Boy Joy

Six nights a week, Karamba is all about gay Latinos. But Fridays are more complicated. Friday nights, the club hosts Hot Pink!, a dance scene for the young and would-be fabulous.

In most clubs, the women are the pretty ones, but the men here have picked up on the chicks' tricks: Their hair is gelled to submission. Their bodies are waxed to hairlessness and dieted down to the shape of a pair of women's size-4 women's blue jeans -- which some, apparently, are wearing.

The scene is far from straight, but it's not exactly gay, either. Instead, anything goes: The girls are grinding with the girls, and the guys, too, are grinding with the guys. Since the boys are prettier than the girls, they're the ones preening.

A few girls attempt stripper-style moves on the big pole at the edge of the dance floor, but the pair really working it are two buff men.

At Hot Pink! and at Shake!, hosted Saturday nights at The Rogue in south Scottsdale, the lines are blurring in a way that hitherto seemed impossible in Phoenix. Straight isn't all Budweiser-and-boobs anymore. (Surely you've heard of metrosexuals.) And gay isn't hidden away in gay clubs. Instead, in certain pockets of the Valley's nightlife, the two are coming together in an androgynous middle.

Susie Bright, the lesbian author and former columnist at salon.com and playboy.com, says it's not just the girls anymore. Guys are loosening up, too.

"Otherwise 'het' boys kiss each other on the mouth in public just for the fun shock value of it, to show they don't give a damn," she writes in an e-mail.

Sure, when young men refer to something as "gay," they aren't being complimentary, Bright admits. But "older people . . . being uptight about queer sex" earn nothing but their scorn.

In the end, she concludes, "The new macho is to not care one way or another."

Researchers remain unconvinced that this could be the next Important Generational Trend. After all, men are more set in their ways -- and that's been scientifically proven. In one study of genital arousal (see "The Vagina Dialogues"), it was pretty clear that straight men don't get off on gay porn the way their straight female counterparts do. Another study by the same researchers, which made the New York Times, suggested that there is no such thing as a male bisexual: The guys who said they were bi were really attracted to men, not both genders.

There's no question that, unlike women, not only do most men have an orientation, but it's fairly inflexible. Many just find the idea of grinding with another guy, much less kissing him, intolerable. Period. That isn't going to change.

Even Susie Bright's had to admit that: When Rolling Stone commissioned her to pen a piece on the "Lesbian Until Graduation" concept a few years ago, she tried to write about boys instead. The magazine killed the story.

But now that girl-on-girl action has become so ubiquitous, something has to be the next new thing. Somebody has to up the ante.

And the kids at Hot Pink! may be the ones to do it. Sure, these aren't the kids who were cool in high school. (You can probably find them at the James Hotel.) These people were a little too gawky, or a little too smart, or maybe a little too gay. But they've come into their own, and they may be the wave of the future.

Sure, it's wildly improbable. But who knows? Maybe, five years from now, men will be swapping spit on the dance floor while women drool.

And, maybe, after the appropriate conditioning, when researchers hook up the electrodes and pop in some gay porn, the men watching it will feel differently.

And, maybe, a few years after that, somebody will have the best sex of his life and decide to write a book about it. Call it The Straight Man's Guide to Sleeping With Dick.

Hey, we've already got the title!