PHOTO: Polish gay couple, Jakub Kwiecinski and Dawid Mycek, recently produced and distributed hundreds of free rainbow-hued facemasks. And they documented their philanthropy in a YouTube video. More in this Advocate article.
This is the first in a series of Q&A episodes.
Really, we want your questions!
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Full Episode Transcript:
Mike Gerle 0:00
The moment you realized you were a gay man, you were forced onto the path of the other. So you know oppression inside and out. The calling of otherness has led you on your own hero's journey. And that journey has prepared you for greatness. You are a man answering the call to brotherhood, to conscious sex into heart centered connection. Welcome home brother.
Welcome to the April 16th 2020 episode of The girly men podcast. Today is the first time we're going to do a Q&A episode and it gives me an opportunity to introduce you to two of the four people who make GerleMen happen. So my ex has been a producer and all things marketing. Garrett McClure. Please introduce yourself.
Garrett McClure 0:57
This is Garrett McClure, part of the GerleMen team. In addition to partnering with Mike and the rest of the folks on producing the GerleMen podcast, I also am a transformational coach, consultant and advisor to mission driven businesses and entrepreneurs, leaders around the world who are trying to make the world a little bit of a better place. And I think right now in the era of the Coronavirus, and all of us being locked down, it's important more than ever, that we kind of take a step back and refocus on what's most important to us. So with that, I'm excited to be here. And thanks for having me, Mike.
Mike Gerle 1:38
And now I'll introduce our showrunner, editor, and Garret's cousin and another member of my current extended family. Lesley Schroeder. Hey, Lesley.
Lesley Schroeder 1:52
Hey, Mike. Thanks for having me.
Mike Gerle 1:56
I'm thrilled to have you here. As always, you always make us look good and sound good. So, to in addition to having since Leslie isn't one of those lesbians that has like lesbian Tourette's, it's like, Hello, hello, I'm a lesbian and whatever, I might have to mention that for her. So
Lesley Schroeder 2:16
Yes, I am a lesbian, Mike.
Mike Gerle 2:18
And that is awesome. That's actually going to be really fun today during the Q&A. We've asked Lesley to ask questions from her perspective, her and her crews perspective on why do gay men blank. So before we get into that, Lesley, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you and what are you doing on the podcast?
Lesley Schroeder 2:44
Well, I am currently living in Bellingham, Washington. as Mike said, I'm the producer showrunner editor. I mean, that's pretty much what I'm doing. I've work I've been transcribing mostly reality shows and of course, nothing is in production right now. So this is pretty much the only project I have to work on right now. And so that's what I'm doing. I'm hanging out with my two dogs and talking to my neighbors over the fence and smoking a lot of weed. And that's about it.
Mike Gerle 3:16
Yeah, thank God for weed. Thank you, Leslie. I am just so thrilled to have kept you in my life even after Garrett and I decided not to stay married, and also for the magic that you bring to the show. So...
Lesley Schroeder 3:29
Oh, stop it!
Mike Gerle 3:30
thrilled to have you here. It's true. All right. So let's get into the Q&A. But before we do that, I do want us to do a check in because I believe that knowing how you're feeling helps us make better choices. And I'm going to model that: I'm feeling frustrated. I'm feeling angry. Well, first of all, that frustration too is just like a all throughout my whole body right now that and two cups of coffee and angry that the original technical setup fell through. We're starting this an hour and a half late and I am experiencing joy for being able to create this. We've turned this concept of what we were talking about on the couch a few months ago into our first show. And with that I'm in and I'm going to pass it off to Garrett to check in.
Garrett McClure 4:31
Thanks, Mike. So deep breath, I'm feeling some anxiety. I'm feeling joy. I'm feeling gratitude, and some more anxiety so I guess I'm feeling an anxiety, Joy sandwich which is interesting. And I feel it in my... I feel it in my chest. I feel it in my stomach area. And with that I am in, passing it to Lesley.
Lesley Schroeder 5:01
Oh boy. I am feeling accomplished, that we're actually recording this, despite all of the technical problems we had, and I'm feeling it in my ears. And I'm in.
Mike Gerle 5:21
Awesome. Well, so here we go. The idea of the Q&A show is to answer questions that are submitted online or through a voice capturing service. Our first voice capturing service only works on non Apple devices, so that was a little bit of a letdown. And we're still very, very, we're new. We've only got three episodes out. So what we're going to do now is recycle some questions from the five years that I hosted a gay men's discussion group in West Hollywood, called the Tribe discussion group. And so Garrett and Lesley have a lot of those questions. Lesley has her own. And we've asked her to reach out to her lesbian crew to ask the question, Why do gay men blank?
Lesley Schroeder 6:13
They're still asking questions.
Mike Gerle 6:18
So I'm really excited. This is not scripted. And Garrett, can you take the lead on this part with the questions?
Garrett McClure 6:27
Sure. So, as Mike mentioned, I just want to encourage anybody out there listening, if you have a question, send it in. You can reach us on Facebook, you can send it to directly to Mike [email protected], any way you can get us a question, we would love to hear from you and make this an interactive discussion. So with that, I also want to echo I'm really intrigued and excited to hear what the lesbian posse wants to know about gay men. So I think this is a call and respond approach. Right? So hey, Gerle, You've done a lot of things in life. You've been creating community for a long time. Why did you start this podcast?
Mike Gerle 7:06
Because I love gay men. And I think when gay men or any other diverse, beautiful color on the rainbow gets together and shares what they have in common, magic happens. And I started this because I want to create heart centered connection between gay men. And I've spent most of my life making crotch centered connection with gay men. And I know that there is a relationship between the two that we can move our crotch based relationships into heart centered relationships. And we can do that by being conscious, by being vulnerable, by being open and that's why I'm doing it, because I believe I've learned a lot in my struggle to understand who I am and where I fit in the world over the last 55 years. And it's my duty as someone who is now in the elder territory of my life to share that with my people. And my people are a specific group. My people are gay men and anybody else who has felt like the other. That's the reason I think gay men identify so well with black women and other people who are in the other. So when I talk about my group, I do feel self conscious about that because there's a lot of a sometimes I have to defend doing something for men. The thing is, men deserve to love and be loved, and general society teaches us that we should not be vulnerable that way that we should be we should compete with each other, that we should dominate each other, that we should only respect power that comes from oppression. And I disagree with all that. So that's a long winded way for saying why I started it, it basically comes down to I love myself now and I want to share what I know so that other men can love themselves and then when we do that we all love each other and general society benefits as a result of that.
Garrett McClure 9:26
That's beautiful. Thank you. I have a follow up for the GerleMen team Lesley on the other spectrum as a lesbian as a woman and you know, our family, what, what excites you and motivates you to be part of this project?
Lesley Schroeder 9:39
I think the number one thing that interested me was the idea that I could bring my own point of view as an individual and also as a lesbian to it. I loved that Mike wanted my point of view with it. And I think that I you know, I have a lot of have varying opinions when it comes to the LGBTQ community, our differences and our similarities, but I think I think the best thing that we can do as a community is work together and sort of blend our ideas and our experiences together. Because there is a separation between all the different groups. And I like the idea of Mike having a conversation about toxic masculinity and me as a female going, let me tell you what I think. I think that it is important to have these different points of view when when talking about anything, culturally like this. And so that's what I was really interested in was to see how our different ideas could blend and to at least just have a female voice led to this project.
Garrett McClure 10:45
I've another question. Hey, Gerle, when it comes to Q&A episodes, is there anything that's off the table?
Mike Gerle 10:52
Absolutely not. What I will limit is feeding speculative drama on things that we do not know about. And I will limit my conversations if they I will not stoke fear. I will stoke curiosity and interest. What this podcast is about is insane that we are here to understand each other We are not here to agree. So, I any question that is put to me because they want to understand how I feel, that's great if the question is put to me because you need me to agree with your point of view, then it's going to be a problematic situation. So, yeah, I will answer a question about anything about me personally, or anything else about life
Garrett McClure 11:47
Hey, Gerle, what do you think the impact of this social isolation or physical distancing due to the Coronavirus is going to have on the LGBT community? Do you think There's going to be a big wave of a big impact on gay cruises, dancing events, prides, you know, as you know, here in West Hollywood pride has been canceled or likely looking at having Halloween canceled. We can't get together in large groups, which is kind of what we do as a people, whether we're marching for our rights or dancing in the streets for in a parade. I'm curious to your thoughts on that?
Mike Gerle 12:23
Well, it's an interesting question, because I, I don't want to change the question, but I often have a different viewpoint than some other queer people about assimilation. And for those who are really looking for assimilation, welcome to assimilation. We're all the same now. We're all stuck where we are and we are not participating in our culture, our sexual culture, the way we were before Corona, and that kind of sucks. What I'm getting to with that is that I believe a lot of our culture is based around sex and our sexuality. And a lot of assimilationist want to discount that and say that that is not that that's not relevant to who we are as a people. But if, you know, when we describe a gay man you're describing the person he has sex with, when you're describing a lesbian woman, you're describing the people that she has sex with. So sex is a big part of our culturalization. And my big answer to that is, I don't know, and the don't knowing is where most of my anxiety comes from. With a lot of this. I have a lot of hope. I have a lot of optimism for the future. But that's the general optimism. I'm hoping that we come out of this with better healthcare. I'm hoping that we come out of this with better Education. I'm hoping that we get out of this with people understanding the need for basic housing for everybody. But what does that have to do with the LGBTQ community? I do not know.
Garrett McClure 14:14
Let me ask a clarifying question. What is the importance of having social space? What is what have we lost when we can't come together?
Mike Gerle 14:25
We've lost being able to see each other. You know, for me to be able to see another gay man is important for me to understand myself and me being seen by other gay men by peers is important for me, it's important for my dignity, it's important for my self worth.
Lesley Schroeder 14:47
So this is kind of interesting, because when I left West Hollywood and I moved to Portland, I lost a huge group of gay friends. And I never really restored that when I moved to Portland. I had No gay friends, at all, for three years that I live there. And then I moved to Bellingham, and I have no gay friends here. I have essentially lived a non gay life, kind of how we're all sort of doing right now. And it wasn't until I got into a little group chat with lesbians, that I was like, Oh, yeah, I'm gay. I was always gay. I never stopped being gay. But I was not actively gay, if that makes sense. I was sort of like the gay was dormant in me or something. And having done that, almost not necessarily voluntarily, but but not because of a pandemic is just sort of something that happened in my life. I did feel like I'd lost something. And when I got it back, I finally realized what I had lost. And I don't know if that's gonna happen to people, because we're all stuck by ourselves. I mean, we still have that communication now, and I think that's what's going to be really important, I think for many, many years. aspects of many, many people's lives but for the LGBTQ community in particular, sort of maintaining our community through whatever means we have to be creative with now.
Garrett McClure 16:10
So Leslie, I really love your insight on that. And your your point of view, one of the things that I've noticed in talking to lots of other men and women on in zoom rooms, to this time has been a kind of an emergence of what really matters, and kind of a shaking out of what's most important. Do you feel like that's kind of a process you're going through of realizing what is really important in your life and kind of what gives you energy?
Lesley Schroeder 16:40
Oh, certainly. I think you can't go through this without not experiencing that. I think I think everybody is, or at least, you know, sane, normal people are. I mean, there is a desire to contact people I haven't talked to in years. It's I think it's just that human connection. That is the most important thing. Right now,
Mike Gerle 17:01
I did want to address this specifically the thing is, I don't know, I only know what's happening. And my COVID coven, which includes you, Garrett, my boyfriend and your roommate and the two zoom, regular zoom calls that I have, I have one with the Mankind Project with my what's called an eye group, my integration group in the Mankind Project. And then I have one with just my regular chosen gay male family, and we meet and the family group hug that we're calling it through that group I have, the way things have changed for me is I think that we have gone from talking about 82% of our conversation being about sex, to 20% of our conversations being around sex, and I've been able to get to know people like Aaron Allen completely different. Aaron somebody I met through a sexual encounter, and we we talk about sex a lot. We talked about all the sex that we're having with with other people and stuff, and that whole playground and I have seen a whole new part of him that I, you know, I really appreciate what he does professionally as a therapist, I appreciate how he is empathic and connects to people when they're emotionally vulnerable and sensitive. And that's something I never saw before this. And that's what's happening in my own life. I don't know what, as a general community, I don't have a clue about what's going to happen. So
Garrett McClure 18:44
Hey, Gerle, how are you managing the tight living quarters, now that you're home, you and your boyfriend are both at home, working together, living together, and like a six or 700 square foot condo?
Mike Gerle 18:56
it's challenging. My boyfriend and I get along really, really well. And we like being close to each other and touching each other. And, you know, two or two and a half, three years into this, it's just that, Oh, this is a honeymoon that will never end. Well. COVID has, we found the end of the honeymoon on that it's, you know, we haven't had to have sit down and like really talk about anything that's going on. But it is hard to be around each other. When there's only one door, I mean, there's a bathroom door, and there's a door to the bedroom. So when both of us are on a call, we have to decide whether we're in the living room or whether we're in the bedroom. And sometimes we're both on calls. And we're cooking every meal at home. And it's a very small kitchen. And so we need to coordinate in there. And it's tough, but the way I look at it is every time I get a charge, I realized that I'm mad and that the next decision I make is probably going to be what I'm going to regret. So I just don't express my feelings in that moment. And I think how can I dance with this man? And that's how I get around it.
Garrett McClure 20:09
Well, that's that's a really great advice. I love the analogy of it's a dance. And I'm wondering if you might have some more advice for those of us who who don't have your skills and experience. So for those, those of you who don't know, Mike Gerle was international Mr. Leather in 2007 as a big protocol fetish, and loves to have lots of rules and actually, you know, relationships by contract. So I'm wondering if you have any tips or advice for those of us who don't have those kinds of structures in our life? Are there are there any things we might be able to employ with our roommates, with our in our living situations as we kind of navigate these tight quarters?
Mike Gerle 20:49
Yes, the advice I would have is, I would refer to something I did in the BAM courage to feel your feelings episode. And that is to really be clear about whether you are currently above the line or currently below the line. Meaning: Are you coming from love? Are you coming from fear right now? and if you're coming from fear, anger, jealousy, all of that from fear, it's a bad time to make a decision. It's a bad time to share my thoughts with my whoever is I am usually projecting onto them that it's they're the reason I'm having an unpleasant feeling and I need to pause and write it out. I've done that recently. I went a whole day on pause. And at the end of the day, I was glad that I stayed on pause because by the time I started making dinner with my partner, I was beyond that and I was able to say I've been in a bad mood all day I was able to tell him that I'm in a really bad mood all day, I don't know what's going on. But I'll talk about it later. And when I was able to feel it pass. And this is what I need to do, and this is my advice for everybody else. Get real with your feelings. And if you're feeling a charge, it's probably a good idea to wait until you're a little more receptive and curious. And then if you have something to sort out whether it's the protocol for taking out the garbage, or the protocol for cleaning, the thing we make our protein shakes with or whatever, how often you know how the how we're using toilet paper in the bathroom. It's always better to wait until you're above the line in a place of curiosity and love and learning.
Garrett McClure 22:39
I love that advice how to notice echo from my own life that we can just take a breath and take a pause. I realized that it's I'm never really unhappy about who did or did not take out the trash who did or did not take out the recycling bin. Who did or did not leave a dirty fork in the kitchen sink. It's I Find that I'm I'm nervous, anxious or afraid of the other things in my life, right? And so when you can just not projected that fear and anxiety onto somebody whom you're living with that's that's not going to go away for a long time. You can be a much better long term solution. So I just want to echo that that's advice has been working for me as well. So I hope other people can implement that in their in their COVID coven.
Lesley Schroeder 23:26
Hey Gerle, what would you say to people who do not have a COVID Kevin, they're alone, completely living alone, and don't know when they're going to get a hug ever again?
Mike Gerle 23:40
My advice is to find your COVID coven partner. I'm wondering if we're getting some COVID boyfriends out there right now. I mean, this what I mean by that is someone that you are able to have an open discussion with about being able to be with each other and you know in my my own, I've decided, Mike Gerle has decided that COVID Kevin can be as big as any biological family. So that's it, two to six people. You know, I think the Mormons and the Catholics might be a little too big for this. I don't think eight or 12 people is a good coven size, but six or less is good and what I mean by that is that's the only six people that you're interacting with in our COVID coven it's four people and if you are a single man and you are isolating at home, I think that is the time to reach out and it's a I'm sure a very hard, very elevated conversation that doesn't usually go well on Grindr or Scruff or wherever guys normally hook up, but it's like just put it out there, I'm looking for one man to have sex with, to be with or two people, you know for the rest of this issue and make that pack with somebody else and get some.
Garrett McClure 25:06
I just want I want to put this out there too that I, to me, it doesn't just have to be about sex. Like I would just love somebody that could come over and watch TV and cuddle with me. I would love somebody that could come over, and I'm lucky. I'm lucky. I have a COVID coven. Right. I have Mike and Dennis and my roommate, Steven, and we can do those things. But to your question, Leslie, this is week it's week five. And I do I want to echo what Mike is saying that if you've been isolated for at least 14 days, and you can rust that somebody else has also done the same. I think we're going to start seeing people having these conversations and negotiating. I'm your person, right? You're my person that can come over and play a board game and have dinner and you have a hug because it's really hard. It's very hard to not have Touch with another human being. We're built. We're built to touch each other.
Mike Gerle 26:04
I agree. And when I when I said get some, I can see that. Yeah, I bet I mean,
Lesley Schroeder 26:08
When the lesbian asked about a hug and you start talking about sex again, yeah. Weird.
Mike Gerle 26:16
What I mean by getting some I am getting there I turned 55 on Monday. I'm much I'm getting to a point where hugs are starting to compete with actual sex.
Lesley Schroeder 26:27
I'm definitely at that point, yeah,
Mike Gerle 26:29
Yeah. Yeah, sex is a lot of work. And a hug is the talk about that's when your heart is closest to somebody else's heart. That's good. Does that answer your your question?
Lesley Schroeder 26:42
It does. I think that, um, you know, we're still trying to navigate our mentality with all of this and the idea that it's like, oh, yeah, why don't I just find a few people and just go Okay. Let's just stick together. I mean, the closest friends that I have in town One as a nurse, and so that's a bad idea. Yeah, I guess I'll have to find some new people. But no, I think that that might be the way it's good because this is gonna go on longer and longer and even with openings and then closings and you know, stops and starts, I think that that is going to happen. It wasn't like there was an expiration date on finding your COVID covens like, Oh, we didn't find your persons too late now.
Garrett McClure 27:26
And I think it's worth we're stating as a disclaimer, that everybody needs to follow the advice of your local government, your mayor, your governor, your city official, and make the best decisions you can for your own health and your own sanity. By no means are what I be saying. Don't follow the public health guidelines, but at the same time when you're supposed to be keeping in your household, to your household. And so I think what we're really talking about here is an expansion of your household without being reckless and endangering larger society.
Mike Gerle 28:04
Yes. And I think that what I have going on here with Garrett and his roommate and my boyfriend is this is lovely like this morning, you know, I, I put on my gear, I go down to the garage, I put on my motorcycle helmet and ride across town and come up into this condo on the other side of town. And I'm perfectly fine with that. I don't think I'm putting anybody at risk of catching anything for me. I don't think vice versa is happening. And we're keeping we're keeping our what do you call them? particles or droplets? Yeah, we're keeping our droplets within each other's space and not putting them
Garrett McClure 28:50
I just want to go on the record here and say it was the lesbian turned this
Lesley Schroeder 28:57
you never know what's gonna happen.
Mike Gerle 29:00
Okay, next question.
Garrett McClure 29:02
In this time of, I guess, right now we're in we're in week five, I think of the COVID-19 Coronavirus lockdown here in California. And so my question to you, Mike is hey Gerle, why are gay men still on Scruff and Grindr if we aren't allowed?
Mike Gerle 29:21
Ah, excellent question. And I would say the reason that we are is because we love dick. I mean, the truth is we love having sex with other men. That's what being a gay man means. It's that we like to have sex with other men and men in general, love to have sex period, regardless of their sexual orientation. So it it makes sense that men are still on the hookup apps. still wanting to get laid, even though it's life threatening. We went through this with AIDS. And eventually we learned exactly what the threats were and exactly how to mitigate them. And we risked our lives to engage that way to have that to have sex. And so the question is, why would we risk our lives to have AIDS? Why would we risk Why would we flirt on a hookup app, which may just get us so horny that we end up hooking up? And the answer to that is because we have this urge to merge, we have you know, it's my I believe that we all came from the same energy before we were born before we were manifest in this current shape. We were all one and intimate and together and we were feeling that love and sex is a way to reach that transcendent space where we have that true connection. And I think the reason that guys are still on those apps is sure it's to get off and, and, and be horny, but it's because sex very often leads us to connection to real heart centered spiritual connection and men still are seeking that. And I would say that's why they're on the apps. That answers your question?
Garrett McClure 31:31
Yeah, thanks. I actually I answered that question a lot for myself as well. Being a single gay man. Right now. It's been. It's been hard, very hard, right? Very hard over the last few weeks to, to reconcile urges and depression and sadness and grief with with our basic biology and I'll just echo what you said that I've come to the realization and understanding that sex as a manifestation of our, our need to connect with one another, it's at its base core. It's how we, it's how we connect to our humanity. Of course there's sex for sport. There are there always will be, but at a deeper level and right now, I feel like there's so much there's such a need to connect to that in any way. Okay.
Mike Gerle 32:26
Well, I really want to say, Can I
Just, I mean, you're having a real feeling right now. If that's the way I'm thinking, I mean, what's really going on? Garrett. Um.
Garrett McClure 32:38
to tell you the truth. I actually I deleted scruff and Grindr from my phone over the weekend. Because as you I think you mentioned in your original response to this, Mike, is that while we're really lonely, and we're isolated and there's sadness and grief, and it causes all kinds of emotions, it's just it's almost too tempting to get on there and start even you're even using it for at least for me personally, to use it as a way to stay connected and to build relationships. It just became too much of a distraction and too much of a temptation. And I, I like to think that I am worth staying healthy. I'm worth I'm worth not being a statistic in this pandemic. But I'll also say that we're in week five, and there's no end in sight. And even when restrictions do start to get lifted, that doesn't mean that the virus isn't out there. So I really am looking to men like you. And I think this might be an further down the line another Hey, Gerle question is how do we start to navigate the risks and the rewards as we break this isolation? Because I can't imagine not being with another man. Going to dinner. Doing something social, having a game night, let alone hooking up for the next three months. I just don't see how all of us,
Mike Gerle 34:08
I just want you to know that my heart really goes out to you and the other single gay men. I know, too, that I have a weekly chat with a who are also really, really feeling it right now. And I just want to honor, honor that sense of loss. I don't even know how to describe it. You know, it's hard to even describe sitting in the middle of West Hollywood, not being able to have sex. So sex is really a glorious, wonderful thing for me. And I believe it is for a lot of us and my heart really goes out to you for being forced into this isolation right now. So I just want to bless your absence connection in that way.
Garrett McClure 35:00
Thanks. Actually, I'm really curious to know what the lesbian contingent has to like what kind of questions you guys have, because there's, we're forced into this weird predicament where we really have to examine this. And I think it's worth noting this, when we had the idea for this show it was to create a transparent, intimate, you know, view into relationships and sex and connection and how can we help men experiencing greater happiness and abundance and anybody that's the other, right? Anybody that it feels like you're on the outside and now this heat is humanity, the first of our humanities kind of shut down. So I yield the floor to the non contingent.
Well, it's interesting because I have follow up questions and comments from my lesbian sisters. That goes along with your original question Garrett, and also Mike's answer. And look, this could be a five hour Q&A because I think we all know that the differences between lesbians and gay men and their mentality toward everything is fast. We're very, very different. We're on the two separate ends of the spectrum of human experience. As far as you know, it pretty much goes gay men, straight women, straight men, lesbians, we are on opposite ends of the spectrum, as...
Lesley Schroeder 35:50
Yes! and thank you, Lesley, thank you, I thank you for acknowledging that we're different. And if we celebrate diversity, we need to point out that we actually are different and that means I can learn from you, because we don't come from the same place. So carry on.
Well, and I think that's what's really interesting is that we are polar opposites. And yet, because we're both gay, we're in the same boat as far as a lot of our experiences and so we have this sort of camaraderie with each other. And at the same time, we sort of hate each other. Because we don't understand each other, we could not be more different.
Mike Gerle 37:10
Lesley Schroeder 37:11
And so it's really interesting. And so, you know, listening to you talk about how you personally, Mike Gerle view sacks, and it being, you know, the ultimate way of connecting, and I think that's lovely. You sort of, as an aside, either you or Gareth said as an aside, of course, they're sex per sport, but I feel like that's a huge part of it. Like I feel like there are fewer gay, and this is a wild generalization. But I feel like there are fewer gay men who are as in tuned with the energy of the world and whatever and like, Oh, this is what this means and more like I need to bust a nut now. I need to hook up with some dude and get off and get out. And this is based on My own observations live in West Hollywood, hanging out with enough gay men, that that is their primary goal. And it's not about I can't wait to make these heart centered connections with that cute guy over there. That is not what they're thinking about. They're thinking with their weaner, and they want to get off. And that's fine. Like that is absolutely fine. Do what you do. One of my friends had mentioned today she said, you know, it doesn't affect me one way or another how much sex gay men are having with each other. As lesbians, it means nothing to us at all. But we are we are so curious to understand why it's so you know, during the AIDS crisis, it was still so important to have sex during COVID it's still so important to have sex and it's like guys, it's only been five weeks. Like I know I'm a lesbian, and I I am a female and I can go longer without sex than men can, for some reason, but it's only been five weeks. And I guess I don't understand if it's if it's just a male thing, not a gay male thing, but a male thing. The obsession with sex, the need to have it all the time with as many different people as possible, especially when it's not a biological procreation thing. You're not trying to spread your seed for procreative purposes. And so I'm just wondering, in a less spiritual way to sort of address maybe the average Joe, who is, you know, thinking about sex 24/7 and wants to have it all the time, no matter what is happening in the world apocalypse? Nope. Still still need to stick it in something. Why is that? Do you think?
Mike Gerle 39:53
So, could you form that in a Hey, Gerle question?
Lesley Schroeder 39:56
Hey, Gerle, why are men... Why are gay men obsessed with sex?
Mike Gerle 39:59
Well, I think you touched on it in the what you're talking about, it's because they're men. I think all men are obsessed with sex. And I think it's just a biological part of our biological makeup. And even though we're gay man and us sticking it in as many places as possible with other men isn't going to create more people on the planet. It's it's also you know, it's still a residual piece of being a man. So why is that? It's because my my hormones just crave it. I don't know. It's like, why do I crave Lay's potato chips and Oreo cookies at nine o'clock at night? It's because...
Lesley Schroeder 40:49
and I don't want to interrupt but I'm going to
Mike Gerle 40:52
Lesley Schroeder 40:53
You say you know, I understand hormonal cravings as a female but if the city said if you eat Oreos at nine o'clock at night you could die. Would you stop eating Oreos and just be able to live your life without that craving that you can't satisfy, you know, not exploding your brain.
Garrett McClure 41:15
So I'd like to hop in there because 50% of the population is overweight and risking death and we're actually seeing that right now with the Coronavirus where most of the people who are dying have an underlying health condition have diabetes, or some other condition that is preventable, but the different lifestyle. So I think there's a lot of assumptions being made around around is this is this necessary and I kind of I kind of want to bring it back to the point that we are sexual creatures and sex, whether it's a gay man or any human being human beings base creation, the way we create more more life is through sex procreation. And so sex is a very creative act.
Lesley Schroeder 42:09
It's the way I do it.
Garrett McClure 42:17
So I think, when I think about this question around sexual the need to connect, it's extremely creative. It's a creative energy that that drive, you know, drives us forward to do all kinds of things.
Mike Gerle 42:30
Yeah, I'd like to add to that, which is, it is that and I think, Lesley, I'm glad that you can take our heads out of the clouds for a second because I do want to respond to and I have a natural defensiveness that comes up inside of me saying, Oh, this is actually for the good. It's about us getting back to our spiritual origin and all that. And I do believe that, but people have sex and people eat Oreos. for all kinds of reasons, and it can lead to a bad thing people can have too much sex, sex can be a distraction, sex can be a way to just avoid your feelings. It can be a way to avoid intimacy, it can become a game of... a status game of like, you know, I've had sex with, you know, this many hot people. So that makes me a more status II person since I've had sex with these staticy guys, those are reasons to have sex when there's when there's no COVID. You know, there's, in addition to elevated reasons for having sex, there's a lot of base and destructive reasons people have sex. And the difference between men and women particularly, I've just witnessed it, I mean, having you know, I worked at West Hollywood city hall for 23 years and the last seven years, I worked, most of the people in my direct contact were lesbians. And I got a great insight into their lives. And I just saw that sex just was not important to them the way it was to guys, you know, the guys were like constantly talking about this weekend I did this and this weekend I did that. And have you seen the new guy they hired in planning and blah, blah, blah. And the women were never talking that way?
Lesley Schroeder 44:24
Well, you know, I will say absolutely. When it comes to males and females, sex is much more, I guess, prominently featured in the male brain than it is in the female brain. But I have found you know, when I'm with my lesbians, we talk about boobs a lot.
Mike Gerle 44:45
Oh, I know you do and that's, that's one of your favorites. We know that
Lesley Schroeder 44:49
I heart boobs you guys know this about me?
Mike Gerle 44:52
Yes. That's a mystery to me. I have to let you. I have to tell you. I don't get it. I know a lot of gay guys like to get their face in there. I just I always
Lesley Schroeder 45:01
Well, that's what I don't understand you make more sense to me then the the gay male obsession with boobs. I'm like, I do not get like no lesbian likes balls. I don't understand it. I do not understand it. And I don't want to speak for all lesbians. But I feel comfortable making that statement. No, but I, you know, I have found, you know, when I'm hanging out with my lesbians, we have a tendency to talk to like 17 year old boys sometimes. There's obviously a different level of respect. I think that is just inherent because we're women talking about women, but kind of nasty. And I think that it's just a difference in I'm not going to talk like that necessarily around people who aren't my lesbian friends. And so I think that how we present our interests in sex is different. But I mean, I'm very, very sex positive. I'm a big fan of sex. I think most people are I think it's just how we go about it, the number of partners we're interested in having, and that sort of thing.
Mike Gerle 46:07
I think it's just that we're very, very different. And we just fascinate each other that way. I'm just fascinated. I could just ask the same the question in reverse. How is it you can go so long without having sex with someone and still just be okay?
Lesley Schroeder 46:20
I think it's because we get that physical connection with other women all the time. There was never a cutoff age, when it became socially acceptable for females to hold hands or cuddle or play with each other's hair. I think gay and straight men crave that physical intimacy because at a very young age, they were forced to stop. I have protonic physical intimacy with my female friends, and I always have, I'm socially allowed to have my female friends as long as I want to, whereas men can't hug other men without doing some kind of bro slap on the back. So personally, I don't think women need to have sex with so many different people because we have that physical intimacy fulfilled in different ways by many different women. Also, I think we've gotten really good at masturbating.
Garrett McClure 47:16
to the GerleMen audience that can not take that as a question. I feel like we've opened a piano word out here. And I can't wait. I can't wait to hear people flooded with their questions and opinions. This is a Yeah, definitely a very topic we could talk about for the rest of our podcast.
Lesley Schroeder 47:35
There is a very good chance that when I sit down to edit this, I'm gonna be like, that's bonkers.
Mike Gerle 47:40
Yeah, cut the whole thing and not that I'm like, really, not that I don't want to talk about lesbian masturbation. I think there we can move on to another. Another question.
Garrett McClure 47:52
Hey, girlie, during this time, you talk a lot about curiosity versus fear. What advice do you have for those of us who find ourselves challenged, to stay out of fear out of anxiety for watching the news, we don't know what's going to happen. We don't know if we're going to get a stimulus check or what what's going to happen with our finances? What advice do you have for us to kind of transition from fear into curiosity?
Mike Gerle 48:20
That's a very important question. I think it's primary to our happiness. And first of all, we need to feel our feelings. Have the courage to feel your feelings. Understand that you have fear, and that expressing your fear to someone else who deserves your trust is is is key to getting past that. What I found useful for me is being very conscious of my information intake. I've gone through Instagram and I'm only following people who elevate me just because the guy is posts a bunch of hot hot pictures don't post those because I don't I don't follow him on the regular because it makes me feel like why don't I look like a 28 year old fitness model? And that goes with the news too. I allow myself the nightly news at six o'clock. And that is it. That's my advice. I you know, it's it's: Be conscious about what you're feeding, because what you feed will grow.
Garrett McClure 49:25
Hey, thanks. Thanks, Mike. I really appreciate that guidance and insight. One thing that has really helped me is this idea when I find myself stuck in a corner, or in a worry cycle, I try to ask myself, could the exact opposite of what I'm feeling or thinking right now be true? And sometimes that can help me break the fear, but break you break the cycle?
Mike Gerle 49:48
And I had a really long esoteric answer. I think one of the best advices I ever got was when I went to I went to a 12 step program and they said said hold on to your seat. And they're like, No, no, no, put your hand on your seat and feel it under you and feel the carpet under your feet. You're okay, right now, right now you're okay. Feel your seat under you and look around the room. And that's true almost all of the time for us. You know, we live in the future or in the past, when I live in the future, when I live in the past, I usually end up in pain. If I focus right now on what's going on now, I am healthy, and I'm secure and I'm fed, and there are people that I can call who will love me back. That's a fact. And then I can start obsessing about all these other things. You know, the government, the virus, my love life, my age, I retirement check, you know, but right now, I'm healthy. And, you know, at the moment, I'm talking with two people that I love. That's amazing.
Garrett McClure 51:00
That's beautiful. I think that's some, I think we could all use a little bit of that in our life right now, just to take a deep breath and realize that right now where I'm at, if that's true for you, you're okay.
Lesley Schroeder 51:13
I think that that I think something like that is going to be hard for people to do though because everybody's looking to the future because I think everybody hates where they are right now. And I think it's very important to find the calm and the president even if it's not entirely where you want to be right now.
Mike Gerle 51:30
Or you know what I do with this whole COVID thing is a little trick I'm playing now it's like, what am I gonna miss when this is over? You know what I'm going to miss. I'm going to miss that fresh air. I smelt under you know, coming under the face mask of my helmet coming over here this morning. I'm going to miss the open, wide open La Cienega Boulevard streets. I'm going to miss the the volume of the birds tweeting. Outside on orange drive in in Hollywood. There's a lot of beauty happening right now that's going to not exist. And I enjoy not being as busy as I used to be. I think it's really interesting to me that before all this happened, everybody's wearing this badge of like, I'm so busy. I'm so busy. Oh, I just oh my god, I'm so busy with that. That sucks. I'm so busy and now everybody's like, oh, there's nothing to do. It sucks. I got nothing to do. It's terrible. So what is it people?
Garrett McClure 52:31
That sounds like it sounds like an American to me.
Lesley Schroeder 52:33
That's very American. Yes. Okay. Hey, Gerle.
Mike Gerle 52:38
Lesley Schroeder 52:39
It always seems like the more stereotypical gay man is the smaller the dog he owns. Explain. Hard living questions.
Mike Gerle 53:00
Lesley, Garrett, thank you so much. You've made this first episode. Lovely for me. This is really great. It's great to be doing this with my family.
Lesley Schroeder 53:14
Garrett McClure 53:15
It's our pleasure.
Mike Gerle 53:16
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