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The Secret Lives of Married Men: Interviews With Gay Men Who Played It Straight Paperback – October 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Books; 1 edition (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555837743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555837747
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,567,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Interviews with gay men presently or formerly married to women form the backbone of this lackluster compilation. Leddick's previous book on New York City Ballet co-founder Lincoln Kirstein and his circle (Intimate Companions, 2001) covered some of the same ground, but with more focus and point. Forty men speak out here, with the vapid frankness of pseudoanonymity, of their experience of wedlock in and out of the closet. (At least one man, the photographer David Armstrong, appears under his own name; he's the longtime lover of the horror novelist Clive Barker and, incidentally, the only black man Leddick uncovered.) These men's lives follow predictable patterns-a youth of secret attraction to other males, followed by social pressures that lead to the altar, followed by years of guilt, and, most often, divorce, though some of the subjects prefer to stay married for personal reasons. Proceeding by generation, Leddick surveys older men first; the bulk of the book is devoted to men over 40, for whom the above cycle has completed itself. His case-study approach to homosexuality was campily popular during the closeted 1960s, a scientific demeanor cloaking purportedly true tales of twilight lives. Veteran author Leddick updates the formula with references to AIDS and the Internet, but the effect is the same, and so are many of the soft-porn passages: "The guide reached out and touched the front of Katzen's brief trunks. Katzen says, 'It was like a current of electricity hit me. I woke up. Suddenly I knew what I really wanted.'" "Many of the men I interviewed," writes the author, "knew very little about other men who'd had experiences similar to theirs. Nor, surprisingly, did they seem very interested to find out more." Such a level of apathy raises the bar for readers, who will need a scorecard to remember the players in this disappointing and repetitive book.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

David Leddick is an author, playwright and actor.

He has 22 books published: many photography books about the male nude (including one of Taschen's top-ten bestsellers, "The Male Nude"), and the second edition of "In the Spirit of Miami Beach" (from Assouline Books).

Leddick has published six novels (including "My Worst Date" and "The Sex Squad"), and a biography of art figures from the 1930s and 1940s, "Intimate Companions."

The author's newest book, "Gorgeous Gallery," is a collection of homoerotic art published by Bruno Gmunder and will be available worldwide in June. Leddick's next book will be "Meaningless Hugs, Meaningless Kisses," an impressionistic "imagined memoir" about a gay man's life in his 70s.

He was born in 1930, and after graduating from the University of Michigan served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He was at Bikini Atoll during the hydrogen bomb testing. Leddick moved to New York in the 1950s, and was a ballet dancer. He was with the Metropolitan Opera where he appeared onstage with great Divas such as Maria Callas.

Leddick has worked in advertising as the Worldwide Creative Director for Revlon in New York, and as International Creative Director for L'Oreal in Paris, through the 1970s and 1980s. He created some of the era's most iconic beauty campaigns (including the groundbreaking TV commercial for Jontue fragrance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDsPLNT2qq0).

He began a new career at the age of 65 as a writer, creating male nude photography books and writing novels. His first novel, "My Worst Date," was the most reviewed first novel from St. Martin's Press.

Resuming his theater career at the age of 70, he has written the scripts and lyrics for a number of musicals and plays he has performed throughout the U.S., Europe and South America.

Now in his 80s and living in Miami Beach, Leddick wants to write about reporting back from what he calls the "uncharted territory of aging." He considers living in his 80s to be the new late middle-age: "After romantic relationships and living life to the fullest through my 70s, I feel like I have gone out into an unknown frontier from which no one has reported back." His next books about this are "How to Hit 70 Doing 100" and "Sexercise at 70."

"I call everyone who is over 65 a Sextennial, and we are all going to share a new, rich experience in this last third of our lives - a productive and exciting time which has never existed historically before."

Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "tripguy24" on February 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a nightmare to read - the writing was so bad that I had to read multiple pages two or three times to even understand what the author was trying to say. The publisher obviously did not employ an editor.
Not only is the writing terrible, the stories are shallow and unenlightening. Leddick seems more interested in how the people he interviewed looked than what they had to say. Here are just a couple quotes showing how little depth this book has:
"He has quite a story. But the first thing you should know about him is that he is very cute."
"Brad Appel is a dashing guy. With his powerfully muscled body and wrestler's stance, he attracts quite a few admirers at the gym he frequents."
Anyone with a bit of education will have trouble understanding his child-like writing from the poorly written introduction to the disappointing end. There is no logical link between much of what happens in this book. The interviews are reminiscent of how a Kindergartener would tell a story - "he did this then he did this then he did this then he did this" - however, it does not attempt to analyze in depth the psychological processes going on in these married men's heads. It does more to perpetuate sterotypes of gay men (including the author) than allow the reader to draw any insightful conclusions about what should be a very interesting issue. I am quite disappointed in the book and would NOT recommend it to anyone. I am shocked it was published in this form.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "devilchef" on January 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
Because I, like many gay men, have an interest in and attraction to married men, I purchased this "true stories" book. While the interviews are interesting, most are not very enlightening. Also, the author apparently interviewed only good looking, younger-than-their-age looking men. I guess men who look their age (or, horrors, older) and/or are only average looking aren't gay and don't get married. Perpetuating self-hating stereotypes contradicts the advancement this book strives to achieve. The writing is amateurish at best, and the publisher apparently does not employ an editor. The book is a nightmare from a writing perspective. I applaud the men presented in the book for telling their stories. I'm sure that, if presented properly, they would be very helpful and educational to all men. The author's conclusion does not belong in this book. It is more suited for a text about non-traditional families. If you must read this book, borrow it or buy it used. At full price, it's disappointing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I hoped that the book would provide insight into my father's life and thoughts. Unfortunately, the 39 interviews seem to be shallow, in that there isn't much delving into the details for a true character portrait (like New Yorker in-depth interviews). Each chapter feels like a 30-minute conversation -- too short to know a person and what makes them unique.
It seems odd to me all the stories end happily and with hope (no mention of any person having additional negative burdens, for example lingering guilt, depression, regret, or unfortunate contraction of AIDs). This makes me wonder if the author has filtered out information. Perhaps he didn't, but I was expecting a variety of outcomes from 39 different people.
All in all, I'm glad the author has recorded these interviews. Now if he could select a few interesting interviews and expand them into another book, that would make for a very interesting read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ozbriefs on August 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
I think my title says it all really. Not insight very repetitive and not well written. What should have been an interesting topic poorly handled. The only interest was the changes of attitudes over the decades. Borrow this from the Library or but second hand
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