This first picture (at a stretch, granted) could be read as a tender moment, of me tying Jim's bowtie before a concert. This was taken in DAR Constitution Hall on the eve of the 1987 March on Washington (for gay and lesbian rights), at a big national gay band concert. I had barely slept in four days. I think I see this as a tender moment because Jim had simply walked up to me, bowtie untied, and I fixed him up without a word being exchanged. So in this case the subtext is entirely in my memory. And the fact that Jim was Unrequited Boy Par Excellence colors my view. But here's the photo nonetheless.
Ok, but then there's this photo, in which at first glance it appears that Jim is staring at me with a loving gaze. Isn't that just adorable? But a closer examination of his focal point makes it clear that he's focused on something just behind me. No doubt somebody cuter.
This final example is my favorite, taken at the end of the New York City Pride March in 1988, in which Jim and I marched with Boston's Freedom Trail Band. That march is not optimized for a marching band; it goes from Central Park to Greenwich Village, which is a long way indeed to play your instrument. At the end of the march the band members just sat right down in the street, we were so exhausted. It had rained that morning, so the street was wet. We didn't care.
You might look at this photo and think, aw, how sweet, Jim sitting in (faux-boyfriend) Steven's lap. But actually Jim was sitting in my lap only because he didn't want to sit in the filthy street while wearing his white pants.
They say that photos don't lie. They are wrong.