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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm Not Gay

This a difficult statement to convince people of when you're sitting at your computer, wearing a blue tie with little green goats on it, you've got a pocketwatch from 1921 with a gold fob dangling from your belt loop, and you're swilling gently from a bottle of Lorina Sparkling French Limonade.

And you're wearing a lady's wedding band.

But, at least I'm married to a woman-- and is it my fault my fingers are too slight to accomodate a man's wedding band? I mean, sheesh.

I've had to defend my heterosexuality for as long as I can remember, and the inconceivable amounts of heterosexually-based hardcore pornography I've consumed since age 15 aren't really appropriate corroboration, nor can they be readily accessed whenever a doubter is present. My dandy manner of dress, my incontrovertible knack for precisely matching outerwear, my ability to happily spend time at Anthropologie, enthusiastically and successfully shopping for outfits for my wife, my obsession with Gilbert & Sullivan and other aspects of the Victorian era and my involvement with theatre in general have all served to raise a few eyebrows over the years.

Sometimes, I'll say something to my wife, with complete and utter seriousness, whether it's a comment about a shirt she's about to inexplicably and ill-advisedly pair with certain shoes or about an antique that I think would look great over there, she'll stare at me and ask,

"Are you sure you're not gay?"

I'm pretty sure.

When I was a very, very young boy, I can remember sitting on the toilet in our downstairs bathroom and excitedly calling my mother into the bathroom.

"Are you sure you want me to come in?" I remember my mother asking from behind the closed door.

"YES! YES!" I cried. She entered warily, probably expecting to see yet another piece of my feces shaped like a question mark or a starfish.

"Look, Mommy!" I shouted energetically, my Osh-Koshes dangling around my ankles as I kicked my legs back and forth. Staring down at my crotch I proudly announced, "My penis can do tricks!"

(N. B. Although I was very young, it should be noted that I never, ever called it a "whingus" or a "teetletoo" or a "schmenkmen" or a "bing-bong" or whatever euphemism that was commonly utilized by little boys in 1985.)

"All I have to do is think about Vanna White!" I exclaimed. My mother crossed her arms in front of her and regarded me for a moment in my state of ecstacy.

"That's very nice, honey," she said as she turned around and walked out. See? My mother never needed Dr. Phil or Dear fuckin' Abby.

Please bear in mind that my taste in biddy has improved significantly since those days of my burgeoning sexual awakening. I mean, my wife's a little hottie-- let's face facts. Not only that, but I'm also slightly obsessed with English actress Natascha McElhone, if we want to face all the facts.

Of course, nobody actually thinks I'm gay. I don't think. Though I'll admit that, when I'm twittering and mincing about the stage inhabiting the 19th century clothes and effete mannerisms of a G&S patter role like Reginald Bunthorne, limp-wristed aesthetic poet extraordinaire or the ballet-prone Major-General Stanley, sometimes even I'm a little bit confused. I suppose the fact that the only dick I'd ever touch is mine keeps me on the right track.

The problem is with societal conventions that explicitly and implicitly portray manhood as husky, burly, sports-centered, slovenly, insipid, dull, monosyllabic, unshaven, eyes partially closed so as to look like he's on pot.

Oh, and did I mention stained sweatpants?

Ah, society-- with your preconceived notions and stereotypes and fucked up ideas about what it means to be male. If you're not eating a hoagie with extra bacon with one hand while the other hand is enthusiastically scratching your taint, you're just not really a real man at all, are you?

I have a great uncle who is gay. He's lived 80-some years and has never been truly outed, even though a select group of family and very close friends know. The world at large? Not a clue. Why? He runs track and plays tennis every week, smokes cigars and barrels his way through board meetings with headfirst, obscenity-laden gusto. He's a man's man if there ever was one, and he's always seen with a lady on his arm.

Thing is: he likes the peen.


  1. "when I'm twittering and mincing about the stage inhabiting the 19th century clothes and effete mannerisms of a G&S patter role like Reginald Bunthorne, limp-wristed aesthetic poet extraordinaire or the ballet-prone Major-General Stanley, sometimes even I'm a little bit confused."

    This has to one of the best sentences written, ever, of all time.
    Well done.

  2. You know, I totally get this. When I first met my husband I knew he wasn't the sports type (thankfully) but he did other "manly" things. No big. But then as we were married longer...I started wondering. Hmm.. And I have had to just flat out ask. And I get a no answer. Now, I'm no Lenny Briscoe but there are some other "clues" that make me think if he isn't guy then most certainly he's bi. These are the things you tell a person BEFORE you get married. :) But rock the tie with goats. That's awesome.

  3. Uh, I don't think gay guys wear goat ties.

    Do they?


  4. My ex-boyfriend similarly fits more neatly into stereotypes about gay men than he does those of straight men. I know it kind of bothered him for a while, especially when we were in high school and people felt for some reason it was their business to question him about it.

    I couldn't have cared less. The same qualities that people would harass him about were part of what made him awesome to date.

    He's creative, stylish, communicative, clean and just a little bit pretty. And women? They are all over the guy.

  5. Sarah--

    Yeah.... they were all over me, too......


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