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The Misadventures of Doc and Dirk Vol. 1
Contemporary Romance Discussions > The Misadventures of Doc and Dirk, Vol. 1, by Dan Skinner

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Ulysses Dietz | 1609 comments The Misadventures of Doc and Dirk, Vol. 1
By Dan Skinner, 2016
Cover by Gri Clover
Four stars

I wanted to resent and dislike this book, but I couldn’t. I enjoyed every minute of it, and having just put down a book that depressed me deeply, this slim volume was a tonic that cheered me up in several ways. Skinner is a charming writer, and his presentation of the relationship between Doc and Dirk is engaging and very amusing. But there’s more to it than that; for all the overt sexiness of the very young Dirk, there is a sweetness and an innocence about him that triggers feelings of protectiveness – feelings that are echoed by Doc’s character.

This is not deep: but it’s not entirely superficial, either. All of the cock-teasing edge of the story is very carefully wrought so as not to be salacious. Perhaps only gay men are going to really understand and enjoy Dirk’s character. Being very young and gay has some universal qualities that even an old man like myself can still identify with, in spite of how dramatically the world has changed. In some ways, plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Honestly, I have been assuming all along that this is not fiction, but fictionalized autobiography (in order to make real-life more interesting). The statement that it’s all made-up is puzzling, but I’m sure there’s a reason. Whatever it is, it’s good. I’ve already bought part II and pre-ordered part III. I’ll let you know.

Ulysses Dietz | 1609 comments The Misadventures of Doc and Dirk (That Darn Muse, volumes 2 and 3)
Dan Skinner
By the author, 2016

These tiny books are nothing more than delightful petit-fours of clever prose and laugh-out-loud silliness that manage to be innocent and naughty at the same time.

Dirk is an endearingly awkward, sexy teenager, lucky enough to have found a mentor and gay role model in the middle-aged Doc (Dan Skinner). These two men (both young in my eyes) are avatars for two generations of gay men – the gen-Xer and the millennial. They offer us honest and often comic insights into their worldview, but they also provide strangely comforting models for friendship and self-awareness.

As an old man (only 61, but that’s 85 in gay years) in a very longterm relationship, I am envious of their youth and fitness; but Skinner isn’t trying to do this, not at all. He presents himself as a gay man, temporarily unmoored, who first finds himself, and then his goofy, adorable, unfiltered muse. He becomes part of Dirk’s family circle, both protective of Dirk’s dented innocence and disarmed by Dirk’s fearless approach to being a gay youth in modern America.

I was particularly struck by two stories, one told by Doc and one by Dirk, that outline disastrous attempts at sexual hookups – proving hilariously that beauty doesn’t always equate with emotional maturity or sexual proficiency. Somehow in there I found comfort in knowing the idea that being gay is not a competition. The goal is to find our way as best we can.

Dan Skinner is one of those gay men who I think I’d have trouble being friends with, and thus I approach his writing with caution. The fact that his books have always utterly charmed and moved me with their elegant prose and emotional truth is a testimony to his gifts.

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