Friday, June 3, 2011


This is the blood of Christ, also known as RED WINE. Red wine has been around since before written history, since before, even, that people realized they were drinking wine. As we evolved, so did our relationship with wine. We love wine and the mentions of it in art, literature, and music is literally too numerous to count. Historically, red wine has been deeply embedded in many cultures. For men, it has come to represent blood and virility. For women, red wine has provided many much-deserved free passes from unyielding cultural constraints.

It is here, I believe, that red wine begins to attract negative associations, or at least our culture has shifted the way in which it interprets these associations. For example, wine can increase one’s libido. Depending on the political climate, this could be either good or bad. The blush brought on by red wine mimics the flushing of a woman’s décolleté during arousal. What could be wrong with this, you might ask. Not much, unless you consider a woman’s sexuality dangerous or immoral. Red wine was long recommended for infertility, the idea being perhaps babies were more apt to happen if everyone could just loosen up a bit. Then again, many babies have been conceived because someone got a little too loose.

The association between red wine and homosexuality appears to be a mainly American phenomenon. Such association does not exist in, say, Spain or Italy. The American man who drinks red wine is gay, unless he is drinking it along with a woman in the hopes he will later bed her. It is difficult to say how this association came about. Certainly in the US there is a stereotype of men with lineage linking them to Italy, Spain, or Mexico as men who are virile, strong, and handsome. But not all aspects of these cultures maintained their “manliness” when they migrated to the states. Perhaps this is what happened with wine. 

Of course, the there is always Caravaggio and his depiction of red wine and Bacchus. In this portrait, the lusty little Bacchus with his doey come-hither eyes beckons us to approach him. I can hear him now saying, “Come here often?” And Bacchus, while he does not meet our contemporary notions of gay identity, was a big fan of homosexual acts. Could it be this idea is still resident in contemporary culture?

1 comment:

  1. Dear Bunni,

    Thank you for linking to Gavin Bryars. As a homosexual, I greatly appreciate his music, particularly "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet." I also appreciate a good meritage and an understated pinot noir.

    I will follow your blog from now on because I believe you've really hit on something fundamental to the gays here. Bacchus is equated with Satan sometimes in Christian doctrine and its eschewing of all things pagan. And like Satan, Bacchus is just, well... you know... sexy.