Let’s Hear It for the BOYS

Hello Mr. Magazine - - WOULDN’T IT BE NICE? - By Zach Stafford

For many months, my friend and fel­low writer Nico Lang and I found our­selves in the wake of Lena Dunham and her hit tele­vi­sion show, Girls. As writ­ers who also talk a lot about the ups-and-downs of be­ing young and liv­ing in ma­jor cities, we were con­tin­u­ally men­tioned in the same sen­tence as Dunham. It’s not be­cause our work had, has, or ever will gar­ner the same fan­fare as Girls, but be­cause peo­ple love to con­nect us – and other writ­ers in their twen­ties – to her be­cause what she has come to rep­re­sent: cre­ative, twenty-some­things try­ing to make it in the world.

In some ways, I don’t mind the com­par­i­son. Dunham has opened a lot of doors for many of us drown­ing in the prover­bial bath­tub of be­ing an artist in the dig­i­tal age where pro­duc­tion is Up! but pay­ment is Down! She brings this is­sue to light and chal­lenges it through her work. But her work tar­gets the girls, and, well, Nico and I are not “the girls” – but lord knows we try. So, be­fore the sum­mer of 2013, we de­cided it was time to hear it for the boys…more specif­i­cally: the boys who like other boys.

As Girls took a sum­mer break, we added another project to our sum­mer to-do list. This was around the same time that fel­low writer Stephanie Ge­or­gop­u­los re­leased her an­thol­ogy Girls? (also play­ing off Dunham) with Thought Cat­a­log’s new book di­vi­sion, which is part of ThoughtCatalog.com, a place where Nico and I have been writ­ing for a few years. Af­ter pitch­ing the book to our ed­i­tors it was given the green light and we were off.

Dur­ing our first meet­ing to plan BOYS, we cre­ated a list of peo­ple we have worked with over the years, and oth­ers we’ve al­ways wanted to work with. Peo­ple like trans-icon Buck An­gel, Noah Michel­son, Joe Er­ben­traut (both he and Noah served as our ed­i­tors at The Huff­in­g­ton Post), and JP from the hit show 1 Girl, 5 Gays, and even the ed­i­tor of Hello Mr., Ryan Fitzgib­bon, among oth­ers.

Once we got a solid list of 19 writ­ers we spent the fol­low­ing weeks get­ting to know the writ­ers through edit­ing the per­sonal sto­ries they shared with us. When read­ing BOYS you will be re­minded of that time you came out to a friend online. You’ll re­mem­ber that first heart­break and how you kept it in a box in the back of your mind. You’ll re­mem­ber your first time in a gay bar and so much more.

But more im­por­tantly what you’ll be re­minded of most, much like when you read Hello Mr., is that there’re lots of boys all over the world who are a lot like you.

BOYS is avail­able to down­load now at www.thoughtcatalog.com/books and the print edi­tion will hit book­stores in 2014. Pro­ceeds will be do­nated to char­ity.

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