Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Actual Gay Cowboys

All together now, Jack and Ennis were sheep herders, not cowboys. But I only belabored that point because 1) the gay cowboy meme was an easy way for dumb journalists to oversimplify Brokeback, exactly the opposite of what Proulx intended, and 2) I care about gay cowboys (really I do -- AH and I met on a cattle ranch, though we became friends by jogging together around the ranch, which you have to admit is pretty gay).

Anyhow, author and former cowgirl Patricia Nell Warren has written a great history of gay cowboys. Really worth checking out.

"Typically, a pair of men operated on the old adage that 'two can live cheaper than one.' They’d work the ranches for years, getting themselves hired as a team. They’d save to file on a homestead or buy a little ranch, own it as joint tenants, and maintain visibly separate sleeping quarters. Often a "Kid" paired up with an older guy so he could learn the ropes with an expert.

Traditional cowboy songs often revealed deep grief over the death of a partner in a shooting or roundup accident. In one old song, "Utah Carroll":

In the land of Mexico in the place from whence I came,
In silence sleeps my partner in a grave without a name.
We rode the trail together and worked cows side by side,
Oh, I loved him like a brother, and I wept when Utah died.

You don’t have to be a Ph.D. in sociology to realize that some of these rawhide partnerships extended into discreet sexual intimacy."


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  • At 2:47 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    The Bucking Bronco

    My love is a rider, wild horses he breaks,
    But he promised to quit it all just for my sake;
    He sold off his saddle, his spurs, and his rope,
    And there'll be no more riding, and that's what I hope.

    The first time I saw him was early last spring,
    A-riding a bronco, a high-headed thing;
    He laughed and he talked as they danced to and fro
    He promised he'd not ride no other bronco.

    My love has a gun that has gone to the bad,
    Which makes all the ladies to feel very sad;
    He give me some presents, among them a ring
    But the return I gave him was a far better thing.

    Now, all you young ladies that live on the Platte
    Don't marry the cowboy who wears a white hat;
    He'll pet you and court you and then be will go
    And ride up the trail on another bronco.

  • At 10:48 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    There's many a strange impulse out on the plains of West Texas;
    There's many a young boy who feels things he don't comprehend.
    Well small town don't like it when somebody falls between sexes,
    No, small town don't like it when a cowboy has feelings for men.

    Well I believe in my soul that inside every man there's a feminine,
    And inside every lady there's a deep manly voice loud and clear.
    Well, a cowboy may brag about things that he does with his women,
    But the ones who brag loudest are the ones that are most likely queer.

    Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other —
    What did you think those saddles and boots was about?
    There's many a cowboy who don't understand the way that he feels towards his
    Inside every cowboy there's a lady who'd love to slip out.

    Ten men for each woman was the rule way back when on the prairie,
    And somehow those cowboys must have kept themselves warm late at night.
    Cowboys are famous for getting riled up about fairies,
    But I'll tell you the reason a big strong man gets so uptight:

    Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other —
    That's why they wear leather, and Levi's and belts buckled tight.
    There's many a cowboy who don't understand the way that he feels towards his
    There's many a cowboy who's more like a lady at night.

    Well there's always somebody who says what the others just whisper,
    And mostly that someone's the first one to get shot down dead:
    When you talk to a cowboy don't treat him like he was a sister
    Don't mess with the lady that's sleepin' in each cowboy's head.

    Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other —
    Even though they take speed and drive pickups and shoot their big guns;
    There's many a cowboy who don't understand the way that he feels towards his
    There's many a cowboy who keeps quiet about things he's done.

  • At 7:29 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Mine was an honest-to-god old cowboy tune. Yours, I'm thinking, not.

  • At 10:18 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Heh, but Willie Nelson recorded it. That's gotta count for something.

    It occurred to me today that for the rest of my life I'm going to have to endure lame Brokeback Mountain jokes every time people learn about my stint at DS (the cattle and alfalfa ranch). How fucking sucky.

  • At 2:06 AM, Blogger Emma B said…

    That picture is the cutest thing I've seen in ages! I wish the boys in the movie looked more like that, and that there was a whole fucking brigade of them instead of just two. Sure, it might have tamped down some of the emotional power, but then it could have made up in quantity what it lacked in quality.
    Furthermore, an unrelated comment: I heard someone point out that "Ennis" and "Jack Twist" might as well be "Anus" and "Jerk Off". Any thoughts?

  • At 1:03 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    We was camped on the plains at the head of the Cimmaron
    When along comes a stranger and stopped to argue some,
    Well he looked so very foolish when he begun to look around
    For he seemed just like a greenhorn just escaped from town.

    We asked him had he been to chuck, he said he hadn't a smear,
    So we opened up the chuckbox and said he could eat right here,
    Well he filled up on some coffee and some biscuits and some beans And started right in talking about the foreign kings and queens.

    All about the foreign wars on the land and on the seas
    With guns as big as steers, and ramrods big as trees.
    About a feller named Paul Jones, a fightin' son of a gun
    A fighter and the grittiest cuss that ever packed a gun.

    Such an educated feller, his thoughts just come in herds,
    He astonished all them cowboys with his highfalutin' words
    Well the stranger kept on talkin' till the boys they all got sick
    And begun to look around to see if they could play a trick.

    Well, he said he'd lost his job up on the Santa Fe
    He was goin' 'cross the plains to for to hit the Seven D;
    He didn't say how come it, just some trouble with the boss
    But asked if he could borrow a fat saddle horse.

    Well, this tickled all the boys to death, we laughed way down our sleeves
    We said we'd give him a fine horse, as fresh and fat as you please.
    So Shorty grabbed his lariat and he roped the Zebra Dun
    And we give him to the stranger and waited for the fun.

    Now old Dunny was an outlaw, he'd grown so awful wild
    He could paw the moon down, he could jump a mile;
    Old Dunny stood right still there, like as he didn't know
    Till the stranger had him saddled and ready for to go.

    When the stranger hit the saddle, then old Dun he quit the earth,
    And started travelin' upwards for all that he was worth,
    A-yellin' and a-squealin' and a-having wall-eyed fits
    His front feet perpendicular, his hind feet in the bits.

    We could see the tops of mountains under Dunny every jump
    But the stranger he was glued there just like the camel's hump;
    The stranger he just sat there, and twirled his black moustache,
    Just like a summer boarder waitin' for the hash.

    Well he thumped him in the shoulders and he spun him when he whirled,
    And hollered to them cowboys, "I'm the wolf of the world!"
    And when he had dismounted and once more upon the ground,
    We knew he was a thoroughbred and not a dud from town.

    The boss he was a-standin' there just watchin' of the show
    Walked over to the stranger and said, "You needn't go.
    If you can use a lariat like you rode old Zebra Dun
    You're the man I've been looking for since the Year of One!"

    And when the herd stampeded he was always on the spot,
    And set them off to nothing, like the boiling of a pot.
    Well, there's one thing and a shore thing I've learned since I've been born
    Every educated feller ain't a plumb greenhorn.

  • At 4:21 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Heh, that's funny about the names. Ennis, especially, seems like a big ol' Freudian slip.

    "Ennis Del Mar," is that like "Chicken of the Sea," but with an anus?

  • At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Sildenafil Citrate said…

    hahaha that is really funny, maybe after looking at this picture, the director of Brokeback Mountain came up with the idea of making a gay cowboys film LOL

  • At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Viagra Online said…

    They all seem to be enjoying the moment, maybe Sildenafil is right about the director wanting to do a gay cowboy film.

  • At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Generic Viagra said…

    Wow I did not know that Brokeback Mountain was based on a true story and by looking at this picture of gay cowboys I think it was, and I never thought that cowboys could be gay before I watched the film

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