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The new Details is out today, and Simon Dumenco has an essay in it about the Times's strange fixation on defining the borders of heterosexuality — and ensuring that The Gays remain safely classified as The Other.

Over the last year or so, he notes, that fixation has encompassed examinations of "metrosexuals," "ubersexuals," "gay vague," and the "man date." It entailed an expose of closeted suburbanites who may make "A Sex Stop on the Way Home," as the B1 headline put it, and included a Style Magazine feature musing on a Soho brunch with a quarter of gay men, at which Cher — who else? — was discussed.

Dumenco writes, somewhat bitterly and entirely fairly:

[T]he paper's ongoing Kinsey-esque project of parsing moderning masculinity is a time-consuming journalistic undertaking — sort of like searching for weapons of mass destruction. Relentlessly defining, charting, and quantifying the mysterious modern condition known as masculinity, as the Times sees it, it serious work.

That said, men who appear in public in pairs would be well advised to avoid Italian restaurants, SoHo brunch spots, parks, and other wooded areas when Times reporters are in the vicinity. The Times has its eyes on you, guys. Don't try anything funny.

But, hey, feel free to say something funny — about Cher and whatnot.

So, how does Details coverline Dumenco's smart take on the Times's habit of, as he says, "[o]bsessing about The Gays ... while aiding and abetting gay panic?" Like this"

When Did The New York Times Come Out of the Closet?

Um, it didn't, at least not according to the article. But totally misconstruing the article is forgivable: We all know how much Details likes the closet cases.

Details []