Monday, May 12, 2008


There are a couple of little tidbits I forgot to include in the previous post. I asked:

What was I going to do: tell the Octopus to take it down a notch? Not when I'm the outsider in a group of old friends. Not when the Octopus is the ex-lover of most of the other men at the table [to the extent that he isn't "seeing" them currently]. Not when we are looking at pretty much the entire leather crowd within a 50-to 100-mile radius, which is to say, a large part of the Goat's [and now my] social network.

I meant to add was what follows from's estimate of the total population of Massachusetts:

Massachusetts ranked 13th in population in the US with an estimated total of 6,427,137 in 2002... The state's biggest city is Boston, which ranked 20th among the largest US cities with a population of 589,281 in 2002, up from an estimated 547,725 in 1994. Other large cities (with their 2002 estimated populations) are Worcester, 174,962, and Springfield, 151,915. More than two-thirds of all state residents live in the Greater Boston area, which in 1999 had an estimated metropolitan population of 5,667,225.

The plot thickens:

Metro Boston alone contains half the state's population; deduct "Greater Boston," which is more or less the Eastern third of the state minus Cape Cod, and you have a residue of some 760,000 people in the remaining two-thirds of the state. Take out Springfield and Worcester and you have only 425,000 left.

So far, so good.

Now, let's assume that 3% of that population is gay men, which is about the mean of vigorously disputed statistics. I will pass over -- for the moment -- the fact that any gay man with an ounce of self-respect is living in Boston or Provincetown, or, if possible, both. [The same is true of all Northern New England: the majority take off for Boston... our "big city."] Those who can't, for whatever reason, make it to Boston, do their damnedest to get within spitting distance of Northampton. So the percentage figure for everywhere else is bound to be lower.

But let that rest, for the moment.

Somewhat less than a third of Massachusetts' 10,555 square miles is water, but in spite of the ancient Chinese tradition of referring to "us" as "amphibians," we are going to overlook that. Two thirds of Massachusetts [Massachusetts minus "Greater Boston"] is 7,037 square miles. Now let's scatter 3% of 425,000 people over that expanse: that's 12,750 people over 7,037 square miles, or 1.8 gay men per square mile. Or some 1,137 of us within a 100-mile radius. Given the fact that 36% of those are under 18 or over 65, that leaves us a social pool of 728 -- restrict ourselves to those over 35, which seems like a good idea, at least for me, and we are probably down to something like 350 or so.

Now, how many gay men are into leather? or kink generally?

3%? 10%? For the sake of argument, let's use the wildly generous figure of 10%. We are now talking about 35 people in a 100-mile radius, or, just for the hell of it, 0.056 leathermen per square mile. The figures in reality would be far worse: we're not spread out equally, and once the gravitational pull of Boston (and its minor tributary, Northampton) is figured in, you probably would have to drive quite a ways to find anybody even remotely interested, and that still leaves out the question of finding anyone even remotely interesting, let alone the question of mutual attraction.

Food for thought...
But two things jump out at once:

#1: All the more reason to be profoundly grateful when you do meet someone in person, and it seems to be mutual in all the right ways.

It does, I did, and I am.

#2: If I wore beige and smiled a lot, it was mostly because these guys were the Goat's friends. But to some small degree, also because they are all there is.

As my least favorite founding father, B. Franklin, Esq., put it: "We must hang together, gentlemen...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately." So what are a few unpleasant remarks and a little bad behavior in the scheme of things?

Not much...

On the subject of statistics:

Mark Twain probably did not say that there were three kinds of lies: "lies, damn lies, and statistics." But he definitely did say this:

Now, if I wanted to be one of those ponderous scientific people, and 'let on' to prove what had occurred in the remote past by what had occurred in a given time in the recent past, or what will occur in the far future by what has occurred in late years, what an opportunity is here! Geology never had such a chance, nor such exact data to argue from! Nor 'development of species,' either! Glacial epochs are great things, but they are vague--vague.

Please observe:

In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period,' just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen.

There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

What's to add?

Hang in there, all.


  1. So basically you are in a Hobson's choice situation, socially. Wear beige and smile. Eh, I guess it could be worse. Good luck.

  2. What a stunning display of mathematical reasoning! I am impressed. Do not forget, though, that personal attraction, charm, humor, affection, and circumstances can change and grow. There may be love at first sight for a lucky few, but most of us warm to others much more slowly in friendship. The wait is worth it. I hope it is for you, too.