewed this project?

25 02 2009
bottommonologues

Hey Bear –

It’s not part of my UM research — that’s a totally separate project that’s already been written up and is almost ready for publication. So rest assured that the data collected here has no bearing on that work. As such, IRB approval isn’t necessary since it is a theatrical project, not a project for publication.

As far as ownership, I’d say that by submitting work, you’re giving us license to use what you submit. We’re looking for personal narratives here, and less actual prepared monologues for the stage. So please feel free to submit something more prepared, but do know that we: 1) may not use it; 2) may edit it; 3) may take artistic liberties with the story — that is to say, if your submission jives with another few stories, we may combine them into one monologue that resembles but is not identical to your submission.

But by submitting, I don’t think you’re giving up ownership — just giving us license to use it at our will.

Hope that helps clarify!

Trevor

1 03 2009
Bears Are Fat

You might want to make that explicit (the licensing or ownership issues) in the online submission form. Shouldn’t there be a box that the writer of the monologue clicks indicating that s/he is agreeing to these terms? (Maybe there’s one there, but I can’t find it.)

Still, it’s a great idea for a project. I love bottoms.

More questions:

If the show you produce makes a lot of a money, who gets the money?

Also: Trevor, I don’t follow your blog or anything, so I’m wondering: are you a bottom?

3 03 2009
bottommonologues

I guess we could make it more explicit — but honestly, this is more a social science-y survey of experience than a call for formal submissions. So it’s not quite the same thing… I guess I just sense that you’re misinterpreting what we’re up to here with this submission form.

The play will be free to use by anyone who wants to. So I suppose other organizations could use the play to make money for themselves. To be quite honest, the idea of money-making is so far-fetched at this point that we haven’t thought that far ahead.

I’m a bottom, yes. Why do you ask?

Trevor

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