As Anna Khachiyan, Tom Hanks, and assorted AIDS whisperers and sufferers already know, the gay bathhouses in the early ’80s were ground zero for the disease that would go on to destroy thousands of men’s bodies. These bathhouses were built for maximum contact. According to AIDS historian Randy Shilts, an average bathhouse boy had 2.7 sexual contacts a night and 1,100 partners in their inevitably abridged bathhouse careers (some bold boys approached 20k). Minus the “moderating role” (Shilts) of girls, boys fisted, felched, fucked, kissed, pissed, shit, and took on trains as if their lives depended on it (and their lives did depend on it).

 

These utopias of unleashed lust have been recreated by cancel culture. The faggots (Larry Kramer’s word, not mine) have been replaced by cancelettes. The IRL delirium has gone digital. Here, cancelettes can achieve maximum contact. There are no girls online. No one can stop cancelettes from scattering their poz cum and deplatforming and destroying almost any man (remember, there are no girls here).

 

As with bathhouse boys, not all cancelettes are picky. Many cancelettes point their libidos at anything: a middling movie buff (Lindsay Ellis), an anxious porn star (August Ames), a socialist (Virgil Texas). One cancelette who’ll truly fuck anything is the Washington Post. In 2020, WaPo shot 3k words at a graphic designer who went to their Halloween party in blackface. The person, per New York Mag, had “no public profile and no apparent power or ambitions to obtain it.” If that’s not careless fisting, then what is?

 

Conversely, certain cancelettes hold high standards. They cruise methodically until they settle on that man of their singular dreams.

 

Dylan Farrow is such a cancelette. He (there are no girls!) has been trying to cum in Woody Allen for years. Dylan has fisted him (“What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?”); doubled-teamed him with Timesman Nicholas D. Kristof; double-teamed him with brother Ronan; pissed on him with miscellaneous celebs; ran a train on him with the staff of Hachette Book Group; and dommed him with a four-part HBO doc.

 

All this sexual contact and Farrow still can’t cum. Allen, as it often goes with a great beauty, stays elusive. He published his memoir (it was a bestseller), makes his movies (Rifkin’s Festival came out last year), and Diane Keaton still hearts him.

 

Like Lord Dylan Farrow, Duke Roxane Gay professes exquisite tastes. Unlike Lord Farrow, Duke Gay can pop. His first target was Milo Yiannopoulos. This sassy, flashy Brit struck Gay’s heart like an Israel bomb in the heart of Gaza. A bathhouse veteran (one can find Gay at the TED bathhouse, the NYT bathhouse, the Conde Nast bathhouse, and, obviously, the Twitter bathhouse), Gay wasted little time in mauling Milo.

 

In 2017, when Gay found out that Milo and him shared the same publisher (Simon & Schuster), he ripped off his clothes and howled, “O victory, forget your underwear — we’re free!” Foxy Roxy cruised Little Milo hardcore. He complimented his “blunt, inelegant hate and provocation.” Gay then pulled out from Simon & Schuster, put his dick in Milo, and blasted all up in that punk. A month later, Milo lost his book deal and his burgeoning empire. The cancelette had worked his magic. Milo had the virus and, like myriad men in the 80s, did not survive.

 

Satisfied but not content, the Great Gay set his sights on another rare breed. It’s one year later — 2018. Gay has honed in on Roseanne Barr. Barr was getting lots of attention for his Roseanne reboot. Episode one netted 18 million viewers, and Roseanne got to strut his working-class mojo with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, etc. No way could Gay stand back and let these men eat up his prize. Gay had to act. Gay had to fuck.

 

The bathhouse that supplied the setting for Roxane and Roseanne’s assignation was the New York Times bathhouse, whose tagline, “Any Hole, Dude,” says it all. What happened between these lovers amounts to one of the most remarkable rimjobs ever. In his NYT romp about Roseanne’s reboot, Gay cooed, “There are times when we can consume problematic pop culture, but this is not one of those times.” 

 

Problematic? Those times? Only a true Lothario could sing such a lewd song. Why was it OK to “consume problematic pop culture” during the times of B. Obama, Georgie B., or Billy C.? Never mind! Roxane, focus on the hole. Swallow that scent and block out the world. There is no reasoning with a man in rapture. Ah, the bliss — the brainless, mindless, dumbass delight of that epic rimjob. You know Gay busted in Barr, and, like, two months later, Barr got the virus, lost his show, and Gay, a la Patient Zero, felled another.

 

Some cancelettes get off not by cumming but by imbibing cum in another man’s anus. This is felching. A felching cancelette is Moira Donegan. With his “Shitty Media Men” spreadsheet and Guardian screed about Kobe’s alleged rape days after the helicopter crash, this Irish stallion is not shy about greedily lapping up shots in any butthole (dead, alive, whatever). But watch out, Moira. Bathhouse boys can be litigious. One of Moira’s felch partners, Stephen Elliott, didn’t appreciate having the cum in his butt munched. Now, Stephen is suing Moira for libel.

 

A liberal number of ’80s boys believed that what they were up to transcended sex. They said their IRL bathhouses represented lofty ideals like freedom and liberation. Ipso facto, cancelettes claim their online bathhouses are on the frontlines in the fights against sexism, racism, fascism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. If a girl could enter these spaces, she might roll her eyes, flip her hair, and quip, “As if.”

 

As with faggots, cancelettes don’t frequent bathhouses to “heal the word / make it a better place / for you and for me and the entire human race.” There are people dying, and cancelettes, as per their faggot kin, don’t care. They care about their image, their pleasure, and, when applicable, profit. What Larry Kramer asked about faggots in 1983 could be asked about cancelettes in 2021, “How can they value life so little and cocks and asses so much?”