So, it took me a whole week to stumble upon this pic, which appeared on page 48 of last week's Sports Illustrated. It was taken during the NFC championship game at a San Francisco gay bar named—wait for it—Hi Tops. One dude in a tight T-shirt is pumping his fist, and there are some pint glasses on the bar, and over here we have—hello!—two dudes making out. It's an amazing, thrilling picture. I stared at for a while last night. I mean, who knows what made that kiss happen. Maybe they just love their 49ers, and, wow, we're going to the Super Bowl, I love you too! Maybe they just met. Maybe they're just buddies and, haha, here's a kiss cause why not.
"You know why I love this picture so much?" I shouted from the living room last night to my boyfriend, a few hours after I showed it to him.
"'Cause they're so hot," he said.
Thanks pal. OK, fine, sure. But what else?
"Cause they're so hot and not faking it?"
So, obviously, it's great because it's a picture of gay sports fans. They exist. But you already knew that, and I don't need to be reassured of that, I don't think. But also: It's a photo of gay sports fans! Gay sports bars have become kind of a thing. I was at one last night. And yet I know maybe one gay sports fan. No one was watching the Rangers game on the TVs overhead last night. I certainly wasn't. We wind up at this bar 'cause that's where a lot of other guys go after work, but no one seems to be there for the sports. The gays I go to the bars with know of Serena Williams and Mark Sanchez and basically no one else. Maybe that means I should get more friends, or more diverse friends, but sports remains a weird outsider passion among New York gays, like cargo shorts or living in Murray Hill, and that makes me sad.
Which is why it's nice to see some hot dudes making out and doing it because they love their sports and their 49ers and their boys. It's nice to be reminded that, yes, they totally do exist. And I'm glad a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer was there to document it. And I love this picture even more for being an implicit rebuke to 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, who on Tuesday said gays weren't welcome in his locker room. Boo-fucking-hoo. We're out there, Chris, and some of us are cheering for your team.
Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice/Sports Illustrated