Friday, May 08, 2009

Gay Style?

I am going to get killed here, but Andy of V and A in Milan prompted me to finally give vent to an idea I have had for many years when he wrote, in what seemed like a bit of exasperation, "I have been called the straightest of gay men."

The topic of our sermon, boys and girls, is: Is there a gay style and if so what should it be? This could also be: Is there a "straight" style and what should that be?

This is interesting to me, someone who is often taken in cyberspace to be a woman (see latest in the comments section here), even though I am of the male persuasion (although I have expressed an interest in becoming lesbian, for which I have been told I have an aptitude). Perhaps the confusion arises because I don't punctuate every sentence with "eff'in A!"?

This is also interesting because I was there when a college roommate declared himself gay at 3 am, after an evening at the local gay alliance; unfortunately, I had a final exam the next morning and really needed the sleep, so that discussion was postponed, much to his drunken chagrin.

CR, as I'll call him, had been up to that point a normal, average ... um, what am I saying? He liked opera, fer cryin' out loud! (OK, so my father loved opera -- his Italian heritage -- and that's why I hate it, but that's a whole other story).

All right, what I mean is that CR didn't have any noticeable mannerisms in his gesture or voice. He wasn't "affeminate."

Fast forward to a few years ago, when I hired him at what was his fast-approaching middle age (he is a few years older than I am). All of a sudden, he behaved like a typical 40-ish female secretary of the 1950s.

You know, the kind that has her hair up in a bouffant and whose fingers taper into painted claws and whose mouth and cheeks are rouged and powdered and whose perfume can be smelled a mile away. One day she quits in a huff and her desk drawers are found to be filled to the rafters with tissue paper and various female cosmetic and medical supplies. Gary Larson used to draw her to great effect (see here).

No, CR didn't look like one. He just talked like one, freaked out like one (you won't believe his antics on 9/11 ... OK, so we were a block from the White House, but honestly!) and generally behaved in a way that completely belied his physical appearance as a tall, lean, Brahmin WASP man.

What is it about a man's sexual preference for other men that demands behavior that apes the worst stereotypes of a traditional woman? I mean, most women today are more "macho" than that!

Give me a woman who knows how to handle a power drill any day.

Frankly, I have no answer. I am relieved to learn that Andy, a gay man, doesn't seem to have an answer, either. It shows that it's a not just me, a straight guy, asking an unreasonable question.
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