“I wasn’t going to suck some random guy’s dick. That would probably be pretty gross. But I figured sucking on yours wouldn’t be too bad.”
In a word: Read the thing. I didn’t find this as good as other works I’d read from this author, but I still enjoyed it. It was funny, and frustrating at some parts, and kind of silly. Zack and Larry have been best friends since middle school and now they’re roommates in college. They’re both in need of money and that leads them to consider doing gay-for-pay porn. Neither of them has been with men before so they decide to practise with each other so they won’t embarrass themselves in front of a camera. That’s the premise. It could have ended up being a whole lot sillier than it actually was, except we also get a sexuality crisis and surprise romance thrown in. I personally felt that the sexuality crisis was gotten over fairly quickly considering how much Zack was worrying about it, and I still don’t know how to feel about Larry’s character (sometimes I like him, sometimes I don’t), and I felt that the romance was a bit rushed and not very fleshed out, but that could all be down to the length since this one is pretty short. It’s a quick read and, in the end, it’s all pretty fun.
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS
The Series: This isn’t part of an actual series, but it was part of an event for Dreamspinner Press called First Time for Everything Daily Dose (Daily Dose seems to be an annual event on the site, though the main theme is different each time), in which those who signed up got a story every day for a month (in We’re Both Straight, Right?’s case the month was June 2011). All the stories in the First Time for Everything Daily Dose had to do with couples who were experiencing firsts in their relationships.
The Premise: Zack and Larry are two broke college students in need of some quick cash. Larry discovers that they can each earn 1000$ by doing gay-for-pay porn and it’s an idea he’s all for. Zack is reluctant but Larry soon manages to convince him. It’s a bit harder to convince Zack that they should practise with each other so that they’re prepared when it’s time to go on camera. Zack has never been interested in men before, but he now suddenly finds himself falling in love with his best friend, and he’s not entirely sure how that happened.
The Couple: This story is written in third person limited, and Zack is our narrator. Zack is an average college student, an everyman. There’s really not much to him until he starts panicking about possibly being gay. Larry is Zack’s best friend since middle school and has a bit more personality to him since Zack describes him for us. Larry is rude, crass, and really socially awkward. Zack seems to be his only real friend; other people seem to just tolerate him. It’s Larry who is first onboard with the idea of doing porn, Zack has to be convinced. Larry is also the one who initiates the ‘practising’. And not subtly either, he just jumps right in. It’s hard to describe how I feel about Larry. Zack is easy enough; he’s generally likable and sometimes a bit high-strung. I was in turns annoyed by Larry and feeling sorry for him. Larry doesn’t have many friends and it’s kinda obvious why (one reason Zack points out is because he’s a dork, but I don’t hold that against him, it’s not an actual flaw), he’s not very good with people. He’s very crude and that can put a lot of people off. One complaint other people seem to have with Larry is the way he pushes Zack to participate in the whole porn deal. I kinda got that feeling too, and that didn’t endear me much to Larry at all, but on the other hand Zack does go along with everything Larry suggests. Larry definitely doesn’t push Zack as much as the other reviews implied, and he definitely didn’t force him into anything. But Larry is definitely the more enthusiastic of the two when it comes to filming. The two of them seem to fall in love with each other fairly quickly (either that or they both finally succumb to things they’ve been unknowingly feeling all along), and the story pretty much ends with them deciding to be together. We don’t really get to see them together as a couple, which is a shame because it has the potential to be quite entertaining.
The Sexuality Crisis: If Larry has any issues with his sexuality we don’t get to hear of them. He doesn’t say anything to Zack about it and we never get into his head so we really don’t know. We definitely know that Zack is having issues with the whole thing though. He’s never before been even remotely interested in men, and now suddenly his best friend is asking to suck his dick on camera. Zack doesn’t really want that, and he doesn’t understand why Larry would want that. Straight men, generally, aren’t really supposed to be interested in sucking cock, is the logic at play here. Zack can convince himself that gay-for-pay does make some sense, but he can’t really wrap his mind around wanting to practise beforehand. He has an even harder time reconciling with the fact that he finds himself actually enjoying having sex with Larry. This throws him for a real loop because these feelings and desires are totally new to him. He’s known Larry since middle school, and this is the first time that he’s considered him anything other than a friend. It’s a big shock for him. All in all, the sexuality crisis was definitely an interesting part of Zack’s character development, but I felt that he got over it a bit too quickly. He went from really angsting over what was happening to the point where he was getting angry with Larry, and when the turnaround came it happened immediately and on a dime. I didn’t find it very realistic considering how much he was worrying over it. And then he did a complete 180 and now he completely loves it and Larry and everything. It was weird, though I’m pretty sure it was due to the short length of the story. There just wasn’t enough time to completely flesh the whole thing out.
The Sex: Zack and Larry’s first fumblings with sex (mutual masturbation in their dorm room) was good. Suitably awkward and unsexy and confusing (for Zack). And as they went on it was a lot of the same. I had no complaints about the sexual content until they got to the anal sex and suddenly were pros at the whole thing. Zack seemed to be taking it pretty well for someone who’d never before had anything up his arse. People instantly becoming awesome at sex on their first go is a peeve of mine, so that really didn’t do it for me. Though if that’s something you don’t have a problem with the scene is otherwise enjoyable (also sappy as all hell).
The Writing: Like Jamie Fessenden’s other works, I have no real problems with the writing. The grammar and vocabulary is good and there are no typos or errors (that I noticed). I think a few aspects of this story suffered a bit because of the short length of the story, but they aren’t major issues. I still did really like this story and it had its fun moments, and sad moments, and confusing moments (and cheesy moments). It’s a quick, easy read, and it did make me laugh, which is always a plus.
[We’re Both Straight, Right? was published June 1, 2011, and is only available as an ebook]