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A one-man show about coming to terms with your identity as a straight male

Wednesday, Aug 24 2005
Most heterosexual men are profoundly uncomfortable about admitting their nonstraight impulses. That stand-up comedian Dan Rothenberg fesses up to assorted homoerotic dalliances in his solo show, Regretrosexual, should be reason for cautious optimism about that contingent of the species. Worried about what his girlfriend will say when he tells her about his years exploring the fringes of San Francisco's gay scene, Rothenberg appeals to his inner John Travolta to help him come to terms with his identity as a straight male. Despite the fact that the writer-performer attests absolute confidence as regards to his present sexual orientation ("You don't need a drop of homophobia to look at a penis and say, 'No thank you'"), Rothenberg's show suggests a lack of security both as a writer and performer of solo theater and, ultimately, as a heterosexual man. For one thing, an hour of watching Rothenberg swagger and bray like the misogynistic male-empowerment expert Frank T.J. Mackie (Tom Cruise) in the movie Magnolia makes him appear weirdly defensive about his sexuality. For another, Rothenberg's positing gayness as simply a lifestyle choice renders his exploration of male sexuality decidedly shallow. This flip coming-out party for one might appeal to like-minded individuals in the audience who recognize their own sexual development in Rothenberg's anecdotes, but the monotonousness of the content and aggressiveness of the delivery make Regretrosexual a less-than-effective calling card for the straight-male emancipation movement.

About The Author

Chloe Veltman


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